James Cameron is the King of the World!

That’s it. I guess that after 24 years, it’s time for me to give up Christianity. After all, James Cameron, the director who put Leonardo DiCaprio at the bow of the Titanic, will announce to the world next week in a Discovery Channel special that he has found the body of Jesus. Not only that — he has DNA evidence to boot!

Perhaps (this is just speculation) Cameron has even cloned Jesus, in order to be sure that the DNA is really his. Actually, we’ve all seen CSI and know how the DNA thing works. All he had to do was get a swab from Jesus’ cheek and match it up, right?

In all seriousness, it looks like James Cameron is trying to sink another ship. The sensational foolishness that surrounds this stunt is evident in the “theological considerations” given on the show’s website (emphasis theirs):

It is also a matter of Christian faith that after his resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven. Some Christians believe that this was a spiritual ascension, i.e., his mortal remains were left behind. Other Christians believe that he ascended with his body to heaven. If Jesus’ mortal remains have been found, this would contradict the idea of a physical ascension but not the idea of a spiritual ascension. The latter is consistent with Christian theology.

No orthodox Christian holds or has ever held the belief that Jesus’ ascension was merely spiritual. There have been groups such as the Gnostics who have held such views, but they have been universally found heretical by orthodox branches of the faith. Simply put, if Jesus didn’t physically rise from the dead, Christianity is a sham.

In fact, one needn’t even look to church history. The Bible is painstakingly clear that Jesus’ physical body was resurrected. See John 20:26-28 and 1 John 1:1-4 for just two examples.

How ironic is it that James Cameron thinks he must stage a stunt, complete with press conference and media blitz, to find Jesus? When Christ found me, there were no reporters — yet the impact upon my life was titanic. The good news is that although the tomb was empty, Jesus can still be found.

A Failed Flags of Our Fathers

There’s a scene early in Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers where, after landing upon Iwo Jima in an eerily quiet manner, the U.S. Marines peer into a dense fog and wonder to each other why they had been permitted to enter the island with such ease. The marines knew something was coming — they just didn’t know the when or what. Much like the fog, an impending ambush hung in the air.

Sadly, this scene serves as a template for the film.

Flags of Our Fathers is the story of the men who raised the flag on Iwo Jima atop Mt. Suribachi. The flag-raising, captured in the famous Joe Rosenthal photograph, sent the soldiers who raised it home on a tour to raise war bonds. A son of one of these soldiers, James Bradley, wrote Flags of Our Fathers to look at the lives of each of these men through the lens of the flag-raising. The book is an engaging, sometimes poignant look at men who found extraordinary courage in their ordinary lives.

Eastwood’s Flags, however, is a war story without a story — a patchwork without narrative. The film goes back and forth, starting with a flashback that begins in the middle of the film’s timeline. Narrators switch back and forth without introduction, and character development is nearly nonexistent. There is no focus in Flags, not the memories, not the war, not the propaganda tour, and certainly not the soldiers.

A bleak chaos rules the film, darkened even by the desaturated Saving Private Ryan/Band of Brothers–style film techniques. After all, the director’s explicit agenda in this and Letters from Iwo Jima, its sister film, is not to glorify war:

The two films “are not pro-war stories,” Eastwood said. “They are stories about the human condition of war and how tough that is on people, and the futility of war.”

Eastwood’s rigid adherence to this agenda becomes the movie’s undoing — the film’s constant disjointedness is Eastwood’s round-about way of showing the disjointedness of war. If this is the case, Eastwood forgets one important truth: while battles (and even war campaigns) may indeed be disjointed, they still sit within a larger narrative of history. Where there are people, there are stories. Eastwood’s hapless portrayal of these unassuming heroes does them a disservice.

It’s Therapy Time!

For the wages of sin is “having deep personal issues,” but the gift of mankind is eternal therapy.

It’s not exactly Romans 6:23, but it is the prevailing modus operandi of popular culture. What do Michael Richards, Isaiah Washington, Mel Gibson, Lindsay Lohan, Ted Haggard, and Gavin Newsom have in common? A good dose of therapy:

It used to be that celebrities sought treatment for things they put into their mouths. Now it’s for things that come out of them.

Michael Richards, warmly regarded for his oddball Kramer character on “Seinfeld,” began psychiatric counseling to control his anger just days after unleashing a racist tirade against black patrons at a comedy club. More recently, “Grey’s Anatomy” star Isaiah Washington said he would seek help after receiving a torrent of negative publicity for using a slur against homosexuals.

“With the support of my family and friends, I have begun counseling,” Mr. Washington announced after admitting, then denying, then admitting once and for all that he had used the invective last fall when referring to fellow cast member T.R. Knight, who soon after declared he is homosexual.

And, of course, the celeb story of the summer was Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic rant after he was pulled over for drunken driving. As with Mr. Richards and Mr. Washington, he quickly announced he would seek help through rehab.

So, are celebrities truly seeking to change the way they think? Or are they just doing damage control? Probably some of both.

The article’s writer leaves out Congressman Mark Foley’s exile into rehab for “alcohol abuse,” but it certainly fits, as does NASA’s renewed psychological testing procedures for astronauts.

In our world, personal angst has replaced wrongdoing, and rehabilitation has replaced redemption.

Conspiracy Theory

KGB Plate

Last week, some nameless fool stole my license plate from my parked car, prompting the need for a trip to the DMV Saturday morning to obtain a new one. As I waited in the long, seemingly eternal DMV line, I wondered to myself what would prompt someone to steal a single license plate in a state that requires two per car?

It didn’t take long to determine that greater forces were at work. My new license plate (not a vanity plate, thank you very much) just “happened” to bear three all-too-familiar letters: K-G-B.

Hmm, let’s see here:

  • I write a blog called TruePRAVDA
  • I still speak a smattering of Russian
  • Years ago, I hung out in places where the KGB still exists
  • I work in Washington, D.C.
  • I now drive a foreign car with KGB on the license plate

Lest any certain foreign government agencies get the wrong idea, my loyalties lie with this Red, White, and Blue, not that one.