Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Rest of "Unbroken"

The John Templeton Foundation, NBC Universal, and the film Unbroken have released a 6-minute film that explores what happened to Louis Zamperini after he came home, furthering and amplifying Unbroken’s themes of faith, resilience, and the power of forgiveness.

For those of you who wanted to see Louis’ embrace of faith and forgiveness, you’ll love Ross Kauffman’s short film.

Click here to view the film, which will also be included on the Unbroken DVD.

HT: Nancy French

Monday, January 26, 2015

9 Things You Need to Know About Widows

This is a vulnerable and powerful testimonial about widow-hood and how they can be shown the love of Jesus Christ. 

While compassion walks beside the bereaved, pity stands off at a safe distance. The day my husband collapsed, my boss—a physician and head of a busy community clinic—canceled his appointments immediately and came to the hospital. He looked after my in-laws with uncanny tenderness and prayed with them. When my children came in from out of town, he wrapped his arms around them both and shed tears as I told them their dad was not expected to survive. To offer compassion in any circumstance is to share in another’s suffering, and in so doing, we mirror the suffering of Christ on our behalf.

You can read the rest here.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Fun: DeadMalls.com

I have to admit that this may only be fun for someone like me who finds the history of malls that I've visited as fascinating. Maybe it's part of my enjoyment of what's sometimes termed as "cultural exegesis." Maybe I'm just plain weird.

In any case, I recently stumbled over a website called DeadMalls.com. If a mall you know and appreciate is included in their stories, it's not a good sign. It seems that, for every mall that's terminally struggling or has been torn down, this site has an informed eulogy. 

Do you know any malls on this list? I'm familiar with three:

-Memorial Mall in Sheboygan, WI
-Westdale Mall in Cedar Rapids, IA
-Shipyards Shop Outlet in Wilmington, DE

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Recent History of American Church Diversity

Pastor and author Mark DeYmaz of Little Rock, AR, recently posted on Christianity Today about the recent history of American church diversity. The city of Chicago is mentioned a few times.

You can read about it here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thinking/Obsessing About Heaven?

In light of the criticism that has been brought on, arguably, all testimony and study of the Christian afterlife because of Alex Malarkey's recanting of The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, Dr. Michael Wittmer of Grand Rapids Theological Seminary writes four reasons for us to stop obsessing about Heaven:

1. We were never supposed to go to heaven.

2. Scripture says little about heaven.

3. Heaven is not the goal.

4. Fixation on heaven can forfeit the gospel.

You can read his explanations here. While I might have a few questions about a few of his points, I think this article brings up a good point in getting us to ask ourselves why we want to learn about Heaven. It's an important question, and the honest answer can reveal quite a lot about us. 


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Ancient Christian Ministry of Satire

While cyberspace is hopping with heated discussions about the importance of freedom of speech and the philosophy of satire (and its difference from plain and vicious ridicule), I stumbled over a curious article that surprisingly introduced an historical figure as, also, an early satirist: Tertullian. He used satire as a gracious (apologetic, in the full sense of the word) means of observing reality, defending truth and appealing to justice and the common good, not as a graphic condemnation and/or assault on fellow children of God.

He was a North African adherent of what was a minority religion in the territories in which he lived and traveled. He had seen his faith mocked publicly, with opponents parading cartoonish images in the streets to inflame the animus and contempt already directed against his beliefs. They declared his religion the threat to social order and cherished values, and they blamed its inexplicable increase in followers for the calamities befalling civil society. Many of his fellow believers had already been imprisoned, even tortured. He blamed “ignorance as the chief root of [the] unjustifiable bitterness” toward his faith.
This pious man predicted that a cataclysmic judgment was coming that would dismantle the very civilization that was threatening him, and that only his creed could save it and prevent a chaos and lawlessness heretofore unknown.
He decided the time had come to enter the lists and fight the good fight.
His name was Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus. He was a Christian. And his weapon was . . . satire.
Here's an excerpt from Ad Nationes, noting some discrepancies in the justice system:
. . . when Christians, however, confess [to practicing the Christian faith] without compulsion, you apply the torture to induce them to deny. What great perverseness is this, when you stand out against confession, and change the use of the torture, compelling the man who frankly acknowledges the charge to evade it, and him who is unwilling, to deny it? You, who preside for the purpose of extorting truth, demand falsehood from us alone that we may declare ourselves not to be what we are. I suppose you do not want us to be bad men, and therefore you earnestly wish to exclude us from that character. To be sure, you put others on the rack and the gibbet, to get them to deny what they have the reputation of being. Now, when they deny (the charge against them), you do not believe them but on our denial, you instantly believe us.
There are other examples of satire to be found in Tertullian's works, but it gets a bit more PG-13 rated.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Faith of Selma's Lead Actor

Christianity Today had the recent opportunity to interview David Oyelowo, who plays Martin Luther King, Jr. in the film Selma, which has gotten rave reviews. I hope to see it soon.

On the 24th of July, 2007, God told me that I was going to play Dr. King in this film. The reason I know the date is that it was a real surprise to me. I'm not American, I'm from England, and I'd only just moved from America two months before reading the script. The idea that I would be the one to play Dr. King was, to be honest, a bit shocking to me.
But I do know God's voice. I became a born-again Christian at the age of 16, and my spirit didn't doubt it. My flesh was a little more skeptical. I auditioned for the role, and the director who was attached didn't feel I was right for the role, which kind of surprised me spiritually. But like I say, my soul was like, okay, I understand. I hadn't done many films, really.
HT: Christianity Today