Written and directed by Rik Swartzwelder
A reformed frat boy opens an antique store in a college town, and falls for the free-spirited girl who moves into the apartment above his shop. In time, this unlikely pair fall into a traditional courtship.
Old Fashioned is filled with a lot of things to unpack. Let’s take Clay’s theory on dating - which is basically the practical application to the purity that God wants us to enter into marriage with. I have done a review on Pamela’s Prayer, a film which is about purity before marriage. However, Clay is not as young as Pamela and he had been deep in sexual sin for years, before his encounter with Jesus. So two very different angles, but their focus is the same, striving to live the Word of God, by His grace, through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, most people in this world can relate to Clay more than Pamela or the man she married. Fortunately, we see a film depict the power of the grace of God, what it truly means and how we are susceptible to twisting the intention of God’s grace for us.
Clay applies some practical ways to avoid his past sin, however, we see how his remaining guilt and shame have been entwined in his intentions, threatening to hold him in lifelong bondage. The film shows how Clay claimed he was free and comfortable with his decisions, but with guilt and shame still very much present, we see his struggle to adhere to the values he knows to be good and true.
I really like how we see a male figure wanting more than the superficial dating this world tells us is the norm. When Clay is told that dating is fun, he says it is not enough. The new girl in town, Amber, didn’t understand what Clay was talking about when he tried to explain that dating doesn’t train us to be good husbands and wives - it just trains us to be good at dating. Clay called the dating experience the icing with no cake. I like Clay’s expression, however, I think what the world sees as icing, is what Satan has defined icing to be - sex before marriage, living together before marriage having children before marriage, etc. is sin - plain and simple. Why is it sin? Because God says it is. The icing is entering a marriage, with purity, ready to embrace the process of creating the exquisite level of intimacy God meant a covenant marriage to have.
The film is very good at dismantling the excuses the world uses for giving in to sin
Sex takes practice, therefore we need to do it before we get marriage.
My reflection: Did Adam and Eve, Joseph and Mary, Isaac and Rebekah practice sex before marriage? No.
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into woman, and he brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called woman, because she is taken out of man. 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked; and there, the camels were coming. 64 Then Rebekah lifted her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from her camel; 65 for she had said to the servant, “Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took a veil and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her to his mother Sarah’s tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought abut these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name, Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us”. 24 Then Joseph aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her first born Son. And he called His name Jesus.
And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. 18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter. 19 And Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days for him because of the love he had for her. 21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her.”
Kissing does not lead to lust or sex - it’s just kissing.
Kissing is part of physical intimacy. It’s how God designed it and therefore meant for inside marriage. Kissing leads to a deeper longing for more intimacy. The Lord warns us to flee from temptation:
2 Timothy 2:22 - Flee also from youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
It’s not normal not to kiss before you get married
Who is defining normal here? Run away from what the world defines as normal, because it’s usually the opposite of what God says to do. Isaiah 5:20 - Woe to those who call evil good and good evil: Who put darkness for light and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Just listen to your heart
Jeremiah 17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Waiting to have sex after marriage is old fashioned - so outdated!
Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day and for ever. Matthew 4:4 - It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Matthew 14:7 Jesus said: If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.
Amber, Clay’s acquaintance, wondered how people were able to find the right partner if they didn’t date. This makes me think of the many examples in the Bible who did it God’s way. No dating. A waiting perhaps, but not dating as the world has defined it. I am reminded yet again of the account of how Isaac and Rebekah met. Abraham’s servant was given the task of finding a wife for Isaac, Abraham’s son, which he did under prayer. We covered some of the account earlier, but what I didn’t read is that Rebekah had never meet or seen Isaac before agreeing to be his wife. It was all done under prayer and the grace of God. And Jacob worked for seven years for Rachel before he could have her as his bride and consummate their marriage, by the grace of God.
Clay said, “We have thrown away the boundaries that were put in place to protect us. Now we use and hurt one another - it doesn’t have to be that way.” People think the 10 commandments are old fashioned and that the Word of God is out of date. But the Word of God has been put on this earth to protect us, to keep us from hurting one another. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Revelation 11:19: And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of the testament. So the ten commandments are eternal. God’s Word is eternal.
