My long “God’s Not Dead” opinion and story, also posted 8/17 on FB

Today, I got a free Redbox movie, and I’d like to recommend it. It’s a pretty long opinion, so you have been warned. I could link to the opinions of others and reviews of the movie, and I’m sure that they would give my points more eloquently, but I think, in this, it’s important I write it. Granted, I just now finished the movie, so I’m riding those emotions, but I’m going to see what gets written anyway.

Here’s the short of it: I enjoyed the movie “God’s Not Dead.” I believe it is worth seeing, and I believe it does better at deliver its message than a lot of other movies I’ve seen in the same vein.

A synopsis of the movie would say that a college freshman is asked by his philosophy professor to write “God is dead” on paper at the start of the semester, to get over that fairytale so that they might have a reasoned discourse. The freshman refuses, and is told that he’ll need to argue in favor of God’s existence, in front of the class and against the professor, or he will receive a failing grade. That’s just one of several plot lines that revolve around faith, some whys of belief, and what comes up in life to question it. It’s the kind of movie where you’re not sure how all of the stories come together, but you know they do. Spoiler, they do, coincidentally at a Newsboys concert.

To my fellow believers, I recommend you see this film. At first, I thought it was another cheesy and not very well written movie. But, that changed. I really enjoyed the freshman’s storyline. I think they did very well with that storyline and presenting the argument. I also enjoyed the “simple faith” storyline that, spoiler again, doesn’t really intersect with the main story until the end. However, when it reaches the main story, I think it’s a very powerful moment.

To the rest of my friends, whatever you believe, thank you for reading this far. I don’t know what you believe, but I think that this movie does do a good job of presenting its case. You may find it heavy handed. You probably will find it very cheesy, I mean, how could such coincidences happen? It’s completely unrealistic. It presents the Christian message and no other, aside from the atheist professor’s story. It’s so unbalanced! This is propaganda!

Well, you’re right. It was a movie created with the express purpose of asking the question “Is God Dead?” with the belief and goal of showing that He is. Since you are unlikely to watch it at this point, and I’m certainly not going to force you, I’ll only speak from my own frame of reference, as it relates to this movie, its impossibilities, and my own belief.

I grew up in a Christian home, the Christian church, and had Christian friends for the majority of my life. Before you say that I’m a “blind and biased believer that just echoes what he’s been taught,” please allow me to say that I’m a type one diabetic, my youngest brother was run over by a lawn mower when he was 18months old, I’m gay, my last two jobs were supplied by God through believer friends, my other brother no longer has a heart condition, and I just moved across the country because I believed it was a good next step, and “coincidences” kept cropping up in favor of it.

I’ve had highs and lows, and have definitely questioned. My highs?
- I’ve had two jobs, one I worked at for over a year until the business went under, and another that I worked at for five and a half years until this move across the country., that were both supplied when I wasn’t looking, and I believe God supplied them.
- One of my two brothers had a heart condition that would have prevented him from joining the military, and when he went to join, on a moment of faith, they found nothing.
- This across-the-country move has, so far, been a very good thing. I can’t say it’s perfect, nothing is, but I’ve been welcomed by the people out here and have seen growth in me.

My notable lows?
- I was almost nine when my youngest brother, at 18months old, was run over by a lawn mower. His back cut open to the lung, his shoulder to the vein, right foot gone above the ankle and left gone below the ankle. He was supposed to be in intensive care for months, in the hospital recovering for years. He was out of IC in three days. Then the doctors said he’d still be recovering in the hospital for months. His total hospital time was thirteen days. He’s now over nineteen, working on farms, doing construction, a strong personality that has never let having prosthetics get him down. My parents, and how they prayed and held on to faith during that time, were huge examples. Here’s a bad that went good. I guess it’s not a very good low…

- I got diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic when I was thirteen. That is not a disease that, even now, has a good fix. I have counted carbs, taken insulin shots, had to have my supplies with me at all times, and lived a more measured life in the last thirteen years since my diagnosis than most people would believe. My fingers are full of pinholes. But I’m alive. I was born in a time when this failing of a pancreas doesn’t mean death in the teens. I’ve held on to faith and adjusted to my changed life. Some might ask “so why aren’t you healed?” I don’t know. Right now, I have a testimony of living and believing through this adversity, and not letting it keep me down, and I believe someday to have a testimony of how I was healed, whether by miracle, or the ingenuity and creativity of a doctor that invents a pancreas restart. Huh. Not a very good low there either…

- Ah, here we go! Growing up gay in a Christian home and community, that must be a major low! Well, yes, it was. There were many long years where I lived in fear, and self hate, even while living a good life. I feared my friends and family would abandon me if they knew. I considered it a great big friendship-destroying button in my head, something that would leave me very alone if pressed, even though I’ve never acted on my sexuality. And this is where I state that things didn’t get better until I started looking beyond just what I had been told by the church. There are a lot of eloquent arguments out there, like the documentary “Fish out of Water,” that address the seven verses in the Bible related to the topic, and how they’ve been misused and misinterpreted throughout the years. I’m not here to address that.

