Short Film Alert: The Arborlight

“Garlic, herbs and rooster’s crow,
or far away the children go.”
— The Arborlight

thearborlightBrian Sutherland and Eden Campbell in “The Arborlight.”

How far would you go to save your child?

What would you do if you could not?

Those are the questions at the heart of The Arborlight, a breathtaking fairytale faith-versus-science story. Thomas and Liz’ young daughter, Elly, is fighting terminal tuberculosis, and although the doctor that attends to her is optimistic, Thomas grows more and more certain that Elly isn’t going to make it through. One day, while gathering flowers for his daughter’s bedside, he discovers a place that looks exactly like the fairy stories she loves so much, and Thomas finds he must choose between the approach of worldly medicine and the lure of something a little more magical…

The Arborlight is filmed beautifully using RED cameras, and despite the fairytale cottage and medieval costumes, Thomas and Liz feel like modern parents in a very modern struggle. Modern medicine has come a long way from the bloodletting and surgery-superstition that Thomas and Liz took as gospel truth, but people still die all the time from maladies doctors and medicines still can’t touch, and people still look for cures beyond what modern medicine can provide — miracle potions and mail-order cures, shamans and prayer healings. In a way, it’s tragic to watch Thomas and Liz make the decisions they make, because modern viewers know that they really have no choice, that the bloodletting provided by the plague doctor is ineffective and cruel, and that both choices are going to be heart-wrenching and unfair.

It reminds me of Anna Mayer‘s beautiful video above, about a young teen suffering from a condition that she knows is going to kill her, and the wrenching feeling about how unfair that is. I thought of Emily a lot while I watched The Arborlight. Modern society judges people who, upon not finding modern medicine sufficient, turn to a place of faith and unreason, but like Thomas and Liz tell us in The Arborlight, it’s a question we’re all going to have to face. Modern medicine will eventually fail. None of us will live forever. What are you going to do on the day? What will you believe? What would you turn to? Can any of us really even know until we, like Thomas, Elly and Liz, are facing it?

Do yourself a favor and watch The Arborlight, a film by Philip and Kevin Harvey, starring Brian Sutherland, Lisa Coronado, Eden Campbell and Russell Hodgkinson:

Watch a behind-the-scenes documentary on how they filmed using the Movi:

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World Religion: Christianity


“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” — St. Augustine of Hippo

Christianity, one of the three major Abrahamic religions, developed out of Judaism in the early first century C.E., and quickly spread throughout the ancient world, becoming the official state religion of the Roman Empire in 380 C.E. Christianity developed into a major influence in the Western world, and remains so today.

“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”- Steve Maraboli

Christians follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, a preacher and prophet who lived in Roman-occupied Judea in the early first century C.E. During his life, Jesus preached God’s love for mankind, God’s love for the poor and unloved, a salvation that does not take into account race, class or station; love of the neighbor and the coming of the Kingdom of God on Earth. In his early thirties, Jesus was arrested by the Roman governor and executed outside Jerusalem through crucifixion; followers believe that this was God’s great saving act, and he rose from the dead three days later in fulfillment of the promises of ancient Jewish prophets such as Isaiah.

10325803196_1c9a4b91deOrthodox Christians with an icon.

If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Romans 10:9).

Currently, there are over 2.4 billion Christians in the world, adhering to thousands of individual sects and divisions; the three largest are the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the many Protestant branches. Beliefs regarding grace, Biblical interpretation, free will, original sin, the nature of Communion, and the sacraments differ greatly between these faiths, although all Christians basically believe that Jesus was both the prophesied Messiah and the divine Son of God, and that belief in Jesus is necessary for salvation and eternal life. Christians generally celebrate Communion, or the Eucharist, in remembrance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. While Catholics and some Orthodox divisions believe that Communion is the real presence of God, Protestants generally do not and celebrate it more as a memorial.

7641762082_becab6428aOutdoor Evangelical Christian preacher.

If we believe that Jesus died and rose again . . . so shall we ever be with the Lord (I Thessalonians 4: 14,17).

Central among Christian teaching is the Trinity; the central role of sacraments; the importance of the Eucharist; the promise of eternal life for the faithful; the baptism of adherents; love for and service to the poor; apostolic succession; and the importance of both grace and good works.

“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”– C.S. Lewis

More information on Christianity:

Christianity @ Religious Tolerance
Women in Ancient Christianity: FrontlineOfficial Site of The Vatican
The Orthodox Church in America
Patheos: What is Evangelical Christianity?

photo credit: The Cloisters – NY via photopin (license)
photo credit: 17 октября 2013, Именины митрополита Санкт-Петербургского и Ладожского Владимира via photopin (license)
photo credit: 2012 Festival of the Arts Grand Rapids Sunday June 03, 2012 6 via photopin (license)