Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Found God in the Movies: Dead Poet's Society

In college, I had a movie writing assignment - to write about the theme as it pertains to teaching (my major) in a movie of our choosing. One of my all-time favorites is Dead Poet's Society with Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, and Josh Charles; that was the film I chose for my essay.

How interesting that I would revisit this for The God Blog. It wasn't a "religious" movie, specifically - but the central theme revolved around discovering the beliefs and values you consider important... and then standing up for them. There was a quote from this movie that has always stuck with me... Not the "Carpe Diem" (Seize the day!) that Robin Williams' character, John Keating, was known to say... Not Captain, My Captain quoted by his students. This was just one more truism that Mr. Keating spoke - and it had a big impact on me.

He says...

You must strive to find your own voice,
because the longer you wait to begin...
the less likely you are to find it at all.

Your own voice. Do you have one?

Do you hold fast to your beliefs or do you cave under the pressure to fit in with those around you? Do you mimic the voices of others... never taking a stand for yourself? Are you silenced by the fear that people will make fun of you? Or are you just too lazy to take a stand on what you know is right?

Perhaps your voice is mumbled and muffled so that YOU won't be the one making waves or causing "discord?" Perhaps you don't have a voice at all. The platform of "no opinion" is certainly an easy and safe place on which to stand.

But the longer you wait to find what you believe in... the longer you stall on truly finding the lines you will not cross... the less likely you are to find your Voice at all. Your voice will become muted - dwarfed by the larger voices speaking out around you - and others will speak for you... instead of you speaking for yourself. When it comes to your faith... can you really afford to be silent?

Your own voice. Do you have one? And does your voice echo the voice of God?

God gave His people free will because He wants us to use it. He wants us to make choices and honor Him with our decisions. The tricky part for us is that often using our voice to glorify God brings condemnation from others. The Bible even tells us this:

"When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family. There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don't quit. Don't cave in. It is all well worth it in the end. It is not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors! Before you've run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived.
~Matthew 10:21-23

If you haven't seen Dead Poet's Society, I HIGHLY recommend it. It's one that will stick with you - just as Mr. Keating's teachings did with his pupils. The boys in Mr. Keating's class found their Voice; they learned to think for themselves again... to stand up for their their beliefs - even in the face of disciplinary action, even in the face of great personal loss:

Can you imagine the changes in your life if the voice you find within yourself glorifies God? Mr. Keating climbs upon his classroom desk and says, "I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way." Standing up for God, the Bible, and Christianity - even if others roll their eyes at you and say "That's crazy..." or even if the herd brays "That's baaaaaaad," - needs to be one of the components in the Voice you speak. God stood up for you when he allowed His Son to sacrifice Himself for all of mankind. Isn't using your voice to stand up for God the very least you can do?

Mr. Keating shouts to his students:

In my class, you will learn to think for yourselves again!...
And as the powerful play of life goes on, YOU will contribute a verse...!

In a sea of millions of people in this world - all contributing a verse to the overall play of life, what will your verse say? How will your verse stand out from all the rest?

Speak. I'd like to hear your voice... especially if you leave a comment on this blog! :)


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Tammy said...

Oh, you make me think!!! Is my voice being heard? I sure hope so! And I think it is. :o) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Annie T said...

I am so enjoying your new voice!!! Gets me thinking and appreciating all that I have!