Prince Caspian

Prince CaspianTrumpkin the dwarf was right.  A year after the Pevensie children’s last trip through the wardrobe, Narnia is a more violent and sinister place than they…and movie viewers…recall.  And the film makers make no apology for that.  Director Andrew Adamson admits, “This film is probably a little darker and grittier than the last one.”  And that it most definitely is.  Or, as I mentioned, Trumpkin puts it, “You may find Narnia a more savage place than you remember.”

It’s been a year since Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie’s last journey through the wardrobe.  At least, a year in our time.  In Aslan’s country, over one thousand years have passed, and the palace at Cair Paravel lies in ruins.  Now, a new dynasty reigns under the conquering Telmarines, and the real Narnians live in fear and hiding.  Some wait for Aslan’s salvation, others have lost all faith in his existence.

The heir to the Telmarine throne is Prince Caspian, an orphaned lad brought up under the eye of his murderous Uncle Miraz but fascinated by the stories of old Narnia…the kings and queens of old, the Great Lion, the fauns and nymphs and centaurs…told him in secret by his tutor Cornelius.  And then, in a single night, all Caspian knows is destroyed.  He blows Queen Susan’s ancient horn in his last hope for help…and help comes, in the form of the four young Pevensies…called from a London train station in our world.

Walden Media’s Prince Caspian feels like a war movie.  The writers added scenes…in particular, the tragic raid on Miraz’s castle…which are not in the book, but which were perhaps necessary to make the transition from page to screen.  Still, other decisions were made which were not nearly as vital, nor as successful…most glaringly, the ill-bred and poorly thought-out romance between Susan and Caspian (readers will know that there can be no future for the couple if the film makers are to remain at all faithful to the books).  Other issues have been raised by indignant fans…such as Peter’s inner struggles with selfishness and pride and Susan’s warrior-queen persona (neither mentioned in the book), as well as Aslan’s lack of screen time.  But viewers can judge this for themselves.

Here is what I saw.  When Aslan tells Susan and Peter that they will not be returning to Narnia, I felt their heartbreak.  I, too, felt let-down and disappointed to see the brick walls of the London Strand after the beauty of Narnia.  When the children left Aslan’s country, I felt as though I just had, too.  It was horribly bittersweet…evoking emotions that few films do.

My sentimentality may be partly because I have loved C.S. Lewis’s stories since I was a little child.  But more than that, I sense the deeper story…the one that many believe Lewis was trying to tell…underneath it all.  Aslan…the leader, the friend, the infinitely beautiful king…reminds me of my Savior.  Lucy’s relationship with him in the film is precious.  At one point, he saves her from an attacking Telmarine soldier, roaring with all the furiosity of the great lion he is.  But without fear, the little girl runs to him, burying her face in his mane, laughing joyfully.  And they sit and talk in the forest.  Later, she faces an entire army with only the Lion at her side, and totally unafraid.  These short scenes reminded me for all the world of our walk with our King…our Lion, our Lamb…the strong, the gentle, the magnificent, the humble.  Our Master, our Shepherd, our Lord.  This is the best of Narnia and the film makers captured it.

I highly recommend this film to all who love the books and the first movie.  Don’t expect this story to be exactly like the one in your dog-eared paperback.  It is changed, as even the most beloved classics must be changed when they make the transition to film, and not perfectly changed at that.  But it is still beautiful, and it still tells a long-loved story.  Best of all, it gives us glimpses of a better story still…the story that Jesus is writing every day in the lives of every believer.  The story of uncompromising faith even when others doubt and the valley is one of death’s shadow.  The story of trust in a God greater than any army and any military might or force.  The story of a daily walk with the Creator and Master of all, as He bends down to hear our whispered fears and happinesses, just because He loves us.  And every time we see Him, just as Lucy finds, He grows bigger in our sight.  Never old, never dull, never rote.  He is always magnificent, and He grows with our understanding of Him.

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Awwwww…

I couldn’t resist sharing this with you guys!  My whole family was laughing…

Part 3: Self-Serving Chivalry (A Warning to Christian Guys)

 

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I know this third part installment of SK’s Chivalry series has been very long in the coming!  I apologize for that.

Since writing Part 1 (True Chivalry) and Part 2 (A Girl’s Response), I’ve been totally surprised at how popular these posts have been with readers.  According to the WordPress blog stats, they’ve been the most popular posts on SK, partly because of many searches with phrases like “chivalry” (one of the top searches that brings folks to SK), “ways to show chivalry”, etc.  Apparently women want and appreciate chivalry (and men want to be chivalrous) more than pop culture would have us believe!

This last part of the series is really an admonition to guys…so pass it on to your brothers if you think it would help them.  My purpose isn’t to bash anyone or to judge, but only to share something I have noticed.  And that is false chivalry…or, as I like to call it…self-serving chivalry.  That’s when a guy tries to “flirt” or get a girl to notice him by treating her with deference and respect…or when he shows a chivalrous attitude only to women he finds attractive or interesting.  This is perhaps one of the biggest stumbling blocks and temptations when it comes to chivalry, but guys need to realize how truly hurtful and repulsive self-serving “chivalry” can be.

