Sunday, July 30, 2017



Lately my blog has taken on a distinctly serious side as I have let the cultural and political climate America dominate much of my thinking.  I decided it was time to choose a far less serious topic that may engender comments but I suspect less earth-shattering or vitriolic.  I have passed beyond my 66th birthday and during that time I have seen lots of movies. This past weekend I racked my brain a bit to try and remember all of their titles--which eludes me; but the purpose was to try and ascertain my top 25 favorite movies of all-time. I will warn you that I am a sucker for history, sports movies, science fiction and creative comedy. So for what it's worth--which may not be much--here they are:

1. A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (1966)  This is my favorite movie of all time which you may never heard of.  Paul Scofield and this film garnered six Academy Awards in this story of Sir Thomas More's refusal to accede to Henry VIII's serial divorces and break with the Catholic Church.

2. THE LORD OF THE RINGS (TRILOGY) (2001  2002  2003)  I loved JRR Tolkien's classics as a teen and was spell-bound by Peter Jackson's on screen version. It's hard for me to separate the three since their part of an entire story but Two Towers was probably my favorite of the trio.

3. THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963) Steve McQueen and James Garner starred in this exciting tale from World War 2.

4. SISTER ACT 1 AND 2 (1992 and  Sister Act 2-Back in the Habit 1993)  Whoopi Goldberg and her singing nuns made the church relevant and religion fun for tons of people.

5. JESUS OF NAZARETH (1977) Franco Zeferelli's miniseries was never theatrically released but it remains the best version ever of the life of Jesus.

6. STAR WARS-A NEW HOPE (1977)  I've loved almost of all of the Star Wars sagas, but the original has always remained my favorite.

7. TWISTER (1996) This movie's mix of excitement, drama and comedy and its fascinating tornados was a delight the first time I saw it on the wide screen and continues to be my most watched movie on the small screen.  I loved the flying cows.

8. THE LONGEST DAY (1962) Another classic WWII movie with an all-star cast and the second most watched movie by me over the years.


10. IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING (1949) Ray Milland starred in this baseball movie most of you never have seen.

 11. MISSISSIPPI BURNING (1964) Gene Hackman and the FBI take down the Ku Klux Klan in a movie every generation should watch.

 12. AMAZING GRACE (2006) Iaon Gruffod as William Wilberforce who brought down the slave trade in the British Empire.

 13. THE FIRM (1993) Tom Cruise as a young lawyer who breaks the power of a corrupt law firm. One of John Grisham's best books.
14. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) The first in the Indiana Jones series.  I could not leave the theater even to go to the bathroom.

15. HIDDEN FIGURES (2016) NASA, the space of the 60s and breaking the power of segregation with a powerful look at three of the smartest women in history.  The best new movie in the last year.

16. THE LION, WITCH AND THE WARDROBE (2005) CS Lewis' classic tale brought to life on the wide screen and true to the books I loved.

 17. THE PATRIOT  (2000)  Mel Gibson a Revolutionary War hero reminiscent of Francis Marion, The Swamp Fox
 18. EXODUS (1960) Paul Newman and others in Leon Uris' classic on the birth of Israel.

19. FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (1971) This is the only musical on my list.  Topol starred in this story of a Jewish family in changing Russia.  I loved the bottle dancers.  This was also the movie Dianne and I saw on our honeymoon, so it's got to be on the list.

 20. PATTON  (1970) George C. Scott in this classic bio of WWII's most brilliant and controversial general.

21. MONEY BALL (2011) I could have put a ton of baseball movies on the list but Brad Pitt's portrayal of Billy Bean who changed the face of modern baseball was a winner.

22. ARSENIC AND OLD LACE (1944) Cary Grant in this mystery/comedy made before I was born is still one of the funniest I have ever seen--especially with Teddy Roosevelt and the Panama Canal in his basement.

23. VON RYANS EXPRESS (1965)  A classic "escape" movie from WWII with Frank Sinatra and Trevor Howard.

 24. HUNT FOR THE RED OCTOBER (1990) One of Tom Clancy's best--a submarine adventure with Sean Connery and Alex Baldwin.  Connery made many movies magnificent.

25. LINCOLN (2012) Daniel Day Lewis was masterful in his portrayal of Lincoln and the emancipation of the slaves at the end of the Civil War.

 26. A FEW GOOD MEN (1992) A classic courtroom drama pitting Tom Cruise and Demi Moore against Jack Nicholson.  One of my most frequently watched movies.

What are some of your top movies?


Monday, July 24, 2017


Photo by Trevor Roberts, Cross and Crown


Head down, plowing forward.  That's the way that I live too much of the time.  A "To Do" list that should be renamed "The Tip of the Ice Berg" list.  Meals on the run. Sleep that is interrupted too early by the arrival of morning. Too busy to see the small stuff and sweating the small stuff I see.

These days our media and politics seem to be oozing with the dark side.  Civility and community get sacrificed on the twin altars of political correctness and political intransigence.  Inconvenient truth is dismissed as fake news.  The economy is a harsh master.  The suicide rate in America is rising.

But God is at work revealing something beautiful, refreshing and uplifting.  It is readily observed at any moment of the day and at most places on the planet.  It is the revelation God paints in creation.  And when we stop the racing and shut out the shouting, we just might see it.

What do we see?  Something that is greater than us--the hand of our gracious God: our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.  Makes think of the words of that magnificent hymn penned by Folliot S> Pierpont:

1. For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

2. For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

3. For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind's delight,
for the mystic harmony,
linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

4. For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

5. For thy church, that evermore
lifteth holy hands above,
offering up on every shore
her pure sacrifice of love;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

6. For thyself, best Gift Divine,
to the world so freely given,
for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

Maybe it's time to stop and what God has made.

Monday, July 3, 2017



Tomorrow is the 4th of July -Independence Day for America.  A secular holiday observed in this nation but one with important religious implications.  We but need to turn to the Declaration of Independence signed on July 4, 1776.

In pursuit of their freedom from the rule of England and the tyranny of King George III, our Founding Fathers staked their right to that freedom on the gift of a sovereign God.  The secularization of America has attempted to push such a belief from the public square.  In so doing we forget the admonishment of our first President, George Washington in his Farewell Address.

Very little time will be spent on any kind of serious reflection on the Fourth.  In some concert somewhere they will sing "God bless America," but sadly more out of sentimental tradition than earnest prayer.  Baseball, picnics and barbecues,, trips to the beach and the pool, fireworks and NASCAR, ice cream and other sweets, and no small amount of drunkenness will take precedence over prayer and any acknowledgement of the deeper spiritual truth that national and political freedom will always will always be dependent on guns and vigilance, human sacrifice and resolve.  But like all other realities of humanity--these can pass away all too quickly by regime change, political greed, or terrorist onslaught.

There is only one freedom which can endure and it is not dependent upon a human liberator, but a divine one.  The apostle Paul tells us of it:

This Fourth we should indeed give thanks for the men and women whose sacrifice has helped us be free as a nation and whose vigilance protects that freedom.  But ultimately, the only freedom that can endure is that which is grounded in the Spirit of the Lord and obedience to His leadership and dependent upon His power.