Preaching Connection: Religion

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Movies for Preaching

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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Grand Canyon (1991) – 2

Grand Canyon (1991).  Directed by Lawrence Kasdan. Co-written by Meg Kasdan and Lawrence Kasdan.  Starring Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, Steve Martin, Mary McDonnell, Alfre Woodard, and Mary Louise Parker.  Rated R; 134 minutes. So when do we know it’s the real “real thing”?  If we can know that for sure, that is.  That, to be…

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Grand Canyon (1991) – 1

Grand Canyon (1991).  Directed by Lawrence Kasdan. Co-written by Meg Kasdan and Lawrence Kasdan.  Starring Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, Steve Martin, Mary McDonnell, Alfre Woodard, and Mary Louise Parker.  Rated R; 134 minutes. Grand Canyon (1991) is one of those films that every clergy and parishioner, and everyone else too, for that matter, ought to…

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Reading for Preaching

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

In Osama bin Laden’s thinking during the 1990s, America was the leader in a Christian/Jewish global crusade to crush Islam.  He believed the Christian/Jewish part of it had been going on since the founding of Islam.  “’This is a battle of Muslims against the global Crusaders,’” in his own words.  This was a theological war...
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Mere Christianity, in The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics

“It is no good asking for a simple religion.  After all, real things are not simple.  They look simple, but they are not.  The table I am sitting at looks simple: but ask a scientist to tell you what it is really made of—all about the atoms and how the light waves rebound from them...
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Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Already in 1986 Neil Postman saw deeply that religion fits the television medium only uncomfortably: “on television, religion, like everything else, is presented, quite simply and without apology, as an entertainment. Everything that makes religion an historic, profound and sacred human activity is stripped away; there is no ritual, no dogma, no tradition, no theology,...
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The Bonfire of the Vanities

Sherman McCoy, the affluent bond salesman, to his six-year-old daughter who is worried that God might not exist: ”But there is a God, sweetie. So I can’t tell you about ‘If there isn’t.’” Sherman tried never to lie to her. But this time he felt it the prudent course. He had hoped he would never...
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War and Remembrance

Aaron Jastrow, a great humanist Jewish author and journalist, tells of visiting a Christian church for the first time: “So long as I live, I shall not forget the shock of seeing a great bloody naked Christ hanging from a cross on the front wall, where in a synagogue the Holy Ark would stand; nor...
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The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

“One of the effects of modern liberal Protestantism has been gradually to turn religion into poetry and therapy, to make truth vaguer and vaguer and more and more relative, to banish intellectual distinctions, to depend on feeling instead of thought, and gradually to come to believe that God has no power, that he cannot communicate...
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“The Virtue of Hate”

Solokeichik states that if Christians identify with “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” Jews identify with Samson, who prayed to God to be avenged on the Philistines, and killed more of them in his death by pulling down the temple than he had in his life. P. 42: “Hebrew prophets not...
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The Brothers K

Mama had become a religious fanatic. The fanatic has an advantage over other people. ”’What’s a little confusion or pain,’ they ask, ‘compared to eternal salvation?’ And of course this question can’t be argued: who wouldn’t gladly be robbed of all they have today if they were certain that the thief would ‘come again’ and...
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The Search for God at Harvard

Goldman tells of his one year at Harvard Divinity School: ‘. . . in my entire year at Harvard, I never saw anyone on his or her knees. To my mind, kneeling is the ultimate expression of Christian supplication. It is something so Christian that, as a Jewish boy, I was taught never to fall...
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“Christianity and Literature” in Christian Reflections

Lewis makes a case for the fact that much of the New Testament assumes that major human relations (Christ to God, us to Christ) are imitative. Whereas modern criticism regards imitation in literature to be bad and unhappy (creativity, originality, spontaneity all put imitation in the shade), it is the normal way in the New...
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