“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 18 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part Q Ernest Hemingway 6th part “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn,” )

HEMINGWAY:You like Mark Twain?

SCOTT FITZGERALD: I’m going to find Zelda.I don’t like the thoughtof her with that Spaniard.



GIL PENDER:I’m actually a huge Mark Twain fan.I think you can even make the case that all modern American literature comes from Huckleberry Finn.-


GIL PENDER:No. Not really. No.

HEMINGWAY:What’re you writing?-

GIL PENDER:A novel.-

HEMINGWAY:’Bout what?

GIL PENDER:It’s about a man who works in a nostalgia shop.

HEMINGWAY:What the hell is a nostalgia shop?

GIL PENDER:A place where they sell old things. Memorabilia.and… Does that sound terrible?

HEMINGWAY:No subject is terribleif the story is true.If the prose is clean and honest, and if it affirms grace and courage under pressure.


Pictured below: Ernest and Pauline Hemingway in Paris, 1927


Picture of King Solomon as old man posted in the Van Buren, MO gallery


A young Mark Twain

Older Mark Twain

Viktor Frankl

Man’s Search for Meaning: Viktor Frankl’s Psychotherapy by KRIS HEMPHILL

Shortly before his death Mark Twain wrote in his autobiography:

Men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle for bread;… age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; those they love are taken from them, and the joy of life is turned to aching grief… Death comes at last—the only unpoisoned gift earth ever had for them—and they vanish from a world which will lament them a day and forget them forever.1

The Preacher’s (king Solomon) opening verses in Ecclesiastes are similar to Twain’s sentiment: “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes… Tere is no remembrance of former things” (Eccl 1:2–4, 11). Both Twain and the Preacher voice questions our souls long to have answered: Where does one find enduring meaning, life purpose, and sustainable joy, and why do so few seem to find it?

Psychiatrist and Auschwitz survivor Viktor Frankl also wrestled with such questions. He searched for answers after watching fellow prisoners “run the wire”—a common form of suicide whereby a prisoner would intentionally run into the electrically charged barbed-wire fence surrounding the camp. With no hope of the war ending before they slowly starved to death, many prisoners gave up the will to live. For Frankl, clinging to images of his wife is what kept him from doing the same. Many mornings while marching to the day’s worksite in bone-chilling temperatures, he’d engage in imaginary conversations with his wife. He’d ask her questions, and she’d answer. “In my mind I took bus rides, unlocked the front door of my apartment, answered the telephone, switched on the lights.”2 Imagining such everyday scenes took on new meaning for Frankl. Tey offered a reason to live, a refuge from the cruelty and spiritual poverty of the death camp.

Frankl’s experiences at Auschwitz impacted him significantly, and after the war he developed an existential psychotherapeutic model called logotherapy. Its central focus is man’s desire to find meaning.3 Although less utilized in the United States, logotherapy is still widely practiced in many parts of the world, particularly Europe and South America. Clearly it resonates with people. In fact, Jimmy Fallon, the popular TV host of NBC’s Tonight Show, recently shared on his show that he read Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, while recovering from surgery. Holding up the book to the camera, he described how it greatly encouraged him by showing him the meaning of his life: “I belong on TV… talking to others…and if anyone is suffering at all, I’m here to make you laugh.”

Mark Twain, Viktor Frankl and the Preacher in Ecclesiastes have much in common. They  lived in very different times and had very different life experiences, but all three described many of the same realities of living in a world corrupted by evil. All three acknowledged the brevity and futility of life. Each shared a yearning to find meaning, a way to make sense of the pain and suffering of this world. Yet, as each one neared the end of his life, each arrived at a different conclusion to the question of meaning. Mark Twain deemed that the world was devoid of all hope and meaning. Frankl said there is meaning to be realized, but it is self-generated. Only the Preacher offers a complete answer that goes deep enough and lasts long enough. “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl 12:13). This will withstand any tragedy that besets us because the true Logos never wavers, never sleeps, never leaves and never forsakes.


