25 September 2008

A couple of things

by Phil Johnson

his evening Darlene and I went to the Hollywood premiere of Kirk Cameron's movie:






We gave it two thumbs up.

The film was made by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, GA—the same church that made "Facing the Giants." I'm sure a lot of secular reviewers will complain that "Fireproof" is too preachy, because the gospel is at the heart of the story, and it's not slipped in there subtly or couched in euphemisms. It's very direct.

That's what I liked best about it. Also, (while I'm no movie critic) I thought Kirk Cameron's performance was stellar. I was amazed at the range of emotions he achieved, and how he was able to take the audience (several times) from the rawest kind of anger to instant comic relief—and do it believably.

The movie is story-driven (with a couple of well-executed action scenes) and the writing is superior. Lots of little things in the script impressed me, but particularly the way the dialogue transitioned into the gospel. I won't spoil the plot for anyone, but pay attention to what's going on at that point in the movie, and I think you'll agree that it is a very well-conceived segue and a powerful moment.

It's pretty amazing that a movie such as this appears at a point in our culture's history when religion (especially biblical Christianity) is increasingly being pushed out of the public square. Even most Christians today are convinced that if we want to be heard, we need to dilute and sweeten the gospel and deliver it with the utmost subtlety. "Fireproof" breaks all those rules, and does it with style.

It's a great story, well-told. If you are a guy, take your wife. She'll love it. Big time.

That's all I'm going to say about it, except that I was really amazed by Kirk Cameron's ability (especially early in the movie) to be unlikable. He's a gifted actor and a great guy. In case you haven't seen his Today Show interview from yesterday, I linked it in the sidebar. Check it out.

Photo credit: Sharon Devol
Photo Credit: Sharon Devol



On another note, we're about to take our longest blog hiatus ever. We need a break. We've shut down for a week or two a couple of times in the past. This time we're going dark for a full month.

I recently had a complicated tooth extraction that requires some follow-up work. (I've already made five visits to the dentist in three weeks' time, with another one scheduled first thing tomorrow, and more to come next week.) I've canceled all my October travel (including a conference in Italy) to make sure I have adequate time to recover some time and energy and get everything else done.

Frank is currently transferring to a whole new city. He might have something to say about that eventually.

And Dan, who assured me he would be perfectly willing to keep the blog afloat on his own for all of October, would almost certainly burn out if we let him attempt that, especially during the run-up to a presidential election.

So we're going to close for all of October, and we will reopen at the end of the month with Dan Phillips's annual Reformation Day post.

Between now and then, Frank has a series he wants to finish; Dan has more to say about the Proverbs; and I'm going to try to make one last follow-up to one of my recent, more-or-less controversial posts (I'm not saying which one). We may be posting on top of one another between now and the end of the month, trying to get every last word in before the blog shuts down.

But be forewarned: October 1, we will close for the whole month. We're not going to have the weekly Doses of Spurgeon, and we'll close all comment threads and everything. It will be a total eclipse of the blog for a full month. If you come here, all you will see is a single .jpg image telling you we are on vacation. Even our archives will disappear for the month.

So brace yourselves, and make your final comments in the next couple of days or so. We'll come back, Lord willing, stronger than ever. But between now and then, I for one am going to be hard to goad out of hiding. In other words, if you've been holding back some really ugly insult you want to lob my way, October 2 would be a good day to post it, because my resolve not to show my face anywhere in the blogosphere for the month of October is pretty strong.

I'll see you one last time on Monday, then adios for a month.

Phil's signature

63 comments:

Nathan W. Bingham said...

We'll miss you guys, but I am sure you will all enjoy the break (except for your Dentist visits Phil!!).

Does anyone know if Fireproof is coming Down Under?

Everyday Mommy said...

Will surely miss you, but am pleased that all of you are taking a long-deserved break.

Take care guys!

CR said...

PJ: But be forewarned: October 1, we will close for the whole month. snip snip if you've been holding back some really ugly insult you want to lob my way, October 2 would be a good day to post it snip snip

Cute...

I didn't understand the silhouette thing. I know what a silhouette is (at least I thought I did). So, did it look like in the movie that he was kissing the actress when in actuality he was kissing his wife?

Quintin said...

