Monday, December 26, 2005


As a boy, I spent many hours at my father's “motion picture” theater located in the humble little village of Damariscotta (Acts 17:34), at the head of the river with the same name. It flows to the Atlantic at a place that separates Christmas Cove from Boothbay Harbor on the coast of Maine.

During the 1940s, the Lincoln Theater was a magic place for many. It was a central spot of entertainment and semi-social gathering of the County populace, which numbered less than ten thousand souls when I lived there. The theater resided on the second floor of the Lincoln Hall which was dedicated in the year 1877, when the area flourished in economic success as a result of the intense industry of wooden sailing ship construction. At the time, the Lincoln Hall was the largest building of its type between Boston and Bangor.

Seventy years later (1947), the theater remained a prominent place in the quiet life of the main commercial center of Damariscotta, where the stores closed at 6:00 P.M., and the local residents surrendered themselves to the evening meal, conversation, reading a good book, and the radio for entertainment. The exception to all this was the theater, which ran one show each night at 8:00 P.M. --- until I introduced my father to the innovation of running two consecutive shows starting at 6:30 (with marvelous results, I may add).

In a special sense, my own education (as true for many) was significantly complemented by the "movies." The traditional format included "short-subjects" and the "News" preceding the main event, the "movie" for the evening.

In those days, in that small community, the show changed every two days, with the exception of Saturday, a day dedicated to the marvel of the "Western" gloriously displayed on the theater's "silver screen."

I could not wonder then, as I recall today, how the famous actors and actresses of the screen during my younger years (1935-55) possessed such an excellent and confident demeanor in their celluloid presence on the screen. Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, and, yes, Carol Lombard, even Katherine Hepburn, the sisters Joan Fontain and Olivia DeHaveland, Betty Davis, all of them, and the many other "Stars," each and every one possessed an air of confidence, a complete posture of assurance, a general certitude of character, a feeling or showing of adequacy and reliance on their personal powers, the appearance of a state of mind where one is free from doubt.

No matter the situation - whether it be the confrontation of lions, Indians, bad guys, love scenes, various forms of fights and arguments, even the facing of death - the actor/actress' presence was typically one of supreme confidence, and not the pain and confusion that is the reaction of a normal person when faced with these situations in every day life.

Is it any wonder that the movies were and are successful today, given this remarkable aspect of portrayed confidence? Is it any wonder that the viewing public would identify themselves with these august, powerful personalities conquering all while playing to the theme of moral goodness? The good guy eventually won, eventually got the girl, and always did the right thing? Could there be any other result, considering the popular dualistic theme of the ages that good always wins out badness goes under?

The great appeal of confidence is a major attribute in our trusting others. And many did trust these characters of the screen, and they do so today.

There is a simple explanation for the portrayed confidence of the actor/actress. Their every act and thought was conditioned by the fact that they knew what the next line would be! It is as though they had a crystal ball telling them the future so that they could make every thought and move based on knowing what the future held. Why is this so? For the simple reason that they were following a script, a writing which not only told them what to say but what was to come!

Wouldn't it be nice if life was that way, that when we arose for the morning we knew each and every thing that was to happen that day and for the rest of one's life? Imagine having a script telling you every word and thought you would speak, all you would do, every confrontation you would encounter on the "stage of life."

This is not to say there couldn't be some downside if one had this knowledge, such as the predictability of those seemingly negative "bad news" events dealing with misfortune, illness, sufferings of various forms, and death. But, there is no question one's confidence would certainly be enhanced if one knew the future in an absolute sense.

But, life is not that way, is it? The Tracys, Coopers, Flynns, Lombards and Betty Davis's, when stripped of their scripts, became mere mortals on life's stage. And in many instances their lives became the converse of what was seen on the stage, by being filled with doubt, immorality, tragedy, psychotic disablement, and premature death.

How difficult it was for the worshipping fan of a movie giant to see their hero/heroine being decimated in a way contrary to that shown on the screen. Many of these worshipping fans, in their quest to identify, would actually manifest the same symptoms that their idol suffered in real life with the added convulsive reaction of being disillusioned because their star's confident demeanor had either languished or been destroyed.

Oh, how nice it would be if we had a little manual that gave us a generalized script about life and the future, so that we all could have an air of confidence, a complete posture of assurance, a general certitude of character, a feeling or showing of adequacy and reliance on our personal powers, the dependence on a state of mind where we are always free from doubt.

To a certain extent, our training in youth, our education in life, the support of family and friends, the economic and social heritage of our ancestors, help fortify a basis for confidence in facing life's challenges. But, there is no handy script, no little document which one may read to tell the future so that one's confidence may be assured.

Or, could there be such a book?

Yes, such a document exists. It evolved over three thousand years in its preparation. The book was finalized nearly two thousand years ago. It became a cannon, the standard of an oral and a written tradition that has been the most potent intellectual and moral force in the history of the world.

Even though the book does not provide and exact script for every act and word spoken in life, it empowers the believer in determining a personal illumination for life’s conduct. The book provides a revelation that is not only predictive, it provides wisdom and a promise that what the book says is inspirational in conveying essential truth. It reveals an eternal plan reaching beyond life as it is known on earth. It provides an assurance resulting in an absolute confidence and trust by the grace of the book's real author, God’s Holy Spirit. (2Tim 3:1) It is a guide book on the most basic issues of life.

Those who read it learn from it, trust it, and possess a confidence beyond the ages into eternity. This is life's script for eternity, a book centered on the life of one man who came to save us so that we could be confident in all things forever by being right with God!

May I suggest that coming to know this book, the Bible, is meaningless unless you try to understand what it says?

1Cor 1:18 “For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us that are being saved it is the power of God.”

His Word, life's Eternal Script, the Bible, gives a superior confidence to those who believe in it and its revelation. This is the truth of the ages, a truth that has sustained those who preceded us, those who exist with us today, and those who will follow after we are gone from this place.

It is easy to dismiss the analogy presented here, between the actor on the stage, confidence, and the life on earth. It would be a trite conclusion to suggest that you, too, could have the confidence of a Spencer Tracy or a Betty Davis in dealing with
the many vagaries of life by following the script of the Bible. But the Bible offers that promise not only to the stage of life as we know it, but off the stage where the traditional actor's script cannot be employed, and for a time period not of this world, forever! That is the promise!


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