Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Current Events: Opposing Views on the Detention Controversy

Here are two perspectives on the current detention controversy.  The first is from the Breitbart site, which defends Trump.  The second is from Media Matters, which criticizes Trump.  They’re well-organized and easy to read.

Breitbart: 13 Facts the Media ‘Pros’ Don’t Want You to Know About ‘Family Border Separation’

Media Matters for America: Myths and facts: Trump’s separation of families and detention of children at the U.S.-Mexico border

Church Write-Up: Humility, Good Heart, Fellowship, Chesed in the Book of Ruth

Here is my Church Write-Up for this week.  I could probably go into more detail, but it is late.

A.  We had a guest preacher at the LCMS church, since our pastor is in Greece.  The preacher’s message was that law does not change people, but knowledge of Christ’s acceptance of us can.  He told a story about when he was a kid, and he and his brother were rough-housing.  They flattened a trashcan, and their mother said, “Wait until your father gets home.”  The father came home, looked at the trashcan, and said, “I’ve done worse.”  The preacher was impressed by his father’s humility, and that stayed with him throughout his life.

A passage that stood out to me in the course of the sermon was Luke 8:15.  This occurs within the Parable of the Sower, and Jesus likens the good ground, where the seed produces fruit, to those who have an honest and good heart.  Honest and good heart?  But are we not all sinners?  The preacher said that meant a heart that is receptive to the Gospel.  I thought of Calvinism: the concept that God makes people’s hearts good, and that is what makes them receptive to the Gospel.

B.  The preacher taught the I John class.  He covered quite a bit of topics.  How the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in John’s Gospel honor and exalt one another, and place one another ahead of themselves.  God did not create out of loneliness but out of an outflowing of God’s love.  How the Lutheran Scripture readings often do not match each other in theme, to the preacher’s frustration.  The presence of conservative Wahabi Muslims in chaplaincies.  How the Prodigal Son did not need to repent to be accepted by God.  M. Scott Peck’s analysis of evil in People of the Lie, and how he argued that evil people justify themselves, blame others, and claim God for their back-up.

The preacher also talked about fellowship, since I John 1:7 affirms that, if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another.  What is fellowship?  Cookies and coffee?  The preacher defined fellowship in terms of what believers have in common: a life of faith and the Holy Spirit.
I somewhat like a non-social definition of fellowship, as one who struggles to socialize.  I remember a conversation I had with a Catholic.  He said that people at his church may not know each others’ names, but they believe the same thing.  That is what they share.

Looking at the occurrences of koinonia in the New Testament, it seems that the term does sometimes refer to mutual participation, sharing, or having something in common.  But there are also times in which a relational implication appears to be present.  Fellowship with God, for example.  Can that be something other than a relationship with God?

C.  At the “Word of Faith” church, the pastor started a series on Ruth.  Some points that he made:
—-God was faithful to Naomi, even though she was complaining that God dealt bitterly with her (Ruth 1:20).

—-Boaz most likely was not a strapping young man but already had a family of his own.  Still, he assumed the role and responsibility of kinsman redeemer and married Ruth to raise up offspring for his departed relative.

—-Boaz showed Ruth love, even though he lived in a city, Bethlehem, that was wicked.  The pastor referred to the events of Judges 19 to support that.  There, residents of Bethlehem behave like the people of Sodom in Genesis 19, trying to gang-rape guests.

—-David years later would praise God, perhaps because God enabled Ruth to marry Boaz, which enabled David to be born and to play a role in God’s plan.

—-The Book of Judges concludes by saying that there was no king in Israel, so the Israelites each did what was right in his own eyes.  The pastor said that this describes many in the West to a T.  But the Israelites needed a king, and we need a king: King Jesus.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Book Write-Up: Balthasar on the Spiritual Senses, by Mark McInroy

Mark McInroy.  Balthasar on the Spiritual Senses: Perceiving Splendour.  Oxford University Press, 2014.  See here to purchase the book.

Mark McInroy teaches Systematic Theology at the University of St. Thomas.  Hans Urs von Balthasar was a renowned twentieth century Catholic theologian.  This book, Balthasar on the Spiritual Senses, examines Balthasar’s conceptualization of the spiritual senses and engagement with Christian theological thought on the topic.  According to McInroy, the spiritual senses are significant in Balthasar’s thought, but their role in Balthasar’s thought has been underappreciated within scholarship.  The reason is that Balthasar himself supposedly stressed the object of theology rather than the subject’s perception of the divine.

