C.S. Lewis has a quotable quote from his classic Mere Christianity, Book III, ch. 10. “Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.”
With 20 students packed into a small classroom last night for our English Club, I showed the short movie clip titled “The Limited” which got an award at an earlier Damah Film Festival, held every fall in Seattle, WA. These festivals started in 2001. Damah is a Hebrew word which, according to them, means “metaphor that transforms.” Many professional and amateur moviemakers at this annual film competition produce movie clips as short as one minute or up to over 15 minutes long. I discovered Damah (www.damah.com) this past summer while at a conference in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Damah has taken hold to fascinate audiences with short attention spans, no different than the phenomenon of YouTube.com clips.
This particular short clip I showed last night on the classroom wall is about a good, family man who dies in a car accident while running an errand for his wife and infant son. After realizing he is NOT in a bad dream but rather he is riding on an old locomotive train, the “Limited.” An unhappy traveler, he is stuck in a cabin with an ugly woman who hints for his leather jacket (she’s freezing) or for the candy he has in his pocket (she’s hungry). All the while he thinks he is supposed to be in heaven. He doesn’t help her at all and once the train screeches to a halt, he jumps out into a sunny, tropical scene where there is a greenhouse full of plants and flowers. (I won’t write the rest, you will have to find out for yourself the surprise ending)
Last night when I showed “The Limited,” which lasted 11:44 minutes, the students with varying ranges of English responded to how they thought it should be different, telling me how the movie had an unexpected ending, how they would have changed the ending if THEY were the film directors. I showed the movie clip twice and unfortunately it didn’t have subtitles or closed captions. That is the BEST way for foreign language learners to learn English.
After that, I shared with the 20 students about something similar had happened to me where I could have been killed in a car accident as a 19 year old. At that time in my rebellious state, I didn’t know whether I would be going to heaven or hell. Since I didn’t know in my heart that Jesus had paid the penalty for my sin, I would have gone to hell even though I was a “good person.” Fortunately in my case, I got a second chance to live, just like the students had wanted this man to have a second chance. Not everyone gets a second chance, so that is why I encourage my dear readers to check out Damah movies and see how you can use it or at least be “transformed” by them. (Disclaimer: some are REALLY weird and abstract but fits our post-modern, Generation XYZ viewers) Yet, you will see how the moviemakers from all over the U.S. care about deep, spiritual issues.
So last night I “aimed for heaven,” talking about eternal issues with 20 impressionable students and I believe I got “earth thrown in” with their talking in English about relevant matters.