Lessons from Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland - IMDB

So as part of my TV bingeing ritual (it’s become sort of my thing on the weekends and I love it!), I came across the beautiful Alice in Wonderland. Now, you must understand that Alice is my FAVORITE! Well, the Disney version at least. I haven’t read the books, but I’ll get to it. Promise.

If this is the first time you’re reading my blog I feel it’s only fair to let you in on a little secret: movies, songs, games, etc. Pop-culture in general has a funny way of taking me to deep places and teaching me lessons I just don’t get any other way. Alice, of course, could not be the exception, I just got into the movie like never before and it talked into some ares of my life I just knew I needed to share.

Time to dig in!

When the white rabbit and pretty much half of the posse take Alice to absolem (the caterpillar) to find out if she’s the right Alice, they get quite a surprise. The caterpillar tells Alice she’s the wrong Alice, because in order to be the right Alice she needed to change her mindset. She needed to believe in herself, that she would be able to complete the task, to believe in the world she was in and that it deserved saving. How many times have we been the wrong us? How many times have we put in a situation we just want to get out of so bad? Often! don’t lie, much more often than we’d like. But not wanting to be there doesn’t make it go away, if you’re in that situation you need to believe in yourself and what is already inside of you, which is all you need to get out of the situation a victor, not a victim. You need to remember what makes you so absolutely precious and really that it’s all you need. There’s nothing you need that you may lack, but in case you do, trust that in your daily walk you’ll learn it, receive it, realize it, grow it.

When she finally meets with the mad hatter, one of the things he said that really got to her was when he said she had lost her “muchness”. Have you ever had someone from the past come back into your life and asked you “what happened to you? you’re not the same.” How did it feel? I’m sure thoughts like “how have i changed?” or “what do you mean?” came to your mind. I’m sure it bugged you in some way and it may have made you wondered what they meant, without the courage to actually say it. Sometimes the most annoying and upsetting words are the words that ring the true. But they’ll be the ones to hit the chord necessary to make you move. Had it not been for the mad hatter uttering those words, Alice just wouldn’t be Alice, or at least the movie. At times people making you uncomfortable is EXACTLY what you need to get on track and end up in an even BETTER place! At times we lose our way, or choose a simpler way, one that isn’t really meant for me. And thank God for those people who say the worst, because they force us to stop and as our GPS would say, re-route.

the white rabbit
the white rabbit – IMDB

Frabjous day, sometimes people believe in you more than you believe in yourself. Many times you won’t see what really inside of you, but those around you will. They’re guides, lights, oppositions, bumps on the road that will question you and doubt you or maybe believe the greatest in you. Regardless, they’re all there to help you along the way to get you to where you need to be.

Stop hoping is a dream or a nightmare, realize that it’s your life and you can come out triumphant in the end, if you just keep moving.

The mad hatter: at times someone crazy will enter your life. Truly crazy, but mad hatter - imdbso worth having. Let the silliness come into your life, the belly-aching laughter, the interrupting joy. Let others believe in yourself and allow your logic to be tested. At times, the most brilliant moments and the clearest epiphanies will come from the mad hatters and the tea times of your life.

Alice only believed when she realized it was a reality since childhood: Alice had lost herself in pain, regret, in logic. Remember your child self. Respect them, love him or her, embrace them, wall with them, and keep them as upfront in your heart and mind as possible, always allowing them to exist and celebrating them and they should be. Your greatest self is your child self. Why? They believe without limits, love without care, give you honesty even when you prefer they wouldn’t. They’re your bravest, most confident, most caring, most heroic self.

 

And if you don’t believe my overall obsession with Alice, I’ll leave you what I believe to be one of the most clever trailers, released on the same day as Daylight Saving:

 

And if that wasn’t enough, here’s the official trailer. You bet I’ll be watching this movie when it comes out!

Morgan Freeman embarked on a journey as The Story of God premiered on NatGeo

storyofgod.nationalgeographic.com

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman premiered last Sunday on National Geographic, and is set to air all 5 episodes in Spanish on Nat Geo Mundo, and  globally on National Geographic Channels in 171 countries, and translated or dubbed to  45 languages.

As the executive producer, Morgan Freeman doesn’t narrate someone else’s story, but he takes a journey every viewer gets to witness. As he asks very profound questions, he travels to the epicenters of each religion, belief, or school of thought, and learns from experts, priests, archaeologists, rabbis, and other religious authorities what their religion’s take on the question is.

