Monthly Archives: November 2013

Your History Moment: A Door Ajar

“Death opens a door out of a little, dark room (that’s all the life we have known before it) into a great, real place where the true sun shines and we shall meet.”

It will be 50 years ago this month, the 22nd to be precise, that two famous men stepped through that door…into eternity…on the very same day.

One in Dallas, Texas captured every headline worldwide; the other in Oxford, England barely a media blip.  The news of the assassination of the former obviously overshadowed every other news event in the world, including Clive Staples Lewis’ demise at 65.


Both Kennedy and C.S. Lewis were of Irish descent who reached their own pinnacle of fame–one in politics, the other with his writing.

Everyone knows about JFK, but Lewis is somewhat less familiar.  If you don’t know much about him, check out these two wonderful movies…with Joss Ockland and Anthony Hopkins playing “Jack,” as his friends called him.


Through The Shadowlands:

And here’s the one movie that John Fitzgerald Kennedy saw about himself, only criticizing Cliff Robertson’s hair part as on the wrong side (Cliff changed it):

PT 109:

As famous as they both were, where are these two men today?  Lewis, a genuine believer in the gospel, was transformed from being an atheist to an agnostic to a dramatic reversal after an encounter with the risen Jesus.

Here are his own words about the event, that some will correctly identify with Edmund’s repentance in the second episode of The Chronicles of Narnia:

On the other hand, JFK, with all his revealed adulteries and deceptions, the most famous being with Marilyn Monroe, seems doubtful to have entered into that same Glory.  (I hope I’m wrong, and one can never be sure what is in a man’s heart, but the Scriptures are clear that repentance is mandatory for true salvation, evidenced by a changed life.)

The Scriptures also say this in Ecclesiastes chapter 7:

“It is better to go to funerals than parties, for Death is the end of every man, and the living take it to heart.”

Apparently JFK did take it to heart at one point in his life after his PT 109 story resulted in the death of two of his crew:

Still, Kennedy apparently couldn’t shake the deaths of his two men in the Sol­o­mons.  After the Hersey story came out, a friend congratulated him and called the article a lucky break.  Ken­nedy mused about luck and whether most success results from “fortuitous accidents.”  “I would agree with you that it was lucky the whole thing happened if the two fellows had not been killed.”  That, he said, “rather spoils the whole thing for me.”

Based on his life, however, it would seem it did not lead JFK to genuine repentance.

All of us must go through that same door, and we all get to choose our final destination (I John 5:11-13).  Who we become on the other side is determined by what we do with the claims of Jesus now, as evidenced in one of my favorite Lewis quotes…so striking I even included it in my novel, Xposure:


“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which,if you say it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilites, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – These are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”   –Clive Staples Lewis, (The Weight of Glory)

Choose wisely.

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Your History Moment: Why We Can’t Turn Away

When I was in Charleston, SC, I took a Civil War Walking Tour.

I asked our guide if folks down here were still fighting the Civil War.  His reply was classic, and his drawl dripped like homemade biscuit syrup.

“Excuse me, suh…don’t you mean the wah of nor-then aggression?”

I had my answer.

What is the fascination with our Civil War?  It’s like a train wreck, but we can’t look away.  More books have been written about it than any other event in American history…even our revolution!

Just look at this 3.5 story tower of books on Lincoln alone:

And it fascinates me too.  I even went so far as to write a movie about it.  Here’s the trailer for Something Gray on my website:

Shakespeare’s In The Alley


So why is it that we’re so deeply fascinated with this national disaster?  I ask Civil War buffs this same question all the time.  What is it about this event that has you so hooked?

No one ever gives me a great, all-encompassing answer.  I’m not sure there is one good answer, but I keep asking.

Is it the characters?  Is it because it’s our “family story?”  Is it  because of the weapons coming of age ahead of Napoleonic tactics and strategy?  Is it slavery’s abolition?

And so I ask YOU…what is our obsession with the Civil War, er…the Wah of Nor-then Aggression?  Can you explain what draws us in to the tune of over 50,000 books on the subject?  And that was just an estimate over 10 years ago!

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Your Hendrix Moment: Ludi and Jimi

I recently watched two documentaries on these musical geniuses…Ludwig van Beethoven and James Marshall Hendrix.

