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Christopher Lake

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  1. Christopher Lake


    I haven't yet found a thread on this artist at Arts and Faith, and my writing about her is long overdue here, but Gretchen Parlato's "The Lost and Found" was my favorite CD of 2011, by any artist, in any genre. This disc is beautiful and hypnotic, and it works for me at any time of the year, but I enjoy it most during fall and winter. Years ago, Ms. Parlato was the first winner of the (new at the time) "Vocal" category in the Thelonius Monk Competition. Check out the EPK for "The Lost and Found":
  2. As a Paste fan and an opera lover (and a fan of Bobby Womack!), I'm ecstatic!
  3. Attica, I had a longer reply to your above reply typed out here, and I just lost it. I wish I could reproduce it for you here, but it's gone. I'm sorry. I absolutely have to doggedly devote myself to my graduate studies for the next week. Lord willing, I will be back to this thread by the 12th. In the meantime, I sincerely hope that you will carefully read and consider, rather than quickly dismissing, the article on "Ecclesial Deism," for which I provided the link. The fact that you are neither Reformed nor Catholic does not mean that the article has nothing which addresses your perspective. (I was not always Reformed as a Protestant myself. I have held different perspectives at different times.) The piece addresses some perspectives and objections that are very similar to ones you have raised here, yourself, about doctrinal corruption in early Christianity. I hope you will consider giving it another reading. http://www.calledtoc...cclesial-deism/ In addition, when you mentioned, in an earlier comment, about us having to "limp along with bad translations of Scripture," I thought of another article which really compares and contrasts our different approaches to reading Scripture well. I do not believe that contemporary Scriptural exegetes necessarily have such a better understanding of Scripture than the comparable exegetes who lived from 100-500 A.D.-- including St. Augustine, yes, but also St. Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, St. Jerome, and many, many others. If any future discussion of Scripture among us is really going to bear fruit, it would probably be helpful for you to read this article about our contrasting exegetical approaches, so that you can understand why I believe that your more lexical, "word-study-based" approach to Scripture (an approach which was mine for years!) is problematic, or at least lacking, in some important ways: http://www.calledtoc...nd-the-lexicon/ To be very clear here, I do realize that you're not all about the word-study approach, in an exclusive sense, and I know that you do care about exegetical tradition (otherwise, you wouldn't be referring to early Church writers, such as Origen and others!), and I also do still care about the word-study, lexical approach, to an extent, but still, there are major differences in how you and I exegete Scripture that are going to lead us to continual stalemates, unless we each recognize where the other is coming from exegetically, and then try to carefully engage each other with the recognition of our differing exegetical "languages/worldviews," so to speak. Ok, I have one more thread to reply to, and then, I have to go study like a monk in his cell! Lord willing, I'll be back to this thread by sometime next Friday. I wish you a blessed weekend and coming week! P.S. In a good bit of your exegesis on God's "wrath," above, you are addressing, at least in your understanding, the Augustinian view of the Atonement, but it actually seems closer to the Reformed view... and the Reformed view of the Atonement is not the Catholic view of the Atonement, especially as relating to the notion of God's wrath: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/04/catholic-and-reformed-conceptions-of-the-atonement/
  4. Thanks for this clarification, Attica. Given that this is what you believe that Jesus and His original disciples taught about Hell, at what point do you believe that the early Church began to "fall away" from this understanding? Given that God, presumably, wants to communicate the truth to us, about Heaven, Hell, and others matters of serious importance, why do you think that He has allowed (what are, in your view) false understandings of Hell to be taught, predominantly, for well over 1, 500 years, in Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Protestantism? Even in terms of historic Orthodox theology, which is more amenable to your view (perhaps-- Orthodox scholars disagree among themselves on this) than either Catholicism or Protestantism, Orthodoxy today does not teach your view of Hell as a legitimate position to hold within the Orthodox Church(es). This means that of the two oldest visible, organized, established Churches within Christendom (Catholic and Orthodox, or Orthodox and Catholic, depending on which you believe was first, hehe!), neither one currently