McInroy demonstrates that Balthasar departs from the view that the spiritual senses are a mystical, internal perception of the transcendent God that believers can obtain through contemplation and spiritual discipline.  Balthasar also rejects Christian views that have radically differentiated between the spiritual senses and the corporeal senses.  Such views have either seen the spiritual senses as a repudiation of the corporeal senses (i.e., the sensual world), or they have attempted to explain the spiritual senses through a metaphorical treatment of the corporeal senses: for example, believers can metaphorically, but not literally, “taste” God.

Essentially, McInroy argues that Balthasar has a very this-worldly view of the spiritual senses.  The spiritual senses are not a mystical perception of the transcendent God, but rather they are a perception of God’s activity within this world, which God graciously imparts to all believers, not only the spiritual superstars.  They include seeing the spiritual significance, or form, of the elements of God’s creation, in their beauty.  The spiritual senses partake of the corporeal senses, as believers see things as they are, both physically and in terms of their spiritual significance.  The spiritual senses are also activated within the Christian love for neighbor, and the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ and Christian liturgy are key elements of Balthasar’s conception of the spiritual senses.

McInroy situates Balthasar’s conception of the spiritual senses within Christian thought, while examining Balthasar’s engagement of other Christian views.  McInroy concludes that Balthasar reads his own views into Origen, even as Balthasar departs from Origen.  Balthasar overlaps with Christian thinkers, such as Barth, who stress the role of interpersonal relationships in making people truly human and who posit more of a unity between the soul and the body than a division between them.  (Incidentally, McInroy highlights cases in which Barth appears to depart somewhat, or at least to qualify, Barth’s classic aversion to natural theology.)  Balthasar also was critical of philosophical arguments for the existence of God, believing that they marginalize a life of trusting faith.  McInroy has a chapter on Balthasar’s engagement of patristic thought, including that of Origen, Evagrius of Pontus, Diadochus of Photice, Pseudo-Macarius, Augustine, Maximus the Confessor, Gregory of Nyssa, and Pseudo-Dionysius.  His chapter on medieval and early modern thought includes Bonaventure and Ignatius of Loyola.  The chapter about Balthasar’s contemporary theological interlocutors examines Karl Barth, Romano Guardini, Gustav Siewerth, and Paul Claudel.

McInroy contends that Balthasar’s view of the spiritual senses may help to address a division within Catholic thought on the role of divine revelation within the Christian life.  One line of thought, exemplified by Vatican I and its aftermath, emphasizes authority: believers embrace the authority of divine revelation, whether that resonates with them or not.  According to such a view, the authority of divine revelation has been attested by miracles.  The weakness of this view, according to McInroy, is that it draws a wedge between divine revelation and human beings, when divine revelation meets human needs and plays a role in their healing.  Its stress on miracles as signs also tends to marginalize the spiritual richness of the revelation itself.

The other extreme, which McInroy calls “Modernist,” tends to locate divine revelation in the thoughts and feelings of the human subject: one sees God by looking within.  The weakness of this view, according to McInroy, is that it obviates the ability of divine revelation to challenge us, and it marginalizes divine revelation’s role and status as something that is above and beyond us.

For McInroy, Balthasar’s view of the spiritual senses can help to resolve this tension in that it balances the objective with the subjective.  The world is out there, and what is in the world has spiritual significance.  Yet, people need spiritual senses in order to perceive, to appreciate, and even to be transformed by that.

Here are some of my thoughts about the book:

A.  McInroy’s description of Christian views of the spiritual senses is a necessary part of the book, as the book is an academic treatment of Balthasar’s interaction with Christian views.  The book really came alive for me, however, when McInroy described Balthasar’s own conception of the spiritual senses.

B.  While McInroy’s description of Balthasar’s own conception of the spiritual senses is compelling, it was not overly specific about what it practically looks like, how it plays out on a practical level.  What exactly do believers see when they perceive the divine significance of what is in the world?  How do believers spiritually see when they love their neighbors?  Of course, such a discussion would depend on how specific Balthasar himself was about this.

