The passing of a great actor

Peter O'Toole as T. E. Lawrence

  I simply can't let the death of Peter O'Toole pass without mention here. He starred in some of my very favorite films -- e.g., Lawrence of Arabia; Becket; The Lion in Winter; and Goodbye, Mr. Chips -- as well as the historically interesting Masada.  He was nominated eight times for an Academy Award, but lost out each time -- often, it must be admitted, to some very worthy competition -- and finally settled for a "lifetime achievement" Oscar in 20 … [Read more...]

Materials for Advent (2013) — Day 16

Christ as the Good Shepherd (1st-3rd cent. AD), from the Catacomb of St. Priscilla in Rome (Click to enlarge.  Click a second time to enlarge further.)

  But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy … [Read more...]

Apocalypse, Now?

Snow on the Dome of the Rock and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

  There are several bogus photographs of snow-covered pyramids and the like circulating (virally) on the Web.  But snow really did fall in the Middle East a couple of days ago.  This is a true rarity.  Maybe the End is near?  (Let us hope!) I include, here, some (as near as I can determine) legitimate photographs.    Venkman: Or you can accept the fact that this city is headed for a disaster of biblical prop … [Read more...]

For the moment, at least, my last entry about women wearing pants to church

What it's really all about

  I've received such remarkable responses to my two immediately previous posts on the subject (here and then here) that I thought I would return, once more, to the matter of women wearing pants in church. Here, from Clayton Christensen's The Power of Everyday Missionaries: The What and How of Sharing the Gospel (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2012), 139, is a story about the late first wife of a man who is now a very senior member of the Council of the … [Read more...]

“Obama the Oblivious”

Still looking for the photo that will serve as the model for the new addition to Mount Rushmore. This one probably isn't it.

   I liked this piece, by Charles Krauthammer: And, for some reason, it reminded me of this older piece, by a British writer:   … [Read more...]

Pants at Church?

Selma, Alabama. Not today.

  Today was the day on which women were supposed to wear pants to LDS church meetings. Unfortunately, as I feared, I completely forgot to pay any attention. I didn't hear anybody mention the issue, and my wife tells me that nobody brought it up in Relief Society, either. My comment, the other day, that I really don't care whether women wear pants to church, garnered some fascinating responses.  One individual, who plainly wanted women … [Read more...]

Händel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” as performed by a group of monks under a vow of silence

No, this isn't the choir.  But these are, in fact, Trappist monks.  They don't really take a vow of silence -- but idle talk is against their monastic rule, so it often seems as if they have.

  If you've taken a vow of silence, yet you wish to perform G. F. Händel's "Hallelujah Chorus," what do you do?  Here's an idea: Thanks to David Wills, of Adelaide, South Australia, for bringing this to my attention.   … [Read more...]

How did monotheistic Jews come to believe that Jesus was divine?

Christ Pantocrator ("All-Powerful") Cathedral of Monreale, Palermo, Sicily

  One of my Christmas columns for the Deseret News last year:   … [Read more...]