Saturday, February 28, 2004

After reading several reviews of The Passion of the Christ and seeing it for myself last night, I've come to this conclusion: people see what they want to see. (I'm sure I saw what I wanted to see as well.)

Some reviewers called the movie 'pornographic' or 'intoxicated with blood' and one guy from the New York times compared it to Kill Bill. Ann Hornaday of the Washington Times, indicated that charges of anti-semitism were 'understandable' writing, "The Jewish leaders and their rabble are depicted as grotesque and monstrous throughout the movie, whereas the Roman guards, at first gleefully sadistic, are allowed more nuance by the end." Well, (this is were I should write, 'I don't know what film she was watching, but...') the Jewish leaders were allowed that same 'nuance' as well, if perhaps, and I do mean perhaps, just slightly less so than the Romans.

So what do make of these reviewers? It was a difficult film to watch, but then again, so was Schindler's List, Blackhawk Down, and We Were Soldiers. All of these films sought to portray historical events as they happened, and yet I don't recall there being quite the same outrage. I guess the gospel is offensive. Fortunately, to quote the great band, 'the kingdom is big enough,' even for movie critics. And movie critic critics, like me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

So I was playing hockey tonight and the game was going along fine. I had nice round numbers, 2 goals, 2 assists. I was playing the point, which is rare for me as I am much better suited to the forward position, but we had a lot of young, new guys playing, and you can't really trust young or new guys to play defense. Anyway, I managed to knock down a clearing attempt and turned quickly to fire the puck on net. Turn and fire I did, while simultaneously hearing a feeling a distinct "pop". The pop was in my side, as was the shooting pain. Seems that I have pulled or strained an oblique muscle. (Well, I'm no MD, but I'm willing to bet that's what an MD would tell me.)

So, I walked it off and went out for my next shift. Not too bad, a little soreness, but not too bad. Not too bad until my goalie gave me the puck behind the net, that is. I passed it up the wing and felt that all too familiar shooting pain again, so I went home. It hurts to bend over, it hurts to laugh, it hurts to turn. I iced it, took some Ibuprofen, and then took a shower. The hot shower seemed to help a lot, so I looked up "strains" on Web-Md.

As I suspected, it recommended ice and NSAID's (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like Ibuprofen) . Then there was an article about how NSAID's don't help muscle strains. Great! But it did say that some doctors might recommend heat as well as ice, so overall, I'm figuring I could be a could doctor. Makes sense, right?

It got me thinking, too. This guy I play softball with, Chuck, told me how having kids makes you worry more about getting hurt, and he's right. One of my first thoughts was, "Hmmm...I wonder how I'll pick up Kaylee since bending over hurts so much?" Not to worry, I've managed thus far. I'm not looking forward to going to bed though. Well, actually, I don't mind going to bed, it'll be the getting out of it that will probably be less than pleasurable.

The worst thing about all this? I got injured with a good 45 minutes left in our hockey night. No, I'm kidding. I just hope it's a quick recovery.


Saturday, February 21, 2004

I’m currently enrolled in a class at seminary on evangelism. Everyone in the class has to do a presentation. Now, my seminary is fairly conservative, but I was still shocked by a presentation this past week.

A former funeral director entitled his presentation, “My Shameful Silence.” He told stories of how he stood by silently as people falsely believed their loved ones were now at peace, but all the while he knew “the truth” - that they were really burning in hell and how ashamed he was that by his silence he allowed them to continue in their wrong thinking.

Two stories in particular stood out. The first was a woman who told him of her father holding on to a pole at his bedside saying, “No, no, no!”. She explained that her dad was a vet and he was dreaming of defending his country while holding up its flag. “But I knew better, I knew the truth—that the flames of hell were nipping at his toes, but instead I just smiled and nodded.” (If he could go back now, what would he say to that woman?)

The other was how the Roman Catholics are read the passage in Romans about being baptized in Christ and therefore being raised with Him. “So salvation is presented as an absolute lock because you were baptized as an infant, and so the deception continues.” Others chimed in later on the topic of Roman Catholics, “Yeah, you can almost hear the enemy whispering in their ear, ‘You’re okay, you’ve been baptized, you’ve done good works.’” Many classmates nodded in agreement. It was all I could do to not ask, “And should we whisper in the other ear, ‘But you haven’t done this (prayed a prayer?)'." We criticize the RC’s for putting their faith in their baptism, which presumably is a work of God, while we are smugly confident in our “decision” or profession of faith, all the while claiming, “not by works!”. Am I crazy or what?

