Tag Archive: violence

so bible-flipping is not an exact science but when i flipped open mine this morning and it landed on psalm 73, i think that was divinely nudged to the nth degree…

‘Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?”

This is what the wicked are like – always carefree, they increase in wealth.

Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.

If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

Surely You place them on slippery ground; You cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when You arise, O Lord, You will, despise them as fantasies.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before You.

Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Those who are far from You will perish; You destroy all who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.’

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i’m not sure how pure my heart is, or how innocent i am, but i can relate to a lot of this right now. i don’t even know how honest it would be for me to declare ‘earth has nothing i desire besides You’ – in theory yes, but in practice i think i am too close to too much that this world has on ‘offer’ – i’m not feeling like a great Christ-follower right now – i’m not sure how my life positively impacts others to the extent that it should – which i think – and hope – is tied up in next year and the new thing and really needing a change and needing to be in a space of my day to day living impacting people. more.

i get deeply inspired by keith green and shane claiborne but i am so far away from living what any of them lived/live on a day to day basis. i am hungry for it though and that has to be a start. waiting on God and being inspired by words like those will help.

kicking my talented hungover ass

so i was chatting to some of my guys-who-meet-at-lunchtime-on-a-thursday guys yesterday and as i was speaking i felt the conviction of what i was saying (pretty much more to myself than to anyone else)

the conversation was sparked by me watching the dvd Kick-Ass the day before while tbV was at varsity – a movie which i’d initially heard some bad things about (like little girl saying the ‘c’ word which is one of the few words that i actually find quite hectically harsh – and if you’re wondering what the ‘c’ word is now then good for you – in fact the only time that word has ever been funny in my opinion is in the eric idle monty python skit where he says all ‘c’s as ‘b’s and at the end learns to substitute ‘c’s for ‘k’s and he can finally do it and pronounces “you mean spell ‘bolour’ with a ‘k’?… kolour…. ah, what a silly bunt” – it’s funny cos he doesn’t actually say it) but then recently a bunch of people told me it’s really great and it’s not so hectic and i should just watch it

i am really glad tbV wasn’t around and if not for the infernal curiosity that did all sorts of lesser things to the cat than happened in that movie (dude having finger snapped off, people being sliced up all over the place and dude in walk-in microwave machine) i could have happily switched it off and not needed to know how it ended. and should have. it was horrible. i just cannot stomach unnecessary graphic violence like that and as tbV and i chatted later one of the biggest concerns is how can a parent allow their little kid to be in something like that and do those kind of things and have that kind of hectic adult dialogue – has to mess them up in some way

then a little more previously another movie that i had decided not to watch – ‘Hangover’ – but again which recent friends said was really not bad at all and was really funny i also gave in and decided to check out and to be honest it was not as bad as i thort it was going to be, but it also wasn’t particularly good in terms of being the kind of thing i really need to have had put into my head – definitely feel worse about watching Kick-Ass than the Hangover but i don’t think i would recommend either of them to anyone

i remember when i watched ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ on the big screen by myself for some reason – hyped movie when it came out, decent cast, and so i went to check it out and walked out feeling dirty like i don’t think i’ve felt more strongly with any other movie – what made it particularly bad for me was again the graphic over the top violence but also the fact that it was completely unprovoked – so in Kick-Ass you have good guys versus bad guys and so it kind of makes sense, but this was a dude going around killing people violently because he was a psychopath – incredible acting, directing etc etc etc but it made me feel absolutely sick – it was just so dark and violent and graphic and real

and maybe that’s the key – because it was done so well from acting/directing/believability standpoint that made it even worse… because the point is that it is real – maybe not in the talented mr ripley, but in the newspapers and on tv in the news section, every day across south africa (and beyond, don’t think your country is any better, unless it is) and getting desensitized to it feels like an incredibly bad and dangerous thing to do…

yesterday, i challenged myself to be more selective again (because i used to be) about the movies i watch and to be quick to leave if necessary (because i used to walk out of a fair amount of movies) and to challenge others to do the same

