This is not a full-fledged review, just a slightly extended endorsement, for people who don’t need either.
Last year’s Force Awakens had anticipation levels higher than any in modern memory, including the ghost movie. That Movie That Shall Not Be Named didn’t have to not only extend the universe but overcome an abysmal trilogy that most Star Wars fans pretend don’t even exist; Force Awakens did. It mostly succeeded, but only by slavishly copying A New Hope to the point that I christened it A Newer Hope. (To all of those who’ve made a long list of excuses for why Abrams did it and how brilliant he is, I refer you to Alias seasons 3-5 or the last episode of Lost.)
Rogue One, on the other hand, is the movie Force Awakens should have been.
Our first Postmaster General once wrote that nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. I’m sticking with the theme, but picking two different certainties, since Franklin’s two turned out not to be quite as certain as he thought. (See Jesus for the former and our President-elect for the latter.)
My first certainty is from yesterday’s post — there’s bound to come some trouble. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next year, but there’s bound to come some trouble. That’s not pessimism, that’s just reality — we live in a broken world, and we all eventually step on that brokenness and find ourselves with a (figurative) cut foot.
Last time we learned yet again why God’s original covenant (known to us today as the Old Testament) is just as important as the new covenant (known to us as, you guessed it, the New Testament). This time, let’s be reminded how much the OT has to teach us still.
2 Chronicles tells us about the various kings of Judah from Solomon through their fall to the Babylonians. A little less than half-way through, beginning in chapter 14, we learn about Asa. Asa, like many of us, began well, doing “what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord His God.” When attacked by an army of one million, he cried out to God for help.
Andy Stanley recently did a series titled “Who Needs God,” and today’s discussion revolves around one of the sermons in that series. I strongly encourage you to view the entire message; not only will this post make more sense if you do, but you’ll have the full context of the discussion instead of just the parts that I talk about.
Stanley starts with giving us this line from a widely known children’s song:
Jesus loves me, this I know…
You’ve probably already filled in the next line in your head.
For the Bible tells me so.
He then says, “This is where our trouble began,”1
He goes on to say, “The problem with that is this — if the Bible is the foundation of our faith, as the Bible goes, so goes our faith,” then, “If the Bible is the foundation of our faith, it’s all or nothing; Christianity becomes a fragile house-of-cards religion.
Elton John released Blue Moves, his second double album, the year I started college. The previous year he had fired his long-time bassist and drummer, taken on an unknown keyboardist by the name of James Newton-Howard1, formed his own record company, and simply grown weary of fame and touring. The results were less guitars and more keyboards, less rock and more pop, less fun and more depression.
The album was promptly crucified by critics and fans alike. A friend (and fellow Elton fan) from high school and I car-pooled to UTA our freshman year, and I remember several conversations revolving around the horridness of Blue Moves.