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Showing posts from October, 2009

Hope and Change

We have Hope because we have Faith that God will never Change.

This I Believe--Assignment for Students

Our language is generously sprinkled with its formulas and sayings, “Once upon a time,” “and they all lived happily ever after,” and “it came to pass.” It’s why we pay $10.00 to see a good movie, $15 or more for a good novel. It’s what a child wants her daddy to tell her at bedtime; it’s what the ancients shared around a fire and what Homer offered in the halls of the archaic Greeks. It’s story; more than a sequence of events, but a beginning, middle, and end that brings characters and settings and thus our imaginations to life.

I believe in story because it is so basic to my—and all—religious faith, because it is the core of art, and because it gives us something to look forward to.

What do I mean by story? Does it need definition? Story is not a happens, b happens, then c happens. If so, our daily routine of rising and showering and eating breakfast and commuting and working ad infinitum would be a story, but we know it’s not. Story takes activities of life and rearranges them…

What the Hoopie is going on?

I am tempted to use stronger language. I am appalled.
1. 20 teenagers watch and/or participate in the gang rape of a 15-year-old.
2. A comedian thinks urinating on a picture of Christ is funny, and apparently others do also.
3. A congressman thinks he can publicly call a woman a whore and is otherwise making it about himself and not his constituents.
4. Teenagers beat a fellow student to death while someone records it on a cell phone.
5. A parent uses his children for a hoax just to get on TV.
6. Politicians blatantly promising one thing and turning around the next week and doing the exact opposite.

What's the cause? The fact that TV and the Internet makes everyone a star, or well, makes everyone who wants to be a star think they are. And with that, you have to keep amping it up, more and more, to get an audience. More nudity, more crudity, more insanity.

Will we ever return to civilized society?

Family Reunion Photos

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A Karma World vs. a Cross World

All the psalms are honest, brutally so. That touches me more than even their beautiful poetry. David’s naked honesty about his sin in Ps. 51 and his fear in Ps. 56 are just two examples. Now it’s Asaph’s turn.

Who was he? He wrote eleven psalms. He was the chief musician, and he worked in the temple. It was his profession to be in the sanctuary of God, to be involved in worship. That did not keep him immune from reality. When I read this psalm, I can tell it is not written by a king. It is written by someone who sees and experiences everyday injustices, who knows about the disparities of life.

Before we look at the psalm, I want to talk about a word we hear used a lot today, that indirectly applies to understanding many parts of Scriptures, and often leads Christians astray. That word is karma. I was listening to an NPR station in Atlanta Friday when I went down there for a meeting. I like NPR because of the depth of its news coverage, but it appeals to goofy people (I woul…

Passion of the Christ, Revisited

Another rant on radio Bible teachers. This week I heard one say, "Jesus suffered more on the cross than all the people of all time every have or will." What?

It's not a contest, people. Physically, Jesus did suffer terribly, more than we can know, but we can't say it was more than other people who have been tortured, whipped, and crucified. I do not read in the Bible great long descriptions about the physical punishment Christ went through. Yes, it is expressed, but it is not described in great detail, not in the New Testament. Peter and John and James saw it and didn't go on and on about it. The ancients did not revel in that kind of thing (Greeks did not show murders and violence on stage); they knew it existed and would have had no reason to over-describe the torture of crucifixion, which their immediate audience knew.

Internally, psychically, spiritually, that is another story. Instead of gory details, we read, "he who knew no sin became sin for us…

Project Runway

I love this show. But I'm beginning to doubt the judges. Why is Christopher still on this show? He's always in the bottom two. He cries every week. He says he doesn't have the degree and credentials every week (that's obvious). His clothes are bizarre and tacky every week.

Kick his sorry, teary-eyed butt off, judges.

I also watched a cool old movie last night. Dragonwyck. Sort of a Jane Eyre spin-off. Vincent Price was great! I didn't know he could really act. I always classed him with Liberace (which is really wrong).

Any one coming upon this blog would think I have multiple personality disorder. These posts are all over the place. But that's just me. Most people think I'm quite vanilla.
I was reading a story in the local newspaper this morning about Halloween costume stores. Some customers were complaining that the ones for pre-teen and younger girls were based on the sexy versions for adult women. To dress up for Halloween means to put your sexy on, apparently. It even mentioned that some mothers would buy the costumes and the fathers would bring them back. That is half-way good news; one wonders about a mother who would buy such a costume, but at least the fathers had some good sense.

Most revealing (bad pun) was the last paragraph. “Halloween is the one time of the year when you won’t be judged,” a costume store owner is quoted. I think that says a lot. Is that what we want, not to be judged? In an age when the president is going to sign hate crime legislature for LGBT people (an acronym for sadly confused people), what are we being judged for? It seems every day is Halloween, if freedom from judgment is the standard.

Social disapproval and judgment are not…

What's Going On Tonight

It's pretty bad when the only two stations you watch both have Dennis Miller on them at the same hour. But he picked Dodsworth to show on TCM, and I like that one. Walter Huston was an interesting actor.

My brother is in the hospital, having found out he has a valve defect after all these years, but thankfully no blockage. When I saw him a month ago he was having trouble with bronchitis, finally went to a doc in the box (love that expression), who sent him to a real hospital; had a catheterization, should get out tomorrow. This is a concern. I wish I could go see him, but he is 650 miles away; there's a reason that families shouldn't be so far from each other.