allows your view of Hell as a legitimate view to hold within their fold(s). The Catholic Church definitely does not teach UR, nor does she even allow it to be held by her members. The Orthodox Church(es) allow for more latitude, as to what Orthodox Christians believe about Hell, but I am still not aware of any branch within Orthodoxy today which allows its members to hold that all people definitely will be eternally saved. Now, I know that you believe that the earliest Church, the one established by Jesus Himself, did actually teach your view of Hell, because you believe that this view is what Jesus Himself taught. Over time then, not only in Catholicism and Protestantism, but apparently, also in Orthodoxy, you believe that a "corrupted, paganized" doctrine of Hell gained predominance. (I write this, given that Orthodoxy today does teach that Hell is eternal, and people can go there eternally. Therefore, it seems that you must believe that Orthodoxy was eventually corrupted by paganism too, regarding the subject of Hell.) When did this corruption begin? How do you account for the fact that UR-- the correct view, in your opinion-- has been such a very minority opinion for at least a thousand years-- not taught officially, or even allowed to be held, within Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and most Protestant circles? How does this not equate to a form of "ecclesial deism," in relation to God's workings among Christians? The following article is a lengthy one, by online standards, but it is on the theme, which you have mentioned, of doctrinal corruption in the early Church. I hope that you will read and seriously consider it (especially as I haven't given you many numerous articles to read thus far-- only this one, I think?): http://www.calledtoc...cclesial-deism/ I have some major work that is due tomorrow, for a graduate class in theology, and I have a mid-term on the 10th that is 30% of my grade for the class. Between now and then, I may not be able to respond, at least not at great length, on this thread. On other threads here, I will be commenting, if at all, only very briefly. I apologize for the hiatus in our discussion, but I really do need to attend to my formal studies. Lord willing though, I will be back! Blessings.
  5. Attica, first of all, I want to thank you for providing much more supporting evidence for your view than you did in previous comments. That is very helpful. Actually though, in relation to your comments #130 and #131 (but particularly 130!), you may have pointed me to so many resources here, now, that I couldn't possibly have the time to respond to all of them! There is also, for me, the fact, which you, of course, had no absolutely way of knowing about, that my physical disability of Cerebral Palsy makes typing very lengthy comments (and responding, at length, to lengthy comments) more of a physical exertion than such things are for most people. Again, I asked for more evidence for your view, and you provided it, and I'm glad for that. It helps our discussion. I just probably won't be able, physically speaking, to respond to you at the length, and with the detail, with which you might sometimes respond to me. I will do what I can though. Before I do respond at much greater length, I want to be sure that I am accurately engaging the position which you actually hold. Nothing is less productive than to pose a caricature of someone else's view. Could you please explain to me, briefly, what you do believe about Hell, and about the Bible's and the early Church's position(s) on it? For example, is it your contention that the Bible and the early Church both teach that all people are saved after their deaths? Do you believe that there is an eternal Hell of some sort but that is simply empty? Do you believe that any people go there, at all, even for a limited amount of time? If your answer to these questions is, "None of the above," what is the view, to which you hold, that I should be engaging? I just want to be sure that our mutual (or respective, as the case seems to be!) understandings of Hell (meaning, I would hope, our understandings of the Bible's and the early Church's teachings on Hell) are very clear to both of us here. Again, I don't want to attempt to engage and answer a caricature of what you believe, rather than the genuine article. That would be both disrespectful and unproductive, in terms of Christian charity, and for our discussion.
  6. My apologies to all for my part in taking this thread away from the film itself. I'll join the discussion over at the other thread. Before I go, I do want to say, and I would hope that this doesn't even need to be said, but just in case, I strongly, strongly abhor both the theology (on Hell and on other issues) and the tactics of Westboro Baptist Church. There is no room in the Catholic Church for such hyper-hyper-hyper-Calvinist insanity-- and I should add that every Calvinist whom I have ever personally known (including myself, for years!) also abhors the thinking and approach of Westboro Baptist Church.
