Monday, November 29, 2010

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

For the past week or so, I’ve been making observations about community. The benefits of commonalities, and those of diversity.

It occurred to me that the movie that epitomizes this concept is obvious…

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

I could make the mistake of assuming you’ve seen this movie since it was so popular a few years ago (wow, 2001, nearly a decade already!). But then again, fantasy epics that are hours long don’t really appeal to everyone.

Allow me to suggest, this one might just be for everyone.

Nine creatures from vastly different worlds answer the call to go on a quest to battle evil. Their personalities clash, their backgrounds differ like night and day, and their habits grate on every nerve. But they have a common goal, one that hinges on life and death. As the journey continues, as they face hardships and dangers and successes together, as they discover each other’s strengths and abilities, they grow closer and closer, stronger and stronger against the wicked force they resist.

Need I dissect the comparisons to our walk of faith?

I believe, like C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings narratives are an allegory to the Christian walk. While it is complex and involved and sometimes difficult to interpret, it paints a perfect picture of Christian brotherhood from which we all can garner valuable lessons.

So, sometime in the next few months, when it’s cold outside and perhaps you’re snowed in, I encourage you to take the time to watch this fabulously filmed version of one of literature’s most amazing works, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends. Are you listening to Christmas music yet? J

(photo by

Friday, November 26, 2010


I trust everyone thoroughly enjoyed a blessed Thanksgiving and the tryptophan coma that followed dinner. I know I did.

On Monday, I highlighted the movie You Can’t Take It With You, commenting on the sense of community the theme inspires. While I admire the acceptance of diversity creating such a unique and inviting community, that’s only one side of the coin. Because community thrives on commonalities as its foundation.

For example, I work for a zoo now, and as a rule, zoos are strict conservationists. Not only do they love animals, but they are also concerned about issues such as recycling.

While I’ve always respected and appreciated animals, I’ve never been on the leading edge of recycling. Yes, I see its value, but my conscious didn’t usually speak up about throwing a Diet Coke can away in the wrong bin or stuffing another plastic bag into the trashcan.

Now, I work in a community of recycling-conscious individuals. Therefore, I am keenly aware of their eyes watching what I do with that can, or what I drink water out of, or whether I reuse a plastic bag or not.

Really, it’s good for me. I mean, fanaticism isn’t good for anyone, but I can be mindful of my habits and adjust accordingly.

As I walked the extra few steps to the aluminum can recycling bin to toss my empty Diet Coke can the other day, I marveled at the principle of community. I’m much more likely to think “recycle that can” because I work in an environment where that is a high priority.

The same principle applies to communities of faith.

The more I participate in a fellowship of faith, the more I will act on the values we share.

Going to church has slipped a rung or two on the ladder of importance in modern times, for many reasons. Sometimes, finding the right church is like getting half way through Goldielocks and the Three Bears – too hot, too cold – haven’t found just right quite yet. Other times, past experiences have wounded people beyond foreseeable repair, so they’re reluctant to put themselves out there anymore, to trust any body of Believers. Whatever the reason, one rationale covers them all, and I’ve heard it a thousand times: Well, I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian, do I?

Well, no. Of course not.

But it’s important.


Well, because when we participate in a community, we tend to adopt and act upon shared values. Our faith increases because we are around other people of faith.

Does recycling save the planet? I’m sorry, no, I don’t think it does. Is it a good habit, make me a better steward of what I have? Improve quality of life? Yes, most definitely.

Does going to church save me? Nope. I know it doesn’t. However, it’s a good habit, helps me become a better steward of what God has birthed in me, and drastically improves my quality of life. Hands down, it’s a valuable thing to do – which, incidentally, is why God asks that we do it. (Heb. 10:24-25)

I, of all people, know how difficult it is to find a church. Moving 11 times in 15 years – yea, I’ve done my share of searching – sometimes finding, sometimes not. But being a part of some fellowship of faith is crucial.

Where do you spend time? Who do you spend time with? What community holds your priorities? It makes a difference.

Here’s to surviving Black Friday, and I hope you have a great weekend!

Thanks for spending part of your Friday with me here on Dry Ground.

