JohnSWilson3 Blog

Review of the animated movie “The Secret of Kells”
April 29, 2012, 2:52 pm
Filed under: 2A - Book Reviews

Our family has Irish roots and we enjoy fine arts so this movie has a definite appeal to us. “The Book of Kells” has also been something of an enigma with it’s legendary past and it’s beautiful illuminations that have never been equaled. Perhaps it is because of the illuminations that many often forget what The Book of Kells is, the four gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ. But the illuminations were meant to express something beautiful or perhaps better, an analogy of Someone who is altogether Beautiful.

The movie “The Secret of Kells” is a historical fiction. It is an animated story of the completing of The Book of Kells. Some might get distracted by the pagan elements in the story, but remember it is historical fiction. Perhaps it would do well to remember that much of the traditional practices that are in our institutional churches come from paganism.

I see this as a story of the problem of institutionalism, the problem of when our focus becomes our fear and self effort and being insular instead of a focus on faith and simplicity and engagement in life. Perhaps it also gives, somewhat unintentionally, a view of institutional Christianity and of staying inside the safe walls which some build for themselves versus life together which is organic and expresses a life of selflessness and service. Those who are in institutional gatherings can often see those brothers and sisters who are learning to live organically by the Spirit as something of an enigma as well.

The Bible, as the Book of Kells demonstrates, was meant to not be a book to just be read but a book to be illuminated, expressed by His life lived through His body in a dark world. The body of Christ was originally organic, she lived by the Spirit of Christ in her in the ups and downs of daily life in a fallen world. The letter of Acts demonstrates this, and it also shows how quick she can fall for institutionalism making something or someone else Head of her gatherings. Institutionalism has more times than not caused the life of Christ to be hidden in her people, perhaps unintentionally, with the idea of protecting the body. But Christ does not need protecting, He is quite able to be Lord of His body if we humble ourselves and hear Him, following Him. This is expressed as we live by faith, loving one another based on the measure of faith and gift He has given us.

“The book was never meant to be hidden away behind walls locked away from the world despite its creation…you must take the book to the people so that they may have hope.” Christ, the Word of God, is our hope. May we bring Him, express Him, illuminate His beautiful life to all we meet.

Here is an excellent video trailer of “The Secret of Kells.”

“a missing of the mark”
April 25, 2012, 10:56 am
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes

labor Day Shoot 4

Since December of 2011, I have been training using a longbow I got from my wife as a gift. I have enjoyed taking up the sport of archery. It has been exhilarating and frustrating all at the same time. Exhilarating because I am enjoying a sport I never had the opportunity to participate in but frustrating because for the past three months had not been able to really shoot well consistently. I understand that in any sport it takes time and practice to get “good” at it, but I am somewhat of a perfectionist and would like to hit more of the target than not. I have consistently missed the mark.

I have read up on the subject. I have the complete four volume set of “The Traditional Bowyer’s Bible.” I have checked out numerous online resources including youtube videos. Each has helped me to gain knowledge of the art and science of archery. I have gone to a practice range to practice shooting. The key elements in helping my performance in the sport has been learning good form, using my dominant eye, and consistency. It is a total body effort, the body consistently working together to ensure proper form, proper eye of the target, and smooth release of the arrow shaft. Interestingly, once I found out that my dominant eye was my left eye after shooting right handed, target practice became even more frustrating. To shoot right handed you need to use your right eye to see the alignment of the bow string, arrow shaft, and the target to get the arrow shaft to the target. Additionally, dependent upon how far away the target is determines how you adjust your targeting. My problem is using my right eye causes me to overcompensate to even get the arrow shaft close to the target. Obviously, since I have only been practicing for three months some would argue I should keep practicing and over time I will get the “hang” of it. Some have told me to use both eyes versus my right eye to help compensate. I have tried doing both, neither seemed to help. I am sure I am looking at this at a novice point of view.

Interestingly, this has spiritual application written all over it. The word “sin” that we find in the scriptures means “a missing of the mark.” (1) This is something that comes by nature for all of us. We miss the mark of God’s eternal purpose, we cannot live according to God’s standard. His standard, His target is His Son, Jesus Christ. Only in Christ do we no longer miss the mark, because He hit the target and did it perfectly! Christ has finished and completed hitting the target! We now rest in Him already having hit the target for us! Christ did so because He lived by His Father’s perfect life. In Christ we have His perfect life indwelling us. He has already hit the target, we now are to live by His indwelling perfect life. The question is how do we live by His indwelling life? I think this coincides to some degree with hitting the target using a bow and arrow.

Archery is all about having good sight. Living by Christ is also all about having good sight, spiritual sight. Jesus said that “the eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” Christ said He is the Light of the world. To live by His life is to live by His Light. It is all about seeing Him. He is the target. If I know what is my dominant eye, the Light, but not shoot by, live by that eye, then I will miss the mark every time. I must learn to live by spiritual sight, hearing Christ who lives in me and my brothers and sisters, and following Him.

In the letter to Romans it says that “everything that does not come from faith is missing the mark.” In the letter by James it says that “anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, misses the mark.” In Matthew Jesus mentions to His followers on a number of occasions that if something causes you to miss the mark, “cast it from you.” In archery if you know that your dominant eye is not the eye you are shooting from then you are missing the mark, you will never truly have the target in focus and hit the target. In order to shoot from your dominant eye you need to change which hand is holding the bow and which hand is pulling the bow string and learn to use the dominant eye. The same for the body of Christ. We too often can become religious and rely on our own self effort, instead of living by faith, this is missing the mark, it is not living by the life of Christ. Attending religious services and participating in programs where only a few members function is missing the mark. This is not living by faith. Even a body, who is learning to live organically by the life of Christ, gathering in each others homes with each member participating, can miss the mark if our eyes are not focused on Christ in us. The only thing that counts, in living by the life of Christ is “faith expressing itself through love.” When by faith we cast away our need for religion and self effort and fix our eyes on Jesus, having spiritual sight, we hit the target every time, living by His life: full of grace, love, and truth.

(1) W.E. Vine, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 576.

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