Preaching Connection: Church

Home » Church

Movies for Preaching

The Apostle (1997)

Written by Robert Duvall. 134 minutes. PG-13. Starring Robert Duvall, Farrah Fawcett, June Carter Cash, and Billy Bob Thornton. Forty years a preacher, an apostle full of brimstone and sweet Jesus, and Euliss “Sonny” Dewey still doesn’t get it, specifically the nature of the “Holy Ghost power” he has relished and exalted his whole long…

Explore

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (2011)

Written by Steve Kloves, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling. 130 minutes. PG-13. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes. Hebrews 11 details the lives of some of the Bible’s biggest saints and heroes of the faith, concluding finally by claiming there are too many more to mention in any…

Explore

Reading for Preaching

A Diary of Private Prayer in Devotional Classics

“Through all the ages, You, O God, have been the Lord and giver of life: The patriarchs trusted you and were not put to shame; The prophets sought You and You committed Your word to their lips; The psalmists rejoiced in You and You dwelled in their songs; The apostles waited upon You and You...
Explore

The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

Al-Qaeda’s character as a death-cult was born across the 1980s, especially, but not exclusively, in the myths of the Afghan freedom fighters who battled the Soviet occupiers.  Calling themselves the “mujahideen” or “holy warriors,” these fighters cultivated stories of battlefield miracles (bullets would hit them but not penetrate), or failing a miracle, of illustrious deaths. ...
Explore

Mere Christianity, in The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics

“Charity—giving to the poor—is an essential part of Christian morality: in the frightening parable of the sheep and the goats it seems to be the point on which everything turns . . .I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give.  I am afraid the only safe rule is to give...
Explore

“Holiness Necessary for Future Blesedness,” in his Sermons and Discourses (1825-39)

Heaven is not for everyone: it is an acquired taste, and hard to acquire while our taste buds still resemble a crocodile’s back.  An unholy person would be restless and unhappy in heaven.
Explore

Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith

Contentiousness is a sign of life in the church. Don’t think that placidity is the only way to be. If people care deeply about things they will contend. And the unpleasantness–it looks awful and it feels awful–may sometimes be the cost of Christian discipleship. The church is a shaky investment, a sinful institution. So when...
Explore

Harry Emerson Fosdick: Preacher, Pastor, Prophet

Andrew W. Blackwood (homiletics professor, Princeton Theological Seminary) raised hard questions about the content of Fosdick’s sermons (he admired the method). His comments could be directed to any liberal preachers: “When [Fosdick] writes on faith, which he does most admirably, he speaks rather as a psychologist than as a theologian. When he preaches on God...
Explore

Churches that Abuse

summary: Legalism, authoritarian leadership, manipulation, excessive discipline, spiritual intimidation—it’s all out there in churches. It’s basically the kind of thing from which Jesus came to free us. Enroth is a real pro in this area. Really competent and insightful. The book is a huge case-study on the parasitic nature of sin, how it attaches to...
Explore

The Collected Sermons of William H. Willimon

God chose Israel out of love, not out of awe because of Israel’s moral and spiritual achievements. In fact Israel was often proud, wayward, difficult, unfaithful. So “whatever is meant by ‘a people holy to the Lord,’ it means something other than a person pure and spotless. A biblical saint is not a person who...
Explore

From Dawn to Decadence, 1500 to the Present: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life

The Protestant Reformation was actually a revolution (the violent transfer of power and property in the name of an idea”), and it is equal to or surpassed by only three others in magnitude: the 17th century monarchial revolution, the late 18th century French liberal and individualist revolution, and the 20th century Russian social and collectivist....
Explore

A Dresser of Sycamore Trees

Keizer speaks admiringly of a fellow Episcopal cleric named Castle: “’And could you maybe give us a little cash?’ the spokesman for a small group of vagabonds with remarkably good teeth asked him. Quite possibly he could–in exchange for painting the church steps. I shall never forget Castle expounding on ‘Take up your bed and...
Explore

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

“It is sometimes forgotten that the churches in America laid the foundation of our system of higher education. Harvard, of course, was established early–in 1636–for the purpose of providing learned ministers to the Congregational Church. And, sixty-five years later, when Congregationalists quarreled among themselves over doctrine, Yale College was founded to correct the lax influences...
Explore

“An Overdue Reminder that Not All is Relative”

“The Vatican has issued a document, written by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, reasserting that salvation is available only through Jesus Christ, and that ‘only in the Catholic Church’ does the church that Christ founded continue to ‘exist fully.’ If you are going to run a religion, in a world...
Explore

The Catholic Moment: The Paradox of the Church in the Postmodern World

Quotation from Walker Percy’s Lost in the Cosmos: “Catholic Christianity is the most preposterous of the three. It proposes, not only [what Jews and fundamentalists believe], but also that the man-god founded a church, appointed as its first head a likable but pusillanimous person, like himself a Jew, the most fallible of his friends, gave...
Explore

“Men Need Church Too”

If you’ve got more pantyhose than beards in your church, “there’s one word for you: ‘typical.’” Women are more religious than men. Two-thirds to one-third in American churches. Some liberal Protestant churches have very few men. In black churches women are 75 to 90% of the whole, and it’s understandable. Women haven’t been crushed by...
Explore

The Bonfire of the Vanities

“The mayor shook his head some more. He found the Christian churches baffling. When he was growing up, the goyim were all Catholics, unless you counted the shvartzer, which nobody did. They didn’t even rate being called goyim. The Catholics were two types, the Irish and the Italians . . . He was in college...
Explore

The Catholic Moment: The Paradox of the Church in the Postmodern World

“Sectarianism is the symptom of the ‘Protestant disease’ of reinventing Christianity to suit the circumstances. It is situational Christianity. Many Roman Catholics fear that the Protestant disease has made alarming headway in Rome since [Vatican II]. The church in the modern world they could perhaps take; it is the modern world in the church that’s...
Explore

The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

The church is a church of sinners. ‘The church is founded on Peter who denied Christ three times and couldn’t walk on water by himself . . . you are expecting his successors to walk on the water. All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful. . ....
Explore