Thoughts On The Greatest Showman

What did I get out of The Greatest Showman? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My wife and I had a Fandango gift card and so we went with another couple from our church to see this movie yesterday. There are no doubt some readers who are more familiar with the history of P.T. Barnum than I am. I cannot comment on if the history in the movie is accurate, so what I’m going to do is to just take the story as is. If we granted the story presented was accurate, what can we get from it? Also, as should be obvious, there are spoilers here. I will tell where spoilers end.

The story starts with Barnum growing up in a poor society and trying to impress a girl who has the rich snobby parents. He writes to her regularly while she’s at finishing school and then shows up at her door to marry her. Her father is sure that she’ll be back where there is money.

Barnum loves his wife, Charity, and their two little girls, but wants to be able to do more for them. He goes with the idea of starting a show where he has wax figures of dead and gruesome figures from the past, but his daughters suggest that he needs something living. Barnum starts by going to find a midget he had seen earlier in the film and from there, gets the oddest and most talented group he can, such as trapeze artists, a dog boy, a man covered in tattoos, the world’s tallest man, the world’s heaviest man, and the bearded lady.

Barnum’s show is a hit with many of the masses, but the critics of society do not like it. Also, there regularly show up people in the community who are angry about the glamorization of the freaks. Barnum’s whole point throughout is encouraging those who society has shamed to rise above. Let themselves be themselves and let people love them not because they are like everyone else, but because they are different.

Barnum gets himself a partner in Phillip Carlyle. After that, he’s invited with his troupe to go see the Queen of England. There, he runs into the star singer Jenny Lind. He offers to take her on tour in America with him, leaving his family and his entourage behind there. On the trip, Lind and he start getting close. Nothing happens until her last performance where she kisses him live on stage where the cameras see it.

Barnum returns where his troupe he gathered around him feels rejected by him and his wife is leaving him because she’s seen the pictures and says he doesn’t love her. He loves himself. There is a fight also between the protesters and Barnum’s troupe and the building where the shows are at burns down. Barnum has hit rock bottom.

It’s at this point he is reminded by that band of misfits that he found that they are why he started this and he remembers what is important. He is able to reunite to his wife and he and Carlyle agree to be partners. They don’t need a building. A tent will do. The show does indeed go on!


As my wife and I left, I told her I figured I would blog on this to which she replied there wasn’t anything religious in the film. I told her that that was quite mistaken. Everything is to some extent religious. Christianity has something to say about everything and despite what many skeptics might think, our world has been greatly shaped by Christianity. So what are some things I gleaned from this film?

We could ask what is a human first off. The characters Barnum had were all considered freaks by the protesters and shouldn’t be put on display. But why? We could all understand not wanting to put bad behavior on display, but that’s not what was going on. The people were being rejected because of who they were. They were different. They didn’t fit in.

As someone on the spectrum married to someone on the spectrum, this is something I definitely resonated with. Yet here, Christianity has something else to see. All human beings are valuable because they are in the image of God even if they’re a dog boy or a bearded lady. Everyone is someone who bears the image of God and was made to be loved by Him and by us.

Second, what does it mean to be successful? Barnum wanted more and more, and to an extent that’s understandable, but at times, he lost sight of his family. It as if he got so caught up in providing for his kids that he forgot about his kids. He wanted to provide what would make his wife happy forgetting that she loved him when he had nothing and he is what made her happy. There are many people that can be successes in ministry, but sadly their families are left damaged due to them neglecting their family. Ministry to God does not mean that you neglect your ministry to your family.

Third, we could then ask what is a family and what is friendship. Many of us know about friends that we have that we would consider them family. When I lived with a roommate for awhile, we went to a bookstore and I knew he wanted the apologetics study Bible. I went up to the counter asking if they had it in thinking I would surprise him if I found it for him and got told, “Oh. Your brother was up here already asking for it.”

Biological brother? Not at all, but there is a way that a friend can be closer than a brother. Many have also had families that were less than stellar and they turn to friends to be a surrogate family of sorts. Barnum’s friends managed to come together to form a unity based on their being the rejected misfits of the world. The acceptance they missed with others they found with each other.

This isn’t to say that a family is just any relationship you want. Still, we can have such great friendships that friends will seem like family. If you have a bad family, you can find comfort and support in the good people that you do allow in your life.

Also, I think this movie would not be possible without a Christian worldview that says that each person matters and that something should not be despised for being different. Chesterton said the same about Christianity making childhood something special and so we have Peter Pan. If Christianity is true, everyone has something they can give to the Kingdom.

If you’re wanting to know about how the acting was and such in this, I’m not the one to comment on that. It is a musical and I think the music is great. My wife and I are planning on getting the soundtrack soon. Definitely, this is a film I am glad I went to see and is quite memorable.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Family First

If you want to be an apologist, what is an important step to take? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night, a friend messaged me wanting advice. They were getting set to start an apologetics ministry and they wanted to know how to get their work out there. Now if you didn’t have the title to give it away, some would think the first piece of advice would involve studying hard or speaking to scholars or speaking at local churches or something like that.

