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“These are a few of my favorite things”

2

Perhaps only for the second time, I’m using a line from the film, The Sound of Music, as the title to this article. Someone pointed out to me that John Piper recently posted an article in which he answered several questions about his favorite things in life, from movies to books to food to hobbies. I was asked if I might follow suit and list my own. So, here goes.

Movies

This one is really hard, as I have a long list of favorite movies. But I’ll limit myself to five. At the top of the list are The Godfather and The Godfather II. That should come as no surprise, as they both typically head the list of most movie critics. Following those two are Field of Dreams and To Kill a Mockingbird. Yes, I realize the contrast in genres, from criminal violence to baseball to a vivid portrayal of racism and the courage of a man to stand strong in the face of human sin. I have to combine two for my fifth choice and point out that they were never released in theaters. John Le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and its sequel, Smiley’s People, are close to nudging out the two Godfather films as my favorites. Alec Guinness portrays George Smiley, the consummate British cold war spy in both films, each of which comes in six episodes. [I should point out that Tinker Tailor was released in theaters a few years ago. It was about a two-hour version of the six-hour original, and, quite honestly, wasn’t that good.]

Novels

Perhaps much to your surprise, I don’t read many novels. I much prefer non-fiction. But if I had to choose two, it would be, once again, John Le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley’s People. A third would be his The Russia House. Yes, I’m a huge Le Carre fan.

Bible App

I’m so old fashioned that I still prefer to use physical books and reference materials when studying Scripture. But if I had to list one resource that I find exceptionally helpful, it would be Logos Bible Software.

Poet and Poem

I only list this category because Piper included it in his. Again, perhaps to the surprise of some, I’m not a huge fan of poetry. I honestly can’t list any poet or poem that has had a lasting influence on me. So, let’s move on.

Soft Drinks

That’s easy to answer: Diet Coke! There are no close seconds, as Diet Coke prevails over all. I may get myself in trouble with this next one, but since we’re on the subject of “drinks” I should come clean and mention that I really enjoy the occasional Stella Artois. I’m not a connoisseur of beer, and drink at most one Stella a week, but I had to mention it. As for wine, Pinot Noir is my only choice. Just to be clear, drunkenness is prohibited in Scripture, but drinking in moderation is not. I’ve never been intoxicated a single time in my life, and don’t ever intend to be.

My Favorite Dinner at home

By her own admission, Ann is not a great cook (she’s great at everything else!). But nothing can compare with a good sirloin or filet prepared medium rare on our grill, along with a baked potato with only butter, and broccoli.

Favorite restaurant

Once again, this is a tough one. Given the fact that I eat regularly at Charleston’s here in OKC, I would have to put it at the top of the list. For a less expensive outing, Chipotle is great. As for upscale restaurants, Mickey Mantle’s steakhouse or Mahogany’s here in OKC can’t be beat. But I indulge at these latter two quite infrequently, as they are expensive.

My Favorite Hobbies

I don’t really have any. But if pressed, I would have to mention reading books, writing books, and browsing through bookstores. I love all things baseball and once played golf on a regular basis, but quite infrequently of late.

Pet Peaves

This one was not listed by Piper, but I couldn’t pass it up. I find myself getting increasingly irritated by bad grammar. Good grammar is a rare commodity these days. I suppose that’s largely due to the fact that it isn’t being taught in our schools. A few that really frustrate me are: “have went” (instead of “have gone”), “between you and I” (instead of “between you and me”), “Ann’s and I’s home” (there is no such word as “I’s! It should be “Ann’s and my home”), and “I seen” (instead of, “I saw”). I’ll stop there, as I find myself getting angrier with each example.

Breakfast

Oatmeal with blueberries, strawberries, and brown sugar, with a large glass of orange juice. And coffee, of course.

Christian Songs

This is a real challenge. But here goes. In no particular order I would list: The Goodness of God, Living Hope, O Praise the Name, I Speak Jesus, Yet not I but through Christ in Me, King of Kings, Thank you Jesus for the Blood, Graves into Gardens, What a Beautiful Name, Worthy of it All, All Hail King Jesus, and I Need You More (the version sung by Kim Walker Smith). As for traditional hymns, I would include How Great Thou Art, I Stand Amazed (in the presence of Jesus, the Nazarene), and The Love of God.

Perhaps I should include a reference to secular songs. This may strike you as odd, but the only non-Christian music I listen to comes from the 1960’s and early 1970’s. My favorite bands and recording artists from those years would include The Everly Brothers, Johnny Mathis, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the Dave Clark Five, yes, the Beatles, the Turtles, the Lovin’ Spoonful, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Carole King, James Taylor, the Carpenters, and my all-time favorite group, Chicago.

Christian Books

I reserved this one for last because it’s the most difficult one of all. Where does one begin? I suppose I should put at the top of the list, Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards, a more readable version of which is found in my book, Signs of the Spirit. Two others by Edwards are Freedom of the Will and A Dissertation Concerning the End for which God Created the World. Desiring God, The Pleasures of God, and Providence, by John Piper also rate highly. John Calvin’s Institutes and John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ are high up on books that have exerted the greatest influence on me. Two commentaries in particular should be noted: John Murray on Romans and Greg Beale on Revelation.

Those are a “few of my favorite things”!

2 Comments

I am wondering what your answer would have been for favorite college sports team?

Love you, brother!

Jim
Sam,
I can see we are from the same generation. So many of the music groups you named were favorites of mine as well. I'm just reading Death of Death. I write a weekly devotion for our church and friends and always include a song or hymn that people can listen to. Thank you Jesus for the blood and Yet not I but Christ in me were two great contemporary songs I have used. I live in central Pa and like you I am an Amillennial, Calvinistic, charismatic, credo-baptistic, complementarian which is unusual in our fundamental, conservative area; but my Christian journey has been far from normal having begun on the Berkeley campus in 1971 by the grace of God. Your book on the Language of Heaven was the best on the subject I have read. Thank you for your love and service to our Lord. In Christ, Drake Owen

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