The song DUST IN THE WIND released by KANSAS in 1978 correctly notes humanist man’s nihilistic outlook on life and 3 years later Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope from KANSAS admitted the message of the song was from ECCLESIASTES (which was written by King Solomon) and they both put their faith in Christ.

Livgren wrote:

All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

There is evidence that indicates the Bible is accurate and can be trusted. Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.


September 9, 2014

I am doing a blog series on Novels Every Christian Should Consider Reading.

Gene Edward Veith Jr. (PhD, University of Kansas) is the provost and professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk. He is the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity and culture, including Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature and Imagination Redeemed: Glorifying God with a Neglected Part of Your Mind (releasing in November). He blogs atCranach (hosted by Patheos) and can be followed on Twitter at@geneveith.

huck“All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn,” said Ernest Hemingway. “All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.”

The book, published in 1884, was the first novel written in a distinctly American dialect, featuring an epic journey through the American physical and social landscape, written from a particularly American sensibility, and exploring uniquely American problems.

Unlike some classics, which a contemporary reader approaches out of a sense of duty and reads with great difficulty, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn brings back all the pleasures of reading. Mark Twain combines a tale of suspense, adventure, and melodrama with unforgettable characters, profound themes, and devastating social satire. Twain is not only a great novelist, he is a great humorist. He is one of the few authors who can be serious and funny at the same time. Readers of Huckleberry Finn will find themselves laughing out loud, even as they are moved to tears.

The story is told from the point of view and in the voice of Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer’s street urchin friend. It begins as the sequel to Tom Sawyer with more amusing pranks in small town Missouri until the plot gets serious with the arrival of Huck’s murderous father. In escaping from him, Huck finds himself also helping Jim, a slave, escape to freedom. They float down the Mississippi on a raft, encountering adventures and colorful characters along the way, from families engaged in a Hatfield-and-McCoys-type feud to a pair of conmen who claim to be an English Duke and the rightful King of France. The goal is to reach Cairo, Illinois, where they can head north on the Ohio River to freedom for Jim. But they miss their turn and drift deeper and deeper into slave country.

On the Mississippi, Huck learns to see Jim not as a piece of property—which is how he is seen when they go ashore—but as a human being, a friend who is willing to sacrifice himself for Huck. The novel is a profound treatise on the evils of treating other human beings as mere objects to exploit, and it is one of the most moving indictments of slavery and of racism in all of literature.

And yet, nevertheless, in an irony of Mark Twain proportions, Huckleberry Finn is not allowed to be read today in many circles—and particularly in public schools—because it is charged with racism. The book, like the 19th-century Southern vernacular it is written in, uses the “N-word.” Jim, though the moral center of the novel, sometimes comes across as a racial stereotype, with some of Twain’s humor seeming reminiscent of the old racially offensive “minstrel shows.”

Thus, as it so often does, style trumps substance, with seemingly superficial details preventing people from even being able to see the underlying meaning.

But if readers cannot get beyond the “N-word,” I’d recommend holding off on Huckleberry Finn. Irony is reportedly the most difficult figure of speech to master, so if readers see only racism in the novel and not the way Twain is attacking that racism, they aren’t ready for this novel.

We often assume that books about children are for children. That isn’t always the case. There is actually much more than racism in the novel that would make modern parents squirm. Children smoking. Children drinking. Children running away. Children roaming all over town at will, doing dangerous things like swimming in the river and going into caves, and carrying on without constant adult supervision. (My own childhood was much more Huck-Finn like than that of my much-more protected children, who are now even more protective with my grandchildren.) The culture being what it is, let Huckleberry Finn be a book for adults.

But isn’t Mark Twain hostile to Christianity? Well, in his last years, Twain was a bitter man who inveighed against religion, even as he cultivated an almost Catholic veneration of St. Joan of Arc. But inHuckleberry Finn, he satirizes the conflict between what Christianity teaches and the cultural Christianity of the time. Thus, the Grangerford family is warm and kind, full of sincere Christian piety and good works—except that they are engaged in a blood feud with the equally devout Shepherdsons, and they have been killing each other’s children for generations, even though no one can remember how it all started or why they hate each other so much.

