Short hiatus

I won’t be posting as usual tonight, because I’ll be at the Viking table for the Festival of Nations at the River Centre in St. Paul today, Saturday and Sunday. Stop by if you’re in the neighborhood. I’ll be back Monday.

Beyond parody dept., item # 3,892

In another milestone in the United Nations’ march toward a finer, freer world, the world body has “elected” Iran to a seat on its Commission on the Status of Women. Here’s the story from FOX News.

NEW YORK — Without fanfare, the United Nations this week elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which stoning is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged “immodest.”

Let’s pause for a moment to savor the bittersweet irony of this.

It’s a classic U.N. Compromise – “We have something for everyone! For liberals, we have enthusiastic support for abortion on demand. For conservatives, we have the stoning of women. Everybody should be happy!”

It’s hard to make anything like meaningful statements about “world opinion” and “international sentiment” (which is one of the basic problems at the core of the whole U.N. enterprise), but it seems to me a lot of the world (especially Europe) is counting on perpetual Islamic hatred for the United States to keep them out of the terrorists’ sights.

But this won’t last forever. Eventually, either because America has stood firm and scared the jihadists off, or because it has succumbed to dhimmitude, Islam will turn its eyes on the rest of the non-Muslim world (or, as it’s called in the Koran, “The House of War”).

And then, “the world community” will either have to man up and defend what they think of as their values, or say goodbye to their sexual experimentation, “gay” rights, feminism, and secularism.

It occurs to me that I probably ought not to worry as much as I do about the advances of social liberalism in America. They will almost certainly be stopped in time, either by a resurgence of Christianity in this country, or by the substitution of Shariah.

Tip: Townhall.com blog.

Modern Day Solutions to Fiscal Irresponsibility

Disney to buy Greece for $120 billion – Alice Schroeder writes a column she anticipates being published in eight months:

Morgan Stanley topped 2010 global debt-and-equity league tables and broke banking records by representing Walt Disney Co. in its $120 billion acquisition of Greece.

… Already under construction are Space Mountain Olympus, the Pirates of the Aegean water theme park covering hundreds of nautical miles, the Little Mermaid Harpoon thrill ride, and “Trojan,” a multimedia adventure that the company reassured shareholders yesterday will not be adult-themed. . . . The market was filled yesterday with speculation about similar deals, including reports that Diageo Plc is in discussions with Ireland, Spain and Portugal, three countries known for their alcohol production and consumption.

There Was an Old Man from . . . Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One

It’s still April, National Poetry Month, so I am compelled by the forces of nature and nature’s stewards, your neighborhood climatologists, to post a substantive poem for your cultural enrichment. What better choice could I make than an Edward Lear limerick.

Leg of Hare with Cream Sauce and Brussels Sprouts

There was an Old Person whose habits,

Induced him to feed upon rabbits;

When he’d eaten eighteen,

He turned perfectly green,

Upon which he relinquished those habits.

But wait! If you act now, you can get two limericks for the price of one.

There was a Young Lady whose eyes,

Were unique as to colour and size;

When she opened them wide,

People all turned aside,

And started away in surprise.

Another movie review: Into Temptation

It’s been a couple weeks since I watched the movie Into Temptation, and I’ve been postponing writing about it, as one postpones making a routine dentist appointment, or flipping one’s mattress. I feel about it as I do about some people—very nice people whose souls are in danger through loss of the content of their faith.

I first learned of Into Temptation because James Lileks’ little girl is an extra in one of the scenes (it was filmed here in Minneapolis), and he wrote about it over at the Bleat. Then I read some very enthusiastic reviews somewhere online, and decided it was worth checking out. Short review: It was a nice movie. It was a well-made movie, featuring some fine performances. It was also heterodox, targeted to adherents of the Oprah wing of Christianity.

I’m surprised it didn’t get wider distribution. It would seem to be the perfect film for mainline Christians. Continue reading Another movie review: Into Temptation

Are We Powerful Beyond Measure?

Faithfull Adaptation

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

I heard part of this quote in the good movie Akeelah and the Bee. Akeelah was told to read it from a framed copy on her spelling coach’s wall. They attributed it to no one, and I see that some people falsely claim it comes from Nelson Mandela. But the quote comes from a motivational speaker named Marianne Williamson in her book A Return to Love. She is extracting an idea she draws from A Course in Miracles, which is New Age self-help material from the 60s.

Having learned that, I guess I’m a little embarrassed the quote resonated with me so much. Continue reading Are We Powerful Beyond Measure?

Movie review: Ordet, dir. by Carl Theodor Dreyer

I had the idea that I’d read about the film Ordetover at Big Hollywood, but a search of their archives shows that that isn’t true. So I’m not sure where I learned about it, but I was impressed enough to place it in my Netflix cue.

Considered one of the masterpieces of one of the world’s great directors, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Ordet (The Word) is a movie that makes demands on the viewer (and not only because it’s in Danish and subtitled). It’s glacially slow by contemporary standards, and will shock many viewers with its treatment of subjects that, in our day, would only be handled in the cheesiest, low-budget Christian films. But I found myself increasingly engaged as the story went on, and was deeply moved by the end. Continue reading Movie review: Ordet, dir. by Carl Theodor Dreyer

Overstreet on Paying Attention



Jeffrey Overstreet talks art all of the time. Find him at a coffee bar, and you’ll hear him talking art. He doesn’t give directions to his dry cleaners without literary allusion. Here’s a quote from an interview with Heather Goodman:

If an artist focuses on the idea, the compulsion, the inspiration, then questions about how to engage the audience will probably find their answers along the way. I think a great deal of contemporary art is compromised and weakened by too much concern about who’s out there paying attention, and what they want to see. An artist’s first responsibility is to listen, and then to engage whatever questions or ideas or mysteries they’re encountering.

My favorite stories and movies don’t give me a sense that an artist is eager to please. They give me the feeling that I’ve stumbled onto a project that has the full attention of its artist. . . .

The Auralia Thread is being criticized by some readers of Christian fiction because it contains things that readers of Christian fiction don’t like to read. And it doesn’t have feel-good conclusions or obvious allegories, which readers of Christian fiction sometimes want. Well, perhaps that’s because I was just writing the story that seemed best to me . . .

Book Reviews, Creative Culture