• Daniel Pouesi Writer/Documentarian

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Talofa! And thank you to all who assisted with my newest film project, Lupe Faalele: Soaring Doves. After many months of burning the midnight oil, it’s done. Now comes the harder part—getting it out. For those who don’t know, Lupe Faalele is about power, sexual and money abuse in a certain Samoan mainline church. These issues are, by no means, unique (or new) to the Samoan Church. I hope my effort sheds additional light on the issues and helps those who are “sent forth as doves” to care for God’s flock. American pastor and author Dr. John MacArthur closes with these words: “You take on the responsibility of being a man of God; you take on the accountability for being a man of God. Pray for your pastors.” 

Yes, prayer is vital to the Christian life. Someone once said: when we pray, we speak to God. But when we read the Bible, God speaks to us. So, it’s not enough to say (as most of us do when bad things happen) “I’ll pray about it.” God’s answers to all of our dilemma are in His Word. We need to read and hear them.

The Greek philosopher Epictetus purportedly said: “You were born with two ears and one mouth for a reason.” Why two ears? So we would listen twice as much as we speak. But without real understanding, mere listening can be dangerous. So many voices compete for our attention. Some of them appear harmless because they come to us from the pulpit. How do we know we’re listening to the right voice? Discernment. Discernment comes from rightly dividing the Word of God. Paul wrote to his spiritual son, Timothy: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” Why the Word? Because, wrote Paul: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

In the preface to his now 2-volume commentary on the book of Romans, Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote: “I believe that the only way to understand any given passage in the Word of God is to take the whole Bible and place the point of it, like an inverted pyramid, on that passage, so that the weight of the entire Word rests upon a single verse, or, indeed, a single word.”

This is great advice from a wonderful servant of God. It’s similar to an approach I learned as an undergraduate student of cultural anthropology. Anthropologists commence the study of a culture with what they call the holistic approach. Its basic rationale is: a person cannot fully understand human beings “…without understanding the full range of the human phenomenon.” So, as a student of anthropology, one is required to study four subdisciplines: cultural, physical, linguistics and archaeological. It’s a great approach, at least for me, because when we bring a full range of things to bear on a subject, we see the subject more clearly.

No documentary can cover everything on any given subject. For that reason, I’ve included additional sources from various disciplines (e.g. anthropology, history,) alongside the documentaries for you to consider. I’ve tried to be objective in my selection. You may not agree with some (or any) of them. I ask only that you give them a fair hearing.

Thanks for visiting. God bless!

Lupe Faalele: Soaring Doves

Documentaries

The Search for Tagaloa is “…a delightful and fascinating Samoan dialectic regarding native and imported traditions of divinity.”
Martin Orans
Prof. Emeritus of Anthropology
The Search for Tagaloa is “…incredibly powerful. It explores the tensions in our search for faith. A must-see for anyone questioning the basis of faith.”
Suzanna L. Tiapula
Director, Hoomaluhia

The Community

The Samoan culture has survived for more than 3000 years. The traditions, cultural roots, and the Samoan way of life revolve around rites, rituals, and customs that, to this day, are practiced with little or no change (Shiraz Mishra and Daniel Pouesi, Traditional Art Forms). The first mass migration of Samoans to the US took place in the early 50s when the Department of the Interior took over island administration from the US Navy. One of the things Samoans do when they move abroad is to look for a Samoan church to join or start a new one; a fact which led some of their Polynesian neighbors to say: “When Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders move to the US Continent, they build businesses. Samoans build churches.”