Bob Tamasy: Worth Taking Another Look

Thursday, December 14, 2017 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

In my younger days, I loved going to the movies. They transported me to places I’d never been, sometimes worlds I could have never imagined. They were fun, entertaining, and left me with happy memories. Today, not so much.

Most films these days seem saturated with violence, random sex, and a oft-subtle but clearly amoral worldview, one that stands for anything but godly values and principles presented in the Scriptures. I’ve sworn off watching award shows that ooze with an unwarranted sense of elitism, self-aggrandizement, and narcissism. But occasionally, whether by accident or intent, the industry manages to produce a film I can applaud.

Recently I wrote about one of them, “Same Kind of Different as Me.” The other day I saw another, “Wonder,” starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and a little fellow named Jacob Tremblay. It’s about Auggie Pullman, a boy afflicted with a rare facial deformity. After multiple surgeries, and years of being homeschooled by his mother, it’s time for Auggie to enter a public school to continue his education.

Predictably, his fellow students are initially repelled by his appearance. The young guy, already too aware that he’s “different,” is forced to deal with daily emotional trauma. He even suffers betrayal by another boy who initially befriended him.

Spoiler alert: By movie’s end, everyone learns to look past Auggie’s external appearance and discover his intrinsic, inner beauty. If you don’t like “happily ever after” films, then be sure to pass on this one.

“Wonder” doesn’t carry an overtly Christian message, but does affirm some foundational biblical values. As someone has said, all truth is God’s truth – and the truths in this film trace back to the Scriptures.

It reminded me of the prophet Samuel seeking to identify the successor to Israel’s King Saul, who had proved himself quite unworthy of leading God’s chosen people. The Lord directed Samuel to Jesse, who had several sons that seemed likely candidates. However, one by one each was eliminated until the only one that remained was the humble shepherd boy, David.

When asked why He had passed over more robust, more physically impressive options, God replied, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

That’s not the only place that principle is mentioned. For instance, Proverbs 21:2 tells us, “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.” Our intentions and motives matter.

In our humanness, we tend to become swayed by outward appearances. If someone isn’t well-groomed, or appears grossly overweight, or seems hampered by some disability, we’re tempted to lower our assessment of them. The worlds of TV and film have accentuated these attitudes, promoting stars who are mostly beautiful, slim and curvy if they’re female, rugged and well-toned if they’re male. We’ve all heard the adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” but we’re obviously not convinced.

God has very different criteria, however, according to the Scriptures. In fact, the Old Testament offers this amazing description of the coming Messiah: He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem” (Isaiah 53:2-3).

It astounds me – especially during this Christmas season when we anticipate celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, when God “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14) – that He chose not to come as a Robert Redford, Charlton Heston, or Denzel Washington-type. Instead, even though we have no photos or portraits from the time to prove it, Jesus apparently wasn’t all that much to look at.

 

But that’s consistent with what God emphasizes in the Scriptures. He puts little stock in outward appearances. Instead, He considers the inner person, and that’s where His transformational work takes place in our lives.

 

In 1 Peter 3:3-4 we read of what the Lord desires of wives, although the principle can be applied to men and women alike. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

As the film “Wonder” shows us, we err when we put too much emphasis on a person’s eye appeal and fail to search for the individual’s inner beauty. Because if we’re willing to invest the time and effort to take a closer look, we might find a work of art nestled inside a rather ordinary exterior.

----

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.



Brainerd Presbyterian Church Hires Youth Ministries Director

Brainerd Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Presbyterian Church announces Henry Paris has accepted the opportunity to serve as BPC's full-time Youth Ministry director.  "His ?rst o?cial day is Aug. 1 and he has already begun to engage in activities with our youth group," officials said. Mr. Paris graduated from Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, in May 2018.  He ... (click for more)

Saint Paul A.M.E. Church Celebrates Its 129th Anniversary

St. Paul A.M.E. Church, 2514 Williams St. in Chattanooga, invites you to worship with them on the occasion of their 129th church anniversary.  The theme for this year's celebration is "On Christ the Solid Rock We Stand." The anniversary celebration begins on Saturday, July 28 with a musical event and culminates with Rev. Dan Scott of Baylor School, Chattanooga, speaking ... (click for more)

Man Killed, Passenger Seriously Injured; Driver Of Other Vehicle Hurt In Accident On Suck Creek Road Saturday Morning

One person was killed and two others injured in a head-on crash on Suck Creek Road on Saturday morning. The accident at 8:45 a.m. at the 2100 block of Suck Creek Road involved a Kia Sedona mini-van and a Hyundai Elantra. Preliminary results indicate that the Hyundai Elantra was traveling southbound on Suck Creek Road and, while negotiating a curve, ... (click for more)

A Jury For 2nd Time Convicts Randall Reed Of Murdering 70-Year-Old Woman In 2011

A jury for the second time has convicted Randall Reed of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of 70-year-old Jane Stokes in East Ridge. The verdict was returned in the courtroom of Judge Tom Greenholtz’s on Friday. The earlier verdict had been thrown out by an appeals court. Reed testified in his own behalf. The victim was murdered in her home during a robbery in 2011. ... (click for more)

Just Recuse Yourself

Pam Fleenor, have you ever heard the terms “conflict of interest” or “appearance of impropriety”? It’s a foregone conclusion that Robin Smith will be victorious in Chancellor Fleenor’s courtroom. Here’s another term you may want to re-examine, recuse yourself.   Rusty Munger (click for more)

Not My University: Why I’m Not Okay With Mike Pence Coming To Lee University - And Response (6)

As a student of Lee University, who is well-aware of the Lee administration’s more conservative stance in politics, I am upset about Mike Pence visiting the university and being welcomed on our campus. Although I respect that Pence is in a position of authority as our nation’s Vice President, and that he likewise deserves the right to hold his own opinions in regards to the issues ... (click for more)