The Bigger Reason You Should Be Worked Up About Beauty and the Beast

I heard all the hoopla leading up to its release. Segments of conservative Christianity were crying, “BOYCOTT!” because of the inclusion of a gay character. I’ve never been one for blindly joining anti-cultural bandwagons, so naturally I concluded I would need to see for myself. “What’s the big scuttle? Is there actually reason to be worked up?”

I went curious but prepared for some level of humdrum. I anticipated saying to myself, “They took the oh-so-familiar story and dressed it with ultra-realistic techno wizardry. Okay. That was kind of cool. And oh yea, they pushed the gay agenda.” I expected to be underwhelmed.

Instead, as our family settled in for the late-afternoon show, I found myself marvelously entertained, enthralled by the amazing cinematography. I was thoroughly captivated by characters, color, musical score, and brilliant pacing. Yes, a character was portrayed as ever-so-subtly gay, but I found myself wondering, “Would I really pick up on that if I wasn’t looking for him?” In actuality, this 2017 version seemed less sultry in male-female interaction than the old cartoon. I thought, “Wow! Less cleavage and sexual innuendo—why weren’t Christians applauding this cleaned up rendition?”

But there’s actually a bigger issue that deeply disturbed me. I’m stunned no one has yet cried out about such a pressing, flagrantly obvious theme.

All across this “tale as old as time,” the castle’s one-time-workers—now cursed household furniture, décor, and dishware—have been actively serving to orchestrate true love, attempting to reverse the curse, both for the Beast and their own existence. Toward the climax, the final rose petal has dropped, the Beast has been shot, and the great castle’s curse is culminating. Very soon, all will be permanently immobile and forever lifeless. The scenes are heavy, dark, and sad with regret. Love has not been found. The characters will be trapped, frozen in place, and lost forever.

With just moments remaining, Cogsworth the Clock and Lumiere the Candlestick realize the end is near. All along, they have been gradually losing their humanity, becoming harder, less functional and life-like. As they are about to lose all mobility and their ability to speak, Lumiere proclaims, “It’s been an honor to serve with you, Cogsworth.” In the next beats, every character stands still. All faces and motion vanish. The Beast has died, and his entire household is now still as stone.

Must confess, I was gushing tears in the theater’s darkness. (Yes, I can be a sentimental schmuck if a story deeply grabs me.) Truth be told, my soul was ambushed by the parallels, having said goodbye to several close family and friends in recent years. Such depiction of the solemnity of the curse caught me off guard. Suddenly, I was crying all over again about losing Dad, losing Grandma, as well as just recently saying farewell to Sherilyn and Bob in our church family. And I was also deeply soul-moved—extremely worked up by something bigger. I knew what was coming.

So do you. As Belle weeps over the Beast and confesses her true love, Agathe the Enchantress revives the rose. Love wins, blowing the mighty winds of change. The Beast rises and is marvelously transformed into the Prince once again. Then one by one, every character including Cogsworth and Lumiere come back to glorious life, now fully human once again. People who had been estranged for many years are reunited, now fully alive and joyfully dancing.

In the theater’s darkness, I was bawling once again. As tears gushed, I felt my chair shaking. These were tears of triumph, born of oft-forgotten, albeit vitally important workplace theology. Truth be told, this scene marvelously portrays a dusty concept known as transformatio mundi. It’s Latin for the eschatological belief that with the end-times arrival of New Heavens and New Earth, all will be cleansed, fully transformed. All of “the house” will be renewed, gloriously redeemed—all of Creation, including the servants, believers in Christ Jesus along with their grace-motivated, God-glorifying work (Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 8). Very closely related is the marvelous concept of resurrection. Christ rose in his new, physical body, fully alive. His own work of gracious salvation and bodily resurrection supply the first taste and the precious promise of such bodily resurrection for every human who by faith trusts in Him (1 Corinthians 15).*

Gracious, selfless love. The curse reversed, resurrection, and powerful transformation. Please tell me again why conservative Christians cried, “Boycott!” Hours after seeing the movie, I’m still gloriously disturbed. Instead of sporting a grumpy outlook over a possible gay character, I wish we would be worked up by the resurrection message so marvelously portrayed by such a movie. We could be motivated to persevere in our daily good work in God’s kingdom. After all, we know what’s coming. The house and servants will not stay cursed. It’s Gospel. Gracious love wins. There’s glorious transformation yet to come.

But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. (1 Corinthians 15:57-58)

*For further reading on these provocative concepts, grab a copy of Darrell Cosden’s The Heavenly Good of Earthly Work.

