Friday, November 13, 2009

A Christmas Carol 2009- a movie worth seeing and contemplating


I just took my boys to see the latest rendition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I admit being skeptical about Jim "Ace Ventura" Carrey providing the character and voice for Scrooge.

The movie was done so well! Carrey was terrific. It was very true to the book and Disney spared us of their modernizing shenanigans.

I love this classic by Charles Dickens. I quibble with it's lack of Christocentricity and a potentially misleading premise about what makes a person right with God -by good deeds (works). Dickens was a waffling Anglican, it's difficult to pinpoint his theology. A Christmas Carol considered theologically or doctrinally is deficient. A Christmas Carol as a lesson in the danger of idolizing money, the importance of compassion, generosity, and benevolence it is excellent. Further, A Christmas Carol provides a vivid wake up call about the brevity of life.

To be clear, a person cannot be right with God by showing kindness to people or simply being "good". We can only be made right with God by faith in Christ (and His finished work on the Cross in our stead). When we are brought in to union with Christ by faith, we are new creatures and good works will certainly follow, but the order of this transformation is important to note. In the character of Ebenezer Scrooge one might be left to think God will judge us by how many good deeds we do then determine if we get in to heaven or are doomed to wander in a tortrous eternity like Jacob Marley. If that's how it works, we're all scrooged (pardon the play on words!). None of us have done more good deeds than bad, none of us. Only the righteousness of Christ, which is ours by faith, meets the requirements of our Holy God. I'll even say it's unrealistic to think someone as vile, selfish, and heartless as Scrooge could experience such an apparently lifelong turn around without the regneration of the Holy Spirit that comes with a vital relationship to Christ. (read Titus 3:5-7 and Galatians 1-2 for clarity on this important point)

A Christmas Carol is valuable and classic, but don't miss it's deficiencies.

Go see it. It's worth it. It provided excellent fodder for discussion between my boys and I.

Warning: it is an intense movie dealing bluntly and graphically with the coldness and finality of death. I probably shouldn't have taken my 7 year old son Jordan, the images were pretty vivid and scary to him.

7 comments:

Woody Woodward said...

Great review! We will definitely make it to the big screen for a viewing! Wouldn’t you agree, in reflection, one would be lead to believe Dickens was indeed, part of the covenant body of Christ?

davidsokay said...

I would have seen it this weekend but Richard wouldn't have kept the 3-D glasses on. Heck, 3-D glasses were even before my time. :) We went to see "2012" which was a good 45 minutes too long and the special effects were 'lame'. Richard liked his skittles however. :)

Reepicheep said...

I'm not sure Woody. I sure hope so. A Christmas Carol is devoid of the gospel.

Zach said...

It seems that, although a nominal Anglican, Dickens developed and maintained Unitarian tendencies later in life. According to one article:

Dickens's religious beliefs were those of most 19th century British Unitarians. In his will he urged his children to adopt a liberal, tolerant, and non-sectarian interpretation of Christianity, "the teaching of the New Testament in its broad spirit." He recommended they "put no faith in any man's narrow construction" of isolated passages. In The Life of Our Lord, written for his children and not published until 1934, Dickens summarized his faith as "to do good always." He believed humanity, created in the image of the divine, retained a seed of good. He preached the gospel of the second chance. The world would be a better place if, with a change of heart, people were to treat others with kindness and generosity.

The source article is at http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/charlesdickens.html

Reepicheep said...

Zach, I read that somewhere also. Sad.

Woody Woodward said...

Thanks Brother Zach! Good, but sad report.
Was this a 3-D movie? That makes it cooler!

Woody Woodward said...

Pastor, Cheri and I saw two movies Saturday. First was "A Christmas Carol" and the second was "Blind Side".
I do agree, "Christmas Carol" was a bit too much. The Ghosts were far too graphic and I don't think our 10 year old would be up to it. But Blind Side was fabulous! Got to take your entire family to see this one! Watch the end credits, here they show the actual family that adopted Michael.