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To The Moon & Beyond: Sagan Series & Karen Peck Coming To A Theater Near You

This video encapsulates an Almighty God, ever present in His work of Creation.  The poetic narrative stimulates the thought process so vividly in my own mind, how reasonable it is for me to believe that even my thoughts, are governed by a Holy Creator.  I’m impressed and in awe of God’s natural beauty, be it the earth and the moon.  But what really captivated me about this video was the reminder that God created men and women intelligent enough to eventually get us to the moon and beyond.  And men and women brave enough to do it.  Technology has its faulty downside and makes life easier.  But so did the wheel.  So did ancient water systems and tunnels.  You have to wonder what Solomon didn’t record about our galaxies.  Or Socrates.  Or Da Vinci.  Would this be thought possible?  Enjoy. 

 

And our girl, KP in the new movie hitting theaters this weekend, “Joyful Noise”. 

 

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Slavery, Southern Baptists, Drunkenness, and Knowing God

 —–So are Southern Baptists to partially blame for Slavery?  Might not be confined to just democrats.  The political issue was not just a political issue, but a cultural issue…and a biblical issue? 

 —– From Christianaudio this month, you can get a free download of the inspiring and monumental work by J.I. Packer, Knowing God for free.  I highly recommend this work. 

 —– What if the next Billy Graham is drunk right now?  Interesting thoughts by the sometimes controversial, always adding perspective, and serious about the gospel, Russell Moore.  Check it out here.

Holiness and Conception

The Christmas season is here and gone. I’ve been VERY busy. There has obviously been a lack of commentary and discussion from me.  But for good reason. 

But to bring in the new year…here’s an encouraging article.  Well, it’s moreso a list of comments.  Pro-choicers wanting doctors and mamas locked up

 

And a nice little Christmas vid I filmed on Christmas Day. 

Jack Van Impe Meets Bob Seger. Hitchens Meets Eternity

 —– Christopher Hitchens has died.  Recently he wrote:

Even if my voice goes before I do, I shall continue to write polemics against religious delusions, at least until it’s hello darkness my old friend. In which case, why not cancer of the brain? As a terrified, half-aware imbecile, I might even scream for a priest at the close of business, though I hereby state while I am still lucid that the entity thus humiliating itself would not in fact be “me.” (Bear this in mind, in case of any later rumors or fabrications.)

Surely, we could safely assume he did not know Christ.  I do not have the details of whether or not a clergy member came to his deathbed.  But he certainly heard the Gospel.  Even his brother had written, “The Rage Against God:  How Atheism Led Me To Faith”.  So, who knows.  But we have only 1 story in the Bible of a deathbed conversion, and even now, most are rumored mythology, as in the case of Charles Darwin.

 

 —– And, The Beach Boys have confirmed a 50 show reunion tour.  No lie, my first ever concert was not The Cathedrals, but  The Beach Boys.  My grandparents took me at 3 years old and I was waving a glo-stick with furious delight when they began to play Kokomo. 

 

Well, I thought I dreamt this. 

The irony is my KJV, Independent Baptist grandmother loves Bob Seger AND voted for Jimmy Carter in the Presidential Election because he was a Sunday School teacher.  Really it was just the tradition of the Southern Democrat (because they do exist).  She votes Republican now.  Or at least, ever since her vote for Ross Perot in ’92.

More Than Just A Christmas Carol

I was reading a recent article by Tony Reinke, diagramming “A Christmas Carol”, by one of my personal favorite literary masters, Charles Dickens.  My mother had me reading the Great Illustrated Classic versions of “A Tale of Two Cities”, “David Copperfield”, “Great Expectations”, and so on from the time I was 6.  Naturally, I grabbed his other books. 

A couple of years ago, I began my own tradition of reading “A Christmas Carol”, beginning 2 or 3 weeks before Christmas itself.  But little pieces of the Gospel began to illuminate a little more every year. 

For Dickens, Christmas is a reminder that we are all Scrooges, self-centered ungrateful nobs who yet have some hope of appeasing God through our personal reform.

Reinke lists some notable symbolism:

  • Dickens wants people to die in peace
  • Dickens’ hope is rooted in the future – in the finished work of moral reform necessary in our lives
  • Dickens’ work is good for what it is, a seasonal, warmhearted morality tale. For that I find it agreeable and commendable.

And then, a few days ago as I dusted the classic Christmas tale of the shelf again.  On the first page, there it was. 

There is no doubt that Marley was dead.  This must distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.

And then later, as his nephew barges in,

There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew: “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!

Moral reform is not the aim of the Gospel, but certainly it is a by-product of it.  But in the first quotation above, the thing that struck me is that this self-centered, cold, joyless, empty, hard-hearted old Scrooge is what it takes to make a wonderful story.  From the first page we’re given an encouraging foreshadowing to a great end result.  We know it will end alright, even though I’m about to read 131 more pages, until we’re able to see the complete transformation. 

The principle of reading this surely patterns the roots of Christ’s redemption in Genesis. 

And that’s what it is.  Moral reform.  Peace and good will toward men.  Joy to the world.  Redemption.  Scrooge is an earthly, crusted, shadowed tale of what Christmas represents.  Redemption. 

And in Dickens’ London culture of 1852 and maybe using real-life examples, his story has continue to embody good things, even if indirectly rooted in the hope that change can happen.  In anyone’s life.  Christ made it possible. 

 

 

Allison Krauss and The Wexford Carol

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Bring back the old school.  Maybe The Browns or the Annie Moses Band could dust this off.  Allison Krauss and Yo-Yo Ma perform “The Wexford Carol”, one the oldest extant Christmas carols in the European tradition. 

 

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved son
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born
The night before that happy tide
The noble Virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town
But mark right well what came to pass
From every door repelled, alas
As was foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble ox’s stall
Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep
To whom God’s angel did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear
Arise and go, the angels said
To Bethlehem, be not afraid
For there you’ll find, this happy morn
A princely babe, sweet Jesus, born
With thankful heart and joyful mind
The shepherds went the babe to find
And as God’s angel had foretold
They did our Saviour Christ behold
Within a manger he was laid
And by his side a virgin maid
Attending on the Lord of Life
Who came on earth to end all strife
There were three wise men from afar
Directed by a glorious star
And on they wandered night and day
Until they came where Jesus lay
And when they came unto that place
Where our beloved Messiah lay
They humbly cast them at his feet
With gifts of gold and incense sweet.
 

God Glorified In Blindness and Autism

Even though, it’s not “Sweet Beulah Land”, I came across this a couple of days ago.  Chistopher Duffley, age 10, born prematurely to a biological mother/addict of Cocaine and Oxycodone, “suffered” from blindness and autism.  God has harvested in the glory of that suffering.  Within the framework of his disabilities, it’s evident God has given him the talent of music.  One thing I was impressed with was his sense of timing when the music began to play.  Folks that aren’t blind and autistic fail to clap on the correct timing.  But this kid is making much of God’s Name.  An amusing thing however in the video, is that the audience begins to clap to this slow-mid tempo song.  White people will clap with anything.  Nonetheless, it’s a touching rendition.