Archive for the Film Category

About Schmidt & Ecclesiastes

Posted in Ecclesiastes, Film on September 6, 2013 by kevinwilkening

About SchmidtConfession: I have been surprised how well Hollywood understands the Book of Ecclesiastes (although unknowingly).

Think about the movie About Schmidt (2003). Context: Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) is a recent retiree from Omaha, Nebraska. Throughout the movie Warren Schmidt’s inner struggles are heard through the letters he writes to Ndugu, a young African boy whom he supports monthly. As he returns from his daughter’s wedding in Denver, Colorado he stops by a roadside exhibit that highlights the early pioneers who crossed Nebraska heading West. He then expresses his frustration at not having done anything that might make his life significant. In a voice-over, he reads a letter that he has written to Ndugu.

My trip to Denver is so insignificant compared to the journeys others have taken … I know we’re all pretty small in the big scheme of things, and I suppose the most you can hope for is to make some kind of difference. But what kind of difference have I made? What in the world is better because of me? When I was out in Denver, I tried to do the right thing, tried to convince Jeannie she was making a big mistake, but I failed. Now she’s married to that nincompoop and there’s nothing I can do about it. I am weak, and I am a failure. There’s no getting around it. Relatively soon I will die … Once I am dead and everyone who knew me dies too, it will be as though I never even existed. What difference has my life made to anyone? None I can think of. None at all. Hope things are fine with you.

Yours truly, Warren Schmidt

It is true. Ecclesiastes 2:22–23 (ESV) — What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? 23 For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 3:19–20 (ESV) — For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.

So we are encouraged in wisdom … Ecclesiastes 3:12–13 (ESV) — I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

Are you getting excited for our study through the Book of Ecclesiastes??

The Magnitude of His Mercy

Posted in Film, Grace, Mercy, Sovereignty, Suffering on April 6, 2011 by kevinwilkening

Vertus Hardiman hid a shocking secret under a wig & beanie for over 80 years. He was experimented on at age of 5 by a county hospital in Indiana during 1927. Vertus was one of ten children, all experimented on with radiation that day.

But what is more amazing is his response to this tragedy. He states, “I think He [God] wanted this story to be told. I think He wanted it told … to show the magnitude of His mercy.”

(HT: Thabiti Anyabwile)

The King’s Speech and Preaching

Posted in Film, Martin Luther, Preaching, White Horse Inn on March 2, 2011 by kevinwilkening

An interesting reflection from the Lutheran Church of Canada (HT: Gene Veith’s Cranach Blog) on how the Academy Award winning motion picture The King’s Speech parallels the Ministry of the Word.

As is often the case, Martin Luther explains it best: “If we hold the Word of God in high regard, then we would be glad to go to church, to listen to the sermon and to pay attention. But if you look more at the pastor than at God; if you do not see God’s person but merely gape to see whether the pastor is learned and skilled, whether the pastor has good diction, then you do not have eyes to see the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb…. For a poor speaker may speak the Word of God just as well as he who is endowed with eloquence.” Of course, this recognition does not excuse pastors from their duty to become better preachers, trained in the art of rhetoric and public speaking. But Luther does well to remind us where a congregation’s focus should be in the midst of preaching: on God and not the pastor.

God speaks to us through pastors. “Would to God,” Luther writes, “that we could gradually train our hearts to believe that the preacher’s words are God’s Word and that the man addressing us is a scholar and a king.” For it truly is the “King’s speech” a pastor is trying to communicate. And we, clergy and laypeople alike, must listen attentively to hear what He says.

Here is the whole article from the Lutheran Church of Canada.

(HT: White Horse Inn)

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