To End All Wars – The Possible Dream

To End All WarsTo End All Wars is a powerful, gut-wrenching moral tale that lays bare the core dilemma of True Christians.  Starring Robert Carlyle and Kiefer Sutherland, the movie is set in the hell of a WWII Japanese POW camp in Burma, where a war rages between two factions of prisoners.  It is a philosophical war between justice and mercy, complete with the crucifixion of the leader of the mercy faction.

Since 2011, our world is at war everywhere.  By definition, the war against stateless terrorism defines the battlefield as having no boundaries.  It is, therefore, already an undeclared, unrecognized World War III on the verge of exploding into something even larger.  Every citizen of the world is now a soldier in some sense and a POW in another.

In a surprising twist, this powerful movie makes the case that the real war is not over territory or strategic resources.  It is a war over the soul of every man.

To end all wars;  It is a perennial quest and the hollow justification for all wars.  Is there a resolution, a real answer?  As with most profound questions, the answer is, “it depends on your definition”.

Here is the dilemma:
To take up arms in defense of family, freedom, justice and righteous principles?
Or,
To lay down arms and bear with unbearable courage and unconditional love, the hate of Satanic forces and by so doing, to overcome hate and evil in the only way that it can be ended?
These are the profound questions asked of each of us in this tale based on true events.

These questions are not unique to Christianity.  Gandhi based his life work on reaching a Machiavellian balance between an aggressive but non-violent war and surrender to love.  Thereby, he won India’s independence from England.  But he did not achieve a lasting peace on Earth or even for India.  The realist says such an earthly peace is beyond possible.  And that is true until the war for the soul is won for all mankind.   THAT is the only War with the potential to End All Wars.  It is a costly and intensely personal war.  Few are willing to wage it.  The sacrifices it requires can not be placed on others.

New Testament, Mark, Chapter 8:
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

For anyone who has struggled with the question, “why do we need a Savior to atone for our sins?”,  To End All Wars offers the answer.  Because the Savior’s example of perfect, unconditional love changes us. It saves us from ourselves.  But as the movie shows, it does not work for everyone, only those who embrace the example and live it.  For these, the war for the soul has a happy and permanent ending even if the price is high.  For the rest, war may be an eternal reality.

I highly recommend this film with a warning that neither its Christian ideals nor the graphic violence or language in it are for the faint of heart.  I’m adding it to my list of the Top 100 Movies for Troubled Times.

The Village is for people who seek an end to war, specifically the war of the soul that leads to war against people and nature.  That spirit is embodied in our theme, “in harmony with nature and people”.  Gandhi would have been a welcome resident, though he was not a Christian.  If that kind of sustainable, self-sufficient neighborhood appeals to you, ask here.

Top 100 Movies for Troubled Times

The Art of Manliness is an outstanding website for men.  It features traditional values and advice on how to be a real man. Here is their list of the top 100 essential movies for Men.  I own and love most of the movies on the list, but there isn’t much there for women, nor are all it’s movies essential for our troubled times.  Soooo…..

Many years ago, I was Director of International Development for Blockbuster Video. That was in the days before Blockbuster was made obsolete by the internet, Netflix, Red Box, VUDU, Youtube, etc. We were goin’ and blowin’ then. I digress.  The point is, I developed a love for great movies.  Years later, that led me to put in a good sized dedicated home theater with a performing stage in our home in Atlanta. We had many wonderful experiences with other families and their kids, either watching and discussing great movies or making up and performing plays and reader’s theater on the stage.

One very special memory is of a teaching moment when I sat all my kids down to watch the movie, Gandhi. I kept the remote in hand.  After each significant scene, I paused the movie and we taught and discussed an important life lesson. Gandhi is a long movie.  With discussion and some breaks, it took a good part of the day to get through it. The time could not have been better spent. It’s times like those that I am most proud. Times that paid great dividends in the lives of my now adult children.

Those experiences led to my commitment to build the amphitheater stage with outdoor theater in the Village. The physical facilities are there and we have enjoyed movies under the stars many times, but my dream is, as yet, unfulfilled. So far, the theater has been used mostly for entertainment. I miss the deep discussions. I’ll keep looking for those opportunities to learn and share like we used to with our kids and close friends in Atlanta.

This brings me back to the top 100 movies for men list. It occurred to me that we should develop a top 100 list for the Village.  Not sure what we should call it yet. Maybe something like the “Top 100 Movies for Troubled Times.”  It should be made up of movies that:

  • Teach about character and positive values (either through positive or negative examples showing consequences of bad choices).
  • Provide perspective for our troubled times (Dealing well with adversity.  History is a great teacher of perspective as we repeat past mistakes.)
  • Give us strength and courage to persevere in difficult times.
  • Show great role models for healthy social interaction – How to treat one another with dignity, respect, trust, and love.
  • Teach practical solutions to real problems. Time proven survival skills and strategies.
  • Give inspiring examples of freedom-loving people with an independent spirit; people who are self-reliant, hard-working and willing to fight for their freedom.
  • Inspire us to be better,do more, be more creative and stronger.

