A Great Film

By | Arts, Beauty, Justice, Life In The Body, Marriage, Women | No Comments

imgresDefying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War tells the story of a US couple’s courageous private war against the Nazis in 1939.

The Sharps, a Unitarian minister and his wife, are two of only five Americans honored as Righteous Among the Nations in Israel’s Yad Vashem. You can watch their story online at PBS until October 5 by clicking on the above link.

This film is the latest from Ken Burns, known for his style of using archival footage and photographs in documentaries. Defying the Nazis is an incredible story of great personal sacrifice.

In this film you will see many similarities to the current social environment in America. How does an unlikely candidate rise quickly to power? How does racism thrive? Why don’t people care for refugees? Is national security more important that children’s lives? We’ve been here before.

When you finish, read Auden’s poem, September 1, 1939. We …

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Call a Friend, Watch a Sunset

By | Beauty, Life In The Body | 2 Comments
A digital photo is great; actually being at Calvin with my students was way better.

A digital photo is great; actually being at Calvin with my students was way better.

Years ago, I read that a firm experimenting with an electronic brain designed to translate English into Russian fed it the words: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The machine responded with a sentence in Russian which meant, a linguist reported, “The whisky is agreeable, but the meat is spoiled.”

I just returned from taking thirteen students to the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids. And at the first workshop I attended, Makoto Fujimura (“Mako”), in introducing his new book, Silence and Beauty, told a story about something similar his father tried years ago. Having studied under the American linguist Noam Chomsky, Mako’s dad later introduced the great philosopher’s theories in Japan. At that time, scientists told Mako’s dad that within ten years they’d create technology that so …

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