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Showing posts from June, 2013

Let's Tell the Story

In the pantheon of great Calvinist movies, surely there is none better than A River Runs Through It.  Okay, I admit it.  There are not too many in the running.  There is the great Dutch film,Babette's Feast that definitely is worth watching several times as well as some moments inChariots of Fire that Calvin would have loved, but Norman MacLean's honest, searching, tragic, and all the while grace-filled movie about a Presbyterian family growing up in the still emerging wild of western Montana wins by a fair margin.
The story serves as a memoir of the particular challenges that faced frontier families in a nation that was coming into its own, but also as a common tale of the deep bonds and struggles that every family faces as children grow and obey and rebel and become adults themselves.  It is in many ways a retelling of Jesus' most famous parable:  the story of the prodigal son with new elements like western bars and brothels, fraternal fist-fights and - of course - fly-fi…

Life in Greencastle: John Calvin's Enduring Focus

Occasionally, someone will ask me what makes Presbyterians different than - say - other Christian traditions or denominations.  It is a difficult and daunting question to answer, but part of the answer lies in the life of a very bright French man who spent the first part of his life training to be a scholar, and briefly flirted with a career in law - primarily because his own father assured him that such a career has a way of attracting wealth and comfort.  But, such a life was not destined for this man.  
Ultimately, his life was altered by a new movement overtaking much of Europe at the time - the Reformation - as well as his own study of the scriptures.  He came down on the side of this new message, and having come down in favor of reformation of the Church he was expelled from his home country - forced to take up residence in Geneva, where he entered its gates for the first time in the late 1530's and entered his name:  M., J. Calvin.  Or, to us:  Minister, John Calvin.
That doe…