Did you watch the 2019 Academy Awards Sunday night? (I didn’t; we were out of power . . . again!) Anywho, out of the 37 movies nominated for prizes, I’ve really only seen a handful, but I now have a list of about 15 more possibilities to try. Among those seen thus far, the courage and perseverance of RBG are truly inspirational, and the playful visual effects in Christopher Robin are innovative, but my first choice for an excellent, worthwhile film is First Man. Everything about the movie is stellar. To begin with, First Man is based on a biography by James. R. Hansen and runs very close to the true story of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. Academy Award Winner, Damien Chazelle, directs the movie, and film legend, Steven Spielberg, is the executive producer. Ryan Gosling does a great job of portraying the quiet, humble but determined Neil Armstrong who was absolutely driven to give everything he had for space exploration. Claire Foy (Emmy for her fantastic work in The Crown) also does a really credible job of making the viewer feel the gut-wrenching pain of a wife trying to stand by her husband and provide for her children while living with perpetual anxiety over the probability of her husband getting killed at any time. (Roger Chaffee, from Grand Rapids, was one of the many who did tragically die.) First Man tells the dramatic story of the years of training leading up to their historic trip to the moon, when Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins blasted off in the Apollo 11 spacecraft (which was launched by Saturn V) and landed safely on the moon on July 20, 1969. Alan and I both remember the feelings of terrified awe as we watched everything live on T.V. The next day, July 21, 1969—which will be 50 years ago this summer—Neil became the first man to walk on the moon, pronouncing to the world: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”I totally believed what I was seeing on T.V., although I’ve since heard many rumors questioning the veracity of the events. One of the most convincing arguments to me was hearing that the flag was blowing in the “breeze” (which couldn’t happen since there’s no real atmosphere on the moon). However, I also heard the explanation that they inserted a rod along the top of the flag to hold it out, and it moved some simply from the impact of its being planted and arranged. To me, the arguments for real landings are more compelling than arguments of the “conspiracy theorists,” who say it was all made up. For one thing, some 400,000 people over the past 50 years would have to have continued supporting the deception, and I can’t help but think that somewhere along the line, somebody would have exposed “the lie.” Nevertheless, I could be wrong, although whether it actually happened or was all a hoax doesn’t impact my day-to-day life too much. On the other hand, there is another event from history that many people also dismiss as a hoax: the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose again, opening the way for each of us be reconciled to God through faith in Christ, and to be resurrected to eternal life after we die. Although I don’t spend much time worrying about what my distant cousin (?) did fifty years ago, I have staked my life on believing in Jesus, and that effects what I think and do every day or my life! Without Christ, I would be “of all men most miserable,” as Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 15:19, but with him, I am full of hope and joy! I never feel alone or abandoned, and I am 100% convinced that Christ can truly lead me safely home—not to earth—but to our Father, who is in heaven!
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).