Archive for the ‘Religion and Culture’ Category

My wife and I spent an extended weekend in Branson, Missouri to celebrate her birthday this year.  Although we enjoyed a couple of shows, ate some good food, and purchased a few nice items, I came away reflecting on the difference between nostalgia and memoria. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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 »

The theme of hope has been in the news recently.  In an interview outgoing First Lady Michelle Obama, lamenting what in her view is the loss of hope, said, “Hope is necessary.  It’s a necessary concept.”  Incoming President Donald Trump responded, “I’m telling you, we have tremendous hope.  And we have a tremendous promise and tremendous potential.”

Although both political figures rightly emphasize the importance of hope, they are terribly misguided about its nature.  The Christmas story in the Gospels reveals the true nature of hope and its power. Read the rest of this entry »

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