Ya know, Don Henley and Patty Smyth were right... sometimes love just ain't enough... especially when it comes to things like healing people with magical powers you get when you die and come back. Because if you refuse to credit Jesus for it, it MUST be the devil what doing it, right?
and tonight we're looking at one of those movies that made my childhood just a little creepier and scared me half to death back in the day. Too bad it didn't finish the job (at least temporarily) because I might just have come back able to heal people because... ya know, that happens all the time, right? We're going to take a look at the movie Ressurection – the 1980 classic that shows what can happen when you return home to your tiny town in Kansas and start healing people without a choir and an offering plate. We're going to dive into all the woorific details in just a few, but first...
You got your Jesus on my campus... again, a journey into the shadowlands (pretty exciting huh?) and rain, baby rain: it's all part of this week's Christians Behaving Badly – Fuckery Level Infinity edition...
Being a senior in high school is full of stresses: you have to figure out what the heck to do after school, you need to apply to colleges, or get a job if you're going to do that. I have a pretty fond memory though of being at a college fair, listening to people talk about their colleges and wondering where I'd go. Not that I chose well, of course.
It can be additionally stressful, if your school councilors and teachers bring you to what you think is a “college fair” but is really...a massive church service. This happened to senior students at the Baton Rouge Magnet High in Louisiana. Instead of a college fair, they were brought to an event called “Day of Hope”.
Yeah, you know where this is going already. This “Day of Hope” is just full of red-flag events:
It was called a “Day of Hope,” a phrase that carries religious connotations
Students were segregated by gender when the substantive portion of the program began.
The speakers for the girls included a pastor who promoted virginity, another woman who suggested kids shouldn’t date around but just wait for God to bring you the perfect guy, and a nurse who told a traumatic story about her son taking his own life.
Once the kids came back together, they heard a sermon from a man named “Donk” who claimed to overcome his own paralysis, got sentenced to life in prison, then somehow got out. (“Donk” is the nickname of Pastor Trell Webb)
There appeared to be an altar call at the end of the session for students who wanted to commit to Christ.
Yes, just your typical College Fair, right? A pretty rude wakeup for anyone thinking they were going to get a head start on their futures.
The school defended their actions, saying: In response to the concerns, the East Baton Rouge Parish school system issued a statement late Wednesday defending the event as “an elevation of a traditional college and career fair.” The statement also defended the school district’s partnership with the local nonprofit that put on the event, 29:11 Mentoring Families, saying the group is providing “additional support services for students in our district.”
“We look forward to seeing what our over 2,100 student participants will continue to achieve with the resources and knowledge gained from this event,” according to the statement.
I'm sure they do, but some students and educators were extremely shocked and disappointed by the event. One student, Alexis, said of the event, “Today’s ”Day of Hope” field trip was a horrible experience. It was not advertised as a religious event, but rather a college fair. The majority of students chose to attend this field trip on the promise of free food and the opportunity to skip class, however the majority of students were not only disappointed by this event, but traumatized as well. I attended this college fair as someone who plans on applying to colleges soon, so I was disappointed once I saw what the event actually was.
“[Then] we were informed that we had to register to vote in order to receive the “free” food advertised on the flyer. Yes, voting is very important, however when registration is required for food on a 100° F day at around noon is when there’s an issue. At this point was when the “college fair” occurred. There were about 6 tables of various colleges set up. They had candy, pens, brochures, the usual college recruitment set up. ...At the end of everything, the host made the audience make a choice. He said “If you want to eat, pizza is right outside those doors for you. If you choose change, if you want to get better, come towards the stage towards me.” At this point we had not eaten and frankly, I was done being traumatized, so I left the building. ...the only “hope” I have gained from this experience is the hope that no one will ever have to go through it again.”
An educator said, “They talked about rape, forgiving the offender in life, suicide, prayer leadership, and many more dark controversial topics. We had females in the bathrooms crying due to the topics of discussion. Mean while the boys were left outside in the extreme heat....Overall, I’m appalled as a faculty member and as a parent, of how this event was executed. Never again should the rights of unknowing parents and diverse community of families/students be violated! And insult to injury was seeing how EBR applauded themselves on how the event was executed. I only hope that the superintendent hears the pain and suffering from students and parents that were effected.”
