World Vision Update

Only have a few minutes tonight. I have three speaking engagements coming up and am still working feverishly on my book proposal for what was Moonshine Over Georgia. The new title is “The Revenuer”. Three submitted this title and all three will get a signed copy of the book.

As Christians we must follow Christ’s example of forgiveness. While I cannot fathom what World Vision was thinking when they made their original decision to accept homosexual couples as employees, the bottom line is they have now shown contrition and reversed that decision. I applaud them. We owe it to our brethren now to forgive. I am preparing my next months donation to them now.

Noah: Movie Review

image007

 

 

 

 

Authors note: I co-authored a novel entitled “The Rain” which was published in 2007 based upon the Biblical story of Noah and the Ark. My co-author and I took great pains to make sure that our fictional embellishment of the story would not contradict, or in any way be disrespectful to, the scriptural account. As such, our book won the 2008 award for “Best Historical Fiction” from the Christian Writers Association. We have received complimentary cards and letters from 15 countries around the world and from persons of multiple faiths regarding our book as well as endorsements from area pastors. We spent over two years researching, writing and mentally, “hanging out” on the ark. This review is written from the basis of that experience. If you would like a copy, either a Kindle version or a print version can be ordered at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Rain-Chris-Skates/dp/0989148629/ref=pd_cp_b_0

I went into the theater trying to keep an open mind. I was determined not to hurl sour grapes at this movie simply because I was jealous that no movie studio ever bought the screen rights to my book. I watched the previews and based on the special effects of the ark itself, it looked like the producers at least had the dimensions and the shape of the ark right. I figured if nothing else I would enjoy the experience of seeing this vessel, that I had intensely imagined for two years, in all its Hollywood special effects glory.

I went alone so I could really focus on the story and see what the screenwriter envisioned versus what we did for our version of the story. I had my popcorn ready and a smile on my face as the lights at Cinemark dimmed. That’s the last time I remember smiling. This movie is just awful. And I don’t mean just from the standpoint of Biblical inaccuracy. It is so NOT Biblical that it would take ten pages to list all the errors. But if one can force themselves to sit the Biblical concerns aside for a minute, this movie is bad strictly from an entertainment standpoint. From a writer/storyteller standpoint it is an absolute hot mess.

One of the first things I noticed is that the screenplay is a big rip off of other movies. The storyline is a strange story stew of elements of Mad Max, The Shinning, The Hobbit, and E.T. with some marvel comics thrown in. I would say “spoiler alert” here but I don’t think I can spoil this movie, the producers already did that.

First of all the Mad Max elements-clearly the wardrobe department blew the dust off the old Mad Max costumes for this one. But it’s not just that. Every character, every set, is just…grimy. Now I am sure the folk of the antediluvian period probably weren’t standard bearers for hygiene. But for crimeny sake! Do they have to have actual dirt on every square inch of skin every second? And what was with Noah’s (Russell Crowe’s) hair? The dude changed hairstyles more often than Cher. I know…I know…they were trying to depict the passage of time but still, I say go long hair or short hair and stick with it. Just let Noah go gray to depict time. But seriously, the overall feel of the movie is very dark and very depressing throughout. There is never really a feel of redemption for the family or of the hope of a new beginning.

The Shining- The Noah of this movie only hears from God once, and then not very clearly, and then decides that God is leading him (although I don’t know why he thought this as he had said earlier in the movie God only spoke to him about the ark) to kill his whole family. As far as I could glean from the poorly crafter plot:

  1. The flood was coming because man polluted the planet.
  2. Noah thinks his job is strictly to rescue the animals (who are all pure and innocent and good while man is foul and guilty and bad) only because man has polluted the environment so badly that God wants to start over.
  3. Therefore, once the animals are safely to whatever their destination is, Noah wants to kill his family and himself because he just knows they will mess everything up in the new creation like mankind did in the old world.

Because of this murderous plot by Noah (who 2 Peter 2:5 calls “a preacher of righteousness” by the way), one character or another in the movie spends about 50% of the dialogue screeching at one another.

