Film · James Bond · Movie Review · Movies · The Dark Knight Rises · Tolkien · Uncategorized

Best Movies of 2012

We are at the end of the year, so I thought I would go back over the list of movies that I have seen and give a quick rundown of my favorites. There is still one from this year that I would like to see and I may not have time to squeeze them in, Zero Dark Thirty. Unfortunately, Zero Dark Thirty is playing in limited release and is not in Dallas, so I will have to wait to see it in January when it goes national.

salmon-fishing-in-the-yemen-poster10. Salmon Fishing in Yemen 

I was won over by the performances in this film. I really enjoyed Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor together. This is one of those movies that is not afraid to have a happy ending and I like that. There is so much to enjoy here so I recommend this; it’s perfect for any weekend.

 

MV5BMzgwODk3ODA1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjU3NjQ0Nw@@._V1._SY317_CR0,0,214,317_9. Brave

I have been critical of Pixar in the past. I did not enjoy Ratatouille, Cars or Cars 2. Because of this I was extremely pleased with Brave. The animation is gorgeous and being set in Scotland won me over immediately. Kelly Macdonald and Emma Thompson are perfect as a mother and daughter that just can’t seem to see things from each other’s point of view. There are not a lot of children’s movies about mothers and daughters and Brave finally gives us a film about that dynamic. It is also refreshing to see a movie for kids about a nuclear family, since this is also a rarity. Well done Pixar; this is fun for anyone who enjoys a good fairy tale. For more on Brave go here.

The-Avengers-Movie8. Avengers

Even thought this is on the list at seven, it does not mean that I did not like this film. This is one of the best comic book romps ever. The casting is perfect and it all works, no matter how silly the story might be. This film will leave you excited to see the next time the Avengers assemble. My full review can be found here.

 

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7. Moonrise Kingdom

I enjoy Wes Anderson movies yet I am different than a lot of people in that I do not love The Royal Tenenbaums or Life Aquatic. This year I could not wait to see Moonrise Kingdom because, from the moment I saw the trailer I knew I was going to love it. I did not get to see it in the theaters, but that is the beauty of Netflix. This is a melancholy masterpiece. The story of identity, love and acceptance will leave you in tears if you let it; and as predicted, I loved this movie.

MV5BMTc3MjI0MjM0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTYxMTQ1OA@@._V1._SY317_CR0,0,214,317_6. Argo

Ben Affleck has been making a name for himself as a world-class director over the last few years. First he gave us Gone Baby Gone, then The Town and now he has branched out with his political thriller Argo. Affleck has not only directed but stared in this movie and everything he does works for me here. His casting is perfect and the story could not me more timely. Argo is a wonderful adult film that will leave your heart racing and your mind thinking long after it is over.

The-Hobbit-Part-1-An-Unexpected-Journey-2012-Movie-Poster-e13483392812555. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

There is not a movie that has had greater scrutiny this year than The Hobbit. So many critics gave this movie dismal reviews and yet the public has responded in droves. This movie lives up to it’s predecessors. The moment it starts you are back in Middle Earth. There could have been some editing down and there are a few moments that I did not love (Rock people and the last bit in the cave with the goblins), but over all it is worthy to stand alongside the other Lord of the Rings films. The messages of love holding back evil in the little things that people do every day is a powerful reminder. The Hobbit is fun from start to finish and will leave you longing for part 2 and 3. If you want to hear more of my thoughts on The Hobbit check out, The Observation Lounge episode, Wizards and Dwarves and Hobbits and Orcs and Goblins Oh My!.

220px-Dark_knight_rises_poster4. The Dark Knight Rises

This was the film I was most worried about. Ending a film franchise is one of the hardest things to do. Many have complained about Nolan’s last Batman film, but I am not one of them. I believe this is the best film in the group. This is a film about Bruce Wayne and the coming to terms with the consequences of creating the symbol of Batman. The questions of truth and living a lie come to the forefront, leaving each character grappling with the choices they have made in the previous two films. This was the end that surpassed every expectation I had for Batman’s final chapter. My full review is here.

