Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yes, laugh and sing while your children are being stolen
Exclusive: Drew Zahn says 'Tangled' is hilarious, beautiful and dangerous

Posted: November 28, 2010
7:51 pm Eastern

Monday, November 29, 2010

By Drew Zahn's column

My wife and I argued as we left the theater: she hoping my review of "Tangled" could somehow gloss over the startlingly anti-parent messages in the movie to praise this otherwise funny and beautiful film; while I stuck to critiquing the movie's worldview, regardless of its theatrical qualities.

To my wife's credit, there is much to praise in "Tangled," Disney's 50th animated feature film.

For starters, the movie is very entertaining. Vivid characters, snappy dialogue, witty one-liners, a dashing dose of swashbuckling and one scene in particular that is fall-out-of-your-chair funny make "Tangled" a delightful romp.

And in trademark Disney fashion, animal characters – in this case, the marvelous horse Maximus and Paschal the chameleon – are memorable, endearing and make me wish I was a kid again so I could have an excuse for buying the action figure in my Happy Meal.

The film's songs are reminiscent of a Broadway musical. The animation is crafted with care and beauty. The scenery is magical, and the romance is heart-felt. Disney's 50th is worth that place in the studio's history.

The film's final scene is even a beautiful example of the true nature of love – giving of yourself, even your life, for another.

Man! What's not to like about "Tangled"?

Alas, a lot … if you but stop and analyze the resounding message this movie plants in children's minds.

(Column continues below)

"Tangled" is a retelling of the story of Rapunzel, the girl with unbelievably long hair, locked in a tower until her "prince" can come and rescue her by climbing that hair to reach her.

In this retelling, however, Princess Rapunzel's hair has the power to heal and even reverse aging. As an infant, the king's daughter was kidnapped by a wicked woman in search of eternal youth, a woman who poses as the girl's "mother" and keeps her locked away until her teenage years.

But when Rapunzel reaches those ever-so-challenging teenage years, she yearns to be free of the tower and see the distant lights of the kingdom (from which she was unknowingly kidnapped). Then, while "Mom" is away for a few days, a rogue thief named Ryder chances upon her hidden tower, and the two embark on a forbidden "road trip" to the kingdom.

"Tangled" then revels in a widely assumed, very worldly and yet completely wicked and untrue philosophy on adolescence.

In regards to the teenage Rapunzel sneaking out of the house and going on an parent-unauthorized road trip with a strange but dashing man several years her senior:

"This is part of growing up," Ryder claims. "A little rebellion, a little adventure, that's good. Healthy even."

But what would Mom think?

Ryder has the answer for that too:

"Crush your mother's soul," he says. "Like a grape."

Yeah. That's "good." Um, "healthy" even.

Eventually, Rapunzel learns to see things Ryder's way.

"You were wrong about the world. You were wrong about me," she growls at her mother. "I will never stop fighting you."

Yeah. That's a "good" message for the movie, right? "Healthy" even?

And, of course, Ryder and Rapunzel are proved justified in the girl's rebellion, the mother is shown wicked and the youngsters' little "road trip" proves to be just what the doctor ordered. And it's all OK for the young minds in the audience to be seeped in this spirit of defiance and parent-degradation, because the mother is really the bad guy.

Happily ever after. Walk out of the theater smiling. And then, somehow, be surprised when your children think you're an overprotective know-nothing, assume they're justified in rebellion and do a little bar-hopping, frat-party "road trip" of their own.

Wait. What happened to the happy ending?

Is "Tangled" just describing adolescent life as it is? Or is it part of a wider culture that is prescribing life as it wants to be to loose teens from their parents in order to teach its own values?

I'm the father of four teenagers, and like many parents, I've found that adolescents do begin at about that age to think critically about authority. They question the old rules, they long for and test their independence. Stretching the wings is a necessary part of growing up.

But nowhere does God prescribe rebellion and defiance as a proper path to adulthood. It is not "good" and it is not "healthy." No, contrary to popular belief and Disney brainwashing, children do not have to suddenly become the spawn of Satan (the first rebel, after all) when they turn 13.

One of the greatest rewards I've found in watching the homeschooling community is that its children are often raised by parents who question the entire worldly paradigm of what kids are like and supposed to be, including what they can be like as teenagers. And while every community has its share of rebellious and difficult teens, I have marveled at watching how some young men and women from families that reject the message of "Tangled" grow up in partnership with their parents to be models of respect and independence tempered by Godly submission. They are the best example I have seen to prove rebellion is simply not a mandate.

