[forthright] The Effects of Horror Movie/Testudo of Faith

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2007 14:14:51 -0500
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

The Effects of Horror Movies by Tim Hall
Testudo of Faith by Paul Goddard

COLUMN: Heavenly Connections

The Effects of Horror Movies
by Tim Hall

When I was young I would go barefoot. With the
arrival of warm weather, I shed the shoes and
enjoyed the cool sensations. There were dangers
associated with exposing my feet directly to the
elements. Sometimes I encountered sharp stones or
broken glass. But even when there were no wounds,
the feet were being desensitized. By the end of
the summer, a thick layer of callous had built up,
and pinpricks on the bottom of my feet produced no
pain at all.

In our society people are more frequently exposing
their psyches to abrasive and jarring phenomenon.
On purpose. A week ago today, "30 Days Of Nights"
opened in movie theaters across America. In raking
in almost $16 million dollars in that first week,
it became the most-watched film in our land. Today
is the opening for "Saw IV," another horror flick
sure to draw large crowds. I can't tell you
anything about either of these movies, but if
their content is anything like their advertising,
be prepared for fright.

"They're just movies," some will protest. "Why get
all 'righteous' about something so harmless?" Are
such movies harmless? A few years ago researchers
at the University of Wisconsin interviewed college
students about their experiences. They found that
"... 52 percent of the sample reported
disturbances in normal behavior such as sleeping
or eating after viewing a frightening film or TV
program." For a significant number, the effects of
watching disturbing scenes lasted for days, weeks,
or months. It was hard for these bright young
minds to quickly dismiss what they had seen,
though they knew that what they were watching was
not real.

"Keep your heart with all diligence," wrote the
wise man, "for out of it spring the issues of
life" (Proverbs 4:23, NKJV). Had he counseled
"Keep your feet with all diligence," would I do
well to go barefoot? When I expose my heart to
gory and heart-stopping clips, do I do well? Is a
layer of callous developing around my heart?

What God desires to give us is mentioned by Paul
in Philippians 1:2: "Grace to you and peace from
God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Paul
uses virtually the same words in every one of his
epistles.) Just as God desires to give us his
saving grace, so he also wants us to have calming
peace. Why should I jeopardize this precious gift
by purchasing tickets to see images no person
ought to experience?

Before closing his letter to the Philippian
Christians, Paul urged them to focus on the
positive aspects of life. He mentioned things that
were true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good
report: "... meditate on these things," he urged
(Philippians 4:8). I imagine it's hard to obey
that command while watching "Saw IV."

People often bristle when preachers start talking
about the movies they watch. That's okay, for
preachers don't know everything. But God knows
everything. Are we considering his advice?

Read this article online, write your reaction, and
read others' comments as well. Click here:

COLUMN: Up for the Task

Testudo of Faith
by Paul Goddard
There is an unseen spiritual battle being waged in
heavenly realms.

"Beliefs, as such, are convictions held on
grounds, not of self-evidence, but of testimony."
--James Packer

Centuries before armored personnel carriers were
invented to transport troops, the testudo military
formation was used by the Romans to deploy
soldiers into battle. The word testudo is Latin
for tortoise. By forming a tightly packed group of
men, this tactic was employed when assaulting a
heavily fortified position.

The men at the front and both sides of the testudo
would hold their shields to the outside, while
those in the middle would provide an unbroken
covering by overlapping their shields above their
heads. Virtually invulnerable to arrows, javelins,
and sling stones, the testudo could advance while
being attacked. When used correctly, this
formation took on the appearance of a slow moving

The shields used in the testudo were made out of
interwoven bark, covered in animal skin. To
prevent them from catching fire, a soldier would
soak his shield in water before going into battle.
This was essential, for if a tarred fire-tipped
arrow penetrated the shield, the flames could
disrupt the entire combat formation.

The Apostle Paul used this imagery in his letter
to the church in Ephesus (Ephesians 6:16).
Admonishing them to utilize the armor provided for
the impending spiritual struggle, he reminded them
that Satan would bombard their faith with
destructive, flaming schemes (Ephesians 6:10-18).
The skirmish would be awesome and fierce, but in
the end the faithful would be victorious
(Ephesians 2:1-10).

Obviously while being attacked by flaming arrows,
the Romans did not fight as individuals. Like
these warriors, we are stronger when we work
together (Ephesians 4:1-6). While we hold up our
shield of faith, we are uncertain when the enemy
will strike. Yet, we do not lose heart, for we
know that our fellow prayer warriors are standing
at our side with the sword of the spirit. This
loyalty strengthens our courage to finish the
battle (1 John 3:16-18).

Will you not take up your shield? You have been
enlisted to fight in a cosmic battle against the
spiritual forces of evil. If you refuse, you will
be conscripted by the powers of this darkness.

Christian, are you up for the task?  

"Against the foes in vales below,
Let all our strength be hurled;
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world." --John H. Yates

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