Monday, July 30, 2012

I Repent!

“Political Correctness is the #NewMcCarthyism. Dare to say what the Bible says &be bullied back into conformity #Chick-Fil-A.”
 ~ Tweeted by Rick Warren

I officially repent of having once lead a "40 Days of Purpose" bible study.  Rick Warren is just contemptible.

I DARE you to really start preaching what the bible says Mr. Warren. How is it there are sections of scripture you have taught on countless times... while there are other scriptures you have probably NEVER read from the pulpit? You, like so many out there, are using the bible to buttress your bigotry. You have selected the parts that work for you; quit pretending you are saying what IT says.

She's Baaaack.....

Regardless of what side you are on, one of the truly terrible results of this whole Chick-fil-a ho-ha has been the re-emergence of Sarah Palin from whatever snake hole she had crawled into.  The positive and negative portrayals all over Facebook of her buying the cow alternative have made me lose my appetite for all food.  Whenever I see her, a twist of scripture comes to mind - "and Evil became flesh, and lived for a while among us".  :)

Sarah Palin is typical of the folks she represents... spills lots of bile, but doesn't do much else.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Prideful, Arrogant Generation?

I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say ‘we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.
~ Dan Cathy, Chick-Fil-A President

There is some fist shaking going on here, but I think it is being done by Dan Cathy at the American people. Frustrated and angry at the loss of ground folks like him are experiencing in the culture, he projects his own emotions and motivations on to others.

Understand that the arrogance is yours Mr. Cathy. You assume everyone is shaking their fist at your god in defiance. This is arrogant presumption.

First, there are plenty of people who call upon your god who are not in agreement with you. It seems rather arrogant that you have chosen to speak for them.

Second, one would first need to believe in your god to be in defiance. You are arrogant to give them such a motivation, when in fact their opinion on gay marriage has nothing to do with your god. They no more care for the opinion you have attributed to an unseen, unheard deity; than you would stake the future of your company on this morning's horoscope.

In truth, you are upset that this generation is convinced that it knows "better than YOU as to what constitutes a marriage." This has nothing to do with your god.... your pride has been hurt. You are shaking your fist at a generation that has learned to ignore voices like yours.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

We Need To Be Shocked And Horrified

I caught the midnight opening of Batman and was sad to hear about the tragedy in Colorado when I got home late that night. Many people have had much to say on it; some profound, some shameful. I don't think I have anything new to add on that topic, but I did want to say two things.

First, Dark Knight Rises is a good movie and I hope it still does well. Tragic chance connected the movie to this horror. Many people spent many years of work on the movie and it deserves a chance to do well.

Second, I wrote last week about taking small children into theaters. I wrote from a patron's perspective but mentioned that I also needed to write later about why it was a problem for the kids as well.

As I listened to and read various news accounts of the tragedy, one point added extra measure to the disturbing news... there were many young children.... at a midnight showing... of a very dark and violent movie. Parents brought their babies, toddlers, and young children to see The Dark Knight Rises at midnight.

I am truly befuddled that this even needs to be explained to parents, and I am going to be rather judgmental here, but I am going to say it - if you take a young child to see this movie YOU SUCK AS A PARENT! Really, I don't know how else to say it.

Again, this seems like it should be too obvious to have to go into the reasons why... but ok, let's remind ourselves. Why do small children think something is in their closet or under their bed? Why do they believe that fairies leave money for teeth? Why do they shower such affection on stuffed animals? Why can they be entertained for hours by something that would bore an adult within minutes?

It is because their imaginations are on over-drive... no, HYPER-drive! Prior to the age of 10, the line between fantasy and reality is VERY thin... reality and fantasy are often hopping back and forth over that line. Children's imaginations can whip them into bliss or terror with little effort. Yet parents all over our country are stuffing the minds of their children with terror.

I was listening to a news commentator talk about the therapy the children would need to process what occurred that night. The thing is, they would need it anyway. How different is large screen, DTS sound enhanced violence different from real violence in the mind of a six year old? ... both leave burning impressions with which that hyper-imagination will run wild.

As shocked and horrified as we all are about what happened that night due to the shooting, I wish Americans would start getting a little shocked and horrified about the violence that was being perpetrated on those children that night before a shot was even fired.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Not Sure I Care Anymore

Last year, I shared a comment someone had written regarding a bowl of flowers. This person had compared singing and talking to an invisible god to the absurdity of singing and talking to a bowl of flowers.