220px-Silver_Linings_Playbook_Poster3. Silver Linings Playbook

I have just gotten a chance to see this film and everything that I have heard about it is true. This is an amazing film. The acting is superb. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are spot on as people going through intense emotional and psychological issues. I was not sure how I they would work together on screen since he is 15 years her senior, yet she never for a moment lets you believe that she is not his equal.

This movie portrays so well the truth that putting our faith in the wrong thing always leads to heartache and disappointment. The things that we put our faith in need to be secure enough and big enough to withstand that faith. The answer of the film is partially correct, putting our love, trust and faith in the right person. What is missing is that it cannot be a human being. No human can ever fully or completely love another and not disappoint them in some way. There is only one thing that can fully sustain our full trust and faith, the immutable and unchanging God. Only he can full know and love us as the way our hearts desire.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11 ESV)

MV5BMjM1MzMzOTA3MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTE3NzA1OA@@._V1._SY317_2. Skyfall

The Craig era of Bond has been the closest we have ever come to seeing the origin story of the most famous spy in the world. Sam Mendes has created one of the best Bond films ever. From the opening shot to the closing credits this film is gorgeous! This is Bond at his best; very few gadgets, spectacularly maniacal villain and supporting characters that truly have a place to shine. Mendes should be praised for giving Dame Judy Dench so much to do, she is truly the Bond girl of this film. Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw are all welcome additions to the cast and will be great assets to the future films. This works not just as Bond movie, but also as a movie that has something to say about our world. It asks tough questions about how we respond to the scary, shadowy world we live in and because of this it deserves to be on every top ten list out there.

lincoln-poster_743x11001. Lincoln

No movie this year was more moving or more timely than this one. Coming out right after the election it was a painful reminder of how far politics has fallen in the United States. Lincoln was not afraid to use the power of the presidency to make this country better for the people, all the people. Daniel Day-Lewis is outstanding as Lincoln, showcasing home-spun wisdom while at the same time not being afraid to use ruthless political acumen in passing the 13th amendment, Lewis is perfect. Steven Speilberg has created a American masterpiece. My full review is here.

What where your favorite movies of the year? Leave me comment and let me know so I can make sure to see it!

Batman · Christianity · Movies · Suffering · The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Teaches

I have seen The Dark Knight Rises three times now and each time, I am struck by how much this film has to say.Since I have already written my review and pointed out some of the things that struck me while watching the film,  I wanted to share some of the posts from around the web that I have read. Each of these is very good and I hope it will help you continue to think through this film. Christopher Nolan has does us a great service in Batman and given us much to wrestle with. Click on each part to read the full article.

A Path Through Three Prisons: Bruce Wayne in Nolan’s Batman Trilogy:


Part One:However strong and intelligent and wealthy and resourceful Bruce Wayne may be, his journey is one continually marked by failure. In fact, in each of Christopher Nolan’s three Batman films our protagonist’s path takes him into a different prison where he is confronted with his own guilt and weakness. In the first prison, a lost Bruce is invited to walk the road that will make him a legend. In the second, he is manipulated into a game that ends in tragedy and infamy. Bruce is sent, bleeding and broken, to die in the third prison, and yet it is from this final incarceration that he emerges to become the savior of his beloved city, a city that many don’t believe is worth saving. While Batman may be a persona created to battle injustice and symbolize the hope of freedom from the oppression of crime and fear, his identity is forged in imprisonment. Moreover, it is there, in prison, that we are shown glimpses of what Bruce Wayne scarcely realizes he is struggling to be free from.

Part Two:The Dark Knight opens with a swift and violent bank robbery masterminded by the Joker. We watch as a group of masked men execute an intricately planned heist and then double-cross each other (to death) until, finally, the Joker kills the last hired thug and makes off with millions of the mob’s money. It would appear that a new breed of criminal has emerged in Gotham–and Bruce Wayne will discover that even the training and tools of the Batman are inadequate to contain him.

Part Three:When the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Bat trilogy opens, eight years have passed since the events ofThe Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne has been physically and emotionally battered by his campaign against crime as Batman, and has gone into seclusion and self-imposed exile. He pines for his lost Rachel, believing that she was going to wait for him, not realizing she had in fact chosen Harvey Dent. Bruce has upheld his end of the plan to exonerate Dent by allowing Batman to shoulder responsibility for Two-Face’s crimes. As a result, the Dent Act is given the public momentum it needs to pass, and Gordon receives the power he needs to dismantle organized crime for good. But as an increasingly frustrated Alfred tells Bruce Wayne, “Maybe it’s time to stop trying to outsmart the truth and let it have its day.”

