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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Controversy @ The End of the Spear

I first heard word of the movie The End of the Spear while in Ecuador as we were talking about Nate Saint and the other four missionaries and the 50th Anniversary of their martyrdom (January 6, 2006). However, upon arriving back in the states, I noticed that there was some controversy over the actor who is playing the role of Nate Saint in the movie. His name is Chad Allen, and also a publicly professing homosexual. I first heard of this through visiting Tim Challies website where he linked over to Randy Brandt's post "Did They Fall on Their Own Spears?" It appears that Allen produced a movie called Corpus Christi which Brandt explains through in an article thus: The play, set in modern-day Texas, features a hard-drinking gay named Joshua and 12 other gay male characters, most of whom bear the names of Christ's apostles... Different from other boys because he is a homosexual, Joshua grows up in isolation and torment, an object of scorn. He flees Corpus Christi in search of a more accepting environment, gathering along the way of a group of disciples who are bound to him by his message of love and tolerance. According to Time magazine, McNally's play is "a serious, even reverent retelling of the Christ story in a modern idiom -- quite close, in its way, to the original." Commenting thereafter, Brandt adds, " . . . what's harder to figure out is why a movie so obviously appealing to a conservative evangelical audience would risk alienating most of that demographic." I agree. Furthermore, Allen is going to be producing a documentary called "Save Me" on the Here TV! network - the first gay television network. A gay magazine called IN LA adds the following: Two years ago, (Allen) co-founded his production company Mythgarden, with Robert Gant and Christopher Racster. "We're working to bring the next generation of gay and lesbian storytelling to the screen, and we're really excited about that." Their upcoming project, Save Me, takes place in an "ex-gay" ministry that's run by Judith Light, in which Allen and Gant begin a relationship. Also coming up is a project called The Way Out, which they are co-producing with David Duchovny. "It's the story of two gay men who fall in love in a senior citizens home, and it looks at the issues of elder gay housing. It's a fantastic love story." Allen also stars in the upcoming film End of the Spears, based on the true story of a group of Christian missionaries that make contact with the Waodani, a notoriously violent Ecuadorian tribe. Having grown up in a Roman Catholic family, Allen saw this project as a challenge he wanted to undertake. "There were a lot of people on both sides that weren't particularly interested in me doing this movie. I am from a Christian background, but I have a personal spirituality that spans the distance from Buddhism to Hindu philosophy to Native American beliefs. That aside, this movie is about the power of love. I knew it was an opportunity to bridge these two disparate communities that are believed to be enemies- the gay and the Christian communities." (emphasis mine) While the film may be true to the actual events and excellently done (although they can get Hourani right - they spell it Woudani), should Christians still promote this movie and see it? Having just recently visiting the home of Nate Saint, the Missionary Aviation Fellowship air strip, the hospital he built, and the walked the streets he treaded 50 years ago, I must say that I was elated to hear about the news of this movie coming out. However, now I feel deeply disappointed and saddened. Hollywood has picked up on the fact that there is a huge market for religious films which will invoke the evangelicals out to the theatres, but they are doing it their own way. They want to profit off our values but reject them in the process. They know how gullible and desperate we are to have a quality movie in the entertainment marketplace in hopes to "evangelize" our culture, and as January 20 nears, I am wondering how much discernment and discretion the Christian community will show. Should we endorse homosexuals as leading actors in a religious film? Should we promote syncretism and New Age philosophy with Christianity? What do you think? Better yet, what do you think Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Peter Fleming would think about this? And what do you think the Houranis' who were converted from their Animistic religions to Christianity alone think about this? This may be a movie depicting a true story, but it appears to me that there is a whole lot of truth missing. To read Challies blogging of Session 6 of the Desiring God National Conference of 2005 called "Suffering and the Sovereignty of God" with special guest Steve Saint, son of Nate Saint, click here.

7 Comments:

Blogger hulk46 said...

When I heard about this my heart sank. Nate Saint is one of my heroes and like you I was humbled and awed to be standing in the front yard of his house, to see the airstrip from which he would fly, and to walk the streets he would walk. To have his life, and the lives of the other men, depicted by those who would defame the name of God and all they stood for is almost unimaginable.

