RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Joan of Arcadia

What Voices are You Listening To?

Movies are littered with famous lines from Hollywood actors and actresses. Amber Tamblyn played Joan Girardi in Joan of Arcadia, a teenage girl who suddenly has a special connection with God. To disguise this ability, creator Barbara Hall had Joan come down with Lyme Disease to rationalize the voices in her head. Subsequently, as season one ends, doctors chalk up Joan’s hallucinations as side affects of Lyme Disease.

Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [Satan] said to the woman, Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat the fruit from the trees of the garden, Except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die, Genesis 3:1-3.

In season two, one of her brothers Kevin, played by Jason Ritter recalls Joan’ imaginary friend as a child. Forgetting this period of her life, as Joan puts two and two together, she realizes this still small voice was God the whole time. Unfortunately, talking to an invisible entity often results in being labeled as crazy by your peers. In A Few Good Men, Tom Cruise wanted to know the truth as do I so ask yourself, “what voices are you listening to?”

But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity. And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate, Genesis 3:4-6.

In the Garden of Eden, a snake begins to talk to Eve. Since Eve isn’t surprised by this talking snake, perhaps all animals could speak prior to the confusion at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. Regardless of how, the passages above are similar to thoughts rushing through your head daily. As Christians learn to take their thoughts captive, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, you can start to figure out what voices you should listen to and those you need to rebuke and flee from.

by Jay Mankus

Placed in Right Standing with God

Joe Mantegna is best known for his role as David Rossi in Criminal Minds. While not part of the current cast, Mantegna first came to the forefront as detective Will Girardi in the series Joan of Arcadia. In the opening scene, Girardi is the new chief of police, taking over in Arcadia, a city full of corruption. As Mantegna confronts law breakers each episode, political pushback eventually results in losing his position. Despite being cast as a former altar boy in the Catholic Church, Mantegna’s character is an atheist who believes God is punishing him as he and his family face a series of ongoing trials.

But if, in our desire and endeavor to be justified in Christ [to be declared righteous and put in right standing with God wholly and solely through Christ], we have shown ourselves sinners also and convicted of sin, does that make Christ a minister (a party and contributor) to our sin? Banish the thought! [Of course not!] 18 For if I [or any others who have taught that the observance of the Law of Moses is not essential to being justified by God should now by word or practice teach or intimate that it is essential to] build up again what I tore down, I prove myself a transgressor, Galatians 2:17-18.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul references his previous life as a Pharisee, eager to adhere to a rigid and strict adherence to the Law of Moses. As the Church in Galatia is infiltrated by a religious sect known as the Judaizers, Paul warns these new Christians not to force Gentile converts to conform to Jewish traditions. Paul clarifies how to placed in right standing with God. This isn’t accomplished through following a set of rules in the Old Testament. Rather, the only way to be set free from being convicted as a sinner on Judgement Day is by placing your faith and sole trust in Christ, Ephesians 2:8-9.

I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants. 20 So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently]. 21 And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son [I no longer deserve to be recognized as a son of yours]! 22 But the father said to his bond servants, Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honor) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet, Luke 15:19-22.

The best example of being placed in right standing with God is a first century story shared by Jesus. This parable involves two sons, the younger who was tired of living at home. Bored and eager to get out on his own, this immature teenager wore down his father, giving into his demands. Like a freshman college student during their first semester, Luke’s word describe someone who wanted to be the life of the party. However, not long afterward this individual flunked out and became homeless, desperation sets in. Morally and spiritually bankrupt, this prodigal came to his senses. The prayer above is an outline for being placed in right standing with God.

by Jay Mankus

Confronting Your Phobias

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in cooperation with the American Psychiatric Association outlines several of the most common phobias. If you were wondering how many actual phobias exist on earth, there is no official list provided by the DSM. Phobias typically fall within one of five general categories: fear of animals, the natural environment, getting hurt or sick, specific situations like driving or flying and a generic non-related category referred to as others. Clinicians and researchers make up names for new phobias as the need arises by using Greek and Latin prefixes and suffixes.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, Isaiah 41:10.

My initial phobia was the fear of heights after visiting the Empire State Building as a children. After several bizarre encounters with snakes and spiders in high school, these two are now at the top of my list. Confronting poisonous snakes and spiders sounds illogical and stupid. Yet, at some point you have to face your fears by trusting in God. Like many things in life, this is easier said than done. Although I have confronted by fear of heights, I still feel uncomfortable looking out the window of a tall building. Nightmares often hinder one’s ability to confront your own phobias. Just like the scene in Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford complains, “Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?”

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love, 1 John 4:18.

