Preaching Connection: Love

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Movies for Preaching

Star Wars: Episode VI–The Return of the Jedi (1983) – 2

Star Wars: Episode VI–The Return of the Jedi (1983).  Written by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas.  Directed by Richard Marquand.  Starring Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and James Earl Jones.  PG.  131 mins.  Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Nobody guessed it, and I mean nobody: exactly who was the Jedi that was to return?  Princess Leia…

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Star Wars: Episode VI–The Return of the Jedi (1983) – 1

Star Wars: Episode VI–The Return of the Jedi (1983).  Written by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas.  Directed by Richard Marquand.  Starring Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and James Earl Jones.  PG.  131 mins.  Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. If the self-sacrificial death and redemption of Darth Vader comes as a surprise in the last moments of…

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Three Colors: Blue (1993)

Three Colors: Blue (1993).  Written by Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz.  Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski.  Music by Zbigniew Preisner.  Starring Juliette Binoche, Florence Pernel, and Charlotte Véry.  98 mins.  Rating: R. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%; Metacritic: 85%. Suddenly, she’s a widow and also childless.  Just about all the bad that can happen to someone falls upon…

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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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Wonder Woman (2017)

Wonder Woman (2017). Directed by Patty Jenkins.  Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and Robin Wright.  141 mins.  Rated PG-13.   Wonder Who? The wonder of Wonder Woman is that, indeed, the film is a wonder, the best commix-inspired flick since the original Superman all the way back in 1978, some four decades later and countless…

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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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The Color of Paradise (1999)

Written and directed by Majid Majidi. Starring Hossein Mahjoub, Mohsen Ramezani, and Salmeh Feyzi. 90 mins. Rated PG. Hashem is not an easy fellow to like. In the lush mountains of Iran, a realm of streams, birds, meadows, and storms, he sees and relishes none of it, unlike his young blind son. A widower mired…

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Reading for Preaching

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

“Christ did not come to preach any brand new morality.  The Golden Rule of the New Testament (Do as you would be done by) is a summing up of what everyone, at bottom, had always known to be right.  Really great moral teachers never do introduce new moralities: it is quacks and cranks who do...
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Mere Christianity, in The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics

Christians are “in a different position from others who are trying to be good.  They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or—if they think there is not—at least they hope to win approval from good people.  But the Christian believes that any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside...
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The Four Loves

“the proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs our gift.  We feed children in order that they may soon be able to feed themselves; we teach them in order that they may soon not need our teaching.  Thus a heavy task is laid upon our...
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The Four Loves

Need-love is natural, healthy, inevitable because from the time we are infants on we are all a bundle of need: “incomplete, preparatory, empty, crying out for Him who can untie things that are now knotted together and tie up things that are dangling loose.”  Lewis emphasizes how foolish any of us would be who denied...
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The Four Loves

Lewis distinguishes what he calls “Gift-love” from what he calls “Need-love.”  Gift-love is the kind of love which a dying parent shows by making provision for children—a kind of provision the parent will not share or even see in action.  Need-love, by contrast, is “that which send a lonely or frightened child to its mother’s...
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Religious Affections

“The more excellent things are . . . the more manifold will the counterfeits be.  So there are perhaps no graces that have more counterfeits than love and humility, these being virtues wherein the beauty of a true Christian does especially appear.”
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Help My Unbelief

Rutledge recounts a significant interview of the great French film star Jeanne Moreau by Mike Wallace in which she completely locked Wallace up into inarticulate bafflement. Wallace tried to get Moreau to bite on his conspiratorial statement, “There’s a feeling in America that passion in a woman of a certain age is unseemly.” Long pause....
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“Abraham’s Continuing Journey” in The Collected Sermons of William Sloan Coffin: The Riverside Years, vol. 1

“Yesterday I heard of a man who took great pride in his lawn, but he found himself with a large crop of dandelions. He tried every method he knew to get rid of them; still they plagued him. Finally he wrote to the Department of Agriculture. After listing all the things he had tried, he...
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The Collected Sermons of William H. Willimon

Willimon’s father-in-law, Carl Parker, retired from the ministry for the third time in the fall of 1989, declaring that, at long last, it was time for him to retire for good and “move to the mountains of Hendersonville [S.C.] to live among the Floridians.” At his retirement service he wanted some “sweet soprano voices to...
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Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

A story told by Jack Kornfield of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA. An eight-year-old boy had a younger sister who was dying of leukemia, and he was told that without a blood transfusion she would die. His parents explained to him that his blood was probably compatible with hers and, if so,...
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Damage

The main figure, reflecting on his wife’s memories of her childhood home: “I had listened to all her dreaming memories with a politeness that should have worried me. A man in love does not listen to the tales of his beloved’s childhood with such detachment. Nor does he look on the house that sheltered her...
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Of Human Bondage

The protagonist, Philip Carey, falls in love with a trivial, hopeless woman. Norah, a more sensible and faithful woman “would make him much happier than he would ever be with Mildred: [the trivial one–she actually becomes a prostitute by the end of the novel] after all she loved him, and Mildred was only grateful for...
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Of Human Bondage

Philip Carey has fallen in love. “He had thought of love as a rapture which seized one so that all the world seemed spring-like, he had looked forward to an ecstatic happiness; but this was not happiness; it was a hunger of the soul, it was a painful yearning, it was a bitter anguish, he...
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Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

99: Lamott makes much of “reverance as awe, as presence in and openness to the world.” You want, every so often, to “have the fleeting sense of being startled by beauty or insight, by a glimpse into someone’s soul.” (100) The goal of writing is to help others have this “sense of wonder, of seeing...
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“Pure Love,” in The Virtue of Faith and Other Essays

Ideal love isn’t just benevolence. I wish you well. It’s desire for personal relationship involving union of some kind. The lover doesn’t just want the beloved to be served; the lover wants to be the one doing the serving. He wants closeness. And a mother feels terrible if she fails to protect her child from...
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“Sermons on the Song of Songs (36:3)” in Lane, Tony, “A 12th Century Man for All Seasons The Life and Thought of Bernard of Clairvaux,”

“There are some who long to know for the sole purpose of knowing, and that is shameful curiosity; others who long to know in order to become known, and that is shameful vanity . . . There are others still who long for knowledge in order to sell its fruits for money or honors, and...
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