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Posts Tagged ‘movies’

Doing Something About Hunger

August 30th, 2011 No comments

You may not be aware, our church is one of four that supports a local food pantry, the Joshua Tree Community Food Pantry. (Watch the video some of our kids made about it.)

There are still hungry people in America:

However, national food insecurity data reveal that about 45% of those struggling with hunger actually have incomes above the federal poverty level and 53% of poor households are food secure1. Thus, measuring need based on local poverty rates alone provides an incomplete illustration of the potential need for food assistance within our communities. More accurate assessments of need across all income levels within our service areas can assist Feeding America and our network of food banks in strategic planning for charitable food services that best support hungry Americans, as well as inform the public policy discussion so that vital federal nutrition programs can better serve those in need.

And by “America,” I mean “next door.” (See the map here.)

There are a lot of reasons for hunger, including the utterly insane use of food for automobile fuel. We can hope and work for non-stupid public policy to help with the problem. But in the meantime, one of the ways you can help is to donate food to a community food pantry, or volunteer at one.

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Ordinary People

August 29th, 2011 No comments

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.

C.S. Lewis wrote that in “The Weight of Glory.” Later in the essay he says that, apart from the sacraments, neighbors are “the holiest object presented to your senses.”

It’s a staggering idea. When I hear the word “holy,” I usually start with places: places that intimidated me as a child, or, as an adult, touring Europe, perhaps a cathedral, quiet and dark except for candles flickering in corners. But as Stephen, the first Martyr reminded his accusers, “the Most High does not dwell in places made with human hands” (Acts 7:48).

The Temple and its surroundings, where Stephen made his confession, was destroyed in 70 AD, leaving only a portion of its western wall. The Roman Empire that destroyed the Temple? It’s gone too.

The things we encounter every day are the same: they may have been around a long time, and they might endure long after we’re gone, but they’re passing away.

They’re all passing away, that is, except us—our neighbors, and ourselves, and strangers driving through town. We’re immortal—and that makes us extraordinary. The most exceptional thing you’ll encounter today is the friend or neighbor you encounter every day.

How much more so, then, the stranger? Perhaps that’s what the writer of Hebrews meant:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

To our cynical ears, it sounds like the writer wants us to invest in strangers only because one of them might pay off. But perhaps the writer means this: the people we already know are such extraordinary creatures that the only things more amazing are strangers—who are so incredible that some may even be angels.

How would it change your relationships if you saw people this way? If they are the holiest objects available to your senses, who would you invest more time getting to know? Who are some strangers, and what kind of hospitality could you show them? Who would you invite to dinner, or to church? Who would you help out in a fix?

(Cross-posted at the Desert Hills Presbyterian Church website.)

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Brad Pitt and Christianity

May 30th, 2011 No comments

Brad Pitt announces that he has “issues” with Christianity, but doesn’t explain why, in a brief article at the Christian Post:

“I got brought up being told things were God’s way, and when things didn’t work out it was called God’s plan,” he said. “I’ve got my issues with it. Don’t get me started. I found it very stifling.”

While he’d rather avoid talking about the topic because “so many wars are spawned by it,” Pitt told Time he feels “comfortable playing within the religious iconography, because I lived that.”

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Groundhog Day, Again?

January 28th, 2011 No comments

So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
  —Psalm 90:12 (KJV)

It’s the time of year when I watch Groundhog Day. (Actually, it’s one of my favorite movies and I watch it several times a year, but I’m always reminded to see it again when February rolls around.)

If you haven’t seen Groundhog Day, well, you certainly ought to. It’s the story of an obnoxious TV weatherman named Phil Conner, played by Bill Murray. Read more…

Chariots of Fire

June 24th, 2009 No comments

I was interested, in my reading this morning, to come across the phrase “Chariots of Fire” (2 Kings 6:17). It caught my eye because the other night we happened to see the movie of that name.

The movie — I’d heard the song, of course, but never seen it — actually deserves a review of its own. A tale of two men: one struggling to fit into society, another struggling to be separate. Although he’s also trying to fit into a narrower society — the society of children of missionaries — and struggling to live out the things his faith instructs him to.

Dorothy Bass once said Sabbath-keeping is the only one of the 10 Commandments that people brag about breaking. Contrast Eric Liddell’s Sabbath-keeping with today’s prominent football-playing Christians, who not only play on the sabbath, but really work on it … although they are often showy about their religion: praying after TDs, and so forth.

It’s not my job to judge others, but if it were, I couldn’t judge them in this area; I feel convicted myself. Sabbath-keeping is one of my growing edges. If I approach Sunday as worship, I certainly approach it as work too. That’s bad enough, but I am spotty in treating Saturday or Monday as Sabbath.

But the question is not whether I felt convicted — anyone can do that. It makes us feel good and close to God. The question is whether I will do anything about it.

All that aside, however, it’s puzzling why the movie has that name. In the Bible, the horses and chariots of God invisibly surround Elisha and his servant to protect them from the Arameans. The servant sees them only after Elisha prays that his eyes might be opened.

How often are we surrounded by God’s horses and chariots of fire? How seriously do we look for them?

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