Nope. The first piece of advice I have is to put your family first. As a married man, I cannot stress this enough. If you are not a married man (or woman) yet then treat your work in such a way that it is not the driving obsessive force in your life. If someone comes along, you will not be married to your work. You will be prepared to be married to them.

You see, I love what I do in apologetics, but it is not meant to replace my marriage at all. If something happened to me, God forbid, then someone else if need be could take over Deeper Waters. Someone else could write a fill-in blog for me. Someone else could do the podcast. Now you could say that if I died, Allie would be free to remarry. That’s true. Yet while we’re alive, I could ask someone to guest host or guest blog on my show. I cannot ask someone to guest husband for Allie. Only one person can do that, and that’s me.

One statement I’ve made to men that I talk to about is this. I don’t care if you write the best books on apologetics out there. I don’t care if you’re the most capable debater and all opponents are scared of you. I don’t care if you have the most successful ministry answering questions the world over. If you do all of that and yet you are not a husband to your wife or a father to your children (Use the appropriate terminology for female apologists) then I count you as a failure in ministry.

When you make a covenant with your wife, it is to her. It is not to your job. Barring some emergency (Like someone contemplating suicide and I’m having to talk to them), if Allie really needs me and someone else does, someone else is going to have to wait. Allie comes first. There come times in the relationship where it’s important to put the book down and not worry about your work. Just be with your spouse.

By the way guys, I also give this tip for the honeymoon and I did it as well. Once you marry, take that honeymoon period off from everything. When we went on our honeymoon, I only brought one book with me, the Bible. You and your wife need to read that together on your honeymoon. Other than that, when I checked my phone, it was not to check email or Facebook. It was to check directions and things like that. I did not answer emails for a week. I did not interact on Facebook for a week. I was not doing any debating for a week. I even asked her parents and mine to not contact us unless it was an emergency. Let us be, and they honored that.

“But I want to put up wedding pictures!” There’s plenty of time for that. “But I want everyone to know how our honeymoon is!” There’s plenty of time for that later. For the time being, let that time be you and your spouse alone and no one else. There were several people who could handle the world of apologetics and ministry while we were away. Now naturally, if I came across someone who really really needed help on our honeymoon, I would do it. Allie would expect nothing less. The thing is you’re not seeking out the opportunities to do that. If God sends someone your way, you take care of it. If not, that’s fine. Loving your spouse is a service to God in itself. Only you can be a husband to your wife or a wife to your husband.

By all means in apologetics, study hard. Speak to the scholars. Get your work out there. Speak at those local churches and such. In human terms though, let your first commitment be to your family. Let no one else fill those shoes for you while you’re still breathing.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Happy Birthday to my Mother

How do you honor the woman who brought you into the world? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday was my mother’s birthday. Now I don’t blog on the weekend and she wanted a letter from me and I told her I’d write a blog in honor of her and she was fine with that and that I’d do it today. She also hopes that it will be better than what I put on Facebook. You see, on Facebook, I told everyone in advance on Saturday that I was wishing her a happy birthday and that this year, I was going to continue being a good son and not tell everyone how old she is, but to be fair, I would give a hint. I just told everyone that if you remove one of the numbers from the traditional number of the mark of the beast, you’ll get my mother’s age. See? I was a good son, but she doesn’t need to worry. I’m not going to do anything like repeat that on my blog today.

So in continuing down the path of being a good son, I thought I’d talk some about my mother first off. My mother for years was the most important woman in my life. My parents together raised me in a Christian home and my mother was a constant advocate whenever people would try to tell me I couldn’t do things. There were times she was a bit over-protective in this, but it is understandable. After all, her son has Aspergers and I don’t always catch on to things as well so she wanted to make sure nothing would happen to me. Over time, I have learned much on standing up for myself and I can easily say today that now the tables are turned in some ways and if someone goes after my mother, I go after them.

At the same time, she’s been a fun one for me to pull a prank on. When April Fool’s Day comes around, I generally always try to pull some prank on my mother from saying that my apartment complex was evicting me to being thrown in jail for a violation at a traffic stop. Yeah. She’s fallen for it every year. She will even get up on April Fool’s Day and say that this year she is not going to fall for anything and lo and behold, she does. My sister has talked to her and said “Mother. He does this to you every year. When are you going to learn?”

We also have some fun memories as I tried to always treat my mother well. Sometimes it was in the form of a gift, such as the year I got her a makeover for her birthday or the year I had a painting made of her cat. Then there were times we’d go out on mother-son events together. Generally, I’d take her to a movie with me. Movies I remember seeing with her were A Walk To Remember, Bruce Almighty, and Garfield. In the last two, we were laughing harder than anyone else in the theater and yes, that includes the Garfield movie. We put the kids to shame with how much we were laughing.