The Hobbit- Okay, here is where it gets REALLY dumb. Noah is helped by these things called “The Watchers” (apologies to Marvel Comics fans). The watchers are made out of rock. But they’re not really rock of course cause that would be silly. No you see, they are actually fallen angels. Apparently God (only referred to as “The Creator” throughout the movie never called God), got angry with these particular angels and cast them down to earth. Also apparent from the movie, being cast down makes one very hot (re-entry into the atmosphere and all that I suppose) so these angels landed on the rocks and the rocks melted and fused around them so now they are trapped in the rocks like the rocks are their actual body only it’s not a body…got it?…good!

So the rock people/watchers help Noah and do most of the building of the ark which is probably a real pain for the rock people seeing as how they don’t appear to have a prehensile thumb among the whole group of them. But overall they are nice guys so they suck it up and build the ark anyway. (Hey! Look  Ma! I don’t need a hammer on account of I’m made of rock!) But the part of the rock people that bugged me the most was that they act and talk EXACTLY like the giant tree people in the Lord of the Rings movies. Again, it’s a total rip off of that story.

E.T.- Finally, because the rock people have an actual angel inside of them, they glow from the inside. I couldn’t help but hear Neil Diamond singing “Turn on your heart light” from E.T. every time I saw these things.

There is more to criticize. Much… much… more. I haven’t even touched the theological omissions. I’ll leave that to others as many reviews have already been written. The sad part is, there are going to be thousands of kids that see this and it will be their only exposure to the story. The point of this review is just to highlight what a lousy, boring and downright dumb movie this is, not to mention dark and depressing. Basically Hollywood used a 100 million dollars to turn one of the greatest stories in human history into a dud. Don’t waste your money.

World Vision Embraces Homosexual Marriage

I have read John Piper, Al Mohler, David Platt and Russell Moore today regarding the World Vision announcement today. All these Bible Scholars are in agreement on the pathetic points made by the World Vision Founder. I think Mohler states the best case. I post his blog below. No need in me reinventing the wheel and trying to state it in my own words. Dr. Mohler does perfectly well on his own.

http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/03/25/pointing-to-disaster-the-flawed-moral-vision-of-world-vision/

Review: God’s Not Dead

God Is Not Dead

God Is Not Dead

 

My wife and I just got back from watching the movie “God Is Not Dead”. I won’t spoil the story for you by telling you much about the plot itself. I will say I went in with some fears and some preconceived notions. I am happy to report that my fears were not realized and my preconceptions were wrong.

One of the things I work hard to avoid in all my writing is producing pabulum (that’s a bland cereal baby food for you younger generation folk). Let’s face it, the squeaky clean, everybody gets saved by the end of the story, stereotype has plagued Christian entertainment more often than not. I was afraid God Is Not Dead would fall into that trap. Likewise, sometimes the quality of production of Christian movies is much lower than the average Hollywood fare.

This movie avoided the stereotypes and I thought the acting was a cut above many Christian movies I have seen. (Don’t get me wrong, I liked all those movies too for what they were.)

This was one of the better Christian movies I’ve seen and the producers made the absolute most of their 120 minutes. I speak most often on Christian apologetics myself. And I applaud the screen writers for touching at least a bit on each of the primary arguments in favor of a creator God and against atheism. They even had the courage to strongly contrast the loving God of Christianity with the Allah of Islam. I am actually amazed that this movie even made it into theaters. But I am glad it did.

There were some things that we could pick apart that I didn’t care for in the screenplay but these were not theological in nature, more story teller issues and they were minor and not worth mentioning here.

I highly recommend this movie.

Title Contest Results and Video

A big thanks to all of you that submitted title contest entries. I had many really good suggestions. Even if you don’t win the book, I will be happy to sign a copy for all who entered, even if I  have to come to where you are to do it.

Right now it looks like I have a three way tie as three of you submitted the winning entry. I am not going to announce yet because I am waiting on my Agent’s blessing on the Title I chose. Interestingly, this entry was the original title of the manuscript when I wrote the first chapter. Then I changed it to Moonshine Over Georgia later. I still like that title and kind of hate to change it but I suppose it can be confusing to some not familiar with the South.

I hope you’ll watch the 5 minute video below. My agent paid me a strong compliment the other day. She said that my grandpa’s character in my book reminded her of Tommy Lee Jones Character in “No Country For Old Men”. As soon as she said it, it clicked with me, though I hadn’t thought of it before. My Pop had some of the same down home sayings and manner that the Sheriff that Tommy Lee plays here. I chose this clip for the blog because nearly every line is extremely well written. Every line is pregnant with meaning. In short, this is first class dialogue. (Disclaimer: I am not vouching for the Sheriff’s theology here. That is the one part I don’t like) Enjoy!