I’m here to state quite firmly that in the last four years I’d had reason to tear things down and rebuild them stronger in my head and heart. There was never a point where I did not believe God existed, see the lawn mower example above, but I needed to put my own framework in, instead of just my parent’s faith. At this point, I’m a Christian that believes in Jesus’ death on the cross for my sins, that it was done in the hope me choosing a relationship with Christ, and God does indeed exist. Oh, and that the fact that I’m not “normal” is hardly the defining characteristic of my life. I’m living life, and no longer hating myself. I’ve come out to family and friends, and while some friends have decided…Well, basically, that I’m too complicated for their lives, I’ve been very surprised and happy at how most have still loved me for me.

Did I plan to come out in this long movie review? Not really, but I knew I’d need to address it to affirm to you that I’m not a blind believer. Interestingly enough, it never really comes up. If someone had asked me before this “review”, I’d have been honest. Check my Facebook info, I’ve actually stated it openly since this last May. It’s just one of many things that can be used to define me. How you react to that fact is your own choice.

God is good, I thank Him for how protected and blessed I’ve been in my life.
If you’ve read this whole thing, I thank you.
I’m not going to attack what you believe.
But, I am going to say that I believe, and that my life, the blessings and miracles I’ve seen in it, in my loved one’s lives, the struggles that have been faced, and the simple and powerful faith I’ve seen demonstrated time and time again as real and healthy, affirms that belief.
To bring it back around the to the movie, I’ve seen and heard of coincidences and impossible circumstances like the ones shown in that movie happen over and over again.

So, you might get something out of “God’s Not Dead.” You might not. But if you are encouraged or happier after reading this long “review” or seeing the movie, then I’ve had a small part in making this life a better place.

I pray that you are blessed in this life, and that I can live to be an example of what I believe to be true.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Games I own…

FATE’s Dresden Files RPG
Pokemon Tabletop Adventures
Shadowrun
AD&D 2
D&D 3e, 4e
Gamma World 4e
Pathfinder
Lightweight RPG
Star Wars: Edge of the Empire
Iron Kingdoms
Mutants and Masterminds

Of these many games, and MANY books and PDFs, I have played…Two of them. I have, however, run…Two of them. And not the same two. Granted, one system was for about two years, and two groups simultaneously for part of that, but, still…

Twelve systems. …Yep. *sigh*

This is my last verse and it’s for everyone feeling not so great today.
We don’t know what’s coming just around the bend.
Always hard to believe in your own life, easier to find belief for a friend.
I’ll hope for you,
You for me and together we can say…
It’ll be OK. It’ll be alright.
— Alright, Superchick
Now is the dramatic moment of fate, Watson, when you hear a step upon the stair which is walking into your life, and you know not whether for good or ill. — The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, page 4.
Algebra? But that’s far too difficult for seven-year-olds!"
“Yes, but I didn’t tell them that and so far they haven’t found out.

Madam Frout and Susan, quoted from Terry Pratchett’s “Thief of Time” novel.

Susan is a great character, she really is.

"In describing #DwarfFortress to other people, I always use Lego as one of the associations. "The same freedom, that Lego allowed you as a kid, it’s only boundary being your own imagination""

"I only do this when I intend to go on to compare Minecraft to Duplo."

Quote from: martinuzz on February 27, 2012, 04:49:30 pm

And Quote from: doublestrafe on February 27, 2012, 05:49:56 pm

http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=102914.0

It’s…Kinda true.

A man *is* what he has passion about," Breeze said. "I’ve found that if you give up what you want most for what you *think* you should want more, you’ll just end up miserable. — Breeze to Sazed, in “Hero of Ages” by Brandon Sanderson
Would you PLEASE stop poking our tied up prisoner! — My friends again.
I’m loving the combination of Star Trek Geek and Angry Black Woman! — Said by a friend at gaming, about another one of my friends.
Who knew that "You don’t have a monkey tail!" would be an insult? — Said by one of my friends tonight, about actions in game.