Take for example last Sunday’s question, what happens after we die? He explores resurrection in the Christian faith and from the Jewish perspective, reincarnation from the Hindu, and even explores science and its takes on how to cheat death.

What’s interesting isn’t just the journey he’s on, which is quite amazing. To break the limitations on one faith and go around to find each religion’s view on the question makes the journey personable, it makes it vulnerable, even real. We’ve all asked those questions and for many of us one answer has sufficed. For others the question is more important than the faith itself, so the quest for the answer becomes almost like a personal religion. Here you have none. It is an almost child-like curiosity to find common ground and open up to conversation about these questions between people of all walks of life.

Also Read: “Killing Jesus” movie airs on National Geographic

I’m also impacted by the scenery, the places he visits. These are very important historical places. They are of great significance, way beyond their religious implications. I for one know that many of them are on my bucket list of places to visit. Others I didn’t even know existed! I mean the history lessons! I’m about to bust out with a notebook and pen, and just take notes. Don’t be surprised if you feel the same!

Here’s the thing, as a Christian I realize that as open-minded as I believe to be, there’s still so much to learn. We cannot be afraid of what’s outside of our bubble. In the end is not what you’re exposed to but what you allow to have an effect on you that really matters. This show isn’t going to change my faith. My faith comes from what God has done for me! PERSONALLY. There’s no point in believing in any god if that god cannot personally impact your life, for good. If he cannot change you, he’s of no value, to me.

Related: 20 Questions with Morgan Freeman | The Story of God

I’m fascinated by these shows because of all the information I get to consume. I’d rather be watching this than all the different Real Housewives (which I’m addicted to, pray for me), and all the other reality TV shows out there (except my pastors Rich Wilkerson Jr. and Dawn Cheré, Rich in Faith on Oxygen, that I’ll keep watching over and over). But they don’t get to change my faith nor make me question my God. He’s real to me today and every day, because of what happens when I have a relationship with Him.

So don’t be afraid. Watch it and educate yourself on what others believe. I think there’s something so loving about going the extra mile to understand others in order to have intelligent and gentle conversations. If we cared about what the other believes, maybe we could have a real positive impact in this world. We know we need it and BAD.

This is a 5-episode series, each centered on specific themes: Afterlife, End of Days, Creation, Who is God?, Evil, and Miracles. These are the questions Morgan Freeman travels with and tries to find the answer to in different beliefs.

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman is produced by Revelations Entertainment for National Geographic Channel. For Revelations Entertainment, Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary and James Younger are executive producers.

 

“Killing Jesus” movie airs on National Geographic

We know Jesus was hated and not liked by some, worshipped and followed by others. But do we really know the thoughts inside the minds of the men responsible for his life ending on a cross?

These and more are some of the questions that the film adaptation of “Killing Jesus” attempts to answer.

The series will air tonight on National Geographic at 8/7c and is the third of the “Killing” book series written by Bill O’Rilley and Martin Dugand. The earlier books in the series are “Killing Kennedy” and “Killing Lincoln”.

Jesus with his disciples / National Geographic
Jesus with his disciples / National Geographic

 

Christopher Menaul wanted to direct the movie in such a way that it would appeal believers and non believers. And it did, in more ways than one.

The idea behind the book and film are to present the environment politically and socially around and during the time of Jesus. Today there are more than 2.2 billion Christians around the world, but what did it look like when He was walking here on Earth and who felt threatened by his presence?

Now for those Christians who have experienced an Easter or two within a Christian church, this may seem repetitive. But even in the movie “Passion of the Christ”, the environment outside of Jesus’ circle wasn’t widely presented.

The movie captures the ideology and beliefs of the high priests and governors, and of the people around Jesus, including family. It’s surprising to see a more in-depth look into people who to us Christians don’t seem as important, but were key in his life and death.

Caiaphas
Caiaphas with the temple guards

Unfortunately the biblical counts are weak and sometimes even wrong, according to what we’re used to seeing and hearing, and honestly what we’ve made up in our minds happened during the time of our Savior. But there’s something to be said about the humanity of Jesus, who walked wanting to spread a simple message of love and had to adapt as people responded to his journey and his message.

Haaz Sleiman, the actor playing Jesus, is actually muslim and may be the first Middle Eastern to portray Jesus, which makes for an interesting twist but also win, since so much criticism arises with each actor that portrays Jesus in different movies and series.

“I was familiar with Jesus’ story from a very young age. It’s probably the most famous story of all time, one that touched me and inspired me as a child,” said the actor when asked how he prepared for the role.

The movie was produced by Mark Huffman and Aidan Elliot, and includes names like Kelsey Grammer, John Rhys-Davies and Eion Macken as part of the cast.

