Friday, December 26, 2008

What George Bailey Taught me

I read of one pastor having a good cry each time it is Christmas or Easter.

Well, I have watched It's A Wonderful Life for the n-th time and once again according to my semi-religious Christmas tradition, I watched it for n+1. I do not know how many times I have seen this good heart movie but I never cried. I am serious, no kidding. I am not a crier.

Anyway, I just realized I was being teary when little boy George Bailey got slapped in the ear by Mr. Gower, that did me in and the missus saw what was happening. She called the visitors to see the show, me having a cry. I do not cry easy that is why she called them to the living room. So visitors and all, watched the film with me.

This George Bailey is a sweet guy, he is good natured. He is a gentleman. You can learn a lot from him, specially his love for reading, the way he denied himself for the sake of family and friends, the little people of Bedford Falls.

Now I have read people watching this film and they swear they cry every time. As far as I can recall, only this year did I cry.

Do you want to know why people cry when they watch this movie? Because deep down inside each and everyone of us longs to see what is beautiful, lovely and what is right, triumph once in a while. We want to see what is noble get to the top for once.

What do you think? Perhaps you can better articulate what I am saying. Give me some points. Could it be the imago dei in us?

A few things I can spot in this film worth learning is that we should
Remember no man is a failure who has friends.

Last of all, Bailey will teach you to say "Hee Haw".


Past Elder said...

Did you see the post just before Christmas about this movie at Strange Herring?

I have no idea why anyone would cry at this movie. Actually I have no idea why anyone would watch it more than once. How many Be A Good Person That's What God Really Wants movies do we need.

That said, if you want one of those from Frank Capra, I say go for Meet John Doe.

L P Cruz said...


I went off to have a read of what the Doktor said. This is where I disagree with some Lutherites.

Of course, IAWL is not teaching theology, it is not entirely about that. These people were paid to act nice, for goodness sake, this is a movie. We do that in our employment too so the Doktor should not take it seriously. It is about a man who suppresses his dreams for the sake of others. The guy did a good thing and so give it to him. He helped folks when there was a bank run, and the bank run did not start with him, it was Mr. Potter's doing, the symbol of greed.

Why do people like to knock that?
Is it too suburbian Americana?
My suspicion is that the Doktor is just sour graping.

St. Paul says Phil 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

I am happy to recognize good in others even if I do not have it myself.

That DVD is in the shelve but I have not seen it, I will go and watch it now.

Hee Haw :-)


Past Elder said...

When you deposit your money in a bank, do you expect the bank to give it away?

If the bank lends it to someone who cannot pay it back, with interest to cover expenses which includes what the bank pays you to deposit it there (interest), and therefore does not pay it back, that is just what the bank has done, given your money away.

A loan is not a gift. Character does not make loan payments. "Lending" money to people who cannot make payments and are trying to live above their means is no different whether it is to people in good financial shape trying to live like they're in better shape than they are or to people in bad financial shape trying to live like they're in good financial shape.

The financial consequences are no different whether "above their means" is above the poverty line or above their already good standard of living. The former may have an "Aw, gee" appeal, but financially it is not different than the latter which is dismissed as greed.

Do either big enough and long enough and you have financial failure, in both the borrower AND the lender -- the mess we have now.

None of which is to deride gifts. Just to say if you conduct the business of saving and lending as if it were a gift, in the end all will need a gift and there will be none to give.

IAWL is as flawed re economics as it is re theology.

L P Cruz said...


Hmmm, we are not answering the question why people cry when they watch IAWL.

The bank run in IAWL happened without GB being aware of it.

BTW, GB did not ask for a bail out.Also Mr. Potter knew and possessed the money that Uncle Harry lost, but he did not give it to GB. Mr. Potter saw this as an opportunity to ruin GB.

Now GB during the bank run used his honeymoon money to give to people, demanding their portion.

So I ask the question, would these CEOs who caused this financial ruin be willing to lose their possessions for the mess they have created? No, in fact they are even hoping for the government to bail them out.

IAWL is about character not about proper economics or proper theology. It is about not losing your perspective. Life is still worth it even though you feel like committing suicide.

It is silly to expect Hollywood to preach the Gospel on behalf of the Church.

It is the Church's job to preach proper theology not Hollywood. If the Church is complaining that Hollywood might be propagating bad theology then she should go do movies as a vocation.

We should not call what is good, evil.

Scripture teaches us to pick what is good and chuck what is bad, doesn't it?


Past Elder said...

No-one expects Hollywood to preach the Gospel. The point is, we should not treat it as if it does anyway.

People cry at IAWL because in it they see the naive world they wish existed instead of the one that actually does and at some level they know that.

Not at all in the sense that the good guy or underdog wins in the end. In the sense that Bailey and Potter both are caricatures of a reality that is a good deal more complex -- a complexity we wish we didn't have to deal with, and in such movies, we don't. So we cry.

Life is really worth living when one no longer insists it be like the movies and quits imposing a naive ideal on what actually happens.

Reality doesn't inspire suicide. Refusing to deal with it by imposing non-reality on it does.

L P Cruz said...


I do not critique IAWL based on theological grounds, for example, a mixture of Roman and Prot elements in there with Roman more dominating.

The Bible says that righteousness exalts a nation and sin is a reproach to whatever sorts of people. So I give GB his due.

People cry at IAWL because in it they see the naive world they wish existed instead of the one that actually does and at some level they know that

This is a better answer, we know we do not have a prestine reality now and what IAWL shows some innocence we would rather have.

a complexity we wish we didn't have to deal with, and in such movies, we don't. So we cry.

Quite right.