C.  McInroy’s discussion of the polarity in Catholic theology was interesting and resonated with me.  On the one hand, I struggle with the “authority” model, as I feel that it tries to pressure me to be something that I am not and to accept what seems to violate my intellectual or moral sensitivities.  I speak here about what some may conceptualize as commands of the Bible, or aspects of the Bible that violate many people’s intellectual or moral qualms.  The Bible can become a straitjacket as I attempt to apply it, or I can find myself concluding that its requirements and claims are unrealistic in terms of where and how I am, or where and how the world is.  On the other hand, as McInroy points out, the other extreme has its flaws.  I think of a line from Rich Mullins’ song “Creed”: “I didn’t make it, but it is making me.”  Tim Keller and others have asserted that a relationship with a real God means that this God will contradict us, as real beings, outside of our imagination, do.

Whether Balthasar presents a resolution to this dilemma is an open question.  Part of the issue is the question of whether Christianity meets our desires and needs as human beings.  There is also the factor of God’s transforming our wills and our desires by grace.  Christians and others have testified that God can do this.  Some may look at their own lives, however, and wonder if God is doing that for them, or ever will.

I checked this book out from the library.  My review is honest.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Book Write-Up: Falling for You, by Becky Wade

Becky Wade.  Falling for You: A Bradford Sisters Romance.  Bethany House, 2018.  See here to purchase the book.

Falling for You is the second book of the “Bradford Sisters Romance.”  There are three Bradford sisters.  The first is Nora, who was the subject of the first book of the series, True to You.  The second is Willow, who is the subject of Falling for You, the second book of the series.  Amazon says that these are the only two books of the series, but I wonder if a third book will be written about the half-sister, Britt, since aspects of her romantic life were left unresolved in Falling for You.

Willow was a famous model, but she is now living a quiet life in her hometown, tending the family bed-and-breakfast.  She is dealing with issues.  First, there was the break-up with her boyfriend, Corbin, who had been an NFL quarterback.  Second, her mother left her family when Willow was young.  Third, Willow is a Christian who tries to be perfect and feels guilt over a mistake that she made.

Corbin Stewart is a happy-go-lucky fellow, though he was devastated after breaking up with Willow.  He has become a Christian since then.  He takes care of his father, Joe, a crusty man with manic depression.  Corbin has a teenage niece, fun-loving Charlotte.  Charlotte is wondering something.  Decades before, Charlotte’s great aunt, Josephine, went missing.  Charlotte wonders where she went, since that has left a hole in the life of her grandmother, Josephine’s sister.  Charlotte admires Willow, who has publicly promoted a charity that helps kids, and she would like to ask Willow to help her find Josephine.  Willow takes a liking to Charlotte but is initially reluctant to help her because she does not want to get involved again with Corbin, due to their bad break-up.  At the urging of her two sisters, Willow agrees to help.

There are two mysteries that the author strings out.  The first mystery is why exactly Corbin and Willow broke up.  We learn the details of that in the first half of the book.  Another mystery is what happened to Josephine.  That gets answered much later.  The sense of mystery in the book made it a page-turner.

The characters are likeable.  Willow is famous, yet humble and level-headed.  Corbin is a good man; he can be corny, but he had some funny lines.  He sincerely loves Willow and seeks to protect her when she is in danger.  Willow’s grandmother is a cranky Christian, complaining about the world.  Corbin’s father Joe is crusty.  Corbin tries to persuade Joe to become a Christian, with little success through much of the book, until Joe finally becomes a Christian for his own crusty reasons.

There were notable scenes that I enjoyed.  Corbin’s reflections about how his Dad lovingly put him over his shoulder when he was a kid and called him a sack of potatoes was one.  The time when Willow’s sisters encouraged Willow to help find Josephine was another.  Corbin’s internal annoyance at Willow’s family at a party was rather humorous.  Widow thoughtfully reflects about the positives and negatives of modeling, wondering if God wants to embark her on a new path.

The book had quite a bit of reflection.  That added to the book, giving it some depth.  There is reflection about spiritual topics, psychological topics, and even characters; the kindly-appearing Senator with eyes of steel comes to mind in terms of the reflection on characters.  The book strikes a decent balance among the reflections on healing, the intense moments, the romance, and the mysteries.  It does not dwell on anything so much that it becomes boring, but it also does not present too many events going on, confusing the reader.

The author won a Christy Award for another book that she wrote.  That is not surprising.  She is able to craft a book that has charming characters, yet characters who have problems.  I am interested in reading more of Becky Wade’s books in the future.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.  My review is honest.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Church Write-Up: Mistakes and New Beginnings, Intro to I John, Greed

Here is my Church Write-Up on last Sunday’s church activities.

A.  At the LCMS church, the children’s pastor told the kids that, even though they may get in trouble at home, their parents continue to feed them.  He said that God is the same way.  This fit the theme of the service, which was the Fall of Adam and Eve.  Adam and Eve sinned, yet God still loved them and continued to provide for them.

The pastor’s sermon continued in that vein.  His academic and vocational experience was used as an illustration throughout the sermon.  The pastor shared that he has always loved learning, and, in the late 1970’s, he decided to get a master’s in history at the University of Michigan because he felt that he did not know much about history.  He wanted to go on and pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, but applicants were required to have a B+ in all of their classes to be accepted.  Unfortunately, he received a B in the seminar.  He said that he initially blamed everyone but himself for that.  He was upset with the professor and blamed his low grade on a feud that the professor had with a professor that he liked.  He was even upset with God, wondering why God would let him be accepted into the master’s program over a thousand applicants, only for him to be blocked from getting a Ph.D.  He reflected that what he should have done was set aside his pride and meet with professors, asking them what the requirements for seminars are.  Instead, he was proud.  He had graduated summa cum laude from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he expected the professors at the University of Michigan to be enamored with his awesomeness.  Well, he graduated from the University of Michigan with his master’s in hand.  He was living with his grandfather at the time, and the two of them were a pair.  The pastor was wondering what to do with his life, and his grandfather was trying to move on after the death of his wife.  Eventually, the pastor accepted that he should go to seminary.

Similarly, Adam and Eve made a mistake.  They were proud and wanted to be like God, knowing what God knows, so they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  They blamed everyone but themselves: Adam even blamed God for giving him the woman.  Adam and Eve would experience difficult times, including the reality of death, but God gave them reason for hope.  Their ending was to be a new beginning.

B.  The pastor started a Sunday school series on I John.  From the monthly newsletter, it looks like it will last for eight weeks.  He will be in Greece and Germany for the next two weeks, so another pastor will teach the class during that time, but then the pastor will return and resume the class.
I had attended the weekly Bible study, which meets on Wednesdays.  (It is taking a break until the end of August.)  The pastor spent a few sessions on I John, so I was afraid that the Sunday School class would cover the same ground as those sessions.  Well, it did, but there were also new things that I learned.

The pastor said that John may have been a teenager when he met Jesus, for rabbis gathered students who were that age.  The pastor also referred to a tradition relayed by Jerome that John died sixty-eight years after Jesus’ passion.

The pastor said that Paul gathered elders, who were pastors-in-training, at Ephesus.  Paul trained them to be pastors.  They would pastor in Asia Minor and train others to be pastors, so the church spread.  This was how Polycarp was believed to have been taught by John.  The church grew, and the older method of leadership was no longer feasible, so hierarchies in the church developed in the second century.

The pastor mentioned the view that different Johns wrote the Gospel of John, I-III John, and the Book of Revelation.  He, however, believes that the apostle John wrote all of them.  He referred to the view that John wrote on the island of Patmos, when he was in exile, for he was unable to be with the church at Ephesus and to communicate with it directly.  John was concerned about the heresies that were becoming popular there, and elsewhere among the churches in Asia Minor. The pastor also referred to the view that John’s Gospel was written in Jerusalem between 40 and 60 C.E., as it reflects the hostility between the Christians and the Jewish Temple community.

The pastor said that there are different ideas about the sequence in which John wrote, and he discussed the possible ramifications of each position.  If John wrote I-III John first, then the Gospel of John fleshes that out.  If John wrote the Gospel of John first, then I John presupposes what is in the Gospel, especially John 1.  If Revelation was written first, then the victory of the good guys is presupposed and what is in I John is icing on the cake.  If Revelation was written last, then it was John’s last will and testament.  The pastor also referred to the possibility that Revelation was written after the Domitian persecution, as a reflection on it.  That would be different from saying that it was written in the heat of the persecution to comfort the Christians that God would soon end their suffering.  Such a view might also fit the LCMS’s amillennialism, as it envisions Revelation as a panoramic perspective on the suffering of Christians and how that fits into God’s larger agenda.

