Daily Archives: August 12, 2005

I did it...

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and both of my kids watched!

My son designed it - Christ on the cross - in Greek because Manda and I are taking Greek together. It reminds me that when Christ is all there is on the cross, my works mean nothing to my salvation. All my righteousness is like filthy rags. Christ's work is finished and the understanding of Christ's finished work on the cross is part my Reformation.

It's on the back of my shoulder - well, that part is "just because"



Short story: PLEASE watch both the movie and the documentary. NOT FOR CHILDREN.

(NOTE: I'm not sure I'm very good at "official" reviews, so I'll probably end up telling about this movie the way I'd describe a book to a friend.)

"The Magdalene Sisters" is based on a documentary, "Sex in a Cold Climate" - the DVD includes the documentary). The movie reflects not only the truth that "power corrupts - and absolute power corrupts absolutely", it also reflects the era of the time, when victims were blamed for their own rapes, when girls were "gotten rid of" for becoming pregnant out of wedlock, but the boys got off with nothing, when beauty was looked on with suspicion.

It's the story of four women who were incarcerated for forced labor in a "Magdalene asylum" in the 1960's. One woman was sent there by her father because she had a child out of wedlock, another was sent there after being raped, the third was sent there because she was pretty and the fourth (appearing to be mildly mentally impaired) also had a baby out of wedlock. The nun in charge of the laundry bluntly told the girls when they arrived (I'm paraphrasing): The philosophy here is simple. Your sins will be purged through the washing of laundry. By doing penance here, you will earn your salvation.

They quickly learned that escape was not just difficult, it was nearly impossible. One scene showed an escapee who ran to her home, only to be returned by her angry father. She begged, "I just want to go home." He beat her with a belt, yelling, "You have no home! You have no parents! You killed them!" This girl eventually became a nun and joined the order, the only safe place. When Bernadette tried to escape, she was beaten and her hair was shorn. Sister Brigid forced her to look into a mirror, blood running in her eyes - "you're not so pretty now!"

In a nutshell, "The Magdalene Sisters" showed works-based salvation taken to extreme. The emphasis was all on working off your own sin and earning your salvation through your own work and suffering.

It is a difficult movie to watch and I had to take a couple of breaks. I watched the movie before the documentary and immediately called the friend that told me to watch it and asked, "It said *based* on the true story. Is the story true or are these 4 women true." He said, "Yes." There are a few additions to "flesh out" the attitudes and actions within the asylums - but there was stuff that was left out also that would have made a great emotional impact on any feeling human being watching. Nothing that contradicted the documentary.

Watch BOTH!

Next up: the history...

For me, debates and controversy spark great amounts of self-examination and study.

Over the last few weeks, I've been studying the "Solas" - I've studied TULIP backward and forward, from an Arminian/Calvinist view, but not the Solas.

The first time I "did" TULIP, I changed religions (from a lifelong Arminian to Reformed). In the last four years I've learned to look deeper...but never at the Solas.

This study is taking me to some very interesting places, SOLA FIDE most of all.

The Reformed answer to Arminius' followers was capsulated in TULIP (and not all of the letters are the best ones they could have used, but the word works, especially coming out of Holland).

The SOLAS were a direct attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church in western Europe, so they actually came first.

I've studied Catholic doctrine before, because of a familial relationship, but not as a direct study of the Reformation, or how Catholic doctrine and the Reformation interacted.

A week ago today I was challenged by a dear friend to examine my reasons for my tatoo - after much time spent in prayer and contemplation, the motives for the design are more firm in my mind. It is Christ/Kristos alone on that cross that delivers.

If I put Christ squarely on that cross, there is no room for my works being involved in my salvation, either getting it, or keeping it.

I watched a movie and a documentary last night that hit home so hard (hint: there's a review coming) that bad doctrine has bad consequences. When you mess around with the finished work of Christ on the cross, when you bring works into the equation - wicked things happen.

For me, I believe that the Solas will be more meaningful than TULIP...