Pleasantville, The Movie - An Observation of the Misconceptions of the Fallen Flesh...
(...Especially Concerning God's Righteous Standards as a Prerequisite to Liberty!)
This movie centers around a discontented, sort of abandoned teenager, who is too often left to his own devices, due to the marital discord of his parents. He has therefore found solace and safety in the idealistic television community of "Pleasantville". A television world in which life is always safe, predictable and wholesome.
However, as the movie progresses, and he and his sister become part of this community by an odd series of events, the allure of the place is traded for a desire for more than safety. Then it begins to morph into an attempt to define, or adjust values and freedom in an ideal world - and epically fails! So by the end, this movie, and the rather warped ideals which it propounds, becomes a demonstration of our current vast misconceptions of what constitutes "Freedom" and "Good" in mankind. The result was a lot of foggy ideologies which were hidden in a well constructed smoke and lights show of deteriorating morality, despite the ever evolving emergence of vivid colors, set in the time period between the stale but prosperous, pretentiously pristine, nineteen-fifties, and the riotous, morality-questioning, establishment-rejecting sixties.
The misunderstanding of the concepts of freedom and morality has become a common thread, as the majority of people in our nation have come to believe that it is man's flesh and feelings which are responsible for producing good, and life, and real freedom! This is actually contrary to what we are told in Scripture, however, and all the social experiments in history prove the foolishness of these assumptions! But in recent years, even religious persuasions, reacting to the avoidance of their restrictive rituals and rules by most of thinking society, has shunned God's standard as "legalism"! And then, continuing to try to manage man's sin factor, instead of being able to eradicate it, they have made an uncomfortable covering for sin, which they have misnamed "grace. This is, of course, yet another misconception or misrepresentation of that concept, however, since God's grace is the power to Change Sin, not a mere camouflage to hide it! It is not, and has never been, a legal loophole around holiness, but a means of empowerment and transformation!
BUT - the Truth of the matter – in honest, God-reality - is that man is capable of any Good ONLY if his or her spirit-being has been enlivened by, and put in touch with, the Spirit of the LIVING, Holy, Good God - and thereby changed, by HIS love, grace and applied standards. That is, it can only work when God's Truth, is what motivates our feelings - not our human, fallen, even religious, perception of that Truth! There is a profound difference between religious doctrines (pseudo-truths) and Scriptural whole TRUTH.
Feelings DO have intrinsic value, in that, feelings are what motivate humans, and feelings are what brings the sense of life - or death - to our daily experience, depending of the source of those feelings, and the fruit of them. If the feelings emanate from our fallen nature, for example, then death will be the inevitable outcome of things. But if our feelings have been redeemed, and are motivated from a Changed spirit-being, which has been purified by the Word and Spirit of God, then LIFE will come from those feelings or ideas.
Often it is our longing for God, which produces that intense feeling of loss - that sense that there is something which we are missing, and simply MUST have - something that is worth living for - and it is the lack of that elusive "something" which fuels our unrest, stokes our yearning, and drives our desperate search for MORE! It is that sense of something missing - in both of this fellow's "worlds" - that is so clearly portrayed in this movie - which causes us to be always "looking for love in all the wrong places", and, consequently, jumping to all the wrong conclusions! The plain truth, however, is that we can not ever hope to have, or create, a Utopian society - or even find love - based on the feelings and perceptions of the fallen nature! It will not, can not, happen.
One can not take God's standards for society, separate them from His love and expect them to work properly. Neither can we just pitch them to the curb, even under the guise of political correctness and "equality", and expect anything but chaos and anarchy! Chaos and anarchy are NOT freedom - they are merely a lack of structure! Democracy seems to be the closest that we humans can get to a peaceful, man-supervised human existence. And, though even democracy is not the best of social governments, it is one step above mere socialism! There are SO many failed social experiments to prove my point, and yet we silly humans keep reliving history because we are arrogant enough to keep rewriting it to suit ourselves!
I think we have more than proved these observations in our grand, 240 year old experiment called America! I think we should be able to conclude, from the current static and fog that has enveloped our nation in the form of politically correct hog-wash, that empty sub-par, man-made, religious standards, which are based on prideful, hypocritical Ritualistic Pharisaism will be pitched to the curb and trampled under the foot of revolting masses! And there is a very valid reason for this!! It is because man-made rules and regulations strangle and suffocate the life out of everything, but give nothing back! However, the brainless, standardless, philosophical, ideological, entirely ILLOGICAL, pseudo-intellectual mess, which is often substituted for the religious failure, is NOT better! Thankfully there is a third option beside the Pleasantville of the restrictive "religious right" and the living hell of the "real world", propounded by the looney "liberal left"! There is the center of the path of Righteousness, laid out for us by the Words and Life of Yeshua the Anointed One.
The Standards by which men live, MUST be those which have God and His Truth as a foundation, or they are just a lot of worthless currency! Like money or euros without gold, those “mores” or “standards” without God become a hollow, mere representation of something which holds real value – but which false, man-made "standards" alone, apart from that gold or foundation, hold no real, intrinsic value whatsoever! They become mere restrictive rules with no real rewards! They become hot air balloons which never get off the ground – because the weight of the rules outweigh the hot air of the promises made! They create an atmosphere of oppression, NOT freedom! And thinking people revolt, not too surprisingly!
Therefore! Instead of pitching ALL the standards out of our windows in the name of a misunderstood faux "Freedom", how about if we just backed up the truck and hitched it up to the God of those standards once again! How about if we really just learned to Love the God of the standards, BEFORE we tried to follow His standards! How can we possibly trust someone whom we do not know or love – and who has NOT had a chance to prove His love to us?!!! We can not. And only a fool would try! It is time we learned to accept and return GOD's LOVE – and then His Spirit will guide us in allowing His standards to become our “new-normal”, they will again be “first-nature” to us!
So, how about if we trade our "monopoly money", our worthless "shiny trinkets", of political correctness – or religious acceptability - philosophies and ideas which promise much but have NO real value - in for the real gold of God and HIS standard for our lives! How about if we actually BECOME the people which that standard was meant, and sent, to redeem! Folks, a Messiah, a Champion, has been sent to us. We do not have to stay lost. With His help we can truly “Be, rather than to only seem to be”! With His help we can actually thrive and not simply survive!
His Kingdom is the unseen, unshakeable, only safe Reality, and happily, it is the one in which we were created to live – therefore it is the place of peace, a breath of life, and place of blessing for us who believe. It is the where, what, how and who, of all we were created to live, to be, and to know....and HE is that reality.
May we move out of “Pleasantvilles” (our religious comfort zones) and our self-built ”Sin-Cities” (the sanctuary cities of our fleshly Strongholds/addictions and obsessions) find our REAL Life in Him today....
And, as always,