Archive for the 'Movies' Category

“Mary Magdalene” – a movie worth seeing

Just back from seeing the movie Mary Magdalene. For me, somewhere between 3.5 and 4 Stars (out of 5). I disagree with those reviews that have poured cold water on the movie. For me, overall, it was  faithful to the biblical narrative (and where it wasn’t that wasn’t of great importance … no deal-breaker); it certainly made prominent Mary’s evolving sense of “call” to discipleship and that of “witness”, elevated the inbreaking kingdom of God to being a key thrust of Jesus and his ministry and made clear Mary’s spiritual, somewhat mystic devotion to the cause of Christ.

Very much a movie through Mary’s eyes and heart.  Garth Davis (think Lion) did well with his crew of “getting inside” who Mary may well have been, for down the centuries she has been portrayed in one of two extremes (albeit with some overlap) – devoted “apostle to the apostles” or a reformed prostitute.  Nothing in the movie to suggest either!

A highlight for me – without giving too much away – were a variety of “baptismal” segments and allusions.

Yes, Mary Magdalene plodded at times, especially early on, but maybe we’re too used to those triumphant gallop-along biblical dramas of the past or those highly sanitised films. There was commendable character devopment portrayed in Mary, Jesus, Peter and Judas. Dale and invited Church folk from Wellers Hill-Tarragindi UC to join us. Pleased a group did. Nice to debrief over lunch afterwards. Should do this sort of thing again. “Paul”?

Mary Magdalene? Go see it.

Easter blessings,


In Easter Time … a song from long ago & great new video


This hasn’t been my healthiest week … and not the ideal for Holy Week and then the Easter weekend. Hopefully on the mend now.
Life is full of irony for all of us, and so to for me these past days. As I’ve felt far from “alive” these past days – taking a funeral this morning amid my head-chest-sore throat cold state is further irony – I’ve started reflecting on some Easter Day themes and thoughts.


Out of the blue – for I haven’t used the song for decades, I recalled a song I wrote in the early 1980s, called In Easter Time. I probably wrote it for an all-age worship service.. Words and leadsheet link down the screen.  I especially recalled the final lines:

All that’s alive in Jesus loving us
breaks out in Easter time.

In my totally biased opinion, those are among the best couple of lines of lyric I’ve written.

Here’s the lyrics …    leadsheet

When I think of this Easter time:
its bunny, its eggs and its fun
and look on further beyond the thrills
I see just what we’ve undone
For Easter time is Jesus dying
Living to love us again. Cos
All that’s alive in Jesus loving us
Breaks out in Easter time.
All that’s alive in Jesus loving us
Breaks out in Easter time.

The weary caterpillar ends
its time – a small cocoon,
to greet the world – a new butterfly
living a brand new tune.
And Jesus takes the pain of our own world
himself and dies
to come alive, yes Jesus loving us
Breaks out in Easter time.
All that’s alive in Jesus loving us
Breaks out in Easter time.             © David MacGregor 1981

What prompted my recollection of In Easter Time was my reflecting over and over (in my unhealthy stupor!) on a wonderful new video clip put out by the Uniting Church here in Queensland. I’m looking forward to using it this Sunday.

The reflecting goes on.  Blessings of this most holy of seasons be yours.


Searching for Schindler



The first of two posts from me.

Just finished reading Thomas Keneally’s “Searching for Schindler” – a memoir on the rather amazing ‘journey’ the writer took that lead him to unearth the (at the time in 1980) little-known story of the paradoxical, confusing Oskar Schindler – Schindler who would save 100s of Polish Jews from perishing amid the Nazi Holocaust during WW2.

In short, a chance visit by Keneally while in Beverley Hills, Los Angeles to purchase a replacement briefcase leads to a 20 year friendship with Leopold (‘Poldek’) Pfefferberg – one (with his wife Misia) of the Schindlerjuden.

The book details how one thing led to the next and “Schindler’s Ark” was written – only after visits to Krakow, Auschwitz & numerous other places; alongside countless interviews with men and women – scattered across many countries and continents – who owe their survival to Schindler. In its latter pages the process leading to the production and release of Spielberg’s film “Schindler’s List’ is described

All in all, a moving read. Moving because not only did it hit home to me both the immensity of Schindler’s compassion for those Jews who worked his factories, but with it the tragic inhumanity meted out to the Jewish people and others inEurope by an evil Nazi regime.

Moving because it brought back to me the time I read Kenneally’s original book – away in Canberra in 1993 at a youth ministry conference, I came down with a bad case of the flu and found myself confined to bed for a couple of days. I had brought with me a copy of Schindler’s Ark, knowing that Spielberg’s film adaptation was only months away from hitting the movie screens worldwide.

I read that book in those two days. I was reduced to tears; never had I been so moved by a piece of writing – by the humanity and actions (in an earthly sense) of one man … one very imperfect man.

To think that prior to the book’s 1983 release and movie’s 1993 release few had even heard about Schindler!



movie – “Gran Torino”

grantorino-dvdJust back from seeing Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino. Unlike me, I somehow had missed reading the reviews for this movie.  I was incredibly moved by it.  “Christianity Today” comments on it this way:

“Eastwood adds an interesting new wrinkle to the themes of mortality, violence, revenge and redemption that have been so prominent in his more recent films.” “Some have said that Gran Torino doesn’t have a happy ending, but the symbolism of what happens points to loving sacrifice and the complete commitment of one’s life for the betterment of others.” “We see a man redeemed from hatred to love for neighbors who steadily and persistently showed him love—even when he continually pushed them away.” “Profound on a number of levels—a commentary on our contemporary zeitgeist but also a timeless story of redemption, sacrifice, and grace. It’s Eastwood working through his own Dirty Harry mythos, atoning for his own cinematic sins in the same way that any of us must reckon with our past as we age and the world changes.” (“Christianity Today” review.)

The “redemption, sacrifice, and grace” themes, along with the strong theme of “community” were strongly in evidence for me.

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