Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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My Review of JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL

Jumanji: The Next Level, rated PG-13
** ½

Jumanji: The Next Level picks up two years after Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which grossed more than $400 million in the U.S. It is an entertaining film, but is marred by a lot of unnecessary adult language, including several abuses of God’s and Jesus’ names.
The film is directed by Golden Globe nominee Jake Kasdan (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story), and written by Kasdan, Jeff Pinkner (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), and Scott Rosenberg (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle). The film had a budget of approximately $125 million, and grossed in excess of $60 million in the U.S. its opening weekend.
The stars of the first film are now college age. They’ve all pretty much gone their separate ways the past two years. Spencer, played by Alex Wolff, now a freshman at New York University, returns home for Christmas break. It has been difficult maintaining a long-distance relationship with Martha, played by Morgan Turner, and they have drifted apart as of late. Spencer’s grandfather Eddie, played by Oscar nominee Danny DeVito (Erin Brockovich), is recovering from hip surgery, so he is staying at Spencer’s parents’ home, and they have to share a room for a few weeks.
Milo, played by four-time Emmy nominee Danny Glover (Freedom Song, Fallen Angels, Lonesome Dove, Mandela), is Eddie’s former best friend, and they had owned a restaurant together before they had a falling out. Milo comes to the house to reconcile with Eddie after a number of years, but Eddie is not interested in patching things up.
Spencer misses the confidence he felt when he was Dr. Smolder Bravestone, played by Dwayne Johnson in the first film. Despite the danger that he and the others experienced in the video game, Spencer decides to go back into the video game. Continue reading


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My Review of RICHARD JEWELL

Richard Jewell, rated R
***

This film is based on the true story of the Centennial Park bombing in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics. The film is directed by 89-year-old four-time Oscar winner Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven). The screenplay was written by Oscar nominee Billy Ray (Captain Phillips), and is based on a magazine article by Marie Brenner (The Insider, A Private War) and the book The Suspect: An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle by Kent Alexander and Kevin Salwen.
The film is about Richard Jewell, played by Paul Walter Hauser (I, Tonya, BlacKkKlansman, Late Night), the security guard working the Olympics that at first was hailed as a hero for finding the bomb in Centennial Park, and preventing an even worse tragedy. The film focuses on the events after the bombing. But just a few days after the bombing, the FBI and the Atlanta Journal Constitution turn on Jewell and makes him the prime suspect in the bombing, indicating that he fits the profile of a bomber. Continue reading


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4 Christmas Books I Recommend to You 

Over the years, many of the authors I enjoy have written books about Christmas. Here are four recent books about Christmas that I would recommend to you.

Child in the Manger: The True Meaning of Christmas – Sinclair Ferguson

Sinclair Ferguson is one of our day’s best Reformed theologians. I have read many of his books and heard him speak many times at the Ligonier National Conference. He has been a pastor and seminary professor in numerous churches and seminaries throughout the world, and is also a Ligonier Teaching Fellow. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed and was blessed by this book.
Dr. Ferguson writes that this book sets out to explore the question of the real meaning of Christmas. He tells us that when we find the answer, we realize that it isn’t only for the Christmas season. He states that at the center of history stands the person of Jesus Christ. He does so because he is at the center of God’s story. Christ who is the creator of all things has entered his own creation in order to become our Savior. That is what gives Christmas meaning. It is what gives history and our lives meaning too.
He writes that the heart of the Christmas message is a baby bound in swaddling bands and lying in a wooden manger, who is destined to be bound again later in life and laid upon wood on the cross of Calvary. He tells us that the meaning of Christmas is this: The Light of the world has come into the darkness of the world, in order to bring light into the darkness of our hearts, and to illuminate them with the grace of forgiveness. He tells us that Christmas is not coming, but it has already come. The Word already has been made flesh. He already has lived, bled, died, and risen again for us. Now all that remains is to receive him. For Jesus is the meaning of Christmas.

Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for

  • More of this book review and reviews of
  • An Even Better Christmas: Joy and Peace That Last All Year by Matt Chandler
  • Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ – Timothy Keller
  • Christmas Playlist: Four Songs that bring you to the heart of Christmas – Alistair Begg

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3 New Resources to Help You to Prepare to Celebrate Christmas This Year


I always enjoy exploring new resources that are released each year to help us to prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth. This year, I’ve enjoyed reading a new book on The Characters of Christmas from Dan Darling and listening to new albums by two of my favorite artists, Andrew Peterson and Keith and Kristyn Getty. Continue reading


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My Review of DARK WATERS

Dark Waters, rated PG-13
***

Dark Waters is a film inspired by the real-life legal battle against DuPont over the release of a toxic chemical in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The film is directed by Oscar nominee Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven), written by Mario Correa and Matthew Michael Carnahan (Lions for Lambs), and based on the New York Times Magazine article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” by Nathaniel Rich.
Robert Bilott, played by three-time Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight, Foxcatcher, The Kids Are Alright), is a Cincinnati, Ohio attorney on the environmental team, and new partner at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, a firm that represents major corporations. He is interrupted during an important meeting by Wilbur Tennant, played by Emmy nominee Bill Camp (The Night Of), who lives in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Bilott’s grandmother’s hometown. Robert’s grandmother had told Tennant to go see Bilott about the cattle on his farm that were dying. Tennant is convinced that DuPont, one of the world’s largest chemical companies, has poisoned a stream on his farm that the cattle drink from. Bilott tells Tennant that he is a corporate defense attorney who defends chemical companies, not individuals. But after visiting his grandmother, Bilott decides to look into Tennant’s situation. What he finds is that 190 of Tennant’s cattle have died. Robert makes the decision to take Tennant’s case. Continue reading


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THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles, Quotes & a Cartoon

  • 9 Things You Should Know About Cohabitation in America. Joe Carter writes “A new survey finds that cohabitation is pervasive in the United States, and is increasingly viewed as acceptable by Christians—even if it doesn’t lead to marriage.”
  • Should You Be Mad at Chick fil-A? Russell Moore writes “A corporation is always going to disappoint as a moral model, regardless of whether that morality is left or right, Christian or secular. For our models, we need no franchised, culturally-approved outposts of finance, though we should be thankful when we see such occasionally. We need outposts of the kingdom, following Jesus Christ by faith.”

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  • More interesting article links
  • Cartoon of the Week
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Thank God It’s Monday. On this episode of the Gospel Coalition podcast, Collin Hansen interviews Tom Nelson, president of Made to Flourish, and author of Work Matters and The Economics of Neighborly Love.
  • Finding God’s Purpose in a Job You Hate. David Goetsch writes “Your job, no matter what kind of work you do, is a gift from God, even if you hate your job.”
  • Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith. You may be interested in the new book by David Goetsch and Karen Moore Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith. I have previously benefitted from David’s book Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

    • More links to interesting articles
    • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
    • My Review of Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People by S. Truett Cathy
    • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

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