Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Young People, There is a Place for You in the Church" and Other Inanities

     It was related to me the other day by a "young adult" pastor in our denomination, a meeting held to "hear" from the young adult generation ways the church can attract and keep more young adults within the ranks.  The young adults attending, several of them already pastors, commented, shared observations and made suggestions, many of which were met with offense by the older people attending the meeting. The point the older members wanted to make was, as they put it, "there is a place for you in the church."  The reality exposed in this meeting and generally with most of these conversations was more along the lines of a Soviet election. "You can vote for whoever you like as long as it is who we tell you to vote for."

     This is increasingly frustrating for me and equally so for the young adults who currently are active in the church. It is frustrating for me because it really isn't that difficult.  What is more concerning is this is simply a symptom of a greater issue within our denomination for sure, and most other churches as well, I would guess.

     The answer to this apparently perplexing issue can be summed up in one statement and expounded upon in two points.

     First, the statement: As pastors, church boards, and leaders, we have ceased to trust the leading of the Holy Spirit.

     This sad reality expresses itself in two ways when it comes to making a "place" for young adults in the church.

     First, we do not trust the Holy Spirit to bring us the people we need to make His ministry work in the church.  When there is a ministry need in the church we often sit together and make lists of all the people we think would be a good fit for this ministry. Then we send out letters, emails or make phone calls, doing our best to coerce someone on that list to feel "the call" to that ministry. How often do we simply ask the Holy Spirit to speak to the person HE wants for that ministry?  And then wait?  Obviously, I am not against letting people know the need is there, although the Holy Spirit doesn't need an announcement on Sunday morning to find the person He wants.

     So then the Holy Spirit, despite our best efforts to circumvent Him, brings forward a young adult, or worse yet, a teenager, to fill this ministry need. Do we pray about it? Do we trust the Holy Spirit as He leads us? No, usually we either dismiss the person without discussion or we begin to make excuses about experience, the massive responsibility or the offense some people will take with this person leading a ministry. We think of whatever we can come up with to rationalize away the person the Holy Spirit may have chosen to lead this ministry the way He wanted it lead.  And when it is all done we pat ourselves on the back for being such good stewards of God's church. In the meantime, we have quashed a young person's passion to be involved in his or her church and have brought doubt of the Holy Spirit's leading in their life. Oh, and we still don't have anyone to lead the ministry.

     We fail to trust the leading of the Holy Spirit.

     Secondly, we do not trust the Holy Spirit's leading in the life of the person He brought to the ministry.

     So, somehow we overcome our doubts about who the Holy Spirit chose to bring us for the ministry need we have, but we still fail to fully trust Him. We accept the young adult or teenager into the position but on the condition that every decision they make and every action they take must be passed through the pastor or worse, the church board. We all know the results of those types of meetings. Without fail, we will see that ministry lead exactly how WE think it should be done, with only OUR ideas implemented.  So the person the Holy Spirit chose to lead this ministry is left impotent and the Holy Spirit is vexed once again.  In this case, we trust Him just enough to accept the person He provides but not quite enough to think that this person will actually fulfill the Spirit's purpose in this position. And again, we have ripped away a young person's opportunity to serve and cast doubt on the Holy Spirit's leading in his or her life.

     It is like the bumper sticker I remember seeing which stated the simple question; "Is it good for the children?" If I have to ask such a question, then it is painfully obvious, I do not have the good of the children at heart. The same goes with this statement from our church leadership. If I need to state that there is a place for young adults in our church, then obviously there isn't. If there really were a place for them, they would be there, actively and passionately serving God in our church.

    The sad reality is that there isn't a place for young adults in many of our churches because WE, the pastors, church boards, and leaders, won't allow it. Or we only allow it if we orchestrate every iota of it, leaving no place for the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the young adult or the ministry of which we have placed them in charge.