  7. Not sure if I agree, but another take on it. For what it's worth, I'm not convinced by the article, nor do I have any idea what the author is talking about when he writes of this particular moment when Christians have moved into the popular culture. I'm not offended by M&S's Christian beliefs. I'm a Christian. Why would I be offended? I'm also not offended by their liberal use of f-bombs. Do people still care about this stuff? I can't imagine why. But the idea of Christian musicians NOT operating in the general culture is a relatively recent one, dating back to the late '60s and the emergence of the Contemporary Christian Music industry, and throughout CCM's history there have been dozens and dozens of Christian artists who have elected (wisely, in my opinion) not to go the CCM route, and to simply take their chances in the wider world. There's nothing new here, and this particular "moment" has lasted for decades. Here's something that Mr. Fitzgerald can't fathom: some of us don't like M&S because we don't think they're very good musically or lyrically. Imagine that. What you (Andy) said.
  8. Attica, with respect, you have not shown, i.e. thoroughly demonstrated via documentation, that many early Church Fathers held to universal reconciliation. One or two short quotes, here and there, from one or two Church Fathers is obviously not thorough historical documentation. All that you have established is that you interpret certain Church Fathers as holding to universal reconciliation. You have spoken to a Bishop, maybe more than one, who has confirmed your view. Perhaps there is some merit to that confirmation. However, I can find Bishops in the Catholic Church who will quite vehemently "confirm" for me that the Church has supposedly not always held artificial contraception and abortion to be grave evils. Those Bishops do not represent the official teaching of the Catholic Church. They might well benefit from a long talk with the Pope. As to the paintings of Hell in Catholic churches and cathedrals, Scripture itself uses symbols to point to deeper realities. Because many historic Catholic paintings artistically depict Hell in certain ways, that does not mean that all of the particulars of those paintings are part(s) of Catholic dogma and doctrine about Hell. The Church teaches that Hell involves conscious suffering. Catholic paintings have artistically depicted that suffering in many different ways. However, to be eternally separated from God is the worst possible suffering for man, period. Yet many people do at least seem to choose to be separated from God while in this life. Some of them may well choose that separation for eternity-- but if they do, it is, finally, their choice. Does not Scripture state that after death comes the judgment-- from the One who truly is fit to Judge? Whence such a judgment, if all are, or will be, saved? God sends no one to Hell who has not already made that choice for him/herself. There is no injustice with God. He gives us what we eternally choose-- life with Him, in friendship with Him, or apart from Him, as some may well wish for themselves, sadly. About the differences between the Catholic Church and Orthodoxy, on original sin, and on certain other doctrinal matters, yes, there are differences, but I am not aware of any strong tendency in Orthodoxy to assert that those differences can be pointed to to support UR as a legitimate Orthodox position. (UR is obviously a non-starter in Catholicism. It has been officially condemned as a heresy-- which is why I, a Catholic, called it a heresy. Should I misrepresent what the Catholic Church teaches, so as not to offend you, or anyone else here, on a Christian message board? I'm writing about matters of dogma and doctrine here, not trying, or meaning, to insult you or anyone.) Last thoughts for this evening, as I have to go... you wrote that "Arianism was always considered to be a heresy by the early orthodox church." This is simply false. As I mentioned above, in an earlier comment, up to the 4th century, there were many geographical areas of the Church in which Bishops (including most of the Bishops, in certain areas!) taught Arianism as the "orthodox view," and viewed Trinitarianism as heretical. The matter was finally settled by a Church Council, but it is not the case that Arianism was simply, clearly, "always considered to be a heresy." These matters were debated and settled over time through Councils of the early Church (whether one understands the early Church to be Orthodox, Catholic, proto-Protestant, or something else). On that subject, where are such Councils still being called today?
