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Posts Tagged ‘culture wars’

The pre-release buzz for this indie film has brought to my attention a war that I don’t remember hearing about before – and it happened only 90 years ago, in a neighboring country, with staggering loss of life. I’m a bit embarrassed that it took a movie to put the Cristeros on my radar screen, but I guess I’m not surprised, given the approach to ‘history’ that reigned in the public schools and college that I attended, which simultaneously disdained religious belief, while polishing the brass for bloody communist and socialist experiments.

I’d like to know more. I’d also like to see some oral history projects launched in the United States, while people who are only one generation removed from the conflict are still alive to tell the stories their parents and grandparents told them. We have lots of immigrants from Mexico. Surely many of them have family stories to share.

As for the movie, here’s a bit of commentary from people who saw early cuts. And here’s the official website. The film opens in theaters June 1.

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The cult of the expert, and other plagues, didn’t come upon us entirely without warning, as old books and magazines show.

 

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Gerard Nadal writes:

This book addresses one of the burning issues of our day. With prenatal diagnostics leading to the abortions of the less-than-perfect among us, with parents who are frightened into paralysis by these diagnoses and a medical establishment increasingly surrendering to the cowardice of eugenics, over thirty mothers and three fathers of special needs children have stepped forward to share their journeys.

If one is looking for a feel-good easy read, this book isn’t it. This book tells the story of fear, bewilderment, broken hopes and dreams, and the triumph of love in all of its raw and untamed beauty. It is a window into the human soul, into souls that have been forever transformed by children whose needs call forth what love demands most:

Sacrifice.

For those of us who have known the unspeakable beauty of being loved by another, we know that the love we have experienced has come at a cost to the one who has loved us. They have given us their time, attention; material, spiritual and emotional substance. They have accepted us with our strengths and pursued us in spite of our weaknesses–even because of our weaknesses. They have wrapped us in their love and esteem, and lifted us to heights we never could have attained by our own efforts.

That is the sort of love that flows through this book like a rampaging river, overflowing the banks that would contain it, and flooding the surrounding countryside. It is the sort of love that is desperately sought after in a world desperate for authentic love, and purpose, and meaning.

The stories in this book are the stories a frightened and weary world needs to hear, a world that has bought into the counterfeit culture for so long it mistakes love’s essence–sacrifice–with servility, and fails to see its reciprocity…

Read the whole thing.

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A couple of chapters from Not Exactly Allies:

46 – BERTIN GOES SEARCHING FOR CLUES

A few days later, Bertin Nason decided he was tired of sitting around hoping someone came up with information on the Arab boy’s murder, or on undercover communists of a latter-day mutant variety, or on the ambusher Jean Blondet, or any of a half dozen other matters nibbling away at his thoughts and his sanity and his sense of duty. (more…)

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1. Does anyone know which Bible translation(s) the American Founding Fathers were using? It’s my understanding that the Pilgrims used the Geneva Bible (which I’m reading on Kindle in a 1587 edition), but it occurs to me that (off the top of my head) I don’t know what the Founders were hauling with them to all those hate-to-do-it-but-it’s-time-to-sever-ties-with-the-homeland sessions, or to the earliest sessions of Congress. I’m sure I can get the info by googling, but quite frankly, my first searches turned up an avalanche of anti-Christian, hate mongering sites that libel, and badly misrepresent, the Founders, more than they shed light on them. (Sigh.) [Added: A reader found this on Bibles used for the swearing in of Presidents, and left the link in the comments. Interesting. It also reminds me of what I should have remembered. Bibles were rare and expensive in colonial America, in part because the King controlled who could print Bibles.]

2. Regarding the Geneva Bible: if you aren’t used to the writing style and the slightly-modified alphabet of the 16th century, hang in there. It makes sense after a while. The spellings will be all over the board, even on the same page. Nombers is the same as numbers, for instance. U and v swap places a lot. I frequently means J. And so on, and so on. A little more difficult than sounding out words to get the right one, is figuring out where letters are dropped, but it’s assumed you know they’re there. N and M get left off a lot, erratically. In many old texts, a line over a letter apparently means it is followed by an n or m. (This Kindle book doesn’t do that, but for a great example of old-style writing that might help you ‘crack the code’, see The prophete Ionas with an introduccion before teachinge to vnderstonde him and the right vse also of all the scripture/ and why it was written/ and what … the true sense and vnderstondynge therof. [Kindle Edition], by William Tyndale.) Just to make it more fun, words get combined that we don’t usually combine any more. Shalbe means shall be, for instance. (I’m thinking we might want to bring that word back into use, by the way. It’s growing on me.)

3. This doesn’t quite answer my original question, but I just thought to google “congressional bible america,” and got this.

