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Life

Tuesday Tunes

Civil Twilight is a band I’ve gotten into lately.  Their hit song is “Letters From the Sky.”  They aren’t a “Christian band,” but this song could be about Jesus’ second coming.  It’s either that or about a long, lost girlfriend.

If you need help, read the lyrics.

Oh, and they are also from the most beautiful city I have ever seen.

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Reviews

The Book of Eli

This weekend Carly and I went to see The Book of Eli, starring Denzel Washington. Eli is filled with bloody fight scenes, engaging cinematography, and intense mystery.  I won’t tell you too much; I don’t want to be a spoiler.  But here’s a quick premise.

In post-apocalyptic, wasteland America,  Washington plays Eli, a sunglass-wearing, nomadic warrior who has a good heart but isn’t afraid to finish a fight. He’s been walking across the country for the past 30 years, since the ‘last war.’  The war caused a rip in the ozone layer, bringing about a bright flash from the sun which incinerated most of the world. There are no more amenities or grocery stores or booming metropolises. Clean water is hard to find and bartering everyday items is the new currency.

Eli travels with nothing more than a backpack, a water canteen, a machete, a sawed-off shot gun, and a thick leather-bound Bible.  Gary Oldman co-stars as Carnegie, a power hungry man who covets Eli’s book, the only one that survived the “flash”.  Washington is on a mission to find the place where it will be read, respected, and treasured.

What I want to comment on is the role the Bible plays in this film.  I don’t know what the directors mean to do, but the Bible is the central focus — more so than Washington’s character, in my opinion.  How gutsy of the directors to make a movie where the Bible is the only book wanted and needed in America!  This movie made me want to read my Bible more and know it better.  It won’t take long the viewer long to find out that most of the people Eli’s age died in the war or passed soon thereafter.  Since the Bible he owns is the only one left, most of these young people have never heard of God or learned how to pray.  Imagine a world where no one knows John 3:16.  Imagine a world where no one takes the Lord’s name in vain because they haven’t even heard his name.  This is Eli’s world.  Everyone is in survival mode, and murdering for a cup of water or a battery is all in a day’s business.  Society has fallen apart.  Chaos has taken over, and there will be no restoration until God’s word has been spread.  What a concept.

Carnegie wants Eli’s Book, not for spiritual growth, but to control the people of the towns he is rebuilding across the country.  His plan is to use it for selfish gain and prosperity.  Viewing the movie through theological lenses, Carnegie plays the role of a greedy prosperity pastor.  Just like Carnegie, pastors who espouse the prosperity gospel peddle God’s word for selfish gain.  They don’t want the Bible to be read, respected, and treasured in order to taste and see the glory of Jesus Christ.  They want to use and manipulate the Bible for their sinful desires.

Whether it’s money or power or possessions or fame, the desire for anything other than Jesus will only lead to destructionThe Book of Eli beautifully paints this reality.  Whether the directors meant to or not.

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Life

If you only go to Bethlehem, you haven’t gone far enough.

Have you ever wondered why so many artists (who aren’t Evangelical Christians) have recorded classic Christmas hymns praising Jesus? Neil Diamond belting out “Silent Night.”  Mariah Carey performing “O Holy Night.”  Natalie Cole giving a stirring rendition of “The First Noel.”  The list goes on and on.

Well, here’s a possible answer to my question:

A baby Jesus isn’t very intimidating, but a Jesus who dies on the cross for your sins and miraculously rises from the dead and demands honor, love, and repentance is.

Don’t get me wrong.  Jesus was just as much God at birth as he was on the cross.  But if we have learned anything from Ricky Bobby, we’ve learned that praying (or in this case, singing) to an “8 lb. 6 oz. newborn infant Jesus…just a little infant, so cuddly” is not awe-inspiring.  Praying to the God of the universe who went to the cross for all the times you trampled upon his glory, however, is.

First John 3:8 says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”  That means that little baby Jesus was born to kill sin.  The only way Jesus could make this happen would be to move on from his manger in Bethlehem toward Golgotha in Jerusalem, where he died on the cross and then triumphantly rose from the dead to conquer sin, Satan, death, and hell.

If you love the classic hymns of the season, sing them with honor and reverence and praise for the Baby who grew up into a Man and died and rose again.  Jesus didn’t stay in Bethlehem.  Neither should we.

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Life

Weekly Weirdness

Let the pop-culture philosopher Dr. Phil McGraw introduce our weird news this week:

You’re an individual. That makes people nervous and it’s going to keep on making them nervous — all your life.

It’s always a good day when I don’t wake up reading about myself in the weird news section.

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Life

How Would Jesus Fare in a CNN Poll?

Jesus didn’t care much for public opinion.  Most people knew he didn’t give a rip about what others thought.  And for those who didn’t know, he made overwhelmingly clear when he talked to them.