I realized I was making that comparison as I read a post by Rachel Held Evans. For those of you who do not know, she is a blogger, speaker, and author who is very ecumenical and tends to focus on women's rights in the Christian Faith. In the post, she was taking a group called The Gospel Coalition to task for posting a misogynistic article.

As I read Rachel's post, I found myself growing restless. Though I agree with her stance on women's rights in society; I found her religious appeals distracting. My mind kept translating it like this:

Misogynist Male: The Bowl of Flowers had told me that women are to be subservient to men!

Rachel: No, the Bowl of Flowers wants us to live in equality!

See my problem? I can't get around that the two of them are arguing about what a Bowl of Flowers/unseen, non-speaking god intends for their lives. So, though I am sympathetic to Rachel and the issues she often focuses on, I discover that I am becoming less compelled by arguments like hers. I visit the blogs of liberal Christianity less frequently. I watch as people argue over the intentions of the Bowl of Flowers... and I find myself shrugging and leaving the room.

I'm not sure I care anymore.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

No Kids Allowed

When I went to see Spider-man last week, my son and I found that the bad guys were not on the screen, they were sitting 3 rows in front of us. A young couple had a child of about 3 who yelled, cried, and squirmed throughout a good portion of the movie.

"Mommy, I don't want to be here... this is scary!"

None of the child's entreaties worked. The parents tuned out the child and blissfully watched their movie.

When Jake and I were at the Avengers, there was a couple a few rows up who had about 5 children under the age of 7. Up and down the aisles they ran, while the youngest cried and fussed. The parents took nary a notice.

The thing I have observed about parents of rambunctious children is that they have the ability to tune their own children out. It's kind of like a mutant superpower. In fact, I would bet money that if you asked the parents about their children's behavior in the theater, they would reply that their children behave fine when attending the movies.

Well what about when your kids were young Andrew? Didn't you take them to the movies?

No, I didn't. Unless it was a movie designed for children (Winnie the Pooh), my kids never entered a theater. Mary Lee and I had a basic formula - babysitter, see it separately, or we wait for the DVD. It was simple courtesy. Why should someone else have their movie spoiled by having to endure my toddlers? (Not to mention my little ones being exposed to scary images, but that is another article).

Parents, you have to understand, whatever disturbance your children were to you during the movie, it was 10X worse for everyone around you. Remember, you have a mutant power. You have the super ability to tune out your own child's whining, fussing, crying, and squirming at levels that those around you can only dream about.

This article is aimed at parents, not at kids. I have a friend with many pets who often says, "There are no bad dogs, just bad owners."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I Didn't Do It

I didn't do it. Nobody saw me do it, you can't prove anything -- Bart Simpson

My children struggle with allergies. They are allergic to plugging in dead electronics. When one tablet or laptop is dead, they go off in search of another... but it never occurs to them to plug in the dead one.

I devised, what I thought, was a pretty creative solution. I stuck a power strip behind the couch in the family room. In it, I plugged in the chargers for all the varied laptops and tablets that float about the house. The cords are out of sight, but easily accessible, and always in the same location. All the kids have to do is throw the tech on a charger when done.

Simple, logical, perfect.

Of course, you know where this is going.

I went to use Ipad... dead... mere feet from the plug behind the couch.


I go to plug it in....

..... none of the chargers are in the power strip.

(calling upstairs and downstairs simultaneously) "WHO TOOK THE CHARGERS OUT OF THE POWER STRIP AND WHERE ARE THEY??!!"

(voice from upstairs) "Wasn't me! Ask Jake!"

(voice from downstairs) "Wasn't me! Ask Kathryn!"


Friday, July 06, 2012

Choose Wisely

I spent the past hour catching up on some blog and Facebook comments I have been meaning to respond to this week.  The following is a response I gave to one friend who stated that not choosing to believe in God is a choice for Hell -  in other words, not choosing is not really an option.

I don't know if this ever happens to you, but sometimes I do not have a clear notion of how I feel about something until I write it.

"What would you think of someone who put out 100,000 shells and said,"One of them has a pea under it... choose the right one or I torture you." 

