Bilbo's Historic Progress

Posted by tom | Oct 13, 2012

"[O]ne thing which 'The Hobbit' does uniquely well is offer at once a sympathetic protrait of the old heroic world, so often now dismissed as mere macho posturing, as well as an updated image of heroism for the modern world: both to be developed further in 'The Lord of the Rings'." -- Tom Shippey. Bilbo's Historic Progress. The Tolkienist. 10/12/2012. 

Yes, I've been following the The Tolkienist as we prepare to go There and Back Again. Wink

Friday Bedtime Hobbit Reading Series: Now you are in for it

Posted by tom | Nov 25, 2011

The Hobbit movie poster with Smaug

"Now you are in for it at last, Bilbo Baggins," he said to himself. "You went and put your foot right in it that night of the party, and now you have got to pull it out and pay for it! Dear me, what a fool I was and am!"

Let's consider the dragon as metaphor. As such have you ever faced a situation where you could relate to Bilbo Baggins? One second thought, maybe we shouldn't consider the dragon a metaphor. Maybe we view the Middle-earth as a little too extraordinary.

Earlier posts: Bedtime Hobbit Reading, Sticking to the Path, launch, Barrel-riders, Gollum

Friday Bedtime Hobbit Reading Series: Gollum

Posted by tom | Nov 18, 2011


My co-adventurer in The Hobbit or There and Back Again has two favorite moments from the book. As with Bilbo in his conversation with Smaug, barrel-riding came to the top, but riddles with Gollum came in a close second! 

This thing all things devours:

Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;

Gnaws iron, bites steel;

Grinds hard stones to meal;

Slays king, ruins town,

And beats high mountain down. -- J.R.R. Tolkien. The Hobbit: or There and Back AgainRevised Edition. Ballantine Books. 1994, 77-78).


Do you remember the answer to the riddle? I'll give you as much time as you need, even if it's until Andy Serkis' reprise as Gollum.

Earlier posts: Bedtime Hobbit Reading, Bedtime Hobbit Reading: Sticking to the Path, Bedtime Hobbit Reading Series launch, Friday Bedtime Hobbit Reading Series: Barrel-riders.

Friday Bedtime Hobbit Reading Series: Barrel-riders

Posted by tom | Nov 11, 2011

Bilbo the Barrel-rider
My co-adventurer in The Hobbit or There and Back Again has two favorite moments from the book. As with Bilbo in his conversation with Smaug, barrel-riding came to the top:

I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led. And through the air. I am he that walks unseen. . . .
I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number. . . .
I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I came from the end of bag, but no bag went over me. . . .
I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ring-winner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider.' -- J.R.R. Tolkien. The Hobbit: or There and Back AgainRevised Edition. Ballantine Books. 1994, p. 221).

But I agree with Smaug, let's not let our imagination get away :)

Earlier posts: Bedtime Hobbit Reading, Bedtime Hobbit Reading: Sticking to the Path, Bedtime Hobbit Reading Series launch.

Bedtime Hobbit Reading Series launch

Posted by tom | Nov 10, 2011

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats -- the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill -- The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it -- and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the lefthand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river.

This hobbit was a very well-to-do hobbit, and his name was Baggins. The Bagginses had lived in the neighbourhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected: you could tell what a Baggins would say on any question without the bother of asking him. This is the story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected. He may have lost the neighbours' respect, but he gained--well, you will see whether he gained anything in the end. -- J.R.R. Tolkien. The Hobbit: or There and Back AgainRevised Edition. Ballantine Books. 1994, 1-2).

Seeking to pull together a Bedtime Hobbit Reading Series1 to bring attention to some highlights of my most recent journey, accompanied by one of my girls (with whom I'm opening The Lord of the Rings). Tune back tomorrow for the beginning of the regular Bedtime Hobbit Reading Series :)

1Earlier posts: Bedtime Hobbit Reading and Bedtime Hobbit Reading: Sticking to the Path.

