Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pleasant Enrichments

I started to title this post "Pleasant Diversions" because I am going to jot down here a quick update of things we've been reading, watching and listening to in recent days. But I decided on a more appropriate word because the things going into that list have not been as much diverting for my soul as they have been deepening, developing and enriching.

And that's the trick for Christians, isn't it? To select things to enjoy in your leisure hours that do not divert you from your stated convictions of faith and morality but rather which enhance your knowledge, sharpen your communication skills and entertain in ways that will not dull your conscience.

Modern Christians are much too quick to accept whatever the culture throws at them. We are not discriminating and we are not properly protective of what our heart takes in. We take television, movies, popular music and modern novels as a natural right without carefully considering how dramatically different in morality they are from past years. Think of The Lone Ranger, Leave It To Beaver and Playhouse 90 compared to today's shlock where dysfunctional families, sexual promiscuity (even perversions), coarse language, leftist politics, disrespect for Christianity, and a general lack of creative quality abound.

There are better things to do with your time...and your mind.

With that said, let me get to that catch up list.

* I finished Micah Clarke, Arthur Conan Doyle's novel about the Monmouth Rebellion of 17th Century England and found it to be a wonderful read -- exciting and instructive and, thanks to Project Gutenberg, completely free. It is a novel of battle, religious conviction, politics, honor and friendship that is splendidly carried by Doyle's rich prose and his steady eye for historical accuracy. I will definitely recommend Micah Clarke for next year's Notting Hill Napoleon list.

* Claire is well into Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell's panaromic view of the American Civil War and its aftermath. We have both read it in years past but it is this month's selection for the Napoleons so we're re-reading it. Well, Claire is. In typical fashion, I'm kinda' late in getting to it. And with the novel stretching over 1100 pages, that's a bit dangerous.

* The reason I'm not yet into GWTW is partly because I've been spending most of my evenings creating new "When Swing Was King" presentations. That requires downloading photos, editing them, sorting them into categories, downloading music, increasing the volume as I enter the songs into the Power Point program, researching information about the songs and musicians, and finally actually creating each 13-song, 160-180 picture volume.

* Another couple of reasons that I'm not yet into the antebellum South is that Claire and I have started taking long walks in the evening and there is often the need to work on my sermons for Faith Bible Church. (By the way, here's a great hint for all of you who, like me, are Bible students. Check out the resources of StudyLight.org)

* And yes, there's one other distraction I'd better admit to. For instead of opening GWTW last night, I opened the Kindle and started reading Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage by Gyles Brandreth. Claire had alerted me last week to a Kindle special offering a bunch of titles for 99 cents and I opted for this one. And, boy; am I glad I did. It is absolutely delightful, a charming and extremely interesting book about two people you think you know...but don't. I did about a third of the book last night and now I'm afraid I've got to finish it before I start on Mitchell. It'll be tight.

*On the viewing front? Well, there's not much in this category except that we have often watched episodes of The Rifleman on MeTV. There's also episodes of Wanted: Dead or Alive which we picked up over Christmas at ShopKo -- all 7 seasons of the show on disc for $19.99. Not bad. And finally,  on the advice of the Goldens who we had over to dinner a week ago or so, we watched the movie, Seven Days In Utopia starring Lucas Black and Robert Duvall. It was a terrific story. Well developed. Inspirational. Quirky. A great family film. We can rarely recommend movies but we do this one.

Okay, we're up to date on our "pleasant enrichments." Feel free to e-mail us suggestions from your experience too. Or to drop them in the Facebook thread following this post there.