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A Few Thoughts on Noah

So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them, I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.”

Genesis 6:13

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Is man evil? Or is there some good in man? Should man be damned and condemned to death for our evil? Or should we be given redemption?

These are questions that Darren Aronofsky’s Noah raises. There are no easy words to describe a movie like this. It is probably the most polarizing, debatable, interesting, troubling, confusing, confounding, provocative movie of 2014, and we still have a film about Moses and Nick Cage’s new Left Behind movie to go. But the purpose of the film isn’t to tell the Sunday School version of Noah’s Ark with a nice boat and happy animals, but to raise meaty questions, and to cause the viewers to take a second look at Genesis. Because somewhere we lost the purpose of this story. I’ll admit that I don’t think I have read the entire story in a while, and when I did before I saw the movie, I found it to be a whole lot  bleaker than I remember. And the film does a good job of raising the questions. The rest of the movie does have a multitude of problems (Kabbalah/Gnostic influences, the Watchers, a lack of cohesiveness, an unneeded villain, Anthony Hopkins being very strange), but the main idea of the movie is the sinfulness of man.

This is where the movie excels. We watch as God creates the Universe, and Adam and Eve walk in the Garden, but then they fall due to sin when they eat the forbidden fruit. Then we watch at Cain kills Able, and in a sequence that left a great impression of me, the two figures turn into other humans killing each other, then into soldiers killing each other with swords, and then into soldiers across time with modern weapons and guns. This sequence shows that our modern sin is not new, it is traced back to the first humans. The movie has other scenes displaying the sinfulness of man, where men kill each other, sell each other as slaves, steal from each other, slaughter animals, and turn the earth into a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

The wages of sin is death.

And so God the Creator decides to destroy His creation. Destroy man that He created in His own image.

The wages of sin is death.

God calls Noah to do His will because Noah is a righteous man. However, as the movie shows, not even Noah is a sinless man. He sins, he doubts God, he leaves an innocent girl to be trampled by a mob, he attempts to kill his own grandchildren, he gets drunk and passes out naked (this last part is in the Bible). His wife and sons also sin. Sin is so deeply engrained in humanity, that even those who walk with God, sin. And this is the part that troubles Noah. He believes that humans are so evil, that even his own family should die and leave the world human-less. Only the animals should be saved because they are innocent and without sin.

“He called you because you are the last righteous man.” Noah’s son Shem says.

“No, He knew I would complete the task, nothing more.” replies Noah.

And yet Noah is disturbed by his task. If his children and grandchildren are allowed live and keep multiplying, then what is the point of everyone else dying he asks aloud. Love and redemption don’t even cross his mind.

The wages of sin is death.

But when he goes to kill his newly born grandchildren to prevent the spread of man’s wickedness, he stops.

“I looked down at those two little girls, and all I had in my heart was love.” Noah says.

And that’s what God saw in His heart when He looked down at Noah, love. And His love allowed Noah and his family to live, and to multiply upon the earth. Because of His love, He made a vow to never destroy the earth by water again. And because of His love, He sent His one and only son to die on the Cross for our sins, so that we may be redeemed. We have done nothing to deserve redemption, but by His love, we are redeemed.

Noah is not a perfect movie. It is messy, confusing, and strange. It plays fast and lose with the account in Genesis. And by no means can it replace the story in the Bible. But that isn’t it’s purpose. It’s purpose is to allow us to look at the story again, and to think about man’s wickedness and sin. And to think about God’s love. Because at the end of the day, through God’s love, and our faith in Him, we are redeemed.

Where Feet May Fail

Today, I tried to walk on water. It was as hard as it would seem to be. The water would not hold my feet, causing them to sink down to the sand. But the water washed away the sand, causing my feet to become unstable. My feet failed, and I watched as the vast, unstoppable ocean ruthlessly tried to pull me in. In that moment, I understood Peter’s fears.

 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

– Matthew 14:23-33

God calls us out of the boat, like when He called Peter. He called us to walk upon the water, where feet may fail, into the Great Mystery. Out of our comfort zones, and into His arms. He calls us to have faith, and do what he commands. To go to the places where we have never been before, or to minister to those we have never met. But if we doubt, if we question, if we become scared, He will be there to save us, pull us out of the water, and love us.Image

Hillsong United- Oceans

New Year’s Revolutions

I’m normally not one for New Year’s resolutions. Last year I decided that I was going to learn how to play the guitar. I learned one chord, and that was all. I appreciate the idea of resolutions, of using the beginning of the year to do something new, or change something. However, it seems like most resolutions fall by the wayside in January or February. I would always avoid going to the gym in January because it was so crowded, and would restart going in February when I knew all the New Year’s resolution people would quit. Perhaps that might just be the cynic in me. But that might be the problem with New Year’s resolutions. A resolution is a resolve or determination to do something, but not necessarily the act or state of doing something. A resolution says that something should change, not that something will change. So maybe we need a different word.

I have a new word concerning New Year’s resolutions. I got the idea from an AT&T commercial when a kid mispronounces resolutions saying “New Year’s revolutions.” I like the idea. A revolution is a sweeping and permanent change. The American Revolution forever changed this land and created a nation. The Industrial Revolution forever changed industries and cities. The Technological Revolution forever changed technology. By definition, a New Year’s Revolution would be a sweeping change in our lives.

