Preaching Connection: Creation

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Movies for Preaching

The Thin Red Line (1998) – 4

The Thin Red Line (1998).  Written and directed Terrence Malick.  Starring James Caviezel, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, and Elias Koteas.  170 mins; rated R.  Metacritic: 78%; Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Pictures worth a thousand words?  Sometimes maybe, especially when mixed with music.  And then, perhaps, if done well, such can skin the soul alive, so to…

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Awakenings (1990)

Awakenings (1990).  Written by Oliver Sacks (book) and Steven Zaillian (screenplay). Directed by Penny Marshall.  Starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.  Rating: PG-13. 121 minutes.  Rotten Tomatoes: 88%; Metacritic 74%. So there is Leonard L. (Robert De Niro), virtually a lifelong victim of a baffling disease, later understood as a form of Parkinsonianism, apparently…

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Babette’s Feast (1987) – 1

Babette’s Feast (1987).  Written by Karen Blixen (short story) and Gabriel Axel (screenplay).  Directed by Gabriel Axel.  Starring Stéphane Audran, Bodil Kjer, Bergitte Federspiel, Jarl Kulle, and Jean-Philippe Lafont.  Music: Per Nørgaard.  Cinematography: Henning Kristiansen.  Rated G; 102 mins. Rotten Tomatoes 100%. It is a nameless place where nothing much happens, in part because it…

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John Adams (2008)

John Adams (2008).  HBO Mini-series.  Episode VII: “Peacefield.” Directed by Tom Hooper. Starring Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti.  71 mins.  Rated TV-14. Sometimes preaching choices are easy.  In this instance, skip the sermon to play the following three times.  Or maybe four. Old John Adams (Paul Giamatti) is pushing 90.  Despite his distinguished career from…

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Séraphine (2008)

Séraphine (2008).  Written by Marc Abdelnour and Martin Provost. Directed by Martin Provost.  Starring Yolande Moreau and Ulich Tukur.  125 mins.  Unrated.  Rotten Tomatoes  89%;  Metacritic 84%. She certainly seems not to be the sort from whom one would expect religious wisdom of any sort, and that is true enough, at least at first glimpse.  In…

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Fargo (1996) – 2

Fargo, Written and Directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Starring Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, and Steve Buscemi.   98 minutes, Rated R. The bulk of the Coen brothers’ film Fargo is fraught with the tawdry and the evil.  A car salesman’s scheme by which to swindle his father-in-law out of $1 million goes about…

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The Tree of Life (2011) – 2

Written and directed by Terrence Malick. 139 mins. PG-13. Starring Jessica Chastain, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Hunter McCracken. It’s one of the best scenes in a very remarkable film, Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (2011). A mother (Jessica Chastain) plays and cavorts with her three boys, and what we see, all set to Smetana’s…

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The Tree of Life (2011) – 1

Written and directed by Terrence Malick. 139 mins. PG-13. Starring Jessica Chastain, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Hunter McCracken. Hugely successful architect, Jack O’Brien (Sean Penn) slogs through his life in a trough of despair. Through the center of his soul runs a crevasse cut by contention with his harsh father and, even more so, lasting…

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Reading for Preaching

“Bread” in Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’S of Faith

“We don’t live by bread alone, but we also don’t live long without it.  To eat is to acknowledge our dependence—both on food and on each other.  It also reminds us of other kinds of emptiness that not even the blue plate special can touch.”
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“Nature,” in Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’S of Faith

“Unfortunately, Adam and Eve took nature with them [including human nature] when they fell.  You’ve only got to look at the sea in a November gale.  You’ve only to consider the staggering indifference of disease, or the field at Antietam, or a cook boiling a lobster, or the statistics on child abuse.  You’ve only to...
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Bright Orange for the Shroud

“Sharks have no bones. Just gristle. They have rows of hinged teeth that straighten up as they open their mouths. They shed teeth from the front row and other rows move forward. About one third the body weight is liver. The tiny spikes on their hides are tipped with enamel of the same composition as...
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A Rumor of War

Caputo has had Marine training and it has altered the way he looks at the earth. “A year earlier I would have seen the rolling Virginia countryside through the eyes of an English major who enjoyed reading the Romantic poets. Now I had the clearer, more pragmatic vision of an infantry officer. Landscape was no...
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The Genesis Code

“Think of DNA as a piano with a hundred thousand keys, and each of the keys is a genetic trait. In a differentiated cell most of the keys are covered. They’re off. They don’t work. But even so, a lot of the keys are still operational: with hair you’ve got curliness, pigmentation, thickness–like that. But...
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“Wilderness,” in The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought

P. 245 “The oldest anecdotes from which we know ourselves as human, the stories of Genesis, make it clear that our defects are sufficient to bring the whole world down. For decades, environmentalists have concerned themselves with this spill and that encroachment, this depletion and that extinction, as if such phenomena were singular and exceptional....
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“Sunday Morning with the Sensational Nightingales”

“It was not the Five Mississippi Blind Boys who lifted me off the ground that Sunday morning as I drove down for the paper, some oranges, and bread. Nor was it the Dixie Hummingbirds or the Soul Stirrers, despite their quickening name, or even the Swan Silvertones who inspired me to look over the commotion...
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Distorted Truth: What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Battle for the Mind

God (vs. spiritualizing monists) has made creation with “manyness” and variety. One implication: you treat chickens better than rocks or mosquitoes. Contrary to the egalitarian religion of some biologists, chickens are higher creatures than rocks or mosquitoes. They aren’t just “noisy egg manufacturers, or feathery bundles of white and dark meat.” They are chickens after...
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“Complexity in God’s Creation”

Marty likes to point out the complexity of the created order. This a boon for people who say “I’ve tried everything,” and are bored. According to David Spanier, Total Chess, “there are 400 different possible positions [in chess] after each person has made one move; 71,852 after the second; once three moves have been made...
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Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad

Building a transcontinental railroad would require topographical surveys to determine most feasible routes. But Thomas Hart Benton, addressing the U. S. Senate on December 16, 1850 (“Highway to the Pacific: Grand National Central High-way) said this: “there is a class of topographical engineers older than the schools and more unerring than the mathematicians. They are...
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Orthodoxy

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough...
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