For those of us who read the Hobbit B.C., (by which I mean Before Computers, Before Cellphones), before the digital age, back when books were books and kindle was what you did to a campfire, there is something more than mildly unsettling about seeing a 3D version (real 3D, high frame rate, no less) of this children’s story. What would Tolkien (who was anti-industrial revolution never mind anti-technology) say, especially about a slender book made into three movies, which climaxes… Read more

Here is a thoughtful presentation by Emma Watson, who has become a U.N. ambassador for a special cause. See what you think of it. My own views include the following points: 1) men and women are indeed created equal, not because they are exactly the same in nature and all functions etc. but because they are both created in the image of God. They are equally beings of sacred worth; 2) gender matters in a variety of roles we play… Read more

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Some things are best saved until later. On the basis of the fine review by my friend Philip Jenkins, I ordered the Irish film ‘Calvary’ from Amazon.UK. This review is here during Advent due to the luck of the draw. Personally, I recommend saving watching this movie until after the New Year. Maybe even wait until Lent or Easter week for full impact. The film, all 98 minutes of it, has been called a classic, and perhaps the best Irish… Read more

The French would call him Mssr. Malaprop, but Peter Lawrence Berra was not just a funny guy, and even his funny sayings, taken in context make a lot more sense than they do in isolation. Most recently you may have run across the guy for whom a famous comic book figure (Yogi Bear) was named, set up against another animated figure— the AFLAC duck (in a barber shop no less, in which he says ‘and they will give you cash,… Read more

Ridley Scott is known for films on a epic scale— think Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Prometheus, Robin Hood or if you like sci fi, Blade Runner. Exodus: Gods and Kings is of that ilk. He out Cecil B.Demille’s Cecil himself. Suddenly, the Bible has become popular fodder for films again (see the recent re-do of the Noah story) and here Scott tries his hand at such classic material. Of course the danger in doing that is: 1) its been done… Read more

The Christmas story, as we now celebrate it, is a winter’s tale. Never mind Luke’s mentioning that shepherds were out in the fields watching their flocks by night, rather than huddled in a cave, which suggests an event sometime other than winter. Never mind that people didn’t tend to ‘travel from afar’ during the winter season of the year (and yet we are told the wise men undertook such a journey). Never mind that usually the census and levying of… Read more

I intimated in my last post that one of the real problems for Protestants in celebrating Advent and Christmas is: 1) that Advent is hardly celebrated at all, with too many Protestants only having a nodding acquaintance with the whole notion of the ‘Christian year’; and 2) too much is loaded into Christmas day itself, whereas we should be celebrating a season, not just a day. Indeed, if we want to talk about days, then we should be talking about… Read more

If you are able to wade through all the nonsense of Christmas— the materialistic excess, the narcissism of giving yourself and your immediate family tons of gifts, while ignoring the needs of the homeless and the poor and the hungry at Christmas, and you burrow down to the heart or sense of Christmas, what is it really all about? Unfortunately, and to a very large degree low church Protestants have managed to miss a lot of what the Advent season… Read more

I don’t often take the time to endorse a particular translation of the Bible. There are many useful ones, and several really excellent ones in English, but in this case both the season and recent publication of the new NIV have led me to say something on behalf of this translation. This 2011 translation, based on the best of both the previous NIV and TNIV with updates gets so many things right that it really eclipses its competitors. It goes… Read more

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