Why I Will Recommend Noah!

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There has been no shortage of controversy over the release of “Noah”. Various heavyweights from evangelical and pop cultures have had plenty to say about it. I always appreciate reading different reviews of the movies I’ve attended. It is destined to be a hit financially. And I don’t mind encouraging my friends to see it; to add the cost of their ticket to Paramount’s coffers. (Don’t even get me started on the cost of popcorn.)! This movie was deep and emotional for me. During the closing moments of the film, I was nearly sobbing. I am not usually emotional at movies. As soon as I was able to collect my self and compose a entry, I wrote on Facebook and Twitter these words: Saw Noah. Perfect. Emotional. Beautiful. Exquisite. Powerful. Not inerrant. Not inspired. But inspiring.!

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I think I might retract the word “exquisite”. It might be a little over the top. (Was it the emotion speaking for me?) But I stand by my tweet, so speak. Here’s why:! 1. “Noah” takes seriously the main issues of sin, mercy, and judgement. Yes, I know that the movie doesn’t contain the word “God”, but uses instead of the generic “the Creator”. But the lesson is still the same: the Creator is set to judge the world. And He should. The scenes of carnage, violence, evil, rape, abuse, are a blight on the intentions of the Creator. (All the scenes of the evil of humanity are PG-13, by the way. If you let your kids see the Orcs in Lord of the Rings, you should be good.) Bottom line: the Creator is not dead or distant…but He is not happy." 2. The movie describes an antediluvian world where miracles and extra-natural events take place. There are animals that are mythical to us, the Watchers (The rock-people who are like the Ents in LOTR.), some phosphorescent substance of the earth that is ignitable, and many other features of the fantasy world of the directors mind. These things take the biblical narrative and stretch it. Of course they do. But these imaginings carry along the main plot: evil has entered the world because of the Fall; it must be stopped. But can it be?" 3. There is a beautiful symmetry to the entire movie. The goodness and obedience of Noah (superbly played by Russell Crowe) is the counterweight to the outright and vicious nature of Tubal-cain. For me, without spoiling the movie for those who will see it, I loved the dramatic juxtaposition of the titanic struggle of the two men to kill (in the belly of the ship) vs. the pangs of labor and fear from the two women to bring new life at the top of the ark. I saw a Cain/Able motif between the two sons of Noah. Lastly, in the midst of a decadent world, there are still good believers who care about life, especially the life of the unborn. Wow. Children and family are important to the future of the human race. We need to get that." 4. In my opinion, the Darren Aronofsky (director) treated the stories of the bible with respect. Noah is like a new Adam, to be sure. That is the reading of the Genesis story. And Noah and his wife are reunited in heart and soul in a new garden, although it is less lush. The

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scene where they join hands in the dirt of the earth is one of the most tender and poignant moments of the film. It is fraught with meaning, of starting over." 5. I have read some reviews that critique the Creation narrative depicted in the movie. I thought is was beautiful. Okay, yes, it was an amalgamation of creation and evolution. I get that. But the brief scene showing Adam and Eve as luminescent beings is not far from biblical truth. (Jesus is transfigured on the mountain; he is radiant in his splendor. I have always thought this was a picture of the glory that was our before the Fall…the glory that is His and the glory that awaits us!)" 6. The movie does not portray Noah as a perfect man, by any means. In one of the signature moments of the film, Noah discovers that the evil that he hopes to eradicate from the world is actually buried deep within his own heart. He is his sin. Members of Christ Church in Plano will know this from a recent sermon series, “Our Favorite Sins”. Sin is in us; baked in the cake. That is an amazing admission for an non-Christian director to make. Sin is pervasive…even in the most obedient, humble, and courageous we all suffer from a curvature of the heart. (Incurvates in se. —Augustine, Luther, Barth)"

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Of course there are many things to find wrong with the movie. Characters and couples are invented and rearranged with an artistic and imaginative mind. It is a ode to environmentalism. I am a carnivore and was made to feel guilty about it. (The Noah and his family never really eat anything in the movie.) But I believe the director has accomplished a good thing in the movie “Noah”. He has moved to story from schlocky wall-art and the superficial rainbow lessons of my youth to a wider conversation about the universal issues of sin and judgement. He has done so with dramatic tension, imagination, wide artistic license, and significant respect for what the story is all about.!

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Noah’s hopes to remake or restart a perfect world. To do this, he must kill. That is too high a price. He cannot do it. So the world will remain tainted with sin. ! One day, the world needs to be set right. That is the message of Revelation, the book at the other end of the bible. Is it too much to imagine that the director has another film to make; one that will address not just the true nature of our fallen humanity, but the true need and the true cost of forgiveness? ! The Rev. Canon David H. Roseberry! Rector, Christ Church, Plano, TX! www.ChristChurchPlano.org!