 

Contest Announcment

Roadway

 

I am holding my first contest on the blog. I want your help in coming up with a better title for my new manuscript. I have wanted to call it “Moonshine Over Georgia” but I am being advised that readers from up North, who may only glance at the title in a book store, may think that is a romance that takes place in Georgia.

So what suggestions do you all have? I want something to grab the reader by the lapels. I would like to have the word “moonshine” in the title but it doesn’t have to be. Other slang for moonshine might also work (like White Lightnin) I do want to the title to clearly reference that the book is about the old liquor trade and I would like for it to indicate that the story takes place in the deep South.

One new title I am considering (but it lacks a Southern reference) is, “When Moonshine Was King” I am not crazy about that one but it does indicate a historical setting.

So what’s your suggestion? Email me one at chris@chrisskates.com In the title of your email say “Title Contest” The winner will get a free autographed first run copy of the novel. Just to get your thinking, below is some copy I wrote for the book jacket:

C. E. “Kid” Miller grew up deep in the Florida swamps, where every shot he fired was the difference between feeding his family and going hungry. Now, in the summer of 1946, having settled in Georgia, he makes his living hunting moonshiners instead of game, and carrying a Smith and Wesson revolver instead of a double barrel shotgun. The violent and powerful moonshine baron J.T. Wallace is used to lawmen doing what they’re told. In a neighboring county, the Godfrey brothers run large liquor stills of their own and would just as soon shoot a “revenuer” as look at him. When these villains come up against Miller, a man with a deep hatred of moonshine and the damage he has seen it cause, and an even deeper Christian faith, the flare up will be hotter than the Georgia asphalt.

And:

In the summer of 1946, C.E. “Kid” Miller, a devout Georgia revenue agent, must find kidnapped informant, Wilson Turner, before the state’s most violent and powerful moonshine kingpin kills Turner.  But Miller’s quest for Turner is interrupted when his wife and young daughter are threatened by the Godfrey brothers, who control what’s known as the Upson County liquor gang, forcing him to choose between justice and vengeance.  

 

 

Column I Am Proud Of

I hope you will consider reading my new column at www.marshallcountydaily.com I will put a link below but it may not work as I seem to have an issue here with links. If they take it off the front page just click on the perspectives tab to see any of my columns. If you have followed this blog for a long time, you may have read asimilar column I wrote for this blog when it started.

 

 

Miscellaneous Ramblings From The Passing Scene

I am not dead and neither is the blog. Sorry to be so slow and inconsistent with my posts. I am very busy right now with some changes to my manuscript that my agent suggested. She said that the manuscript was very good but felt we could make it great. The challenge is that a novel is like a house of cards. What you do with one card (or in this case one plot point) affects all the cards. All the actions of the characters are interconnected. But I do think that what will become Revision 7 of Moonshine Over Georgia will be the best one yet and probably the best novel I have written to date. There is much more to the story now than when it was on the blog. There is more depth and more richness.

Next week I will be putting my other writers hat on when I travel to Washington D. C. I will be attending the CPAC conference. CPAC is the largest collection of conservatives of the year. Sarah Palin, my hero Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum and many others will be there. Many of you know me well enough to know that I don’t intend to spend all this money on travel just to play around or be on the fringes. Instead I have been working on this for a few weeks and I have some meetings set up. I hope I am going to be able to make some significant contacts that might lead to bigger and better paying column writing opportunities.

I kept my vow to cut WAY down on watching news after the new year. I record Fox and watch a weeks worth in one night. I just can’t handle it emotionally. Until we get closer to mid-terms and something can actually be done to stop this lawless administration, I just don’t even want to hear about it. And I don’t want to hear the mealy mouthed Republicans that they have on Fox whimper about it. I watch when I hear Mike Lee, Rand Paul, or the outstanding Ted Cruz. I also like several of the Tea Party guys in the House. Anybody else, I ignore right now.

I could blog every single day about one outrage or another going on in our nation today. But I have a novel to write and a God to serve and a job to do (not in that order) so I am focused on that for now.