Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A View with Regional Flair

By: L.A. Kohl
January 30, 2006
(published in the Feb. 22, 2006 edition of the "Bullseye")

Most of you reading this article were most likely born and raised in Missouri. That makes us about as Midwestern as you can get, right? I suppose technically back in the 1800’s we were classified as a “slave” state, thus uniting us with other southern states…but just look at a United States map. It seems to me you can’t get much more “middle” than Missouri.

When I was growing up, I remember a conversation with some fellow classmates - I believe we were enlightened junior high students at the time. We all agreed that Missourians talked "normal." After all, we talked like most other people that we heard talking on the news, on TV shows, and in the movies. Didn’t we?

Those people down south had their slow, distinct drawl (“just ‘cuz I talk slow doesn’t mean I’m stupid”) and people up north had their characteristic, fast way of talking (ay?). But Missourians? Well, we just talked like regular people.

That was before a girl from Minnesota moved to our small town during our freshman year. She spent a fair amount of time during her first few months enlightening all of us to the errors of our speech. She later became one of my best friends, but during most of our freshman year, she sometimes had a way of making us feel like we were just a bunch of ignorant hicks.

I remember several ribbings about the word “y’all." Seems like there were also a couple of teaching sessions on the differences in pronunciation of the words “pin” and “pen." But I distinctly remember the day she decided to let us know that we all said the word "wash" incorrectly.

"There is not an 'r' in the word -- you're supposed to say it 'wash,' not 'warsh,'" she explained to a small group of us that was gathered around during lunch break. (You pronounce “warsh” like war with a “sh” on the end, in case you’re not from Missouri and don’t know how to say it.)

Well, it was hard to argue with her. Even though most of us preferred to say "warsh," we were all literate enough to know that "r" did not make an appearance anywhere in the word. We sat there rather humiliated and dumbfounded, wondering how we could convince this “Yankee” that we really weren’t as ignorant as our speech sometimes made us out to be.

The basketball coach, who was sitting nearby, decided to restore our dignity and come to our Midwestern defense with his own unique reasoning.

"Okay, I understand that when I’m talking about laundry, I'm talking about the 'wash' and not the 'warsh,'" he politely conceded. "But I tell you what -- when a big rainfall comes, the gravel road definitely does NOT 'wash' out -- it 'warshes' out!"

With a lot of laughter and a few high fives, that was the end of that Missouri style English lesson.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Life Worth Dying For

By: L.A. Kohl
February 1, 2006
(published in the Feb. 15 2006 edition of the "Bullseye")

I rarely promote new movies. My “view” is that the majority of them are unrealistic, much too graphic, or worthless. But there is a movie that was released on Jan. 20, called “End of the Spear," that if you have an opportunity to watch, please do. Make the opportunity if you have to – you won’t be sorry.

It’s a movie that in some ways is on par with “Braveheart” or “The Patriot." Although it’s not about a war against tyrants, it is about living with such whole-hearted devotion and purpose that even death can not stop it; rather, death serves to propel it. In today’s “don’t give a hang” and “whatever” society, it’s a refreshing and inspirational story.

“End of the Spear” is taken from the true story of five missionaries who were martyred in 1956, by a violent, indigenous tribe in Ecuador known as the Waodani.

I can almost hear some of you saying, “A movie about missionaries? Who wants to go watch something like that?”

It’s actually more about the Waodani than the missionaries. They were a tribe so violent they were headed towards self-annihilation. Through the movie, you come to understand them and the desperate circumstances that they were living with on a day to day basis. (For that reason, the movie is rated PG-13.) You begin to understand why five young men willingly risked their lives to try and save them from self-destruction. You come to grasp why five young widows eventually go to the very people that took their husbands lives – not with revenge and bitterness, but with love and the desire to carry on what their husband’s began.

Some people may hear the story and say, “what a waste." After all, that tribe chose to live that way – they didn’t ask anyone to come help them out of their vicious cycle. Why should five, young, intelligent men attempt to help them, just to end up leaving their wives widowed and their children orphaned?

Perhaps I should let them explain why.

Nate Saint, the young pilot for the group, made this statement shortly before his death, “During the last war we were taught to recognize that, in order to obtain our objective, we had to be willing to be expendable … Yet, when the Lord Jesus asks us to pay the price for world evangelization, we often answer … It costs too much … God didn’t hold back His only Son…” (Splendor, p. 176: Dec. 18, in Nate’s journals on Operation: Auca.)

Apparently Nate and his friends were willing to be expendable in order to reach the objective.

But, you may ask – if they were killed, then how did they accomplish anything?

The group that Nate Saint worked with, Mission Aviation Fellowship, states that tens of thousands of people from around the world volunteered to take the five martyrs place shortly after hearing their story. One magazine, “Eternity," specifically found 600 missionaries who credit the martyrdom as influencing them to go overseas.

And the Waodani? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out how it ultimately affected them. For now, I’ll leave you with the words of one of the martyrs…Peter Fleming, a 27 year old with a Masters in literature, from Seattle, WA.

“[The Lord] has been leading my meditation to the stringent statements of Christ regarding discipleship; specially those words of Christ to His disciples before He sent them out… ‘He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.’ I have been directed to these and similar passages again and again. I should like to put these truths to the utmost test.” (Liefeld, p. 48, Aug., ‘51 to Jim Elliot.)

After watching the movie, I think you’ll agree that he aced the test.