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Igor: Lessons in Virtue January 26, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Christianity, Movies, Art, & Music, Philosophy, Relationships and Family.
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The movie, Igor, is now available on DVD, and I’m planning to pick it up at our favorite, low-cost rental kiosk, Redbox, this morning.  Focus on the Family’s Plugged-In magazine has a helpful review of this family picture and gives us a breakdown, if somewhat forensic, of the value of morality and virtue Igor tries to show in a world where “bad is good and good is bad.”  

A good discussion with the kids of how we know what is bad and evil is sure to follow (see Romans 1:19-20, “men … hold the truth in unrighteousness”, and 1 Cor. 2:14, “he is not able to [know]”), which will invariably lead to a discussion of how we have the ability to do that which is good or evil (see igor_galleryteaserRomans 7:23-25).  These questions erupt: What does God think of sin, which, in all its varied forms and grades, is evil since there is no such thing as a “good” sin?  How can we escape it (both it’s immediate effects and its future significance)?  Is there anyone or anything that is truly “good”?  If not, then why pray, why do good deeds, why even attempt to love at all? 

If sin is always with us, and if God cannot abide any sin, then our only hope, as the Scriptures declare, is to have an intermediary, someone through whom our acts of devotion are deemed acceptable to God the Father.  See the following from Romans 3:10, 21-27:

… as it is written, “None is righteous, no not one.” … But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.

For more in-depth analysis of God’s view of sin and its effect on mankind, click here to review a list of sermons by John Piper in his detailed series on the letter of Paul to the Romans.

Clint Eastwood’s Drive January 25, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Movies, Art, & Music.
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gran_torino_posterFrontpagemag has an insightful article on the worldview of Clint Eastwood, what has driven his director’s eye, and what motivates the plot lines and character development of his films, the most recent of which, “Gran Torino”, should be a usual pleasure to see.

A New Endeavor for an Old Purpose January 19, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Business, Christianity, Law, Movies, Art, & Music, Philosophy, politics, Relationships and Family, Religion, science.
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Two Kingdoms.  The phrase may spark memories of history lessons and midieval empires or perhaps  images of the Sphinx Stele of Amenhotep II and the New Kingdom’s conquoring of all enemies.  For others, this phrase, “two kingdoms,” has an entirely different meaning.

In the Christian faith, throughout the Scriptures we find reference to kingdoms.  We find kingdoms of men noted repeatedly, but we also find discussion of another kingdom, a spiritual kingdom, God’s kingdom.  It intimates along lines of his rule and authority in the heavenly realms; yet, it also concerns his soverignty, his control absolute over the affairs of men and the kingdoms of men.  This is the biblical rule.

In his work, Church History in Plain Language, Bruce Shelley expands on this:

In the third century Christianity was no longer a minor Jewish sect. It was fast emerging as the dominant rival to the old ways of Rome. Men of culture and power were asking the big questions. What is Christianity’s role in the affairs of men and empires?

The church always stands in a dual relationship to human affairs. Jesus summarized the role best when he spoke of his diciples — “not of the world” but “sent into the world” (John 17:16, 18). This suggest taht in God’s plan the church feels the rythm of detachment and involvement: detachment because of the gospel and eternal life are not from but from God; yet involvement because God sends the church into the world to shine as light and to lead men to the truth.

Thus, the church moves through history to a special beat: separation from the world yet penetration of the world…

Thus, we have a glimpse of the two kingdoms this blog will address.  I will endeavor to speak to matters both related to this realm, the kingdom of men (including philosophy, relationships, politics, business, science, ethics, law, medicine, and art), and the other, the kingdom of God, which, as noted, touches every corner of the kingdom of men as well.  The purpose is old: I do it solely for God’s glory.  I do not seek attention, save in the expansion of knowledge of these kingdoms and in the general search for truth. It is my prayer and ultimate hope that some will find comfort in these pages, illumination, and better knowledge of the faith of the Christians, rooted in the redemptive cross-work and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the “author and finisher of our faith.” (see Hebrews 12:2).