The turning point of the novel is when Huck decides to violate his conscience and everything he had been taught in Sunday School by helping Jim attain his freedom. Huck describes how he decided to turn his life around and follow the path of righteousness by turning in Jim to his rightful owners. But then, getting a glimpse of Jim’s humanity, Huck decides to help Jim escape, even though this would be stealing, and even though this crime would surely condemn him eternally. “All right, then,” Huck decides. “I’ll go to Hell.” That line has to make any Christian cringe. But one reason why we cannot be saved by our good works is that when we do them thinking that they will cause us to merit Heaven, that takes away their moral significance. Our sinful nature is such that we can even do good works for a selfish motive. With Huck, the moral universe is so topsy-turvy that a bad work (betraying a friend) is thought to be a good work, and a good work (helping a friend) is construed as a bad work. Instead of doing what is right in return for an eternal reward, Huck does what is right—loving and serving his neighbor—even though he expects it will earn him an eternal punishment. Again, more irony that can put many readers off. But in general, it is good for Christians to endure satires against hypocrisy and their own un-Christian attitudes and behavior. They help keep us in a state of repentance. In the last section of the novel, the poor but virtuous and realistic Huck meets up again with his friend Tom Sawyer with his middle-class status and wildly romantic ideals. Hemingway says that we should skip this last part, which just gets silly and turns the noble Jim into more of a clown. At the very end, Huck decides to do what Americans always used to do (when they could) after running into intractable problems: “light out for the Territory.” Go West, head for the frontier, start a new life. That’s basically what Mark Twain did in leaving the war-torn South for the silver mines of Nevada. The novel reminds the Christian reader that sin goes deep into the human heart and into human society and that it makes us all slaves; and it awakens a desire for freedom that can only come from Christ, who died to set us free. Others may not get that from the story. But Christians will.


Mark Twain like Hemingway was raised in a Christian home but later became an agnostic. In fact, Twain wrote, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible that was actually unearthed during Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway’s lifetimes.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? which was written by Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop, under footnote #94)

So the story goes on. We have stopped at only a few incidents in the sweep back to the year 1000 B.C. What we hope has emerged from this is a sense of the historical reliability of the Bible’s text. When the Bible refers to historical incidents, it is speaking about the same sort of “history” that historians examine elsewhere in other cultures and periods. This borne out by the fact that some of the incidents, some of the individuals, and some of the places have been confirmed by archaeological discoveries in the past hundred years has swept away the possibility of a naive skepticism about the Bible’s history. And what is particularly striking is that the tide has built up concerning the time before the year 1000 B.C. Our knowledge about the years 2500 B.C. to 1000 B.C. has vastly increased through discoveries sometimes of whole libraries and even of hitherto unknown people and languages.

There was a time, for example, when the Hittite people, referred to in the early parts of the Bible, were treated as fictitious by critical scholars. Then came the discoveries after 1906 at Boghaz Koi (Boghaz-koy) which not only gave us the certainty of their existence but stacks of details from their own archives!


Archaeology, the Bible, and the Leap of Faith

Gregory Koukl

Also See Faith and Facts
The Bible knows nothing of a bold leap-in-the-dark faith, a hope-against-hope faith, a faith with no evidence. Rather, if the evidence doesn’t correspond to the hope, then the faith is in vain, as even Paul has said

Does the archeological accuracy of the Bible have anything to do with it’s truth claims? Not according to many world-class archaeologists. There’s a catch, however, which tells us volumes about modern man and his dilemma.

I have held for a long time–along with many Christian apologists–that archaeology is a great ally of Christians. It is one evidence of the Divine authorship of the Bible because it consistently vindicates the historical accuracy of Scripture.

Imagine my shock when I learned that many world-class archaeologists disagree.