(photos by

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


A few profound thoughts on Thanksgiving from the experts…

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say, ‘thank you’?” William A. Ward

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” Meister Eckhart

O Lord that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.” William Shakespeare

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.” W.J. Cameron

Remember God’s bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light!” Henry Ward Beecher

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man, it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.” Edward Sandford Martin

Thou hast given so much to me,

Give one thing more – a grateful heart;

Not thankful when it pleaseth me,

As if Thy blessings had spare days,

But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.” George Herbert

Thanksgiving comes to us out of the prehistoric dimness, universal to all ages and all faiths. At whatever straws we must grasp, there is always a time for gratitude and a new beginnings.” J. Robert Moskin

On Thanksgiving Day, we acknowledge our dependence.” William Jennings Bryan

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie

God Bless you, my Dry Ground friends. I am certainly thankful for you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

(photo by

Monday, November 22, 2010

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

One of the best filmmakers of all time, Frank Capra, directed this week’s film recommendation.

Maybe you don’t know that name, or perhaps it does sound familiar but you can’t put a film title to it, but I’ll bet you’ve seen his work at least once – It’s a Wonderful Life?

While I could recommend that movie with all enthusiasm, as well as several others I’ve seen credited to Mr. Capra, the one I’d like to highlight this week hit theatres in 1938, starring Lionel Barrymore, Jean Arthur, Jimmy Stewart and many other recognizable faces.

It is You Can’t Take It With You.

For those of you wary of the classics, let me warn you that at first glance, this film appears nauseatingly cheesy – an easy label for most Capra films, actually.

However, if given a chance, You Can’t Take It With You will entertain, inspire, and touch your funny bone as well as your heart.

Patriarch, Grandpa Martin Vanderhof, acted by the great Lionel Barrymore, heads up an eccentric household. His flighty daughter is an amateur mystery writer, one of his granddaughters is an inspiring ballerina (sort of), the grandson-in-law hammers out sweet tunes on the xylophone, and the son-in-law makes fireworks in the basement. Most of this is happening at the same time, all of the time.

If I lived in a house like that, my brain would curdle with the chaos.

But Mr. Vanderhof takes it all in stride and ease. In fact, he’s so laid back, he’s not even that concerned about paying taxes, which he makes a point of never doing.

The main plot point, though, revolves around his other granddaughter Alice, played by Jean Arthur, who has fallen in love with her banker boss, Jimmy Stewart’s Tony Kirby, who reciprocates her affections. But would Tony’s rich parents approve?

A lot goes on in this movie, a comedy of errors of sorts. But underneath the clamor and chaos, several really good points emerge.

My favorite of them all is the importance of community. A certain kind of community, though, in which while sharing certain commonalities, the thing that makes everyone click are individualities and the absolute acceptance of each unique individual.

See, Alice encounters problems with Tony’s family partially because shame concerning her unconventional relatives seeps into her thoughts in light of the Kirby’s social status. I don’t think she means to feel that way, but the world’s pressures can be overwhelming. Resolution to her problems doesn’t start until she stops comparing and starts accepting.

The individuality emphasized here does not, however, advocate an anything goes policy. Decency still applies. Kindness and love are promoted and practiced. And respect for everyone, not the least of whom is God Almighty.

Like other Capra films, like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and Arsenic and Old Lace, You Can’t Take It With You is an up-beat take on serious issues spotlighting courageous, faithful, patriotic characters who will inspire. The laughs are an extra bonus.

If you’d like to check out You Can’t Take It With You, TCM is showing it this Thursday, November 25th at 11:30AM (EST). Really, I can’t think of a better show than this to watch Thanksgiving Day.

Mr. Vanderof offers a couple of well-put prayers that sum up the attitude displayed in this movie. I’d like to wrap up today quoting one of them:

Well, Sir, here we are again. We’ve been getting along pretty good for quite a while now – we’re certainly much obliged. Remember all we ask is just to go along the way we are, keep our health; as far as anything else is concerned, we leave that up to you. Thank You.

Be blessed, Dry Ground friends!

(photo by

Friday, November 19, 2010

Heart Print

I learn things watching my favorite TV shows.

For example, on NCIS LA last week, they highlighted a new piece of technology that reads human heartbeats, kind of like a thermal imaging scan.
I did a little research. Low and behold, it’s a real device.

