“We are what we eat, and what we worship”

Joseph Susanka touches on the issue of idolatry through a cinematic reference:

In The Fallen Idol, Phillipe is more than simply fascinated by and drawn to Baines; he is transformed by him. The servant’s innocuous tall tales, harmlessly rooted in his desire for affection and attention, prove to be his undoing when Phillipe, so thoroughly steeped in the romantic persona his friend has created, is no longer capable of recognizing Baines’ true (and innocent) character. The young boy’s good-hearted lies mirror his elder’s actions closely: innocent enough at their origin, the well-intentioned dishonesties grow wildly out of control, and when the time comes for Phillipe to save Baines by a simple telling of the truth, his word is no longer believed by those he most desperately wishes to convince. Through his desire to be more like his mentor, Phillipe has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams; he has made Baines into an idol, and has been changed by that idol into the very thing he has been idolizing.

God warns us against idols not because He is jealous of our misguided affections, but because of their dangerous powers of transformation. Our pursuit of them does more than merely turn us away from Him; it changes us—subtly, but inextricably, altering the way we perceive the world, and destroying our ability to correctly recognize the relative value present in all created things.

Sometimes people ask me why Joseph so frequently writes about older movies. Well, we live in a throwaway culture where anything that came before right now tends to be swiftly cast down the memory hole. Just because a film is “old” doesn’t mean we’ve all seen it, and frankly, with the junk filling our theaters most weeks, I prefer the older stuff. There is more meat on their bones, so to speak. My husband and I frequently take his recommendations and we’re never disappointed. This sounds like a good ‘un, as is Joseph’s whole piece!

Speaking of current cinema — I never said all of the new movies are junk; that would be stupid — I was very taken with Steven D. Greydanus’ review this week, in The Register, of Pixar’s “Brave”. His review is not yet online, but on his blog he warns about an important spoiler being let loose in too many secular reviews. Now I wanna see it.

About Elizabeth Scalia

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