 

 

70 thoughts on “The Bigger Reason You Should Be Worked Up About Beauty and the Beast

    1. Thanks for both reading and commenting. In actuality, the horned beast in the story is not in any way the “savior.” He’s one of the many who need saved, rescued from his self-absorbed, self-afflicted curse. His deliverance is at the core of the amazing story. Hoping these thoughts prove helpful at engaging and being further encouraged by God’s grand redemption story. Blessings!

    2. RAM

      I don’t think the Beast in this has anything to do with Revelation. There is a good lesson here in not liking/ loving someone because they are beautiful.

    3. Rachel

      The savior isn’t the horned beast–the author’s point is that the beast is us, the depraved and un-redeemed. The author connects the beast’s transformation to our final glorious transformation. Maybe Belle could qualify as the redeemer in this analogy, since it’s her love that transforms the beast, or the enchantress, because she’s the one orchestrating it all, but in any case, the Beast is not the Christ figure.

    4. Jenna Garrett

      The beast is not the savior in this piece–he is the one cursed. And he cannot fight the curse on his own. Christ was fully capable of reversing the curse; it was the entire reason he took on human form. Even if Christ were depicted with horns in a fairy tale, that would be more accurate that many of the portrayals we see in the media. Isaiah said that the Messiah would have no beauty that we should desire him.

    5. treetopbirdy

      The beast character isn’t the savior character. There is no central character with that definition. Belle’s love and commitment convince the enchantress to reverse the spell. The closest you might to come to “saving” in this case would be Belle’s love and commitment.

  1. Kym MacKilligan

    BRAVO!!! The bigger picture MUST be seen! This is spot on! Believers GET YOUR EYES ON THE GRAND STORY!!! Thanks Pletch! My heart swells knowing Christ wins in the end and LOVE prevails not only in the movies but in real life! Yet again the epic story is told through another story. Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. Sue

    I had already decided to go see it anyway in spite of the negative attitudes of some Christians, but this encourages me more! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great writing and excellent insight! I read it several times and shared your FB post of it…and then saw several of my friends shared it as well! I, too get weary of all the over-reaction to issues that are often non-issues and the lack of common sense and logic in what is written. Thanks for writing!

  4. Terri Schmidt

    Saw it with my adult daughter the other day (the animated version came out the year she was born). We’d also heard the outcry, but decided to view it and decide for ourselves. It was beautiful.

  5. Nancy

    As a Christian, I was appalled at the blatant attitude of the director bragging about the fact that this is the first movie with a gay agenda. He said this is a step in normalizing and getting people to accept the homosexual agenda. This is what Christians are objecting to. We don’t want them shoving their agenda on us or our children and that is exactly their motive. So when you support that movie, just know that that is what you are supporting. Had Disney not pointed out this gay scene, we probably would have never noticed. But since they had to make a huge point about this, you should not support it! As far as the spiritual parallels, you get it from their original animated version.

    1. Yes, it’s a shame indeed when there’s blatant bragging about pushing one’s agenda. And for each of us everyday, we are presented opportunities to interact with people, their backgrounds/ideas (some holy, some unholy), and our collective resulting cultural mix. Within such, we have the sacred joy and responsibility of winsomely pointing others to the life-changing, grace & truth of Christ’s transformation power. I believe that can even happen via current movies on the big screen. Again, thanks for entering the conversation and sharing in such a meaningful way. Blessings!

      1. Karen Stuber

        I have not seen the movie. I could relate to what you are saying if the target audience wasn’t children. I work in an elementary library and just recently had someone share with me that one of the William Allen White books had as I recall a trans gender character. This person shared that several school districts had chosen not to purchase this book. This movie is the tip of the ice berg.

      2. Katherine Raymond

        I’m glad that people from all walks of life can find reason to like such a beautifully put together film. But it makes me sad that so many people who preach the glory of God’s love are so appalled that Disney decided to include a small but unambiguously gay representative of a community that’s borne unconscionable abuse, and blatant hatred. His role in the movie is subtle, funny, and even sweet as he finds his way to the side of good at the end. Furthermore, the characters around him are clearly fine with his lifestyle, as evidenced by Mrs. Potts’ comfort when he changes sides. I wish all of the Christian community could unite to be a little more kind to their brothers and sisters who live their life in a different way, which doesn’t affect any life but their own.

    2. Certainly do appreciate your reading and then sharing your perspective. The debate over what Christians should or should not support based on a source’s key ideology has existed for centuries. We all live in that tension as we seek to be “salt and light” and share the Gospel with both “grace and truth.” Again, thanks so much for interacting on this platform. Blessings!

    3. Alyssa

      I’m gay and getting my homosexual agenda all over your comment, Nancy! Or did you forget the part where God said not to judge others?

      1. Becca

        That’s out of context. When God said not to judge others, He didn’t mean we couldn’t have an opinion, call out sin in fellow believers, or set boundaries. He was warning against being hypocritical, a snob, or unfairly punishing others. Nancy did none of those things, she only stated her opinion, just as you did.