This Is Gonna Hurt Documentary and Amy Purdy's Story

Posted by tom | Oct 31, 2011

I came across Episode IV of This Is Gonna Hurt Documentary by Nikki Sixx and Sixx:A.M.,, while exploring Amy Purdy's story. If you're not familiar with how This Is Gonna Hurt Documentary comes at the questions of "What is Beauty?" and "What is a Freak?", then be prepared for a Halloween shock (Warning: If Mötley Crüe's not for you, then you may have to take a pass on the video and go straight to the questions).

How do you understand beauty? How do you relate to those whom are considered "freaks" by those around you, by the larger culture/world? Would you offer a different lens to embracing outsiders and their uniqueness? Stay tuned: more on Amy Purdy and embracing "the outsider" in future posts. . . .

Bedtime Hobbit Reading: Sticking to the Path

Posted by tom | Sep 21, 2011

"They had escaped the dungeons of the king and were through the wood, but whether alive or dead still remains to be seen" (187).

As you may remember from Bedtime Hobbit Reading, I'm pressing on with some reading of The Hobbit.1


Gandalf instructed the party to "Stick to the forest-track . . . DON'T LEAVE THE PATH!" (137-138) But as you know, the party did not, leading to much misadventure. None-the-less, it is in the time "off the path," where Bilbo grows in the craft of burglary and hence, respect from the dwarves -- especially when mixed with two "prison" breaks (maybe this should be cast as "freeing the innocent and/or bumbling travelers").2

I've not thought about it from this perspective before, but it feels like a significant maturation point of a main character, possibly even a "walk through the valley of the shadow death" serves as the hinge of the book. I'll revisit this thought later. Can't wait to pop the lids in Chapter 10: A Warm Welcome.

Question: Over the past several weeks, have you been taking care of yourself (and those for whom you are responsible)? Are you still on the path? If not, what steps can you take to return to it?

Teaser: We find something interesting about "sticking to the path" in Chapter 10: A Warm Welcome. An example of not drawing such truths from fiction and the disagreement between J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis regarding the writing of fiction?

1J.R.R. Tolkien. The Hobbit: or There and Back Again. Revised Edition. Ballantine Books. 1994).

2I'm starting to wondering whether I should be an enthusiast for the relationship of the craft of burglarly/"prison" break and respect from one's colleagues in a mission to steal back treasure, even though it is MiddleEarth before the teaching of Christ :) More on this train of thought coming . . .

Screening desires

Posted by tom | Aug 9, 2011

I've been following Greg Veltman's comments on film for several years. I really appreciated his recent *cino post: Screening desires. Note: The article originally appeared in Comment magazine, the opinion journal of CARDUS. A few days ago, I commented on *cino [update: 9/6/2011 site down]:

"By acknowledging that films can shape our desires, we open ourselves to a deeper experience of film and a more thoughtful engagement and response to the images we encounter. In this way, viewing films can be a starting point in becoming who we want to be — people who strive for truth, create and cultivate beauty, and work for love, justice, peace and reconciliation in our world." -- Amen! Thank-you Greg.

Raising 4 young women (including twins preparing to enter middle school), my re-reading/discussion of Dennis Hollinger's "Head, Heart & Hands," and a discussion of Keri Wyatt Kent's "Rest" w/some other families have been significantly reshaping my engagement culture (including film). Not sure what it will look like, but ...


Premiere of "Alpha and Omega"

Posted by tom | Jun 1, 2011

News from The Charles Malik Society for Redeeming Reason, Chicago, IL. Thanks John! Yes, it is a "[a]nother signal of new opportunities for Christian engagement with modern culture."

The Chicago music group Soli Deo Gloria will perform, along with other choirs, a new work by composer James MacMillan on Saturday, June 4, in Rockefeller Chapel at 4:30 pm. Alpha and Omega (six-minute choral setting of Revelation 21:1-6a, English Standard Version) was commissioned by Soli Deo Gloria and Crossway Books in honor of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” -- Revelation 21:1-6a, English Standard Version.*

For more read Soli Deo Gloria Commissions New Work From James Macmillan.  For more about James MacMillan watch the below video.

If you're in Chicago, IL, check it and share with me what you receive from the performance.

*Note: Follow the link to dig into the references ;-) Also available in audio at the 'new and improved BibleGateway. A refreshing start to my day. Revelation 21: 2-4 NIV is the BibleGateway "Verse of the Day." To God be the glory!

Comic Book Bibles -- Just the Bible?

Posted by tom | Dec 17, 2010

Lots of good material on the Byron Borger's Christmas season gift-giving guide: some great books for children.  As for books not on our shelf, The Action Bible caught my attention. Why?

The Action Bible is intense real comic book material by a real comic book artist (Marvel and DC Comics artist, Sergio Cariello) for David C. Cook.

Recently I reminisced w/some students about the value of Arch Books & David C. Cook Sunday handouts for me as a child. As such I've been scrounging up some Arch Books and reading them w/our 5 year old over breakfast. Earlier in the year, I found and passed along a copy of an older David C. Cook version of the New Testament to one of my 10 year old twin girls.  She loves it.

So this morning, the twins and I watched several of the "The Action Bible" YouTube commercials/interviews and paged through the sample of the section on The Plagues. The one enjoyed watching the artistic process and the other thought it would be great to place on the gift list as an upgrade. But, I must confess I'm not as comfortable with the dramatic superhero comic lens to Bible storytelling approach. How about you?  How did you learn Bible stories?  If you're a parent, how are you teaching the Bible story/stories?

Note: If you're interested in some of my earlier posts on the topic check out Passing on the faith and The Jesus Storybook Bible Survey -- also on Byron's list :-)

A Call to Combat Potential Narnia Sequel Fatigue?

Posted by tom | Dec 10, 2010

In the New York Times I read Studios Battle to Save Narnia (From Grip of Sequel Fatigue) (Brooks Barnes. 12/5/2010). Yes, I'm going to see the film. But should I offer a call to combat potential Narnia sequel fatigue?  That depends on the quality of the film.  Do you agree?

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The Narnia Policeman

Posted by tom | Dec 9, 2010

Ready for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

As you prepare to leave the dock for the theatre, I'd recommend you check in with The Narnia Policeman: Douglas Gresham, C. S. Lewis's stepson and co-producer of the Narnia movies, is the keeper of his stepfather's flame. (Mark Moring. Christianity Today. Posted 12/03/2010).  To wet your appetite ...

What have you fought for on Dawn Treader?

I'm not going to tell you, because that wouldn't be fair to the people who fought with me! But I will say this: Dawn Treader is all about what happens when you commit your life to Christ and how the Devil gets at you. It's about temptation and what you do about it. ...

Filmmakers look at making a movie entirely from a filmmaker's viewpoint. I have to be both filmmaker and Narnia watchdog, and balance the two. It's not easy; it's a lot of pressure. People rely on me to do everything I can as a Narnian purist to keep these movies accurate—and to keep them Narnian. And when I make mistakes, they let me know about it. It's me who copes with the flack, but that's what I'm here for. ...

I'll hold my thoughts until after I've seen the film ;-)

Theresa's Favorite Movies

Posted by tom | Oct 21, 2010

In follow-up to Your Favorite Movies Survey. ...

I've stirred the pot long enough for Theresa share that she likes Pirates of the Caribbean (2003). She watched/enjoyed the first film in the series several times, but doesn't have the same enthusiasm for later films in the series.* 

So except for these "classics," in order of preference she doesn't enjoy seeing films over and over.  Why? "Because there is nothing new in them."

  1. Gone with the Wind (1939) -- epic film
  2. The Sound of Music (1965)
  3. Truman Show (1998) -- entertaining film
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) -- entertaining film  

In general, Theresa enjoys "good wholesome movies" and can imagine seeing Miss Potter (2006) again.  She liked Big when she was little ;-)  And she became interested in Lord of the Rings when it came out. I'm sure my interest** in the books, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the board game helped.  But I think that phase has passed for me and possibly our family.  A story for another day.

*Isn't that a common issue with a film series?
**Along with a number of the students we worked with at Carnegie Mellon U.  Those truly were fantastical days!

Your Favorite Movies Survey

Posted by tom | Oct 20, 2010

I recently shared the below material* in a response to an email inquiry regarding "Your Favorite Movies."  Thank-you to Harriet for stimulating these thoughts.  As you may know, the Speculative Literature/Arts thread has a number of posts regarding film, but it is time to revisit my journey with film and how I understand the influence of Speculative Literature/Arts in framing of one's life story/narrative.** But that will have to wait for another day/conversation.  Remind me sometime ;-) If you have movies/reflections to share, please do. I'm interested.  

1. Do you go to movies in the theatre or watch them online, on TV or DVD? If not, why not?

Theresa and I go to the theatre 1 - 2x a year for a film(s) we anticipate to be much better seen 'on the big screen.'  We watch a film on DVD (from a library or a friend/family member) about 3x a month.  We gave Netflix a try, but we don't have enough time to make the subscription economical. 

We enjoy watching films straight through and as such almost never watch a film on TV (Note:  We have limited cable to bring in the local stations,*** so we don't have any channels with uninterrupted film offerings and few regular channels show films except the 'everybody has seen before holiday films.'  If we had movie channels, we might change our perspective, but we're not going to invest more in this particular area). 

With regard to our four children (10, 10, 5, 2 years of age), in a given week they watch VHS/DVD offerings which we've checked out from the library or been passed along by friends/family. The younger two watch 1-2 per day.  The older ones 1-2 a week.  The three older ones go to the theatre about 1x a year,  accompanied by one of us for a special film and/or as part of a event sponsored by an organization of which they are a part.

2. If you go to/watch movies, name three of your favorite movies of all time. Write a couple sentences about why each one is a favorite. Feel free to include any additional thoughts on the topic. For example, what critieria do you use for evaluating movies you will watch? What genre of movies do you like best, and why?


Tron cometh again

Posted by tom | Jul 27, 2010

How about PR and making "must attend" movie openings, e.g., Marketing ‘Tron: Legacy’ Brings the Hardest Sell Yet (Brooks Barnes, NY Times. 7/26/2010).

“If this thing isn’t a hit,” said John Juarez, a Comic-Con attendee, “somebody at Disney is going to have a lot of explaining to do.”

Yes, it's a business with the importance of getting material on screen which will sell and being sure to lock-down advance ads (Brooks Barnes. "Screenvision to Revamp Preshow Ads at Cinemas." NY Times. 7/26/2010.  Some complementary thoughts shared in yesterday's post: "A fan of a critic ...,"

One of several trailers emphasizing a variety of threads:

Do you remember in 1982 when we heard, "In the future video game battles will be a matter of life or death"?  I think that I liked Jeff Bridges more "back in the day."


A fan of a critic ...

Posted by tom | Jul 26, 2010

I really appreciated A. O. Scott's "Everybody’s a Critic of the Critics’ Rabid Critics," (, NY Times, 7/21/2010), generated by the reviews of "Inception."  Below's his "conclusion," opening up further reflection/conversation.  

Film culture on the Internet does not only speed up the story of a movie’s absorption of a movie into the cultural bloodstream but also reverses the sequence. Maybe my memory is fuzzy, or maybe I’m dreaming, but I think it used to be that “masterpiece” was the last word, the end of the discussion, rather than the starting point.

