Greater – Where is God in a World of Tragedy?

Last weekend Michele and I stumbled on Greater – a very good Christian movie now showing in local theaters.greater

Now, I have to admit that I’ve not been a real fan of the Christian based movies of the past few years. Yes, Fireproof, Courageous and even God’s not Dead were wonderful expose’s trying to project the ideals of Christian morality, commitment and livelihood. As good as they were, however, I found them all to be a bit “syrup-ee” when it came to the message of truth and trust in the Gospel. In each of these movies, the stress of the real life situation was just too conveniently and instantly resolved with an “Alleluia”, “Amen” and “Praise Jesus”. They were good movies don’t get me wrong, but they left me less than convinced – and I’m a believer!

We have to face the fact that many people are challenged today with understanding His precious Word. This is particularly evident when people face trials in life. If we want to use movies to reach out and minister to people then the stories must relate to people’s lives and the stories must be believable. We found the movie Greater to do a very good job in both regards.

The movie Greater is framed around the story of Brandon Burlsworth, a walk-on football player for the University of Arkansas. It’s a little bit like the movie “Rudy” in that both Rudy and Brandon struggle at great odds to make the football team. However, in Greater the real story is not about Brandon, rather it is the story about his older brother Marty and his struggle of faith. In particular, this movie takes head on the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people. Naturally, the movie ends with a positive Christian message of hope and encouragement but I did not find it too over the top. Greater made me face again the question of good and evil and God, but instead of thinking for me, I left the movie thinking.

I recommend that you try to go see this movie. Unfortunately, the promotion has been weak and the distribution limited. We found it playing last weekend in Brea and also out in Corona. Don’t wait or you might miss it altogether.

Here is the trailer from U-Tube:

Click here to read a review by Steven Greydanus recently published at National Catholic Register.

Click here to read a story about Neal McDonough, the Catholic actor that played Marty.

Don’t wait… go see the move and let me know what you thought.

Blessings
Tom

 

 

God’s Power and Man’s Free Will – Part 1

One of the great dilemmas in the history of Christianity has been the role of man’s free will in his eternal relationship with God. free will stringsSome hold that to even admit the existence of man’s free will in some way detract from the providence or omnipotence
of God.     This thinking about free will is not just an exercise in academic theology, the results have critical implications in our daily lives as followers of Jesus Christ. Our understanding of free will frames how we view the purpose of our lives, helps us to understand the existence of evil and even lets us appreciate the justice of Hell.

With that as the lead in, I thought I’d start a series of blog posts that address the idea of our free will including some of the controversies, conclusions and consequences. I really don’t know how many posts there might be or what the exact content will involve. I will follow the Holy Spirit wherever he leads. For now, however, the intent will be to simply ask questions and explore. With a little luck, or should I say, with the grace of God, we will learn a little about ourselves, our Father and our Savior.

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The Eucharist Truly “IS” the Body of Christ

Dinner conversations can be tricky. Its difficult and rude to talk with a mouth full of chili relleno you know. dinner conversationThankfully, most of the conversations these days include an ample dose of opinions on the ongoing presidential election circus. It’s easy therefore to just keep eating with only an occasional need to inject political pleasantries. So it was last week when I had a nice dinner with some friends I had not seen in a few years.

The meal was going splendidly when all of a sudden the conversation shifted to faith and religion. Somehow we started talking about to the Creation account of Genesis. gen 1Normally this would not be an issue. How God created the universe from nothing is not that important, only that He did. However, in this case one of my friends is what some refer to as a young-earth creationist. He interprets the Bible very literally to the point of believing that God created the world about 10,000 years ago in exactly 6 24-hour days. I deeply respect his Christian faith and his love of Jesus in his life. That said, having just swallowed a bite of chili relleno my mouth was empty and there was plenty of room for me to stick my foot.

When the conversation rotated around to me I simply asked him if he believed that the earth was created in 6 days. He responded with a simple “yes, that’s what the Bible says.” I asked him then how he reconciled the enormous amount of scientific evidence (such as Carbon-14 dating) that indicates the earth and plants and animal species are millions and millions of years old.

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An Ultrasound of Life – A Spark of Hope

I was out shopping at a local mall a couple of days ago and I ran across this poster outside of Walmart.20160729_102953_resized
I’m a sucker for pictures of cute babies so I had to go have a closer look. What I found was an ultrasound image and a small spark of hope for the Pro-Life message.

 

 

 

 

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