Blogging About Salt

You are the salt of the earth.

–Matthew 5:13

I love salt, and I am sure many of you do as well.  In our day and age, we love salt mainly because it adds flavor to our food.  But in the time of Jesus, salt was loved for an entirely different reason:  it was a preservative.  Salt has very strong antibacterial properties, so it helps to preserve the freshness of whatever food it is used in.  In the time of Jesus, there was no such thing as electric refrigeration, so salt was used frequently and judiciously to keep food fresh.

Jesus’ followers were well aware of this, and so they probably got quite readily the point that Jesus was making:  that those who identified with and lived out His message would function as a preservative to keep the forces of sin and corruption at bay in our world. Continue reading “Blogging About Salt”

The Love Song of R. Joseph Derbes: A Valentine’s Day Rant

It’s getting close to Valentine’s Day, and so I thought we would take a look at T. S. Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”.

First of all:  Why Prufrock?

I studied this poem in my high school and college English classes, and I am sure many of you did as well.  Though I did fairly well in English, it was not my strongest subject.  My recollections of this poem consist mainly of being frustrated at my inability to see the meaning that my teachers said was right there if I would just look at it, wondering how on earth they could get the words of this poem to mean the things they said it did.  So I just let it go and went on with my life.  Then, this year at Christmas I stayed with my older sister, and this poem came up during the course of conversation.  (My older sister was an English major in college, and she did a paper on this poem in one of her classes.)  This got me interested again, as things that I did not understand before became clear to me.  So I did some research on my own, and here is what I have come up with.

Now, before we begin, I am assuming that all of you have already read “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”.  If you have not, you can find it here.  Even if you have already read it, you may want to read it again, especially if it’s been a while.  So go there, read the poem, and then check back with me.  I’ll wait.

Read  T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” Continue reading “The Love Song of R. Joseph Derbes: A Valentine’s Day Rant”

Movie Review: The Illusionist

The Illusionist is one of the best movies in all of 2006, one which, unfortunately, will probably not get the props it deserves.

The movie is set in turn-of-the-century Vienna.  It begins with a show by a traveling magician named Eisenheim being shut down by the chief of police.  We then flash back to Eisenheim’s adolescence, when he is in love with the woman of his dreams.  But his love is forbidden on account of the huge class difference between his family and hers.

So Eisenheim sets out to see the world.  In the process he becomes a masterful magician.  Fifteen years later he returns to Vienna and performs a show.  Austrian Crown Prince Leopold is in attendance, and when Eisenheim asks for a volunteer who is not afraid of death for his next trick, Leopold volunteers his fiancee.  (Don’t you just love a man like that?)  Leopold’s fiancee turns out to be Eisenheim’s long-lost lover, and this puts the two men on a collision course. Continue reading “Movie Review: The Illusionist”