A Leap of Faith

November 6, 2018

 I just finished watching the old movie Vanilla Sky. Loved it! It's entertaining and startling and provocative, sad and strangely happy, too. And it has inspired me to share with you my latest book, "Awesome Sovereign's Battle For Paradise." I'll do that by first summarizing what popped to me in the story and try to connect it to my leap of faith in releasing my new book, "Awesome Sovereign's Battle For Paradise" published by Gracestone Publishing Company. The movie is about being desperate enough to leap into faith.

     Moments before David Aames (Tom Cruise) faced his final fear, height, he approached Sofia Serrano (Penelope Cruz), the love of his life in his dreams for she never loved him like his infatuation with her deserved, he grasped the profound reality of his own life and what was required of him to turn it around: the leap into faith.

     Jason Lee (Brian Shelby), the writer David had befriended and signed to a publishing contract that allowed Jason to finish his novel without struggling to survive, had confronted David earlier in the movie when he pointed out that a mask could not disguise his ugliness! And in the storyline, while profoundly symbolic, Jason meant the literal prosthetic the cosmetic surgeon had given him to wear due to the deformity he suffered in an accident; the physical reality that David had to come to terms with, and the apparent turning point in his life.

     However, I think the scriptwriter wanted us to see that David's transformation from a beautiful, indefatigable, and privileged kid into a depressed, lost, and deformed wanderer was not his turning point. David would have said so! David would have insisted that the moment he chose to get into Julianna Gianni's (Cameron Diaz) car was his life's defining moment that he recognized too late. For she intended to kill them both using her vehicle for her suicide and to murder him. But in my opinion, it wasn't. David could not see clearly. And the script insinuates that we should ask ourselves if we're like him.

     The reason I wrote "Awesome Sovereign's Battle For Paradise" is because people don't take time to contemplate spiritual stories and things the way I think would be good for them to do. I base my assertion on surveys published by Christianity Today. And I want to inspire everyone to step outside of their comfort zone and start doing so. And, frankly, I want people to do so by re-opening their Bible. My book will give you a good reason to do so. Promise. Anyway, back to Vanilla Sky for a moment.

     David's turning point was when his eyes met Sofia's at a party he had held at his apartment on the upper west side of New York City, but he ignored the fact that Sofia was Jason's guest. This encounter was the real climax of the story and David's turning point because Jason dug Sofia! David, however, due to his narcissism, set upon stealing her away without pausing to consider the impact his action would have on Jason or Sofia or Julie. His whole life, frankly, followed this pattern of bullying by his position and status, lack of reflection, misunderstanding of humanity and relationship, and his inability to intentionally listen. His leadership wasn't real. Only his influence. He remained a poor boy in a rich man's body and supported by enablers who refused to confront him.

     Finally, in the very emotional last scene of the movie, when the rain had gone, and the vanilla sky crowned Manhattan's skyline, David saw as he reflected on what he would have to do to grow to allow his life to have meaning: jump. Jump into the great unknown without all the assurances and safety nets he had relied on his whole life. Jump away from what everyone had told him all his life made sense and into what might not. Leap! Hundreds of feet below his future awaited if he could surrender his fear and mostly choose to die!

     What makes Alejandro Amenábar and Mateo Gil's script so poignant is that it tells the story of most of our lives! Not that everyone will have to come to terms in the same devastating ways that David did, but only that we'll have eventually to come to terms with life itself. Life's meaning and our flaws. It strikes me as a very spiritual story, that essentially concludes that our circumstances all flow in the direction of God's will whether we cooperate or not. And it's why I'm inspired to announce "Awesome Sovereign's Battle For Paradise" and put it out there for you to consume: the flow of the daily events of life, the inevitable flow in the direction of God's will, is one thread that ties every chapter of my new book, "Awesome Sovereign's Battle For Paradise," together. God's Will of Purpose and Will of Desire, the tension between the two parts of God's intention, is why my new book "Awesome Sovereign's Battle For Paradise" matters. It tells the story of how all that's created ultimately points to the Creator. What is so very profound about God, however, is God's love does not violate our free will and our choice to see or not plays a role in the outcome of everything that's personal now and for eternity. Life is all about God at God's expense and a reflection of God's inimitable nature and love even though we may not entirely understand or accept it, and the consequences. There are consequences for God, for you, and for me. Whether you are Christian or not you likely agree. Vanilla Sky is not a Christian enterprise, "Awesome Sovereign's Battle For Paradise" is. It most definitely is.

     "Awesome Sovereign's Battle For Paradise" is a study. That's why I've added a workbook to aid reflection and discussion! My audience is you, Christian, or whatever your spiritual perspective. It does not require you to agree with me. No one will always agree with everything I say or suggest on its pages. Some of you will dramatically disagree with me because it's proselytism, but I didn't write it to gain your discipleship. I want you to come to terms with reality from a historically Christian perspective. And I hope my book helps. I hope it encourages you to open a Bible. For the first time or again. I know it will motivate investigation and self-reflection if you are serious. And I think as Vanilla Sky asserts, all of us eventually become serious.

     David's final leap brought to mind II Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind." It's God's spirit that inspired me to produce "Awesome Sovereign's Battle For Paradise." I believe that. And I hope it makes a substantial impact on people who care about understanding God. I think it will be an excellent place to start for anyone though it is most emphatically a Christian apologetic and reflection.

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