  9. ((SPOILERS)) For those who were disappointed, and/or saddened, by the end of House of the Devil, I can empathize. I liked HOTD, overall, as a film, but I did not like the overwhelming feeling, at the end, of darkness and the unequivocal triumph of evil. The end of The Innkeepers is melancholy as well but somehow, it's not as overwhelming to me. Of the two, I prefer The Innkeepers-- both overall, and, especially, the last twenty or so minutes. HOTD finally becomes over-the-top and cartoonish (at least to me, though somehow, I'm really not sure where else it could have gone), while the comparable latter scenes of TI are truly bone-chilling and terrifying. I'm getting a bit scared now just thinking about certain moments! I'm glad that I own it to watch whenever I want to be frightened! (There are definitely theological implications in that last sentence... too bad my (Catholic) graduate school doesn't offer a Master's in Film Studies!)
  10. Rushmore is a good, funny, very creative film.... but if it's a hell of a lot better than Annie Hall, then I'm a long-distance runner, and I've had Cerebral Palsy since birth...! I'm a serious Wes Anderson fan, but Woody, in his halcyon days (at least from Annie Hall to Crimes and Misdemeanors), was a comedic and cinematic genius. Anderson's great, but he hasn't (yet) reached the level of Woody Allen's best by far (as always, in my opinion, of course)! Ah, good old subjectivity. I like Annie Hall okay, but it's not even close to being a great film in my estimation. Then again, I'm not much for Woody Allen. And maybe experiencing the film so long after it's premiere dulls the experience. It's not as refreshingly original a couple decades later. Especially now that Woody Allen has practically become a brand name. EDIT: Not that I really have any interest in disparaging Woody Allen in defense of Rushmore, but if I take a second to analyze why one film (and one filmmaker) interests me so much more than the other, it might go something like this: Woody Allen films always have a myopic, narcissistic bent to them. They're films about Woody Allen, in other words, and as such are modestly amusing and insightful. I guess I prefer the wide-angle whimsy Wes Anderson brings to the table. Max Fischer, in particular, is such an interesting character (also, I might add, quite narcissistic), and his interactions with other characters drives the film, whereas I often get the sense there's often nothing driving Woody Allen films beside Allen's own hypochondriac monologue. Although, when you consider the character of Max Fischer, his penchant for 'theater,' etc., you might say Anderson owes a lot to Allen in general. I just watched The Royal Tenebaum, the other night, and it's a fair question if New York, as shown in that film, would exist at all if not for films like Annie Hall. I do think that Wes Anderson owes at least some of his creative vision(s) to "classic-era" Woody Allen (even as you would disagree about the "classic" part!). The Royal Tenenbaums is my favorite Anderson film, and without the work of both Robert Altman and Woody Allen, I don't think that we would have Tenenbaums. Woody's narcissism (at least in his films) doesn't bother me too much. Actually, quite often, I like it! I see it less as narcissism, and more as a particular form of OCD-tinged urban neuroticism, which, as a man who was born and raised far from New York (in small-town Alabama), I find to be anthropologically interesting, and even charming/winsome in an unusual way!
  11. Attica, I have to admit that I'm a bit surprised about your sensitivity to my use of the words "heresy" and "heretic" in this discussion-- especially given that you seem to believe that the understandings of both the atonement and Hell that are held by large sections of Christianity, around the world, are corrupted with pagan... yes.... here it comes.... heresy! I'm speaking largely of different Protestant groups here-- but I'm also referring to the Catholic Church, as at least, the supposed "pagan" view of Hell that you attribute to Dante's Inferno, and, seemingly, to the Catholic Church, is not actually the view of Hell that the Church herself officially teaches. Inferno is not, and was not intended by Dante to be, a dogmatic statement on the exact particulars of the Catholic view of Hell. Poets don't tend to make the best dogmatic theologians, nor vice versa (though I'm sure there are a few exceptions in history somewhere!). Yes, some ancient Christian writings, from Origen and other authors, do appear to support universal reconciliation. However, a major problem for contemporary Christians who wish to state that UR is, in fact, the orthodox position of early Christianity, is that said Christians often have to move towards what looks very much like a form of "conspiracy theory" thinking, in which the true Christian doctrine of Hell (UR, supposedly) was taught very early on, but then was suppressed for at least several hundred years, if not much more, while the other, supposedly "pagan" view of Hell predominated in Christianity. Anti-Catholic Protestant fundamentalists (from many Pentecostals, to certain branches of Southern Baptists, to very strong Calvinists) have these same (or very, very similar!) sorts of theories about "pagan corruption" in early Christianity too-- as do Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and many others. I just can't subscribe to such theories. I'm not meaning to equate those who hold to UR with these groups, but the "conspiracy theory" sort of thinking about what happened to "corrupt" early Christianity is quite similar. It's just not historically credible to me. About the "Apocalypse of Peter," some of the Bishops in the early Church may well have believed that it was inspired Scripture. However, the fact is, it was not ultimately received by the Church as part of the canon. Many Bishops were Arians too, and the only people whom I know, personally, who follow their view today, tend to subscribe to the aforementioned "conspiracy theory" thinking about the early Church, insofar as "pagan corruption" which supposedly messed up the "pure, early Christianity of the Church, as taught in the Scriptures."
