But Aren’t Saints Dreadfully Dull?

colm valjean

Tonight I'm seeing Les Miserables for the third time (there have been various outings as people have straggled back into DC after the holidays) and, a day or so after my second viewing, I ran across David Denby's pan of the movie for The New Yorker.  Some of the criticisms are fair (the camerawork draws attention to itself in a bad way, Jackman's voice isn't as well suited to Valjean as it was to Curly, etc), but there was one plot-related criticism that I disagreed with big time.  Denby … [Read more...]

Let’s have a Math-Theology Bookclub!

naming infinity

Guys, my life is really really wonderful right now.  I just found out about the existence of Naming Infinity: A True Story of Religious Mysticism and Mathematical Creativity, and my cup runneth over.  Here's an excerpt from the review in The New Republic. The Name Worshippers of Mount Athos had been shut down. What mattered most were the defiant interruptions to the angry sermon of Archbishop Nikon of Vologda, who had marched into the monastery courtyard behind the troops. “You … [Read more...]

Mormon Enthusiasm for the Self-Made Man

god who weeps

I received a free review copy of The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life as part of the Patheos Book Club. I'm glad to have read The God Who Weeps, since, even in the midst of all the Romney controversy, there's been very little discussion of Mormon theology.  Reporters prefer to cover the Temple rituals because they're secret, and therefore must be interesting.  The Book of Mormon musical prompted some error-checking, but not very many details about what would have been … [Read more...]

How do you finish being angry?

bruce banner hulk

This review of Lawrence Cunningham's The Seven Deadly Sins: A Visitor's Guide is part of the Patheos Book Club, and my copy was free. My college debate group had many aphorisms, one of which was, "All sins are pride."  So I read The Seven Deadly Sins: A Visitor's Guide waiting to see what Cunningham had to say about my sin.  I didn't expect to be caught by his meditation on anger/wrath, which I've always thought of as the most boring sin. Coming from a background of stoicism, I just … [Read more...]

The Inspector Javert Medley [Sequence Index]

Isn't moral conviction dreamy?

I may not have drawn little hearts in my middle school notebooks labelled "Leah + Inspector Javert" but I've loved him far too much since the first time I saw Les Miserables.  (And, this year, I immediately dibsed his part when organizing a Les Mis flashmob).  But some of the things I've loved most about the adamant Inspector are the things I've had to set aside in order to be a Christian.  So, to mark the occasion of the movie's release, I wrote three meditations on … [Read more...]

Give Me (and Javert) a Firm Place to Stand

javert

While googling to nail down some of Javert's lyrics, I ended up on his IMDB quotes page, which draws on film adaptations of the book going back to 1935.  And, looking over these selections, it's clear a number of productions have seen Javert as some kind of atheist, possibly of an existentialist stripe.  One movie has him saying, "There is no God. There is only the law. Good and evil do not exist outside the law." But the Javert of the book and the musical isn't a heathen; he's a heretic. … [Read more...]

Javert: No Quarter Asked or Given

javert

I first saw Les Miserables when I was in middle school, I think, and I was on the edge of my seat from the opening number.  But the moment that transfixed me was Javert's joyous "Stars."  I was in love. There was nothing I wanted so much as to be like that man, ramrod-straight, inviolate, and wholly consecrated to duty.  In fact, when informed of my conversion, one friend, initially puzzled, said, "Well, I guess you've always been a bit of an absolutist."  But my Javertian … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X