The Dark Knight Rises: 5 Characters

Alfred:I think Christopher Nolan’s direction for Michael Caine was “make James Harleman cry every time you’re on screen” because from the first moment he realizes Bruce is in the cave again, descending in the elevator with a hovering tear in his eye that won’t quite fall, my “guys-don’t-cry” throat-clearing reflex kicked in. One of the things that truly stood out in this film was the loving relationship between Bruce and Alfred, and the reality that in many ways, he really is Bruce’s father, having raised him for more years than Thomas and shepherding him through adult years as well. It’s not a well-meaning butler admonishing Bruce for trying to be Batman again, or spurring him to move on: it’s an imperfect father desperately trying to seek the best for his son, prodding and yet realizing that the younger man must make and OWN that decision.

Bruce:While most of us aren’t billionaires suffering the loss of a dead loved one as well as our “superhero” identity, many of us have been at this place in life where we don’t know who we are, or what we have to live for. Whatever earthly activities or people we’ve built our life and meaning upon have faded or failed and we’re left adrift, lost in a confusion of identity. Bruce is also stuck because he’s been deceived about Rachel’s last conclusions and decisions,  and so out of something akin to “Catholic guilt” he’s placed himself in his own form of purgatory and assumes it’s a permanent condition from which he’ll never emerge.

Gordon:Jim Gordon had already made other mistakes in The Dark Knight, errors one might say contributed to Harvey Dent’s downfall. The District Attorney warned Jim some of his men weren’t reputable, but Gordon blows this off because he sees no alternatives. Trusting in a few of these officers leads to abductions and death. This isn’t to suggest you or I would have handled it better, but these times when Gordon settles or compromises truly come back to haunt him and have tortured his soul for eight years as the movie begins.

Blake:How many of us have idealized a person, or an institution, filled with hope and naiveté as we dive in like a “hothead” and find lethargy, lack of wisdom, compromise, corruption and even lies that have built the system? We’ve all had these moments of dismay when we see behind the curtain and really meet the wizard. John Blake obviously became a cop in light of events and heroism on the heels of good cops like Gordon and the actions in The Dark Knight. As the third film begins, we see he’s becoming burdened by the way people, and details, don’t add up like he thought. In light of this, what kind of man is he going to become? The question reflects back on the viewer as we often wonder what kind of person we’ll turn out to be in the topsy turvy cities we live in.

Selina:Although I remained uncertain she was the right choice, Anne Hathaway nails the role of “Catwoman” from the moment she burgles Wayne Manor and demonstrates her character’s ability to shift disposition and personality to best fit the occasion. One minute she’s a house pet, the next feral and deadly. As the movie progresses we see her as a virtual chameleon, showing people what they want to see in the way that best forwards her unfettered advance. Adding a touch of film noir and necessary levity to the otherwise heavy narrative – adept and deceptive and opportunist – she may not seem like the character most viewers would identify with. In some ways, though, both who she is and who she becomes are great representations of our nature and need.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV

Batman · Books · Christianity · James Bond · mbird.com · Movies · The Dark Knight Rises

Owl Post 7-30-12

Click on Titles for the full article

The Greatest Movie Franchises of All Time:

It’s our theory that to be “great,” a franchise can’t just sell tickets or please critics—it needs to do both. In November 2010 (for the seventh Harry Potter film) we compiled a list of the 50 greatest film franchises films of all time, weighing financial and critical success equally. Here’s how we did it:

  1. To determine the film’s financial success, we adjusted the grosses for each film in every series for inflation using a ratio of today’s average movie ticket price to the average cost the year the movie was released. We then ranked each franchise by its average commercial gross.
  2. To determine critical success, we ranked the franchises by the average Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ score for their films.
  3. We then found the average between the commercial and critical rankings for each franchise and then ranked by those averages.

The peace of Christ:

The tsunami of sin flooding the world today touches us all.  We add to it.  We suffer from it.  It is flooding our churches.  And many people are suffering for it.