NOOOOOO!!! Even the archives?

You will be missed!

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Have a good R&R!

Doug McMasters said...

Ciao!

Who knows where we will be once we return a month from now. Monumental things may have taken place: the meltdown of the world's financial institutions; or, even more amazing, the Cubs' first victory since 1908 in World's Series.

Go Cards! (just wait till next year.....)

Stefan said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

(With credit to Quintin.)

Phil: God grant you the rest (and healing) you need.

Frank: God watch over you in your move.

Dan: God keep you sane in the run-up to the election.

Carl said...

Well, I will miss the blog. It's become of the blogs I visit on an almost daily basis. You'll be returning just before the elections. I hope your tooth problems will be solved with as little discomfort as possible and a speedy recovery. May God bless!

Libbie said...

*stifles the sobbing*

e-even the archives? :-O

*stifles chuckling at the notion on Dan being a victim of spontaneous human combustion in the run-up to the election*

Nik Papageorgiou said...

Hope you guys have a good rest and recuperation!

Why close the archives though? Is it one of those technically unavoidable things when you shut down the meta?

DJP said...

"Total eclipse of the blog"

You kill me. In a good way. But... if that song goes through my head all day...argh.

Waymon Patterson said...

Wow! I miss you guys already and your not even gone yet. Get some rest and we'll see you soon. God Bless (and Bro. Phil, we're praying for the tooth thing).

Roy said...

October 1, we will close for the whole month.

And I had just set up an RSS feed for the site because I liked it so much.

Ah well. I'll be back if y'all will.

The Doulos said...

We'll try to get along...somehow (read with heavy sigh and dramatic flair).

Seems like kind of a lame excuse though. Phil's got a bad tooth, Frank's moving his family (and tyrannical white pooch) and Dan just can't handle it without flaming out. C'mon, you can do better than that! =/:>

Rest well, Pyro-men.

Johnny Dialectic said...

I'm tempted to say this was "meant to be" but then again...

Let me say instead that you guys have been amazing. It is so hard to keep up a blog with such high level content, not to mention responding to comments, linking here, there and wherever, all while looking after families and church responsibilities and so on.

Well done. You deserve a break today (do not follow that jingle where it leads, however)

DJP said...

The Doulos — I sympathize with you. I'm as much a fan of Frank and Phil as anyone.

But fwiw the light will still be on, the DD coffee in the pot, and the eclectic fare still on the table over at my place. If I need a sabbatical m'self, it will likely be later in the year.

stratagem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James David Beebe, Jr. said...

I hope you have a good break. But why close down the archives?

stratagem said...

Dental work, projects, vacations. Excuses, excuses!

I'll try to think of something really ugly to say between now and then. Like, "I bet you are actually all out in October campaigning for Barack Sodoma."

Sorry, that was way too ugly to even be funny.

Brenda on the S OR Coast said...

So glad to hear the positive review of Fireproof. We recently rented Flywheel, which is actually the first movie made by that church. It was fantastic! I highly recommend it.

God bless you all as you serve Him elsewhere. We'll miss you!

trogdor said...

Best wishes during your time off and all.

I do have to ask why the archives are being shut down though. As one who's been regularly reading here less than a year, I'd love to use the month without new posts to catch up on the old ones. Maybe I just need to download the archives over the weekend?

DJP said...

I will once again step into my self-appointed office as Guy Who Tries To Save Phil Time So He Can Do The Really Important Things God Has Given Him to Do:

I think we're closing the archives so that there aren't comments on old threads that would tempt the great man himself out of temporary retirement, in order to swat buzzy gnats.

So now, at best, Phil can say "What Dan said" and get back to TRITGHGHtD.

JOYce@pfg said...

awwwwwwww, will deal with withdrawal. ;-) God bless you Phil, Frank, and Dan(and that young gent recently married) ~ richly/often now, till then, and beyond...in all He takes you to and through. :-)

The Spokesman said...

Phil: This time we're going dark for a full month.

Be careful! That's how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. :)

wordsmith said...

A scant week is scarcely enough time for addicts to taper off the blog. Anyone have a methadone-equivalent for Pyromaniacs?

Enjoy your break, guys! :)

Scottj said...

