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A. Todd Coget
[Courageous Fishers of Men, Citation: Eugene A Maddox, Interlachen, Florida; source: The Perfect Storm]
The movie, The Perfect Storm, well described the dangers of the fishing industry through the eyes of the crew of the fishing boat, the Andrea Gail.
Out of their need to bring home an excellent catch of fish, the captain and crew decide to risk everything and travel as far as the remote but fertile fishing ground called the Flemish Cap. It is an especially dangerous trek during the unpredictably stormy month of October.
On their way back to Gloucester, Massachusetts, the Andrea Gail encounters the "perfect storm" of 1991 and is never heard from again.
While improvements in shipbuilding, navigational technology, weather-reporting and rescue support have made boating safer, fishing has become, if anything, a more lethal occupation, killing more of its workers per capita than any other job in the United States.
"There are many kinds of work that are dangerous, but one of the interesting things about fishing is that it really hasnít changed much over time," says The Perfect Storm author Sebastian Junger. "Itís been mechanized, of course, but the basic reality of going to sea for months at a stretch is the same as it was 100 years ago. Youíre way beyond help from anyone else; youíre on your own. I think that forms a certain kind of character. Not only does everyone know someone who has died at sea but everyone who works in the fishing industry has almost died. Every single fisherman you talk to has almost gotten nailed at one time or another."
It takes courage to be a fisherman. And it takes courage to fish for the souls of people.
If anyone here ever watches the TV show Seinfeld, you know that Jerry’s next door neighbor, Kramer, is very much at home in Jerry’s apartment. He probably spends more time there than in his own apartment. He has his own set of keys, and lets himself in whenever he wants. He eats whatever is in the refrigerator, and takes anything else he wants from Jerry’s apartment, usually returning it broken or not at all.
In a way, that’s the way Jesus wants us to feel about His Word, the Bible. He wants us to spend a lot of time there, and has given us His Holy Spirit as the key. God wants us to be "at home" in His Word, to be ourselves there, and to make use of all that it has to offer. The blessings in the Scriptures are ours to take freely without having to repay. So my second point is that Jesus wants us to use His Word as our home.
In most any movie everyone has his or her favorite part. Pearl Harbor was no exception. To me it was rather obvious that the writers wanted our favorite part to be towards the end when the two heroes of the movie, played by Ben Afleck and Josh Harnett, are involved in the American retaliation with a bombing run over Tokyo. It was a moment when the good guys strike back.
While that part of the movie was good, it was not my favorite part. The part I liked best was not particularly entertaining, but it really spoke to me. Being a former Navy guy that spent several years aboard ship, the bombs landing on all of the ships with all of the loss of life and damage was very powerful. It hit close to home. Then, in the middle of all of this carnage is a priest, standing in waist deep water with dead bodies floating all around him. He was pronouncing last rites on the dead. Then this voice in the background says three words. If you weren't paying attention it would be very easy to miss, "Where was God?"
FAITH IN A FATHER'S LOVE
Hereís how the story of Finding Nemo develops in the movie:
Nemoís father loved him very much. He watched over Nemo and protected him from every evil. Nemo and his dad were best friends. There are reasons why so many people enjoy the blockbuster hit Finding Nemo. It is a powerful story of the sacrificial love of a mother, and determination of a caring father. It is the story of being lost, and then found. It is a story that can help you understand God and his love for you.
But one day Nemo disobeyed his father and swam beyond the reef. He was suddenly scooped up by a diver and taken away on a boat. Nemoís disobedience caused him to be separated from his father. Nemo was so sad because there was nothing he could do to get back to his father. Nemo ended up in fish tank in a dentistís office overlooking the Sydney Harbor. His situation seemed hopeless.
The father loved little Nemo so much that it did not matter how big the ocean was, or how many fish there were. He was determined to save Nemo, and set out on an incredible adventure to seek and save little Nemo. His journey became the talk of all the fish and birds. The good news of this heroic father traveling the ocean in search of his son reached Nemo through a pelican named Nigel.
Nemo was so surprised and thrilled to learn of his fatherís love and search for him. However, time was running out. The dentistís destructive niece Darla was set to pick up Nemo as a pet. Darla was known for abusing her pet fish until they went belly up. With a strong desire to return to his ...
One of my favorite movies of all time is one called, "Anne of Green Gables." The main character is a small girl who, through tragic circumstances, finds herself living in a foster home. The foster parents turn out to be a huge blessing to Anne, (that’s "Anne with an ’e’," if you please), but she still faced difficulties as she grew up.
She made a statement once about the need to have a like-minded companion; it is a statement that caught my attention. It was something like this:
"What I need is a really good friend--a bosom buddy. You know...a KINDRED SPIRIT with whom I can share my inmost soul."
We all need such a friend, don’t you think?
In the movie, A Few Good Men, a sergeant and a private stand on trial for killing a fellow marine. Their lawyer, played by Tom Cruise, attempts to demonstrate that the murder was actually the result of an order that the two marines had received from a higher-up. The order to help train the fellow marine ended up causing the death of that marine. When Tom Cruise begins to investigate, the prosecuting attorney quickly tries to strike a plea bargain, offering to reduce the sentence from 20 years down to six months.
Tom Cruise goes to tell his clients the good news, that in six months they would be home free. Harold, the marine sergeant, refuses the plea bargain and chooses instead to stand on trial. Tom Cruise is mortified. If the case went to trial, they would loose and likely spend a lifetime behind bars. In a powerful point in the movie, Tom Cruise looks Harold in the eye and asks him why he would be so stupid as to refuse a plea bargain of six months. Harold responds, “Unit, Core, God, Country.” Tom Cruise looks at him and says, “What?” He repeats, “Unit, Core, God, Country.” Harold explains that this is their code. The center of marine values is “Unit, Core, God, Country.” Harold had followed the code, and if following the code meant that he would spend the rest of his life in a military prison, then so be it.” So Tom Cruise tells him, “If you want to go to jail for the rest of your life, you go right ahead.”