But as I thought about this more I began to realize that the story that is told is the same story. It points to God and to Christ and certainly He can use it to draw people to Himself, no matter who tells it. Nate Saint wrote a book by the same title and I think the movie can be a conduit to his book.

I agree with you that it is a sad day to have something like this happen and Hollywood is doing it "their way" but it is the story about men who gave their lives for the Gospel of Christ and His kingdom...and that is powerful, no matter who tells it.

1/13/2006 11:06:00 AM

 
Blogger Alex F said...

That is interesting.

I wish they had chosen a different actor... but I don't think seeing the movie is an endorsement of that actor's beliefs or lifestyle. By watching the film Luther I wasn't endorsing Ray Fiennes life or worldview was I?

1/13/2006 11:20:00 AM

 
Blogger hulk46 said...

I meant Steve Saint wrote the book by the same title, not Nate. Sorry about that.

1/13/2006 01:41:00 PM

 
Blogger Alex F said...

Saw this on World Magazine's blog:
---

Response from the film company:

Thank you for bringing the front page of sharperiron to our attention. They are reporting a story, and as such they have the choice to report both sides of the story or not. They chose to not contact us, or ask us about our decision to cast Chad. I don’t believe this is a style or reporting that seeks truth, rather I think they have their own reasons for only including the perspective that they have. When the New York Times takes this approach to reporting then Christian reporters take great exception. What happens when Christian reporters do the same?

I am the director of End of the Spear and one of the writers. We cast Chad Allen because he had the best audition of anyone else by far. We know that the character in the film and the actor are not the same. If we were required to cast people who in their own lives exemplified the characters in our film, then we might still be looking for them. If as a film company we could only work with people who were completely sanctified then the film would never have been made. We do not agree with Chad over homosexuality. End of the Spear is not about Chad Allen, but rather it’s about remarkable people who lived their faith against all odds, and dared to reach out at the cost of their lives.

Why am I communicating with you and not them? It is very simple. You asked. Thanks again for the note. Don’t worry about sharperiron, the discussion over sin and working with sinners has been in the body of Christ from the beginning. I am glad that my life isn’t being compared with Nate Saint, I don’t believe I would stack up. God bless and strengthen you.

In Christ,

Jim Hanon
Director/Writer End of the Spear

1/13/2006 02:26:00 PM

 
Blogger hulk46 said...

This is not in relation to the current topic per se but I just saw a book intitled "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart Ehrman of UNC Cahpel Hill. In this he says that the Bible was purposely changed by the scribes who transmitted it and among other things, the story of Jesus forgiving the woman caught in adultery is not even in the original texts but was added. All this and more... It is currently working up the NY Times Best Seller list and is prominetly displayed in local bookstores.
God help us to be valiant defenders of the faith.

1/13/2006 07:51:00 PM

 
Blogger Bob M said...

Read the whole story at http://www.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=2244

1/20/2006 11:39:00 AM

 
Blogger Cathy Messecar said...

Read the Movie Critic at

http://www.movieministry.com/articles.php?articles=all&article_view=67

http://www.movieministry.com/articles.php?articles=all&article_view=68

The second one deals with the hiring of the homosexual actor.

God states that homosexuality is a sin. And I believe it is. However, once more some in the Christian community, with all our personal sins, are slashing a movie that will move some toward Christ. How long have we been entertained by sitcoms about adultery, anger, family bitterness, and such, and Christians have watched and laughed. Sin is sin.

God is bigger than this controversy. I am allowing God control over this situation, and praying for a good outcome from the gay communities exposure to the sacrifial gospel, and for the general populace not to get wind of Christians' whining about the actor.

The Christian community is not Chad, nor is he us. We answer individually for how we promote the gospel. I can't be responsible for every person in the print industry who brought me my Bible. I am served and blessed by the end product, no matter how it got in my hands.

Isaiah 46:8-13 God spoke to rebels, and said his purpose would stand, and he would use different means to carry them out: "From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose."

I recommended both the DVD Beyond the Gates of Splendor and End of the Spear to my newspaper readers today.

May God bless your ministry in every way imaginable and unimaginable...Cathy Messecar
www.cathymessecar.com

2/03/2006 01:05:00 PM

 

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