Monday, June 20, 2005

The Human Side of a "Forgotten" Battle in an "Ignored" War:
A Billy Goat Review of:

Gallipoli, directed by Peter Weir. Starring Mel Gibson and Mark Lee. Paramount Pictures (1981)

Robert E. Lee is reported to have said, “It is a good thing war is so terrible lest we become overly fond of it.” If the American Civil War was terrible, and it was, the “forgotten” or “ignored” war we call World War I was even more so. And as much as any battle in that “forgotten” and “ignored” war; Gallipoli is probably one of the most ignored and forgotten except in Australia, where this film was made, and New Zealand.

I have read several accounts of Gallipoli including Winston Churchill’s. (He lost his Admiralty job as a result of the Gallipoli debacle.) I did not see Gallipoli when the movie first came out in 1981, but recently bought the DVD out of historical interest and a curiosity regarding the acting skills of a much younger Mel Gibson. Gallipoli is not a “kids” movie, and though rated PG, (rough language & minimal posterior nudity), there is an intense emotional level to the last part of the film that parents should also be aware of.

This movie does an excellent job of showing the human side of war. That human side takes up a good part of the 111 minutes on the DVD version, and at times the pace of the story gets a little slow. You see the Australian “home front”, far from the trenches of Europe. The newspaper gives accounts of the latest news of the ANZAC movements and battles. Two young men, (Mel Gibson and Mark Lee), met and become friends. They try to enlist together but end up in separate units. Other comrades enlist also. Both units end up in Egypt and in the course of training the two friends become reunited. Eventually one is able to transfer to the other’s unit.

The actual battle scenes come into the movie rather abruptly. One moment you’re at a ballroom scene in Egypt, and the next you’re in a boat heading to the shores at Gallipoli. The encampment on the shore is lit up with strings of light bulbs, reminiscent of a crowded carnival midway. Grim “carnival” indeed as occasional enemy shells come screeching into the encampment area, and you see the wounded on litters or shuffling around with their assorted array of bandages. You don’t see the dead, though in one trench scene a soldier shakes the protruding hand of a dead man and says, “Glad to met you.”

I am not so sure that the British and ANZAC troops lost at Gallipoli due to superior Turkish arms and troops. The Turks did have the advantage of the high ground, but Allied failure was due as much to an inept higher command as anything else. The most glaring omission of command illustrated in the movie was the failure to synchronize the watches of the commanding officers responsible for an attack against a fortified Turkish position. The plan, as conceived would have worked, but a several minute discrepancy between the watches of the two officers becomes deadly. There was also the failure of the immediate superior officer to recognize the quickly changing face of the situation and his over riding the inferior officer actually on the scene.

As the decimated troops prepare for one last charge, they know it is to their death. The camera flashes from one man to another as they quickly scrawl that last note home to loved ones, strip off valued personal possessions to leave in the trench with those notes; and we see on their faces the resignation and foreboding realization that this was it. They would go over the top and not return. They were to be fed as cannon fodder to the scourge of war. The commanding officer on the scene swears he will not ask his men to do something he himself would not do, and he makes his preparations to go with them.

I will not tell you the ending. You will have to see it for yourself. It was one of the most abrupt and saddest endings I have ever seen in a lifetime of movies. The emotional shock packed into the way this movie ends brought me to tears.

General William T Sherman, USA, said, “War is hell.”(#) That is a true objective statement that has nothing to do with being “pro” or “anti” war. The truth of Sherman’s observation was glaringly and vividly portrayed in the trenches of WWI, and Gallipoli was a prime example. Peter Weir did an effective job in bringing that to the screen, and a young Mel Gibson turned in one of his best performances ever.

PS: Duh... Where's Gallipoli? For the geographically challenged, look up Gallipoli's location in your atlas. You don't have an atlas? That's your problem, not mine.

(#) In Biblical Theology, war, just and unjust, is in this life the most stark refection of the reality of what Hell will be like. As a reflection it falls far short of Hell's actual reality, but is nonetheless a reflection of the horror of that reality. It is in that sense I am affirming the truth of Sherman's comment on war's nature. ~ The Billy Goat ~

Friday, June 17, 2005

Denomination debates declaration of Jesus' divinity

"It's a bedrock belief of Christianity - not a topic for debate.

Until now.

A venerable Protestant denomination - at the behest of some of its conservative members - is preparing to vote next month on a measure declaring that Jesus Christ is the Lord, and making it mandatory for clergy to accept his divinity.

It may seem like a slam dunk, but delegates for the 1.3 million-member United Church of Christ may reject the resolution. Several Bergen County pastors, who aren't delegates to the convention, said they expect the measure to fail." (For complete article, click on link above.)

Is this one last chance for the UCC to turn back to some semblance of Christian orthodoxy? What will happen if this measure is voted down? What will UCC conservatives do next? Leave the UCC? Stay? This is a foundational watershed issue for any church or denomination that would call itself "Christian".

There are evangelical believers and pastors in the UCC. The UCC pastor that conducted my Aunt Florence's funeral a number of years ago was evangelical. I don't know if he is still at that church or even still in the UCC, but in either case we need to pray for those brethren at this time.

