Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: angel

Cabin in the Woods (2012)

215px-CitwTeaserSmallThe Cabin in the Woods is a tribute to the slasher film, while also a satire of the slasher film. Like all good horror films, Cabin has the standard set of stereotypical characters. The whore, Dana (Kristen Connolly), the jock, Curt (Thor’s Chris Hemsworth), the academic, Holden (Jesse Williams from Grey’s Anatomy) the fool, Marty (Fran Kranz), and the virgin (or close to it compared to the whore), Jules (Anna Hutchison). These five head out to a cabin in the woods to get away from the challenges of college life. And that’s when we expect to see what happens in every other slasher film.  Except, this isn’t every other slasher film.

Without giving anything away, let’s just say that nothing in this film is quite what it seems to be. Which, given the writing duo of Drew Goddard (who also directed) and Joss Whedon, might just be the point. From the very beginning, you might think you walked into the wrong theater. Goddard and Whedon decide to pull the curtain back on the horror movie wizard and that’s where they start. But they don’t tell you that. That’s part of the story that unravels.

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Why ‘Rent’ Still Matters

rent-phm3vzmq-2n4Since the early 1990’s the musical Rent has inspired and motivated people to see the world around them as they never have before; to see themselves in others.

A few months ago, one of the local high schools performed the rock musical Rent. Megan and I attended the show as a number of students in the musical were in my youth group.  They had the audience sit on the stage, to be up close and personal; to be a part of the experience; to live in the story with the actors. It was so well received and popular that the school opened up the balcony at a reduced price to accommodate all the interest.

During the intermission, I overheard two women talking. One of them was expressing amazement that these high school students in 2014 had put together this 1996 Broadway musical about a time and issue that seemed to be so distant from high school students today. I thought to myself, this is what should be happening. Great art – in whatever form it takes – sparks conversation. Continue reading

Bible’s Major Players: Joseph the Carpenter

Slide2The Bible is filled with some major players.  The carpenter Joseph is one from the New Testament.

Though there is not much said about this man, I would argue that Joseph played a significant role in the birth narratives. It took an enormous amount of risk and faith for Joseph to stay married to Mary after she told him that she was pregnant. According to the society of the time, Mary would have been labeled as a woman of the street and could have easily been stoned to death. Joseph, according to Matthew’s birth narrative, was “a just man” and decided to divorce Mary quietly. This implies that instead of acting our of anger towards Mary, Joseph still loved and respected her.

The fact that Joseph decided to quietly divorce her suggests that he made this decision out of his love for God, which is greater than his love for Mary, suggests scholar Douglas Hare. Joseph, Hare writes, “determines to do it secretly, so as not to cause her public humiliation.” This is the kind of compassion that Jesus would grow up with. This is the kind of compassion all of humanity should have towards each other.

family_5337cJoseph, however, changes his mind. An angel appears to him in a dream informing him that the child Mary’s carrying is from God. The text says that when Joseph woke up, he did as “the Lord commanded him” (Matthew 1:24) and did not know her until “she had borne a son” (Matthew 1:24-25).

I think we can each find ourselves in Joseph. When he was first told that Mary was going to give birth to the Son of God, he was not ready to go out on that limb. He did not want to step outside of his comfort zone and accept what God was doing in his life. The reality is that when God calls us, it is to call us out of our comfort zones. Joseph went out of his comfort zone and embraced Mary and the unborn child.

How is God calling you out of your comfort zone?

Resources: Hare, Douglas R. A. Matthew. John Knox Press, 1993.

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