And so this guy concluded by telling how he will begin full-time pastoral ministry in July and it will be a ministry of “truth telling.” Is it just me, or do you have a hard time picturing this "truth" as anything other than a bludgeon?

I really do wonder what he would say to the woman whose father he believed to be experiencing the flames of hell. Does the gospel have any hope to offer her? Or is it simply, “Sorry, you’re dad is rotting in hell, but Jesus loves you so you better pray this prayer.”? It seems to me that we have a Savior who has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. I’m not talking about offering people false assurance, but I am talking about offering hope. We ought to preach what we are certain of, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But we should not take hope from people when the gospel leaves room for it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Just saw the movie Stolen Summer. It was the "Project Green Light" film, which, if I recall correctly, is a deal Matt Damon and Ben Affleck set up to give no-name movie writers a chance to have their film made by a major studio. From what I understand, their experience with Good Will Hunting gave them the inspiration.

The movie is about an 8 year old Irish Catholic who believes his nun/teacher thinks he's going to hell, so he wants to do something in order to guarantee a spot in heaven for himself. He decides that converting a Jewish person is the way to go. He befriends the local Rabbi, and later, the Rabbi's 6 year old son who has leukemia. The son becomes the one he tries to convert.

I was looking forward to sharing what a great film it is and how it raised some really good questions. Problem is, the first 88 minutes of the film raised all the good questions and the last two minutes answered them. Needless to say, they weren't very good answers. Oh well.
There's a line in American Beauty where Jane's boyfriend (the weird kid with the camera) says, "Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world, I don't think I can take it." I get that feeling now and then. I got it reading Traveling Mercies, especially the first half. But I really get it when I'm holding my daughter. There's nothing quite like that.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

I'm sick of satire. Seems like more and more people are doing it and with less and less creativity and more and more mean spirited-ness. It's a cheap laugh.


Monday, February 16, 2004

It's always nice to receive feedback from the legendary one himself, Jimbo.

To answer his comments, 1. Yes, the Yankees do have remarkable strength of jaw, lips, tongue etc. 2. Uh...I hope Ainge has a plan, but it doesn't appear that he does. 3. No, you da man.

Since we're talking sports... As for the Bruins, if the owners get cost certainty in the new CBA, the Bruins will have a shot. Otherwise, they're sunk as long as Jeremy Jacobs owns them.

The Yankees can have A-Rod. It will be that much sweeter when we beat them. Long live Nomah.
I was visiting Len's blog, and he raised some interesting questions about Mel Gibson's "Passion" film.

It seems to me that evangelical Christians don't get art. We generally have a utilitarian view of art and that's why so much of our "art" sucks. (See: Left Behind and a host of Christian bands.) If Mel is using us to get the word out about his film, I have no problem with that and for this reason: I don't think Mel's primary or even secondary goal in making the film was evangelism. What I've read and heard from Mel is that this film is something that he felt compelled to make, a calling of sorts. So, I'm confident that it will be a good film because it won't be burdened with trying to achieve anything other than telling the story.

If we then choose to use that film as an evangelistic tool, well, that's another thing entirely. I have no doubt that it may raise questions for non-believers and that's great. Good art raises questions and leads to conversations. But I'm not in favor of using the film as an evangelistic campaign.

As for who will go see it, I do feel that it will be predominantly viewed by Christians. I also think that all the hoopla about Mel's supposed anti-semitism will give the film a wider viewing than it otherwise would have had, ala The Last Temptation of Christ.

Any thoughts?


Saturday, February 14, 2004

I wrote this poem in college shortly after my parents were divorced and I don't think I've written a poem since.
"I don't remember..."
is what you told Mom.
"I've got lots of closet space..."
is what you told me as I gazed at our
displaced furniture
and the couch mourned with me.

I'll never understand 26 years
for closet space...



At the time, it was easiest to blame my dad. Looking back now I can see it was more complicated than I realized at the time. A little distance changes perspective, no doubt.


Friday, February 13, 2004

Installed a bathroom ceiling/exhaust fan today with the help of a friend. The wiring is a little tricky, so we're gonna have a friend who knows something about electricity help us out.

So, I had to go up on the roof today, not my favorite thing to do. Not sure why I hate heights so much...oh well.