I was flying to Israel reading an article in the 20th anniversary issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (1) in which scholars addressed three issues: the greatest achievements of biblical archaeology, its greatest failures, and the challenges it continues to face. As I read through the article, I noticed two themes unfold.

The first was a concern voiced by many of the contributors—some of them Jewish archaeologists, some Christian (though not evangelical or conservative)—who bemoaned the attempts of fundamentalists to use archaeology to “prove” the religious claims of the Bible.

This was an embarrassing revelation to me because I had been advocating that very thing. Yet here were prominent archaeologists saying that this misuse of their discipline deeply annoyed them.

There was a catch, though–the second theme. These same archaeologists continued to maintain with equal conviction that their research had confirmed, by and large, that the history of the Bible was sound.

Confused Convictions
Sometimes these two themes were played out side by side. Menahem Mansoor, a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, said:

Biblical archaeology’s greatest significance is that it has corroborated many historical records in the Bible. Biblical archaeology has failed to deter people who seek to validate religious concepts by archaeological finds. These people should not confuse fact with faith, history with tradition, or science with religion.  (2)

Israel Finkelstein, co-director of excavations at Tel Megiddo and professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, said:

The most obvious failure [of archaeology] has been the abuse of the “old Biblical archaeology” by semi-amateur archaeologists. I refer to the romantic days when a special breed of archaeologists roamed the Middle East with a spade in one hand and the Scriptures in the other. These were the times of desperate attempts to prove that the Bible was correct. (3)

David Ussishkin, professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, made similar comments about the problems of drawing religious conclusions based on the historical evidence in the Scriptures even while he made this interesting admission:

A fundamental question asked all over the world during the last two centuries is, Is the Bible true? Do the narratives related in it represent real events and are the figures mentioned there real people who lived and acted as the Biblical text tells us they did?… In general, the evidence of material culture fits the Biblical account beginning with the period of the settlement of the tribes of Israel in the land of Canaan and the establishment of the kingdom of Israel. Hence, archaeological data are consistent with the view that at least this part of the Biblical account is, in general, true and historically based. (4)

Aren’t these statements odd? These eminent scholars admit archaeological evidence demonstrates that the historical record of the Bible is reliable, by and large. Yet they add a disclaimer warning us not to draw religious conclusions from the accurate history in the Scriptures.

My question is, “Why not?” Because, they say, this would be confusing history with religion, facts with faith.

Isn’t this precisely the point of the biblical narrative? Isn’t this the unique feature of Judaism and Christianity, that its religious claims are rooted in history? Isn’t this the whole point of God acting, that His revelation is given in the context of events that can be measured and quantified?

Seeing the Unseen
We learn a lesson regarding this from Jesus. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus caused a stir when He forgave the sins of a paralytic. As the scribes noted, forgiving sins was God’s privilege, not man’s. Further, how can anyone know if Jesus was telling the truth? It’s easy to make claims about an invisible realm which can’t be tested.

Jesus understood this, so He gave the people some tangible evidence. He said, “‘In order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’– He said to the paralytic–‘I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.'” (2:10-11)

This supernatural healing was an historical event, what Jesus’ biographers called an “attesting miracle.” Jesus gave them something they could see in the physical realm to substantiate a claim he was making about something they couldn’t see in the spiritual realm. History proved religion. Facts substantiated faith.

The historical record in the Hebrew Bible serves the same purpose. The great redemptive act in the history of the Jews was their escape from slavery in Egypt. In the writings of Moses we find an historical record of the events leading up to this exodus.

If we could show that these events took place largely as described in this account–that ten plagues culminating in the death of the firstborn of Ramses II shook the foundation of the greatest nation on earth at the time, and that the Hebrews then escaped across the Red Sea with the Egyptian army destroyed in its wake–wouldn’t it be fair to say this history has “religious” significance?

The record itself claims as much. In Exodus 9:14 we find this statement: “For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth.” (5)Once again, a series of observable, historical events (plagues) verify unobservable, spiritual truths.

The resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth serves the same purpose in the New Testament. If, using the accepted cannons of historical research, one demonstrated that Jesus rose from the dead–as four different detailed records of Jesus’ life claim–wouldn’t it be reasonable to conclude that this fact has something to do with “faith”?

The apostle Paul thought so. He said that if Jesus had not risen from the dead, then Christians of all people ought to be pitied. (6) The truthfulness of Christianity, just like the truthfulness of ancient Judaism, is necessarily tied to historical events. These redemptive claims cannot be separated from the facts of history, because history is a record of the redemptive acts themselves.

Strange Schizophrenia

When world-class archaeologists acknowledge that their research supports the Bible’s historicity, and then in the next breath warn, “This doesn’t mean the Bible is true,” they admit to a strange schizophrenia.

The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer described this malady in a little book entitled Escape from Reason. Schaeffer’s analysis helps us understand why archaeologists can say the Bible is accurate—that their craft has overwhelmingly demonstrated the reliability of the Bible as an historical text—yet continue to assert this has nothing to do with the truthfulness of Scripture.

Schaeffer explains that modern man lives in an oddly fractured world. His life is lived on two different planes. Picture a two-story house with no staircase connecting the upper story with the lower story. The lower story consists of reality—facts, science, the laws of nature, rationality, logic, the world as it really is. The upper story is where values, meaning, religion, faith, God, and morality reside.

The tragedy of modern thinking is that there is no way to bring the two together. Schaeffer calls this the “line of despair.” There is no way to extract transcendent meaning from the mere facts of life. There is no way to infer religion or morality from the details of the world as it really is. The line that separates the lower story from the upper story is absolute and impermeable.

Modern man is split in two. In the lower story–the real world–he is imprisoned in a machine-like universe of cause and effect, matter in motion. His life is determined by natural forces which cannot be violated and which he cannot control. Mankind is dust in the wind, leading to despair.

Modern man’s only hope is what Schaeffer calls the “upper-story leap.” Meaning and significance cannot be found in the facts of the real world. Therefore, they must be fabricated by our imagination and believed against all fact and reason. Man invents significance, value, and morality for himself by making an irrational, blind leap of faith into the upper story. This alone gives hope, but it’s only a placebo. It gives nothing to answer our despair. It only makes us feel better.

Listen to Schaeffer’s sober description of the plight of modern man:

What we are left with runs something like this: Below the line there is rationality and logic. The upper story becomes the nonlogical and the nonrational. There is no relationship between them. In other words, in the lower story, on the basis of all reason, man as man is dead. You have simply mathematics, particulars, mechanics. Man has no meaning, no purpose, no significance. There is only pessimism concerning man as man. But up above, on the basis of a nonrational, nonreasonable leap, there is a nonreasonable faith which gives optimism. This is modern man’s total dichotomy. (7)

Faith in the Real World

This theme plays itself out daily in our culture. Pick up any newspaper or tune in to any talk show while moral or religious issues are being discussed, and you’ll see this upper-story leap in evidence.

One writer published in the Los Angeles Times, commenting on the Pope and Catholicism, gave the “fashionable” perspective: “Religions are concerned with spiritual matters that are subjective, personal and private. One need have no proof or justification for one’s spiritual beliefs, because no one has the right to presume to judge the validity of those beliefs.” (8)

To this man, religious claims are in a separate category from fact. Spiritual beliefs are inventions of one’s own mind and have nothing to do with the real world. Therefore, there can be no objective foundation from which to make judgments.

This writer is describing Schaeffer’s upper story. Belief can’t be analyzed by fact or by argument because ultimately there is no relationship between religious belief and fact. There is no connection between the content of the upper story–value, meaning, significance, morals, religion, God–and the facts of the real world in the lower story. To suggest otherwise is foolish, false, and in today’s culture, rude.

Even our legal system operates by these rules. Gone is the confidence of the founding fathers who wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” The men who penned the Declaration of Independence held that the transcendent truths which were the foundation of the Revolution were also facts of the real world, facts so real they staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor on them. No line of despair here.