     The only way for this to change (if we are really serious about it) is for all of us, from our General Superintendents to our District Superintendents, our pastors, church boards and right down to our church leadership, is to earnestly seek the Holy Spirit and re-discover Entire Sanctification in our lives A life where we walk daily in step with the Spirit. A life where we actually trust Him with our lives and our churches. Then and only then will we see young adults passionately serving God within our churches and leading us into the next 100 years of our denomination.

     It needs to start long before a person is a young adult as well. It needs to start when they are in 4th and 5th and 6th grades. It needs to continue as they become 7th and 8th graders. It needs to blossom into full positions in the church, not just youth group, as they enter high school. And it needs to be encouraged as they graduate and enter the college life. Then maybe, just maybe, when they reach adulthood they will still be in our churches and they will be leading our worship, serving in our nurseries, teaching our Sunday school classes and small groups, running our food pantries and soup kitchens and serving as our pastors.

     Until then, please stop with the inane meetings and asking vapid questions that no one seriously wants an answer to. It is a horrible waste of time.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Yoga: The Pants Not The Practice

     In thinking in depth about this topic which was very hot for quite some time, I had
endeavored to approach it from a Biblical perspective as I do every topic of
discussion. The problem I ran into was the dearth of passages pertaining to modesty
of dress. I was actually a bit surprised. Not that my search was exhaustive, but the few
passages I discovered about proper attire were exclusively directed towards women
and beyond that, were not at all addressing the issue of modesty in regards to
sexuality. The passages were repetitive and were really focusing on, or rather RE-focusing
our views of what is important. (1 Tim 2:9–10, 1 Pet 3:1–6, etc.) So the
admonition in these passages to not be adorned with jewelry or expensive dress
wasn't so much a condemnation of those things but rather a point about what
should be valued in the life of a woman, both by women and men. Even if they could
be taken as commentary about those specific articles of clothing, which I do not feel
is true to the passages, it still isn't about sexuality.

     So where does that leave us? Well, scripture is not entirely silent on the subject. The
majority of the passages that are applicable, switch the question. Rather than
addressing the appearance of the woman, it directs its commands at the man. Part of
this is probably because they lived in a patriarchal society very much unlike what we
exist in today. Secondly, common dress for a woman in those cultures was probably
fairly modest to begin with. Oddly, when sinful women are described, much of the
focus is on jewelry more so than modesty of clothing. Outside of absolute
nakedness. Still, there is never a passage that tells women “don’t wear this or present
yourselves in this or that manner”, but it seems to come back to telling the man, “do
not look at her in a lustful way.”

     Yet, there is a definite idea presented in Scripture of what a holy and pure woman of
God should look like. But this is done by inference. When proverbs describes a
woman coming to a man dressed as a prostitute, we get the picture of a woman who
is dressed in a way that is meant to entice the man sexually. We can infer from this
that a pure woman of God would not want to dress in such a way. But what way is
that exactly? Is it purely a matter of how many inches of material are in the clothing
of the women? Or is it where these pieces of material are placed on the body? Or
how tightly or loosely they adhere to the body? Or, maybe, it is purely a matter of

     This is where I land on these questions. These are not the right questions to ask, or at
least, these questions will not lead us to a place of truth on the topic. Scripturally,
intent rarely seems to matter. It didn't matter in the parable of the talents. It didn't
matter when Peter cut off the ear of the soldier. Some things are good, some things
are bad. Some things are right and some things are wrong, regardless of our intent.
So then it must be a matter of physicality, right? In my estimation, no.

      Time and time again when issues are raised within Scripture it tends to come back to
each person individually and the sacrifices they must make of themselves and their
own rights and freedoms for the benefit of others. Almost exclusively, this is directed
towards men. Especially in regards to sexuality and lust. When those are brought up,
it simply tells us to not do it, to not be involved in it. There is no discussion of the fact
that the woman was wearing this or that, or that she was acting in a certain way
toward him. None of that matters. And it is a high standard. If you look at a woman
lustfully in your heart, it is done. That is not followed by some dissertation about how
women should then dress and act so that they are not a temptation. Nothing like
that. It is simply, men, do not lust.

