WAR ROOM, the movie – a review ~ What is a prayer warrior anyway?

War Room

 

First, I need to say the movie is an accurate portrayal of committed, sold out evangelical Christian life. So, for believers who have simply been waiting for that, go see the movie. For nonbelievers who don’t have a clue and would like to know what that is, go see the movie.

I’ve read and/or skimmed some of the professional reviews, the respectful ones and the snide, and I’m thrilled this wonderful, powerful, and joyous movie is now number one in the box office. Many of these reviewers must now be scratching their heads. As to a rating, this movie is for every audience, ages 13 1/2 to 113 1/2. I give it Five Stars.

The movie opens with Miss Clara narrating. She is the age old believing matriarch and she’s counseling, “We fight for power. We fight for riches. We fight for rights. We fight for freedom. There always seems to be something to fight about. Very few of us know how to fight the right way.” She’s talking about fighting the real enemy, the spiritual  enemy, the one who comes to kill, steal, and destroy…Satan. Karen Abercrombie, who by-the-way is at least two decades younger than the Miss Clara character she plays, is marvelous.

Elizabeth Jordan, played by African American author and speaker Priscilla Shirer, is an attractive  upper-middle class wife, mom, real estate agent married to a power-house, often cold traveling pharmaceutical sales rep. She’s exasperated and exhausted by constantly quarreling with her husband Tony, played with a vengeance by T. C. Stallings. Elizabeth is upset overhearing her pre-teen  daughter (Alena Pitts) tell her DoubleDutch girlfriend she wished she lived at her house. So, Elizabeth’s not quite, but almost ripe for the pickin’ when she arrives at Miss Clara’s door to help the older woman sell her home.  You see, prayer warrior Miss Clara had been praying for someone she could share with what she’s learned about the strategy of prayer. And the way Miss Clara does it, it is indeed strategy. It’s war. Hence the movie’s title, WAR ROOM.

One of the professional reviewers called Elizabeth practically falling into Miss Clara’s lap contrivance, or the miraculous. The second of those is closer to the truth. Actually, believers know it’s quite normal and usual for this type of prayer to be answered in just this way.This reviewer also wrote, “All the major characters in “War Room” are black, which may be another reason why some underestimated the movie’s ability to draw flocks to megaplexes.” I had to laugh at that one. The true Christian church is much more color blind than they know. Another reviewer wrote, “The movie equivalent of repeatedly being punched by a Bible, War Room is so brazen with its Evangelical agenda and curbed by its lackluster cinematic approach that nonbelievers will find it laughable.” It’s a given, both of these men have never been to a senior citizen church lady’s home for coffee.

This movie doesn’t utilize contrivance as a vehicle. Those who think that misunderstand the power of prayer. The movie tells a compelling story, but it’s also a study in how to pray…or one method of prayer. What director Alex and producer Stephen Kendricks have given us is an authentic portrayal of the impact a prayer warrior can have on another individual in desperate need. Do prayer warriors always have this type of success? No. Is it atypical? Also, no. It’s not unusual for this type of blessing to emanate from sold-out prayer.

The “war room” is an actual place in Miss Clara’s house. It’s her favorite room…well, actually a large closet with a chair, a Bible, and sheets of paper with prayers written on them tacked to the walls. Miss Clara waits until just the right time to show Elizabeth her war room. Eventually, Elizabeth clears out her closet and adopts this method of prayer for herself. It’s a viable method of prayer, and certainly not one created by this movie making brother team. This method of strategic prayer is used by many real life prayer warriors. Do all Christians spend an hour or more praying? No, but prayer warriors do, and most churches have a few of those. This is a movie about a prayer warrior mentoring another fledgling prayer warrior.

I went to see the movie with Christian writer Jenna Victoria who had already seen it once, wanted to go again, and contacted me. About halfway through, she pulled out a package of tissues took one for herself and passed me one. I had been wiping tears from the corners of my eyes, and so had she.

 

 

Interview with Jay Mims on Christian Authors Writing in the General Market

The Gray Ghost InnI’ve been seeing a lot of discussion about Christian authors hoping to cross over into the general market…and also about Christians who are writing exclusively in the general market. So, naturally, I’m thrilled to have Jay Mims here today, as he’s a Christian who has been writing in the general market arena for quite a while. He’s the author of the cozy mystery, THE GRAY GHOST INN, which has been said to be shades of Agatha Christie without the solemnity. It also appears that Jay is a Dr. Who nut.

Nike: I understand that THE GRAY GHOST INN is not Christian fiction, yet you bring your Christian values to the story. Would it be fair to say there’s an underlying Christian sensibility at work?

Jay: I think it’s hard for me to write anything without my own personal values and sensibilities influencing the work. I’m blessed to have a wide variety of readership, including both my Mama and Grandma, and I’ve always had to pause and go “Are they going to enjoy reading this?” I think it’s this sensibility that has allowed me to develop my own personal writing style. It’s best described as family friendly, with sprinklings of snark and sarcasm, while at the same time tackling often very adult issues such as love, marriage and relationships.

 

Nike: I tend to use a lot of humor in my own writing and most often my quirky characters are Christians. My understanding is this THE GRAY GHOST INN gets a bit zany and is quite funny. Tell us about that. Would I be correct in thinking your characters do not necessarily have a religious or faith persuasion?

Jay: I would definitely warn readers, this is not a religious or “Christian fiction” book. And I should say, when I think “Christian fiction”, I think of the Amish Romance books written by Beverly Lewis. Which, I have a friend who LOVES those books, and I would also like to point out, she enjoys my books.  So, if you enjoy the work of Beverly Lewis, you MIGHT enjoy my books. My characters are human, flawed, and quite flirty. Dan Landis, the lead and a lovable P.I. tends to run off at the mouth and oozes personal charm. He also has a very cynical worldview, which I’m happy to report, changes over time thanks to the more positive influence of his partner Abbey. I think that would be the biggest appeal, and the closest connection for Christian readers, the developing relationship between Dan and Abbey. Abbey is actually a deeply spiritual character, and is also, in my opinion, the heart of the books. Abbey’s a PK, highly intelligent, and often a klutz. She doesn’t have Dan’s pop culture knowledge, but she also provides a very bright light into his life.

 

Nike: I’d like to know a bit about the relationship your PI Dan Landis has with his new partner? It seems she has a tendency to get him into trouble.

Jay: That’s a great question! Dan and Abbey have a fantastic relationship, and both play well off each other in terms of getting into trouble. I always consider Dan to be a trouble-magnet: In Five Santas, Dan keeps stumbling across bodies dressed in Santa Claus outfits, in Cult of Koo Kway he finds a body in his kitchen, and in Gray Ghost Inn Dan goes on vacation and behold, there’s a body in the library! At the same time, Abbey is just as much a trouble-magnet. But, most of her trouble comes from her tendency to take people at face value, her earnest and loving nature, and a general air of kindness. For me, that’s Abbey’s most important value as a character, because she brings the light of hope to Dan’s life. It’s always been my philosophy that, even in a murder mystery, readers still want hope.

 
Nike: The norm as far as romance, sensuality and language is very different in the general market. How do you handle that in your cozy novel?

Jay: My books do tend to have elements of love and romance in them, in as much as all life has subtext of love, romance and complex relationships. I have strived to make the friendship and relationship between Dan and Abbey to grow organically, to develop slowly, and to build things between them over several books instead of smashing them together. It’s important for readers to understand: These books are very G/PG. Murders take place exclusively off-screen, there is no nudity or sex, and almost no language. I won’t say there is never any profanity ever, because one of the most memorable conversations with my Mama happened as a result of The Five Santas. She called me up and said “I like the book, but I don’t appreciate you using foul language.” I paused and went “What language?” She replied, “You used the word bast***.” So, if you are offended by that word, you might not enjoy my books. Now, let me make something clear when it comes to sensuality. Dan is a very flirty individual, and that shows in his interactions with multiple characters. There is a very electric undercurrent of sensuality running between Dan and his friends, however, it doesn’t extend beyond the barest of innuendo. So, if you can watch a sitcom such as “Big Bang Theory” or even “Three’s Company”, then you’d definitely enjoy my books.

 

Dr. Who, Malek

Nike: Last but not least, would you call yourself a Dr. Who fanatic? And tell us about your roommate Steve, the passive-aggressive Dalek. Oh, and what’s a Dalek?

Jay: I absolutely love Doctor Who. I actually blogged (http://themimsey.blogspot.com/2014/03/trust-me-im-doctor-five-lessons-i.html) one time about how much influence that show has had on my life personally, but let me summarize for your readers: Doctor Who is a show about an alien, The Doctor, who believes that every problem has a solution and violence is never the answer. He travels through time and space in his blue phone box, The TARDIS, and always tries to help people. As Craig Ferguson (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9P4SxtphJ4) sang, it’s a show about how intellect and romance will always triumph over brute force and cynicism. He’s a force for good, and if you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend catching an episode or two. But be warned, just like potato chips, that thing is addictive. Daleks are the arch-nemesis of The Doctor. They’re a species that became so twisted and filled with hate that they wrapped themselves in a machine body and refuse to see the light of day. Their entire goal in life is to exterminate all life. EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! They also make fantastic relaxation instructors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJSQFzw1pEE
Steve, the passive-aggressive Dalek came from a running gag between myself and my friends, about the concept of “What if you had a Dalek for a roommate?” And inevitably, it had to be a passive-aggressive roommate, who would leave you notes like “YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN THE MILK! AGAIN!” or “THERE IS NO TOILET PAPER IN THIS HOUSE! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!” Again, if you have never heard them talk, you have to first listen to how a Dalek speaks for those sentences to have their desired effect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bua6g79Pf5o

Jay Mims

 

It’s obvious that Jay Mims is a very interesting fellow.

 

Purchase Links for THE GRAY GHOST INN:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1oH7jeM

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/Oscdvg

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1emdg77