Posts Tagged 'Culture'

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The Best Films of 2016 Will Break Your Heart and Stir Your Soul


There was also dancing. Lots of dancing. And the Academy knows it.

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Chasing Down Justice, Mercy and Good Samaritans in ‘Fantastic Beasts’


Spoiler Alert: Stephanie Carney did her best to not spoil any major elements, but we cannot guarantee all major plot points are protected.

As the credits began to roll at the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, my husband and I looked at each other and said, “I really liked that movie.” At first, we couldn't quite put into words why (it was more than the comfy reclining seats and the XD surround sound that was making my husband a bit giddy). I realize there are many opinions on the “magic” movie genre in general—I understand and I respect these views. But for me, there are three-ish reasons why I love Fantastic Beasts.

The value of understanding the world and culture you live in cannot be underestimated. Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne), a British wizard visiting New York City is also a magizoologist, an expert in magical creatures. He strives to understand magical creatures for their own good but also to educate the magical community so that these creatures won't be killed senselessly out of fear. When his creatures escape, he says: “We're going to recapture my creatures before they get hurt. They're currently in alien terrain surrounded by millions of the most vicious creatures on the planet—humans.”

Later, the President of the Magical Congress of the United States of America (Carmen Ejogo), shares this: “Magical beasts are terrorizing no-majs [non-magic people], and when no-majs are afraid, they attack.” I realize we're talking about magical creatures and fantastical people, but these lines resonated with me. Sometimes, we just don't bother to understand people.

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It's the Theology of 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!'


Editor’s note: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! turned 50 on October 27. We have a deep appreciation for Charlie Brown around these parts, and Mr. Sides has been writing about the theology of Charles Schulz’s Halloween animated special all month in our weekly Summitviewer emails. This post is a compilation of his thoughts from those emails, with a couple extra pieces of candy just for fun.

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Esther: A New Series about Providence, Power and Peace


Here we are in another election year. We sense the polarization and change this country is undergoing and are often gripped with fear, helplessness and hopelessness. We wonder: Where are we as a country going? Will this end well for us?

We have our own local issues, as well, such as single-payer healthcare, working wages and assisting the terminally ill. How do you step thoughtfully into the political arena? How do you engage in any of these issues with confidence, clarity and conviction? What if “my” side doesn’t win? Can you just stick your head in the sand and hope it all goes away?

Thankfully, the Bible has spoken.

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Re-reading Is Fundamental to Refreshing Your Life


No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally — and often far more — worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond. (C.S. Lewis)

If C.S. Lewis said it, then it must be true. One hardly need convince me that good literature feeds the soul and that the best books are worth reading again and again. I never leave home without a book at my fingertips or a book recommendation on my tongue.

Over the years I have found what I call “soul books” — kindred spirits that I read yearly, seasonally or simply when I need a comfort read. Not all books reach this status, but I have quite a few on my list. Books by Robin Jones Gunn, Francine Rivers, Lisa Wingate and Louisa May Alcott, to name a few. What I’ve experienced over many years of reading and re-reading is summed up by Louisa May Alcott: “Some books are so familiar that reading them is like being home again.”

When I pick up one of these books to read again, I often times expect a sentimental road trip or a brainless read. But instead, I “always find a new book,” as C.S. Lewis put it. My life experiences have changed. I am older, in a different phase of life, and these books speak to me in a completely different way than when I was a teenager, a college student, young single, young married or young mom.

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