     Therefore the first thing I would conclude about yoga pants, as a man, is that, it
doesn't matter. It is up to me to do what is needed spiritually to be able to be faced
with this situation and yet not sin. Is it easy, or fair, or even possible? Maybe, maybe
not. As a Nazarene I believe that if God commands it then God is able to bring it to
reality in my life as I submit to Him. But even if I do not get to that point in my life,
God’s grace is sufficient. My response to men on this issue then is nearly as simple as
Scripture’s, no matter what you are faced with, it is your responsibility to not lust and
no one else’s.

      But that is not the final word on the subject. There is still the question of what
Christian women should view as appropriate to wear. There are many things to
consider here. I would say from the start that though it would be noble of any
woman to dress in a manner that would make it difficult to cause a man to lust, I do
not think that is a proper place to come from in this discussion. It is not the woman’s
responsibility to keep a man from lusting. The proposition is preposterous from the
start. Is that even possible? One of my favorite lines from any country song is from a
Dolly Parton song which says “you could stop traffic in a gunny sack.” And while it is
actually spoken of a man and meant to be a humorous exaggeration, it is closer to
the truth than most would like to admit. I am certain there are lust issues with the
men in the nations of burka-wearing women just as there is in countries such as a
Germany where public nudity is fairly commonplace. Men are attracted to women
regardless of what they are or are not wearing. So trying to find the truth in this
manner would be futile.

      We wear different clothing in different settings for different purposes. What is
appropriate in one place may not be in another. And some things may not be
appropriate anywhere. But with Scripture being nearly silent on the subject, who is
to know where those boundaries lie? Granted, that’s the real question at hand, it is
not new nor unique and it only manifests itself in the form of yoga pants at this point
in history. What about swimming attire? What about the length of dresses? What
about jeans? What about sporting uniforms? What about the fact that God created
humans to be beautiful and we are designed in His image? What about the fact that
in His perfect world, clothing was non-existent? This last question might give us a
good foundation on which to build our solution to this pressing issue.

      If God’s ultimate design is for all of us to live in a state of nudity and not blindly
ignorant of each other’s beauty, then what does that say about us now? Why do we
wear clothes at all? What is the origin of clothing? God designed the first article of
clothing, which was leather by the way. He did so because sin had entered the world
and now our bodies were no longer a source of beauty but of lust and sin. The entire
purpose for clothing was to cover our sin.

     So how does this affect us today? I think it should be in our minds, the purpose of
clothes when we decide what we are to wear. This again, is not to ask the question of
what will keep another person seeing me from sinning, but rather, what will keep me
from being presented as shameful or sinful to another person. This will be slightly
different depending on culture. It is not universal. And even though it is perfectly ok
to look to culture as a guide, as Christians, we should have our own standards
beyond culture.

     So let’s boil this down to yoga pants specifically. Are they revealing? Very. Could you
even tell they were on if they happened to be skin colored? Probably not. Showing
the world your butt is one thing but showing them other parts is even more of a
concern. And I have seen that personally. Most likely it is unknown to the woman
how revealing they really are. Are they different from swimming suits and bikinis? I
personally think they are because of how they are constructed. They are more
revealing than most swimming suits. Although I have seen swimming suits that were
pretty much see through when wet. Still, that is not common. And this makes it seem
to me that it defeats the very purpose clothing was created in the first place. But do
they serve a purpose? Yes. And a good purpose.

     The conclusion? I feel that if a Christian woman decides that clothing like yoga pants
are not appropriate to be worn in public and chooses not to wear them, she should
be commended for understanding the true Biblical principle of sacrifice and serving.
However, if a Christian woman decides that it is ok for her to wear yoga pants in
certain settings, I would only suggest to wear other clothing that keep certain parts
covered, keeping her in a place of presenting herself in a dignified manner. So not
for the guys, but for herself.