The former you can watch in three parts here:

The latter was on PBS…here’s the promo for it:

I’ve always felt some connection to both of these men, but only in awe of their God-given musical talent (that very few share, and certainly not me.  Mozart would be in this elite club too).

And yet, for all their amazing ability, there is something very sad about their life.  Something they missed.

Pascal said, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

Beethoven was “religious,” but did not attend church and hardly displayed the fruit of the Spirit.  Did he genuinely believe?  I hope he did.

Now Hendrix, obviously heavily promiscuous and a drug user could not be, right?  I hope he was, and found this interview hopeful:

Where they were at spiritually?

Yeah. I know that Jimi Hendrix became a Christian because a friend of mine that recently passed away had known Jimi really well and owned almost every piece of memorabilia you can imagine. He had the psychedelic V and a couple of his strats. He had Hendrix’s prayer mat.

A prayer mat? Like to cushion your knees while you pray?

Yeah. Hendrix used to kneel on it and pray before he went onstage. Towards the end, before he died, he became a Christian. I had no idea.

You can read the whole interview here…and for the record, Dylan believes Jesus is his Messiah and Alice is a breath of fresh air!

Dave Mustaine interview

If you want more Ludwig, this film was very good too (and the actor reminds me of one of Jimi’s Experience bandmates):



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Your Hollywood Moment: Numbers Are Stubborn Things

Hollywood is a funny beast.

Controlled by liberal gatekeepers who want nothing to do with traditional family or American values, especially if it has anything to do with Jesus Christ.  Potty humor is cheaper to produce and makes more money, so they say.

That is unless, a “good” film will make them gobs of money.  Money trumps all values, good or bad, in Lost Angels, California.

Spoiler alert…the idea that Hollywood is a business is absolutely true.

Hollywood is not interested in making “good” films like Casablanca, Arsenic and Old Lace, or It Happened One Night.  They’re interested in making money.

Case in point.  The success of Mark Burnett’s The Bible on The History Channel in March destroyed the idea that “period pieces” or “religious drama” were dead (the series ranked number one on cable television and sold 1 million units across Blu-ray, DVD and DigitalHD platforms).

Despite your politics, numbers are stubborn things.

So entertainment like this is seemingly now as alive as Jesus Christ, as evidenced by 20th Century Fox making a movie spin off on Jesus from The Bible TV series (due out in February, with the same Jesus actor, Diogo Morgado, called Son of God.).  What a great name…Diogo Morgado!  “You killed my father…prepare to die.”

Another movie, The Christmas Candle, is due out in theaters this month.  A heart-warmer in the Dickens’ mode of Cranford and Pride and Prejudice that will make you laugh, cry, and believe. 

See if you can spot the Wizard, the Les Miz actor, and the Braveheart father in the trailer:

Both of these films defy the gatekeepers in L.A.  Should be interesting to see if they make money and prove them wrong…again.  I wouldn’t bet against them.

After all, the tomb is still empty.

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Your Hockey Moment: Abe Shoots and Scores!

Or maybe Your History Moment?

This prolly won’t play well in some parts of the South, where hawkey is so popular.

I know a guy who refuses to keep five dollar bills in his wallet.  Kinda’ thinking he won’t be buying this little number, but I LOVE it!

Imagine the donnybrooks that will erupt!

Speaking of Donnybrook…anyone know the origin of this pugilistic term?

Here’s a hint (and thanks Detch!):


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Your History Moment: WIRNing!

What I’m Reading Now:

If you love history, then you already know about David McCullough’s skill.  His John Adams is no exception, and I highly recommend it.

A timely quote struck me for Adams’ insight and our current political quagmire:

Keeping in mind that our government was then only embryonic and still being fleshed out, when Adams said,“…all offices would be monopolized by the rich; the poor and middling ranks would be excluded and an aristocratic despotism would immediately follow.”

I read today that Nancy Pelosi is worth 58 million.  Any idea how many people in Congress are millionaires?  Almost 50%, and the vast majority are not “poor” or “middling.”  Wonder what our second president would say to that?

And if you’ve not seen the HBO series on John Adams, consider this clip when the lowly rebel farmer is the first Ambassador to the tyrant King of England:

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