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Monday, July 16, 2007

E-mail sez TRANSFORMERS has morphed me into Satan's agent

A lady named Shirley Skidmore, who is apparently from somewhere in east Texas, sent me the following e-mail. This must be in reference to my recent post about Focus on the Family disapproving of Transformers. Here's Shirley's letter...
Subject: What Are You Transformed By?

Chris, Chris, Chris!

You have to be dead to the things of Christ to approve of this filtly liscensious movie. The teen starlet was dressed as a whore . Every move, every direction, every word on her account was conformed to the gutteral nature of a Godless culture. You areyond believabilty to deny that lust was the drawing card for much of the film. Pornographic techniques were used to the max here. The lanquage in both subject and vanacular was Godless. It transformed eveyone who watched it to a place farther from Christ's standard.

Only blind and naked Christians could possibly support this film . It was a shame to see such a great idea waisted in the dump of filth that it was wrapped around. If you made such a film and showed to your neighborhood children, you would be arrested for child sexual abuse.

Hollywood usesthe law to corporately produce and legally protect artistic work that we know is wrong on every level.

You are still very much a babe in Christ, if you really believe that scripturally this film can past muster. It just can't be done. I come from a family who really love action films and this clearly shamelessly crossed the line of acceptable for those claiming the name of Christ. Take some time to examine if you in fact have been transformed by the world or by the renewing of your mind to things of God.

I am strong believer too. And the more I grow , the more the Lord reveals of His wisdom and the foolish deciept of the world's. This film harms children by exposing them to sexual content in the light of entertainment, writen from a Godless point of view. As far back as the Old Testiment, believers are told to guard our children's hearts. I would guess you have no children, because before I did, I rationalized much like you do. There is no way I could see the real harm until the Lord gave me a life to hand back to Him. I want to be very careful in the servant I raise for His glory.


This is one of the most ridiculous things to have ever landed in my in-box... and I was the one who possibly most took the brunt of the silly season that happened during the 'N Sync/Attack of the Clones fiasco, mind ya.

Shirley's letter is rife with the kind of hysteria that Christians are known way too much for. It's the kind of spiritual mentality that supposes that we are to cower in fear of this world. As if it has power over us that we cannot resist.

That's a pretty sad way to cheapen the power of Christ within us, if you ask me.

Here's what I want to know: Did Shirley actually watch Transformers on her own? Or is she only relying on what Focus on the Family and others have told her to think and believe about Transformers? Because unless Frenzy transformed into a vibrator and we missed it, I didn't see anything that qualifies Transformers as "pornographic".

I watched Transformers with two of the people who are closest to me: my wife, and one of my best friends of almost thirty years. However shallow Shirley believes my own spirit is, I can vouch that each of these two have a very deep and profound faith in God. And I can't speak for them, but I do know that they have high standards and that if Transformers was anything remotely like what Shirley is describing here, I believe without a doubt that they would have walked out of the theater. As it so happened, when we left the theater after watching Transformers (read my review here) we were talking about how terrific the effects were and how great it was to finally see a live-action Transformers movie: something Chad and I as kids used to dream of seeing one day.

The charge that Megan Fox's character was "being dressed as" and acted like "a whore" is, not to put too fine a point on it, loony. As for "pornographic techniques were used to the max here" goes: did we get to see Starscream being "serviced" by a Boeing 777? Did Ironhide have a leather-clad dominatrix beating his steering wheel with a whip to "drive faster, drive FASTER!"?

No, we didn't. We saw giant robots hashing it out and beating the snot out of each other. That's what most of us were looking at the screen to see, and not some slight against morality that may or may not even really be there.

All my life, I've seen some Christians act like this. There is a certain variety of my creed that is not happy unless there is some "evil" in the world that must be demonized and stamped-out. Anyone remember the original Dungeons & Dragons game? I actually played that some when I was younger. That was at the same time that some Christians were declaring it to be "Satan's game". Then years after that it was the card game Magic: The Gathering that was "evil". Not long after that it was Pokemon that was the bugaboo to be avoided.

And I can't imagine these same Christians doing anything but salivating at the prospects that are coming with the release of the final Harry Potter novel this week. For ten years now, Harry Potter has been these Christians' favorite whipping-boy. They're actually secretly happy that there is something like Harry Potter out there, that gives them the opportunity to show off how much they can hate something. Trust me: they aren't going to let this final opportunity simply go by without raising a fuss of some kind or another.

And really, that's what all of this is about. This is how groups like Focus on the Family stay so powerful: because they're adept at playing on how eager most people are to hate something, anything, and exploiting that for gain. It's the Two-Minutes Hate from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four put into active practice. It's only been recently that I've realized how often that process is used in real life. It's quite scary when you think about it, about how easily we let others manipulate our emotions so that we are turned into something pliable for their own means.

If this bothers Shirley Skidmore so much, then I would suggest that she spend more time studying the Bible for her own spiritual edification, instead of trying to tear down others who are stronger than her in the faith. That some of us have already moved on to meat while she's too timid to try anything but milk shouldn't be cause for jealousy among fellow believers.

Other than the use of that one word, there wasn't anything about Transformers that I would be intimidated against watching with an appropriately-aged child. And if he or she asked questions, I wouldn't shy away from talking about what that word means, either. That's what parents are supposed to do with their children, isn't it? It's what they do when they love and care for their children... or I thought so, anyway. We can't be a shield for them against the world for every moment of their young lives, but we can do our darndest to give them the wisdom and insight that they will need to confront it, so that they might change it and it not change them.

And so far as this goes...

"If you made such a film and showed to your neighborhood children, you would be arrested for child sexual abuse"
I've probably spent more than enough time than a person who would make such a statement deserves.

I've seen Transformers twice now, have examined it with the conscience that God gave me, and have yet to find anything about it that would present a threat against that conscience. If some people fear it would be a bane to their spirituality, then they should avoid it if they feel led to do so. But I still like it and I'm going to keep recommending it to others. I hope to see it at least once more in the theaters. When the DVD comes out I will gladly add it to my collection.

And if Shirley Skidmore thinks she can make a better movie, then as a film-maker myself, I gladly invite her to do so. In the meantime, she and other Christians with this mindset should do the rest of us a favor and stop making our faith come across as one full of nothing but busybodies looking for hobgoblins.


Anonymous said...

Here is my review.

qemuel said...

What bothers me about this sort of thing is that people like this lady only rear their ugly heads at the movies and/or books that make money. We don't see the Religious Right hurling self-righteous thunderbolts at pieces of trash like CAPTIVITY (and for the record I am not of the Christian faith, this type of film offends me MORALLY).

Oh wait, it bombed at the box office, didn't it? Not worth their time...no agendas indeed.

Hurm. Disappointing.