i don’t think i will come up with a list of ‘this is okay, this isn’t okay’ – i’ll trust you are wise enuff to do that – and it may be that it is different for different people – i know my weaknesses (in terms of sexually explicit stuff) and i know what i don’t like or want to fill my head with (horror, graphic violence, blasphemy) but the challenge is to have a line – make a choice – know where that line is – and stick with it

walking out of a movie is a highly frowned upon and much judged activity (because the people who stay behind feel judged by you that they didn’t walk out i think) – i remember when the white cop (matt dillon i think?) was feeling down the black dude’s wife in Crash and there had already been a few things in the movie that had me on the edge, and at that moment i thort ‘this is not something i want in my head right now’ and so i got up and left. and got judged. and it may be the excellent movie i’ve heard it being made out to be. and it may be that you enjoyed it and thort it was incredibly and that i am incredibly lame for walking out. that is all okay with me. at that point, watching that scene, i thort this is over my line, and i got up and left.

and i want to be back at that place where i’ll do that again. leave the cinema. switch off the movie. it’s just not worth it to do that to myself.

my bottom line on this topic is this – no matter how good a movie is (schindler’s list probly the best movie i’ve ever seen imo) there is nothing i will miss out on (intrinsically) by not watching the movie… so nothing i ever miss that will critically adversely affect my life…

BUT on the flipside, there is stuff i might watch that i will regret, that will haunt me in my sleep, that will etch images into my mind which will replay at a later time, that will affect my mood or my actions or my peace… and so when in doubt, don’t. that’s my motto.

I thank You, God
For granting an audience
To someone as weak and insignificant as me
I kneel before You
In a futile attempt
To right a millenia of wrongs committed against You
I represent a group of people
Totally unworthy, fully undeserving
Completely unaware and oblivious of their need for me to be here

If the court stenographer will read back the testimony
It will be made clear
That time and time again You have born the brunt
Of false testimony, claiming You were the guilty party
For all manner of unspeakable acts of evil
Disease, Death, War and Famine
All thrown accusingly at You
Accompanied by a menacing, pointing finger
And the strangled screams of, “Why?”

In fact, how often have I been there
Part of the crowd
Adding my voice to the throng?
Or even just the lack of it?
A silent accusation off to the side
Taking it all in
But making no real attempt to voice an objection
Or run to Your defence
“Sometimes the cries were just SO loud.”

But taking out some time
To build up a case
I have been forced into an encounter
Coming face to face with who You really are
Looking beyond the weak Hollywood interpretations
Cartoon caricatures; comical characterisations
Even moving past the weak and off-putting representatives
You have dirtying Your name here down on earth
I finally start to catch a glimpse of the You behind the scenes…

And I know!

September 11 – You were there!
WWII Nazi death camps – You were there!
And in Ethiopia where a vulture picks at a rotting child!
And in Hillbrow as another mugging takes place!
In the belly of the Titanic!
In the local AIDS clinic as yet another baby dies!

Your alibi is shattered!

I have seen Your character. I have tasted who You are.
There is conclusive, overwhelming proof

…and finally, I see it…

…something I should have known all along…

You couldn’t not be there!!
When that fatal shot is fired; at the moment of impact;
another suicide bomber snatching the lives of those around him.
So You stand in the midst of it all
Taking it all in…

Taking it all on!

You hurt…
You bleed…
Your heart breaks even before the family and the friends whose will follow…

You picked up the battered and twisted bodies
Welcoming some of them home.
You screamed at the horror
The violence!
The pure, unadulterated evil of it all.
You screamed!!!

You wept…

You weep!

And as I stand by the grave side
And watch as they lay my person to rest
And ask, “How could you, God, how could you?”
“How could you take this person from me?”

Suddenly it sinks in
Finally hits home
I start to ‘get’ it
One person I loved with all my heart
One more person You love with all Yours
Another one.
And another.
And another.
And another.

And one more.
Because You have to stand here every day.
And another.
Watching the ultimate consequence of sin.
And another.
Something that should never have happened.
And another.
Who do You get to shout at?
And another.
Where do You point Your accusing finger?
And one more.


“I am sorry!”
I know that can’t mean much.
Doesn’t even begin to start.
But, “I’m Sorry..!”

It’s been true all along,
I know not what I do…
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