Monday, September 26, 2016

Unmerited: Movie Review


Official Description: “Two brothers estranged after a tragic accident, meet unexpectedly years later.”

The concept for this movie is taken from Ezekiel 16:64 "That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD."

My Review: (beware, spoilers ahead)

The American Revolution has broken out and Charles Rosse is serving as a Continental private. When his unit engages in battle against the British, Charles’ comrade is shot and killed. This stirs painful memories for Charles, as he remembers that his younger brother Henry fell from a ship’s rigging and died.

With the end of the American Revolution, Charles Rosse returns to his home town. He stops at the harbor, looking at a merchant ship being unloaded. A gentleman sits nearby, tallying the stores. The gentleman looks at Charles, and Charles moves away. Despite his service in the war, no one greets him kindly. Townsfolk pass on their way, and the landlady refuses to rent him a room because he can only pay in worthless Continental paper dollars. Disconsolately, Charles walks down the street until he is accosted by a young girl about 9 years old. She cheerfully informs Charles that her father would like to see him. After some hesitation, Charles decides to follow her.

Much to his surprise, the girl’s father is familiar—in fact, he is none other than Charles’ long-dead brother Henry! The accident was not fatal, even though Henry was crippled in one leg. For 15 years Charles had not seen Henry, because he fled from his family. Charles is certain that his father despises him, until Henry informs him that their father died, wishing for Charles’ return.

Reluctantly, Charles informs his brother that the accident on the rigging was deliberate. Charles felt slighted because of his younger brother, so he deliberately caused Henry to fall from the rigging, breaking his leg. Yet even with this news, Henry states that he forgives his brother. But Charles does not believe him and prepares to wander away to another town. As Charles makes ready to exit the graveyard, Henry calls after him “I still forgive you.” This finally convinces Charles that Henry still loves him. He turns back and the two brothers are reunited.  Henry owns a merchant ship (he was the gentleman tallying stores) and he offers Charles a position as skipper.
(Spoiler warning ends.)

My Thoughts

This is a little gem of a movie. Less than 10 minutes long, it packs both an important message and impressive visual shots. Its message of forgiveness and love in the face of suffering is one that we should never tire of (see also my Lessons Learned from the Noah Conference at

As well as an important message, this movie also contains lavish visuals. From the colonial town that Charles wanders through, to the battle between companies of Continentals and Redcoats, this movie’s sets and costumes are top-notch.

My conclusion: Impressive scenery, sets, and a ship combined with a powerful story of love and forgiveness make this movie worth watching. 5/5 stars.

See it here!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lessons Learned From the Noah Conference

My booth with Through All Ages LLC
[Author’s note: This is an extremely different piece from any I have ever written. This is a true account of events that happened to me. I put it here in the hope that it will bless or encourage someone. JCJ]

When first hearing of Generations’ Noah Conference in the late spring/early summer, I was not interested. We had been to two of their previous “Family Economics” conferences and I saw no reason to be interested in a third. But then an irresistible bait was presented before me: an opportunity to sell my paper soldiers at the conference. (For more information about my paper soldiers, please visit my business site at A chance to sell my wares in a part of the country that was not previously aware of Through All Ages LLC! Leaving nothing to chance, I even prepared a new book of ACW Confederates since I was headed south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

The first day, I set up my booth and did a somewhat brisk trade in paper soldiers, posters, and postcards. When business slowed in the late morning, a lady came to my table. She was interested in my historical products and explained that she was here, helping some friends run their table. What did they sell? They were an informational booth for a WWII event in south-central Tennessee called Remembering WWII (

Even though I am an American Revolution buff, I had heard of this event before through several Facebook friends. They had attended in various capacities and their photos looked impressive. After all, how many towns in the USA turn themselves into a provincial village in 1940s France? But, despite an interest in WWII, I had little desire to find out more about this event—not just because south-central Tennessee is far, far away. The truth is, I avoided this event as a means of protecting myself from hurt.

Remembering WWII Promotional Postcard

At one point in my life, I had been hurt by a few members of a group of people I thought I belonged to. Even though only a few had actually hurt me, I bitterly regarded the entire group for what I considered their betrayal of me. And now this friendly WWII lady was a part of the same group (though she had never hurt me, or even previously known of my existence). Could I regard her bitterly, or at least put on a coldly formal mask to protect myself?

In the Bible, the prophet Ezekiel (under God’s direction) addressed this very issue: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” (Ezekiel 18:20) This was exactly what I was failing to do: I was blaming the righteous for the wickedness of the wicked. This was the lesson God was going to teach me at this conference, and this friendly reenactor had given me the first piece of it.

Before leaving my table, she invited me to check out her table down the hall. It would have been easy to coldly dismiss her invitation, but she had been very friendly to me—and also had begun to dismantle the misconceptions I had sheltered behind. I wanted to learn a little more about this reenactment (and see the photographs), and God had the second piece of His lesson for me waiting at their table.

My love of history (and lack of customers) drew me through the vendor hall and to Remembering WWII’s table, where I leafed through a scrapbook of pictures. Veterans and reenactors, tanks and motorcycles, singers and civilians were all displayed in photographs. But one page made a deep impression on me. When asked what important lesson he wanted to leave with the attendees, one of the WWII veterans stated: “Forgive everyone.” The text informed me that this man had survived a concentration camp and was left for dead in the Bavarian Alps. Yet with all he had suffered, he advised his listeners to forgive everyone.

Ouch. Here was a man who had been treated brutally, yet knew the power of forgiveness. I had never been treated like this, yet I was refusing to forgive. I needed to forgive and this lesson was becoming more apparent to me as the day had gone on. God had given me two pieces of the lesson and the third piece was on its way.

In the afternoon, customers were elsewhere, and I was left with little to do. Wandering up and down the vendor hall proved uneventful and I drifted back to my booth, only to notice a young lady studying my products. A customer! I hurried over and we got to talking. Our talk quickly diverged from paper soldiers and postcards into Christianity and ethics—specifically how Christianity should impact the actions we perform and the positions we hold to.

This is not unfamiliar territory for me, as I strongly believe that my faith should influence my actions. But I had been scarred because of the use of this concept as a club against myself. In one way, this was ultimately beneficial to me, as I saw that I had done the same thing to others (see my short story “With Truth and Grace” at Unfortunately, I had also shied away from the concept—yet another wall to protect myself.

The conversation tailed off and she went on her way. I am certain that she did not realize the impact this one conversation would have on her listener. After she had walked away, God opened my eyes to a truth that I had been avoiding for too long: I had been building walls to keep others out and protect myself from hurt again. But I could not do this. I had to begin to break down these walls and reach out to others.

I could never have guessed that at this conference, I would learn the importance of forgiveness from three who were not advertised on my conference program. But God knew, and He had planned all this out. I am grateful to those three people for their lessons, and more than that, for the politeness and friendliness of the two whom I met. They could not have known that their friendliness would be used by God to show me the error of my ways and allow me to forgive others. But most of all, I am grateful to God, who kindly—gently—taught me what I needed to learn.

As Paul put it in his Epistle to the Philippians: “Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Philippians 4:20)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Remembering Montcalm and Wolfe

On this day in 1759, British General James Wolfe and French General the Marquis de Montcalm met outside Quebec City in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.  Both commanders died in the ensuing battle; Wolfe before the battle had even ended, Montcalm early the next morning.  These two pictures (with quotes) are a tribute to them.

On Wolfe's picture, his men are ascending to the plains of Abraham.  The quote "The Paths of glory lead but to the grave" is from Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard.  Wolfe reportedly claimed he would rather have written those lines than capture Quebec.  Wolfe's last words were "Now, God be praised, I will die in peace."

Montcalm's picture shows the wounded general replying to the concerned inquiries of Quebec's citizens: "The Marquis is killed!"  "It is nothing, do not weep for me, my good friends."  Montcalm spent his last hours writing to Brigadier-General Townshend asking him to treat the Canadians kindly, and praying.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Flags of Yorktown (with thanks to James Peale)

Click on the picture to expand it
and view the details

Paintings by eyewitness artists give us a priceless view into the world of the American Revolution. The painting shown here is a portrait of George Washington at Yorktown, painted by James Peale. James Peale was an artist just like his older brother Charles Willson Peale.
The painting under analysis right now is obviously based on Charles Willson Peale’s portrait entitled “George Washington at Princeton.” But this painting depicts Washington’s greater triumph at Yorktown.
Its details are extremely valuable. No fewer than 7 flags are visible in this painting. Working from bottom left to top right:
1. The King’s Color of the 76th Highlanders, crumpled in the bottom left of the painting. Each regiment carried a King’s color which was a Union Jack with the regiment’s number in the center. Under magnification (click the picture to enlarge) the script “Reg 76” can be clearly seen. This flag also offers a magnificent view of the gold-and-crimson mixed cords which were tied around the top of British regimental flagpoles.

2. The Regimental Color of the 76th Highlanders, which is green and draped across the cannon. A regimental color was the same color as a regiment’s cuffs and lapels. It contained a small Union Jack in the upper left canton and the number of the regiment in the center. As the 76th Highlanders were the only British regiment at Yorktown with green cuffs and lapels, this flag belongs to them.
3. This flag is an Ansbach-Bayreuth regimental color, draped across the cannon, next to the 76th regimental color. There were two Ansbach-Bayreuth regiments at Yorktown, and they surrendered ten very similar flags. This position shows the reverse of the flag, with a red eagle on it. For a thorough discussion of these flags, visit
A photograph of a surviving Ansbach-Bayreuth flag
4. This flag is another Ansbach-Bayreuth regimental color, folded on the ground. This is the obverse of the Ansbach-Bayreuth flag, with the Margrave’s initials surmounted by a crown. Also see entry 3, above.
5. Hiding behind the Ansbach-Bayreuth color draped on the cannon is a King’s color of an unknown regiment. No regimental distinctions are visible.
6. Above the 3rd Continental Light Dragoon (holding Washington's horse) is an American flag with thirteen white stars in a circle on a blue canton. Mysteriously, this flag appears to have no red stripes, but only a field of white. Why is this? My conjecture is that it is a regimental standard for a Continental regiment with white facings, and that the unit’s motto/distinction would be in the center. This flag also appears to have a blue cord wrapped just below the spear point.

Each flag annotated with its identification (if known)

7. The last flag, next to the American flag, is obviously a French flag. The three fleurs-de-lys proclaim its nationality. It is decorated with a golden cord, but oddly is lacking the white cravate which was normally placed on the flag as well. A minor mystery encircles this flag as well, for it is unlike any French flag known to have been at Yorktown. It most closely resembles a “colonel’s” flag, which was white with a white cross of Saint-Denis (+ shape) overall, but the arrangement of the fleur-de-lys suggests that it bears the white cross of Saint Andrew (x shape). Since it matches none of the French flags currently known, could it be a colonel’s color of Lauzun’s Legion. Lauzun’s Legion sailed to America accompanied by its colonel, the Duc de Lauzun, so perhaps this identification is possible. An alternate theory is that it is a “national” flag of France.

This concludes our look at the flags of James Peale’s portrait of Washington at Yorktown. Of the seven flags visible, the details of four (two of the 76th Highlanders and two of the Ansbach-Bayreuth regiments) can be substantiated with other evidence. Since this is the case, there seems to be no reason to deny the authenticity or accuracy of the other three flags in this painting.  I eagerly await more analysis of the other three flags.