In the end, even though my wife tried to argue that Ryder's speech came from the lips of a rogue and that the "mother" was ultimately wicked, she eventually conceded the movie left the impression that Ryder was right, leaving me to write but one conclusion to this review: "Tangled" is a great movie with a mangled message.

Content advisory:

    * "Tangled" contains no profanity or spoken blasphemies.

    * The film has a few kisses and a few veiled comments from Ryder about being handsome or attractive "with the ladies," but otherwise no overt sexual content. The animators, however, seemed enamored with drawing women's busts, as Rapunzel and her mother boast Barbie figures in tight tops.

    * The film contains numerous scenes of chasing, shooting crossbows, falling, crashing, swordfighting and getting knocked unconscious with an iron frying pan (which in real life could kill a person, but in "Tangled" doesn't even leave a bruise). There is also a scene where a character is stabbed, though the actual cut is not seen.

    * In regards to religious or occult content, one character is frequently depicted as the Roman god Cupid. The healing power of Rapunzel's hair is attributed to "a drop of sunlight" falling on the ground and creating a "magical" flower that heals when it's sung to. The flower heals Rapunzel's pregnant mother, transferring the power to the girl in the womb. Rapunzel then uses the "magic" to heal others. The movie is filled with images of the sun in reference to the life-giving flower, but it is not specifically idolized

The reason I posted this article was not because I am necessarily against the movie Tangled in particular, but because the TITLE of this article caught my eye, and I feel this is a warning that many parents need to heed in the area of all media. There is a strange ignoring of subtle substances in movies among Christians. Many parents seem to throw their rules out the window in regards to everyone else but their own children. I have noticed this not only in movie intake, but in political and other media situations as well. We as Christians MUST be consistent! If I, as a mother, tell my daughter she is not to sass me, then go laugh with her over a movie where the female character is nothing but a sass, what message am I sending? 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Blunt but GOOD

The following are quotes by the pastor Paul Washer. They are amazing! I was so encouraged when I read them. I hope you are also encouraged. And maybe even challenged :) He certainly doesn't tread on egg shells so as not to offend...

