The great movies enlarge us.
They civilize us.
They make us more decent people.
– Roger Ebert
Since the last blog I had the good fortune to (come across and) watch a film called “Noble” (2014). It’s based on the true story of Christina Noble.
Here is an excerpt from her Wikipedia page –
Christina Noble, OBE, is an Irish children’s rights campaigner, charity worker and writer, who founded the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation in 1989.
Noble was born on 23 December 1944, in Dublin, Ireland. Her mother died when she was ten. She was sent to an orphanage and dishonestly told that her three siblings were dead. She escaped and lived rough in Dublin, where she was gang-raped. Her baby son was adopted, against her will. She married and had three more children but was the victim of domestic abuse.
She visited Vietnam to care for abused children after a recurring dream, during the Vietnam War, about them appealing for her help. This led to her creating the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation.
She appeared as a “castaway” on the BBC Radio programme Desert Island Discs on 15 June 1997. Despite being Irish, was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). She is a recipient of the 2014 Women of the Year Prudential Lifetime Achievement Award.
This (movie) is a ‘values story’ … which lifts up the values of compassion and service.
I use the term – values story – because many (perhaps most) of the stories we tell each other these days are (in fact … in the form of) films … and because I learned this term from Bob Humphrey (from his book – Values for a New Millennium)
In his book, Humphrey explains what values stories are, why it’s important to tell them, and how to do this in some (given micro)-culture … such as a school or a classroom.
Basically, it’s a way of strengthening (certain, selected) values in a given culture.
In the case of the movie (“Noble”) the main character embodies very high values indeed – humanity, love & caring, integrity, dedication to a (larger) purpose, determination, ‘overcoming’, empathy … etc.
It constitutes a values story worthy of being told … over and over; and I commend it to you without any hesitation.
[Here’s the trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2DwaFKqKxQ ]
If you like this one … you may (also) want to watch – “Veronica Guerin” (2003, w/ Cate Blanchett), which happens to be another film about a (heroic) Irish woman.
[At the age of 37 Guerin was assassinated (by drug lords, in 1996). Every person in Ireland at that time would be able to tell you where they were at the moment they found out that Veronica Guerin had been murdered.]
Because Christina Noble had (and still has) a relationship with God (and/or Jesus) … [and this is brought out in the movie] … I feel I should say something about Faith Ministries.
I happen to know something about this, because for 17 years (1995-2012) I was a part of a faith ministry (Global Community Communications Alliance, in Arizona [ https://gccalliance.org ] )
Not everyone will be interested in such an idea, I know that. We’re modern people now, right? Many (educated) people now think that we’ve ‘outgrown’ God … I know that too. But this fact is inadequate to compel me to relegate God to the ‘superstition dustbin’.
This comment is for those (few) with particularly spiritual ears.
There are many people who work hard to try to make the world better … but most of these are not in a faith ministry.
Christina Noble’s work did (and still does, I’m sure) constitute a faith ministry.
So – what’s the difference?
Suppose that you are deeply involved in good and altruistic work … Is what you are doing – a faith ministry?
It depends on who you think is in charge of the operation … if it’s God (and you’re doing what HE wants), then it’s a faith ministry.
If you’re working for yourself (even if you ask God’s blessing on your work) … then you should admit that you’re in rebellion (still). (which is what I am obliged to do). Though this is NOT to say – that God cannot use you unless you’re in a faith ministry. I believe he can … just not as well.
Ah … but Christina Noble (who had then come to Vietnam to try to help the children) … she says “I had a dream about Viet Nam … I don’t know why.”
And she says (to God … or Jesus) – “I don’t know what to do. … I tell you what – I’ll walk, you lead.” … and she takes off walking … and comes after a while – to an orphanage.
She knew that God was in charge. And she was okay with that.
Among Bierce’s definitions we find –
Christian, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.
– Ambrose Bierce
The Devil’s Dictionary
Bierce evidently had insight into the nature (and prevalence) of rebellion.