      And please note I specify a Christian woman. I do not think it is our place to suggest
this to other women. If they are not Christians, they have larger issues than what they
wear, and that is where our focus should be, loving them and caring for them.
If you are a Christian woman contemplating this issue, I would say, stop. Stop
confining it to yoga pants and start asking God to direct you in how you are allowing
God to work in your life by serving others. And I have confidence He will show you
the answer for you. And I will have confidence in you to make that decision,
whatever it turns out to be.

     And for guys, learn to live in step with the Spirit so much so that when you do see
that butt, you do see a person who God created beautifully and whom He loves and
cherishes. And treat her accordingly, in your mind as well as in life.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Why I Can't Write...And What I'm Going To Do About It

     My dive back into this blog that began early in the year, came to an abrupt halt this Spring. I have had no shortage of things to write about. There has been no shortage of topics I desired to weigh into with my insight. There has been no shortage of time, save for a few weeks of travel at the beginning of summer and at the end. Regardless, I found myself avoiding the blog and setting the topics at hand into the back of my mind. They have sat there quietly, simmering and being added to over the past several months.

     At last, several posts on Facebook and an article addressing the lack of quality, literary writers in Evangelicalism have made me evaluate what it was, exactly, that kept me from writing. The realization I have come to is my hesitation to write what I truly think on several currently hot topics is keeping me from writing at all. Sure, there are other topics I could write about without delving into controversial subject matter, and no doubt, some of that writing is going to fill the pages of this blog, however, I have discovered if I do not write about the things that burn deeply inside me, I have little interest in writing about the more surface subjects. So, I don't write.

     I need that to change. So what am I going to do about it? I am glad you asked. I am going to do what I promised to do when I re-started this blog. I am going to dive headlong into whatever topics I find interesting enough to write about. My thoughts are not conventional nor will they be popular. Or at least I do not think they will be. Maybe I will find that more people than just my shadow hold the same views as I do. But I will never find out if I do not write. So that is what I am going to endeavor to do.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Story Behind The Story: "So"

So. So? So...

     What a unique word is the word, "So".

     I was lying in bed, as I am prone to do before I fall asleep, and the word "so" came to my mind. Things like this happen from time to time with me. I don't know if this is normal or not but it is normal for me. There are a lot of language things happening around me recently. I am trying to learn German. My son is learning Spanish, a language my wife speaks rather fluently. A friend of mine has been messing around with Chinese and Arabic. Therefore, when this word "so" popped into my head, I immediately thought about how I would describe or define this little word for someone who was learning English for the first time.

     I began running through its uses, in trying to determine a proper definition for this word that I use many times everyday. My son often quizzes me on the meaning of words I use that he doesn't know. What I have been finding is I can use a word properly yet have a difficult time actually stating the definition.  This was exactly what happened when I began quizzing myself on the meaning of the word "so". As I listed its uses in my mind, I came to the realization that this word could not be confined to a single definition. Its uses are great and varied.

      I rolled over and asked my wife to name off as many uses for the word "so" as she could. She came up with no less than 8. I came up with a few more. Now my interest was piqued. I took my iPhone from the nightstand and searched for the definition of this small word. What I found astounded me.

     Different dictionaries offered different lists of usage for this word but overall it was consistent that there are four main uses for the word "so". Within those four different uses, there are at least 20 and as many as 30 different definitions for "so".  No wonder I was having difficulty defining this word.

     The four uses are  1. an adverb having to do with degrees, 2. a conjunction, 3. an adjective having to do with agreement, and 4. a pronoun referring to something previously stated. This is pretty remarkable when you think of it. This two letter word can be used in nearly every part of speech save a verb. Is there another word in the English language, or in any language for that matter, that is as permeating as "so"?