I’m wondering if we aren’t sometimes like Tom Cruise in that movie. Instead of seeing our mission as a driving force behind all we do, we look at it as a nice slogan on a piece of paper. I find evidence of this when I see people putting their personal agendas ahead of our mission as a church. When we focus more on what the church can do for us rather than what we can do for the mission of the church, then our mission becomes irrelevant.
Jimmy Stewart in the movie Shanendoah plays a farmer who has a bunch of sons. The Boys are of fighting age and the father will not let them go off to fight. The family gets the reputation of sitting out the war. There is a scene where they are all around the dinner table and they bow their heads for prayer. Jimmy Stewart says “Lord we planted this seed, we watered the plants, we picked the food and we cooked it, we did it all ourselves, we worked dog bone hard for this but we thank you just the same amen”
People who give sacrificially know that they worked hard for what they take home, but they also know that God blessed them and provided for them.
In the movie ďShawshank Redemption,Ē an old prisoner, Brooks Handlin, acts unreasonable and threatens to take another prisonerís life. They find out that the reason Brooks has reacted this way is that heís scared. Scared because his parole has been approved. You see those outside of Shawshank see it as a prison, but Brooks sees as home. Later, in the prison yard Ellis Boyd, ďRedĒ explains why Brooks acts the way he does. ďBrooks is just.. institutionalized. The manís been in here 50 years - 50 years! This is all he knows. You know what Iím trying to say? Iím telling you, these walls are funny. First, you hate them, then you get used to them. Enough time passes, you get to depend on them.Ē Thatís institutionalized.Ē
I think that is the problem for some of us. Weíve become institutionalized.. To this world. We donít look to see the other side! We focus our attention on these earthly walls, only what we can touch, feel, observe. And itís true.. These earthly walls are funny that way... First we hate them.. What baby doesnít cry when he leaves the safety of his motherís womb? But th...
One of the most disturbing and powerful films I have seen over the
last couple of years is Steven Spielberg’s movie, Saving Private
Ryan. The movie tells the story of an Army captain named John
Miller who having survived the carnage of the D-Day invasion at
Normandy Beach, portrayed in 28 minutes of intense, graphic and
gory detail, is ordered to find a solitary private among thousands of
displaced soldiers. He must return Private James F. Ryan home to
his mother, whose other three sons have just been killed in action.
However, due to some confusion in the invasion, it is not certain
where he is to be found; Private Ryan is a “needle in a stack of
needles”. The soldiers reluctantly set out on their daunting
mission. Almost immediately, they begin questioning the worth of
risking eight men’s lives in order to save one.
Captain Miller rationalises that each life lost in combat is supposed
to save 10 lives. Within that paradigm, how can their current
mission make any sense? The soldiers begin to detest their
mission to save Private Ryan, even hoping to find his name on one
of the dog tags taken from some dead soldiers.
Captain Miller and the small group of men assigned to him
successfully locate Ryan, but then are forced to defend a strategic
bridge against enemy tanks and troops. Captain Miller is fatally
wounded. In his dying moments, he reaches out to Private Ryan,
and with great emotion says, “Earn this! Earn this!”
Many years later as an old man, James Ryan stands in a military
cemetery tearfully looking at the small white cross that stands
where the man who saved his life is buried. He wonders aloud if he
has indeed earned the great gift he received.
A. Todd Coget
STAY THE COURSE
The 2000 movie, The Patriot starred Mel Gibson as Benjamin Martin, a reluctant Revolutionary War hero.
Martin has an 18-year-old son named Gabriel who is eager to join the conflict.
Gabrielís sentiments for his country are revealed by one pastime: throughout the first half of the movie, Gabriel diligently repairs an American flag he found in the dirt.
Tragically, Gabriel becomes a casualty of the war, and, suffering deep loss, his father Benjamin Martin appears ready to quit the cause.
While Martin is grieving at the side of his dead son, Colonel Harry Burwell, a Continental officer, attempts to persuade Martin not to quit.
He recognizes Martin has great influence with the soldiers and his departure would demoralize the troops.
As the scene opens, the colonel says, "Stay the course, Martin. Stay the course."
Grief-stricken, Martin responds, "Iíve run the course."
Resigned to the outcome, the colonel informs the troops and they ride on, leaving Martin behind.
As Martin loads his sonís personal effects on his horse, though, he finds the American flag Gabriel had successfully restored.
As the dejected soldiers ride away, certain they have seen the last of Benjamin Martin, Martin appears in the distance, carrying the flag.
With determination in his posture, he rides upright in his saddle, face like flint, the Stars and Stripes whipping in the wind.
Martin has been a symbol of perseverance for the men, and there is a triumphant shout of both relief and excitement from the once-weary troops as they see the patriot crest the hill.
Whether leaders at home, school, work or church, we must never underestimate the power of our influence to demoralize or to rally others.
People are watching. Soldiers look to officers.
Children look to parents.
We must stay the course.
["The Patriot": Perseverance despite Heartbreak, Citation: The Patriot, rated R, Columbia Pictures, Centropolis Entertainment; Executive Producers, William Fay, Ute Emmerich, Roland Emmerich; submitted by David Slagle, Lawrenceville, Georgia]
(Elapsed time: 2:13:09 to 2:15:50; Content: The Patriot is rated R for graphic violence. There is no nudity. )