Not choosing the correct shell does not make you immoral or deserving of anything bad... it makes the one setting up the choice an evil SOB. 

But my point is not that a divine deity is an evil SOB... my point is that it is WE humans who have set up this shell game... as a control mechanism. That is not to say there are not honest souls who really are convinced that theirs is the right shell... and therefore have to warn everyone to select it. But picture yourself as an outsider, coming into a room where everyone is telling you to choose their shell... lest you die. 

For myself, I have decided to leave the game... I leave the room of gambling over eternal destinies where the gods reflect the insecurities of their followers. I stand by Marcus Aurelius: 

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Adequate Spider-Man

I wanted it to be Amazing, I really did.  Overall though, the best I can give it is a B.  Some spoilers may follow, so proceed at your own risk.

First the good -  Andrew Garfield is a great Peter Parker.  He makes the character likable and believable, even when the script fed him some unbelievable dialogue.

Along those same lines, Emma Stone was a wonderful Gwen Stacey.  They did not give her character a lot of depth, but she was charming and had good chemistry and interaction with Garfield.

The character of Spider-man was well done.  They captured the tone of the comics, particularly with some of the acrobatic and web slinging visuals.

The bad - Where to start?  By the time I finish this portion, I may feel the need to lower the movie to a C.

I think the primary thing that annoyed me in the movie was its inconsistency.  Going into a comic movie, the viewer is prepared to suspend their belief.  However, though the audience may give the movie makers grace to create new rules for their reality, the audience wants those rules adhered to once they have been established.  The rules were broken so many times throughout the movie, it became distracting.  There are too many to list, but here are some examples -

  • In one scene, Spider-man uses his Spider sense to dodge bullets fired at point blank range, but in a later scene the Lizard sneaks up on Spider-man and has his tail halfway around Spider-man's neck before being noticed.
  • The movie makers try to create drama by having Dr. Connors hold on as Spider-man dangles over a building's edge... but this is Spider-man, who can stick to walls, he was never in danger of falling.
Martin Sheen and Sally Field simply did not work as Uncle Ben and Aunt May.  I think this was, in large part, the writer's fault.  Sheen's lines were simply goofy at times, and his "responsibility" speech was just corny and awkward.  Field did not create the bond that needs to exist between her and Peter... but again, I don't think the writers gave her much to work with.

In order for a comic movie to work, there must be an engaging bad guy.  You have to enjoy the bad guy as much as you do the title character... perhaps more.  The Lizard provided none of that.  He was flat, 2 dimensional, and entirely forgettable.

After watching the movie, one could not help but feel that there were a few key points in the story that the writer and director had worked out both visually and in terms of story... but they took no care in making those parts segue from one to the other.

Finally, there is a scene where a bunch of construction workers line up their cranes for Spidey to web through the city on, which was overly long and absurd.  Surely every one involved in the movie hated the end result... but because it cost so much to produce, it stayed.

All in all, it was good enough that I hope they pursue a sequel... but a new writer/director combo is a must.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Hal Was Told To Lie

Another great cartoon by David Hayward, aka The Nakedpastor!

Now when looking at this, a lot of Christians may react defensively. They may declare that God is a God of love. They may insist that they and their church don't present God or the gospel in that manner.

However, the vast majority of Christian churches believe that anyone who does not subscribe to some form of Christianity (and often, their version of Christianity) is going to be tortured in flames without mercy and without end. They may not put that in the church bulletin, but it is there.

I submit that believing that is REALLY bad for the psyche.

Subconsciously, realizing the unreasonableness, and because many Christians are truly people of good will, most churches put Hell on the back burner (yes, good pun there). But in doing so, Christianity becomes a contradictory, bait and switch, sales job.

2010 is one of my favorite movies of all time. It is a sequel to the famous 2001, where the super computer Hal goes crazy and kills his crew. In 2010, we discover that Hal went haywire because he was given contradictory instructions.

"HAL was told to lie - by people who find it easy to lie. HAL doesn't know how."

I think a lot of the unhealthiness that exists presently in the Christian church is because of Hell theology. It is a very bad piece of programming instruction. A modern people has been told to declare and harbor a hateful idea - by medieval and ancient peoples who found it easy to harbor hateful ideas. We shouldn't know how.

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