Signs and Wonders

Signs and Wonders 08.20


The Singer graduates. Calvin Miller's book The Singer, first published in 1975, had a quiet but significant impact on a generation of Christians who had artistic sensibilities. The book, the first of a trilogy, tells the story of Christ allegorically as a "singer whose song could not be silenced." I discovered the book in 1978 and it had a profound impact on my life, and I had the pleasure of telling Miller that a couple of years ago. He received my thanks with the practiced grace of someone who has probably heard that thousands of times. Indeed, he probably had, as Miller's books, though never bestsellers, were steady-sellers. Over the past 35 years, The Singer alone sold more than a million copies. His 40 other books likely sold a million more. But, alas, Miller sings no more on this earth. He died yesterday of heart failure.

Obama 2016. The documentary Obama 2016 did not make a huge splash when it was released on July 13, but that splash has rippled. The film has now brought in more than $2 million at the box office, not nearly enough to recover all the money invested in it, but a respectable showing for a documentary in theatrical release that has gone virtually unnoticed by the mainstream media. The movie is based on Dinesh D'Souza's book The Roots of Obama's Rage. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie is now the 70th highest grossing documentary of all time, and the 12th largest grossing political documentary. The producers tell me that they hope to keep the movie in theatres until Election Day.

Talking trash. Want to know where the economy's going? Check the local landfill. Economist Michael McDonough says the amount of trash we generate is directly related to the gross domestic product, and he also says that because the amount of trash headed for the dumpster is down, that may be where our economy is headed. "If you buy a couch, you might be throwing out an old couch," he told Marketplace. "If you go out to McDonald's and you buy something, you're going to throw something out. So the fact that it is as weak as it is right now means something's wrong in the economy, potentially, in the underlying economy." So McDonough gets data on train cars full of trash from the railroad companies, and he charts it against GDP. He finds a very close correlation. And more to the point here: In the past year, the trash market has crashed to levels we haven't seen since 2008. Does that mean we're facing another recession? McDonough won't say so, but the data he's compiled surely suggest that.

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More on the FRC shooting. I've seen a lot of discussion about how little coverage the mainstream media gave to the shooting at the Family Research Council. Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer tweeted it was "amazing how little press the politically motivated shooting at FRC has received. If other way around, what a feeding frenzy." Tim Graham of the Media Research Center said that on the night of the shooting, "NBC's Brian Williams had 17 seconds for the FRC violence, but 205 seconds for Chelsea Clinton's story on baby elephants." Ironically, one reason for the media downplaying it is the fact that the FRC itself has been measured and responsible in its approach. FRC President Tony Perkins has made a few media appearances, but he hasn't been "pimping" this story for personal gain the way (to cite just one example) Al Sharpton did the Trayvon Martin story, or Michael Bloomberg did the Aurora shooting story. Also, no one (thank God) died at FRC headquarters, and that-like it or not-does matter to the media and the way they cover stories. All in all, I must say "kudos" to Tony Perkins, to the FRC, and especially to Leo Johnson, the building manager who was wounded disarming the alleged shooter. They have all behaved admirably in the face of adversity and scrutiny.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren is vice president of mission advancement for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and the host of WORLD Radio’s Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.


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