  12. Attica, of course, I meant, "Clement of Alexandria," as that is the Church Father to whom you were referring. "Rome" was merely a typo on my part. About the idea of paganism entering the early Church, and "corrupting" it with the doctrine of Hell as eternal, conscious separation from God, that is exactly what my non-Trinitarian friend believes, as the reason that most professing Christians today support the doctrine of the Trinity. He doesn't see the early Fathers teaching it. He doesn't believe that the Bible supports it. The Trinity is a pagan doctrine, in his view, that "corrupted" early Christianity-- similarly to the way in which the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox understanding(s) of Hell, as officially taught by those Churches, is supposedly the result of "pagan influence" in early Christianity. Apparently, everyone from Protestant, "fire-and-brimstone" fundamentalists, to "non-Trinitarian Christians," to Universal Reconciliationists, believes that the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches were/are doctrinally corrupted fairly early on by paganism! I'm happy not to have to sort out all of these issues anymore; it's good to be Catholic! Of course, I know that everyone believes that it is good to believe what they believe, by definition, but I digress! It's important to note here that at least some of the Church Fathers who you, personally, understand to have taught UR are not necessarily understood, by the official teaching authorities of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, to have taught UR. As a Catholic, I might understand a Church Father to have taught a certain thing, but I am not ultimately subject to my own interpretation. My own interpretation is not the final word for me, and I'm very glad for that fact. I am subject to the teaching authority of the Church, which knows both the Bible and the Church Fathers much, much better than I do.
  13. Taliesin, about your being "lumped in with heretics," please know that I did not write my words about heresy with any personal animosity towards you. Some of my Protestant friends consider me to be a heretic as well. As long as they don't shun me though (as most of my Protestant friends did actually shun me, when I returned to the Catholic Church), I'm very happy to be their friend. I would even like to still be friends with the ones who shun me, but then, friendship entails reciprocity... sigh...
  14. Taliesin, as far as I understand the Catholic Church's teaching, in order for one's profession of heresy to be literally damning (in terms of one's actual, eternal destiny), one must hold to it and persist in it while knowing it to be heresy-- that is, while knowing it to be heresy, as a matter of authoritative Christian doctrine. I could be wrong there, but that is my understanding of the Church's teaching at this point. I am certainly open to correction though! Steven Greydanus, feel free to chime in here anytime! Now, I fully realize that you may be asking, "Who does that?! Who actually holds to heresy, while knowing it to be heresy?" Possibly, not many people, and possibly, many more people than one would think. Satan is one example, though he is obviously not a "person," but a fallen angel. (This whole question of "damning heresy" might well be purely academic to you, though, as you believe in universalism.)