4. Changing subjects, you may laugh at me now. I’m self-publishing eleven years’ worth of books I’ve written, some of which got good noises from publishers, but no actual contract. I have most of them on Kindle and Nook now, and have been working on trade paperback editions, which are slowly coming to completion. I don’t expect to bump anyone off the bestseller lists, but I figure, on the one hand, that I might as well try to get a little something out of them, and, on the other, that if I don’t publish them, I will be editing and rewriting them on my deathbed. I simply can’t seem to stop polishing, unless a book is actually out on store shelves. So, I have declared “Enough!” on several books, and put them out. What I invite you to laugh about is my consternation over the cover of the large print edition of Why We Raise Belgian Horses. I have come up with a cover that is eye-catching, and pleasant, and that I don’t think will drive off men on the one hand, or women on the other. (This novel was out in a homemade edition years ago, and did well with men as well as women, adults as well as teens. While this is good, it makes cover design a bit tricky. You can’t be too girly, or too masculine.) So, I have a nice cover design, one that I think is better than the one I went with on the regular trade paperback, or the ebooks. It even looks good in a thumbnail, or from across the room. The problem is that the photo I’ve used is of a horse that really isn’t quite the right sort of Belgian horse. But I really like the photo. It’s artsy, with lighting that plays into the storyline. If I go with what I have, I’m nearly ready to go. I’ve just redone the back cover copy, and am waiting on what could be the final proof – if I don’t change the picture. The first proof sits on my work table, causing me to seesaw between ‘ooh, I like that,’ and ‘hmmm, should I try to find another photo?’ As if it really, really matters…

5. I am still harvesting from the garden. Amazing. I have nine watermelons that are nearly ripe, which is really amazing. The odds of any of them actually getting ripe this time of year are probably slim to none, but I sometimes go out and marvel at them, resolutely ignoring the season. For that matter, I am still getting blossoms on the watermelon and pumpkin vines. Go figure.

6. David Jeremiah, on his radio show, has been talking about cultural rot and where the church (that would be all us believers) fits in. This week, he was using Vincent Van Gogh’s painting of the Church of Auvers to help illustrate a point. Not knowing the painting, I looked it up. And then followed links. And came to this literature-rich letter from the artist to his brother Theo in 1880, which contains some food for thought, I think.

7. While halfheartedly searching for new cover art, and happily taking detours as they showed up, I stumbled across this blog, which looks promising. Papergreat shares clips from old newspapers, magazines and books. Here’s a post with clippings from World War II.

7 Quick Takes Friday is hosted at Conversion Diary. Head here for this week’s round up. Our hostess is discussing Halloween costumes, controversies related to Halloween, forewords to Catholic books, pseudo Jedi mind tricks, Story Engineering, the best rap songs for Catholics, and is wondering what makes a good photo portrait.

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From “Life Imitates Art: Redeeming Pop Culture” (Chuck Colson, Breakpoint Commentary, September 22, 1999):

…Up until the Enlightenment, art was seen as a way of expressing profound truths. Not necessarily literal truth; yet even symbols and metaphors reflect something true about reality—like portraying angels with wings or saints with halos. Beauty itself was seen as a kind of truth.

But in the Enlightenment, a new theory of truth was born—that the only real knowledge derives from what can be seen, touched, and measured scientifically. Since angels and halos cannot be seen or measured, out they went. Beauty itself is an ideal that cannot be measured scientifically, so out it went, too—relegated to the realm of subjective fantasy.

But if art was no longer about truth, then what WAS it about? Many artists began to define art as the creation of an abstract, idealized world—and from that ideal world they hurled down thunderbolts upon the real world for all its shortcomings. Thus was born the idea that art is about criticism and revolt—a means of shocking conventional society. Filtered down to the popular level, this view of art inspired movies and rock music that today launch a relentless attack on traditional values.

If Christians want to help halt the degradation of popular culture, we must understand it is not merely a result of declining public tastes: It is a direct result of a change in worldview. And instead of merely decrying the decadence, we need to roll up our sleeves and offer positive alternatives—imitating the inspiring success of Martha Williamson [the producer of Touched by an Angel] and many others.

C.S. Lewis once said that the only way to drive out bad culture is to create good culture. We need to recognize that artistic talent is a gift from the Lord—and that developing those talents is the only way to create good culture.

hat tip: How Now Shall We Live? Devotional, Tyndale House, 2004.

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Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner  were on this morning’s Focus on the Family broadcast discussing how Christians can and should engage today’s culture.  Much of the discussion was tied to material covered in their book: City of Man: Religion and Politics in the New Era.

The discussion was worthwhile, and the book sounds like it might be a good one to read.

If nothing else, listen to this 10:16 bonus audio on Early Christian Response to Government. There is much we can learn from people who offered hope during times of severe persecution.

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