Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Franciscan quotation

“If a tiny spark of God’s love already burns within you, do not expose it to the wind, for it may get blown out… Stay quiet with God. Do not spend your time in useless chatter… Do not give yourself to others so completely that you have nothing left for yourself.” - St. Charles Borromeo

Pax et bonum

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Franciscan quotation

Be a Catholic: When you kneel before an altar, do it in such a way that others may be able to recognize that you know before whom you kneel. - St. Maximilian Kolbe

Pax et bonum

My Heart Beats Too (Pro-life)

Pax et bonum

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Independent Christian Films and Outsider Art

I've been somewhat critical of independent Christian films like War Room and Facing the Giants and God's Not Dead. I don't hate them - I even like many of them - but they often have poor production values, weak plots and character development, and uneven acting; they allow message to overwhelm good storytelling.

But, as I said, I still like many of them. Given the moral dreck Hollywood tends to put out - even when it tries to make religious/faith-based films (Gods and Kings, the misguided remake of Ben-Hur, and so on) - I'd pick the flawed but well-meaning films. And there are even some good ones lately - like Risen.

Then it dawned on me - many of these movies are akin to outsider art (also called self-taught art, folk art, or na├»ve art).

These self-taught outsider artists have something to say. Some have mental illness or various mental disabilities, and art is a way they try to express their thoughts and feelings. Some are perfectly normal people who just seek ways to give vent to their artistic sides though they are not formally trained - think of Grandma Moses.

Some of these independent Christian films have a lot in common with outsider art. Good people are trying to communicate with the world though they lack polished film-making skills - or lack the money to make better movies. But their flaws are sometimes part of their charm.

They are not alone in this. There have been "outsider" film makers since the dawn of movie-making. Some even become cult figures like Ed Wood (about whom a funny tribute film was made starring Johnny Depp as the cross-dressing Orson Wells fan!).

And as these Christian film-makers keep making films, some of them are getting better.

I'd still prefer quality films with religious themes - and there have been many (The Song of Bernadette, The Mission, Babette's Feast, and so on). But I'll still buy tickets for the outsider films and appreciate them for what they convey, just as I sometimes enjoy outsider art.

Maybe some day one of the Christian directors will even get to declare, "Perfect."

Pax et bonum

Christ Have Mercy - The Thirsting

Not my style of music normally, but powerful message.

Pax et bonum

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima

In honor of the 100th anniversary of Mary's last apparition at Fatima, we are watching The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima.

Although it's a little "Hollywoodized" (The  Gilbert Roland character, for example), it is still sincere and respectful in away that so many more modern Hollywood "religious" movies are not.

Yes, there are the earnest independent Christian films, but the preach dominates and they lack the qualities of good movie storytelling.

This 1952 movie holds up well. The plot is well crafted, the acting and dialogue are fine, the characters are believable. And it successfully conveys a message of faith.

(We also own and like the more recent - and "artsy" - The 13th Day, but were in the mood for the older film.)

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Pax et bonum

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Paradiso (Dante)

After my detour with contemporary Catholic fiction (Motherless), I've returned to more nourishing spiritual and literary fare - Dante's Paradiso. I'd already read the Inferno and Purgatorio, so it's time to finish.

After that? Hmm. Maybe something by Joseph Pearce.

Pax et bonum