  15. Thanks for the reply, Attica. I should say first that, just to be clear, in asking you the question about Mark 14:21, it was not my intention to enter into a debate about various Biblical texts. I'm not saying that that is your intention either (and I'm not assuming that it is); I just want to clarify things from my end. Part of the difficulty in these sorts of conversations is that you and I have different "starting points." For me, as a Catholic, the starting point is, "What does the teaching authority of the Church say about Hell, as a matter of faith and morals, from Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition?" Where there is legitimate room for me to form my own opinion on any given subject, I will certainly do so-- but where the Pope and the Magisterium have authoritatively spoken on a subject (such as Hell), I am bound to conform my understanding to that of the historic faith of the Church. I'm not sure exactly what your starting point is, but I know that it's not mine (and I say that simply as a statement of fact, with no rancor whatsoever!), and therefore, on a subject such as this one, there are inherent difficulties, from the outset, in our conversation. I realize that to many, many people, especially in the Western world today, my position-- the "trusting, obedient Catholic" (*in* terms of Church teaching, that is!) position, so to speak-- is basically synonymous with that of belonging to a cult. However, in the 4th century, the Church's teaching authority (whether one understands the early Church to be essentially Catholic, Orthodox, proto-Protestant, or something else) pronounced the Trinity to be authoritative Christian doctrine, and yet, the "majority position," in many geographical areas of the Church, at that time, was actually non-Trinitarian. The Arians obviously believed themselves to be Scripturally accurate, and yet, very few professing Christians today would accept Arianism as an acceptable view within Christianity. Some early voices in the Church seem to support universalism, or something close to it (not that I agree with your take on Clement of Rome's position on Hell-- I do not agree, respectfully--, and I'll have to do more research on Gregory Nanzianzus and Gregory of Nyssa before I can really say more about their beliefs on Hell). However, neither the teaching authority of the Catholic Church nor that of Eastern Orthodoxy has historically given its approval to universalism. The dominant Church teaching on Hell, throughout most of Christian history, up to the present day, has been opposed to universalism. For those two reasons alone, I would be extremely wary to give my support to universalism. Such a position seems a bit similar to me (not the same but a bit similar) as the position of a professing Christian friend of mine, who sides with the Arians as representing "early, historic, and Biblically accurate Christianity," and who believes that Trinitarianism was a 3rd-4th century aberration that unfortunately made its way into being "officially approved" by the dominant Church authorities of that time. Please understand-- when I say that the position of Christians professing universalism today seems "a bit similar," to me, to the position of Arians (whether of the 4th century, or of today) denying Trinitarianism, I am not equating universalism and Arianism. However, as a Catholic, I must be true to, and honest about, what I believe-- and as such, I believe what the Church teaches on these matters, which is that universalism and Arianism are both heresies (but not on the same level). However, I'm not the eternal Judge of men's and women's souls, and thanks be to God for that fact! I also believe that "Sola Fide" and "Sola Scriptura" are heresies, and I fully expect to see my committed, serious Protestant brothers and sisters in Christ in Heaven-- if I make it there, myself, that is! Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner! (I'm also grateful for my Protestant friends who accept me as a brother in Christ, despite the fact that I, in their view, hold to "Catholic heresy.")
  16. Attica, I'm curious to hear your answer on a question. If it's even a distinct possibility that everyone will eventually accept God, why does Jesus say of Judas that it would have been better for him if he had never been born? As I've written above, the Catholic Church does allow her members to hold to a certain sort of "hope" for the salvation of all people, but that hope is not one which entails that God will save all people irrespective of what they, themselves, want. I've known many, many people in my life who, by their own admission (sometimes proudly so), wanted absolutely no friendship with God in this life at all. I can't know the hearts and motives of those people, as I am not onmniscient, and I thank God that it's not up to me to judge the nature and degree of their culpability for rejecting Him. Perhaps many of them are only seeming to "reject" God, when they don't actually understand Him rightly (to the limited degree that any of us understands Him, including myself). With that said, if one truly, freely, willfully, and knowingly does reject Him in this life though, unto death, I don't believe that God will forcibly "reconcile" such a person to Himself for eternity. Such a "reconciliation" would, logically, itself, be torture for the one who wants nothing to do with God (other than to reject Him).
