Life Resources Ltd, based in Christchurch, evaluates, sources and provides resources for media, marriage, leadership, church health and growth, and charitable support. It has become a major importer, distributor and online reseller of a wide range of DVD resources with the latest in documentary, family and inspirational titles. Here we review three of them.
The Cross: The Arthur Blessitt Story
Rated PG; $29.95
You have probably seen or heard something of Arthur Blessitt, the American evangelist, now aged 68, who for the past 40 years has been carrying a wooden cross around the world. This is his story.The numbers are startling. Arthur has carried the cross for some 76 milllion steps, carrying some 16 billion pounds in weight in the process, and walked across every country, territory and major island group in the world. He has openly carried his cross in Muslim and Hindu countries, war zones, mountains and deserts.
Logic suggests he should have been shot, eaten by wild animals or run over by a Mac truck a long time ago. But he hasn’t. God has protected him, and at times intervened miraculously to keep him safe.
In this 90 minute DVD we follow Arthur and his cross as he talks to people on the park benches of a major city, bringing them to Christ with a very simple message: “God knows your name, he loves and cares for you. He died on a cross for you.”
We watch video footage of him crossing the impenetrable Darian Gap jungle of Panama, praying in Jesus’ name cheek-to-cheek with PLO leader Yassir Arafat on a street corner of war-torn Beirut, and crossing the no-man’s land between the IRA and Protestants in Northern Ireland.
The video footage is of varying quality depending on how early in the 40-year journey it was filmed, but the overall quality of the DVD is superb. The commentary is minimal and is there only to provide the links.
There’s nothing more to say because Arthur says it all in his own words. Still photography and montages are interspersed with the video footage and close-ups of Arthur telling his story. And there’s some clever use of Google Earth.
The DVD tackles the questions we are all asking – why the journey and why carry a cross? It gives us the answer as it reaches its conclusion: This is not really the story of what Arthur does with the cross. It’s the story of what the Cross does with Arthur.
As We Forgive
This is not a documentary about the reasons behind the Rwanda genocide of 1994. Rather, it’s the story of the consequences and aftermath of what happened as a result of the 100 days in which Hutus turned on their Tutsi neighbours and massacred a million of them, mostly with clubs and machetes.
It brings the horror of that massacre down to a personal level as individual victims and murderers get to tell their own story. This necessitates some use of subtitles, so requires a bit of concentration on the part of the viewer, but brings home both the sorrow and hope that is contained in the Rwandan tragedy.
Rwanda today is a nation struggling to reunite by bringing both perpetrators and victims together in a spirit of reconciliation. This is the story of some of these individuals in simple terms as they are seen at various stages along the journey of repentance or forgiveness. It looks at the work of organisations such as Prison Fellowship Rwanda and the Church as they play their part in bringing the two sides together .
The documentary takes a number of tangents while allowing the tension to build as John and Chantale prepare to face each other for the first time since the day John murdered Chantale’s family.
Towards the end, the cameras are there as the meeting finally takes place. John confesses his guilt and torment and pleads for forgiveness. How does Chantale react? Well, you’ll need to watch it to find out!
The over-arching story is the Christian message of reconciliation through forgiveness. The film avoids any moralising and shows us that the path to reconciliation is difficult and painful, but ultimately liberating.
At 53 minutes, this is a great DVD for a home group. There are even some helpful discussion-starting questions on the inside of the cover.
Rated M; $24.95
I approached this movie with some apprehension, given that it is about abortion and the choices women face with unplanned pregnancy. Too often I’ve seen Christians quick to offer their views on the morality of the choice, but being far less helpful when it comes to compassion and understanding.
I needn’t have worried. Sarah’s Choice is an excellent movie that looks intelligently at the dilemma many women face when confronted with an unplanned pregnancy just as their career is moving into top gear.
It recognises that we all carry baggage in our lives and that our views and choices are dictated by our experiences. The choice may be obvious to those of us on the outside looking in, but not as clear to the person in that situation.
Sarah’s Choice follows the dilemma facing Sarah Collins (played by Rebecca St James) as she discovers she is pregnant, just as she is about to receive a job promotion that will end her financial troubles.
We follow Sarah as she receives advice and opinions from her religious family, her non-religious friends, church minister and spectacularly unhelpful medical adviser. The movie also looks at the choice from the perspective of the boyfriend.
This is a well-acted, Hollywood-quality movie that also has a few lighter moments and a bit of humour along the way.
My only reservations are that, like so many Christian DVDs, it looks at the issue from a middle class, monocultural American perspective. Not everyone comes from that background and not everyone has the benefit of meeting a strange old woman in an elevator who promises visions from God!
But, hey, it is a movie so a few dramatic devices can be forgiven.
And in the end, it shows that faith in God gives us the courage to make the right choices. Even without the visions.
Watch this with your older teenagers and then talk about the issues it raises.
– Duncan Pardon
DVDs are available from Life Resources Ltd
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Phone: (03) 365 2121