That has radically changed, though. In a recent Supreme Court Case, the High Court ruled, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” (9) Even the Supreme Court admits that issues of the upper story are completely subjective. We’ve gone from self-evident, transcendent truths to every man defining truth for himself.

This same “upper-story leap” is echoed in modern science. Stephen Jay Gould, the famous Harvard paleontologist and popular writer on evolution, claims:

Before Darwin, we thought that a benevolent God had created us. [Now we know that] no intervening spirit watches lovingly over the affairs of nature, (though Newton’s clock-winding God might have set up this machinery at the beginning of time and then let it run). No vital forces propel evolutionary change. And whatever we think of God, His existence is not manifest in the products of nature. (10)

In spite of statements like these, Gould holds that evolution presents no threat to religion, and that many of his colleagues believe in God. How can we make sense out of Gould’s apparently contradictory views? It only makes sense if “God beliefs” are not in the real world of the lower story, but in the “faith” world of the upper story.

Notice the impermeable barrier between the upper and lower stories. The world evolved by natural laws. Divine intentions had nothing to do with it. Believers are welcome to cling to the idea of God as long as they understand that their religious language has nothing to do with reality. It’s just a religious placebo. In the real world we know better. We’re the product of molecules clashing by chance in the universe. Nothing more.

The schizophrenia of modern man permeates the public discourse and influences the disciplines of science and the dictates of law. We shouldn’t be surprised, then, to find the same thing in history and archaeology.

Restoring Harmony
These archaeologists hold that religious truth has nothing to do with reality. The Bible is accurate where it touches history, but it is a misuse of archaeology to suggest that such things can substantiate one’s private, personal, upper-story leap of faith.

Why do these scholars hold this? Because they must. They are modern men.

There’s a reason the Bible is a record of history and not merely a list of religious beliefs. God has tied religious claims, which can’t easily be tested, to historical events, which can be tested.

By their very nature, the events of the Bible have ramifications for transcendent truth. If Jesus rose from the dead as a point of historical fact, intellectual honesty requires we not dismiss it as an interesting but meaningless fact of history. Instead, we are forced to concede with the apostle Paul that Jesus of Nazareth was “declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.” (11)

(1) Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1995.

(2) Ibid., p. 29.

(3) Ibid., p. 27.

(4) Ibid., p. 32.

(5) New American Standard Bible, and throughout.

(6) 1 Corinthians 15:19.

(7) Francis Schaeffer, Escape from Reason, in The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1968), vol. 1, pp. 237-8.

(8) L.A. Times, April 27, 1995.

(9) Casey vs. Planned Parenthood.

(10) Quoted in Phillip Johnson, Reason in the Balance (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995), p. 75.

(11) Romans 1:4.


This series deals with the Book of Ecclesiastes and Woody Allen films.  The first post  dealt with MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT and it dealt with the fact that in the Book of Ecclesiastes Solomon does contend like Hobbes  and Stanley that life is “nasty, brutish and short” and as a result has no meaning UNDER THE SUN.

The movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS offers many of the same themes we see in Ecclesiastes. The second post looked at the question: WAS THERE EVER AGOLDEN AGE AND DID THE MOST TALENTED UNIVERSAL MEN OF THAT TIME FIND TRUE SATISFACTION DURING IT?

In the third post in this series we discover in Ecclesiastes that man UNDER THE SUN finds himself caught in the never ending cycle of birth and death. The SURREALISTS make a leap into the area of nonreason in order to get out of this cycle and that is why the scene in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with Salvador Dali, Man Ray, and Luis Bunuel works so well!!!! These surrealists look to the area of their dreams to find a meaning for their lives and their break with reality is  only because they know that they can’t find a rational meaning in life without God in the picture.