Old fashioned not only shows the difficult dynamics between a man and a woman, wanting to know each other better, but being on different pages, spiritually, but it also shows the dynamic between friends who believe and don’t believe in God. We see one so called friend, a non-believer, who thrived on sexual sin, saying that he couldn’t wait to see Clay fail in his desire to follow the Word of God. Not only did he want Clay to fail in his walk with the Lord, but he wanted to be there to see it. Have you heard the expression, “With friends like that, who needs enemies?” That verse from Isaiah 5:20, comes to mind again: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil: Who put darkness for light and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
We see scenes that show what every Christian faces, standing up against sin, even before so called friends and being labelled as self righteous, judgmental or plain old boring. What I liked about this film is that it showed the emotional aspect of dealing with everyday challenges as a Christian, in a realistic sense. We see Clay struggle with his understanding of why others don’t see the good of Jesus Christ, or why others have such a hard time understanding the path he wants to be on. We see him also struggle with his own desires and resistance to sin and we see the grace of God help him out of situations of severe temptation.
It made me think how we have so many perverse traditions in this world, that people do, just because it’s been done for a long time. Like batchelor parties that involve strippers. The film depicts the error in following a man-made tradition like this, that is way out of line, and yet people who do it don’t see it as adultery. But Jesus says in Matthew 5:28 - But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Clay’s desire to walk away from the habits of a sinful world, to follow Jesus, was seen as bizarre and foolish by some of his non believing friends. One friend pretty much called Clay a joke - the same friend who showed signs of immense insecurity and self loathing shrouded in deceit by the way of comedy, degrading women on his radio show and promiscuous behaviour.
Old fashioned shows us a Christian meeting the world head to head, with their guilt and shame from past sins still weighing them down. It shows what a Christian is, an imperfect person, following Jesus Christ, the perfect example of His father, God. The world wants to label Christians as thinking they are perfect. But Bible reading Christians know that we will never be perfect this side of heaven. However, by God’s grace, we can follow Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit of God to transform us so that we are better than we were yesterday. Scripture verses such as,” Old things have passed away. All things have become new.” where mentioned several times. This is from 2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And the film was good at showing that Clay wanted to show that he was anew - not calling himself a Christian, but doing the same sinful things he did before. Again, we are shown Clay’s struggle of trying to do the right thing, in the face of sin. Being severely tempted, but God has promised to always provide a way of escape when temptation is near. 2 Peter 2:9 says, then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgement.
Old Fashioned shows how the world teaches people to accept lies, because it makes them feel good. Tell me what I want to hear, it doesn’t have to be the truth. Just appeal to my pain, my ego - whatever the case may be. Old Fashioned depicts the reality of trying to shield the physical and emotional pain of sin with more sin. Clay said, it doesn’t have to be that way, which is in line with scripture as the Lord said, Hebrews 13:5 -6 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because the God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we can say with confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
Clay and his aunt said a verse from Psalms 118:24 with confidence, “This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” This was said several times during the show film as a reminder to keep the word of God in our hearts to inspire, guide and comfort us on this difficult journey.
Old Fashioned gives glory to God by showing how the life of a Christian will have all kinds of struggles - after all, we live in a sinful world and are in a spiritual war (Ephesians 6:12). It depicts that the Word of God, the Bible - our authority, is essential to read, with an open heart, as it shows us what sin is and encourages us to stay close to our Heavenly Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ, in order to avoid giving in to temptation and losing hope.
The film depicts very well how doing good works does not save us, however, faith without works is dead, as Romans 2:26 says - For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
The film says a lot more too, but I will leave that for you to experience.
Did the film encourage my faith?
Yes, it’s full of the dynamics and hardships of being a Christian, in every day life. There are stories of persecution and extreme hardships in this life, but this film also reminds us that everything is relative and hardships can also be defined in everyday struggles that appear less intense, compared to other situations, but are nevertheless no less of a struggle to those going through the challenging moments.
Old Fashioned advocates how the Word of God shows us sin and those who read it, with an open heart, feel accountable for their words and actions.
It shows how the world encourages people to be great in the sense of money, fame, performance, popularity, beauty - superficial things that don’t last. However, God has predestined us for greatness according to His perfect Kingdom, thanks to the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ - the Saviour of the world.
Ephesians 1:3-14 says
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Thank you for reading this review, until next time - peace be with you.
Film Source: The Deep Sea Digital Channel - YouTube
Film thumbnail: www.wikipedia.org