Saturday, April 26, 2014


I saw the recently released "Noah" a few weeks ago.  I'm a little late chiming in.  Nevertheless, here's my "chime".

Before you read on - there's two things that you should be aware of.

1. I'll try not to be overtly explicit, but chances are there'll be "spoilers" in this blog entry.  If you haven't seen the movie yet, but plan to and don't want any of the movie's contents to be "spoiled" for you, stop reading now.    

2. This blog entry will not posture itself as a rigid defense of theology or historicity of the Biblical account of Noah.  I'm sure there's plenty of resources out there on the internet that point out the inaccuracies of the film in relation to what is canonical versus what is errant.  If you're looking for that type of defense here, you won't find it.  There are much smarter, and more educated people on the subject than somebody like myself.

Having said that....  

As I sat in the movie theater and the ending credits rolled, and people exited the theater....  I reflected, I cried, and I prayed.  Yep.  I did.  There was a lot for me to process following  the film's conclusion.

I want to be careful to note here to you the reader, that I am not providing an endorsement.  I'm also not saying that the movie is a resource used to elicit spiritual responses from the viewers.  What I am saying is that somehow, I was confronted to consider aspects in direct relation to my faith in God that caused me to respond.  These aspects....  

1. "Were it not for grace..."
Were it not for the grace that God has shown me thus far - I would be utterly lost.  The movie shows that when the sinful inclinations of men's hearts are left unrestricted - they lead people to incredibly dark and damaging places.  With a PG-13 rating, the level to which this is illustrated visually in "Noah" is not as explicit as it could have been; it was nonetheless visceral and not palatable when shown.  But upon reflection, it was not palatable to me because I was confronted with the truth that I, left to my own devices, could reach a degree of expressed depravity that goes beyond what I convince myself I would not do.  It's part of my sinful nature to rationalize my shortcomings by using peer comparison, and distorted justification. As much as I have a hard time admitting it, I know that were it not for grace, I had the potential to go to much darker places of the human experience had Christ not intersected my life.  Self righteousness is a tragic veil;  but grace is the most remarkable offer.   

2. "Legalism takes us up the wrong mountain..."
In the most controversial plot development in the movie, Noah almost puts his newborn grandchildren to death.  However difficult the personal sacrifice, he believes that he is carrying out God's will.  Thankfully, he comes to his senses and doesn't do it.  But he's left with an overwhelming sense that he failed God.  I think many of us, like Noah's portrayal, have the best of intentions in trying to follow God's ways.  Unfortunately, we will never accomplish living a perfect life here on earth.  Those who devotedly follow Jesus will grow in God's grace; a grace that teaches us to say "no" to temptations leading to sin.  A grace that counsels and inspires us to do what is good.  A legalistic approach to God in relation to finding acceptance will always lead to feelings of failure, and confusion.  We did not receive acceptance into God's family by our works.  We received acceptance into God's family by grace through faith.  Legalism takes us up the wrong mountain and encourages us to pitch our tent there; the mountain where Law was handed down.  A Law that shows me all the reasons why I am a moral failure and cannot be welcomed.  But grace takes me to the mountain that shows me, I didn't have strength to be accepted anyway.  I had to rely on God, to be strong enough for me, in my place, to find acceptance.  

3. "till a garden..."
At the end of the movie, Noah helps his wife till a garden.  Adam and Eve lived in a garden, and in that garden they met with God.  In the garden, there was a culture that existed that fostered healthy relationship. I believe our lives are a lot like gardens.  There are things we can add to our lives that enrich its soil; we can protect its contents; we can create an environment that is healthy for its development and growth.  We can also not tend it; we can let weeds get overgrown; we can not protect it.  I wondered - which one am I today?  When looking at my life as a garden - my wife, my son, my relationship with God, the gifts He's given me, the desires He's put in my heart - am I tending the garden or ignoring it?  Am I protecting it or am I letting in the parasites and not protecting it against the cold nights?  The first job God gave anyone was the job of a gardener.  It's my job now too and if I do it right, I'll yield crops of good relationships towards others and towards God.

So there you have it.... My personal "chime" on Noah.

Now where's that fertilizer???