- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 1, 2006

‘New train’

“The last time Paul McCartney made an album in the vein of his latest CD, ‘Chaos and Creation in the Backyard,’ John Lennon was alive to hear it. McCartney had just cast off Wings. … McCartney retrenched; he re-grouped without a group, playing all the instruments on an album called ‘McCartney II’ in 1980. ‘He sounds depressed,’ Lennon told a writer for Playboy not long before he was murdered. … McCartney was ready to re-claim his musical identity, if only he could find it. …

“He sees every musical venture as a rail journey, McCartney explained in a recent interview. … ‘It’s like sort of stepping on a train,’ he said. ‘I don’t worry about other trains I’ve been on, just this new train, and that’s exciting. You just have to realize that perhaps you can’t always have as great a journey as you had in the past.’ … But the primary traits of his music — its casualness, its buoyancy, its disarming juvenility, its caprice, its wild unevenness in quality — suggest that McCartney tends to entrust his destiny to only one driver: himself. His own talent took him so far for so long that he has become content to go along for the ride.”

— David Hajdu, writing on “McCartney III,” in the Dec. 26 issue of the New Republic

‘Oh, for grace …’

“Dorothy Sayers, in ‘The Whimsical Christian,’ calls Christianity the only religion that gives value to suffering. Christianity does that by affirming the reality of suffering and the opportunity to wrench some good out of it, as Christ did when He died for all who believe in Him. Christianity makes the same affirmation out of all our personal disasters and offers the same opportunity. …

“Charles Spurgeon put it this way: ‘Providence is wonderfully intricate. Ah! You want always to see through Providence, do you not? You never will, I assure you. You have not eyes good enough. You want to see what good that affliction was to you; you must believe it. You want to see how it can bring good to the soul; you may be enabled in a little time, but you cannot see it now; you must believe it. Honor God by trusting Him.’

“New Year’s resolution: To trust Him more.”

— Marvin Olasky, writing on “Our storm-wracked year,” in the Dec. 31 issue of World

Saving movies

“Philip Anschutz … has made it his ambition to lead Hollywood out of a cynical and amoral ice age. Will this self-made Colorado billionaire become modern entertainment’s rescuer, a lion-hearted savior of American film?

“Anschutz is … an evangelical Christian and father of three children who got so fed up with the tawdry state of Hollywood fare that he decided to get into the business himself by launching two film companies. He has spent a reported $150 million to $200 million to turn the first book in Lewis’s beloved ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ series into one of the biggest film releases of this holiday season. …

“‘The movie business is not a very good business in many ways. No one with any sense would get into it,’ said Anschutz at a Hillsdale College speech in February 2004. …

“While conservatives have groused about Hollywood’s cultural pollution for decades, Anschutz is putting his money where his convictions are. ‘You need to bring your own money and be willing to spend it,’ he told the audience at Hillsdale. ‘Otherwise, Hollywood doesn’t see you as a serious player.’”

— Chris Weinkopf, writing on “Movie Messiah,” in the January/February issue of the American Enterprise

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