Here’s the other thing I learned.

Each person has a unique heartbeat signature, like fingerprints.

Stands to reason, but I’d never thought about it. Now that I have, though, it makes total sense, besides the fact that it is way cool!

Gives me a new take on 1 Samuel 16:7 when Samuel was searching Israel for the one God had chosen to be the next king. God told him, “People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

On one hand, the Lord looks at my heart and knows my motivations, attitudes, secrets, sins, feelings, hopes, fears… everything stored in the “heart” in a figurative, soulful sense.

But on the other hand, an added bonus if you ask me, is that when the Lord looks at my heart, He knows it’s me because its very beat is unique. In a concrete, physical sense, He sees me.

And that translates in my mind to love.

Have a blessed weekend, Dry Ground friends!

(Photo by

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

To Be Continued...

As a lover of story, I not only want to know what happens next, I’m in a hurry to know what happens next.

One of the most powerful story telling tools is that daunting, often maddening, cliff-hanging phrase – to be continued.

Arrrrrrggggg! You mean, I have to wait to find out?

Writers sit back and snicker, “Yep… and there’s nothing you can do about it!”

But none of us get so mad that we don’t tune in whenever the next installment is available.

I’ve found that life throws similar speed bumps into the road, those hairpin curves marked by signs that read: To Be Continued.

In other words… we have to wait to find out what happens next.

It may come as a surprise to us that God is never in a hurry.

From our perspective, danger or a specific need or want may seem absolutely imminent. We worry, fret, rip out our hair, cry and complain, maybe even raise a fist to God demanding to know why He doesn’t hurry up!

The great thing is that God is always on time.

And that timing is almost always much, much longer than our perspective can fathom.

You see… He sees that big picture. He knows that in a short amount of time, He might grow a squash. But given time, He could grow an oak.*

If you keep encountering “to be continued” in life’s pursuits, be patient. God’s got grand plans for you!

Thanks for spending a part of your Wednesday with me here on Dry Ground!

(photo by

*AH Strong concept in The Green Letters, pg. 14

Monday, November 15, 2010

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

This past weekend’s TCM experiment for my Daniel and I was The Cincinnati Kid starring Steve McQueen.

There’s no denying McQueen is the man’s man to end all man’s men, no less so in this New Orleans poker game nail-biter closely resembling a Western gun slinging standoff.

While I’m glad I watched it if only to be reminded why McQueen was such a star, it is not the movie that I’m highlighting today.

But it reminded me of the one I do recommend.

I realize, and you will too soon enough, that I take quite the risk naming these two movies in the same literary breath and that I might be fighting an already lost battle suggesting this of all movies.

Because… it’s a musical.

What on earth, you might say to yourself, do Steve McQueen and a classic musical have in common?

Well, because the movie, Guys and Dolls, is about gamblers.

Now, The Cincinnati Kid has a stark message – pride goes before the fall.

Guys and Dolls incorporates that message, but so many more in this story of high stakes.

As a rule, I like musicals. But what drew me to this one was the cast. Frank Sinatra – who can’t stand to listen to his voice for a bar or two? Jean Simmons – the classic actress, not the 70s rocker who likes to wear makeup… who spells his name differently anyway. And the biggest draw (for me) of all – Marlon Brando.

Yes, Marlon Brando sings in this film.

But let me get to the plot.

The local craps game organizer, Nathan Detroit (played by Sinatra), is supposed to be setting up a secret (not to mention illegal) game, but the heat, namely Inspector Brannigan, is on his case. He needs $1,000 to secure a location, but he doesn’t have it. But high rollers are in town, and he’ll face unrecoverable shame and humiliation if he doesn’t find a place to host the game. So, being the opportunistic gambler that he is, he attempts to lure one of the high rollers, Sky Masterson (played by Brando) into a sucker bet that will provide him with the money he needs.

At first, it doesn’t work because Sky is no fool.

But then… they start talking about women. J

Nathan succeeds in his quest when Sky accepts the bet that he can take any woman Nathan names to Cuba with him for dinner on a whim. Nathan names Sister Sarah Brown (played by Simmons), the leader of the local chapter of Save a Soul Mission.

As you might imagine, this opens up a whole other can of worms.