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I’ve already done a top 80 list from my personal catalog,
but then it’s just my list.   I could use some help getting to the best 100.
All you “like-minded” people out there, post a comment with your top 10
or more.
I’ll take the best from your lists, combine them with mine and share the best of the best.
As a starter, here are 10 that I think should make the list

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Gandhi (no surprises here)

It is impossible to capture the life of any man in one film, much less the life of a man who saw and did as much as Mahatma Gandhi. Thus the filmmakers who tried to capture his life on the silver screen sought not to give a blow by blow account of Gandhi’s life, but instead to capture his spirit in what they did show. The film begins with Gandhi’s assassination and then starts the retrospective of his life, beginning with his being thrown off a train for being Indian, and through his non-violent efforts to win Indians their rights and then their independence. One man truly can free an entire nation, if not change the entire world.

Best line: “They may torture my body, break my bones, even kill me, then they will have my dead body. NOT MY OBEDIENCE!”

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Defiance

Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters.   They provide leadership and protection to about 1,000 Jewish non-combatants who have fled to the woods, build a Village, learn to survive and fight off the Nazi army.

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Life is Beautiful

With humor and an indomitable, positive attitude, a Jewish man wins the love of a beautiful woman.
With inspiring courage and discipline, he must call on the same qualities to protect his son in a Nazi death camp.

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The Kite Runner

After spending years in California, a soft and pampered Amir returns to his homeland in Afghanistan to help his old friend Hassan, whose son is in trouble.  It’s a story of sacrifice, deprivation and danger as he risks his life against a deeply corrupt and depraved regime.

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Groundhog Day

On it’s surface, Groundhog Day is just another comedy. But if you delve deeper, you’ll find a story that drives home some profound messages. Bill Murray is Phil Connors, a cynical egotistical weatherman who annoys just about everyone and gets stuck living the same day over and over. It’s Groundhog Day. We don’t know how long Phil is stuck in this purgatory of repetition. Maybe a month.  Maybe a thousand years.  From Phil’s plight we learn that real change in life can only come from within us.  It’s a movie about the slow and agonizing process self-improvement, known in some circles as repentance.

Best line: “I’m a god.” “You’re God?” “I’m a god. I’m not *the* God… I don’t think.”

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Cover of

Sommersby

Set in the deep south immediately after the Civil War, Laurel Sommersby is barely surviving, working the farm without her husband Jack, who is believed dead in the war. Jack Sommersby was an abusive, coarse man, so his return is unwelcome to Laurel, who has been seeing another, kinder man.  But Jack has changed a great deal.   Some, especially Laurel’s suitor, believe that this is not actually Jack but an imposter. Laurel herself is unsure, but takes the man into her home and learns to love him.  This is a story of reformation, integrity and supreme sacrifice under conditions of extreme poverty.

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Ikiru

A Japanese bureaucrat tries to find meaning to his life after he is diagnosed with terminal cancer.  He must learn courage and take up a  respectful, yet dogged struggle against the bureaucracy to right previous wrongs and injustices.

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Braveheart

Mistake #1: Primae Noctis? Are you crazy, Long Shanks?
Mistake #2: Slicing up William Wallace’s woman? Are you asking to get your fort burned down? Never hack off a Scotsman.
Mel Gibson’s portrayal of the battle painted warrior poet William Wallace is easily one of the greatest heroes in all of movie history.

Best line: “Every man dies, not every man really lives.”

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City of Joy

Dr. Max Lowe (Patrick Swayze) abruptly deserts his practice as a surgeon and falls into depression.  He flees to Calcutta, India to lose himself, but finds Joan Bethel, a local social worker and discovers the joy of unselfish service and a life with meaning.  He makes friends with a family in desperate need.  Hazari Pal and his family are desperately poor, having been swindled out of all their money.  Hazari takes a job working for a local godfather, but things go from bad to worse.  Dr. Lowe finds himself in the middle of brutal suppression.  He steps into the breech to defend Hazari’s family at great personal risk.

Best Line:  “How long are you going to keep drilling holes in the ocean?”

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Jericho (TV Series)

A series of terrorist attacks leaves the US in a state of disaster.  The small Kansas town of Jericho must come together to deal with a new reality.  Along the way, they unravel a massive government conspiracy, organize a militia, fight off desperate neighboring towns, but most of all, learn to trust and work with old friends and rivals.
It’s TEOTWAWKI.  Deal with it!

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Sharing, teaching and reinforcing positive values through the arts can make our Village(s) better prepared for times that are tough or even if they’re not.