My earliest memories of movie going were made at the Empire Theater in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
The first movies I remember seeing were all animated and they were all Disney movies. There was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.
My favorite movie theater treats back then were Dots, Sugar Babies and Milk Duds. And then there were Good & Plenty, Crows, Snaps, and Red Vines. And of course there was popcorn. Good old movie theater popcorn.
Movie going was a Saturday afternoon adventure. My mother would take my sister, my brother and me to the Empire and we would have a delightful time. Sometimes we were allowed to invite our friends.
I don't watch as many movies today as I did over the years, but I have seen some great ones, films that are considered classics and were great money makers too.
Some of my all-time favorite films include the Star Wars movies, the Indiana Jones movies, and the Lord of the Rings movies.
I enjoy the fantastic and the action and adventure.
In the Star Wars movies and the Lord of the Rings movies there is a theme that is similar to so many of the best adventure movies ever made, that of good versus evil.
I like a story where the good guys win.
J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of the Lord of the Rings books (which were the basis for the award winning movies), was a Christian man and a noted professor at Oxford University.
Tolkien was a friend of C.S. Lewis, another Christian gentleman and fellow Oxford professor, who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia. That series of fantasy books has been made into some great films as well.
Both of these men, influenced by their love for God and the Bible, wrote their stories with a theme of good versus evil, and in the end good wins out.
Most of us have taught our children that it is best to be good, to do the right thing, and obey the law. If we raise our children in church they hear the same message taught there. Good wins out over evil in the end.
Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5:3-12:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven."
The reoccurring theme in the teachings of Jesus Christ is that "good wins out over evil in the end."
If we follow the principles taught within the pages of the Bible; if we live our lives for God; and if we turn away from evil living, then as Jesus said, "great is our reward in heaven."
This is not just a good movie plot, or the theme of a fantasy novel, it is the truth. God wins! And I want us to be on the winning team!
-Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.