When I was ill last week, I was forced to spend most of it reclined on my couch. My activity was limited to writing two blog posts, reading and watching TV. Now some of you may think that that may sound like a bit of a holiday, but try to find something worthwhile to watch on daytime TV (or anytime really)! Bruce Springsteen knew what he was talkin’ ’bout when he sang “57 channels and nothin’ on”!
Now I am a bit of a classic film buff (love the costumes and set designs) so I often check out what’s on the Turner Classic Movies channel. Unfortunately, the offering on one of those days was one, l-o-n-g marathon of cheesy (and I mean limburger cheesy) African themed movies.
Some of the scenes were actually shot in Africa, but many of the “wildlife” shots were not. In fact, I did some research and one of the films shot many of the animal scenes in Mexico to avoid the animal welfare laws in place in the U.S.A.
Not only were many of the animal scenes not filmed in Africa, they weren’t even done in the proper environmental context. Whoever heard of chimpanzees swinging through the branches of pine and willow trees? Never mind seeing lions and antelopes bounding through thick rainforest jungle!
And of course, I have to give an honourable mention to the motorized “puppet” crocodiles and hippos who cruised along the river at top speed with their mouths wide open. (Say aahh!)
But the funniest of all were the elephants. It used to be thought that African elephants could not be tamed and trained so Indian elephants were used. Now Indian and African elephants do have some distinctive differences: African elephants are larger, have much larger ears and a flatter, angular forehead while Indian elephants are smaller, have smaller ears and very rounded, bulbous foreheads and crowns.
So to make the Indian elephants look like “realistic” African elephants, the moviemakers put large, fake rubber ears on the elephants. I mean, you could see the flaps where the ear had been inserted into the fake ear! Talk about jumbo ear muffs! Just picture a herd of elephants running around with fake rubber ears flapping in the breeze – are you laughing yet? Never mind that the viewer could still see the bulbous domes of their heads! I guess the trainers couldn’t get the elephants to wear tupees!
Animals were not the only aspect of the movies where unfortunate “stand-ins” were used. The same movie depicted a tribe of African Pygmies by using dozens of male “little people” who had been painted black and had their heads shaved. Forms of “dwarfism” can cause deformities and imbalances in body/limb proportions. The Pygmy people are small in stature but they are not deformed or proportionally imbalanced.
I guess that in the 1930’s & 40’s, the general populous were not as “aware” as we are nowadays so it was easy for moviemakers to “pull the wool over the eyes” of the movie goers. However, today, we are far more knowledgeable about “the world out there” so we are not so easily fooled by such cheap tricks and gimmicks.
Unfortunately, while people may be wise to the ways of the world, many are still deceived when it comes to spiritual matters, and yes, that goes for Christians too. Ignorance, apathy, and laziness regarding learning about God and His ways can leave us open and vulnerable to deception. And we have an enemy who is highly skilled in the art of deception.
Gen 3:1 Now the serpent (Satan) was more cunning than any beast of the field…
Webster’s Dictionary defines “cunning” as an adjective used to describe someone with the skill, knowledge and ability to create lies and fraud.
If you read Genesis chapter 3 you will see how Satan used his cunning powers of deception to persuade Eve to disobey God.
Gen 3:13 And Jehovah God said to the woman, What is this you have done? And the woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate.
Jesus calls Satan “a liar” and “the father of lies”. There is no truth in the devil.
Joh 8:44 You are of the Devil as father, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and did not abide in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it.
The Bible says that someone who is a deceiver is cursed. Totally NOT cool!
Mal 1:14 But cursed be the deceiver…
I believe that as Christians, we really don’t have a good excuse for being deceived. God, in His Word, has given us plenty of clear warnings.
Mat 7:15 Be on the watch for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inside they are cruel wolves.
Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
Mat 24:5 For many will come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and will deceive many.
Mat 24:11 And many false prophets will rise and deceive many.
Mat 24:24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders; so much so that, if it were possible, they would deceive even the elect.
2Jn 1:7 For many deceivers have entered into the world, who do not confess Jesus Christ coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the anti-christ.
Aside from warning us, God also tells us how we are to avoid being taken in by “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.
Act 17:11 And these were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily to see if those things were so.
2Ti 2:15 Study earnestly to present yourself approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
Eph 4:14 so that we no longer may be infants, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, in the dishonesty of men, in cunning craftiness, to the wiles of deceit.
Coca-Cola may or may not be “the real thing”, but Jesus Christ is and if you look to him as the “gold standard”, study him and follow his words and deeds, you will not be deceived by spiritual Indian elephants dressed in rubber African elephant ears.
Joh 8:31,32 Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed on Him, If you continue in My Word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.