Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Naked Truth

In October of 1987 the youth ministry of Springfield Friends Meeting was just starting to take off.  We had taken our first Walt Disney World trip; TNT had begun; and we were growing spiritually and in numbers.  Hard to believe I almost killed all the momentum with a movie rental...

I scheduled our second "lock-in" around Halloween.  We played games, had devotions, and or course, spent a couple of hours playing Sardines! To wrap up the night, I rented a couple of scary movies for us to watch while people fell asleep in the wee hours.  One of the movies I chose was called Ghost Story.  I had seen the movie in theaters in the early 1980's and remembered it as suspenseful and scary without being a slasher flick.  It starred some old pro actors, including Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Fred Astaire.  I rented it, took it home, and then very late that night popped it in the VCR and sat back to watch with my youth group.

I made several mistakes that night, and I share them with you now so that if you ever find yourself picking out a movie for a youth group you will not share my fate.  First of all, ALWAYS preview a movie just before showing it.  I don't care how many times you have seen it, if you haven't seen it recently you may not remember everything.  Which brings us to the second point- do not rely on memories from your college days to be accurate!  Things that didn't phase you then might not be appropriate now.  And finally, don't try to impress the youth by finding something they will find scary for Halloween.  Stick with Ghostbusters.  Trust me.

The movie got off to a good, creepy start and the kids who were still awake were into it.  As the ghost begins to haunt the men who had killed her and hidden the body years before, someone can't take it and kills himself by jumping from a skyscraper.  Naked.  For what seemed like an hour (but was probably more like 8 seconds) the camera follows his descent to death.  Eight very long seconds of full frontal male nudity.  I was horrified.  I jumped to my feet, stopped the movie and apologized.  Fortunately, the biggest part of the crowd was asleep.  Those who were awake were laughing at me because I was in a total panic.  They were sworn to secrecy if they wanted me to keep my job.  Thanks be to God, it never became an issue, only something we could tell stories about later.

I hope someone who was there that night will let me know what they thought or remember.  I have never watched the movie again, because after having survived that night I don't really need any more scares!  Aren't we fortunate that God blesses us even when we are stupid...

Because of Jesus,

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