Monday Morning Movie Review: The Wicker Man (1973)

I watch quite a few movies, and most of them come and go without leaving much of a mark.  Indeed, I pretty much only watch movies now, with the exception of a few shows (like Bob’s Burgers).  Some of them probably deserve more attention than I give them, as I’m usually multitasking—poorly—while watching them.

But for every eight duds there is one film that will stick out.  These are usually the ones I write about.  Typically they stick out in a positive way, though Ponty has encouraged me to write some reviews of movies I don’t like (you can read one such review here).  This week’s selection really made an impact on me, and it’s one I heartily recommend.

The flick is 1973’s The Wicker Man, based on a 1967 novel by David Pinner called Ritual.  The film is, perhaps, one of the most Christian (and pro-Christian) movies I have seen in a long time.  I don’t think its creators intended it as a Christian film, but I’ll make the case for it in this review.

That said, if I’m correct, The Wicker Man probably has the most nudity of any Christian film ever made.

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Lazy Sunday CXLV: Christmas Cheer

Here’s hoping everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  Today it’s all about church and after-Christmas sales.

Technically, we’re still in the glorious Christmas season.  That whole “twelve days of Christmas” isn’t just to flesh out a tedious novelty song; Christians used to (and many still do) celebrate Christmas for twelve days, marking the major events of Christ’s young life.  Really, Christmas ends on Epiphany, on 6 January.  It commemorates the Wise Men’s’ visit to the Christ Child, which represents Christ’s manifestation to the Gentiles.

Granted, I probably won’t be writing about Christmas on 6 January 2022 (we’ll see!), but I’m not opposed to squeezing in some more Christmas fun.

To that end, here are some three recent Christmas classics:

Merry Christmas!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Merry Christmas!

Here it is—Christmas Day 2021!  Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas.

It’s been a big year for yours portly, and I’ll be doing a full year-in-review recap soon.

For today, however, I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and share the Christmas Story from Luke 2:1-20.  I still remember my late paternal grandfather reading this passage to us every Christmas when we were children.

Before that, I have one other Christmas Day reading recommendation:  contributor and commenter 39 Pontiac Dream published an excellent piece at The Conservative Woman this week entitled “Have yourself a Cheesy Channel 5 Christmas.”  It’s all about the saccharine-sweet, predictable, but oddly satisfying Christmas movies that Hallmark puts out ever year.  Ponty does a great job of explaining why these picture-perfect, impossibly kindhearted films are so endearing (in part because they are picture-perfect and impossibly kindhearted).

With that, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  Here is the Word of God (c/o BibleGateway.com; translation is NKJV):

Christ Born of Mary

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed [a]wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a [b]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Glory in the Highest

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And [c]behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a [d]manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill[e] toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made [f]widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Read full chapter

Footnotes

  1. Luke 2:5 NU omits wife

  2. Luke 2:7 feed trough

  3. Luke 2:9 NU omits behold

  4. Luke 2:12 feed trough

  5. Luke 2:14 NU toward men of goodwill

  6. Luke 2:17 NU omits widely

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

This past Sunday was the first of December, and my first time back at my little church since Thanksgiving.  That meant it was time—finally!—to play some Christmas carols.

We started the service with a rousing congregational singing of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” which is apparently my pastor’s favorite carol.  Our second congregational singing was “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” a beautiful little hymn with some interesting harmonies and leaping melodies—typical of carols.

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TBT: Singing Christmas Carols with Kids

December is here, and that means it’s time for Christmas music!  My students and I are prepping for our annual Christmas concert—back after The Age of The Virus—and have been playing and singing quite a bit of Christmas music.

Indeed, my Music Club—a club designed to get students involved in playing and performing music who, for whatever reason, could not get a music class fit into their schedules—met Tuesday to sing some carols, with the idea being that we will spend lunch and break periods next week caroling for the student body.

As their voices came together in sparkling purity, it reminded me of this post from last year.  We started our short rehearsal with “Silent Night,” one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs, and the sweetness and fullness of it with eight or so singers really swelled my heart.  We also sang “Joy to the World,” “Away in a Manger,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” and one or two others that escape me.

I once heard that singing is good for you, both physically and mentally.  Christmas carols—songs about the Birth of Our Savior, Jesus Christ—surely are good for you spiritually, too.  Sing some today.

With that, here is 4 December 2020’s “Singing Christmas Carols with Kids“:

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Supporting Friends Friday: Audre’s New Blog

In hindsight, it seems inevitable, but somehow, Audre Myers went all this time writing without a blog of her own.  She’s long been a contributor to Nebraska Energy Observer and the comment sections of The Conservative Woman (and this blog), but to my knowledge, she never hosted a blog of her own.

Well, that’s all changed.  This past weekend she launched her own blog, Words on the Word.  It’s a Biblical commentary blog in which Audre posts a section of Scripture and provides her analysis of it, and how it pertains to our lives.

As Audre puts it:  “The plan is, I’ll write my thoughts as they pertain to the day’s New Testament reading for Morning Prayer.”

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The War on Halloween

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It has long been the position of this blog that Halloween gets a bad rap, especially from the Christian Right. The holiday’s association with deviltry, witchcraft, and the occult is, of course, difficult to deny, but the holiday’s name is an abbreviation of “All Hallow’s Eve”; that is, the evening before All Saints’ Day on 1 November.

Granted, the Internet atheists will claim the roots of Halloween in Samhain, the Gaelic festival of the harvest. They are not wrong, per se—the influx of Irish immigrants into the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries brought a peculiarly Celtic flavor to the holiday. But the holiday is a Christian, specifically a Catholic, one—the Irishmen bringing tales of Jack O’Lantern and his carved turnip (it would only later become a pumpkin) were not ancient pagans, but among the most devout believers in Europe.

Certainly the medieval Catholic Church had a habit of taking pagan holidays and replacing them with Christian observances. For some reason, Internet atheists always use these replacements as examples of Christianity’s secretly pagan roots. The argument is ludicrous.

When Hernan Cortez destroyed the Aztec temple at Tenochtitlan and built a cathedral in its place, was he honoring the bloodthirsty Aztec gods? Or was he symbolically noting that The Holy Trinity had displaced the false gods and idols of the Aztecs? It is almost certainly the latter. Similarly, when Christians took existing pagan observances and replaced them with Christian ones, they were symbolically and practically demonstrating the victory of Christ and His Church over pagan gods.

Indeed, much of the American Protestant objection to Halloween must have been due to its associations with the Papists, rather than the Devil. The mischievousness of the holiday in the twentieth century, especially the concept of trick-or-treating, probably has more to do with its more sinister modern associations.

But the latest assault on Halloween is coming from a different quarter.  No longer are conservative Christians alone in hedging their bets on the holiday.

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In Memoriam: A Triple Obituary

In lieu of Supporting Friends Friday, I’ve decided to dedicate this Friday’s post to the memories of three great men that left us in the past week.  One was a beloved funnyman; the second an influential public intellectual; the third a former colleague’s husband.

That order is not indicative of a ranking by significance or importance, to be clear.  As I noted, I consider all three of these gentleman to be great men.  Each contributed something to the world in their own way.

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