In an episode of Joan of Arcadia, Amber Tamblyn is asked by God to join the diving team. After a verbal beat down from his girl friend Grace about never taking am uncalculated risk in life, Joan’s brother Luke played by Michael Welch also tries out for the team. Like two fish out of water, neither have the talent to actually make the team, but will they conquer their phobias? This season 2 episode challenged me to examine my own life. Have I stopped taking risks in life? Am I afraid of what others may think instead of doing the right thing? In this age of the Cancel Culture, common sense must be balanced with conviction. However, if you want to confront and conquer your phobias, faith is essential to achieve success.

by Jay Mankus

I Can’t Believe This Is Happening to Me

Action scenes from modern movies can be far fetched, unrealistic and unimaginable.  However, every so often individuals experience something bizarre, emulating a page from a Hollywood script.  Perhaps someone sees an unidentified flying object, Bigfoot or has a supernatural encounter.  These events can produce mixed emotions, amazement and fear, making eyewitnesses cry out, “I can’t believe this is happening to me.”

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid, Mark 16:8.

During the first century, a group of women came face to face with an angel.  Initially, afraid and perplexed, they did not know how to respond.  Most likely, each was quietly thinking, “is this a dream?  Did I see what I thought I saw?  People are going to think I’m crazy if I tell anyone?”  Nonetheless, as this entity vanished, the instructions communicated made sense.  Thus, despite what others thought, these women obeyed the voice of God.

After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper, 1 Kings 19:12.

In the first season of Joan of Arcadia, Amber Tamblyn plays a junior in high school who begins to hear God speak to her.  At first, Joan Girardi thinks she’s losing it, yet each time she follows the Lord’s advice, things go well.  Despite this success, Joan never tells anyone of these encounters until the final episode.  Unfortunately, a bout with lyme disease causes doctors to suggests these interactions were simply hallucinations.  When others question your own faith, may the Holy Spirit give you the strength to carry on.

by Jay Mankus

R and R

From 1972 to 1983, the CBS television series MASH, short for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, brought the concept of R & R to prime time.  The phrase R & R is an abbreviation for Rest and Relaxation.  In MASH, doctors and nurses alike went to Tokyo to unwind from the stress of hour upon hour in an operating room.  Although Hollywood’s portrayal often included drunkenness and debauchery, everyone needs a little R & R monthly to recharge their internal batteries.

A season 1 episode of Joan of Arcadia entitled Recreation illustrates a similar point when God calls Joan played by Amber Tamblyn to through a party when her parents go away to celebrate their anniversary.  Initially skeptical, gossip spreads like wild fire at Arcadia High, causing a motley crew of students to show up.  Instead of closing in on a known drug operation, the police are called to Joan’s house to check on complaints called in by neighbors.  Subsequently, Joan’s party saves her father’s partner from an explosion at the stake out location.

The term recreation means to recreate.  After a 10 day vacation for the first time in 2 years, I feel like a new person, with a fresh mind set on making a difference in life again.  Part of me was caught in the grind of life, losing focus and desire.  However, as I start a new week, I am prepared to rise above the challenges I face.  Despite the hardships on the horizon, rest and relaxation has provided a rejuvenated soul.  When your own life becomes boring, stale or unfulfilled, make sure you seek a little R & R to break through the monotony in life.

Please share how R & R has helped you in the past.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Relocating Your Voice

Freedom of Speech isn’t what it use to be in America.  Today, fear of public opinion is silencing many, afraid their beliefs will lead to a feeding frenzy in the media, falling out of favor like a fading star.  Thus, individuals are forced to relocate their voice, finding other avenues to express how they really feel.

In an episode called State of Grace, the writers of Joan of Arcadia present a show focusing on a junior in high school who stutters.  Though intelligent, he is unable to communicate what is in his mind without severe stammering.  Subsequently, he turns to writing to voice his opinions.  Joan played by Amber Tamblyn encourages her new friend to relocate his voice from the debate team to writing for the school newspaper.

As graduates enter the work force this spring, its harder than ever to discover where you can maximize your God given talents.  Though money is an important factor, failure to apply your gifts in a position can stifle your joy.  Until you locate a place that values your assets, people will continue to search for an ideal match.  May you enjoy the journey as you relocate your voice to find your place in this world.

Please share how or who has influenced you to stand up for your belief in the comment section below.

by Jay Mankus

Never Satisfied

Back in January, days before my sledding accident, I had planned on giving up watching television during Lent. I was going through one of those phases in life where I sought to make history, not watch it happen. Thus, I pressed on to complete the writing on my second movie script, Behind the Devil’s Door.  Everything was moving forward as schedule until that one fateful day, January 29th.