It takes wisdom to know when to rest. God Bless, and we'll miss you.

donsands said...

Have a lovely holiday! I think that's how they say it in Europe.

I think that is a wise idea. Lord bless.

Solameanie said...

"A total eclipse of the blog."

Thanks, Philip. Thanks a lot. Now I'm going to have Bonnie Tyler in my head all day. GRRR.

Seriously, have a good break. Praying for your recovery.

Joel

Stefan said...

We may have to actually read Spurgeon than short excerpts of him every weekend. (Shock! Horror!)

There is, of course, Phil's Spurgeon Archive with many of Spurgeon's sermons.

With deference to Phil, however, the most complete sermon collection online appears to be that at Spurgeon Gems. Every sermon from #1 (1855) to #2979 (1906) has been transcribed and uploaded in PDF format, with a handful more sermons from after 1906. The only caveat is that the website's owner (one Emmett O'Donnell, who apparently did the transcriptions) has rendered archaic phrases into contemporary English...so that, for example, "Thy Redeemer" becomes "Your Redeemer."

(Sorry, Brother Phil, but not a few times, I have wanted to see what Spurgeon preached on a particular text, only to discover from the Scripture Index that the sermon wasn't available on your otherwise wonderful website. I know you're busy enough with your other ministries, including keeping all of us troublemakers in line....)

David Milton said...

Suspending your campaign are you, senator?

yankeerev said...

We will miss you...just don't come back all emergent ans stuff...

bugblaster said...

Phil, you are such an indolent.

Strong Tower said...

Pyrodone treatments are available at many outlets. Solameanie has good sedatives and stimulants.

I am sure that there are quite a few others. The side bar is a feast of delights, and some, well, liver and onions like mom used to make, so I am sure that no one here will go hungry. But, when the favorite diner closes down for a holiday, everyone goes to Denny's if there is no where else.

Let me recommend Doulous (Daniel's) blog also. And, if you're in need of extra character, you can always go to Cent's and leave some obnoxious clownables and see if you can get banned.

Happy holidays!

Well they took some time off for assundry reasons to catch a toal eclipse of the blog...

...They're were they should be all the time and when they're not they're with some other world Prince or the Spirit of mercy, before the Father... Cuz, their not vain...

Take it sola...

Kim said...

Can we pester you guys on Facebook? I plan on pestering Dan at least.

Sharon said...

Wow, TeamPyro withdrawal! I hope you all have a refreshing yet productive break from the blogosphere.

And in other news . . . I'm humbly thrilled that my photo was used on a Pyro post. Thanks for the honor, Phil!

A Musician by Grace

presonphillips said...

What is it with this Kirk guy and people being "Left Behind"?

Did something happen to him as a kid?

~Mark said...

I hope your tooth care goes well Phil, I've had my share and am skilled in "tooth removal" prayer! :D

I hope October provides a restorative sabbatical for you all, even though I know it isn't planned to be a rest.

DJP said...

Thump! Thump!

Hey! Is this thing on?

feedback

I'll still be over at my little shack, open doors, Chicago... er, praise music... on the jukebox.

~Mark said...

...plus, a month may actually give me time enough to fully devour ONE whole post! :)

~Mark said...

Oh yeah...I'll be there!

Strong Tower said...

DJP, you mean that blue thingy?

xfrmdxrenewal said...

I'm already going into withdrawals and you haven't even pulled the plug yet... I add my plaintive whine to the rest of the chorus... even the archives??? It seems like a great time to be able to re-read and catch up on things we may have missed... Sigh but I will gracefully yield to your wiser minds :) Hope you all have a good rest. God bless from NE Nevada

The Doulos said...

Maybe during the Pyro-clipse, those of us with lesser blogs will see an increase in traffic as the gaping Pyro-shaped void in the theo-blogosphere seeks to be filled. Kind of like here in my small town where the local McDonalds is closed for a few months to get rebuilt. All the other burger joints in town are overflowing.

Not that I'm sayin' TeamPyro is like Mickey D's. But I'm just sayin'...

Connie said...

I will miss the team's posts, but applaud your resolve! May you each enjoy God's rich grace and mercy during your hiatus.

Michelle said...