When I was working and living at home, from time to time I would stop and get a flower for my mother when I had to stop and get gas. She always said that whenever I got married, I would spoil my wife rotten. It looks like she was right. Now that I am married, it is an interesting dynamic as Allie has become the most important person in my life. Still, I value my relationship with my mother and I especially like it when I see my wife and my mother getting along well.

With our marriage debates going on in this country, usually it’s fathers that are getting the shaft as being unimportant, but mothers certainly are important. Mothers provide the nurturing soft side usually. My mother was always a source of comfort for me when I was in any pain whatsoever and she was really good at listening. My mother probably still has this trait due to not being caught up in the technological crazes today. There was even a time recently when she was buying a new cell phone and the sales rep said “Ma’am. If you buy this phone, you won’t be able to check your email.” She just replied “I don’t have email.”

Mothers are an important part of a young man’s life. A mother is someone who shows a young boy just what kind of way a woman is to be. If the man plans to marry someday, he will see his main example of what a woman is to be in his mother usually. It’s often been said that a man will in fact marry someone who is like his mother. For a young woman, if she wants to know the kind of man that she is marrying, a good indicator is how he treats his mother. (Yes. Allie knew pretty early on she was getting a highly sarcastic man.)

Some of you might wonder some about birthdays, especially if you’ve encountered Jehovah’s Witnesses. Isn’t it true that whenever a birthday took place in the Bible something tragic happened? Well not necessarily. Some people think when Job offered a sacrifice for his children on their day, it meant their birthdays. Most people also couldn’t observer birthdays because it required really good astronomy. You had to know when exactly a full year had passed so we hear little about it. So why should we celebrate birthdays?

We celebrate them because we believe life is a gift and it is a gift from God. It is something He gave us so that we could receive the joy that He intended for us to have. A birthday is a time to look back and consider all that we have learned and done in the past year and look forward to a new year. Every year we are really given is a gift because God does not owe us anything whatsoever and yet He promises us everything.

My mother is also my gift. Our relationship has changed since I’ve been married to Allie, but I can easily say I’m still in my mother’s corner and if someone went after her, I would be going after them. I’m thankful my mother and my father both raised me in a good Christian home and helped shape me to be the man that I am today. While I love both of my parents, today I am honoring my mother and celebrating her on my blog. Love to you mother. Happy Birthday!

And aren’t you glad I didn’t tell everyone how old you are this year?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/13/2014

What’s coming up on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I’m afraid some of you are going to be disappointed. My guest Trevor Ray Slone had to cancel his appearance earlier this week due to some reasons of his own, and so I decided to book….

No one.

Because as it happens, I have my own situation going on and my wife really needs me for something at the moment and I figured it would be good for us to just spend as much of Saturday together as we could. Now I do plan on having the show again on the next Saturday, but for this Saturday, I ask the fans of the podcast to understand that sometimes, things like this happen and please pass it on to anyone you know who is curious about where a new episode is.

You see, while I think my show is an excellent show, I know it’s not the only one of its kind. There are plenty of great sources out there to get apologetics and there are several other excellent podcasters out there who are doing their part to bring apologetics information. I hope I fill a unique niche with my lengthy interviews with scholars on various fields, but I also know that there are others that you can listen to and in fact, I would encourage you to listen to not just me.

So yes, there are plenty of people who can supply you with apologetics information. If something ever happened to me, apologetics would still go on strong. I’m not essential. There are plenty of other people out there who can debate unbelievers and answer questions. I’m glad I get to do what I do and I love it, but I know there are others who can do it. Also, no. I am in no way quitting. I’m just focusing on the family this weekend and next week, everything should be normal again.

Despite that, if you’re in ministry, I really want you to hear this message. I don’t just mean if you’re in apologetics ministry. I mean if you’re in any ministry capacity and if you’re a woman, just switch the language around as need be.

Many people can do what you do, but only one person can be a husband to your wife. If you have children, many people can do what you do, but only one person can be a father to your children.

I have also said that if you become an apologist who can answer every question and can leave every atheist scared to face you in the debate arena, but you have not been a husband to your wife or a father to your children, then as far as I’m concerned, you’re a failure in ministry.

If you are a husband, your task is to love your wife as Christ loved the church and present her faultless before the throne. That’s a big responsibility. Sometimes, if we’re in ministry we can be thinking “What I’m doing is for God so I get an exception.” No. There are no exceptions to this rule. You have a divine responsibility and before the throne of God saying “I was serving you” won’t make a valid excuse. Obedience in one area does not equal disobedience in another, and too many people in ministry have found themselves married to their ministry instead of their spouses.

So this Saturday, I’m taking that necessary break. In fact, if you haven’t seen me on Facebook often, there’s a reason for that. I haven’t been answering questions or anything like that. That will have to wait until next week. I really hope everyone understands, but if you don’t, well that’s just too bad.

I do hope you’ll be here next Saturday for the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast and please go to ITunes as well and write a favorable review. I love to see them!

In Christ,

Nick Peters