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In my last post I reviewed the classic 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke (http://www.billisley.com/2017/06/cool-hand-luke-reviewing-a-classic/) and highlighted its religious symbolism in which Luke is portrayed as a suffering messiah struggling against oppressive forces.  A little while later, I was preparing a lesson on anger and read an excerpt from Martin Luther King’s Strength to Love.  The contrast between King’s resistance to oppression and Luke’s is extremely important and especially relevant in contemporary America’s disastrous cultural and political divisions. Read the rest of this entry »

Great movies, like great books, are worth returning to time and again because they deal with transcendent themes.  Last night I watched the 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke.  When I saw it as a teenager, I loved it.  I could quote my favorite lines.  My friends and I talked about our favorite scenes.  It was cool.  Yes, the ending was not happy (Do I need to warn about spoiler alerts for such an old movie?), but Paul Newman, who played Luke superbly, and the movie were cool.  Fifty years later, I’m not so sure. Read the rest of this entry »

Last night my wife and I watched the 1995 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, Sense and Sensibility.  Emma Thompson’s screenplay won her an Oscar.  Sense and Sensibility is the third Jane Austen novel that I have read (My wife has read them all.), and, while good, literarily, and especially stylistically, it comes in a distant second to Pride and Prejudice.

To prefer Pride and Prejudice to Sense and Sensibility is no surprise, but I would like to make the bold and daring assertion that the movie version of the latter is better than the novel. Read the rest of this entry »

During this season when many Christians have been observing Lent, I have been ruminating on Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal or Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32).  In this, I have been helped by Henri Nouwen’s, The Return of the Prodigal Son.   I have reached the conclusion that contemporary culture grossly, even fatally, has misunderstood the love of others as acceptance without forgiveness. Read the rest of this entry »

Donald Trump’s election is undoubtedly one of the most controversial in the history of American politics.  Out of the many criticisms that have been made I would like to address three: the potential for conflicts of interest because of Trump’s large and varied business enterprises, the injustice of the Electoral College, and finally his appeal to “angry white men.”  In examining these issues, it behooves us to rise above the biases of partisan politics and the immediate concerns, even legitimate ones specifically about Donald Trump, lest we miss the fundamental issues involved and their long-term consequences. Read the rest of this entry »

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