      2. Alyssa, God Loves all. We are charged to love all. Don’t let the selective readers get you down. After all, Jesus said, Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me (Jesus). My gay brothers in Christ will have forgotten all the abuse once they are seated around the banquet table in heaven as those who persecuted them in Christ’s name arrive for the feast. The ones who Claimed Jesus but did not love will be the ones remembering with regret how they treated others of God’s Divine Creation.

      3. Becca

        God loves all, but His acceptance of us as His children comes with a huge condition (repentance). Love and agreeing with someone’s lifestyle are two very different things, as God himself displays.

    4. Kimberly Gould

      Totally agree with you opinion. How many drops of arsenic will a person allow in his glass of water befor he stops drinking it? “Let the guard down a little farther….it won’t hurt”””……still continues to be the most effective tool of the devil……

    5. Mary Redeker

      I totally agree. The normalization is pushed on us. That’s the very reason Christians avoid such movies. They can give the same message without the gay agenda.

  6. Dave

    I can appreciate how you might glean spiritual parallels from this movie, and I’m glad… truly… that it touched your heart and caused you to rejoice in the redemption and newness we have because of Jesus. Truth be told, nearly ANY story that highlights selfless love and redemption should serve as a beautiful reminder of Christ, our Redeemer and the epitome of true love.

    If this film can serve as a catalyst for someone to share the Gospel… great.

    However, even though it may parallel something so precious to us , I don’t think that means we should necessarily celebrate it as if the film itself were a Christian victory and something that needs to be supported or rallied around by believers. I’m not saying it “must” be boycotted, but it would naive and foolish to simply brush aside the very clear intent of those involved with the making of this film to further normalize homosexuality in the eyes and minds of adults and children in our society. After all, this, in addition to cross-dressing, is an element of the film (which I have seen) that is very clear and right on the surface, and not something that requires interpretation like the possible spiritual parallels that you’ve indicated.

    So, let’s not be silent about the hope we have in Christ, and how this story pictures that. But let’s ALSO speak the truth in love regarding the homosexual agenda woven into the film, lest our silence be misinterpreted as consent.

  7. msanmoore

    John,

    A friend happened to “like” this on LinkedIn which caused me to come over and read it. I must say I’m lifted up in spirit this morning with what you’ve said. I can’t share the post on Facebook just yet (on a break for Lent), but I would like your permission to link to it in my own blog for an upcoming Easter post.

    I’m far from what you might call a “traditionalist” in terms of my theology and practice. I glean from a wide variety of sources and, admittedly, am a very big fan of John Eldridge. What you have done here is echo the thoughts that any story that will move us significantly has to reflect some aspect of The Story … and I’d say you nailed it.

    Laying aside all the minor flap about Disney and Josh Gad and what the director flippantly said (he has admitted lately that he really shot off his mouth out of school), you have focused back on the picture of ultimate redemption … that image that is so central to any meaningful story. Mel Gibson captured it in about 15 seconds in his “Passion”. Tolkein certainly echoed it many times as Gandalf is “reborn” and good ultimately triumphs. Lewis has Aslan explain that the witch does’t understand the “deep magic”. So many images and stories flood my mind … all such great reminders not only of the upcoming Easter celebration but, as you noted, the reality of the very end where Father God will reset Creation and restore everything to a state of “new”.

    This is the message we share with the world, not some (often) petty bluster and boycott language. This is a portrait of redemption those around us so desperately need to hear.

    Thank you for what you shared. Now I must go see this movie.

    Mark

    1. Thanks for engaging in such a thoughtful way, Mark. I concur that Eldredge, Tolkien, and others have blazed very meaningful trails for Christ-followers to appreciate the Grand Story and to tap into the common threads of His Story in sharing the Gospel +growing deeper in grace. Especially for those of us who are blessed (some would say “cursed” 🙂 with an extra-creative bent, this avenue resonates and supplies solid platforms. Thanks again for reflecting in the dialog right here. And by all means, link away!

  8. Jeff Kliewer

    Hi Pastor John, I largely appreciate the tone you use in this article and in your responses to the comments, especially how you responded to Nancy and Dave above. But I do feel the need to say, as kindly and nicely as I can, that the premise of your article is actually quite demeaning to your fellow Christians. You insinuate that Christians are creating “the big scuttle”. You describe us as being “worked up”, as if we are children in a tizzy over petty things, while you, the adult in the room, stand with arms crossed, offering a more mature perspective. But, is that really the case? Maybe Nancy and Dave are right. Maybe it’s not right to approach this particular issue, after all that has been said and publicized, with a flippant “And oh yea, they pushed the gay agenda.” Maybe the morally right thing to do is to refrain from patronizing this movie. From my perspective, it’s as plain as day that Christians should refrain from this movie, and certainly not promote it, since its agenda has been openly stated and broadcast to the ends of the earth.

    1. Certainly do appreciate your reflections and thoughtful push-back, Jeff. First, please be assured that I mean nothing “demeaning” to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The aim is to be more “thought-provoking” and better at “culture-engaging.” (I’ve found we can be served and stretched on this issue by Paul’s example at both Athens and Mars Hill in Acts 17.) We are both very aware that Christians have been long-debating some of these “lines” regarding what we do or do not patronize (ironically, not that long ago, the entire movie industry itself 🙂 Respectfully, I don’t believe it’s as plain as day that Christians should refrain from this movie, especially when there are SO many strong messages/themes that can supply talking points and images of redemption. Yes, these are juxtaposed with other sinful moral choices, but that’s the canvass of life and even the Word itself. Again, great thanks for entering the dialog. In your willingness to do so, you’re helping further one of my big goals in writing the piece — to help us both think and engage more winsomely in being salt and light for Christ. Seriously good to serve with you in God’s household. Blessings to you and your church team!

      1. M

        I am quite appalled at how so many Christians can justify seeing something that clearly had an agenda attached to it that is quite ungodly. I have heard all the justifications of how you can see Christ in it, it wasn’t that bad, if no one had said anything they wouldn’t have even noticed, bla,bla,bla…. The director of this movie, decided that he wanted to push his agenda of introducing homosexuality in a children’s movie, he did and Christians all over are blathering about how wonderful it is! The same director also shared, with glee, how he loves to go to hotel rooms and tear up the Gideon Bibles in the room! How do you justify that?!!? You think that just because it wasn’t that noticeable, that it’s all right? You know, Satan does not come raging in and push things in your face. He comes in quietly. Subtly. A little bit here, a little bit there, until we have been so conditioned to ignore and accept it, that we no longer see it as sin! Can’t you see that’s what is happening? It’s kind of like the frog in the pan of boiling water. If you throw the frog into the hot, boiling water, it’s a shock to his system, but if you put him in cold water, and slowly turn the heat up, he never even notices that his body is being boiled. THAT is what is happening and I’m just appalled that so many “Christians” continue to make excuses and justifications for a movie that was changed to slowly introduce a homosexual agenda to our children. Don’t look now, but you’re being boiled….

  9. Jeff Kliewer

    I appreciate your reply, brother, and your motives for the post, which I can see are evangelistic, not confrontational toward anyone, even if I feel that terms like “hoopla” belittle valid concerns. In your reply, I think you put your finger on the crucial spot, namely, evangelistic methodology. You see Acts 17 as providing a mandate for becoming more conversant/relevant in the culture, and using culture as a tool in our evangelism. I see some redeeming value down that, shall we say, “missional” lane, but I’m not overly impressed with our need to go there. In my estimation (and here I’m agreeing that these are judgment issues, not primary issues, where there is room for us to disagree and still honor one another as brothers), the real need of the hour is for Christians to be more holy, more distinct from the culture, more discerning, more protective of our children (Beauty and the Beast is still, kind of, a children’s movie after all), more presuppositional in our apologetics, more bold and direct and Scriptural in our evangelism. So, in summary, I disagree with patronizing or promoting Beauty and the Beast, but I honor you as a brother, and I agree that conversations like this are good and helpful. Thanks for providing the platform and for engaging with gentleness and respect. You are a good model for us all in that.

  10. Elyse

    As a Christian, albeit a more progressive thinking Christian than the ones boycotting this movie, I wonder why Christians should focus on the fact that there is a gay character? it is a fact of life that there are homosexual people in the world. Why should movies pretend that there aren’t? Personal beliefs aside on homosexuality, God will have final say. Are we really at this point sheltering our children by excluding gay characters from movies? they see gay couples on tv commercials, advertisements, walking down the street all the time! Like i said, it is a reality that children will be exposed to it so why pretend in movies that there are no homosexuals? if the movie isn’t focusing on it and being lewd, then I really do not understand the outcry. I find this article to be spot on in that the bigger story should be the parallels to redemption!

    1. Becca

      Personally, my issue is not so much in the actually gay/cross dressing scenes, it’s with this agenda being pushed and the attitude of the director. ( Also, being a writer/actor, it really ticks me off that they changed old, beloved characters to fit their own agendas. But I digress.) Unlike Beauty and the Beast I have no problem with The Flash TV show, even though the Chief police officer is gay, because it’s not made a big deal of.

      I also wanted to point out that depending on where you live, there isn’t as much exposure. Unless you live in a big city, the exposure you mentioned doesn’t happen. With the exception of television and the internet… That more depends on how much you limit internet access.

    2. Mary Redeker

      Study a group called NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association) to see where this desensitization is leading. They are systematically trying to desensitize us with the end goal of legalizing pedophilia. Just look it up. We need to protect our children from such ideas. If you doubt this, you can find cases where known sex offenders are trying to get by with their crimes by saying ” the only way I can find love is through a sexual relationship with a child. It’s normal for me and should not be illegal.” Yes these people are actually arguing for this now. One of my husband’s seminary professors said it best. “It’s not hard to get from yuck to yes in our society.” And why do we have to go to a questionable movie to learn about Jesus, we have the Bible and pure witness from our hearts. Seems to me this movie is a lazy way and very ineffective way to spread the Gospel.

      1. msanmoore

        The NAMBLA argument is a complete gas balloon and red herring. They have been around for decades and no state allows it to go forward without prosecution. In fact, with the pervasiveness of the Internet, the crackdowns have become more frequent and the sentences are pretty harsh. So don’t throw that one out there under the guise that it is moving toward being a “norm”. Nothing can be further from the truth.

        Nobody says this is a “gospel movie” and that isn’t John’s original point. He’s saying that the story culminates in a redemption and resurrection. The vast majority of the stories that speak to us do that – mostly because that’s how we are wired by God and how he connects with us.

      2. Mary Redeker

        msanmoore,
        50 years ago you would never think there would be sexual situations like this in a kids movie, yet here they are. They might be subtle but the point is that’s how it’s done. Subtly over time . NAMBLA is not a red herring. You can obviously see that there is an agenda here. Whowmever is behind it the end game is to normalize immorality and we should especially protect our children. Yuck to yes. Not much distance between them!

  11. CLARK COCHRANE

    Wow! Do I want to “think and engage more winsomely in being salt and light” or do I want to “be more holy, more distinct from the culture, more discerning”? Do I want to use a children’s movie with a publicized agenda as talking points to engage with my current culture or can the Gospel (God’s Holy Word) still work miracles in the lives of broken people like my neighbors, friends, & co-workers? For me submitting to Christ’s Lordship is incredibly hard. Living holy is hard; even impossible in my worldly flesh. But, only the Truth of the Gospel sets men free. Looking for a relevant gospel analogy in a movie that provided an emotional experience while ignoring the stated Genesis 1 revisionism is not only unnecessary but perhaps dangerous. Gracious love does win but Lordship and life-change cannot be exempted. As a conservative Christian, I will refrain from spending my resources & time supporting this movie in spite (and in part because) of your thoughtful and well-written review.

  12. B

    It was not the movie or how awesome it was. I have no doubt it was amazing. The problem is that the actor and director confessed their agenda and how excited they are to be the first to make a Disney character gay. The problem is that he wasn’t gay. In the original he was not gay. They stuck it in there to turn an amazing kids movie into a political show…which is becoming the norm, everything has to be political. I do not care if anyone is gay in any movie. It’s not new, it’s not original. But it was pushed and made this huge deal to get everyone freaked out against each other. And that’s exactly what they accomplished. It’s sad that this has divided Christians and people when what it should have been is just an incredible movie.

    1. expfshost

      B, I agree. If this wasn’t trumpeted by the gay director as being ‘just the beginning’ of normalizing gay relations…especially in a kids movie…I doubt you’d see the outcry. Most people MAY have even missed what happened in the segment of the movie where it was done. However, the true motives, not the end product, are what’s bothersome here. We are not to judge, but once again: that verse is taken out of context by those who choose a lifestyle, in order to shut others up from speaking out about their disagreement with that lifestyle choice. The Bible is VERY clear about homosexuality. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s not ME ‘judging’. It’s relating what GOD thinks of it. The ‘Big Picture’ here is the outspoken attempt to try to ‘normalize’ homosexuals via Hollywood. Worse, in a children’s movie. I’m shocked that this article is focusing on something that actually ‘isn’t there’ in the movie. It’s from a person who’s chosen to see this movie from a specific perspective…driven almost entirely by emotions. No disrespect to the author, but we serve no purpose by not speaking up.

      So it was a heart-warming movie. So it was a movie that caused some people to relate it to Christianity. Similar to the Lord of the Rings movie…even though Tolkien has said that there was no allegory in the books, and even spoke about how he disliked C.S. Lewis’s choice of allegory for the Narnia books. In the end, the director is laughing. I’ve read about the guy, and his being an outspoken anti-Christian. Wanting to rip pages from the Bible? Very classy, and SO ‘tolerant’. So we are not to ‘shield’ our children from everyday life. Instead, we should serve them more things that are immoral?! AND support the spread and increase of this type of situation in the near future by giving money to ‘the cause’?! Amazing. That’s seriously flawed ‘logic’. This is how progressiveness starts. A little bit at first…hardly noticeable. Then a little bit more. Then a little bit more. Eventually you have Christians merely ‘waving off’ homosexuality and other things that the Bible teaches us are wrong! Normalization. This is a moment. A ‘nip it in the bud’ moment for Christians.

