Sunday, December 25, 2016

My Christmas Present to You: "In the Shadow of Christmas Day"

© 2016 Linda McKinney All Rights Reserved

In the shadow of Christmas day
And the wake of Santa’s sleigh,
The wrappings of presents set out by the curb to stay…

In the dawning of the day after
Recalling dreams come true and laughter
The voice of one calling in the desert -- quietly as if from rafters --

If one listens to the hushed sound
“I love you” is the message that resounds
Will you listen actually hear; in your heart rebound?

Christmas is not a present to unwrap on Christmas Day,
But the Gift of One Who was born to take our sins away –
To take our place upon the Cross after being mocked, scourged, He was put on display…

For all to deride and spit upon as they walked by,
He was labeled “King of the Jews” with a cry,
“No! Not that!” unwanted, they said it was a lie.

But King He was – over time, space and all
That man knew then, knows now – big and small,
He died there, begging forgiveness for those who refused His call…

Yes, blind, rebellious, hard-hearted, they refused to see
Truth, hung there upon the Tree,
Rising again, whole but scarred, eternal marks on him instead of me.

His back is ever shredded, from lashes given to a Babe laid upon the hay,
The nails left eternal marks on the Child Who did obey,
Thorns dripped blood down royal brow on young man who gave His life for you that day.

In the shadow of Christmas when we celebrate the day
The Child born to take our sins away
Began the greatest, hardest journey that calls to you every day…

“Come to me! I love you!” the Child cries out to you
But in rebellion, egotistical, sinful people cling to what is untrue
And leave the arms open wide to receive them, empty as his heart so longs for you.

Wrap the presents and bake the pies,
Cling to family, worship the lies,
While in eternal love your Savior’s heart cries

For if there be any sadness in heaven you know
‘Tis for those who refuse His love and on their own ways go
Fr He knows their path will lead them to eternal throes…

And God’s Baby Son was born to save all men
No matter color, nation, creed, He cries out to them,
“I love you! Come to me!” they turn their backs, their choice, themselves condemn.


© 2016 Linda McKinney All Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Disney’s “Frozen”: Bad and Inconsistent

It’s been three years since the Disney movie “Frozen” was released in 2013. My first impression of the movie - via the commercials for it - was not good. I immediately thought that it was a bad movie for children – especially girls.

Until recently I had not watched the movie, and without having done so I made a negative comment about it at the checkout line somewhere and was rebuffed by the cashier because of that comment. I went home and looked up the synopsis of the movie and wondered if my first impression had been wrong.

I did not plan to watch the movie and let the whole thing slip from my mind until last Sunday when Mom and I returned from our seven night Caribbean cruise. One of the networks was showing “Frozen” and I asked Mom if she’d ever seen it. She admitted to only seeing snippets of it so I asked if she’d like to see the whole thing. She said “Sure.”

Before I go any further, I need to post a disclaimer: We do not do Disney. We don’t go to Disney World, buy Disney products, watch Disney movies, or anything else Disney. Thus we had no idea as to what “Frozen” was about except for my impression via commercial. Watching the movie for my Mom speaks to how much I would do for her so we watched the movie.

Watching the movie proved my impressions correct. It was a horrible movie. I made notes that evening after it was over as to what I thought about it. If you like the movie you may not wish to read any further. Stop now. If you want to know what I thought of it read on. I warn you here and now, though, that it isn’t good.

There were bad messages throughout the movie that I think our children could do without. The list is nine messages long and is as follows:

1) Elsa’s birth power to change things into snow and ice was to be hidden away, ashamed of and made into a negative, not a positive. That’s akin to making a handicap into something to be ashamed of. It wasn’t Elsa’s fault that she was born with that power. Yet, in the movie, her parents apparently know of her gift from a very early age and teach her to hide it, to be afraid of it, to be ashamed of it. It’s a detriment, not a positive as it could have been. “Be ashamed of your gift” is a bad message, yet that’s the message the movie all but starts with.

2) When Elsa accidentally injures Anna her parents take them to a troll to have Anna healed and where Elsa was told that fear would be her enemy (which it is for everyone) and she has to learn to live with it but control it. Immediately afterward the movie shows Elsa’s parents locking her away and teaching her to let fear control her life entirely! If fear is not supposed to control her as the troll says, then isn’t locking Elsa away in a room and isolating her doing exactly what the magic troll says not to do? Would not a better lesson from the parents for Elsa have been to look fear in the face and kick its ever-living butt via facing it head-on and not letting it control her? Too bad the movie writers didn’t think of that and write it that way. Instead, fear controlled her for years, no matter what the troll said.

3) When locked away in that room Elsa chose to not respond when Anna was at the door. Even if her power was a danger to her sister, Elsa’s choosing to shut her sister out from behind the door is again allowing fear to control her life and further removing her sister from her life. The movie doesn’t even hint at that being wrong, which it should.