But in this case we end up with where we should have started, wondering what the movie is about, what it means, puzzling over symbols and plot points. It’s almost as if we’re all in a movie that’s running backward, like “Memento.” Which was totally overrated. Unless it was a masterpiece. I’m going to have to see it again.

When I shared Scott's article with Theresa, she mentioned her agreement with the over-rated nature of the current review structure (in both positive/negative directions).  With regard to the question of when a "piece" becomes a "masterpiece," she used the illustration of the Beatles, i.e., when did the Beatles become such a monumental band ("a masterpiece" or those which churned out "masterpiece" albums and/or songs)?  

So, we find "masterpiece" too much for a new release (let alone use in a "pre-release" commentary).  Maybe in the larger culture, on-line critics provide the much needed yes/no filter to sift through the overwhelming stream of new media options.  It seems that some "take it all in" (or as much as they can) despite how bad it is, whereas others prioritize based on what is supposedly a "must see" by those they consider "well-informed."  I guess for us, other concerns set the stage (Note:  Earlier post related to "Inception," What do you dream about? Who is in your dream world? --

As for "Inception," I'm afraid that at present I can envision/dream enough of it for myself.

Confession 1:  Scott's typically the first film review I read on new releases.  As such, I've read his review (, along with some others (e.g., Steven D. Greydanus. Christianity Today. 7/16/2010., and watched some trailers.  Result:  "Inception" has been wait listed for so we can enjoy the summer with our family (and extended family).  Nothing like the "masterpiece" of God's creation, God's story, family, friendships, the Body of Christ. ... which reminds me of a post which I wrote about "Inception" on July 20, What do you dream about? Who is in your dream world? (

Confession 2:  I don't want to come across as "holier" than the silverscreen and leave the impression that movies (and the media in general) have been taken out of our family's mix this summer.  So to come clean, in addition to the reading frenzy (some below, more coming a future post on this topic), recently ...  

  • The twins enjoyed "Toy Story 3" with one of their Aunts.  Afterwards they 
    • turned in reading lists to Barnes & Nobles and Borders
    • secured a new pile of books and one more video to add to our family's crowded shelves
  • Theresa and I rewatched "Amazing Grace."  Wow.  To God be the glory!  Note:  earlier post of related interest,
  • Harry Potter has received a lot of attention in text and film from others in the family.  Still not of interest to me. ... A post for another day.

Reading the right books

Posted by tom | Jun 21, 2010

"Something was crawling.  Worse still, something was coming out.  Edmund or Lucy or you would have recognized it at once, but Eustace had read none of the right books.  The thing that came out of the cave was something he had never even imaginged -- a long lead-colored snout, dull read eyes, no feathers or fur, a long lithe body that trailed on the ground, legs whose elbows went up higher than its back like a spider's, cruel claws, bat's wings that made a rasping noise on the stone, yards of tail.  And the lines of smoke were coming from its two nostrils.  He never said the word Dragon to himself.  Nor would it have made things any better if he had. ... In the first place Eustace (never having read the right books) had no idea how to tell a story straight." -- C.S. Lewis. "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader." HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.  1952.  From Chapter 6, 7.  

These two sections led to a brief, helpful conversation between myself and the twins regarding "reading the right books."  Now it turns out that the culture which Lewis is critiquing in Eustace, before "he began to be a different boy" (Chapter 7), failed.  For today children (even college students/young adults) enjoy much fantasy, but fail to engage with "exports and imports and governments and drains."  I guess this emphasizes the pendulum swings of culture.  But I would point out that fantasy comes largely through TV/film instead of reading/discussion.  Entering Narnia with the twins has reminded me that although "a picture speaks a 1000 words," the ones which we create in our mind by reading a series such as the Narnian Chronicles can be much better/benefical than the pictures which illustrate a book or fill major motion pictures.

Trailer for "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"

Posted by tom | Jun 19, 2010

The twins and I have been reading through "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader." So we all enjoyed watching the recently released trailer,  And we'll be ready to compare the book and film in December ;-)  Watch for our comments. ...

