Time to Walk on the Water

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Radical Forgiveness!

Alec about to be confronted

More Rave Reviews for Healing River!

The trailer has been seen and shared by thousands. From multiple true events, including my own near-death encounter with a heroin-addicted driver, I created a story of “impossible” forgiveness that both challenged and moved me. And according to the latest Amazon Prime reviews that’s just what people are experiencing when they see the movie:

“This could have been stripped right out of today’s headlines. A story of anguish, pain, loss and the power to rise above it. A seamless work of storytelling. Very well done.” 

“This movie is raw and real. A breath of fresh air in a cinematic world where revenge and vigilante justice is the normal fare.”

“A powerful and accurate picture of the power of forgiveness and mercy. And it does so while avoiding tropes common to religious films. It offers a candid portrayal of the desire for revenge experienced by many people when they are victimized. A must-see movie!”

“A compelling story from the hard side of what life may bring. A great cast of characters. Throw them into a great storyline and you have a very good movie.”

“Life is always bigger and richer when you do the thing you think you never could and this movie shows that beautifully.”

“Your response will define you.”

“Put on your seat belt because this movie is going to take you through a roller-coaster ride of emotions; some understandable and others quite unexpected. There are so many twists and turns you will not believe the outcome!”

“Beautiful message about forgiving and what it can make happen. A great movie!”

“A deeply moving story of radical forgiveness!”

See it with someone you love this weekend.

To watch or order the movie (available to all, but free to Prime members), click here

The Official Trailer

Posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Movies, Popular Culture & Entertainment, Videos | Tagged , , , , , | 32 Comments

Going Out in Public Again

Current polls reveal that people have mixed feelings: They want to go out in public again, but after months of quarantine they’re understandably nervous about exposure. That’s nothing new for the animal world. This semi-serious photo collection shows, or maybe doesn’t show (that’s sorta the point) how animals–and even some people–do it.

(Click on any image to enlarge it, or to start slide show)

Note: Lichen Katydid (below right) courtesy of David Weiller Wildlife Photograpy.
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Let’s Do it Better This Time

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Surprising words from a man whose wisdom, at least at times, exceeded his behavior. But then it’s true of all of us at times, isn’t it? Currently, it seems it’s true of many. As the coronavirus lockdown unravels, many people are unraveling, too. Taking action without listening, reacting without thinking, praying without forgiving, quitting without trying.

So here’s a thought: Let’s not do that. Let’s make sure we know what’s good and what’s true, and then let’s live it. Let’s be models for others of how things could be, how they should be. Let’s do it better this time.

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ~Albert Einstein

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ~Rumi

“I ask not for any crown
But that which all may win;
Nor try to conquer any world
Except the one within.”
~Louisa May Alcott

“For what does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose their soul?” ~Jesus of Nazareth

Posted in Culture, For Pastors and Teachers, Poetry, Quips and Quotes | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Healing River

Film Review

My Featured Blogger this week is c.f. (Claudia) leach of Rhemalogy, from the Greek word “rhema,” connoting words of great power or significance such as those of Jesus.

20190622_180717-2Claudia is a published poet and essayist, a former editor for the Obsidian News, and a member of the International Association of Professional Writers and Editors. She’s also a film reviewer, by the way, who wrote the following review of my feature film Healing River. I’m far from adverse to plugging my own film, but I’ve also featured her today to introduce you to a talented and insightful writer you ought to know!

(Note: You can watch or order Healing River at Amazon Prime, even if you’re not a member, by clicking here.

Rhemalogy

A gentleman stopped by my website the other day and posted a like to my Heavens to Betsy 2 movie review. When I found out who he was it humbled me and yet made me feel fantastic at the same time. He is none other than Mitch Teemley. An award winning producer, writer, director with such films (shorts) to his credit as Grace 101, Jesus GO! and Welcome to Church: No Luggage Required.

With all his titles and accolades the one that most impressed me was Jesusfollower. Since all I review are faith-based films, I had to watch Healing River (formerly titledOver-the-Rhine), which he wrote, directed and scored.

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”— C.S. Lewis

Michael

This is the foundational principle of the entire film. A widowed mother’s only son…

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The New-New Normal?

Road to Failure

“The New Normal.” Well, that phrase got old fast–although not as old as the crisis that caused its overuse. And now we’re regrouping again. Society and individuals are trying to figure out how to get back to the Old Normal (what’s left of it), whether we can get back to it, and whether we even should. Should there be a New-New Normal? And if so, what should it look like? Some thoughts on getting there:

“Normal is just a setting on the dryer.” ~Patsy Clairmont

“Wherever you are is the entry point.” ~Kabir

“Civilized life, you know, is based on a huge number of illusions in which we all collaborate willingly. The trouble is we forget after a while that they are illusions and we are deeply shocked when reality is torn down around us.” ~J.G. Ballard

“Those who hunger for a return to normal must have at sometime in the past believed that what they had was normal.” ~Amelia Rose

Unless one starts afresh about things, one will certainly do nothing effective.” ~G.K. Chesterton

“Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.” ~Winston Churchill

“Birthing is never easy or without pain, be it a universe, a child, or a fresh start in life. Contraction precedes expansion. Darkness comes before dawn. Joy follows pain. This is the way of things.” ~John Mark Green

“We will not compare ourselves with each other, as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.” ~Galatians 5:26 (The Message)

“What you leave behind says as much about you as what you bring along.” ~Jacquelyn Middleton

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” ~Marcel Proust

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” ~Helen Keller

“What if it’s the there
and not the here
that I long for?
The wander
and not the wait,
the magic
in the lost feet
stumbling down
the faraway street
and the way the moon
never hangs
quite the same.”

~Tyler Knott Gregson

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Telling Stories

story-fun

If I was a greeting card, I’d be one of those illustrated story cards, the ones with the little built-in music tracks. I honestly can’t remember a time I wasn’t captivated by words, pictures and music. Or by wanting to create them for others. (You may have noticed how full of pictures, and sometimes even music, my blog posts are.)

As early as age 2 (I’m told), I started telling stories: Reenacting scenes from favorite movies and TV shows on the sidewalk outside, and vocally recreating the music. One lady—I’ll call her Mrs. Crank—actually alerted the police. Twice. I also told stories by drawing pictures from favorite books on that same neighborhood sidewalk. Which resulted in Mrs. Crank permanently banishing me from “her sidewalk.”

After reviewing my SAT scores, my high school career counselor said, “You should go into the arts.” “Which one?” I asked (I’d just come from a play rehearsal en route to my private writing time, after which I was off to band rehearsal). “All of them,” she said. “I simply can’t imagine you doing anything else.”

I eventually realized all my artiness had a connective tissue: storytelling. Even my songs and poetry told stories. But a while later I hit a crisis. I was tired of telling stories. “So what?” I thought. “What does it matter? They’re just stories.”

Then I met the ultimate Storyteller, the One who told, and is still telling, our universe into being, and I finally began to understand what my storytelling was for. It was to reenact my Creator’s stories. And you know what? I never get tired of telling those stories, or doubt their value. Ever.

Healing River PosterOne such story is my feature film Healing River, which premiered on Amazon Prime last weekend. If you haven’t seen it yet, may I suggest you give it a look? Healing River, winner of over 20 film festival awards, nominations and selections, is now drawing wonderful, heartfelt responses from “the neighbors” online (and so far no Mrs. Crank in sight). See? Here I am on the sidewalk again…

Telling stories

To watch Healing River now (or save it for later), click here!

Posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Movies, Story Power | Tagged , , , , | 24 Comments