I’m going to bring up articles from the archives that most of you never had the opportunity to see.
For the next three days it’ll be articles on “Paganism in the Church,” which were part of a series published by The Chalcedon Foundation in 2006. This was a journalistic project for me, chosen by my editors to be the first items posted on this blog when it was created in 2010.
To the objection that “Those articles are ten years old–so what good are they now?”, I can only say that I doubt the the problems have gone away and things have gotten better over the intervening seven years. “Feminist theology,” anyone? You’ll find it at your nearest seminary. God save us.
Linda called for this one: Soldiers of the Lion, by Chuck Girard. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5) is not a tame lion, and it is our glory to be allowed to enter into the labors of all His saints. And if the lyrics are a bit much for squishy, world-pleasing Christians–You’ve had the planet long enough… Get you back to outer darkness–well, that’s all to the good.
Fanny Crosby wrote this hymn in 1875, and it remains well-loved to this day: To God Be the Glory. I like to post assorted renditions of it. Here it is sung outdoors by the choir from Fountainview Academy.
Remember, the hymn shop is always open, and if there’s any hymn you’d like posted here, just let us know.
I write about a world that never was, inspired by a world that used to be.
This is footage from Roy Chapman Andrews’ Gobi Desert expeditions in the 1920s, for the American Museum of Natural History. This is Mongolia as it was then, but isn’t anymore.
God has wired into some of us a longing for places we cannot reach, either because they exist no more or because they never did exist. A fantasy writer taps into that. We know the past was real, because we used to live in it: but was it really? Things change. Sometimes they change too much. Places I used to know very well are so gone, so wiped out without a trace, that they might as well have been in Mongolia in 1926: or tucked away in Lintum Forest. Pick one.
Did I dream these places? Were they ever really real? Because I can’t find them anymore.
Oh, but God can. He most certainly can.
If you like “Bible movies,” Risen is a good one. And let me tell you the best thing about it.
It’s a single scene, starring an actor in a small part. Richard Atwill plays one of the Roman guards who was on duty at Jesus’ tomb when He rose from the dead, and he tries to tell you what is was like. It would be wrong of me to reveal any of the details. I highly recommend seeing it for yourself.
Risen is the story of a Roman army officer, Clavius–played with stern conviction by Joseph Fiennes–who is ordered by Pilate (Peter Firth) to track down Jesus’ body, arrest the disciples, and prove that the Resurrection was a hoax. And this without drawing a single paycheck from a modern teachers’ union.
There’s a lot of grim and even gruesome detail in this movie; but on the plus side, it’s a loving and realistic rendering of Jesus and His disciples. I would have liked to see more of Pilate’s inner conflict that the Scripture suggests, but you can’t have everything. Fiennes is really good, and so are all the actors playing the apostles. There’s a trace of Catholic bias in it, but that really shouldn’t be a major problem for the viewer.
On the whole, though, the screenplay sticks fairly close to Scripture. No movie can be a substitute for the Bible. But a good one might draw a viewer nearer to it.
Another Fanny Crosby hymn–she wrote thousands of them–sung by the Mennonite Hour Singers: All the Way My Savior Leads Me. I wonder how many of her hymns have been sung in how many churches just this morning.
If I posted a hymn written by Fanny Crosby every day, and never missed a day, it would still take me about ten years to post them all.
The other day, someone came onto my chess page (“playground player” at http://www.chessgames.com) and posted a most insulting comment. I was rather cheesed off, and couldn’t decide whether to ignore it or come back with some devastating reply.
Before I could decide, he came back with another post handsomely apologizing for what he’d said and asking me to delete the comment. I was very glad to receive that apology! And to accept it.
Repentance and forgiveness are a powerful combination. If only we could turn them loose on this fallen world, it would be a little bit less fallen.
St. Paul wrote the Epistle to the Philippians from Rome, where he was awaiting trial for assorted thought crimes against the state (some things never change). In closing his letter, he said,\
All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household. (Philippians 4:22)
Caesar’s household! Christians–right there in the very heart of the Roman Empire. Right there in Caesar’s house! And this less than 40 years after Jesus Christ was crucified–by Rome.
The Romans should have known that they were licked right there. Nevertheless, they went on to kill and jail as many Christians as they could lay their hands on. All those early Christians had to do, to save themselves from painful and humiliating deaths, was to deny Jesus Christ.
And Christ did not and will not deny them.
This is the hymn that came to me this morning: Blessed Assurance, another jewel out of Fanny Crosby’s treasury. Is there anybody here who doesn’t need the blessed assurance God provides?
Requested by Laura: The Sands of Time are Sinking, written in 1857 by Anne Cousins, sung by the Altar of Praise Chorale–with beautiful photos of God’s handiwork.