Toy Story 3: The Great Escape?

Posted by tom | Jun 18, 2010

A great walk through the storytelling ... maybe a little too much in the below YouTube piece (, particularly for those who want to experience the film on their own. If you see it tonight/this weekend, let me know your thoughts.  Maybe there's some material for a seminar on the transition from high school to college ;-)

For now, I'm going to have to satisfy myself w/the reviews by the NY Times,, and Christianity Today,

Of course, I have been enjoying various trailers/interviews spread across the internet and YouTube.


Any Trok fans out there?

Posted by tom | Jun 3, 2010

Probably not surprising that ‘Trock’ Gaining Traction With Time Lord Fans in the Grosh house, well I guess that's just me. Any other fans out there? 

Alex Day has a number of Trok audios on his blog.  I first came across him in his excellent 3 Minute Summary of LOST, which helped me understand why he has received quite a following (at least that is in Great Britain). 

BUT I have came across some sexually inappropriate blog and Youtube posts by Day, which raises the question of how follower of Christ links to culture.  How do you respond when you come across the darker side of a musician/actor which you've found of interest and desire to recommend to others, but find now it needs to come across in a nuanced manner?  At present, praying for the redemption of a very creative mind, encouraging readers to use discernment if they explore Day's material, and remind readers of the post The Gospel and Sex (note: highlights an article by Timothy Keller).

Tired and LOST? Or ...

Posted by tom | May 24, 2010

So Theresa and I took the time to catch-up with the reality which has run Sideways to our family and ministry's growth.  As the flurry of storybook endings (accompanied by LOST thank-you notes woven into a ton of commercials for the better worlds offered by film trailers, Target, styling cars, Walmart Rollback) reached their crescendo, it was not hard to see the conclusion of Jack's death/funeral after his heroic struggle with the monster who took over Locke's body. Didn't quite get where the pilot came from and how the plane was made ready to go, but I'm sure a fan can explain that one to me.

Is LOST over?  For a certain niche, this will no doubt be a classic series with a beautiful ending.  For others, it will be a confused series with butterfly story arcs (and loose ends needed to be tied) dabbling in the creation of a vague mythology/mystery, but coming to a popularist ending emphasizing a unitarian life (and afterlife)* which embraces the inner goodness/potential/spirituality of all the characters, one that is truly released by letting go and embracing intimate relationships with others as part of a larger, meaningful community drawn together in shared struggle.** Is this a take on the renewal of creation/life/people, a unique challenge faced by the few, or purgatory?  How much of this can be or is worth exploring in the short span of 6 years of TV episodes?  Note:  Enjoyed reading the conversation at Lostwatch: All of This Matters. Wondering what's the must read site for fan reactions. Any suggestions?

For Theresa and myself, most of the first two seasons, the preview show, and the comments by friends were plenty.  It's over for us and we're letting go to move on with our family to immerse ourselves in other stories/realities.  E.g., It has been such a joy to dig into Pilgrim's Progress, the Narnia Chronicles, the Jesus Storybook, and the Biblical story with my family over the course of past several months. 

BUT I wouldn't be surprised if by popular demand LOST comes back in some form, e.g., film, novels/graphic novels (to expand on what happened on the island, off the island, more Sideways, "life after" together), video game of various sideways realities (does this or a web game of this form already exist).

Back to you, otherwise I'm letting go ... 

*How about the unitarian stained glass window with the symbols of the major world religions (not to mention Christian Shepherd) and the use of light (at the core of the island, back of the chapel).  ;-) 

**Breathe.  Please forgive the run-on.

Are You Unbreakable? Are You Ready For The Truth?

