Bulletin (December 18, 2005)

Last Tuesday I went to see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with our Holy Family fourth graders. The group pictures are courtesy of Brian Wilson, the husband of our fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Anca Wilson. Our middle school students also saw the film on Thursday. It enthralled the students as well as the adult chaperones. Personally, I had been anxious to see the movie for a long time. I have read and re-read the seven books in the Chronicles of Narnia since I was first introduced to them thirty years ago. Although a person could quibble with some of the adaptations, the overall effect was quite powerful.

Last month I attended a gathering of Christian pastors in regards to the movie. One of the pastors showed us a graph of how a child spends his time between pre-school and adulthood. A tiny bar represented the amount of time spent in church or attending a religion class. A little bigger bar stood for the time spent with parents. School teachers got a bigger bar, but all of them were dwarfed by the time spent with mass media – television, movies, magazines, etc. Although it was no surprise, it dramatically brought home the importance of evangelizing our culture. Part of that effort involves taking advantage of sound opportunities when they come along. The last three years we had the wonderful Lord of the Rings trilogy, which is now being shown on television. With the early success of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Disney has already committed to producing the second Narnia book: Prince Caspian. After the movie, I talked with some of the parents who said how appreciative they are to see a movie that both they and their children can enjoy. We need to do our part to promote good movies. I won’t mention specifics, since I am not a movie critic, but I think you all know what I mean.

Speaking of American culture, you have probably heard this comparison: If India is the most religious country in the world, and Sweden is the most secular, then the United States is a nation of Indians governed by a small minority of Swedes. We continue to be religious, largely Christian nation, but our elites tend to look down on ordinary religious sentiment. That analysis seemed so true this past weekend. While Narnia overwhelmed the box office, The Golden Globe awards went to movies of questionable moral value. One, for example, was a “love story” between two men. It is very unfortunate if a movie like that becomes “mainstream.” Besides the obvious immorality, it has the effect of casting suspicion over all male friendships. When we downgrade marriage, friendship also has a way of getting lost in the shuffle.

Still, we can hope that people in Hollywood – and the others who so powerfully form our culture – will take a lesson from all this: that the ordinary American wants movies and television programs which support their efforts to raise children with good values. It is also encouraging that committed Christians are getting involved in the movie industry and other crucial areas of culture formation. It seemed to me the one flaw in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is that those who produced it did not really understand the Christian vision which impelled C.S. Lewis to write the stories. Nevertheless, they did not wander too far from the original text. Thus, like the Lord of the Rings, the deeper message still came through. I asked the children how they would rate the movie. They all gave it five stars. With a few qualifications, I would do the same.

And speaking of Swedes and Indians, a parishioner sent me a picture of this sign from Lowe’s. Our culture seems to be banning the word “Christmas” so now we have “Holiday Trees.” However, it just doesn’t quite translate into Spanish. Anyway, if someone wishes you “Happy Holidays,” you can simply respond, “Feliz Navidad!”

Como pueden ver en la parte en inglés, fui a ver la película, El Leon, la Bruja y el Ropero con los niños de nuestra escuela. Es excelente. Si no la han visto, recomiendo que Vds. vayan con toda familia durante el tiempo de Navidad. Y para los que no vayan, van a recibirlo como una penitencia para su confesión navideña. (Estoy bromeando.)

Aquí hay una descripción de la película: La Guerra contra Alemania ha iniciado y Londres se ve asediada por los bombardeos nazis; es una época de desesperación y confusión, de familias separadas y luchas incesantes. En este contexto, Peter, Susan, Edmund y Lucy Pevensie son separados de sus padres para enviarlos al campo, a casa de un viejo profesor, donde estarán a salvo de las bombas alemanas... aunque no de todos los peligros, ya que allí encontrarán un ropero mágico que les transportará a Narnia, un mundo fantástico de seres inimaginables como criaturas parlantes, enanos y gigantes. Todo luciría maravilloso para los chicos, sin embargo, el mundo recién descubierto está congelado por un invierno que nunca termina, resultado de un hechizo, obra de la malvada Bruja Blanca. Este conjuro sólo podrá ser roto si ayudan a Aslan, el león fundador de Narnia quien confía en la ayuda de los niños para quebrar la fría magia de la Bruja y liberar finalmente a su pueblo de la gélida opresión.

Otra noticia de interés es la apertura para “Playground supervisor, lunchroom monitor and teacher assistant” en nuestra escuela. Hay mas detalles en la “School News” del Sr. Lutz. Como se puede ver hay preferencia para alguien que habla español e inglés.