Teen writer Brett Harris puts this issue clearly in his article, Counterfeit Chivalry; “Men, if we only show courtesy to certain girls on certain days when we are in certain moods, we are not gentlemen. If we show courtesy to women in public but fail to do the same for our mother and sisters, we are not gentlemen.  In fact, if our motivation for serving a woman is anything other than, ‘This is a woman that I have been called to serve and protect,’ we have counterfeit chivalry. We must continually remind ourselves that women deserve our service regardless of their age or appearance.”

True chivalry is not acting gentlemanly in order to get attention, or by being “selective” with who you chose to treat with respect.  If you open the door for a pretty girl at church, you better be willing to do the same for the elderly woman in the store.  Chivalry is treating women of all ages and types and appearances with deference and respect…not because you can get anything out of it, but because it is what Christ would have you do.

It’s easy to offer a young lady you are interested in a seat when she’s standing.  It’s impressive and looks good.  And there’s nothing wrong with being kind to her in that way.  The question is much more elusive…it has to do with the position of your heart and what your motive is.  It’s not as easy to let your sister have the new book first.  It’s a little more tempting to ignore the less attractive girl at youth group who is struggling with a heavy load.  But that is when you are truly being a man…when you are not expecting anything in return, not a thank-you, not a higher opinion in the eyes of others, nothing…and yet you still do the right thing, knowing that the Lord sees and does not forget.  Remember what Jesus says…when you do it for the “least of these”, He sees.  He is watching.  And that is all that matters.

You may not get thanked.  No one may notice your little acts of courtesy.  But the rewards found in cultivating a truly manly heart will outlast any human praise…and you will reap them in your friendships, in your family, and one day, in your marriage.  And more precious still, you will store up for yourself treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and thieves cannot break in and steal.

Because I am a girl, you may be thinking “easy for you to say”.  I know it sounds like I’m preaching something that doesn’t apply to me.  However, the lessons of courtesy and self-sacrifice regardless of who to and who sees, apply to both men and women.  This is something that every single Christian must learn…not just men.  But I do think that chivalry and flirting are so sadly entwined many times in our culture, that it deserves a special note to remind the Christian guys out there that chivalry is not “God’s way of flirting” or something like that.  When you love a girl, you want to cherish and protect her, and treat her with extra-special care and respect.  But as Christians, we are demanded to love everyone.  So shouldn’t you treat all women this way?  And when you meet the girl you want to marry, you’ll be glad for the practice, and she will feel privileged to have a man who serves others so selflessly.

I’d like to close on a personal note.  In the first installment of this series, I mentioned a time that a couple of my guy friends helped me out of a big predicament, and how much that touched me.  To this day, I remember that action as the sweetest thing any guy (outside of my family) has done for me.  What made it all the more special was the feeling that they were treating me that way because they cared, not because they wanted anything in return.  They never made me feel bad for my mistake, or brought up their actions like they wanted praise.  These guys never made a big deal about their incredibly selfless actions.  They never asked for anything in return.  They were sixteen year-old boys, juniors in high school, fun-loving guys in the middle of football season, without a care in the world.  And yet they acted like mature gentlemen at a time when I felt truly miserable and needed help, and I will never forget what they did for me.

Guys, you may never know what effect your actions have on the women in your life.  But when you follow Christ’s example of love and self-sacrifice faithfully, even in the little things, you can know and trust that He will use those actions mightily, when you fearlessly chose to be a light of Christian chivalry and selflessness wherever you are.

Part 1 “True Chivalry”

Part 2 “A Girl’s Response to Chivalry”

Unrealistic Beauty

Have you ever looked at a magazine or TV ad and felt ugly and worthless, unable to compare with the beautiful models you saw?  If so, you are not alone.  Many women feel this way…we see the “perfect” standard of beauty on TV and feel unable to live up to it.  Anorexia and bulimia are conditions becoming increasingly prevalent in our culture, as girls and women starve themselves in an attempt to be as “thin” as the models on TV.  Women are literally dying to find worth, and culture tells us that the surest road to value when you are a woman is physical beauty.

Girls, our standard of beauty is distorted.  We are told that beauty has one size, one skin color, one height, one weight.  But that’s not true.  God designed each of us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139) and He looks at us as unique and beautiful and made in His image.

Pop culture cultivates an ideal of beauty that is not only unrealistic, but totally imagined.  Check out these videos for a little bit of perspective.  Most of the photos you see are airbrushed and edited, images that no human can live up do and only a computer can generate.  Outward beauty in any form will never give us true and lasting happiness.  Being satisfied with what we look like on the outside will not bring eternal joy.  Only a relationship with Christ can do that (Psalm 16:11).

Do you struggle with feelings of worthlessness because of your physical appearance?  Maybe your heart is heavy with thoughts of comparison, like, “I’ll never be as pretty as she is” or “No guy will ever want me I’m not pretty enough”.  Remember that what makes a woman truly beautiful is her heart and her devotion to the Lord (Proverbs 31:30).  You can be gorgeous in the eyes of your Maker.

After you watch these clips, check out Distorted Beauty, an article by Carolyn Mahaney, for some real perspective on the beauty issue.