If somehow we could all get together and gently swap stories, my hunch is we would be shocked at the mistreatment that has been dished out to many of us by churches – both by abusive leaders and by abusive members.  There is, of course, a difference between being hurt and being harmed.  I am not thinking of people who get their feathers ruffled and then howl their complaints.  I am thinking of people who have been harmed and wronged, people who have suffered slander, lies, loss of position, loss of reputation, loss of friends, and more.  Many reading this post have suffered in these and other ways.  It is shocking what churches can do – both leaders and members.

Is There Room for Erotica in Christianity?

I knew there wouldn’t be a second date the moment the guy asked this question:

“How do you feel about strip clubs?”

Not for ‘em, I said.

“What about porn?”

Are you kidding?

In the conversation that followed, I rebutted his defenses of both. He, a Christian (nominally, at least), was a consumer of erotic media, convinced that using it can be good. He is the only Christian I’ve met who has defended pornography. But he is not the only Christian who defends other kinds of erotic media.

Man’s rare vision problem cured after Hugo 3D rebooted his brain:

We always like to think movies can bring us together and heal our souls with fun and laughter. But apparently, some movies can literally cure some ailments—and Hugo 3Dhas rectified a man’s lifelong vision problems.

How Literature Can Aid Your Worship:

It’s no accident or coincidence that God gives us His spoken Word in the form of a book. God chose to reveal Himself to us through words, and written words at that. For this reason, words are important, and books are important, much more than we often give them credit for.

The Dark Knight Rises Reviews and Commentary:

The Dark Knight Dies and Rises: Sacrifice and Freedom in Gotham

Nolan has now traced the Dark Knight’s journey from streetfighter to hero, from hero to villain, and from villain to…recluse. Wayne has died to the world and only holds on to the shadow-life of mourning for Rachel, and Alfred drops more than a few hints that he wants to die bodily as well. In The Dark Knight Rises, we see different forms of death that look like life and different forms of life that appear as death. “A Death blow is a Life blow to Some…” as Dickinson had it.

A Path Through Three Prisons: Bruce Wayne in Nolan’s Batman Trilogy, Pt 1

However strong and intelligent and wealthy and resourceful Bruce Wayne may be, his journey is one continually marked by failure. In fact, in each of Christopher Nolan’s three Batman films our protagonist’s path takes him into a different prison where he is confronted with his own guilt and weakness. In the first prison, a lost Bruce is invited to walk the road that will make him a legend. In the second, he is manipulated into a game that ends in tragedy and infamy. Bruce is sent, bleeding and broken, to die in the third prison, and yet it is from this final incarceration that he emerges to become the savior of his beloved city, a city that many don’t believe is worth saving. While Batman may be a persona created to battle injustice and symbolize the hope of freedom from the oppression of crime and fear, his identity is forged in imprisonment. Moreover, it is there, in prison, that we are shown glimpses of what Bruce Wayne scarcely realizes he is struggling to be free from.

The Dark Knight Rises: the REAL love story

“Maybe it’s time we stop trying to outsmart the Truth and let it have it’s day!”

Althought Alfred Pennyworth realizes this 8 years too late, he’s the first one to voice it in the conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. I hit this issue with a broad pass in our spoiler-free video review, but now we’ll careen into SPOILER territory (you’ve been duly warned) with these follow-up posts by looking individually atAlfred, Bruce, Gordon, Blake and Selina.

The Dark Knight Rises: out of cryostasis

“You’ve got stuck in a moment and you can’t get out of it.” – U2

Walled up in Wayne Manor with scraggly facial hair, a cane, and endless depths of remorse, Bruce Wayne is a defeated man. He’s stuck in a moment eight years ago, and even an energy project that might have given him new purpose has been mothballed. When he visits Wayne Tower, Lucius Fox jokes that he’s come “out of cryostasis”. Left without his earthly love, and having sacrificed his role as Batman, he’s an empty vessel with seemingly nothing left.

