From Books/Movies

The Sensitivity of the Spirit

This is the title of a book by R. T. Kendall, including, “Learning to Stay in the Flow of God’s Direction.”  The Holy Spirit is my fascination, He captivates and seldom leaves my consideration, perspective, and longing.  I believe the Holy Spirit is active in the congregation of Believers on earth ever since Yeshua ascended to the Father.  It’s not that Yeshua and the Father are not present, but Yeshua said, “…very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I…

The Sovereignty of God

“It would be foolish for us to expect that this work will meet with general approval.  The trend of modern theology – if theology it can be called – is ever toward the Deification of the creature rather than the glorification of the Creator, and the leaven of present-day Rationalism is rapidly permeating the whole of Christendom.  The malevolent effects of Darwinianism are more far reaching than most are aware.  Many of those among our religious leaders who are still regarded as orthodox would, we fear, be found to be very heterodox if they were weighed in the balance of…

Rescuing The Gospel

“Rescuing The Gospel” by Erwin Lutzer is a book about the Reformation.  Lutzer was the senior pastor of Moody Church in Chicago for 36 years until retiring in 2016.  The book focuses on Martin Luther who 500 years ago nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral in Germany which challenged the false doctrines of the Catholic Church.   Luther, through a reading of the Scriptures which were only available in Latin in Germany and thus not available to the average person, came to believe that salvation was only obtained by faith in Christ through grace.  This…

A Matter of Faith

This 2014 movie is about evolution versus creationism, a topic which few in the secular mainstream would find interesting, but Christians might.  As a “Christian” film it does not have the flash, pomp, and professionalism that fifty million dollars can buy.  Harry Anderson plays a biology professor at a state University who religiously promotes evolution in his classes.  A Christian freshman is confronted with evolution taught as incontrovertible fact while her parents fear that her faith is being destroyed.  Thus, a debate between these two opposing theories for the origin of life ensues. It is rated 3.7 on IMDB which…

The Lord of the Rings

When I was 16 years old a friend encouraged me to read a book he had just finished “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien.  He described it as being about Hobbits, Wizards, Elves, Dwarves, Dragons and Fiery Mountains and the like.  I had always loved to read but had no use for fiction at the time, preferring histories and biographies and other nonfiction reading.  I had little interest in a book such as this.  I promised to take his paperback copy and give it a look, intending only to briefly look through the first chapter and return.  However,…

The Bookshop (2017)

This movie stars Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy, and Patricia Clarkson.  It is set in 1959, in a quaint seaside location near London and is a story about a persons dream and courage in the face of adversity.  Bill Nighy is one of my favorite actors and doesn’t disappoint in this film.  It is rather slow compared with all the action films we see today in America, but it has two elements I think are necessary for any good film, an interesting scenic setting and a good story with an ending that makes sense.  With these two factors well done a…

Crockett’s Own Story

Recorded history may be more awash with opinion than fact.  Of course, movies and TV shows are designed to exaggerate and embellish stories for entertainment purposes, but an honest man’s own account will bear up against the cross examination of opinion.  I found “A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett” to be an interesting and well told story.  It is written in the language of the common back- woodsman in 1835 and doesn’t contain any contrived accents as used so prolifically by Mark Twain.  I believe a twelve year old would enjoy it as much as an adult.  It’s…

David Crockett

David Crockett wrote a narrative biography of his life in 1835.  Unable to abtain a ready copy of it, I picked up, “Davy Crockett, the Man, the Legend, the Legacy”, by Michael Lofaro.  This book is a book report on all the books, movies, TV shows, and periodicals written about the man.  That alone is enough to put it down, but I found the language also bizarre for such a topic.  “Walter Blairsville early on enumerated six separate identities for this Krishna of the American folk panthoen, and threw up his hands over the task of distinguishing between the ‘real’…

The Fingerprint of God

If this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being?  In giving out punishment and rewards he would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself.  How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him. –Albert Einstein. Scientists (and atheists and agnostics) who refuse to accept the abundant evidence which establishes there is a Creator, do so because they falsely judge…

Alone in the Wilderness

  This is the title of a documentary film about Dick Proenneke, a man who left civilization for the Alaskan wilderness. This movie is a quintessential male statement of challenge, endeavor and quest. The film was compiled from self-made films and the personal diary of one man’s search for peace and freedom found in the art of a disciplined life of solitude. He asks himself, “What was I capable of?” “Could I truly enjoy my own company for an entire year?” “And was I equal to everything this wild land could throw at me?” After directly stating his purpose with…

Won’t You Be My Neighbor

I just watched a movie of this title about Fred Rogers, the creator of the long running children’s PBS TV series, “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood”.  I wasn’t interested at first because I thought I knew all about him and his show.  However, IMDB rates it 8.5 and I discovered a fascinating tale of a man with an inspirational commitment to the welfare of children and the child that resides in each of us.  It weaves a story about Fred Rogers, early children’s TV, PBS, and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood from real footage of Mr. Rogers talking about his beliefs and goals, commentary…

Hero of the Heartland

Hero of the Heartland by Robert Martin is a biography of evangelist Billy Sunday.  Sunday was a fundamentalist evangelist whose sermons concentrated on personal salvation and individual morality.  He was the most influential revivalist in the United States between 1896 and 1935.  He had a theatrical aspect to his sermons.  Those who attended his sermons expected to be entertained and were rarely disappointed.  A former professional baseball player he would use slides, leaps, catches, and other baseball antics in the pulpit.  He was a master of crowd psychology and understood the power of a good story not only to entertain but to persuade. Sunday…