  17. Peter, so sorry about that mix-up-- I don't know even know why I wrote, "Andy," actually! Maybe I was just too tired when I wrote that comment! On the nature of the atonement, given that I was a Calvinist for several years, in those days, obviously, I held to a strong view of penal substitutionary atonement. The Catholic Church rejects the "penal" aspect, and has a more nuanced view of the "substitutionary" aspect than Calvinism generally does, and she also puts more emphasis on "Christus Victor" as well, so my view of the atonement has had to adjust quite a bit since my days of reading and, at the time, loving, the books of John Piper! (I still do think that he has some great insights at times.) Being Orthodox, you are probably aware of the great contemporary Orthodox author, David Bentley Hart. Have you read his short book, The Doors of the Sea? It's a very interesting, impassioned, and poignant reply to the theodicies of Calvinist thinkers such as Piper. I believe in Hell as eternal and conscious (of some sort, that is-- perhaps not quite like our "consciousness" now) separation from God, and I believe that anyone can potentially go there, including professing Christians (including me!), partially because Biblical, exegetical study convinced me of these things, and I continue to believe them because, even though there are good exegetical arguments on many different "sides" of the subject of Hell, as a Catholic, I am "bound" to believe certain things by the teaching authority of the Church. I would have it no other way. I'm not happy about the existence of Hell, and it grieves me that any people at all would ever choose to eternally separate themselves from God. It makes me tremble to think that I am capable of such, but St. Paul does exhort us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (but obviously not only, or even mainly, fear and trembling, given that God is love)....
  18. Rushmore, I largely agree with your criticisms of Rushmore. That's fun to write and even more fun to say! About the Margaret Yang character, I can see how you view her as a cipher, in terms of the overall plot, but I do see her part as being a bit more substantive than that, and as adding more to the overall movie. Or maybe it's just my sentimental side. I love the scene when she comes to Max's house with the plant as a gift. Such a nice, sweet moment, notwithstanding Max's reaction to her. I do really wish that Sara Tanaka, the actress who played Margaret, had not left the film industry. She was quite talented and, I must say, adorable, at least in that role. http://rushmore.shoo...rgaretyang.html
  19. Rushmore is a good, funny, very creative film.... but if it's a hell of a lot better than Annie Hall, then I'm a long-distance runner, and I've had Cerebral Palsy since birth...! I'm a serious Wes Anderson fan, but Woody, in his halcyon days (at least from Annie Hall to Crimes and Misdemeanors), was a comedic and cinematic genius. Anderson's great, but he hasn't (yet) reached the level of Woody Allen's best by far (as always, in my opinion, of course)!
  20. I live in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. There are no lower-ticket-price theaters around here... it's $8 and up everywhere. At the AFI Silver Theater (a short bus ride away for me), which has many of the independent and foreign films and documentaries that are discussed here, tickets are normatively $11.50. These well-heeled D.C. people and their artsy tastes, hehe... I just happen to be a poor person, living in the area, who also has some artsy tastes! Thanks be to God for Netflix!
  21. I love this film-- have for over ten years-- and yet, possibly more than you do, M. Leary, I believe that it has serious flaws. For one thing, the film (or, rather, the behavior of some of the characters in the film) seems far too dark and mean-spirited, at times, for the sweet ending to move me, and convince me, as much as the director obviously wishes. I balked when one film critic, in the year Rushmore was released, called it "the best American comedy since Annie Hall." That is, in my view, utterly absurd hyperbole. (The review also worked-- it made me want to see the film!) Still, I love this early, often gleefully goofy, movie in the Anderson canon. It's great to see him at work, at a more formative time, when many of his directorial quirks and themes were still delightfully "new," comparatively speaking, and didn't yet seem like a "Wes Anderson style." (I say this, also having enjoyed his successive films, some of them more than Rushmore.)
  22. I missed this movie while it was in the theater, and I'm a big Wes Anderson fan. Ugh... it's not fun being a serious lover of films, books, and music, and also living below the U.S. poverty line. It could always be much, much worse though. I will definitely see it on DVD and/or Blu Ray. I wish that Netflix would put more of the director's films on streaming...
