Some Americans persist in believing that Canadians are the “most polite people in the world.” How about the most gullible, or passive, or apathetic? As of this writing, I can find no news items about Canadians protesting this censorship, and only 1 item about a free private showing in Canada–by a Christian ministry in Edmonton, May 14. A google search using the words “Canada banned unplanned” in different orders yields the same information, and the only media writing about the de facto ban are American. I found a webpage called canadafreepress.com, which I thought was Canadian but turned out to be American, a sort of radio free Europe of the internet (subtly equating Canadian censorship with communist propaganda?), with the motto “Because without America, there is no free world.” Sorry America-haters, it’s true.
OTTAWA, May 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) . Distribution companies are effectively banning the film Unplanned from screening in Canadian cinemas, according to the producers of the pro-life biopic. Chuck Konzelman, the film’s writer, director, and producer, told LifeSiteNews via email that at least one of the two largest Canadian film distributors said “content” rather than a lack of consumer demand is the reason for banning the film. According to Konzelman, Canadian law requires that films have distributors so that they can be shown theatrically. In addition, no rating from one of the provincial film boards can be granted, because the producers must list a distributor on the application forms to the film boards.
Konzelman confirmed that Canada’s largest distributor, Mongrel Media, turned down the film because of its “content.” Writing that Mongrel’s response begs the question, “What’s wrong with our content?” he confirmed that there is “nothing objectionable in the film; no foul language, no nudity, no sexuality, and the only violence is that which is necessarily connected with an abortion procedure.” He concluded that “it’s the pro-life message itself which is objectionable” to the distributors. Konzelman said Cineplex gave “unsatisfactory answers” when asked why it did not distribute Unplanned. He said it is highly unusual for a successful indie U.S. film to lack theatrical distribution in Canada.
I used to love traveling to and in Canada, but I haven’t been there for many years. I would bet they are still pretty nice folks, and quiet, compared to us. But then, they have no equivalent of our First Amendment rights or our view of government needing the consent of the governed. I don’t equate silence with politeness.
(Note on spelling: his last name appears in publications both as Muller, with 2 dots above the U, and Mueller). George Mueller was one of the giants of faith to ever live, walking by faith rather than sight. He founded, and God provisioned, orphanages throughout Great Britain. His life was a testament to the efficacy of prayer, and the aphorism “God is seldom early but never late.” When I write “giant of faith”, I mean the grace of faith rather than the gift of faith. This distinction is vital for Christians to understand. The gift of faith, named in 1 Corinthians 12:9, is hoping that something “miraculous” could be done–like saving his wife from a terminal illness–but if it does not come to pass, it was not sin that you didn’t absolutely believe. An extreme biblical example would be David praying and fasting that God would spare his and Bathsheba’s first child. He knew God had decreed the child’s death but was hoping for God to relent due to his prayers.
George Mueller was adamant that his was the grace of faith, which is believing that God will honor His promises. He promises our daily provision. Not believing God’s explicit promises is sin. The most important point here is that the grace of faith is available for every believer; the gift of faith is not. You and I can look at George Mueller’s life and, rather than dismiss it as not applying to us because of his great gift, we can live it because we have the same grace.
Here is the very heart of his ministry: John Piper writes about and quotes Pastor Mueller. He built five large orphan houses and cared for 10,024 orphans in his life. When he started in 1834 there were accommodations for 3,600 orphans in all of England and twice that many children under eight were in prison. One of the great effects of Mueller’s ministry was to inspire others so that “fifty years after Mr. Mueller began his work, at least one hundred thousand orphans were cared for in England alone.” He had read his Bible from end to end almost 200 times.He had prayed in millions of dollars (in today’s currency) for the Orphans and never asked anyone directly for money. He never took a salary in the last 68 years of his ministry, but trusted God to put in people’s hearts to send him what he needed. He never took out a loan or went into debt. And neither he nor the orphans were ever hungry.
But let us not think this is about works. The orphan ministry was not successful because he put orphans first, but because he put God first. He testifies: The reason he is so adamant about this is that his whole life—especially in the way he supported the orphans by faith and prayer without asking anyone but God for money—was consciously planned to encourage Christians that God could really be trusted to meet their needs. We will never understand George Mueller’s passion for the orphan ministry if we don’t see that the good of the orphans was second to this.
The three chief reasons for establishing an Orphan-House are: 1. That God may be glorified, should He be pleased to furnish me with the means, in its being seen that it is not a vain thing to trust in Him; and that thus the faith of His children may be strengthened. 2. The spiritual welfare of fatherless and motherless children. 3. Their temporal welfare.