Skyfall: James Bond 23

Batman · Christianity · Movies · The Dark Knight Rises · Uncategorized

The Dark Knight Rises – The Review

Sometimes the truth isn’t good enough, sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded. The Batman

The Dark Knight Rises starts with this as it’s foundation. It has been eight years since the death of Harvey Dent and the lie of who he is and what he has done is still going strong. Yet the lie has taken it’s toll. It has eaten away at the soul of Commissioner Gordon and  cost him his family and his integrity. Batman, aka Bruce Wayne, has also lost his soul and his very reason for living. He took on the sins of Harvey in the last movie, became the lie and has paid for it with his body and his very essence. Even Alfred is not above being involved in substituting truth for lies. The hope that he supplied to Bruce by burning Rachel’s letter has scared and wounded Bruce in a way the truth never would have. Each of these lies does come to light and the whole film shows the foolishness of building our lives and societies on anything but the truth. A lie, no matter how sincerely believed, will lead to ruin once the truth comes out. And as we all know, the truth always come out in the end.

I have long feared that my sins would return to visit me, and the cost is more than I can bear. Benjamin Martin – The Patriot 

This line came to me after the movie and summed up what I had seen. Each of these character lives in fear of their lies and the consequences of them coming to light. Each one know that these lies have the power to destroy all that they have worked for. As each lie is exposed, they do become more than can be born. Batman is literally broken, Commissioner Gordon is proved to be a fraud and city of Gotham tears itself apart in the wake of all the revelations. This movie does everything it can to show that our faith can only be rewarded if it is in the right thing, if is is based on truth.

Nolan comments on the culture and politice of the day as well. Using the economic downturn of the last few years and poplist movements like Occupy Wall Street, nothing is left unexplored. Can society be torn down, can civilization be remade through the wanton destruction of law, ownership, property rights and just plain theft. At one point Selina Kyle is walking through a deserted apartment and is looking at a broken family photo, she says, “This use to be someone’s home” and her friend replies, “Now it’s everyone’s home”. The questions that Nolan raises on if the populist can truly rule itself without the constructs of law, civilization and order will be debated for a long time and is a very important issue. The movie, to me, seems to answer that law, order and civilization are needed but that deliberate and willful greed at the expense of others has to stop because this is just as destructive and evil.

The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming. Harvey Dent

Dent had no idea just how dark it would get before there is any hope or dawn to be seen in Gotham. After The Dark Knight, I could not imagine it getting worse and yet for most of The Dark Knight Rises that is exactly what happens. Bane and his cohorts plan is meticulous and because of that one of the scariest things ever seen in a comic book movie. There are times when it seems that hope has been completely lost. Nolan does something really interesting at the end of the film visually to help accentuate his point in that the final battle all happens in the morning, in the light. Batman is no longer a creature of the night, hiding in the shadows, he is in the middle of the light fighting side by side with the police of Gotham to bring down evil. A huge shift for a character who for the last eight years has disappeared into the dark and become a vilified myth. And if that was not enough there is more. Batman at the end of the last film has taken on the sins of Dent to redeem him in the eyes of the city, but in this film he raises the stakes. Batman takes upon himself the sins of Gotham, in the form of the bomb and rides off into the sunrise. Again he is the scapegoat, the one paying the price for all.

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” A Tale of Two Cities


This film pays off all that has been put into it by the fans and  is everything that I had hoped for and more. The last film left me feeling the emptiness of the truth being exchanged for a lie. This film restores hope, a hope that is full and real, something that can be built upon because that hope is the bedrock of unshakable truth.

Batman · Christianity · Faith · Government · Politics · The Clone Wars · Timothy Keller

Owl Post 7-18-12

The politics of polarization:

As his campaign threw out unsubstantiated charges that Mitt Romney might be guilty of afelony, and then mocked Romney’s off-key singing of “America the Beautiful,” President Obama took a moment to reflect on the sad state of America’s political tone. “Washington feels as broken as it did four years ago,” he explained. “And if you ask me what is the one thing that has frustrated me most over the last four years, it’s not the hard work. It’s not the enormity of the decisions. It’s not the pace. It is that I haven’t been able to change the atmosphere here in Washington to reflect the decency and common sense of ordinary people.”

5 PRACTICAL THOUGHTS ON REST:

In practical terms, how do we figure out how much time we need for Sabbath rest, and how do we spend that time? The following are a few suggestions or guidelines, by no means exhaustive.

When Christians Copy The World…

It’s not considered stealing?

