Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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

  • What Does the Bible Say About Abortion? Dan Darling writes “As Christians, our first reaction to this issue should not be to ask what our political parties or politicians think but to ask what the Bible says. So, what does the Bible say about abortion?”
  • Is It OK for a Christian to Date a Non-Christian? Listen to Tim Keller answer that question.
  • Are There Contradictions in the Bible? R.C. Sproul writes “When it comes to studying the actual consistency of Scripture, it’s not long before we have to deal with allegations that the Bible is full of contradictions. This can be devastating to the Christian faith, because we know that if the Bible has real contradictions, it’s not a consistent account, and if it’s not a consistent account, it can’t be divinely inspired.”

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  • More interesting article links
  • Great cartoons
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

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My Review of TOLKIEN

Tolkien, rated PG-13
*** ½

Tolkien looks at the formative years of the beloved author J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit). I thoroughly enjoyed this well-made film. It is directed by Finland director Dome Karukoski, in his first English language film, and written by David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford (Pride). Of note, the estate and family of Tolkien issued a statement about the film indicating that they wanted to make clear that they did not approve of, authorize, or participate in the making of the film, and do not endorse the film or its content in any way.
The film opens in 1916 on the battlefield in World War I, during the Battle of the Somme in France. John Ronald Reuel (J.R.R.) Tolkien, played by Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite, About a Boy, X-Men films), has come down with a case of trench fever. The rest of the movie is told in flashbacks, with it occasionally coming back to the war, with Tolkien trying to find his friend Geoffrey Smith, played by Anthony Boyle. Continue reading


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • What Do High School and College Graduates Need to Hear? Russell Gehrlein offers insights that inspire graduates to take their Christian faith into their workplaces, schools, the military, or wherever God calls them to learn and serve.
  • Overcoming Shame in the Workplace. Hugh Whelchel writes “In an environment where we’re evaluated on our performance, expected to succeed, rewarded for results, and scolded for mistakes, it’s no wonder the workplace is a prime breeding ground for shame.”
  • Work. Our work will be far more rewarding and our rest far more renewing, the more we can keep the boundaries between work and rest high, clear, and distinct. Watch this short video from David Murray.
  • Women, Work, and the Home: What is a Biblical Measurement of Success? Carolyn McCulley writes “Women are to look at all they have received—the gifts, talents, time, opportunities, relationships, and capacities—and determine how and when to invest them across the full arc of a lifetime.”

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  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Work: It’s Purpose, Dignity, and Transformation by Daniel M. Doriani
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Deeper Roots: Where The Bluegrass Grows – Steven Curtis Chapman
***

In 2013, five-time Grammy winner Steven Curtis Chapman released Deep Roots, an album which featured 12 songs, 5 of which are available on the new Deeper Roots: Where The Bluegrass Grows, released on Chapman’s own New Day distributed-SCSee label. Both albums represent a return to bluegrass, Chapman’s musical roots.
In addition to the 5 songs from Deep Roots, the new album contains eight other songs. The album is comprised of a mixture of well-loved hymns, new versions of Chapman favorites and two new songs. Chapman is joined by Ricky Skaggs, Rascal Flatt’s Gary LeVox and family members on the album, which was produced by Chapman and Brent Milligan.
Below are a few comments about each of the songs:

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  • More of this review and reviews of The Eclipse Sessions by John Hiatt, and In the Blue Light by Paul Simon
  • Music News
  • Music Quotes
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line by Abby Johnson with Cindy Lambert. Tyndale Momentum. 276 pages. 2014 edition
****

This is the book upon which the powerful film Unplanned is based. Abby Johnson begins by telling us that her story is not a comfortable one to read. It’s not a comfortable one, but it’s honest and true. The film follows the book pretty closely, but as always, a book can give you much more of the story than can a two-hour film. So even if you have seen the film Unplanned, I would recommend that you still read this book.
The book takes us through Abby’s story from being recruited as a volunteer by Planned Parenthood while a junior on the Texas A&M campus through rising to the position of director of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas. She was attracted to Planned Parenthood believing that its purpose was primarily to prevent unwanted pregnancies, thereby reducing the number of abortions. That had been her goal. She wanted to help women in crisis.
The book begins with Abby’s own crisis moment in September, 2009, when she was called into the exam room to help the medical team with an abortion. Though she had been with Planned Parenthood for eight years, she had never been in the room when an abortion had taken place until that time. Those ten minutes would shake the foundation of her values, and change the course of her life. She realized that what she had told people for years, what she had believed and taught and defended, was a lie.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review… and reviews of “How to Ruin Your Life: and Starting Over When You Do” by Eric Geiger, and “The Prodigal Son: An Astonishing Study of the Parable Jesus Told to Unveil God’s Grace for You” by John F. MacArthur
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur
I’M CURRENTLY READING….

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My Review of AMAZING GRACE

Amazing Grace (not rated)
****

Amazing Grace is a joyful, uplifting film of Aretha Franklin singing gospel music over two nights in a California church in 1972, when she was 29 years old, and at the height of her popularity.  The resulting album Amazing Grace, would become her best-selling album, and is the overall best-selling gospel album of all time. For the album, Franklin added instruments in the studio and overdubbed some of her vocals. This film represents for the first time her original performances at the church.
The film is produced by two-time Oscar winner Sydney Pollack (Out of Africa) and Alan Elliot, and has an interesting history. When the concert was filmed, Pollack somehow failed to properly synchronize the video (captured with multiple cameras) with the sound through the use of a clapperboard, a common film device.  As a result, the film sat on the shelf, until Alan Elliot worked with a special technical team in 2008, who over a three-week period of time worked to get the approximate 20 hours of film properly synced. After that, another ten years of legal issues, Franklin’s resistance to the film being released, her declining health and eventual death in 2018, kept the film from seeing the light of day. We can be thankful that it has finally been released. Continue reading


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My Review of AVENGERS: ENDGAME

Avengers: Endgame, rated PG-13
****

Avengers: Endgame, a highly anticipated film, brings to an end the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) storyline that began with 2008’s Iron Man, and has continued now through 22 films and all of those mid and post-credits scenes that we have sat and waited for. The three-hour film will satisfy MCU fans, as it looks back on the previous films and characters, but it does contain some content concerns that you will want to be aware of.
The film is directed by brothers and Emmy winners Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Arrested Development) and written by Emmy winners Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers). While the film had an estimated budget of approximately $400 million, it made a record-setting $350 million in the U.S. opening weekend, and an incredible $1.2 billion worldwide.
2018’s Avengers: Infinity War ended somberly with the formidable villain Thanos, voiced by Oscar nominee Josh Brolin (Milk), finally possessing all of the six Infinity Stones that he had been seeking. Thanos, who says he is Inevitable, then used the power he gained from the stones to snap his fingers and wipe out half of all existence, including superheroes such as Black Panther, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and many more.
Avengers: Endgame opens with a family picnic scene in which the family of Clint Barton/Hawkeye, played by two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (The Town, The Hurt Locker), suddenly disappears due to the snap. The film then moves forward about three weeks after “the snap”. Continue reading