Perspective thoughts will have to wait.


Thursday, February 12, 2004

Garth needs to use haloscan so I can add comments to his blog. (A spell checker wouldn't hurt either.)

There's a kid in my sem class that is very passionate. He reminds me of me in some ways, at least the way I was at his age. Passion is a funny thing. It needs to be tended to. I was reminded of that tonight. I got to youth group a bit early and the worship team had the night off. I played some old songs that I haven't played in a long time. It's good to have 'alone' musical worship time.

The Bruins came from two goals down to tie the game tonight. Then they lost in overtime. Why bother coming back if you're gonna lose in o.t.?

I have some thoughts on perspective...maybe tomorrow I'll share them.


I’ve read a bunch of books about the evil “P” word. The best ones I’ve read are, A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren, Postmodern Youth Ministry by Tony Jones, and The Emerging Church by Dan Kimball. Additionally, I’ve attended many seminars, read many articles, and given a fair amount of thought to the topic at hand. Recently, ok Tuesday, I hung out at the forum Len Evans hosted with Tony Jones. It got me thinking…again.

The contention of many of these guys who write these books is simple; if our current version and understanding of Christianity has been understood and communicated in primarily modern ways with modern presuppositions, then we who are Christ followers will need to understand anew and re-communicate what it means to follow Christ in a post-modern world. Brian McLaren said in a recent letter that we need “postmodern theologies” because we only have modern theologies now.

Our modern sensibilities have colored the way we understand scripture and practice our faith. In an age of absolutes and either/or propositions, Paul’s statement “if you believe in your heart and confess with you mouth ‘Jesus is Lord,’ you will be saved,” is understand as it is written, but with the addendum, “and if you don’t (believe and confess) you won’t (be saved).” And so we endevored to get people to confess with their mouths, and hopefully, believe in their hearts as well.

Problem is, I know a bunch of folks who believe, and it doesn’t seem to make them very Christ-like. Perhaps that’s judgemental of me, but that’s the way I see it. In fact, let’s face it, many evangelicals bear a closer resemblance to the Pharisees than we do to Jesus.

Now I’m all for believing and confessing, that’s fine, but is it right and biblical to limit salvation only to those who “confess with their mouths”? Is the “either you confess and are in, or don’t and are out” a biblical understanding, or simply a modern one? Could it be that God’s grace is bigger than we Christians understand? (Kinda like our Jewish friends that Paul wrote to who were shocked that the Messiah could be for the gentiles too?)

I’m not advocating for salvation by works, not by a long shot because I think we’d all be screwed if that were the case. But why does Paul say, “When those who do not have the law do the things of the law…”? And why did Jesus tell that little parable about the sheep and the goats? Is it just me or does, “you’re going to hell unless you pray this prayer” not only sound like bad news, but also seems to take grace out of the picture and make salvation and act of human will and not the act of a loving savior?

I know I’m not alone. Robert Capon, if I understand him correctly holds that in Christ we are all saved, unless we flat out refuse and reject Him. His view is more biblical than you’d expect if you’re a good evangelical and you’re surprised by that last statement. (See my “good books” sidebar, especially KGJ.) He articulates how an acceptance or rejection of Christ may transcend our articulated theological beliefs and reside more in the way we live our lives. Granted, I’m putting words in his mouth here, but I think that’s a fair reading of His work.

Maybe we can get a bigger picture of God’s grace and activity in the world. Activity that isn’t limited to “Christian” stuff, but may show up in unexpected places.

That's enough for today...feel free to comment.


Wednesday, February 11, 2004

So Garth tells me he has a blog and that I should have one too. Since it is obvious that I can count (and if you doubt me, read that last sentence again) I figured there's already enough blogs in the world. Beside, like I told him, I've never been good at keeping a journal and there are two very good reasons for not keeping a blog.

1. I like to play video games. (Okay, that's not entirely true...I like to play hockey and baseball video games...preferably EA.)

2. Anyone could read this and I like my job.

Still, it is kinda tempting to have a place to spout off now and then so I figured I'd go for it.

I'll try hard to avoid that annoying self-important, cynical tone that seems to typify many know, the tone I more than likely have failed to avoid thus far in my first ever blog. Also, I'm not going to be overly concerned with being clever and hip. Nothing clever, just some things that I think about.

Where to start...ah, I'll start later.



PS. Garth's gonna have get going now that I have a link to his blog.