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August 20, 2016 by William H. Scarle, Jr. 813-835-0129

There are some movie moments that stick in the mind.  For me the last scenes of “INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE” are one of them.  Perhaps it is because they were shot at Petra in Jordan where I have visited several times and walked the narrow passage into the hidden city as well as ridden into it on horseback.  However, the dialogue that intrigues me is that between the aged knight guarding the Holy Grail and the protagonists in the story.

The search for the Grail has succeeded.  Indiana and the villain of the story stand before a table covered with goblets of every size and shape, and every sort of value.  There are gold and silver ones; gem encrusted ones; as well as simple clay vessels.  The advice of the ancient guardian of the Grail is to choose wisely.

The bad guy jumps in and chooses first.  He picks the most prominent, the most valuable, the most obvious vessel.  After all – it held the blood of the redeemer of the world.  As he drinks of the goblet he shrivels up and turns to dust.  He chose poorly.

Indiana reasons that Jesus was an ordinary Israeli Jew and would have had no elaborate table ware.  He chooses a plain clay vessel and uses its contents not to enrich himself, but to save the life of his mortally wounded father.

Of course the Grail stories are part of the Christian fiction that arose from the excitement of the Crusades and the deliverance of the Holy Land, at least for a short time, from the conquest of the armies of Islam.  But the screen writer has a point to make in a very entertaining story.  Our choices matter and we really will not profit by “choosing poorly.”

We have a presidential election coming up this fall.  The ballot will have more than two names to choose from.  There is no Holy Grail in the mix, but the choosing of political leadership is not an unholy thing.  In his instructions to young Timothy the Apostle Paul says, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we might live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good and pleases God our Savior (I Tim. 2:1 – 3).”

The election is more than two months away.  There is time to do some research into the candidates beyond what we are bombarded with in the news and political commercials.  It may not be the most important decision in one’s life, but it is worth considering deeply.  The hoopla that surrounds political campaigns is mostly emotional and not conducive to real wisdom.

We live in a world of fads and commercial and ideological manipulation.  To choose wisely takes some effort.  It cannot be the product of shallow thinking and popular pressure.  The whole concept of “political correctness” is corrupt.  Correctness is not arrived at by the pressure of the body politic, large or small.  It is arrived at by a serious assessment of what is true.

Getting back to Indiana Jones, I think I remember the scenes at Petra because, at least within the boundaries of the story, the decision was dearly serious.  Some decisions are more important than others, but we should always make the effort to “Choose wisely.”

James, the brother of Jesus, tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask of God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him (1:5).”  This would be a good start to choosing wisely.

(Bill Scarle can be contacted at  END-whs