Solo Christo,

~ The Billy Goat ~

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

World Magazine - Weekly News Open jars: Rebuking the 'idol of safety,' Jars of Clay returns to classic hymns

We've subscribed to World Magazine for a number of years. I also enjoy listening to Jars of Clay. This weeks edition of W-M contained a review of the new Jars of Clay CD Redemption Songs. (To read the full review, click on the link above.) The review is VERY positive, and I find myself wanting to give this CD a hearing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

So Jacko goes free... Were we really surprised? By the way, contrary to brain-dead popular opinion, "not guilty" is not equal to "innocent". Was he guilty? I don't know. I'm certainly not going to base a judgment like that on the newspaper headlines, and shame on you if you do!

Guilt or innocence is not decided by a newspaper poll. In fact, such kinds of opinion polls regarding the guilt or innocence of any person charged with a crime do not serve the interests of justice, but in truth mitigate against justice.

My sympathy is with the jurors. Almost 30 years ago I did jury duty, and sat on about three different cases, one case involving two defendants... Of the four accused people in those three cases, we acquitted one, convicted one, and deadlocked on two resulting in a hung jury.

Do people who have never served on a jury in a criminal case in a courtroom setting understand what "beyond reasonable doubt" means, and the implications that come from that? Jacko's jury did exactly what they were suppose to do when they consciously decided at the very beginning to see Jacko as a human being deserving a fair and impartial hearing just like any other Joe Blow caught up in the legal system. THAT'S THE WAY IT"S SUPPOSE TO WORK!!! Even if I heartily detest Jacko's lifestyle, as a juror I am required to make a rigorous analysis of the facts related to the case at hand, not the opinions. There is a reason Joe Friday was always saying, "Just the facts madam. Just the facts..."

If I am upset with anyone, it is with prosecutors who pursue cases like Jacko's, and in their handling and preparation, take the intelligence of the jurors for granted. A good jury will always take "beyond a reasonable doubt" very seriously, and they should.

By the way, "beyond a reasonable doubt" has its roots in Judeo-Christian tradition based on the Old Testament admonition to Israel that no one was to be executed for a crime unless there were a minimum of two or more witnesses. There had to be more then just circumstantial evidence to convict of a capital crime.

Is Jacko really guilty? Did OJ really kill his wife? I don't know, but I know someone who does know, and the day will come when we all will stand before Him. There will be no secrets in that day. No one will "get away with it". In that day it will be revealed whatever it was Jacko and OJ have, or have not done.

But what Jacko and OJ did or did not do will not be the question for you or I in that day. For you and I will have to answer individually for what we individually have or have not done. Will you be ready?

Come quickly Lord Jesus!

~ The Billy Goat ~

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Some Thoughts Upon Seeing "Revenge of the Sith"

This past Friday night I went to see "Revenge of the Sith". Now we we know "the rest of the story". Over all, episode three did a good job conecting episodes one and two with four, five, and six. I'll leave others to debate the quality of acting and special effects and so on. My thoughts are of a little bit different nature. These thoughts will somewhat random.

As a Christian, I beleive there is a "dark force" in the universe. Notice that is a different thing then saying I beleive in a "dark side of the force", as though there is one force with a side of light and a side of darkness. That oriental dualism of two sides to an impersonal force is the religion of the Star Wars series.

In contrast, God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. He is not an impersonal being, but a person in His existence as the One and the Three. The "dark force" also is not impersonal, but a being with personality, but as a being, inferior to the God of Light.

There was an irrationality to Anikian's turn to the dark side. Anikin killed Count Dacu at (sp)Palenteen's urging. Anikin as a Jedi should of been aware of Count Dacu's connection to the Sith Lord. Yet when he discovers (sp)Palenteen is the Sith Lord, he didn't seem to put it together that the Sith Lord's urging him to kill Dacu was a betrayal of Dacu. The same Sith Lord who betrayed Count Dacu goes on to betray Anikan. Anikan does not get what he was looking for and promised, and in the Sith Lord's lie regading Padme's death, Anikin's despair plays into the Sith's hand and soldifies his hold on Anikin as Darth Vador.

Of course we know the "rest of the story". In the end through the love of his son Luke, Darth Vader becomes Anikin once more and supposedly finally fullfils the prophecy regarding restoration of balance to the force by destroying the Sith Lord himself. Did you notice that Sith Lords are always done in by their apprentices? But in the final episode, Darth Vador who is at that point Anikin Skywalker again, also dies taking with him the knowledge of the dark side of the force that made Siths, Siths.

Star Wars is a story; a narrative of a cosmic story with a fall, and an eventual redemption of sorts. As such it is a distorted copy of the true Meta-Narrative given to mankind in the Bible. There was a real fall, and there will be a final and completed redemption. The "dark force" and his followers will eventually be banished from the universe once and for all. The redemption found in Jesus Christ will in that day be realized through out the whole Cosmos.

Come quickly Lord Jesus,

~ The Billy Goat ~

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

My World View.....???: Now you know... You always suspected didn't you?

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View? (updated)
created with

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Quick-and-Dirty Calvinism: Phil Johnson, (the PJ associated with Grace to You), has entered the world of Blog with his postings at Pyromaniac. A bit of fire was certianly ignited by the above post on Quick and Dirty Calvinism. My own response is found in the comments section of the article, and I will not repeat them here at this time.


~ The Billy Goat ~