Posted by tom | May 23, 2010

The other evening, I picked Unbreakable (2000) off the shelf to kind-of watch while folding some newsletters.  It's been awhile since I've considered this M. Night Shyamalan classic, which didn't reach the popularity of The Sixth Sense (1999) or Signs (2002).  I figured that Theresa wouldn't have interest, but she confessed that she'd only seen parts of the film and would see how it went.  Theresa's analysis: the movie ended too sharply. Note: trailer below,

I still find the irony of the "good guy's" inability to sense his proximity to "the most evil character in the film" of great interest.  Maybe if David Dunn (played by Bruce Willis) had not lied about receiving injury at the car crash years ago (so that he could "get his girl"), he would have been more "in tune" and not need to be "mentored" into his role by "Mr. Glass," (i.e., Elijah Price played by Samuel L. Jackson). 

A search for meaning permeates the characters of the film, even the director in his brief cameo.  Where do we find meaning?  What stories do we inhabit?  Are you ready for the Way, the Truth, and the Life?  More to write, but heading out the door to receive the Word of God as part of the people of God assembled as Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ.

Lost: Still on the island? Swimming back?

Posted by tom | May 22, 2010

As I shared on Facebook, I left the island during the 2nd season. I'm curious as to what my friends who are still on the island think about re-engagement. Should I give Lost a 2nd chance by reading on-line series summaries and watching the end of the series OR watching the seasons on disc?

PS. Any more responses to As Lost Ends on ABC, Mythology Trumps Mystery?

Lost has turned fans into critics and critics, including this one, into semiprofessional fans, and in both cases you can sense that some exhaustion has set in. The mood among many of the show’s followers as they confront Sunday’s finale seems to be a mixture of regret and relief. Whatever happens ... (As Lost Ends on ABC, Mythology Trumps Mystery, Mike Hale, NY Times, 5/20/2010)

Not Up for Watching (or Being an) Avatar

Posted by tom | Dec 18, 2009

At one time, James Cameron's creations spurred me to dream of engaging in conflicts in our world and those beyond.  But Avatar spurs no such interest in me. 

Why?  It's been a slow process, but I think that The Lord of the Rings wore me out of watching such material on screen and my growing desire to engage those whom God has placed around me has given me glimpses of a much different new heaven/new earth toward which I journey as part of the people of God.  Yes, there is conflict and transformation, but films such as Avatar are not good analogies to what one finds in the Biblical story (Note:  The Lord of the Rings is a better analogy and much better dialogue) and a growing family does not afford me the time to watch/critique every new show in town.  

PS. Reviews which you may find of interest:   Christianity Today (Todd Hertz, December 17, 2009.  Note: Considering what Hertz shares about the political and spiritual points of the film, I think his review is too positive), A New Eden, Both Cosmic and Cinematic (Manohla Dargis, NY Times, December 18, 2009), Otherworldly "Avatar" Familiar in the Worst Way (Christian Hamaker,, December 18, 2009). If you've seen Avatar, I would love to have your thoughts on the film.

PPS.  Today I read the second volume of G.P. Taylor's Doppleganger Chronicles.  Shhh. ... I'll be sharing it with the family on Christmas morning.

Updated 12/18/2009, 9:03 pm.

Doppleganger Chronicles

Posted by tom | Dec 15, 2009

In Waiting for Jesus to Show Up, I mention the encouragement I received from G.P. Taylor's Shadowmancer (Note: CT Author interview).  More later. ...  For today, let me add that Hayley loves Taylor's Doppleganger Chronicles. Yes, here's one case of a reluctant reader spurred on by illustra-novella (i.e., mixture of prose, comic sequentials, and graphic illustrations). I'm hoping to check out the 2nd volume shortly, but that requires a run to Quarryville (i.e., the only Lancaster County library w/this September 2009 release in stock).  I think it's worth it for both of us, as we read a fair amount of it together and well-written children's books deal with major life themes in such a helpful manner ;-) 

In the mean time, Hayley's reading the 1st volume again. Amazing!  Anyone else reading the Doppleganger Chronicles?  More of my thoughts on the author, his books, and their impact in our household coming. ...

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