Grammer, a Christian, speaks of his faith and the more spiritual experience of the film:

“It sure does require a lot of faith. I’m a Christian. I think Jesus is the most remarkable human being that’s ever lived. I love the saying in the Bible, “He was made a little less than the angels, to become so much more.” The lessons he taught and the examples he gave resonate to this day. I’ve seen half of the producers on this set start to cry — when they talk about how “we’re going to shoot this scene today or that scene,” and then they well up a little bit. It’s a remarkable thing and I think that’s a great service to what is good about religion.”

This is a movie that MUST be watched. Whether you’re Christian or not, whether you agree with the movie completely or find the missing pieces, it’ll definitely open up your mind o a new perspective, it’ll place Jesus’ story in a culture, society, and political environment that many haven’t cared to see but should thoroughly comprehend.

If it doesn’t do any of the above, it’ll at least show you what others are learning, seeing, and maybe believing.

Tune in, watch, enjoy, and learn.

Mi Dios, mi guitarra y yo album release

This Friday January 10, local Christian artist of Latin Pop, Jorge Perez-Prado, will be releasing his first album “mi Dios, mi guitarra y yo” at the Homestead campus of El Rey Jesus at 7 pm.

Jorge is of Cuban decent and born outside of New York City. A singer since the age of four, he knew he was called to be a minister of God. The opportunity to make this first album came in the Spring of 2012 when he was able to work with Borys Sanchez, producer of don’t of the most well-known Christian Spanish artists in the city. The album has 9 songs with a wide variety of genres, from reggaeton to gospel, pop ballad and more.

Artists invited to be part of this album release concert are: Overflow, Ally, Javier David, Marlon Morales, Catherine Jimenez, and Miguel Defaus.

The night’s MC is none other than Gilberto Salazar, radio personality of la nueva 88.3 fm, one of Miami’s main Christian Hispanic radio station.

Surprises will be plenty and of course, great music in abundance.

Place: El Rey Jesus Homestead
Address: 255 NE 2 Drive, Homestead, Fl 33030
Time: 7 P.M.

Links available.

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Billboard Christian & Gospel Charts to Get a Consumer-Focused Facelift

Starting Thursday, Nov. 28, Billboard’s long-standing Christian Songs and Gospel Songs charts will be receiving a major consumer-influenced facelift, as digital download sales (tracked by Nielsen SoundScan) and streaming data (from services tracked by Nielsen BDS such as YouTube, Spotify, Muve, Slacker, Rhapsody, Rdio and Xbox Music, among others) will be factored into the rankings, along with existing radio airplay data monitored by Nielsen BDS. The makeovers will enable these charts to match the methodology applied to our signature all-genre songs ranking, the Billboard Hot 100 as well as other genre charts such as Hot Country Songs, Hot R&/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rock Songs, among others. The revamped Christian and Gospel charts take effect online on Thursday, November 28th and in the December 7th issue of Billboard magazine.

Concurrent to the revamping of Christian Songs and Gospel Songs, we will also introduce new streaming-only charts titled Christian Streaming Songs and Gospel Streaming Songs. Once added to Billboard’s existing airplay and digital download charts for each genre, the streaming rankings will provide a third distinct breakout charts for the overarching Christian Songs and Gospel Songs.

“We are extremely excited to add Christian and Gospel to our growing list of consumer-influenced rankings, which are in the mold of our flagship songs chart, the Hot 100,” says Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard Director of Charts. “Incorporating download sales and streaming data to existing radio airplay provides a more holistic view of a song’s popularity.”

Billboard has been charting the popularity of Christian Songs since 2003 and Gospel Songs since 2005, utilizing an airplay-only methodology while digital song rankings were launched for both genres in 2010. The existing radio charts for Christian and Gospel will be spun off and live on Billboard’s print and/or online properties, each keeping its history from their respective launches.

Until now, only Christian and Gospel music stations contributed to the Christian Songs and Gospel Songs. The new methodology, which will utilize the Hot 100’s formula of incorporating airplay from more than 1,200 radio stations of all genres monitored by BDS, will reward titles receiving airplay on other formats, which will specifically hold true for the many gospel titles which receive airplay on urban stations, especially during Sunday morning specialty programming. With digital download sales and streaming data measuring popularity on the most inclusive scale possible, it is only just that the radio portion of Billboard chart calculations includes airplay from the entire spectrum of monitored radio formats.

via Christian Hip Hop & Rap Music Magazine Rapzilla