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Movies for Preaching

Decalogue 1 (1989) – 2

Decalogue I (1989).  Written by Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz.  Directed by Kryszstof Kieslowski.  Cinematography by Wieslaw Zdort.  Music by Zbigniew Preisner.  Starring Henryk Baranowski , Maja Komorowska, and Wojciech Klata.  Facets Edition.  Rating:  G, 56 mins.  Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. In the late 1980s in Poland, two fellows put together what is generally recognized as…

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Decalogue 1 (1989)

Decalogue I (1989).  Written by Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz.  Directed by Kryszstof Kieslowski.  Cinematography by Wieslaw Zdort.  Music by Zbigniew Preisner.  Starring Henryk Baranowski , Maja Komorowska, and Wojciech Klata.  Facets Edition.  Rating:  G, 56 mins.  Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. How to know God, if there is a God? This is the question that in…

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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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Wide Awake (1998) – 1

Wide Awake (1998).  Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Starring Joseph Cross, Rosie O’Donnell, and Robert Loggia. Rated PG.  88 mins.  Rotten Tomatoes 67%. The question of what actual love looks like has plagued humankind since, well, the beginning, whether that be Adam and Eve left to themselves in a garden or some humanoid…

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Ida (2013)

Ida (2013).  Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski.  Co-written by Pawel Pawlikowski and Rebecca Lenkiewicz.   Starring Agata Kulesza and Agata Trzebuchowska.  PG-13.  82 mins.  Rotten Tomatoes 96%; Metacritic 91%. A young Polish novice, Ida (Agata Trzebuchowska), a WW II orphan raised in a convent, is summoned by the Abbess with the instruction to visit an aunt she…

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Reading for Preaching

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

Lewis muses over what plenty of people have mused over—the possible existence of God.  “If there does exist an absolute goodness it must hate most of what we do.  This is the terrible fix we are in.  If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our [moral] efforts are in the...
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“Ubiquity” in Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith

“Every automobile bears on its license plate a number that represents the number of years that have elapsed since the birth of Christ.  This is a powerful symbol of the omnipresence of God and the indifference of the human race.”
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“Buechner” in Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith

“When I tell you my name, I have given you a hold over me that you didn’t have before.  If you call it out, I stop, look, and listen whether I want to or not. In the book of Exodus, God tells Moses that his name is Yahweh, and God hasn’t had a peaceful moment...
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Solzhenitsyn at Harvard: The Address, Twelve Early Responses, and Six Later Reflections

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1978 commencement address at Harvard University, a defining moment in the twentieth-century culture wars, indicted Western godlessness, materialism, and consequent superficiality.  The West has thrown away God, said Solzhenitsyn, as well as the accountabilities and depths of purpose that used to be attached to belief in God; it has substituted for these weighty...
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Gilead

“Calvin says somewhere that each of us is an actor on a stage and God is the audience.  That metaphor has always interested me, because it makes us artists of our behavior, and the reaction of God to us might be thought of as aesthetic rather than morally judgmental in the ordinary sense. . ....
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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

”’They say Aslan is on the move—perhaps has already landed.’ And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometime happened to you in a dream that someone...
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Night

In Wiesel’s mind, God is on trial: ”Blessed art Thou, Eternal, Master of the Universe, who chose us among all races to be tortured day and night, to see our fathers, our mothers, our brothers end in the crematory. Praised be thy Holy Name, Thou who hast chosen us to be butchered on Thine altar.”...
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Miracles: How God Intervenes in Human Affairs

“It is always shocking to meet life where we thought we were alone. ‘Look out!’ we cry, ‘it’s alive!’ . . An ‘impersonal God’–well and good. A Subjective God of beauty, truth, and goodness, inside our own heads–better still. A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap–best of all. But...
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Excerpts from the Diary of the Late God

“A word about earthquakes. I am sick and tired of being blamed for earthquakes. I do not, could not, would not, have not, and will not cause earthquakes! It would be entirely out of character. I’d be much more likely to knock the bottom out of the stock market. Once and for all: I did...
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Excerpts from the Diary of the Late God

“If I didn’t know I am perfect I would suspect I’ve been possessed by a demon. It’s this business of my ‘sake.’ What in limbo do they mean when they speak of God’s sake? Over and over again I hear them: ‘For God’s sake!’ What sake? I have no sake. Yet they invoke it so...
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The Young Lions

“Noah stopped in front of the church [in England during World War II]. It was a squat, stone building, with a heavy square tower. It looked as though the God who was addressed within it was a forbidding Old Testament God, who laid the Law down squarely, and with no frills or subtleties, to the...
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Night

p. 31: At Auschwitz, the young Wiesel sees babies thrown into a ditch that is alive with flame. Children in the flames. A larger ditch for adults. “Around us everyone was weeping. Someone began to recite the kaddish, the prayer for the dead. I do not know if it has ever happened before, in the...
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“Reflection on Psalm 23”

Ps. 23:4 “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.” Marty quotes Joseph Sittler: “The text does not speak of the valley of death but of the valley of the shadow of death. There is a difference. The valley of death is an experience through which we...
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