  23. Taliesin, please know that none of what you've written above bothers me, at least in any sense of me possibly taking it personally. I've been in too many different places, over my life, in regard to what I myself do or don't believe, to be bothered easily by what other people believe. Christianity is a big tent (and Catholicism is a much bigger Christian tent than it can sometimes seem from the outside, hehe!), and humanity is a huge tent, and we can certainly express our views here without fear of getting slammed-- or that would be my hope anyway. There have been a few times for me, in years past, when I didn't always feel free to express my theological and moral views here without getting slammed-- and so I left, and just lurked here and read for quite a long time. I really, really enjoyed reading though, and so, I'm back, hoping that my time here will be better than it was in the past. None of what you've written, though, has bothered me, personally, in the least. I haven't agreed with everything that you've written, and vice versa, but that is to be expected, as I'm Catholic, and you're not. We're still brothers in Christ though, and even if we weren't, that would certainly be no ground for any kind of disrespect between us. I realize that I brought up the whole Catholic/Orthodox/Protestant question, as it relates to the question of Hell, and I also did give some of my own story of having been Catholic, then becoming Protestant (seriously, consciously so, for several years), and returning to the Catholic Church. However, I really should be mindful, myself, to not go too far afield the subject of this thread, so as to not be a distraction to that subject, for the discussion here. I will say, though, that I recognize many of my own former beliefs, in what you wrote about St. Augustine, tradition, and the Catholic Church. From 2005-2009, actually, I probably could have written your comment #71 myself! Again, so as not to be a distraction to the subject of this thread, I'm going to refrain from going too much further into why I returned to the Catholic Church, and why I actually, genuinely feel a sense of joy, and even freedom, paradoxically, in not being "permitted" to believe certain things as a Catholic. For me, ultimately, it's a matter of 2 Thessalonians 2:15, and also of having been a part of many different Christian movements, at different points over the years, that were all trying to be faithful to their best understanding of the Bible (and church history), but in the process, were disagreeing, both among themselves and among others, about what the Bible even teaches on (insert serious theological issue of doctrine and practice here). It's not that I don't want to seriously study the Bible and understand it as a Catholic. I do-- study it, and strive to understand it, that is. The Pope and the Magisterium aren't there to try to "shut me down," in terms of being able to think for myself and understand the Bible. They function more as a set of visible, speaking, teaching "guardrails," so that I won't unintentionally wander off into heresy while trying to read and understand the Bible. Of course, I understand that many Protestants believe the Catholic Church, itself, teaches heretical things that are contradicted by the Biblical data! I used to believe this myself quite strongly. After more years of study of the Bible and church history, I no longer do. Has the Catholic Church had some really terrible people in positions of leadership over the centuries? Definitely. Have those people done some almost unspeakable things? Yes-- including, in some cases, some Popes. This does not damage my faith as a Catholic-- but to go further into it, on this particular thread, would probably not be helpful. If you are curious, though, as to how I studied-- truly studied, and prayed-- my way from the interpretive freedom of Protestantism to the seemingly "less free" paradigm of the Catholic Church, you might find this article to be interesting: http://www.calledtoc...dacity-of-pope/ Peace in Christ, brother!
  24. Man, that First Things piece is brutal! I definitely have very strong criticisms of M & S and their songwriting approach (as evidenced by my comments in this thread), but to my mind, this excerpt from the article goes too far: "Because of their penchant for gathering any and every sartorial, lyrical, and instrumental oddment, their coy references to the gospel and GKC become just the “pinning” of another striking and well-wrought thing. We don’t know if they’re Christians (or indeed if they have any existential commitment), or if they’re just aesthetic reactionaries of a limited type. Eclecticism precludes evangelism." From what I understand, at least the lead vocalist is a Christian (a pastor's son), and the band's lyrics seem to make very clear a commitment to God and a deep appreciation for His grace. Moreover, since when does a band, including one composed of Christians, have to engage in explicit "evangelism" in its songs for said band to be of genuine artistic worth? This is First Things, not Movieguide! I'm not a fan of Mumford and Sons, at this point, but I am really, really disappointed in the lack of thoughtfulness in this "review." It is far beneath FT's usual standards.
  25. Taliesin, I'm not always as clear in my expression of certain things as I probably could be. Can I help to clarify anything about what I've written so far? I'd be happy to at least try to be more clear.
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