The holy hustle

Hustle is a brilliant TV programme about a fictional group of con artists who each week scam someone out of a large sum of money. A huge theme of the program is morality, with each episode working on the basis of the hustlers being in the right morally, if not legally.

I should warn readers that this blog post is about last night’s episode of Hustle. I won’t be revealing any details of the hustle, but there is a spoiler for another plot point so don’t read this if you’re planning to watch Hustle later. (more…)

Face/Off with the apostle Paul

Isn’t it bizarre how the brain remembers strange pieces of trivia? Last night I watched the film Face/Off on iPlayer. The antagonists are two brothers called Castor and Pollox, and the name Pollox rang a faint bell. At the end of the film, while the credits were rolling, the penny dropped, and I remembered that Castor and Pollox were brothers in Greek mythology. I don’t know a great deal about mythology from any culture, so I was a bit surprised to have this knowledge rattling around in my head. Before long I realised where it came from – the life of the apostle Paul! In Acts 28:11 Paul goes on a ship whose figurehead is the “Twin Brothers”. According to my study Bible, these brothers are Castor and Pollox, who the Greeks believed would protect them on the sea. And that is the sum total of my knowledge about them!

The Narnia Code – an opinion at last

Having recently pointed out that The Narnia Code was back on iPlayer, I watched it tonight. I thought that having pointed out its availability, it was only fair to give an opinion about it.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I knew the program had been popular with several Christian friends of mine. Someone told me before I watched it that this program was the ‘best religious program the BBC had made for a long time‘. I didn’t really engage with the religious ideas in it, though I will admit it was very interesting.

The basic premise of the program is that Michael Ward chanced upon a secret meaning to the Chronicles of Narnia series while working towards his PhD in C S Lewis. He found that each book in the series represented one of the seven classical ‘planets’ – the sun, the moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune – and the characters associated with each of them in mythology. He proposed that Lewis took those characters and developed stories around them. This means the books have three layers – the story, the Christian analogy, and the planets.

I’m no C S Lewis expert, but it doesn’t seem too great a leap of the imagination that he could write such a code into his work. Whether or not he did I have no idea. A one hour program presented by the person whose theory is being discussed does not lend itself to an in-depth analysis of whether or not a theory is correct. Right or not, the program did throw up some very interesting facts and some great quotes. Two stuck in my mind particularly:

At the start of the program, in reference to the discovery of the Narnia code, Michael Ward says that “It doesn’t really matter that it’s come to me first, the only thing I’ve got to do with it is share it with people“. If Michael Ward has this attitude six years after writing about a hidden meaning in some children’s books, shouldn’t it be my attitude to the soul-saving, life-transforming good news of Jesus Christ? I suspect the difference is that Michael Ward has dedicated years to studying C S Lewis’ life and works, and knows them inside out. I trust the Lord that as I study His Word and get to know Him better the same zeal for making Him known will infect me.

The discovery began when Michael Ward read a poem about the planets written by C S Lewis which includes the line “winter passed and guilt forgiven“. It’s a wonderful summary of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It’s also a reminder to me of my condition before God. The ‘winter’ of my sin is over. Yes, I still sin, but I am not under it’s power and I never will be. My guilt is forgiven and I am no longer weighed down by it. I would prefer “sin forgiven” but the point still stands.

The Narnia Code is available to watch and download until Monday evening. It’s very interesting, and there are many worse uses of an hour.

P. S. Did you know, that Jove (as in the phrase ‘By jove!’) is another name for the Roman god Jupiter? I didn’t.