Preaching Connection: Suffering

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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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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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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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Reading for Preaching

Anatomy of a Murder

A veteran judge speaks: I am endlessly fascinated by the raw drama of a murder trial, of the defendant fighting so inarticulately for his freedom—his is the drama of understatement, of the opposing counsel—those masters of overstatement, flamboyantly fighting for victory, for reputation, for more clients, for political advancement, for God knows what, of then...
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Love Within Limits: A Realist’s View of 1 Corinthians 13

“What all suffering really comes down to is the experience of anything we want very much not to experience.  The key here is the phrase ‘very much.’  To qualify as sufferers, we must want to be rid of something with such passion that it hurts.  Suffering is having to endure what we very much want...
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Wickedness: A Philosophical Essay

The relation of madness to badness in our thought is subtle: “On the one hand, the idea that wickedness is a form of madness is very natural, because bad conduct is so readily seen as unintelligible. To say, ‘I simply don’t understand how they could act like that’ is a quite direct form of condemnation....
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The Sweet Hereafter

On people who receive cash settlements for the loss of loved ones in accidents where negligence has been shown: “. . .in the end a million-dollar settlement makes no real difference to them, . . .it probably only serves to sharpen their pain by constricting it with legal language and rewarding it with money, ....
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Blessings: An Autobiographical Fragment

“There is an old Arab proverb which says: ‘Too much sunshine makes a desert; and the human heart is very often a desert. But sorrow irrigates the desert . . . It is told of Elgar that he once sat and listened admiringly to a young singer with a beautiful voice and faultless techniques. She...
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Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale

Quotes Shakespeare’s King Lear: “Whereas the bad are transformed by their suffering into beasts at each other’s throats, the good, however briefly and precariously, are hallowed by it.”
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The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

O’Connor reflects on the fact that the combination of her sickness and her success as an author has probably deepened her understanding of how life works. “I gave up thinking anything could be worked out on its surface. I have found it out, like everybody else, the hard way, and only in the last years...
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Bodies Electric

“The great German philosopher Schopenhauer wrote the following, which I read as a college student and have remembered ever since: ‘In early youth, as we contemplate our coming life, we are like children in a theater before the curtain is raised, sitting there in high spirits and eagerly waiting for the play to begin. It...
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Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945

As the Great Depression spread in the 1930s, the federal government responded by creating the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, which set up local commissaries across the nation to dispense food and clothing. The people who did the dispensing often harbored barely disguised contempt for the needy, thinking they (p. 172) “were personally culpable for their...
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With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa

E. B. Sledge had taken notes of his experience in the Pacific Theater in WWII and had kept them for decades inside a copy of the New Testament that went everywhere with him. His accounts of the conditions under which GIs had to fight on Peleliu and Okinawa is extremely vivid. His conviction, expressed in...
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And So It Goes: Adventures in Television

Franklin Pierce was a proslavery candidate from an abolitionist state (New Hampshire), an alcoholic, a man who carried bad luck with him like a back pack. He was his party’s choice on the 49th ballot, his vice-president died after one month in office, his son was killed on the way to his father’s inauguration, his...
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Fiorello H. La Guardia and the Making of Modern New York

Warren G. Harding, was President of the U.S. in the early 1920s. He wasn’t good at the job. Alice Roosevelt Longworth (Teddy’s daughter) would visit the White House and find Harding deep in poker games with his friends, surrounded by whiskey bottles (it was Prohibition, but the President wasn’t any more respectful of law than...
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Reagan’s America: Innocents at Home

Jimmy Carter was already a corpse, politically, in his last year as President. Inflation, Afghanistan, Iran, etc. beat him. Paul Volker of the Federal Reserve summed up the Carter Presidency as follows: “As Jerry Ford left the White House, he handed Jimmy Carter three envelopes, instructing him to open them one at a time as...
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