Movie Review- Austenland

Directed by Jerusha Hess and starring Keri Russell (Felicity, August Rush, etc.) comes one of the most random comeidc  movies I have ever seen in my life.

The story goes that Jane Hayes is addicted and obsessed with the world of Jane Austen. Mr. Darcy is her fantasy and she even keeps a standie of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. Her entire apartment is decorated with elements from the Regency era of English history. Her friends thinks she nuts. Why? Because everything about her life revolves around Jane Austen.

She uses her life savings to journey to Austenland, a recreation of the Regency period that features actors who are suppose to be based on a particular character in the Jane Austen novels. After she arrives, whirlwind romances, reality/fiction confusion, and a whole lot of Pride & Prejudice quotes fling your way.

As a movie, the film is choppy in its storytelling and jumping from scene to scene. It is decently acted, even with only Keri Russell as the only A-lister, the cast manages to convince you of who they are playing. As a comedy, it often fails, but redeems itself with its one-liners, especially from JJ Feild (who plays the “Mr. Darcy” character). My sister was (and to a lesser extent is) a Jane Austen aficionado, so the humor and parody of certain elements was not lost on me. The best way to describe it is, it is Napoleon Dynamite for ladies, but especially for Jane Austen fans.

PARENTAL CONCERNS: Language, mild thematic elements, innuendo, crude humor

CAST:

  • Keri Russell as Jane Hayes
  • JJ Feild as Mr. Henry Nobley
  • Bret McKenzie as Martin
  • Jennifer Coolidge as Elizabeth Charming
  • James Callis as Colonel Andrews
  • Jane Seymour as Mrs. Wattlesbrook
  • Georgia King as Lady Amelia Heartwright
  • Ricky Whittle as Captain George East
  • Rupert Vansittart as Mr. Wattlesbrook

The Art of Giving and Receiving

lonestarjake88:

Words of wisdom from a friend & colleague. Check out more of her posts at http://commonunityblog.com/

Originally posted on Common Unity:

Today, I want to shine some light on the subject of giving to members of your community. A one-time gift to a traveling preacher or a reputable ministry is easy. Giving to that person you’ll see every week sometimes comes with a degree of messiness. Some people are natural at giving and receiving. Others are like me and need a lot of help. This post is for us.

I’m going to start with a story to illustrate some of the mess I’ve faced in giving and then break it down into the reasons for those problems. This is a fabricated a mash-up of countless times I’ve either given or received the wrong way or people in my community have (I didn’t want to embarrass any friends or myself too much). I hope I’m not alone in my struggles and that you’ll also relate to the parable of the un-cheerful giver…

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Religion is NOT a dirty word

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I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.” I am sorry to say, that’s just not true. 

I know I am going to take a lot of heat for this, but I have got to get this out there. I am saying this of my own freewill. The views and opinions expressed in this article are wholly my own. This is not the opinions of my sponsors

Let me be clear, I believe in a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I believe that it is possible and that Holy Spirit is alive and active on Earth today. That being said, the notion that religion or being religious is a problem in the Christian faith is just not so.

I grew up in the 90s and into the early 2000s. In the former, there was a clamor where freethinking ministers wanting to get out of the “mold” told folks that they did not want to do “church” anymore. This was a popular rallying cry that carried into the 2000s, but then church pastors noticed something. Folks stopped going to church. Church itself, the communion of the saints of Christ, became taboo. 

Well, this would not do, so the freethinking ministers came up with a new rallying cry, “We don’t do religion.” The words religion and religious became the new buzz words synonymous with things that were considered a part of the powerless Gospel. For instance, an evangelism that was abrasive and confrontational. The Bible does say that without love, that is nothing. 

However, it soon spread to represent everything wrong with the church. “Oh, your church doesn’t allow women in leadership? That’s so religious!” Women should be allowed to be leaders in the church, that’s not the point. The point is the word religion or religious become sistered with a Pharisee or Pious spirit. Religion is not the word that defines that. According to the dictionary, religion simply means:

a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects; or something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience

That’s not sinister in the slightest. What’re some fundamentals of our faith? We believe in God the Father, almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth. In Jesus Christ His only begotten Son. We believe in Holy Spirit, who is alive and active. The Bible is the written inspired Word of God. We believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, lived, died, and on the third day, He rose again. Those are beliefs that we hold dear to our hearts. 