And make no mistake about it: the order of those three goals is intentional. He makes that explicit over and over in his Narrative.The orphan houses exist to display that God can be trusted and to encourage believers to take him at his word.
This discovery of the all-encompassing sovereignty of God became the foundation of Mueller’s confidence in God to answer his prayers for money. He gave up his regular salary. He refused to ask people directly for money. He prayed and published his reports about the goodness of God and the answers to his prayer. These yearly reports were circulated around the world, and they clearly had a huge effect in motivating people to give to the orphan work. Mueller knew that God used means. In fact, he loved to say, “Work with all your might; but trust not in the least in your work.” But he also insisted that his hope was in God alone, not his exertions and not the published reports. These means could not account for the remarkable answers that he received.
Mueller’s faith that his prayers for money would be answered was rooted in the sovereignty of God. When faced with a crisis in having the means to pay a bill he would say, “Howthe means are to come, I know not; but I know that God is almighty, that the hearts of all are in His hands, and that, if He pleaseth to influence persons, they will send help.” That is the root of his confidence:God is almighty, the hearts of all men are in his hands, and when God chooses to influence their hearts they will give.
After the death of his first wife, who he loved deeply, his words demonstrate the cluster of unshakable convictions and experiences that are the key to this remarkable life. “I am in myself a poor worthless sinner.”I have been saved by the blood of Christ.” “I do not live in sin.”God is sovereign over life and death. If it is good for her and for me, she will be restored again. If not she won’t.”My heart is at rest.” I am satisfied with God.” All this comes from taking God at his word. There you see the innermost being of George Mueller and the key to his life. The word of God, revealing his sin, revealing his Savior, revealing God’s sovereignty, revealing God’s goodness, revealing God’s promise, awakening his faith, satisfying his soul. “I was satisfied with God.”
Thus a rhetorical question leads to my superfluous, or is it superlative, Game Of Thrones commentary. I mean, after 8 seasons and probably millions of viewers, why not? After the–to me–unnecessary, sinful and tragic destruction of Kings Landing by Drogon the dragon, directed and ordered by Dani, I turned against her, as I am sure many others did. We saw glimpses of her vicious self righteousness before that, but like other tyrants who had convinced themselves that they knew better than everyone else, the full measure of her lust for power required a helpless victim to be fully unwrapped. The city was helpless, the surrender bells were ringing, her enemies routed. She could see it, flying above the rubble. Would you or I have required a full measure of retribution against the innocent for the crimes of their dictator? Or was she like the terrorists who say there are no innocents?
Am I being too harsh, accusing her of lust for power? I will go further, a lust for the most addicting and depraving kind of power: the power to remake the world into her model of justice and equity. What degree of self righteousness is necessary to cast off all restraint in killing the bad guys to free the good guys? Or is it willful blindness? The good guys are usually good until they have the power to impose their will. Doesn’t history clearly show that virtually every revolution against tyranny leads to a worse tyranny? It does, she is a case in point. The biggest surprise for me in the entire 8 seasons is that the dragon appears to be smarter than the humans–he melts down the iron throne that his “mother” sacrificed so many to try to attain. I was less surprised that Jon Snow killed the woman he loved–hard choices and right choices were his forte.
When he kills Dani and Drogon sees what he did, I expected him (I assume Drogon was male, sounds like a male name), to carry her body away, but melting the throne was a reptilian masterstroke. That’s one smart dragon; I would not want to be a rancher or cattle herder, or need to depend on any kind of livestock for my living going forward. Maybe the showrunners should consider a sequel starring Drogon? But I digress. The council of the rulers of the kingdoms, to decide on who should rule, was actually an educational experience. I thought “maybe that was somewhat like how George Washington was elected.” Similarities: Washington got all the electoral votes, he was the only unanimous president in our history, not once but twice! He was the only president who didn’t want the job, kind of like Jon Snow, who would have been elected if Westeros had elections, and if Dani’s troops had forgiven him. But Bran the Broken was an excellent choice. I also liked Sansa’s decision to keep the North independent. Like any great book or show, you don’t want it to end, the ending will never be right for every fan, but I think the ending was as good as it was possible to be, and the depth of characters, intricacy of plots, and treatment of issues and relationships has been well beyond anything I can think of that I have ever seen on TV. I guess I’m in the minority, since every other review of this episode I have read was negative. I think that what I look for in entertainment is edification.
Note: The other very worthy HBO series: Band of Brothers.