I’ve often wondered why Christians think they can simply copy the world and slap a Christian logo on a product, and somehow get away with it.  In any other arena, they would be sued for copyright infringement on some of the Jesus Junk that hits the Christian world, but somewhere in the deep subconscious of the faith laden mind, they justify it as God’s will.  And I guess the corporations who design the real logos aren’t afraid this kind of obvious theft is any threat to sales.

Making Sense of Scripture’s ‘Inconsistency’

I find it frustrating when I read or hear columnists, pundits, or journalists dismiss Christians as inconsistent because “they pick and choose which of the rules in the Bible to obey.” Most often I hear, “Christians ignore lots of Old Testament texts—about not eating raw meat or pork or shellfish, not executing people for breaking the Sabbath, not wearing garments woven with two kinds of material and so on. Then they condemn homosexuality. Aren’t you just picking and choosing what you want to believe from the Bible?”

How much would it cost to be Batman?

With The Dark Knight Rises hitting theaters in a few days, your desire to put on a cowl and get out there and bust some heads in the name of great justice will be renewed, like a mighty fire. But how would you go about becoming the Caped Crusader for real?

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 5 Trailers

Batman · Books · Christianity · ebooks · Marilynne Robinson · Sex Trafficking · social media · Star Wars · The Clone Wars · The Dark Knight Rises

Owl Post 5-1-2012

Social Media’s Small, Positive Role in Human Relationships:

This is a follow-up to last week’s article about the loneliness that Social Media is supposedly creating. “A few years ago I had an interview for a job at one of the leading academic departments in my field. Maybe because I knew that I wasn’t likely to be offered the job, I saw the day as a relaxed opportunity to meet people carrying out interesting research.  My comfort with the day was shaken, however,  when a faculty member showed me ongoing research on avatars — bots — designed to interact with (and provide therapy for) human children with autism. I squirmed. I squinted.  I tried to voice my discomfort. I lost my voice. I turned away. I was shaken for the rest of the day and on my way back. That flickering image of the bot we’d one day turn our children over to still haunts me.”

The Ugly American — Sex Trafficking and Our National Humiliation:

The sexual revolution of the last several decades has transformed any public conversation about sex and sexuality. The revolutionaries directed their attention to the dismantling of an entire edifice of sexual morality that had been basically intact for well over 2,000 years.

Has Kindle Killed the Book Cover?

Daylight Saving came out in the U.K. in February, and in the months leading up to its release, the publisher used a novel strategy to generate interest in the teen novel: It placed a ticker at the bottom of the digital cover, counting down to the launch date. (It’s still counting, now into a negative number.) In addition to the digital jacket’s embedded clock, an underwater design ripples with the drag of a cursor, as if your finger could make waves through the screen. The interactive blue splashes (gimmicky, maybe) are nonetheless entrancing for the few minutes spent toying with the cover. And with that, the book has caught the eye of a potential buyer. Once purchased, of course, the water transforms into a static image, its graceful motion unsupported by the media formats in which it is ultimately consumed (print or the standard digital forms). The cover is seductive, but its spell is broken. Which brings to mind the tagline of Daylight Saving: “Can you save someone from something that’s already happened?”

My Son Went to Heaven, and All I Got Was a No. 1 Best Seller:

At 3 years 10 months, Colton Burpo was a sunny child, a preacher’s son certain of his faith and his eternal fate. Then his appendix burst, and as doctors failed to figure out what was wrong with him, he lay in a hospital bed until his father, Todd, saw “the shadow of death” cross his face. “I recognized it instantly,” Todd, a pastor, recalls. With Colton’s face “covered in death,” Todd and his wife, Sonja, took the boy to another hospital, where he was wheeled into surgery. “He’s not in good shape,” the surgeon said. As Colton screamed for his father, Todd fled, locked himself in a room and railed at God.

Marilynne Robinson on Christmas, Easter and Religious Dread:

From Marilynne Robinson’s essay “Wondrous Love”, one of several collected in When I Was a Child I Read Books, here are the quotes I referenced at this past weekend’s conference:

I have a theory that the churches fill on Christmas and Easter because it is on these days that the two most startling moments in the Christian narrative can be heard again…

Roqoo Depot’s Interview With James Arnold Taylor:

The Dark Knight Rises – New Trailer: