It’s Cool to be Round!

Still to this day, one of my favorite movies is the Lion King. Not only do I love the actors, the animation, and the music, but I also love the storyline of the movie. I think that is why it is truly one of my favorites, now as an adult and also when I was younger.

Character development is the thing I enjoy the most about movies and television shows. If you know me, this probably comes to no surprise knowing my current infatuation with criminal profiling, body language analysis, and my overall obsession with “people watching.” Every movie I watch, I expect a good amount of character development to go along with the plot development. Every great story ever told has a good amount of character development.

This is where current problems arise for me.

A lot of recent children’s movies have flip-flipped the role of character development in their movies.

Time for an explanation:

There are two types of characters in every story – flat characters and round characters. The flat characters are usually two-dimensional in nature and highly predictable. Their role and intent don’t change throughout the story. Round Characters, however, are dynamic in nature. They are multi-dimensional, and they are only as predictable as the plot will give lenience for them to be.

In many movies and popular stories, usually the protagonist (good guy) is the round character, whereas the antagonist (bad guy) is the flat character. In the Lion King you can clearly watch as Simba transforms from boyhood to manhood. Of course the transformation was a reminder of something he already knew – that he was the true King of Pride Rock. However, to get there he had hurdles and building experiences where he changed for the better of himself, and in the end, the better of everyone at Pride Rock.

Recently, I’ve come to notice that this seems to be opposite in children’s movies. The main character seems to be the one that is flat. They want or don’t want to be something or someone, and the antagonist doesn’t see that as acceptable. So the main character will go through the movie/story still hoping and striving for this, while simultaneously the antagonist will change and start seeing where the protagonist is coming from. The two most recent children’s movies I have seen have had this: Brave and Hotel Transylvania.

While this does teach perseverance and holding on to what one might think is true, it is very optimistic in nature. This tells children that they don’t need to grow, that parents are always wrong, and that if they hold to what they “ignorantly” believe to be true, that in turn, the world will change for them.

That simply is not how the real world works or should work.

Life is a series of trials and errors. People learn from their mistakes. And people definitely don’t change because of someone else… They can only change on their own accord. And while mankind should be sure to hold close to their convictions and truths, they also need to make sure that what they are holding onto is the truth and not some paper tiger of truth.

I guess the point I am trying to get to is this: our life’s journey is about how we have changed for the better.

It is from this change that we have potential to change the world. We cannot keep expecting the world to change around us if we aren’t trying to bring the change, and if we weren’t first changed from darkness to light ourselves.

If you are flat, it means you are done growing, done learning. There isn’t one person on this planet who has reached the end of this. Being round means that you are growing, learning, and still experiencing more than what you’ve experienced the day before. Humble yourself, let God continue to change you, and you’ll discover yourself becoming the character in your story you were meant to be.


Integrity Intact

From the balcony, it was as though the whole kingdom could be seen. The scenery was not only a proclamation of what God had done for the people, but it also laid testament to the character of the man.

Every sermon I’ve ever heard on David has taught me that he was a “man of integrity” – “a man after God’s own heart.” But this day, peering out with parched lips and pinched brows, David’s countenance resembled a madman. Through his adulterous acts, treacherous lies, and the inevitable taking of another’s life, David’s own life speaks truth to what it ACTUALLY means…

To be a man of integrity.

Every now and then you’ll hear a preacher give a message on the topic of integrity. Since we are men and women called to have integrity, this should come by no surprise. Oftentimes, you hear the preacher say that the word stems from “integer” – that having integrity ultimately means to “be whole.” And racing from the pace of general to specific, the preacher proceeds and concedes to shed more light on what he thinks “integrity” is.

At this moment I start wondering in my head what integrity really is. The preacher goes on to describe integrity synonymously with what I would call: sinlessness, divinity, Christ-likeness. By the preacher’s appeal, we are reaching for something that we say can be attained in this lifetime, but by definition can’t. So either we have a wrong idea about our human nature and sin, or we have a wrong idea about integrity. So here is my thought:

Maybe integrity is less about “if” you sin and more about “when” you sin.

I know a lot of people who I would say are persons of integrity. What makes them a person of integrity; what makes them so great, isn’t the fact that they’re perfect. What makes them a person of integrity is the way in which they react when they fail, when they fall, when they sin.

King David, after accomplishing his task and fulfilling his cover-up, was approached by the prophet Nathan. When the prophet brought to light that which David had dug so deep… the true integrity of the king is seen. David fasted and prayed and repented for what he did. You see the seriousness in which David attacked his sin. Where most kings could’ve beheaded the “arrogant” prophet, David knew that the prophet was truly sent from God to bring order to his chaotic life. David was a man of integrity.

Live to be a man or woman of integrity. Strive for holiness, but when you fail, seek repentance. Learn to live a life of David – not of one who commits atrocities, but as one who changes the world with their attitude and repentance. Keep integrity intact.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me.” –Psalm 51:10