When we say Christianity is not a religion or religion is the weakness of our faith, we are undermining ourselves and making us look like fools. Do a search on the web about this and you will find whole atheistic websites dedicated to making fun of Christians who say, “I don’t believe in a religion. I believe in Jesus.”

Of course, when atheists do this and then they say “atheism isn’t a religion,” they are being hypocrites, but that’s not the topic. 

The point is, Christianity is a religion. Don’t believe me? Turn to the Bible itself. 

26 If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:26-27 (HCSB, emphasis mine)

Still think Christianity isn’t a religion? 

The word we should be using in place of religion is “religiosity.” This is a word for being pious and thinking that you are better because of your beliefs. Also that you put faith in the “practice” of your religion instead of the deity (Jesus) Himself. This was the buzz word in the 70s and 80s. Ministers would declare, “Throw off your man-made religiosity!” This was correct. However, it was too hard to say for some, so it became “religion” then “church” and back to “religion.” 

Listen, we must throw off these pretentious semantics and get back to what is truly important: the love of Jesus. That is what truly matters. Religion is not the weakness of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom has no weakness. It always advances and it never retreats!

Book Review- Candy Pizza

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I started reading blogger Charlotte Cuevas poetry blog about a year ago. It was in the middle of her doing a 365 poems in 365 days. From that challenge, came her self-published book: Candy Pizza!

The book’s poetry is a mixed bag of goodies! It has poetry for the deep thinkers, the comedy lovers, the life explorers, and pretty much everything in between! I only wish it had more poems in it. Maybe that will come from Candy Pizza 2. “Hint, hint, Charlotte.” I highly recommend it for its insight, humor, depth, and just all around common sense.
Check it out and don’t forget to check out the author’s blog either: http://charlottecuevas.wordpress.com/

Classic Film Review- Driving Mrs. Daisy

Driving Mrs. Daisy stars great actors like Morgan Freeman, Dan Aykroyd, and Jessica Tandy, and directed by Bruce Beresford. Driving Miss Daisy .jpg

Mrs. Daisy is a widow who, after crashing her car, her wealthy son, Boolie, hires a former Milk delivery man named Hoke to drive his mother around. Mrs.Daisy is stubborn and at first refuses to ride with him, but soon she acquiesces. After first, they ride in silence, but soon they form a friendship and discuss the changing times together. 

This movie is a masterpiece in every way shape and form. I was somber, filled with laughter, and just overall entertained. Now, it did move slow at times, but soon it became a charming film that highlighted the changing times and how friendships can form in the most unlikely of places. 

PARENTAL CONCERNS: Mils thematic elements and some language

CAST:

  • Morgan Freeman as Hoke Colburn
  • Jessica Tandy as Daisy Werthan
  • Dan Aykroyd as Boolie Werthan
  • Patti LuPone as Florine Werthan
  • Esther Rolle as Idella
  • Joann Havrilla as Miss McClatchey
  • William Hall, Jr. as Oscar
  • Muriel Moore as Miriam
  • Sylvia Kaler as Beulah
  • Crystal Fox as Katey Bell

Sing Oceans

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The other day, I read an interesting blog post that commented on the popular Hillsong worship song: Oceans. The blogger said that while the song is good, Christians should not worship to it because of these lines:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me

The point of the blog was don’t sing it if you don’t mean it. For instance, if God tells you to witness to your neighbor, but you don’t, well, you actually aren’t trusting Him without borders. Don’t mean it, don’t sing it. Of course, I’m oversimplifying the blogger’s point. 

I would like to respectfully disagree. For me, I want to be this way and I’m working to come to a place where I don’t doubt God. Of course, I’m human so I fail. However, the times I do trust God explicitly, “without borders” He always is faithful to deliver. I sing the song, with my hands raised, because I know I want to be that and trust in Holy Spirit to lead me  into that place of total trust. It’s a declaration that needs to happen over my life. 

Should I not sing Amazing Grace because I literally didn’t hear a sound? Should I not sing Enemy’s Camp because some times I let the enemy get away with stuff? Should I not sing God’s Not Dead because sometimes I’m not bold enough for a love revolution? Of course not! I will use my praise to raise me above my circumstances and declare God’s will over my life.