4) Coronation Day arrives and Elsa finally emerges from her isolation only to accidentally (because she feared it happening) reveal the truth of her powers to the whole village and her guests. As she runs away she starts singing the song “Let It Go!” and the words are very telling:
It's time to see what I can do
“To test the limits and break through
“No right, no wrong, no rules for me
“I'm free”
I’ve heard time and time again how the movie had good examples for girls in the character of the two sisters. Really? “Let it go” being the breakout song for the movie is a good example? “No right, no wrong, nor rules for me, I’m free” is a good example you’d want your children to follow? I think I’d rather have them follow the example of Ruth in the Bible than that. Do you really want to give your daughters permission to live that way? According to one source, the song was supposed to have been written for a villain and a different movie and was slightly rewritten to be used in this movie anyways.

5) The whole idea of a strong heroine is undermined in Anna’s effort to save Arendelle during which she has to have a man’s help in order to even reach her destination, Elsa’s frozen castle. Yes, she did fight off the wolves – with the help of Hans - and she did reach her destination – with his help. So she’s brave enough to face the dangers, but she would never have reached the castle without Hans’s help; actually without the help of two other males: Sven the male moose and Olaf the snowman! So where is the excellent message there? She can’t even find the staircase without a man’s help! If she had accomplished her goal (or even found the stairs) on her own would that not have been a better message?

6) When Anna does reach Elsa and asks her to come help save their hometown and to stop making the snow, Elsa reacts in her selfish “no right, no wrong, no rules” manner: she creates a snow monster that tries to kill Anna and Hans! That’s something a loving sister would do, now isn’t it? She tried to have Anna murdered because Anna asked Elsa to help save their hometown. Right and wrong discarded and ignored because it wasn’t convenient for Elsa to come down and stop the winter. That is a good role model for girls, isn’t it? (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)

7) The Prince, Christoph, is a toad who only wanted Elsa and Anna’s kingdom and after Elsa’s attempt to kill Anna via snow monster failed, Christoph tried his hand at it. He refused to give her “true love’s kiss” and locked her in a room, announcing her death prematurely and blaming Elsa whom he then set out to murder. Anna’s example to girls is to not take your time and get to know a man and find out who he really is but to betroth yourself to the first guy who comes along with smooth moves and honeyed words. No, she had to find out that the guy she gave her heart to was a power-hungry, murderous Prince of Lies and almost paid the ultimate price for her foolish heart-on-her-sleeve choices.

8) True love was to be the cure for Elsa’s latest injury of her sister, which inevitably resulted in Anna’s total freezing. True love was available for a kiss from Hans but it wasn’t what the writers wanted. Hans was not to be her true love (as was also done in Disney’s “Maleficent”) cure, but instead, her sister was her “true love”. Familial love – female to female in both cases mentioned – is the “true love” that was the cure. Forget that the traditional “true love” is male/female resulting in marriage and happily ever after; it’s a female/female love that will save the needy. Is that the proper message for young, impressionable girls?

9) Prince Christoph tries to kill Elsa and he captures her and locks her up in a dungeon. She escapes only with the help of males. Again, where is the good example for girls when a “no right, no wrong, no rules” female needs the help of males to escape the evil of the lying Prince? If you’re going to make a woman a good example, let them have a woman who gets herself out of a tough situation without the aid of a man. Moreover, if you are a “no right, no wrong, no rules” person, wouldn’t Elsa have done whatever it took to get out of that situation? Yes, I do mean “whatever”. No right and no wrong equal “whatever” does it not?

Those are the “bad example” problems I have with the show. Nine issues that should have been addressed differently were left in as bad examples for girls. Those issues should have been all of the negatives I have against the movie, but there is one glaringly, obviously bad example of the movie makers’ lack of story integrity. Can you tell me what that is?

The first time Elsa hurt Anna was when they were playing in the ballroom and Elsa hit Anna’s head with the power to freeze. Before they took Anna to the trolls the movie showed Elsa crying and cradling Anna in her arms. At the end of the movie Elsa stands up after Anna’s frozen body stops Christoph’s blade and Elsa embraces Anna’s frozen body, crying and holding her. My belief is that if Elsa really cared about Anna when they were children and Elsa first injured Anna, would Elsa not have kissed her then and cured her at that time if it is female/female familial love that could have cured her? Would that not have negated a need for a trip to the trolls? If a sisterly kiss can totally thaw the frozen Anna after Elsa’s coronation, would not the same kiss have cured a simple head injury and white hair when they were children?

Considering the negatives with “Frozen” the movie it is not a movie to be taken lightly and, IMHO, should not be something that parents allow their children to watch nor to emulate. “Frozen” is a horrible movie with a bad, inconsistent, poorly conceived storyline with horrible messages for all. After all, if being “free” is having “no right, no wrong, no rules” – including attempting to kill (or at the very least injure) your own sister – would it not be better to let your children watch something more like CBN’s “Superbook” series, or even old episodes of “Lassie” both of which teach good things instead of negatives?


© 2016 Linda McKinney All Rights Reserved