But I love how this story proceeds. Both parties, Sky the Gambler and Sister Sarah the pious missionary, discover much about each other, but more importantly much about themselves.

I like how they respect the place of religion in life at the same time pointing out common flaws in how we religious folks live out that life. When the mechanics of religion become a higher priority than relationship, the masks we all wear dissolve revealing the flesh hiding behind them. And the world will be the first to point out the discrepancies. This movie, though, does not use those discrepancies to discredit the religion. Because the Truth wins out when all the other barriers are removed.

This is not a religious film. Yet, many principles shine through in the midst of entertaining songs, a touching love story, witty dialogue and classic actors delighting us with top-notch performances.

Another reason to watch this film – Marlon Brando singing Luck Be a Lady. That’s right. Not Sinatra, who made the song famous on the stages of Las Vegas. Brando sings it in Guys and Dolls. Wow. Super impressive.

Let the men have the man’s man McQueen. I’ll take a crooning Brando any day.

Hope the start of your week is fantastic! Thanks for spending time here on Dry Ground!

(photos by

Friday, November 12, 2010

Name That Tune

I’m a big fan of movie sound tracks.
Big shocker, I know.
I had a string of them playing through Pandora at work the other day.
I love how I can hear a tune, and know what movie it goes to.
Last of the Mohicans.
Sherlock Holmes.
Pearl Harbor.
Okay, maybe my ear is keener to these because I’m such a movie nerd. But how about …
Star Wars.
Jurassic Park.
Chariots of Fire.
A larger percentage of people are probably more familiar with these iconic melodies. Hearing them immediately brings to mind a specific story, even specific images.
So, if your life is a melody, what story does it bring to mind?
When people hear your song, what images pop up?
I want people to hear God’s story whenever they are listening to me.
Yea, I get off key every once in a while. Okay, a lot. Usually when I take over the notes.
I sound best when I let God be the conductor, composer, and master musician.
Here’s to beautiful music!
Happy Weekend, Dry Ground friends.
(photo by

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Winning Record

Who would have predicted the Dallas Cowboys, with their fancy new stadium and celebrated quarterback, would be having such a horrible season?

Of eight games, they’ve won only one this season! That’s like… the Detroit Lions… or worse than the Lions, actually. *cringe*

If you're a Cowboy's fan - I’m not - but if you are, it’s got to be a disappointment.

But lives go on. After all, it's just another season.

For someone else, though, it means life changes completely. The head coach, Wade Phillips, was fired on Monday because of the sinking season.

In the world of football, we all saw this coming.

Whether the losing season is due to bad coaching or bad playing, or a combination of the two, or none of the above – maybe it’s the excelling of the other teams – whatever the case may be, the top man, the head, is the one who always gets the ax.

What a huge amount of pressure to live under.

Especially when we all grow up under the cliché “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play that counts.”

Tell that to Wade Phillips.

Look, I don’t know that much about football. Ask my friend Jonathan Moore if Phillips really deserved to get fired or not.

My thought on the whole episode is this:

I’m so glad my life is not based at all on whether I win or lose.

I think I spent a lot of my childhood believing God considered me exactly like Jerry Jones looks at his head coaches – as long as I’m having a winning season – more wins than losses – more goods than bads – then I still have a job as Child of God. But if I get on a losing streak – watch out! The ax will be hovering overhead!

How blessed I am to know that that’s as far from the truth as I could get.

I go through life – wining some, losing some. The great thing, the tally in each column makes no difference to my Perfect Lover, Jesus, because the winning part has already been taken care of – 2000+ years ago on a hill called Calvary.

We get so bogged down fighting battles when what we should be doing is rejoicing that the battle is already won. We can’t do anything to make the win more of a win, and we sure can’t do anything to cause that win to become a loss.

We only lose when we refuse to depend 100% on the Victor.

While I feel a little bad for Wade Phillips losing his job, I hope he knows that life is not lost just because the Cowboys are suffering a losing season.

And I hope you know that as far as eternity is concerned, winning depends only on choosing the right team. The One who’s already Won.

Happy Wednesday, Dry Ground friends!

(photo by Yours Truly! J )

Monday, November 8, 2010

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

Recently, director Michael Mann's 1992 film, The Last of the Mohicans, released on BluRay.