      Queue hate and bigotry accusations by the homosexuals who’ve been posting responses here…proud of their outspoken gayness. I’m surprised that nobody has actually called them out and corrected them on what effects their lifestyle choices will have on their relationship with Christ…very disappointing. I guess Christians should just ‘shut up’ and stop ‘offending people’, right? God will be SO proud of that kind of behavior. Jesus never offended anyone, I’m sure. Shameful.

      Disclaimer: I’m not a ‘hater’ nor a ‘bigot’. I love the sinner but hate the sin. I know homosexuals have great difficulty understanding that concept, as they struggle to find verses in the Bible that they feel either support their lifestyle or at least ‘protect’ their lifestyle. The sin is talked about very pointedly in the Bible. I’ll pray for the people here who are basking in their gayness, and boasting about God’s acceptance of them, even though they choose a life of sin and lack of repentance. I do not support the author’s viewpoint in this article, and I will continue to pray for perspective amongst fellow believers. It’s easy to fall into ‘comfortableness’ with some movies…even songs…that appear to ‘sound’ Christian. But the motives for this director are beyond un-Chrsitian-like, and he doesn’t hold back what his motives are. If you approve of a guy who is blatantly anti-Christian, and you throw money at him for his ‘creative works’ (so he is flush with money and ‘faux approval’, even by people of Faith…enabling him to go on to make more obvious scenes in the near future), then you should really have a ‘talk to God’ moment.

  13. Some Christians are so heavenly minded they are no earthly good. Salt must go On Food to change the flavor. Light must go into darkness. How many young people have been so forever hurt by churches condemning them for being who God created? Science is not the enemy of God. So much science has revealed so many new questions for Christians to address. We Christians were not called to judge, but to love. Otherwise be a Pharisee and keep pecking the specks of dust from your brother’s eye while remaining willfully blind to God’s wonderful creation.

    1. Becca

      When God said not to judge, he was warning about being hypocritical, a snob, or unfairly punishing others (some of which you hit spot on!). However, he didn’t mean that we couldn’t disagree with someone.

  14. Anne

    YES!! Thank you for this! You put into words what I could not myself. We saw this movie for the 2nd time last night, and I was just as moved as the first time, and want to see it again! The movie is phenomenally done, and the story is one of hope and love. Disney outdid itself this time. Best movie I’ve seen in a long time — and it’s a remake of a cartoon!!

  15. StandingTall

    Does anyone else see a problem with the message of “if you are pretty enough and sweet enough, you can make the abusive man change his ways?” I think the movie could spur a healthy conversation with our children about violence and abuse and our healthy, appropriate responses to it. Too many women take responsibility for their partners’ abusive behavior.

  16. Pingback: Beauty and the Beast (2017) | Fernweh's Call

  17. Very well stated. It was much more impactful in this version to see everything die… how his choices affected the entire household. Then for Agathe to come in as the “redeemer” made this picture so vividly theological, I also couldn’t help but cry. Thank you for showing us the beauty from He ashes of this controversial film.

  18. Kathleen

    I’m not understanding what all the outcry is about a secular company making a secular film with a secular (gay) character in it. We are told not to judge the world around us.
    What surprises me more is that no one in this discussion has brought up the aspect of Christians entertaining themselves with magic, which is exactly what we (not the world) are told to have nothing to do with. We are told this all through scripture, in very clear terms. Yet we have adapted to the worlds standard of entertainment, and constant need for it- trying to pull spiritual analogies from it. Don’t get me wrong, he is faithful to meet us in any way we can understand it. But as a Christian community we have the gull to ignore all those scriptures about occult/magic and focus our debate about Disney creating a gay character?
    I truly love the church, but there’s an elephant in room folks.

      1. expfshost

        The magic is something that Disney (in particular) has been ‘feeding’ young kids and adults for quite awhile now. To bring that into this ‘debate’ would be a bit ridiculous, as everyone knows it and it’s been an issue that Christians have had a problem with for decades now. The homosexuality content is ‘new territory’. Or more like ‘the next step’. I wonder…with all those people not having any issue with the new homosexual angle…when it would actually take for Christians to stand up and say “ok, they’ve gone a step TOO FAR”? Grow a spine, folks. Take a stand. I’d rather stand for Christ than sit for Satan’s entertainment. “Amen about the magic, too”. Really?? I don’t see anyone here having ‘the gull’ to ignore anything. What’s being pointed out, debated and discussed (oh, and by sheer coincidence is also the content of the article in the first place) is the topic at hand. Sheesh.