What better time to change your life than the New Year? What better way to reaffirm your love and commitment for Christ, that the New Year? This year I am going to truly live for Christ, and to follow him everyday, in everything I do. I’m not just going to resolve to do something, but to actually do it. By doing it, I will have a Revolution in my life. And my life will never be the same.

Journy to Narnia: What Lewis Means to Me

When I was a child, I was introduced to a magical land. A land filled with talking animals, centaurs, giants, fauns, and dwarfs. A land with a talking lion and a wicked witch. A land where it was always winter and never Christmas. A land that was both so real, and yet not. A land that was just a shadow, a reflection of another place. A land called Narnia.

Fifty years ago today, the creator of Narnia, C.S. Lewis (or Jack, as he was known by his friends) passed away. His death was over-shadowed that day by the assassination of JFK.  Lewis was best known as the creator of Narnia, but also as the author of apologetic works such as Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, and Miracles, and other Christian books like The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, and The Four Loves. He was a fellow at Oxford where he taught English and later as a professor at Cambridge. He was veteran of World War I, and a survivor of the English school system. He was an adamant atheist, before he finally and reluctantly reasoned himself into Christianity.

I was first introduced to Lewis through his Narnia books that my Da read to us before bed time. Through his stories, I was able to disappear from reality into a different world. It was in this world that I first fully understood the importance of the Cross and God’s grace, by crying when the great lion Aslan calmly took the place of Edmund, and was killed for Edmund’s sins. That is the beauty of Lewis’ writing. He is able to relate fundamental concepts of the Christian faith that anyone, including a child, could understand.

When I grew older, I became absorbed by Lewis’ other works. Mere Christianity helped to establish my relationship with Christ. The Screwtape Letters remains a fascinating look at demons and Hell, event though Lewis and his friend J.R.R Tolkien considered it to be a lightweight book.

But still it was Narnia that I kept coming back to. Narnia was the place I wanted to go to when I was a child, and some days I still want to go to Narnia. The more I read the series, the more I understand. But it is Narnia that is actually the Shadowlands. A place that is just a shadow of a greater place, Heaven. Lewis created Narnia so that others may understand Christianity and Heaven as a child would.

Lewis has inspired and convicted millions of readers during and after his life. He remains to this day, one of the great modern writers. Here’s to you Jack, may your writings remain.

Greater Things

This blog post was originally posted on the Greensboro Fellows blog.

When I first moved to Greensboro four years ago to attend school at UNC-Greensboro, I was unsure of a lot of things. I was unsure of this city that I just moved to. I was unsure if I would find any friends. I was unsure of what God had in store for me. I was unsure if I could make an impact on this city. Four years later, we have come to Greensboro as the Greensboro Fellows to make an impact on this city.
 
The other day, I had my iTunes on shuffle, when Chris Tomlin’s “God of this City” came on. The chorus struck me: “Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city.” We are here for this reason. We are here to help nourish this city so greater things can happen. We are doing this through our volunteer time and service.
 
Six of us fellows are volunteering with Greensboro Young Life. This is an awesome ministry that ministers to high scholars and college students, and helps create Christian leaders. A few weeks ago, Greensboro Young Life took five hundred high schoolers from Greensboro to a camp in Virginia called Rockbridge. There the high schoolers heard about and experienced Christ’s love, some for the first time in their life. Tripp and Kevin led a cabin full of guys from Western Guilford High School; Michelle, Molly, Skylar, and Emma led girl cabins from Paige High School; Libby and Ginny (the awesome Fellows intern) were on the work crew, serving the campers meals and cleaning up; and I ran sound tech and other behind the scenes work. It was incredible to see five hundred high schoolers in one room, worshiping and hearing about Christ. On the last day, as I saw the large number of kids accepting Christ for the first time, I knew that we were making an impact on this city.
 
The other Fellows are making an impact on the city in other ways. Emily is working with the Queens Foundation, a phenomenal program that helps and teaches under -served young girls with leadership potential to reach their greatest potential. Matt is serving with Grace Community Church during their Wednesday Community Dinners that is helping to feed families in Greensboro that are in need. He is also working with Hope Academy where Skylar is working, which helps bring education to students in the Glenwood Neighborhood that desperately need it.
 
We also have a great way to impact Greensboro on a large level together. The Fellows are hosting an event on Nov. 23 called the Pay-It-Forward Thanksgiving Dinner, where we will gather together, young and old, rich and poor, and have a Thanksgiving lunch together in Downtown Greensboro. We urge everyone to buy a ticket, and then buy another ticket that will be given to someone who desperately needs a meal. We are partnering with Hope Academy and the New Arrivals Institute. You can find out more information and buy tickets here http://www.greensborofellows.com/#!payitforward/c1aq2
 
We look forward to creating a greater impact on the City of Greensboro, and seeing God perform Greater Things in this city. Thank you all for your support and prayers.
 
In His Name,
Andrew Edscorn

 

 
 
Andrew, back row, second from right, with the Fellows at Rockbridge Young Life Camp.
 
Andrew also included a link to “God of This City”. Take a listen and be encouraged!

Let’s Do This

I had a blog a couple years ago, but things happened, and I am no longer able to access it. Because I graduated college earlier this year, and I am on the cusp of great adventures and changes, I thought that it was time to start a new blog. So please join me on this adventure together.