Perfect opportunity to watch it again.

It surprises me to recall that this movie garnered only one Oscar nomination, for sound of all things.

It surprises me that so many people have never watched this movie, or even heard of it!

Thus, today, I remind those of you who have seen it, and highlight for those of you who haven’t, that this film is indeed worth your time.

The Last of the Mohicans is a classic novel written by James Fenimore Cooper in 1826 about the conflict between American Colonials and the British on one side, and the French and Native Americans on the other. However, the story is not primarily political. That’s only the backdrop to a beautiful and poignant love story.

I admit that I’ve not read the novel (yet). So I do not know how it differs from the movie. Right now, though, that doesn’t matter, because the movie based on the book has enough to offer on its own.

Nathaniel Hawkeye, played by the amazing Daniel Day-Lewis, is an orphaned American colonial raised by Mohican Native Americans. Cora, brought to life by Madeleine Stowe, is the proper English daughter of the British colonel. Their vastly different worlds collide when they are both caught in the crossfire of the war. A particular Huron, Magua, seeks revenge for the British attack and slaying of his village and family, targeting Cora and her sister to fulfill his bloodlust. But Nathaniel and his two Mohican relatives interfere, rescuing the English sisters and their escort, Major Heyward, and agree to guide them through the wilderness to the fort where their father fights against a French siege. Somewhere between bullets flying and Indian war parties tracking their every move, Nathaniel and Cora fall in love. The outcome in such dire circumstances, though, is critically uncertain.

I could spout about the cinematography, acting, and score, which are all superb, but it’ll sound like a typical review.

What I like most about this movie is that it makes me think of the cosmic romance between Jesus, the perfect and eternal Lover, and his beloved – us.

Cora faces the wilderness, a harsh, dangerous world that is leagues away from what she is used to. Death pursues her, and she has no defense. If Hawkeye hadn’t shown up to rescue her, she’d have died. From that point on, though he protects her from a lot, they still face dangers and trials. And at one point, he has to leave in order to protect her best. During that scene, he implores her to stay alive, and promises that he will find her. (Gives me chills every time.)

Although God never leaves us, life gets tough enough to make us feel alone and maybe even unloved. But God allows us to endure hard times to increase our faith, to give us an opportunity to trust and choose Him no matter what we face. During that scene under the waterfall when Hawkeye tells Cora that he’ll find her, I picture Jesus gripping my shoulders and imploring me to trust Him, to hold on to faith, to know that He’s holding on to me, to believe that no matter how dire my circumstances seem, He finds me and draws me out of the fire.

Other moments throughout the movie, such as when Nathaniel offers his life in exchange for Cora’s, conjure pictures of my perfect Lover and how recklessly and completely He loves me.

Hope you get the chance to watch (or re-watch) The Last of the Mohicans.

Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends!

(photos by

Friday, November 5, 2010

He's So Good To Me

As you may know, hiking is one of my Daniel’s and my favorite pastimes. We’ve been blessed to live in many places offering majestic hiking spots, and Billings is no exception. Practically in our back yard is a fantastic 3-mile round trip hike along The Rims, which overlooks the entire Billings valley. We’ve made a habit of getting up there any time the weather is at all nice enough to be out, and we’ve been blessed with a prolonged Autumn with temperatures in the 60s, even into November. Amazing.

For as many hikes as my Daniel and I have been on, we’ve gotten away with few accidents. A slip here, a wrong step there, a too-close brush against a sharp branch, but nothing causing permanent damage or even any major inconveniences.

I’m thankful to say that hasn’t changed.

But… a couple days ago, I did take a spill during our run/hike. I have a few souvenirs from that fall. A scraped up knee, forearm and hand.

Still, though, nothing terrible. Yes, it stung like a whole hive of bees when I poured peroxide down my leg, but compared to what could have been, a minor inconvenience at worst.

When things like this happen, I try to take the time to thank God for protecting me from what could have happened. My Daniel said that when he turned to see me going down, my head just missed a rock.

So, I just wanted to say “thank you, Lord” publicly, because He sure has been good to me – during our hikes as well as in every other area of my life.

This weekend, take the time think of all the ways He’s been good to you.

(photos by Yours Truly J )

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Trick or Treat?