      2. Carolyn

        Not many Christians that I know have any problem with the magic in Disney movies. So, yes, I am happy to see someone making a stand against it. I did a post about the issue at hand.

  19. msanmoore

    I’ve held back posting a second time as my original comment expressed my thoughts. But after reading so much unwarranted backlash, I felt I wanted to chime in one more time.

    First – John, you are a wonder model of our Divine Brother to keep from responding to so many of these comments and their direct and indirect attacks on what you wrote. You connected me with The Story and that is among the highest things we can do as brothers and sisters. It prompted my own blog post about this and other memories of the promised Resurrection awaiting us. Thank you again for what you wrote and for the gracious way you have allowed the comments to flow.

    Second – Disney’s primary agenda with this or any other movie is to make money. If you doubt that for even a minute, go to your library and check out the book “Disney War” that covers the Michael Eisner reign there. The director made a comment about a less than minor character in a single scene. He even later noted he wished he hadn’t let it fly. The actor, doing his job, did as directed and didn’t really comment on it much if at all. It’s all exactly what you would expect in the entertainment industry. And the director isn’t a Disney employee – directors get contracted to do projects, nothing more. Frankly, Disney’s near lack of commentary says they just wanted it all to fade away so the movie could be what it is – a great retelling of a spectacular story (and one that happens to point to The Story).

    Third – The rest of the “gay agenda hoopla” has come primarily from the modern equivalent to the Pharisees … the so-called “religious right”. I’ve had more than a little experience there, so I know it when I see it. The comments here and elsewhere about “slippery slopes”, “hate the sin, love the sinner” and the like are thinly veiled shots at anyone who doesn’t look, act, talk, feel and live exactly as whatever code (not the actual Bible) the attacker subscribes to says you should. Frankly, I’ve come to the point in my journey where I feel sorry for those people. They are so bound up in their works and fear of a dreadful, punishing God that they never understand the nature of freedom and the call to live joyfully under that banner.

    Fourth – Since I’ve read so much judgment (yes, that’s what it is when you project yourself onto a person you don’t know, have no relationship with or expresses an opposing viewpoint on a simple blog like this) I’m surprised some of you can post at all. After all, you must have access to the Internet which can hold all kinds of evil. And if you watch any TV at all on either ABC or ESPN, then you support Disney because they own all of that.

    My apologies to John for the above mini-rant. But I wanted to follow the comments and the number of them that chose to blast rather than engage finally got the better of me. As I noted in my e-mail to you, I’m basically a modern “heretic” by the standards of many who I used to know. And I’m completely fine with that label because it puts me in pretty good company.

    Mark

    1. expfshost

      Mark. I’m glad you feel you’re in good company based on your feeling that people consider you a ‘heretic’. No worries, right? Do what you want. Nobody ‘judging’ you. No accountability necessary, because you’re ‘free’, right? Life is good! Christianity in your mind must be WAY easier than you ever dreamed!

      I have to wonder where you are in terms of being a follower of Christ and his teachings, though. You’re rant above is quite revealing in many ways. You said the following (quoting):

      “The rest of the “gay agenda hoopla” has come primarily from the modern equivalent to the Pharisees … the so-called “religious right”. I’ve had more than a little experience there, so I know it when I see it. The comments here and elsewhere about “slippery slopes”, “hate the sin, love the sinner” and the like are thinly veiled shots at anyone who doesn’t look, act, talk, feel and live exactly as whatever code (not the actual Bible) the attacker subscribes to says you should. Frankly, I’ve come to the point in my journey where I feel sorry for those people. They are so bound up in their works and fear of a dreadful, punishing God that they never understand the nature of freedom and the call to live joyfully under that banner.”

      There’s just so much out-of-sync with the Bible and Christ’s teachings in your quoted text above that it’s hard to know where to start. You choose to see Christians as ‘the religious left’ and ‘the religious right’. Let’s keep it simpler: followers of Christ and his teachings, and non-followers of Christ and his teachings. There, fixed it for you. You attacked other Christians who were trying to show the problem with the authors viewpoint related to this movie. You’ve had more than a little experience there, according to your post. I’ve had 54 years of experience (not including college), but this isn’t a contest. You come off as a disenchanted Christian (going strictly by your post above), and appear to have chosen the ‘easy road’. I choose to follow the ‘road less traveled by’. The road that is outlined very clearly in the Bible. The ‘uncomfortable journey’. The journey of living our lives according to the Bible. Not man. I’m also curious what ‘actual Bible’ you’re referring to?? The Bible is incredibly clear about homosexuality. The Bible is also pretty clear about ‘judging’. It’s funny…those who choose the ‘easy road’ love to accuse people of ‘judging’ them, as it’s a very convenient way to shut people up, while taking a Bible verse out of context. Hey, I’m not judging anyone as a homosexual. CHRIST IS, THOUGH! You got a problem with the Bible and it’s teachings, then you should probably re-think your relationship with Christ, because the Bible is THE WORD of God. “Fear of a dreadful, punishing God”. Not at all, Mark. Quite the opposite. Why should I fear my creator, who gave his only son to die on the cross for me??!! To save me from sin. To be my eternal Lord and Savior. We are to take up our own cross and follow him. Not the world. Any perceived ‘fear of a dreadful, punishing God’ is not coming from this end, Mark…