The fourth post looks at the solution of WINE, WOMEN AND SONG and the fifth and sixth posts look at the solution T.S.Eliot found in the Christian Faith and how he left his fragmented message of pessimism behind. In the seventh post the SURREALISTS say that time and chance is all we have but how can that explain love or art and the hunger for God? The eighth  post looks at the subject of DEATH both in Ecclesiastes and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. In the ninth post we look at the nihilistic worldview of Woody Allen and why he keeps putting suicides into his films.

In the tenth post I show how Woody Allen pokes fun at the brilliant thinkers of this world and how King Solomon did the same thing 3000 years ago. In the eleventh post I point out how many of Woody Allen’s liberal political views come a lack of understanding of the sinful nature of man and where it originated. In the twelfth post I look at the mannishness of man and vacuum in his heart that can only be satisfied by a relationship with God.

In the thirteenth post we look at the life of Ernest Hemingway as pictured in MIDNIGHT AND PARIS and relate it to the change of outlook he had on life as the years passed. In the fourteenth post we look at Hemingway’s idea of Paris being a movable  feast. The fifteenth and sixteenth posts both compare Hemingway’s statement, “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know…”  with Ecclesiastes 2:18 “For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” The seventeenth post looks at these words Woody Allen put into Hemingway’s mouth,  “We fear death because we feel that we haven’t loved well enough or loved at all.”

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Hemingway and Gil Pender talk about their literary idol Mark Twain and the eighteenth post is summed up nicely by Kris Hemphill‘s words, “Both Twain and [King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes] voice questions our souls long to have answered: Where does one find enduring meaning, life purpose, and sustainable joy, and why do so few seem to find it?


IMAX: Mark Twain’s America

Ernest Hemingway Quotes


Use life’s hardships to grow

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

Life is hard, that much is clear. Everyone struggles through it and even those who seem to be cruising had to work somewhere.

Maybe you’re entirely cynical and think that there are people who have the perfect life without lifting a finger, that’s fine. That doesn’t make Hemingway’s words any less true.

After all the trials that life has to offer, there are some people who take advantage of the challenges to become stronger individuals. They use pain and shortcomings to mold themselves into the perfect, ideal self and to never repeat the same mistakes.

You should strive to be part of the group that only comes out stronger even at their lowest. I believe I’ve grown the most during times I felt like I was at my lowest. I felt no one was there for me, but I used those emotions to power through and become something great. Learn from your mistakes and from the harshness that life throws at you.


Intelligence comes at a price

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”

This quote is very interesting and may have several interpretations. Perhaps those gifted intellectuals find that all things they take on seem to yield no sense of challenge, or maybe intelligent people see what is going on behind the curtain and they are often hard-pressed to find others who share the same views.

Either way, I agree with the quote in its broadest sense, intelligence comes at a cost. It makes you reflect upon life and ask if you’re truly happy. What does it mean to be happy or to fit in with others? Intellectuals don’t share the same thought process as most people and they can feel alone due to these differences. The lonely intelligent people, roaming the world through a unique lens.


Make your life noteworthy

“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”

No one lives forever, no matter how badly you may want to. The stories they will tell of you will be about the adventures you went through as you lived and breathed. They will recount your moral characteristics and will praise you for the way you treated others.

They will romanticize your passing and say you were a great person regardless of its validity. So why not be the best you can be so these details of your life will live on in truth? Focus on self-improvement so when the time comes, your tales will be as beautiful as it is true.


Live for something great

“Fear of death increases in exact proportion to increase in wealth.”

Very profound and he does not exaggerate. Who wants to lose what they’ve built up? I believe this to be an accurate assessment that those who invest in the tangible want most to hold on to it. You have to keep in mind you can’t take your material possessions with you after you die. Live for a greater purpose, live for self-improvement.

You may not believe in an after-life, but you can still leave a positive effect on those who knew you when your time comes. Learn how to stop worrying about losing the unnecessary things such as your wealth because none of it matters in the end.






The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 4 Ernest Hemingway)


The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 3 Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald)


The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 2 Cole Porter)


The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 1 William Faulkner)


MUSIC MONDAY Cole Porter “Let’s Do it, Let’s Fall in Love” in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS


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