While I did my part facilitating the nearly 6,000 people visiting the zoo this past weekend for Howl-o-Ween, ZooMT’s trick-or-treat event, I made several observations.

This is the one that stood out.

Do any of these kids really expect a trick?

Last Friday evening, my Daniel and I enjoyed watching the classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, in which Charlie Brown ends up with a sack full of rocks after a night of trick-or-treating.

Do kids these days, or any days from the past for that matter, really expect anything other than a treat when going door-to-door?

Of course not. It’d be a stroke of cruelty to pass out rocks to the kids in your neighborhood. I mean, even those who distribute dental floss are suspicious in my book!

It got me thinking…

Do we “trick or treat” with God when we pray? Do we knock on His celestial door, hold out our orange plastic jack-o-lanterns, lean back with a cringe terrified that He might possibly hand us out a trick?

Or are we like the typical kid who believes with all his heart that he’s getting a treat in his bucket?

My point is this…

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Romans 8:28

God is not cruel. He does not hand out tricks. We can depend on Him to hand out treats, every time. He works everything that even seems like a trick to turn into a treat. We can trust Him, even when we feel like we’re dragging around a sack of rocks.

Life gets us down and throws punches at us, all the while the enemy whispers in our ears that God is not good and that we should always expect tricks from Him.

Don’t listen to that lie! Even when life has body slammed you… again… maybe for the ump-teenth time.

OK, easier said than done.

What do you do if that lying whisper becomes a roar?

Here are a couple suggestions that have helped me.

No matter the circumstances, give thanks.

Actively maintain the belief that God is good, so give Him praise.

Be patient. Not every day is going to be a “good” day, but every day contributes to ultimate good.

Keep believing, like those kids, that by the end of the night, your bucket will be full of treats.

Be blessed, Dry Ground friends!

(photo by

Monday, November 1, 2010

Movies You Might Have Missed Mondays

So, I’ve been picking the classics so far on these special Mondays, purely by chance, I assure you. But this week, I decided to highlight a movie from our current century, same decade even.

In 2007, the indie world gave us a little nugget called Lars and the Real Girl staring Ryan Gosling. Few people watched this in the theatres, which I understand, but it’s a shame because I discovered it to be one of my favorite movies.

I understand because the premise sounds whacked and maybe even a little bit bizarre. But I decided to watch it anyway, out of pure curiosity, and I was so glad I did.

It’s about a seemingly normal, uninteresting young man, Lars. He has a job, he goes to church, he lives in the garage next to his brother and pregnant sister-in-law’s house. Although he operates in society, he isn’t really social. He has some nuances that make him come across as odd. Likable, just odd.

His sister-in-law worries about him being lonely, constantly badgering him to come to dinner. His co-workers needle him in attempts to draw him out. There’s even a sweet girl at work who likes him. But Lars sees the world differently. He’s careful, cautious, tentative, apparently because of losses in his past.

A combination of it all gives him an idea.

He orders a blow-up, sex doll off the Internet.

Of course, this shocks everyone. But it’s not what they think… or you think.

Lars is under the delusion that this doll is a real girl, Bianca, his new missionary girlfriend who is also handicapped, thus needs pushed around in a wheelchair. It’s completely and totally innocent.

Okay, so the premise is weird.

What’s touching about it to me is that so Lars can work through the issues he has, even though they don’t understand, the whole town goes along with his delusion. They greet Bianca, they take her on “girl” dates, they have her volunteer at the hospital and at the elementary school, they even give her a job modeling at a dress shop (you know, like the mannequin in the window!).

I like this movie because it is an example of community, of serving a fellow human being out of love and compassion instead of writing them off as weird or crazy. It’s too easy to ignore or ridicule people different than us, especially those with social challenges. We don’t have time, or we don’t understand, or we’re too uncomfortable to give people the attention or respect they deserve. We judge by the world’s standards too often, and too many souls fall through the cracks when it wouldn’t take that much out of our own routines to really help change a life.

Lars and the Real Girl is not action-packed. You probably won’t laugh until you cry. It’s based on an idea that might weird you out at first. But it’s smart. It drives a good point straight to the heart. And by the end, you’ll believe with Lars that Bianca is a real girl.

Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends. Be blessed!

(photo by