For Cause and Country

For Cause and Country, written by Eric Jacobson, is one of the very best books on the Civil War Battle of Franklin, TN.   It is an excellent read for those interested in the Civil War in general or the Battle of Franklin.  It is a thoroughly-researched book and gives an excellent battle narrative including incorporating eyewitness accounts from both sides. This battle fought in November 1864, only about four months before General Lee’s surrender, was one of the last major actions in the Civil War.  Confederate General John Bell Hood led his Army of the Tennessee in a desperate…

Stan and Ollie

I recently went to see the movie, Stan and Ollie.  It was about the last years of the legendary comedy team, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.  They were one of the top box office draws from the 1920’s to mid 1940’s after which their popularity went into decline.  The film focuses on a last-gasp music hall tour of England in 1953, after a number of years of only sporadic work.  Oliver Hardy, now in his early 60’s, was in poor health with heart problems and he had trouble doing some of their standard slapstick routines due to his bad knees…

Little Girl Blue

I have long been a fan of Karen Carpenter’s singing.  She has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard and I loved many of her songs.  The book “Little Girl Blue” by Randy Schmidt is probably the best biography of Karen Carpenter, the lead singer of the Carpenters.  The book is based on exclusive interviews with her innermost circle of girlfriends and nearly 100 others who knew her well.  Karen went from modest Connecticut beginnings to become part of one of the top-selling American musical act of the 1970s.  The book reveals Karen’s heartbreaking struggles with her controlling mother,…

Joy

Most people have probably heard of C. S. Lewis, the famous Christian apologist writer.  The book “Joy” by Abigail Santamaria is an excellent biography of Joy Davidman, C. S. Lewis’s wife.  Based on some extraordinary new documents as well as extensive research by the author it brings a full portrait of Davidman for the first time as well as insights into C. S. Lewis himself.  A poet and radical atheistic Communist in her early years, she eventually converted to Christianity in the years before meeting Lewis, partly from reading some of his books.  She began corresponding with Lewis and fell…

The Creator and the Cosmos

This book by Hugh Ross, Ph.d. is well written and interesting.  It discusses astrophysics in a way that is understandable even though it goes into considerable depth.  Dr. Ross is a believer and a cosmologist and theoretician.  This was the third edition which included many recent updates. The Big Bang theory and recent discoveries related to it have transformed thinking on the origin of the universe and the existence of a Creator.  Those who are opposed to God in any concept are scrambling to craft new arguments against the Big Bang theory.  This book explains evidence for and defense of…

Sea of Darkness

On a cold night in February 1864 George Dixon, captain of the CSS Hunley, and his crew of seven attacked and sunk the Federal blockading ship Housatonic in Charleston harbor becoming the first submarine ever to sink a ship.  The Hunley never returned to shore after the sinking and was presumed lost at sea.  The book, Sea of Darkness, written by Brian Hicks, tells the intriguing story.  The narrative bounces back and forth between the events leading up to the fateful night of the sinking and the events leading to the subsequent finding of the sunken Hunley in 1995, over…

First Man

I recently went and saw the movie, First Man, and was pleasantly surprised.  I enjoyed it very much and it kept me entertained throughout with its suspenseful action and interesting story.  The movie is more of a biopic of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, then a primer on the Space program’s race with Russia to the moon, although that is included.   Ryan Gosling did an excellent job of portraying the serious, somewhat introverted man and the enormous courage it took to be an astronaut in those days.  Calculations that could be done by computers today…

The Man Who Planted Trees

This short story by Jean Giono, about one shepherd’s long and successful single-handed effort to re-forest a desolate valley in the foothills of the Alps in France, and accompanying short animated film is one of my all-time favorites.  It is narrated by Christopher Plummer who is outstanding.  The story is written in words with an efficiency that leaves space for emotion and wonder.  The character development is deep and woven into the narrative as a pattern of beauty.  This is a story of providence and unconditional generosity.  The man and the trees comprise a history worth sharing. This thirty minute…

Inside The Third Reich

When I was in the seventh grade, around 1972, my English teacher handed out a book club flyer to encourage us to do some extra reading outside the normal reading assignments.  I was already an enthusiastic reader of books, mainly on history subjects, but rarely found any subject matter I liked in these book flyers.…

A Torch Kept Lit

This is an excellent book I recently read of eulogies written by the late William F. Buckley.  Buckley was the founder of “National Review”, a conservative journal and host of “Firing Line” from 1966-1999 on PBS.  He also wrote many best-selling books and a syndicated column for many years and was known for his eloquent…

The 5:17 to Paris

We watched an outstanding movie entitled “The 5:17 to Paris.”  You might recall the three young Americans who thwarted a terrorist massacre on a train in France.  This is their story and even includes the actual men portraying themselves.  Movies based on true events seem to be those we enjoy most – the saying, “truth is stranger than fiction”, proves true.  Amazingly, this story includes much more than the action, suspense, and heroism you would expect. In the real world people like you and I have imperfections and failings that cause us to be unfit for Hollywood, but Clint Eastwood,…

Three Cups of Deceipt

I’ve read some books and watched some movies lately that got me thinking about worldly perspectives. The book “Three Cups of Deceit”, by Jon Krakauer, is an interesting book about the founder of Central Asia Institute which was organized to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The founder fabricated lies and fake events to concoct a book that would appeal to the good intentions of a guilt ridden public. The founder may have possessed good intentions as well, but the substance and reality was that he secretly robbed and defrauded the public becoming personally famous and wealthy, instead of building…

John Adams

I just finished watching the HBO series of John Adams, based the book by David McCullough.  I read the book when it came out several years ago.  If you have even the smallest interest in history these are well told representations of John Adams life and times.  One difference in the book was that it portrayed Mr. Adams Christian faith as having a much greater influence than that presented in the TV series.  In fact, but for the abstinence of the Adams in French decadence, while the ambassador…