As it turns out, the Christian group has been partnered with the Parish school system and have done this event “for years” with no problems. Hopefully, the more students speak out, the more attention will be brought to this clear violation of the separation of church and state.
And now, for our favorite sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot, Pastor Greg Locke. He's not very happy with a film production crew who did interviews and filmed his sermons for a few days. They were just....too accurate.
The streaming service Peacock has just released a series about “how conspiracy theories have moved from the margins to the mainstream, exploring how people come to their beliefs… and what makes these theories so alluring.” The documentary series is called “Shadowlands” and I think we should definitely put that on our watch list.
One of the subjects in Shadowland is Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke, of Global Vision Bible Church in Tennessee, whose story is shown primarily in the second and third episodes of the series.
As someone who’s written about Locke for years, and after watching both of those episodes, I can safely say it gives viewers a fairly accurate picture of Locke. He’s a confident speaker who realized years ago that trolling liberals was far more powerful and appealing than talking about Jesus. He openly brags on camera about how the anti-gay and anti-trans videos he posted on Facebook helped his page get verified and gain tens of thousands of followers in a relatively short amount of time.
Other highlights of the episodes about Locke show him schmoozing it up with Roger Stone, burning books, and openly talking to the producers about how COVID is a hoax and how Bill Gates and George Soros helped “steal” the 2020 election.
Nothing new here, right?
There's nothing new in the episodes either, no 'hot mic' moments that were intended for the cutting room floor. If you knew nothing about him, you'd get a pretty accurate picture of him.
But he told his congregation that the production team actively made him 'look bad'.
...you know what they did? It’s interesting, and I expect this from lost people. They did everything against us that they promised they wouldn’t do. Made us look like idiots. Made us look like insurrectionist, QAnon conspiracy theorists. Whatever. Turned mics on backstage. Tried to get me on a hot mic. Tried to do anything they can. They ain’t got nothing on us.
One of our ex-staff members sold ’em footage from January 6 of me with a bullhorn… standing on a trailer, preaching at the Capitol, which, as Paul said, “I repent not.”
Somebody’s gotta stand up and save this wicked nation.
Locke says the filmmakers made his church “look like idiots” but most of the footage was of Locke preaching. It’s not like the filmmakers added their own narration. They didn’t make him look like a conspiracy theorist; he is one. They simply held up a camera in front of Locke’s face and pushed “record.”
He's counting on his church members never actually watching the show. So he tells them that they were mean to him. Sounds like his M.O.
Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma was speaking at the Family Research Council's Pray Vote Stand Summit. He truly believes that God approves of his state's regressive abortion ban so much that...he made it rain:
Speaking with FRC president Tony Perkins, Lankford insisted the rain was a clear and literal sign from above:
PERKINS: … I believe that as these states embrace Biblical truth as it pertains to life, that I believe God’s gonna bless those nations—or those, those states—as those states come in alignment with God, I believe it’s going to be a testimony to the rest of the nation. Again, another sign of God’s mercy that He will pour out His blessing on those that choose to walk in His way.
LANKFORD: I agree. I agree. And… that’s not some radical principle, just for people to be faithful and for God to bless them. I mean, it’s just the most basic principle of all. As funny as it sounds, we’ve experienced a big drought in Oklahoma. The week after—the week after—we passed this law to be able to protect the lives of children, we had the most overwhelming rainstorm that came across the state, and it was such an interesting conversation among people in the church, like, “Did that just happen? Did that just occur?”
And this abortion ban? It bans all abortions from fertilization onwards. There's an exception for rape or incest but ONLY if those crimes have been officially reported. And, of course there's also a way to sue people for having them. As one does.
And then yes, there was a rainstorm a couple of weeks after that. A really really hard rainstorm that caused floods and destroyed desperately needed crops. The kicker is that Oklahoma is STILL in drought conditions. One rainstorm no matter how big, is not enough to end drought conditions.
So the weather went from one extreme to another. But he's a climate denier so of course rain is a sign that god is happy. Even if it causes disaster.
Next week: Ghost Investigations to kick off Unbound October
Daniel Petrie – Director of Coccoon 2
Magic hands – rainbows and auras and all kinds of imagery that scream “supernatural stuff is about to happen”
The music is really over the top
OMG shortest credits ever...
Down by the seaside in a place that really looks like seawall in Maine but isn't... we meet Edna and Joe and several of their friends who are just enjoying a day out.
Joe starts mansplaining how anemonies eat
Uh oh... someone's being eaten by an anemone... but not really
Edna is getting her husband Joe a new car for his birthday.
“And the rest only comes to $237.45 a month, and I can make that easy out of my salary.”
Damn, girl, where you working in 1980 where that's not a big deal???
And then we find out why Joe is worthy of a new car....
They linger too long on this scene
And here we go with the car.
So here's what we know about Edna so far...
She does SOMETHING that earns her A LOT of money by 1980 standards
She's horny AF
She really, really loves her man
So now they're out joyriding but tragedy is about to strike
Some kid rolls out in front of them on a skateboard and they go off a cliff
This scene FREAKED ME OUT as a kid. Big time.
They visualize Joe's death and Edna has her own NDE complete with a light at the enfd of a tunnel and people walking around as she gets closer. If this is heaven it looks boring. I think this is supposed to be a bunch of people who have recently died and are following the light. But some of them appear to be guiding her on, too. There's one lone shadow waiting in the light and then.... it's like she's being sucked out of the tunnel. The doctors have saved her life and now she's coming to.
I'm doctor Herron... welcome back
She's told that Joe is gone and that she has a back injury. She has a blood clot in her spine that has her paralyzed
There's a blood clot on your spinal cord. We've relieved most of the pressure, but it's still there. In time, it may go away on its own, but there's no guarantee. And the main nerves in both your legs have been severed just below the knee. A piece of the car frame. Done some patchwork, but...
That won't go away? Ever?
No. I'm sorry.
Now her dad comes to visit
Dad asks her to come back home (to her hometown). There's stuff between these two. He tells her that if she doesn't want to stay with him, she can stay with family,
Now she's visiting and having a long convo with Joe...
I'm glad you liked the car, honey. I'm real sorry it turned out like this. I haven't cried very much. It's really got me puzzled, 'cause I... Love you so much. Goodbye, sweetheart.
So far, she's definitely paralyzed. She's in a wheelchair.
She's remembering her NDE and realizing it was Joe waiting for her at the end of it.
Now her dad is driving her home and this gas station they stop at is as middle america as one gets.
“God is love and versa-visa”
The owner is very friendly and talky... His name is Esco and he has a two-headed snake and a dream of seeing machu pichu
Dad starts getting a little irritated with him, Edna seems a bit taken by him (in a good way).
We've got a lot of driving to do
Don't we all
"Go purefully with peace in your heart, love in your eyes and laughter on your tongue. And if life don't hand you nothin' but lemons, you just make you a bunch of lemonade."
Edna and dad don't have much to say to each-other and she comments that it's still hard for them to talk. He asks what she wants to talk about and that's the end of the conversation.
And now it looks like they're legit “home” and grandma is elated. Edna seems able to walk with crutches (“canes”). Now it's time to catch up. They're looking at old pictures and reminiscing.
I can relate to how this feels...
And now we learn that the people she saw weren't at all random. Grandma shows her pictures of relatives who died and she realizes she saw all of them. That's why they were guiding her forward.
The realization is too much for her and she breaks down... but she gets over it quickly. Word is out that she's back and this HUGE family is gathered around for what looks like a pretty epic picnic. Edna says she's been gone so long, she doesn't remember anyone so cousin Lois catches her up.
One of the kids gets a nosebleed and apparently this is a thing with her. “It doesn't stop, she's a bleeder.”
Edna asks if she can hold Lizzie for a minute.
One-two, button my shoe and a bribe
And just like that, no more blood. And people are amazed.
“What did you do?”
“Damndest thing I ever saw.”
Grandma - Give me your hands – they're hot like a stovetop, now mine are too.
Edna is convinced that she's missed her chance to have children because of all of this but she is enjoying seeing all the younger kids in the family...
Now edna and grandma are going to talk about her “dream”
bells and chimes
Grandma fills in some details
And then, when you're a-movin' back, away from it, you start to feel bad... And there's this, this buzzin' starts, and suchlike as that?
And Edna confirms all of it.
Now THIS was interesting...
Just before we come here from Georgia,I knowed a woman from Macon, Harriet Eller. Got pneumonia. She upped and died. For more than 10 minutes, nary a breath outta her. And then, just as they's ready to... To carry her down to the ice box, she comes back to life. Child, it was just like you been sayin'. Anyways, not long after that, she started curing folks thereabouts. Maybe... (SIGHS) This here accident of yours... Don't know. Could be the power done opened itself to you.
And there's the lead-in for the rest of this.
Edna gives her a look like this is all so ridiculous
“The lord moves in mysterious ways – we don't have nothin' to say about it.”
Edna is sitting there and she's really thinking about this.
“What the hell, crazier things have happened”
She then does what anyone in the know is going to identify as self-reiki. She touches her legs for a long minute then tried to stand up. And she does. Then she decides to try to take a step. I relate to this a lot. I once had to relearn hw to walk after surgery. And she does what I did. Falls right on her face. Apparently it didn't work and grandma is just old and crazy,
Clancy decides to come visit. It's nice having the company of a dog...
Edna keeps trying to walk. She's super determined.
“I can heal myself... I can, I can, I can...” now it's LOA
Over and over again she tries to get her legs and toes to move and she keeps failing to heal herself.
Then a fly lands on her toe and she unconsciously flicks it away. Wait... wut???
Now she can move her toe. This is progress.
“If that's you God, thank you... or whatever great wonderful power you are in the universe... thank you.” (More LOA)
Now she's showing the family what she can do. She takes a couple steps and falls back into her chair. The town doctor is there and gives her the pinprick test to see if she has feeling in her legs.
“I expect if you get to walkin' you'll be leavin' again...”
Grandma says it's God's work
“I don't think I really know anything about God, but if love is God, I guess I could.”
So now we get to meet Cal Carpenter. And he makes quite the first impression. One of the other locals drives up in a truck where a wounded Cal is in the back. He's been in a bar fight and, applying redneck logic to the situation, his buddy tells Edna that since she could stop a nosebleed, maybe she can fix a knife wound. They're miles away from any hospital and Cal will probably bleed out on the way without help. He's at death's door and still manages to be a horny, drunk asshole.
Hello, sweet stuff! Hey, Buck. Get a bottle and give her a drink.
Shut up, Cal! Edna's gonna try to help ya.
Oh, is that a fact? Well, come here, darlin'. I can help you, too. You know, we can
He's too horny to understand that he's literally dying. And uh, Cal? You need blood to pull off what you're suggesting...
She puts her hands on him and the bleeding stops. They move on to the hospital.
And now people in town are lining up just to be touched by her and they're all getting healed of whatever is ailing them. She's like Jesus in Palestine and she is really, REALLY getting into it.
She heals a guy who was deaf for over 20 years and everyone is very excited. Everyone except Earl Carpenter who crashes the party and has a few things to say:
I've been watchin' these healings of your'n, and you ain't never mentioned scripture, nor the Holy Ghost once. Now what is the source of this power?
I don't know.
Oh, I think you do. And maybe the reason you don't name it is because it comes from another place.
And where might that be?
Hell itself, Edna Mae! Because if this were the work of the holy spirit, you would speak his name. You couldn't hold back, because he'd be speakin' his own name through you!I tell you this, woman. Even though you heal 100, 1,000, 10,000... These works are damned! Isaiah! Isaiah speaks it plain! Your hands are defiled with blood. Your lips are spoken lies. And Matthew says... "False prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, "so as to lead the people astray."
Edna decides to end the meeting to riotous applause but Earl keeps going over the din...
"But only in my name... MY NAME will the true believers cast out demons."
Cal is there, too, and as things disperse, it becomes clear that he is taking quite the interest in Edna. He's being persistent and she agrees to meet him for a drink.
Sounds like Cal's dad was an abuser who used bible memorization as punishment
Now we get to peeper the conversation with a little LOA action, but from a surprisingly more practical angle. Cal says:
See, my theory is that... them that's cured has got the sickness in their minds. And then somebody comes along and prays over 'em, and lays the hands, you know? And if they believe that person can make 'em well, well, then they're cured. They cured themselves... By believing, by telling their minds that they're better. You know, the real sick ones, the germ-sick and the cripples like that, they stay the same, no matter what. That's my theory.
Then for the weirdest fucking pickup line I ever heard....
My old man's right about one thing though. What's that? You gotta give folks a little scripture with your healing. Makes it easier going down. You best dust off your Bible, darlin'.
Well, I'll keep that in mind.
Hey, I got an idea. Since I'm such an expert on the good book... Well, I could help you out.
Well, we can work out at your place or mine. I got a little roomright here in town, just down the street. You know, we could start tonight.
What do you want, Cal?
What can I get?
The check, for one thing. Oh, yeah. Then you can get lost.
This next scene looks A LOT like most Jesus movies with Edna preaching to an enthralled crowd.
Earl Carpenter asked me in whose name I do this healing. And, uh, I've been thinking a lot about that. And I thought I'd just tell you what happens to me when I do it. There's this person standing in front of me, see? And they're sick or hurtin', scared. And, uh, somehow... And don't ask me how... I... I just kind of become them. I... I start feeling hurt and scared and sick. It's like I feel them. But there's this other me that's outside, that wants to reach out and make the pain go away. You know, kind of the way a mother does when her little one gets hurt. It's a kind of "kiss and make it better" sort of thing. Now, I don't want any of you to think that I deny Jesus in any way, because I don't. So if you ask me how the
power comes to me, I have to tell you, I don't know. I just know that it does. And I offer it to you in the name of love.
Cal is being persistent to a degree that would get any man a restraining order in 2022.
He shows up where Edna is staying (i”m not sure how she seems to have her own digs at the moment). He invites himself to dinner and it's gourmet night in Kansas... we're cracking open the beefaroni!
So she feeds him and tells him to bounce. He's clearly thinking he's making progress but she is getting more irritated with him by the minute. And he's saying all this rednecky existential shit but somehow he manages to wear her down.
And now for creepy pickup line #2...
You know, you say you can feel the sickness and the hurt in folks. What else can you feel, Edna Mae?
And it works. Ew...
Then they kiss... then they kick out the dog because who wants the dog watching you fuck...
She went very quickly from “I'd really like you to leave” to “I'd really like you to... come.”
Now we're gonna kill ourselves on a motorcyle with literally no helmet and no gear...
This is such a ham-handed way of making people fall in love in a movie...
So she comes across someone she can't heal...
Couldn't you help her?
(SIGHS) Oh, Grandma Pearl,
need their sickness
to get love and attention,
and some people need it
to give those things.
It's not up to me to judge
the right or wrong of it.
She's getting very existential herself
But there's another... this one has a degenerative spinal disorder that Edna successfully heals
All of a sudden we see Cal and he's actually looking... critical. It's strange how he sleeps with her one night and now he's wondering what she's all about.
Then we get to meet the researchers from the west coast, Paul Hankins and Joyce Baxter. They're from the CA institute of psychology
watching your healings,
and we're convinced
what you're doing is
We've seen a lot of people
who claim to do what you do,
but in our
most of it falls apart.
Your healings don't. The...
The effects seem to sustain.
You haven't been 100%
effective, have you?
No, I miss about
30% of the time.
We've got some machines
back at the institute
that can measure and record
this thing in different ways.
We'd like you to come back
and do some tests for us,
at our expense, of course.
Kind of like a guinea pig?
what's going on here
seems to have to do
with people and feelings,
not wires and machines.
I don't know, it just
doesn't feel right to me.
Cal is getting weirder and weirder... he's not into this whole healing thing at all even though he actually benefitted from it.
So he deals with it like Sam Shepard and has a drink then goes looking for... something. After a few minutes he pulls out a Bible and opens it.
Cal is becoming really, really distant and Edna is pleading with him to tell her what's wrong.
It's just when I see the way the people come to you, you know, It ain't like them tent shows. I watch you healin', makin' the pain go away,and the whole thingfeels like it's somethin'... Holy.
If there's anything holy here, it's just the simple holiness of love, that's all. Believe me,I'm not the Holy Ghost. And I'm not exactly the Virgin Mary either. You oughta know that better than anybody.
And with that, Cal decides it's time to go. That was short-lived.
And now Dad's at her door and now we're going to see the real daddy and what he thinks of his daughter.
You ain't nothin'
always will be.
Oh, we're back to
that again, are we?
You got a lot of folks
fooled around here,
but I see what's been
goin' on here!
you might've changed.
Not you, though.
Now, you're bringin' your
whorin' home, are you?
You're the same
old bitch in heat!
Now, you listen!
I want you gone!
I don't care where...
I just want you
out of my sight!
And I don't ever
wanna see you again.
Am I makin' myself
clear enough for ya?
And I don't ever wanna
see you again, either!
You're a hard,
stupid old man,
without an ounce of love
or understanding anywhere!
And I am sick to death of...
...trying to get
you to love me.
I would have liked to see a little more development with their relationship because this really seems to have come out of nowhere...
Now Cal is reading the Bible...
Edna shows up and tells him she's going to LA to be part of that study. They go, she manages to bend a laser with her mind and Cal is once again looking put off, but the very next shot they're in bed and my man can't perform.
Smoking in bed... OMG. These days most of us don't even smoke inside the house.
you're scarin' the hell outta me with this stuff.
But why? Why does it scare you?
It's too much power. Can't you see that? There's somethin' else
workin' here. What? What is it?
It's for you to
tell me, Edna Mae,
and you know that.
Now, I ain't got
nothin' more to say
about it until you do.
Now this scene... it's fukkin weird.
Now, she did say earlier that it feels like she takes on the pain and the sickness of the people she heals temproarily, but this is the first and only time we're going to see it
Today, she has
agreed to attempt to deal
on an experimental level
with a human subject.
A Miss Louise Kaufner,
who's suffering from
dystonia musculorum deformans,
Louise, I don't know
if I can help you, but
I'm gonna try, all right?
It's all right
if you can't.
I've never known
anything else. (CHUCKLES)
So Edna does what Edna does. At first, this isn't unlike any of her other healings.
She takes Louise in her arms and has her lean all her weight on her.
All of a sudden Edna is groaning and looks like she's in agony. Louise is just shuddering and doesn't appear to be getting any better. We SEE the illness going into Edna. She falls on the floor, convulsing... Louise is now well and after a few minutes, everything rights itself with Edna. And now we're having another NDE flashback and it looks like she's seeing her father but it's really, really fuzzy.
When Edna wakes up she almost immediately says that her father is dying and Cal already knows. He's been told. She has not.
And now we learn what drove the rift between them
I wanted that baby, Daddy.
I didn't feel any shame
for not being married.
God help me, I let you bring
that old horse doctor in here
to kill that little girl.
And scrape me out
so that nothing would
ever grow inside me again.
What happened that
made you so hard?
What hurt you?
What made you
Daddy, you drove us
all away from you.
All of us.
Mama into her silence,
where she stayed
until she died of grief.
Sam to Vietnam,
where they killed him.
(SOBBING) Daddy, listen.
I want you to know
that I still love you,
and I can help you now.
Honest, I can.
I know that
you know you're dying.
And I know that you're afraid,
but you don't have to be.
Then she describes everything she saw, including all the people who she names off for him and as she's speaking you see this peace wash over Daddy... she describes the light and the feeling of weightlessness, you don 't feel your body anymore...
The kid playing the harmonica is a little creepy...
This whole scene is also very creepy especially since I've had my own saying goodbye experience recently...
What is it, Daddy?
So these are Daddy's last moments and those last moments between him and Edna are good ones.
Those are the moments that matter most.
Cal is getting more and more into scripture, and as getting more and more into scripture does, it's driving him crazy. And what's worse, he's reading from Revelation...
"And there appeared
a great wonder.
"A woman clothed with the sun
and the moon under her feet,
"and upon her head
a crown of 12 stars."
"In that hour, he had cured
many diseases and plagues.
"And he answered,
the blind received
"the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear."
You can't deny him
any longer, Edna Mae.
You got to declare
his comin' now.
You have his power.
I've seen it.
You are his power.
"And the woman was bent
and could not straighten,
"and he laid his hands on her,
she was made straight."
Now, the Christ is makin' hisself
known to us through you.
How many proofs
more do you need?
You heal, you die,
and you live again.
You have the power of prophecy.
You knew your Pa was dyin'.
You knew that.
Cal, stop it.
Look, Edna, I denied him
and I almost died,
and he saved me through you.
Now, the power is here.
Say it, Edna Mae!
He is makin' hisself known.
You say it!
I want you to get out
of here right now, Cal.
You are the
You are the resurrection,
the fulfillment of
his promise to us.
I'm not the living Christ.
they really didn't tell this story as well as they could...
"If thy law had
not been my delight,
"I would have perished
in my affliction.
"I will never
forget thy precepts,
"for by them...
Thou hast given me life."
(CHUCKLES) "I am thine.
"The wicked deny you,
"but I consider
"I will make clear
the way of your coming."
And here comes Cal – the lone biker of the apocalypse
HE SHALL BE REVEALED!
He falls off his bike and gets one shot off that catches Edna in the shoulder.
There is so much more they could have done with this...
The crowd descends on him and Edna begs them not to hurt him. Another too soon jump cut and now Edna is on her way out of town again.
Grandma wants a final private word.
Edna tried to go see Cal in the hospital but he wouldn't see her.
She tells grandma that she feels like Joan of Arc...
I was just thinking
how crazy everything is.
That she was burned
for hearing voices,
and I was almost got for not.
Grandma is sad because she knows she's not going to see Edna again... until....
If we could just love each-other as much as we say we love him, I expect there wouldn't be the bother in the world there is.
Now we get a major time jump. The old homestead ois long since abandoned and falling apart. There is very little left of Edna's past.
Now we see a family we don't know but they're on a cool trip. Bobby, their kid, ain't feelin' it. And we're about to find out why.
We stop at a very familiar gas station. Edna is a bit older and has been running the gas station for years at this point. We're up to Clancy the 3rd.
Hello, little puppy.
His liver and...
Uh, nothing we can...
We thought we'd take him
on a trip, you know.
Let him see some things.
He's got relatives in Utah
he's never even seen.
Lake Powell is nice.
They have some
boat rides there
that just go for miles.
MAN: That sounds great.
Edna sends the parents off to look at her rock garden and she and Bobby get acquainted. She shows him Gemini, for free.
Esco made it
They give me pills for it.
I guess I'm dying.
I hear them talking about it.
don't know I hear 'em.
I just wish
it wouldn't make them so sad.
Hey, would you
like to keep him?
I don't think I'll be
around to take care of him.
Ah, I wouldn't
worry about that.
Not one bit.
Now the rock garden from the beginning is a flower garden and apparently there's something that seems off... Bobby's parents comment on it.
They really are.
But how come they're
blooming in September?
Ain't that the darnedest
thing you ever saw?
She said I could have him.
Could I? Could I?
Oh, son, I'm afraid...
Listen, I think
that boy and dog
are just about
stuck together now.
He won't be
Could I pay you
But you can pay me
for the gas.
I'm sorry, I forgot.
That's all right.
Good. Thank you.
Then she turns to Bobby and says...
However, you can pay me
for that dog.
I'd say the price
of that dog is, uh...
One big hug,
what do you say?
So she hugs him, long and hard and makes sure those fiery hands attack that cancer something fierce. And yes, we're left with this whole thing hanging, but no matter how she got those powers, she used them the right way – to help people, not for personal gain. Ya hear that, Benny Hinn?
Clearly the most important players in the story were Edna and Cal. With the tiny bit of character development we get here, Edna seems to believe in God on some surface level, but a Christian she is not. Her NDE didn’t involve seeing Jesus at the end of the tunnel, but rather her dead husband. Her father was more dyed in the wool and clearly had issues with some of Edna’s life choices. He vacillates way too quickly between wanting her to stay and wanting her to go. It felt as though her level of individuality and her assertion of doing things on her terms (especially in the areas of sex and relationships) was a bit too much for someone who has had the patriarchal mindset drilled into him from birth. I just think it was really ham-handed how there is no context to that last scene before she leaves for LA. He wants her gone, he states why, and that’s all we get. And for a guy who is so steeped in Christian dogma, he sure was quick to procure that abortion… I’m just sayin’.
And along those lines, I’m actually quite relieved that Edna wasn’t confronted with meeting her “baby” during her NDE. I seem to recall very faintly hearing a baby crying but they don’t develop that (much like they fail to develop pretty much ANYTHING in this movie). When she’s naming off all the people dad is going to meet on the other side, his granddaughter isn’t on the guest list.
I also like how there’s no deathbed reconciliation, just a human being doing the right thing at the moment. Edna’s relationship with her father is never “fixed” but she does pull out more compassion at the end than I’m sure I could. This, to me, makes the point that you can dislike someone but still apply some good ethics to how you deal with them when they’re at their most vulnerable. I know I keep going over in my head what my last conversation with my mother will look like and I’m simply not expecting any apologies or admissions of wrongdoing from her at that moment. What I AM expecting is to allow her to leave this life in relative peace. This is what Edna did for her father and, in my mind, it made her the bigger person on a lot of levels.
I could have done without the messianic posturing because after a while that’s what it looked like: female Jesus roaming the countryside with her preachifications and platitudes. Then a bunch of people get healed, there are excuses for when they aren’t, and all kinds of woo-rificness present along the way. In the end, I think she found herself a mentor and friend in Esco and facilitated him being able to pursue his dreams.
The final moment of the movie speaks to both Edna’s fatigue over the responsibility that comes with her powers, but also her selflessness and desire to help people in need. Was there some spiritual reason why that family stopped there? It’s kind of implied. And I have to wonder if people just found themselves supernaturally drawn there in their times of need. Not seeing Billy’s happy ending was disappointing but we leave the theater knowing he’s going to get to live and enjoy growing up with Clancy the Third at his side and that’s all kinds of good.
But the quasi-secular treatment of Edna’s “gift” is only half the reason I chose this movie. The other half revolves around Cal. Between him and Earl Carpenter, you get a very clear view of what this religion and the holy book it’s founded upon can do to your thinking. Let’s talk about Earl for just a minute as a lead-in. When Earl crashes and starts scripture-bombing that meeting, there is no love in anything he has to say. It’s nothing but hate-fueled rhetoric toward someone who doesn’t see things his way. This is one of the most accurate and truthful moments in this movie. And while they rush through its development at a fever pace, so is Cal’s descent into madness over the things he reads in the Bible, applying context to every verse along the way. You know, you can use the Bible the same way people use tarot cards. Every verse can have a unique meaning to any situation. You can literally open that book to any page and assign whatever meaning you want to any verse, regardless of its context or actual message.
And the more signs he saw, the more convinced Cal became that Edna was not only a powerful healer, but that she was also Jesus incarnate. He had no intention of killing her. He was so convinced of who she was, his little stunt was designed to show that Edna was somehow death-proof. And again, her public actions do nothing to allay these delusions.
In the end, I think she played every bit as big a role in Cal’s descent as the book he was taking his cues from did. Cal is also a good example of conditioning. He was far from the definition of the bible-believing Christian at the beginning, but all the exposure to the religion he had endured since birth culminated in him literally going crazy, as it is with many. Some ride in on motorcycles and open fire. Some march behind their hapless messiah onto government property committing life-altering acts of aggression and violence. The motivations come from the same source and, pardon the pop culture reference, but those motivators can, and do, have a strong influence on the weak-minded. Call it the Jesus mind trick if you will…
The presentation of events here as they relate to NDEs is very over-spiritual on that non-committal Hollywood sort of level, but Hollywood is like that and the tropes they use to visually present the ideas in this movie are nothing new. It was, however, the first time I saw anything like this as a child and between this movie and Beyond and Back, I was terrified back then by both of them even though nothing overtly bad actually happens in Edna’s NDE. This movie and Beyond and Back are a complete mish-mosh in my head most of the time (mostly because they came out around the same time and they CLEARLY borrowed a few ideas from BAB when making this movie). Life after death is a huge sell in Hollywood, just ask Patrick Swayze, M. Night Shyamalan, and others.
Lastly, I was taken by just how much love and selflessness are vilified by some of the clearer representatives of Christianity in this movie. It isn’t enough that Edna survived a NDE and came back with this ability to heal. Nope. If you aren’t going to credit God, then your power MUST BE coming from the Devil. This is the same toxic black and white thinking that pervades all evangelical thought. Love is clearly not good enough if it comes from any source beside God.
Even into her later years, Edna understood the responsibility placed literally in her hands and even with all she went through, she still embraced that responsibility and offered it to others in the name of love. Supernatural details aside, I think it’s important to learn the value of selfless service to others when we have the means and ability to give help and support. We may not be able to heal the sick, but we are given opportunities to show kindness to others on a daily basis in a lot of ways. How many of us seize upon these opportunities when they present? How many of us can truthfully say that we give without thought of reward?
Edna never once asked what was in all this for her. She simply gave as she had ability to give. Learning the value in that helps us see ourselves on level footing with the people around us. Putting it into practice without feeling the compulsion to credit external forces for it? That’s a sign you’re on your way to getting and staying unbound.