John pastored at Ephesus.  There was a legend that Ephesus was founded by Epos, the Queen of the Amazon women.  The cult of Diana/Artemis was strong there.  The pastor referred to a dissertation by Arnie Voight that argues that Paul in Ephesians 5 encouraged wives to submit to their husbands on account of the Amazon legend: there was a belief in Ephesus that women were superior to men because they were lifegivers and lifebearers, and Paul sought to balance that out.  Incidentally, Arnie Voight has a website in which he addresses questions about the Bible and gender.

John was arguing against Docetism, the idea that Jesus only appeared human but actually was not so.  The pastor said that the implication of John’s insistence that Jesus became flesh is that Christians can have complete joy here and now (I John 1:4), for God meets them in the here and now, in real places, in flesh and blood.  They do not have to go to heaven before they can experience that joy.

The pastor likened the belief that Jesus’ human nature died while his divine nature did not to Docetism.

Anyway, I realize that there have been scholars who would question some of this.  They would question whether there were rabbis in Jesus’ day, or argue that the hostility between Christians and non-Christian Jews in the Gospel of John reflects a post-70 reality rather rather than a pre-70 one.

The Arnie Voight dissertation reminds me of Elizabeth McCabe’s argument that what I Timothy 2:11-14 says about women is a polemic against the Isis cult.  This is not to suggest that the two agree on everything when it comes to the Bible and gender, but they agree that paganism is part of the equation of what the New Testament says about women.

The pastor’s discussion about the sequence in which John wrote (assuming John wrote the Gospel, the epistles, and Revelation) reminded me of Lee Harmon’s books on Revelation and the Gospel of John.  Harmon presents John as the author of both, but he thinks that the Gospel of John shows John embracing a spiritual, realized eschatology, after the failure of the literalist eschatology that appears in the Book of Revelation.  The pastor, of course, would not embrace this, but the discussion about sequence reminded me of that.

C.  At the “Word of Faith” church, the pastor concluded his series on giving.  The text of the sermon was Luke 12:13-21.  A man asks Jesus to order his brother to divide his inheritance with him.  Jesus declines to do so and warns against greed and covetousness.  Jesus then tells a parable about a rich fool.  A rich man has an abundant year and decides to kick back and relax.  God takes the man’s soul because the man was not rich towards God.  God asks to whom the man’s wealth will now belong.

The pastor made a variety of points.  He defined covetousness as wanting more than we need, and assuming that getting more things will make us happy.  That attitude does not make us happy.  Things do not satisfy, and greed can lead to strife: it led to the division between the man and his brother, and the rich man’s sons undoubtedly fought for their father’s wealth.  Greed is also an unrealistic perspective.  The ground produced the crops, yet the rich man took credit for it.  God responded by taking the man’s soul, which belonged to God and not the man.  Rather than looking to things to make us happy, which amplifies loneliness, why not give to what God is doing?  The pastor referred to three new church plants that did not exist before, thanks to the contributions of the church.  He disputed the idea that “you can’t take it with you,” for you can take it with you: when you give, that has eternal consequences.  The pastor was clear that how much we give is between us and God.

The pastor referred to celebrities who committed suicide in arguing that wealth does not satisfy.  Some readers may get the impression that the pastor was shamelessly exploiting their deaths to raise money.  I myself question whether all of those celebrities were materialistic.  Robin Williams was in AA and likely tried to be on a spiritual path, but he suffered from clinical depression.  The pastor’s picture of people coming together rather than fighting out of greed struck me as a bit unrealistic, perhaps because of my own struggles to like a lot of people, and my resistance to the idea of someone else gaining at my expense.  Still, the pastor made a good point: rather than looking to things to make one happy, why not invest the money in something that can do good?

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Book Write-Up: Ecologies of Faith in a Digital Age

Stephen D. Lowe and Mary E. Lowe.  Ecologies of Faith in a Digital Age: Spiritual Growth through Online Education.  IVP Academic, 2018.  See here to purchase the book.

The Lowes both work at Liberty University.  Stephen is graduate chair of doctoral programs and teaches Christian education.  Mary also teaches and is associate dean for online programs.

The essential argument of this book is that Christians online can create a nurturing environment for each other, one that encourages believers, fosters sanctification, and fulfills the “one another” commands in the New Testament.