My initial rib injury prevented me from sleeping more than an hour or so at a time, leaving me exhausted, unable to receive the rest I needed.  Ten days later, the force of a sneeze at work altered the blood flow of my internal bleeding, unknown to me, leading to several weeks of bed rest after a 4 day visit to the hospital.  Distraught, I took the advice of a relative who suggested to relax and enjoy the 2014 Winter Olympics which had just begun.  Beside listening to music, reading and writing, I didn’t have many options stuck in my downstairs recliner to avoid steps.

I don’t care if you have 1000 channels to observe daily, sooner or later you’ll be bored out of your mind, never fully satisfied by the entertainment on the big screen.  As a relatively active person, staying idle at home left me craving something more meaningful in life.  After watching the entire first season of Joan of Arcadia, I became restless longing for traces of God in Hollywood, but I was left disappointed.  To fill this void, I won’t be satisfied until the vision God has given me for my second script is complete, Philippians 1:6.

What vision or dream has God given you? Please leave a comment.

by Jay Mankus
        

The Promised Angel

Dramas like Touched by An Angel and Joan of Arcadia brought to light the concept of guardian angels.  From 1993 to 2004, Hollywood used Monica, Tess and Andrew to portray  what it would be like to encounter one of God’s servants.  As one show faded, another took its place in prime time, inspired by the song What if God was One of Us? Airing from 2003-2005, Joan of Arcadia gave teenagers a glimpse of how obeying God’s advice could impact the lives of an entire community.

The Bible introduces readers to a promised angel in Exodus 23:20-33.  According to Moses, God’s plan included a guardian angel for the nation of Israel.  The purpose of this heavenly visitor was to guide God’s people toward the promised land.  However, like anything else in life, freewill is in play, allowing individuals to choose to listen or disregard this angel’s directions.  It’s no wonder that Israel took 40 years to make it to a land flowing with milk and honey.  Taking God’s messenger seriously may have cut their time in half or possibly reduced their journey to 1 month, if only they had believed and obeyed.

While angelic stories continue today, Jesus promised to send a mighty counselor to earth after his ascension into heaven, John 16:5-15, known as the Holy Ghost.  Following Pentecost in Acts 2, an angel freed Peter from prison like a scene from a modern movie in Acts 12:5-14.  Unfortunately, faith is wavering today as unbelief has caused many to doubt God has the power to repeat history by ushering angels onto the scene and into our lives.  May the Spirit of Christmas transform your soul, helping you realize the wonderful life you have thereby embracing the angel by your side.

by Jay Mankus

Trusting God In The Dark

Amber Tamblyn plays Joan Giradi, a high school junior developing an intimate relationship with God in the show Joan of Arcadia. However, there is a slight problem; Joan is afraid to tell anyone. In the finale of season 1, Joan musters up the courage to tell her boyfriend Adam after being diagnosed with Lyme Disease.

Unfortunately, Adam thinks she has been hallucinating, a common symptom for someone in her condition. After talking with her parents in the hospital, Joan begins to think her conversations with God were just a dream. Struggling to come to grips with her diagnosis, Joan is forced to trust God in The Silence, the title of episode 23.

I too contracted Lyme Disease about 12 years ago, the worst I have ever felt before receiving drugs to deaden the pain. Like Joan, I am also learning to trust God in the silence of not knowing where or when I will begin my next full time job. As darkness sets on another day, I am praying that someday soon God will open a new door, give me vision for the future or send me someone with wisdom to pierce through the darkness I am experiencing.

As for now, all I can muster up are the words from Isaiah 6:8. “Here I am Lord, send me” hope as a light to guide me along the narrow path. Or perhaps some popcorn to remind me been there done that! I know there is light at the end of this tunnel, but I hope I am not in the wrong tunnel.

By Jay Mankus

Recreate

After failing in my first attempt to become a screen writer, I have mustered enough confidence to risk rejection again by entering another contest.  However, before I press send, I must recreate Express Yourself.  Like Nicodemus during his famous conversation in John 3, this script must be born again.

If you are a confident person, you likely don’t have to worry about asking people what they think.  Because in your mind, you are correct.  Although, if what you have been doing is unsuccessful or you hit a rough patch in life, you need to gather as much information as possible.  Once you feel you have uncovered the missing ingredient or ingredients, you can take baby steps back toward your desired destination.  During this process, sometimes you can work too hard, not taking care of your own needs, Philippians 2:4.

In the drama Joan of Arcadia, season 1, God calls Joan to throw a party at her house while her parents are away celebrating their anniversary.  Entitled Recreation, this episode examines the term recreation; meaning to recreate your soul, usually through things that bring you pleasure.  In the end, God uses the party to call the cops to Joan’s house, who are saved from an explosion which would have killed them if Joan had not had her party.  When God recreates our souls, He does things that we often don’t see right away or ever see.  Nonetheless, we need to be faithful to God’s Word by becoming born again, spiritually, so that the old will pass as the new shines through, Colossians 3:1-4!

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: