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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Good versus Great


I don't want readers to see this post as an endorsement of the film cited.  There are violent elements, and I do not consider it suitable for children despite the expectations that it would be. 

  Last night I went to see “Oz: the Great and Powerful” in 3D, and as proof of my inexperience I had to remove my 3D glasses half-way through because of queasiness.  I found the film engaging and artistic; it also addressed the difference between goodness and greatness.  The title character declares, while still in Kansas, that he will not be a good man because he aspires to be a great man.
   Now we run into a distinction between these two words.  For many young people, the words good and great are interchangeable: they appear in comments on their essays and tests and they are used to describe whatever is considered “pleasing.”  If these words were truly interchangeable, what Oz is saying makes no sense.  Allow me to point out the difference between good and great:
  • Good has to do with the moral quality of a person or thing.  Goodness is opposed to evil.  Think of the nickname given to Queen Elizabeth I of England: “Good Queen Bess.”  As a ruler, she put the needs of her people first and thereby set herself apart from those who reigned in England before her.
  • Great is about power, might and prestige.  Greatness is in the foreground for all to see.  There are a large number of rulers who had “the Great” added to their names, such as Herod the Great.  This individual is known as one who had grand plans and brought them about.  However, he was also ruthless and far from good in the moral sense.
   As the film continues and a cyclone takes us out of Kansas and into the Land of Oz, the contrast between good and great is also highlighted in the characters of the three sisters, Theodora, Evanora and Glinda.  When it comes to saving the people, Oz is able to take his eyes off what he wants to achieve for himself and embraces goodness and discovers that it is better by far.
   When we follow God's lead who is perfectly good and great, we will see that any area of greatness we might possess ought to be placed in the service of goodness.

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