     Here are just a few examples of the different definitions of "so" within its four main uses:

In the same manner or way :  "worked hard and so did she"

In a manner or way indicated or suggested : "do you really think so"

To an indicated or suggested extent or degree : "had never been so happy"

To a great extent or degree : "loves her so"

Therefore : "the witness is biased and so unreliable"

In order that : "be quiet so he can sleep" 

For that reason :  "don't want to go, so I won't"

Used as an introductory particle : "so here we are"

Often to belittle a point under discussion : "so what?" 

Used interjectionally to indicate awareness of a discovery : "so, that's who did it" 

Conforming with actual facts :  "said things that were not so"

Used in the phrase or to indicate an estimate, approximation, or conjecture: "stayed a week or so"

     And these are only a few of the 30+ definitions I found for this inconspicuous word.  This is just amazing to me. How does such a seemingly insignificant word become so integral to our everyday language? As you may or may not know, our English language owes more to the German language than anything else. When I went in search of how this word came to be, I discovered that this is a word taken directly from the German language. It is a word that is spelled, pronounced much to the same degree and used in the same fashion in both English and its original language, German.  The mysteries of this word continue to grow.  

     "So" is described by some as the most complicated word in the German language. The Grimm has 114 pages dedicated to the definitions and usages of the word 'so" in German. Unfortunately I do not read German fluently so I am unable to know if that document reveals the distant (it has been seen in the English language as early as 900 AD) origins of this astounding word. To think that this word has been completely absorbed into English from German without much departure from its original usage in German, and this over more than a millennium, boggles my mind.

      And still, as common as it is, how do you explain this word to someone who does not speak English or German as a first language? I have found this challenging. 

     So, the next time you find yourself using this little word, let come to your mind the vastness of these two letters and the magnificence of human language that can turn something so small into something so meaningful.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Is Eliminating Sports in Schools the Answer?

     A few years ago, a new principle of Premont High School in Texas was faced with a school failing so badly at its task of educating its students that it was in threat of being closed down for good. The actions he took to try to save his school were extraordinary.

     Among several actions he undertook to save a school over $400,000 in debt, while still educating it's students and adding two science labs, the most dramatic of all was the elimination of all sports for the following year. It was estimated doing so would save the school about $150,000 that year and allow them to focus on the task of educating their students. 

A good week in Premont
     As you would expect, there were many who disagreed with this extreme approach. At a school where the daily average percentage of absent students was around 20%, many parents and students alike claimed the only reason the attendance was even that high was due to sports. Without sports, no one would come to school, they said. 

     North America is unique in the world in regards to how sports are integrated as a part of our school system. With the dismal ranking our students achieve when compared to other countries, many who spend much less dollars per student than we do, the question must be asked, is school the proper place for youth sports?

     I grew up playing sports in school. During my grade schools years, mainly hockey and baseball were the sports offered. These were club sports at that age. Both cost money. Once I moved into middle school, sports were offered by the schools. I was involved in american football, then soccer and eventually, basketball. Sports were a significant part of my school life, even into college.

     Yet, with failing schools in America and growing expense of playing sports and the facilities required, it may be time for a serious discussion about whether or not sports have a proper place within the school system.

Premont football
     There are pros and cons to playing sports and likewise, for the main engagement of sports to be run by the public school system. There can be no denying the benefits of playing sports for the youth who play it. Learning hard work, teamwork and dealing with disappointment are all important aspects to becoming a mature adult. No activity teaches a child these things with more intensity than sport. The health benefits are obvious as well.

     There are of course negatives. The damage that can be done to a child by a poorly motivated coach are much more devastating than many would let on. Coaches are allowed to treat students in ways that would cause other school staff to be dismissed. Being bullied by the resident jerk in your class is wholly different than being bullied by your coach. Sadly, it happens every single day. And the physical damage that can be caused to growing bodies through repetitive and overly competitive training and playing can have lasting and negative effects on the student athletes.

     However, are the benefits of youth sport worth the cost in time, money, risk and health? I think they are. Nothing is without risk. We must always weight the cost.

     So the question isn't to play sport or not but rather, where is the proper place for sports in our society?

     There are two main benefits to having sports controlled by the public school system. This system allows almost anyone who wants to participate in the sport to play at some level. Of course this sin't the case throughout the entire United States or every sport offered. There are some schools that have tryouts because their systems can only handle a certain number of athletes. But it stands that many students who want to play are given the opportunity in school who would not have the same opportunity if sport were left solely to clubs. In many schools, ability isn't the deciding factor and cost is kept to a minimum because of the offsetting of the cost by the school's budget.

     The other claimed benefit is that having sport in school generates interest in attending school that may not be there for many students. This was one of the main arguments that pressed against the principle of the school in Texas. They argued that having the football program was, for many student athletes, the only reason they came to school at all. This, from a school that ran a daily average of 20% absenteeism.

     Yet, there are negatives to having sport in schools. The amount of time taken away from class by sport activities is substantial. From pep rallies, to team travel time and early dismissals due to tournaments, there is a definite impact on education time, not just for the athletes themselves, but for every student. For the athlete, it becomes even more of a burden. There is very little time to do homework or study for tests during the season. Especially for basketball and football players.

     Cost is another issue. Just because having sports in schools makes it affordable for students who might otherwise not be able to play a particular sport, it doesn't mean the sport is affordable. The costs do not change. What changes is who is paying for it. We often hear complaints about how much we spend per student in our public schools and yet fail to produce good students. What portion of that expenditure is going towards sports rather than education?  In the Premont school in Texas, the estimation was about $150,000 per year. This was for a small school district. The amounts for a large school district in a metropolitan area would be considerably higher. And this amount didn't include the upkeep that continued to be needed for the facilities. Nor would it have considered how much the School District could have recouped through the sale of facilities it would no longer need if sports were removed permanently.

     I tried to determine how much my local school district spent on sports overall but looking through the budget, it was impossible to tell. The budget is not itemized in that way. If I had to guess, I would say it was in the millions. This is still a small percentage of the overall budget. But it is a significant amount of money nonetheless.

     This is money that is collected from taxes and other sources for the education of the students yet is not used for education in any way. In fact, it could be argued, it is being used for activities that actually work to hinder the very education it was collected to provide.

Club sports start at a young age
      What would the alternative be? Creating privately funded sports clubs in each city would provide the opportunity to play sports while not interfering in schools. As one can imagine, there are positives and negatives to this situation as well. There may not be as much opportunity for less athletic students in clubs as there is in some school districts. The costs involved for the athlete would be higher than they are in the schools. This might keep some athletes from being able to participate as well. So you may have lower participation than currently is the case. But, you may not. There is always the possibility for the clubs to provide scholarships for athletes and the creation of leagues for players who are not able to play competitively with the better athletes. That would be up the people running the clubs.

     The benefits of having a club run athletics are numerous. The club can focus more on player development than simply winning championships. With athletes joining as children and remaining in the same programs through high school, the chance for proper development of the athlete is much greater than the current system. There would be greater emphasis in the clubs to provide quality training at the younger age levels because there is ownership of the program throughout that child's sports career. I firmly believe that the United States would develop even better athletes than we currently do, through a club based program rather than the current school based programs.

     But the largest effect would be how it changes the school system. Imagine a high school without sports. Imagine the change in the facilities. Imagine the changes to the the staff. Imagine the difference in the transportation systems. Imagine the difference in focus within the school day. Imagine how much time would actually be required each day to properly educate the students of the school. Imagine a school system where the students spend a third less of the day in school, with no homework.  What could be accomplished with an extra 4 to 6 hours a day?  The student would be free to join a sports club, and not be arriving at home after 6 pm to eat supper and then hit their homework. The student would be free to spend time learning an instrument or working a job, or spending time with their family or friends.

     This concept might be a huge shock to your way of thinking. But just spend a few minutes really thinking about how the typical school day would be effected if sports were removed from the responsibility of the school system.

Premont graduation
     When one weighs the negatives and positives, I cannot see a better way to help solve the issue of education in this country. With this one single change, we would be able to develop more highly educated students, students better prepared for their careers and better athletes. Accomplishing all this with potentially, a smaller burden on the tax payer.

    It at least deserves consideration. It worked in Premont. Attendance increased. Test scores increased. The budget decreased. The school was saved. Just think what it could do for your local school.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I would like to take the pleasure of introducing my first guest blogger on Steve Park has been a friend of mine for many years. He lives in the Kansas City area and his ability to see inside music and movies and theological issues has always impressed me. that is why I asked him to write for my blog when he can. I was very interested in hearing his take on the new movie Noah. I am sure you will enjoy it as well.


In life, as with this movie, we mustn't let our unmet expectations drive us to wallow in disappointment. Upon first hearing of a Noah movie I thought, "its about time someone tackled this epic". If Matthew 24:37 is any indication, one might say it's rather timely. Yet immediately, the debate and controversy began. A battle really, and not just over the minute details. The conversation over precision is unfortunate if necessary, yet it should at least be leading back to the main point, that Noah's story is a part of the gospel as a whole. I thought how can, or who would want to get the story of Noah wrong? Then I hear of Jewish atheist writers and a typical save the planet theme and my disappointment nearly brought me to just dismiss it. However, this is such a crucial story, a crucial part of history, and I'm not usually quick to boycott Hollywood's ignorance anyway (usually its just more of a consistent avoidance). Still I remained guardedly hopeful.
My growing skepticism made it difficult to apply myself in the theater at first, as the "earth first" plot began to unfold. However the movie eventually began to run along the ever familiar storyline, albeit about as parallel as a set of non-identical twins. Maybe a caveat would have been in order, "based on true events".
While the Biblical record of Noah and the flood is quite detailed in some ways, well researched extra-canonical liberties were taken to fill in the possibilities which were, for the most part, left to us as mysteries, such being the Nephilim, or Watchers, represented here as Tolkienish Ent-like stone beings capable of repentance and redemption. The more bothersome inclusion for many would have to be the anti-civilization theme so common today. It is true, sin thrives in the city yet it is first bred in the heart. So the real answer is responsibility, not this heartless, constantly forced religion of "sustainability".
Somewhere through the film as I engaged, I began to recognize the struggle often only attributed to our own personal one, where we wrestle with God alone in secret at night. This was quite vividly demonstrated by the villain, city ruler Tubal-Cain in his calling out to God, "I am a man made in Your image! Why do you not converse with me?! …Speak to me!" I thought, "sure, most of us at times come to that point, yet for sure 'the heart is selfish and desperately evil'". Everyone knows of the Creator, it's just that we wish to create Him in our image instead. This honest struggle seen also in Noah, began to be one of the most crucial aspects of this story, and in the end, nearly caused the earth-focus to seem unnecessary. Except that, in reality, its as though Noah, being an imperfect person, had simply gotten God's purpose for this mostly wrong. He had misunderstood God's main reason for this cleansing, and though that care of creation drove him to fulfill his understood purpose, in the end he found out this renewal was all meant for a restoration of the proper intention for our relationships, that being love and grace.
Ila and the wizardly Methuselah
In light of that, some who left the movie early in discouragement, may have avoided a blessing. Just as Ila, Noah's adopted daughter could have given up on God and then missed that encounter with the wizardly Methuselah, a turning point giving her a way to soon see life as through the eyes of the Creator.
God chose Noah, however imperfect, because he knew through him and his steadfastness He could mete out, not just His justice, but His love and mercy... eventually being ultimately accomplished in Christ.

::Steve Park