The person who loves you most will tell you the most truth. One of the greatest distinguishing marks of a false prophet is that he will always tell you what you want to hear, he will never rain on your parade, he will get you clapping, he will get you jumping, he will make you dizzy, he will keep you entertained, and he will present a Christianity to you that will make your church look like a Six Flags over Jesus. And keep you so entertained you are never addressed with great issues such as these:
Is God working in my life?
Am I growing in holiness?
Have I truly been born again?
In modern day evangelism, this precious doctrine [of regeneration] has been reduced to nothing more than a human decision to raise one’s hand, walk an aisle, or pray a “sinner’s prayer.” As a result, the majority of Americans believe that they’ve been “born again” (i.e., regenerated) even though their thoughts, words, and deeds are a continual contradiction to the nature and will of God.
Here stands God on the day of creation. He looks at stars and He says all you stars move yourself to this place and start in this order and move in a circle and move exactly as I tell you, until I give you another word. Planets-pick yourself up and whirl, make this formation at my command, until I give you another word. He looks at mountains and says be lifted up and they obey him. He tells valleys be cast down and they obey him. He looks at the sea and says you will come this far, and the sea obeys. Then, he looks at you and says come and you go no! Does that bother anyone?
People tell me judge not lest ye be judged. I always tell them, twist not scripture lest ye be like Satan.
The work is hindered. The glory of God is tarnished and it is because the people of God no longer know how to discern the things of God.
Ever wonder how the people of God could walk into the temple of God, could offer sacrifices to God could praise God, and then turn right around and find the biggest tree on the highest hill and worship any number of idols, and not be able to tell the difference, and not be able to recognize the wrong, in a multiplicity of gods? Well, I want you to know that is the church in America today. And because the greatest sin among the men of God today is the fear of men which is a snare, and the fear losing economic security and reputation in the denomination. As the church runs headlong into judgment today the men of God instead of repenting and crying out and studying God’s word with all their passion are looking for models on how to keep lost people in their congregations and it’s wrong.
(As American Christians) We have forgotten how to blush.
Most of you live your life on flimsy little songs, not upon the word of God.
We honor the old prophets, we honor the Tozer’s and Spurgen’s but we don’t want to pay the price they payed, and they payed the price by being men who walked alone who lived with God and who loved His word.
What’s the will of God for my life? You don’t need to know the will of God in your life, you need to know the God of your life!
How could we have such a low view of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we have to manipulate men psychologically to get them to come down and pray a prayer? …How many times have I heard evangelists say, “It’ll only take five minutes.“? No my dear friend, it will take your life — all of it! “We’re just trying to attract people and then we’ll gradually bring them in further and further.” That is what the cults do, that’s not what Jesus did. Notice that in the gospels every time a great crowd is following Jesus, he turns around and says something so radical to them that most of them walk away. Of course Jesus probably would not get invited to teach evangelism [in most churches today].”
I don’t know why you’re clapping; I’m talking about you.
Well, I was out here on the highway, and I was driving and I had a flat tire and I got out to change the tire, and when I was changing the tire, the lug nut fell off, and I wasn’t paying attention that I was on the middle of the highway, I stood up and there was a 30-ton logging truck going 120 miles an hour about ten yards in front of me, and it ran me over and that’s why I’m late.
Now, there would only be two…I know no one studies logic anymore, but there would only be two logical conclusions. One, I’m a liar or two, I’m a madman. You would say, “Brother Paul, it’s absolutely absurd. It is impossible, Brother Paul, to have an encounter with something as large as a logging truck and not be changed.”
And then my question would be to you — What is larger? A logging truck or God? How is it that so many people today profess to have had an encounter with Jesus Christ, and yet, they are not permanently changed?
You say, “The most important thing on the face of the earth is to know Jesus Christ.” That is not true. The most important thing on the face of the earth is that Jesus Christ knows you! Do you know Jesus? Does Jesus know you?
Jesus is all we need! (man)
Young man, Jesus is all we have. Outside of Christ, you have nothing to do with God. And God has nothing to do with you, except judgment. (Paul)
If you’re a Christian, you’re not a Christian because when Jesus Christ was on that cross – the Romans and Jews beat Him up. If you’re a Christian – your sins are paid for, because when He was on that tree, He bore the sins of His people. And God, His own Father, crushed Him under the full force of His wrath – all the wrath that should have been poured out on you; God crushed His only begotten Son in your place.
…and you say you’re bold, Christian, cause you wear a Christian T-shirt!
Many of the things that you love to do, God hates. Did you know that?
The greatest heresy in the American evangelical and protestant church is that if you pray and “ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart,” He will definitely come in.
A little boy… Andrew Meimann… the Muslim shot him five times through the stomach and left him on a sidewalk simply because he cried out, ‘I am so afraid but I cannot deny Jesus Christ. Please don’t kill me but I will not deny Him!’ And he died in a pool of blood. And you talk about being a radical Christian because you wear a t-shirt… because you go to a conference! I’m talking about holiness! I’m talking about godliness!
The question is not whether you would like to pray this prayer and ask Jesus to come into your heart — after all, you know, the handle to your heart is on the inside and if you do not open it Jesus cannot come in. My friend, Jesus is Lord of your heart and if He wants to come in, He will kick the door down.
Oh, this movie only has a bit of cussing and it only has a bit of nudity…how much sin does it take to grieve the Holy Spirit?
He can’t fill up your cup with himself, if your cup is already full of the world!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Marvelous Grace

"We stutter and we stammer 'till you say us
a symphony of chaos, 'till you play us
Phrases on the pages of unknown, 'till you read unto poetry and prose

And we are kept, and we are captive 'till you free us
Vainly unimagined 'till you dream us
Aimlessly unguided 'till you lead us home.

And by your voice we speak
It is by your strength we're no longer weak
We are no longer weak, and

By your wounds, we are healed
Tell me what kind of love is this?
By your wounds we are healed....

Passed over and passed by until you claim us
Orphaned and abandoned, 'till you name us
Hidden and disclosed 'till you expose our hearts

And by your death we live
It is by your gift that we might give
That we might give, and

By your wounds we are healed
Tell me what kind of love is this?
By your wounds we are healed

And what kind of love
Would take your shame and spill his blood for you?
Saved us by his wounds...
By your wounds, we are healed
Tell me what kind of love is this?
By your wounds we are healed


Healed by Sung by Nicole Nordeman (I am not sure who wrote the song)