What was that Dan? You're reading The Shack? I'm a little hard of hearing ;)

I'm going into withdrawal already, but have a good break. It's important to take time away to restore the balance.

BJ Irvin said...

What's Pecadillo doing in October? Why not run him through the ringer for a bit? :)

Be well!

BJ

Daniel Portela said...

Why is Frank moving (and where to)?

Why is your tooth hurting?

Why are you shutting down?

WHY?

WHYYYYYYYYYYY??

*curls up into fetal position and weeps

Andrew E. Courtis said...

I trust you all will be refreshed. I look forward to when you are all back!

Susan said...

"So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, au revoir...."

Enjoy your time off!

"God be with you till we meet again"!

CharlieontheT said...

Can't even leave the archive up? Are you moving? Well, okay....

I link to those po-motivators all the time

Bruce Mills said...

I'm not sure I can survive without my daily dose of the Pyromaniacs! But I understand the pressures on you guys and so I'll do my best. Take care and see you next month.

ajlin said...

wait a minute... if you don't leave a comment thread open, we won't be able to resume our conversation on the possibility of schmeradactyls

Phil Johnson said...

The Pomotivators® will still be there.

But if I don't take the archive offline, I'll either have to close all the comment-threads or monitor them for new comments. I don't want to have to think of the blog for a month.

Alan said...

Of course. No, really. This is how it always happens. I finally decide to start posting instead of lurking and reading the meta, and you go dark for a month. Of course.

When I first started reading the announcement, I was actually excited... and not just because three guys are going to get some well-deserved time off. No, I thought, this will give me a chance to go back in time and get caught up with the archi... oh, wait. Guess not.

I'll have to save a few months worth of archives before you go dark. You don't mind, do ya? :)

Kyle said...

I saw Fireproof today and loved it, but I have one complaint. Was it really necessary to show a trailer for a Bill Maher "documentary" mocking religion before the movie? Who's bright idea was it to put up a trailer mocking the majority of the audience before the movie? Did anybody else see that? Or was it just that the owner of the theater that I'm at hates Christians (actually, if that was the case, he probably wouldn't show the movie at all - maybe he/she is just stupid?).

And to the person who asked, it wasn't a full silhouette, more of a partial silhouette and shot from enough of a distance that you wouldn't have any idea it was really Kirk's wife if you hadn't seen the interview (although, I probably would have suspected something was up, just because I couldn't picture Kirk kissing another woman like that). It seemed like they were both about the same height/build/etc so it blended right in.

Overall, it was nice to see a love story by people who actually know what love is (I think it was actually the first genuine love story I've seen on a movie screen).

Isaiah said...

Nooooooo! *sob!*

My prayers are with you all, brothers. Enjoy the much-needed break. :)

God bless!

Daryl said...

Rest up gentlemen. You'r work here is valued and a break is richly deserved.
You're wise to take this hiatus, eveyone needs one from time to time.

JustJan said...

awww. I will look forward to seeing all of you back well, rested and refreshed.

Enjoy the break gentlemen.

candyinsierras said...

Just wait and see if Phil can keep his hands off Photoshop for a month.

Becky, a slave of Christ said...

Don't worry Dan, everyone will be stopping by your place...probably several times a day. Be sure to eat well and take your vitamins, you'll need your energy.

Phil, praying your tooth torture will be less than you anticipate and that you really will get some rest.

Frank, praying your move goes smoothly and that your new home is a blessing to you and your family.

Rita Martinez said...

Stratagem
That was actually quite funny..I mean the thought of it is ridiculous-ly funny! :P

Guys, no goodbyes from me...just a See you all later! and
Grace be with you :)

CR said...

Kyle: And to the person who asked, it wasn't a full silhouette, more of a partial silhouette and shot from enough of a distance that you wouldn't have any idea it was really Kirk's wife if you hadn't seen the interview (although, I probably would have suspected something was up, just because I couldn't picture Kirk kissing another woman like that).

Thanks for the clarification, Kyle. It was me who asked.

Mike Riccardi said...

The thread is probably dead, but I just wanna say that the movie is awesome. I went to see it last night with my wife and it was just a great time. Phil was right -- the Gospel was front and center, which is what made it so great. I heartily second the recommendation. Go see it, and bring an unsaved couple with you.