Saturday, September 13, 2008

Groundhog Day

I've always liked this movie and have watched it a number of times. I have never really been able to put my finger on why it speaks to me but I think I have some new clarity on the matter.

After living the same day over and over a few times, Bill Murray's character starts to enjoy the fact that he can do whatever he wants with not having to endure any consequences the following day. It is a function of his self-centered persona that this would be the first benefit of his situation that he exploits. However, violating the law, stealing money, buying lavish gifts and seducing women through dishonest means doesn't result in lasting fulfillment. That realization leads to thoughts, and ultimately to attempts, of suicide. After all, if what you have always conceived to be the source of happiness doesn't actually end up leading to happiness then what is the point of going on? Where is the hope? I don't think he is just looking for an easy way out of his predicament. He is a self-centered, egotistical guy who is forced to look at himself and his worldview in a very stark and unforgiving way. He doesn't like what he sees. His self-involved depravity is even commented on by his producer (the woman whom his heart actually wants) when she quotes the latter part of the following poem:

Breathes there the man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart has ne'er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering on a foreign strand?
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim,
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentered all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.

Of course, he is unable to kill himself, since he keeps waking up the next morning in bed regardless of what he does. Slowly but surely he starts to open himself up to others. He begins investing in people around him (imperfectly at first), both friends and strangers, and changes his perspective on what life is about. It's not about getting by or getting ahead - it's about getting to a place where you find value in everything that God places in your path. It's about finding a purpose larger than yourself...discovering the larger story going on around you as Eldredge might say. Ultimately, this leads him to finding value in himself as a person.

So the movie is ulimately about dying to self and having a new birth. It really is analogous to our lives, before we knew Christ and after. It is a wonderful representation of restoration and reclaiming our hearts for what they were meant to be and what they were meant to pursue. It is ultimately a story of hope even when hope appeared to be an illusion at one point.

Before his first attempt at ending his life he says to his producer, "I have come to the end of me." It's usually at that point, or shortly thereafter, that we finally turn to God...sadly because we have run out of ways to make things work on our own. Yet, God still responds and shows up and binds the brokenhearted.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Obama, China, and Corporate Taxes

OK, this wasn't the ad I was hoping to find but it will do the job. I saw an Obama ad last night that almost made me kick a hole in my TV. The ad's assertion was that McCain was giving tax breaks to corporations that export jobs overseas. That is the most underhanded, backward and utterly false statement since...well...probably just a few days ago.

What McCain wants to do is lower taxes on corporations BECAUSE higher taxes here are forcing them to do more of their business overseas. By lowering taxes here they will want to earn more money here. Simple enough for you Barack? If you don't lower taxes, or heaven forbid you RAISE them, guess what happens Mr. Economics? More jobs go bye bye. The one thing you claim to care about - the people - will lose even more at your hands. But you actually hate corporate America so much that you would rather hurt them and have people hurt as a byproduct then actually do something to encourage job and wealth creation in the US.

Did he even go to college? This is Economics 101. It sure as heck ain't brain surgery.

And yes...companies do want to expand their businesses to China. Wanna know why? 1.3 billion people and the fastest growing middle class in the world. Companies like to go places where there are a lot of people to purchase their goods and services. It's not because their airports are bigger and shinier. We also live in a global economy now. Get over it.