This administration baffles me when it isn't hacking me off.

Anyway, back to the subject of fear. Fear is an excellent motivator. Whether its use is always ethical or respectful or truthful is another matter, but it will work. We do most of what we do out of some sort of fear of some sort of negative consequ…

No Fear

Wouldn't that be nice? The Bible contains the words "Fear Not" 63 times. But I don't think there's a place where people are condemned for their fear. They are held responsible for what they do because of their fear, but not reprimanded for their fear. Which is wonderful, when you think about it. God understands our frames, our weaknesses, and nothing reveals our human weakness like fear.

I taught Psalm 56 yesterday, or well, I tried to. I want my teaching to be at least one-third discussion, not me pontificating and bloviating. It's connected to David's feigning madness, a la Hamlet, in the Philistines' court, and the king getting disgusted with him. Not David's finest hours, to say the least. And here's the boy who stood up to Goliath, among other things--so why is he wimping out?

For the same reason we do. The strangest thing about fear is its inconsistency. David is clearly aware of his shortcomings here, so he gets the focus righ…

Mastercard revisited

Cynthia Heald's Becoming a Woman of Prayer, $7
Beth Moore Workbook, $15
Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life, $20
The Word of God, priceless

Psalm 19. And since these books are based on the priceless but free Word, why do they cost so much?

Oh, My

I am beginning to wonder if I'll ever blog again; it's been well over a week. I have plenty to say but it's all in bits and pieces.

Right now I am watching Mutiny on the Bounty (great film, by the way, and I'm talking about the 30s version), am glad my son is home for a few days, am overwhelmed with somewhat pointless tasks from my job, am looking forward to revising my second and third novels when the publisher is ready to get that done, am still thinking about doctoral work since UTC has decided to grant (close to) in-state tuition to us Georgians, and am wishing that Winter had not come so fast. It will be in the 30s tonight, all of a sudden, it seems.

I am eating a lot of Feta cheese and not much meat, for some reason. I am mad at Project Runway for booting Shirin and not Christopher. I had to post midterm grades but think the only purpose of them is to get students to drop the classes they are failing. We have 5400 plus students this semester but I have a fee…

Letterman Lost

I know I still have a sin nature because I was not saddened by the news of David Letterman's "indiscretions." My response, I'm afraid to say was, "the hypocrite deserves whatever comes of this."

But as the Bible lesson I am supposed to teach this week is Psalm 51, God didn't let me get away with that for long.

So I had to bring myself to pray for Letterman. We have no choice in this matter, if we say we believe the Word and follow Christ. Even a snarky 60-some-year-old adolescent like he is not beyond grace. I pray he repents, truly, has a spiritual conversion, and repairs his marriage.

But I am more bothered by his audience. I suppose if you want to be in his TV audience, you have to be of a certain mindset--or mind-less set. If he had said he committed murder, would they have laughed? I think so.

Evangelical Narcissism

If no one has coined this term, I now have.

The problem with an emphasis on a "personal relationship with Jesus" is that 1. it's going to level the playing field until (2) it's eventually all about us. When the "relationship with Jesus" started, it was neither all about us or a level playing field. The relationship couldn't start if those two things were true--it could only start because the playing field between us and God was totally unlevel and because we realized it wasn't about us--at all.

I am sick of radio preachers and preachettes, "Bible teachers," and other sources of religious rhetoric telling us, indirectly, to spend so much time thinking about ourselves and our problems and our sins and our relationship and our ..... you name it.

A relationship with Jesus, which is a very lose way to talk about the life of the Christian believer, is a relationship that is closely and clearly defined in the New Testament, and these are teachin…

Facebook, revisited

I have decided that I have complained enough about facebook and the inane, narcissistic, and goofy posts or status updates my "friends" post there. I have been a lurker, only posting a few times but looking at everyone else's and shaking my head. No more. I am going to fight fire with water.

Instead of "I'm having a bad day," "I'm hungry" "I'm in pain," I'm going to write upbeat, praising, positive quotes. I'll save snarkiness for this blog!

Seriously, is facebook so named because it's a mirror in which we are looking at ourselves or a because it's a short-term replacement for communication? The former, it seems. I'm sick of it. I could just stop going to it, but that's a cop out. Let's try something assertive and proactive. It could only help (and annoy the nonbelievers).

Movies, movies, movies

Last night I went to see The Proposal. Cute enough, predictable enough. $3.00 worth of escapism.

Whoopi Goldberg is an idiot. Why does she get a pulpit? "Rape rape? vs. rape?"

I saw a very interesting movie from the '30s the other night that mirrored the Leo Frank trial. It was very good, and I don't know why it hasn't been considered more famous.

Those snuggies commercials are just about the most bizarre thing I have ever seen. They look like a bunch of monks.

Cool youtube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvCd_ANIKys

Hollywood Hypocrisy

If a working class man living in a trailer park gets a 13-year-old girl drunk and rapes her, he goes to jail, society considers him a sex offender, and he is ostracized for the rest of his life, assuming his crime is known. When a movie director does it, we are told it should be overlooked.

When a boss has sex with his female employees consistently over the course of several years, he is prosecuted for sexual harassment or fired. When a talk show host does, we are supposed to laugh at his lame, snarky jokes.