Here are some thoughts about this book:

A.  The book effectively argues that Christians can find community online.  And why not?  I fail to understand the view that people can only know each other and be authentic friends in person.  Online relationships can actually be deeper than relationships in person, since people may find that they can share more information about themselves, their thoughts, and their feelings online.

B.  The book made an interesting point about how students’ online comments were stylistically and substantially better than the papers that they wrote.

C.  The book made a lot of the usual arguments about the importance of Christian community: you cannot grow alone, the New Testament was directed to groups, there are many “one another” commands in Scripture, you need to love others.  The book illustrated this eloquently with beautiful imagery, as when it talked about no one in the ecosystem thriving alone but needing nutrients from others in the ecosystem.  Broken relationships can hinder that, the book argued, which is why reconciliation is important.  The book provided examples of how mutual edification can take place, both online and offline.  People can pray for each other.  They can work together on service projects.  They can worship with each other.  Plus, holiness is contagious.  Being around other Christians can encourage one to practice holiness, to love and to serve.

D.  My struggle with the book is that it tended to present a rosy picture of Christian community, both online and offline.  Online communities can be cliquish, and people online can be nasty to each other.  Resentments and unfriending can easily arrive, and remain.  Indeed, lots of relationships can be fostered online, but many can be destroyed.  Then there is the reality that not everybody is good at making friends online, coming up with things to say that can generate a lot of likes.  To its credit, this book addressed some of this.  It occasionally acknowledged the negative experiences that people have online.  It pointed to the Corinthian community in the New Testament as an example of a dysfunctional community.  It stated that even those on the social margins online can benefit, as they have online networks that can assist them in finding employment.  The book was also compassionate towards those who struggle to be articulate in offline, traditional classrooms, showing how some of them thrive in online settings.  Still, the book could have been less rosy, acknowledging more the negative aspects of online communities, and perhaps offering suggestions as to how Christians can navigate their way through those.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.  My review is honest.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Movie Write-Up (Loosely-Speaking): Solo

We went to see Solo during the Memorial Day Weekend.  My custom has been to write about all of the Star Wars movies that I see in the theater.  I’ve been stalling on this one.  For the others, there were profound elements that I felt I could blog about.  For Solo, there is nothing like that.  And yet, Solo was my favorite of the newly-released Star Wars movies.  I mean, above The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi.

What did I like about Solo?  That’s a good question.  The plot was fairly easy to follow.  Rogue One, I thought, was more convoluted.  The characters in Solo were better.  I found them more likable.  The Han character: well, I cannot say that he was totally like Harrison Ford, but he was cool and confident, in his own way.  His girlfriend Qi’ra: she was physically attractive, certainly, but she was also a power-broker, carrying herself with authority wherever she went.  Lando: a cheat, yet a charming cheat.  But he loved his robot, who crusaded for robot rights. He probably did not love her in a romantic sense, as she thought, but he cared for her.  It was funny when Lando narrated the Carlissian Chronicles, and when he flew the Millennium Falcon away when Han was in trouble (poor Han)!  The Woody Harrelson character: mistrustful, yet he loved someone on his team.  Then there was another character on his team who loved to be alone and unattached, or so he thought.

Then there were the cool scenes.  Some spoilers here.  We learn how Han gets the name “Solo.”  That scene was pretty intense, as he was trying to escape Imperial detection.  Han is thrown into a pit with a hungry monster, and the monster turns out to be….Aaaarrhlll!  Is that how you spell the sounds he makes?  Lando says that he hopes he will never see Han again, and Han takes that in stride.  Han at the end is about to work for a gangster on Tatooine, who the Woody Harrelson character was about to work for.  The criminal powerhouse who was ultimately in charge of Qi’ra and her husband turned out to be…Darth Maul!

In the end, Han helps out people we thought were bandits but turned out to be the precursors of the Rebellion.  One of them is the actor who played Wicket in Return of the Jedi!  Han declines to join the Rebellion, preferring instead to smuggle.  I wondered if this Han was a bit more idealistic than the crusty Harrison Ford one.  Or maybe Han’s natural character is to look out for number one, and yet to end up doing the right thing, every now and then.

There were a lot of kids watching the movie.  Is it good for them to watch a movie in which the hero is a thief and a smuggler?  I don’t want to be prudish here, but it’s something I wonder.

Anyway, I’ll leave the comments open, but snarky comments about my post will not be published.

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