      “…that they never understand the nature of freedom and the call to live joyfully under that banner”. Wow. I think that sums your post up, Mark. God calls us to be FREE FROM SIN. Not FREE TO SIN. Living joyfully in sin is against God’s teachings, but alot of ‘modern Christians’ have enjoyed ‘modernizing’ the Bible to allow for new ‘social norms’ that have come about in recent years. Are you ‘ok’ with a Bible that ‘evolves’ and ‘changes’ with the times? In order to keep up with new ‘social norms’? I’m just curious.

      Christ says that homosexuality is an abomination. How do you reconcile that, Mark?? How can you ignore that? If a Christian brother is living in sin, would you point that out to him…or leave him to continue to sin?

      Please, don’t feel sorry for me at all. I feel sorry for you, and will pray that God opens your eyes to HIS TRUTH.

  20. Nancy

    I love the essay! Thanks for writing it – I can’t wait to see the movie now. But please reconsider use of the Yiddish word schmuck – it is a word for male genitalia and is still very much in use. I am sure you hardly meant to call yourself a penis! Non-Jewish Americans use it incorrectly all the time – with no apparent knowledge of its translation.

  21. Nancy

    I love the essay! Thanks for writing it – I can’t wait to see the movie now. But please reconsider use of the Yiddish word schmuck – it is a word for male genitalia and is still very much in use. I am sure you hardly meant to call yourself a penis! Non-Jewish Americans use it incorrectly all the time – with no apparent knowledge of its translation. And – the word is viewed in Jewish households to be so obscene as to be taboo.

  22. Rachel

    I was an artist who used to produce oil paintings based on fairy tales. I was very much swept up in them as they are very beautiful in many ways. I tried putting a biblical message alongside them, however really in my case it was a bit of a side thought which allowed me to enjoy them as I was mostly pulled away by their beauty and entertainment. I ended up in a really tough learning place. There were many things God taught me over a few years but one here comes to mind. Matthew 9:17 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.” The root of these stories is still there and keeps appearing in what grows. Yes we can always find beauty in things like this as the people who make them are made in God’s image and able to create amazing things. It can all be quite subtle really and we can get a bit desensitised over the years.

  23. Rachel

    It’s also not only what this movie stands for now but what will it continue to grow in the future. We need vision to see beyond what we see now.

  24. Carolyn

    There’s a Bible verse – it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine. I haven’t seen this – I am only going by what others have said. It might have been so slight a moment that one would not notice it if they hadn’t been looking for it; but God still saw it and He still knows it’s there and it is an abomination to Him as is sorcery, witchcraft and a romantic relationship between a person and a beast We may think this is such a small issue; but it is always the small issues that get us where we are today. For instance, with the sexual revolution that we find ourselves in with all the destruction that it brings to women, children and most certainly marriages – and the poor children; and the abortions that come from all that. Would we ever have thought that 70% of christian men and 30% of christian women would be feasting on pornography? And yet, they do. Immorality abounds in the church even; and it was the little innuendoes, etc that we thought were funny or cute or that we just overlooked that got us to this place. For instance, we didn’t watch movies for about 25 yrs. We just started watching some a few years ago after this great fast. We decided to watch It’s a Wonderful Life as we had seen it once 30 yrs ago or so; and everyone talked about how wonderful it was. Certainly, the theme was very good. But I was quite shocked to see the line up of women jumping off of whatever it was to have all their skirts fly up completely over their waists, to hear him panting on the phone, and to see him left holding her robe while she hid in a bush. I don’t know what happened there – I had left the room. We become so desensitized that we end up enjoying things that God calls an abomination. 😦

    A Little Leaven
    “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (I Corinthians 5:6)
    No one wants a little cancer, does he? Yet, people tolerate a little sin in their lives. Sin is cancer of the spirit. Cancer can destroy your life. Sin can destroy the soul. One malady is temporal; the other is eternal.
    The insidious effect of one man’s sin spreads to others. “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself” (Romans 14:7). We affect others. “Evil communication corrupts good manners” (I Corinthians 15:33). The West Virginia translation of that verse is: “If you lie down with dogs-you’re gonna’ get up with fleas!”

    http://www.crosswalk.com/…/fight-the-little-foxes-that…

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