The Image of God—A.W. Tozer

Read carefully. A reading from “Why We Must Think Rightly About God,” from The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer:

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.
The history of mankind will probably show that no people [group] has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.

For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God.

Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, “What comes into your mind when you think about God?” we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man. Were we able to know exactly what our most influential religious leaders think of God today, we might be able with some precision to foretell where the Church will stand tomorrow…

That our ideas of God correspond as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us. Compared with our actual thoughts about Him, our creedal statements are of little consequence. Our real idea of God may lie buried under the rubbish of conventional religious notions and may require an intelligent and vigorous search before it is finally unearthed and exposed for what it is. Only after an ordeal of painful self-probing are we likely to discover what we actually believe about God.” —A.W. Tozer

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Story of Freedom | Rufus Fears’ Final Lectures

Hey folks, before he passed, Dr. Rufus Fears recorded an 18-part lecture series on American history called “Story of Freedom.” I’ve watched only the first few minutes of part one, but it looks, as usual, highly intriguing. So if you never got a chance to see him lecture, or want another opportunity to, check out the link below. Grace and Peace.

http://freedom.ou.edu/category/story-of-freedom/

Top 100 Films – Summer Series

Next week I am starting a ten part summer series, releasing my top 100 films of all time. Obviously I haven’t seen every movie, but I’ve seen a lot of really good ones. I’ll release it ten at a time, which will generate an intense amount of anticipation, perhaps anger that your favorite film hasn’t made the list, or is too low, or perhaps something is too high. I want your feedback. Film is incredibly subjective. What makes a movie great? I will include a brief description of why I think each movie is one of the greatest ever made, and hope to pique your interest in critically enjoying every film on the list.

Criteria
Here is basically what I am looking for in ranking these films. Ranking them is seemingly senseless and subjective, but I do like some movies better than others, and I do think there is a certain shared sense of objectivity when looking at movies. I think just about everyone would agree, for instance, that Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994) is a better film than Beverly Hills Chihuahua (Raja Gosnell, 2008), or Year One (Harold Ramis, 2009). What makes one movie better than another? Its a tough question to answer. My criteria for this list does not necessarily reflect a universal criteria, and for any given film one of these might outweigh another.

  • Personal Preference: How much I purely enjoy the film. Can I watch this film repeatedly, and does the film demand repeated viewings?
  • Technical Skill: How do all the elements of film (Editing, cinematography, sound, music, lighting, mise-en-scene, acting, screenplay/story, etc.) come together? All of these films exhibit high technical skill, but some are “tighter”, or “better”executed.
  • Historical/Cultural Significance: Is this film important in the history of film? Did this film make a significant contribution to the art of cinematic storytelling, or make a profound or poignant statement of historical/political significance?
  • Transcendance: (1) How does the film hold up? Is it still just as worthy of viewing today as it was when it came out? (2) Does this film speak to humanity collectively, crossing the boundaries of the ordinary to communicate something of our humanness? Or perhaps does the film give us an encounter with the Divine Other, something outside of us that spurs us to action?
  • Popularity: How popular is this film? Did it receive acclaim from critics and moviegoers alike? Or perhaps made a come back as a cult classic, or originally misunderstood film?

This is my basic criteria, and like I said, on any given movie one or more of these will outweigh the others.

Here’s my thing: I believe that film is incredibly powerful. Films have the power to change people, to encounter people in a transcendant way, in a divine way. All things are ultimately God’s things, regardless of whether we believe they are or not. He can (and does) use everything to give people an awareness of Him, a sense of Him. We all have an awareness of the divine in us, whatever we choose to call it, and movies extend the parabolic/prophetic lens to help us understand ourselves on our own terms and in terms of the divine.

For those who have eyes to see, let them see. For those who have ears to hear, let them hear.

#100-91 | #90-81 | #80-71 | #70-61 | #60-51 | #50-41 | #40-31 | #30-21 | #20-11 | #10-1