And Another Thing…

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Plugging

John Dobbs of Out Here Hope Remains fame has created a new blog called Quick Thoughts. Check it out.

My friend the Rollerpimp now writes for a general music blog called Dude You Gotta Hear This. They’ve got a little of everything. If you want exposure to stuff that you won’t get on standard FM radio, it’s worth checking out.

Enjoy

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Up the Academy

 I missed this year’s Academy Awards and no skin off of my nose for two reasons: first, I have not seen any of the Best Picture nominees yet. Second, I stopped taking the Oscars seriously a long time ago. Below, I will offer my admittedly subjective, 100% biased list of the biggest goofs that Academy voters have made in recent years. Feel free to agree, disagree, or add your own along with an explanation.

1980Ordinary People beats Raging Bull for Best Picture. Ordinary People is certainly not a bad movie, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Raging Bull.  Neither the first nor last time that a Martin Scorsese picture was to get hosed.

1983Terms of Endearment beats The Right Stuff, The Big Chill, and Tender Mercies for Best Picture. Speaking as a mental health professional, I think a more appropriate title for Terms of Endearment might have been “Terms of Enmeshment.” Shirley MacLaine’s character was one of the most obnoxious, overbearing characters in movie history, with an obscenely co-dependent relationship with her daughter who more often than not played the mother role. By the way, if you have not seen Tender Mercies, do something about that. One of Robert Duvall’s finest performances (and that’s saying something) in a tearjerker about family, redemption, courage, and faith. The final shot gets me every time.

Speaking of Duvall – I think the fact he has only won an Oscar once in his career speaks to Academy goofs.

1989Do The Right Thing is nominated in only two categories, and wins in neither one. I think that Spike Lee is a mouthy, racist jerk. But that doesn’t change the fact that Do The Right Thing was an energetic, tightly-directed movie filled with engaging characters, memorable dialogue, and that it provoked remarkably strong reactions in every person who saw it.

1990Dances With Wolves beats Goodfellas for Best Picture. Nothing against Kevin Costner’s direction or a good western, but Goodfellas was Scorsese at the top of his game and Costner just can’t hold up against it.

1991Miller’s Crossing is not nominated for anything.

1994Forrest Gump beats The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction for Best Picture.  I always felt that Gump was a little too much like the title character: good-natured but dumb as a bag of hammers. Also, am I the only person who noticed that Forrest’s “romance” with Jen-ny consisted mostly of her using him as a crutch when she needed him and then running off and abandoning him when she got back on her feet? Doormats do not make for compelling heroes. Shawshank managed to create a genuine feeling of uplift and hope from a story set in a prison, no less. Compare these two snippets of dialogue. The first is from Gump, the second from Shawshank:

“Mama always said life was like a box a chocolates, never know what you’re   gonna get.”

“I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.”

Really no comparison, is there?

Pulp Fiction was a wildly original ride through the underbelly of Los Angeles with some of the funniest dialogue ever committed to film. Christopher Walken’s monologue on the peculiar history of a particular family heirloom is a classic.

Also from 1994, Frank Darabont does not even get nominated for Best Director for The Shawshank Redemption.

1996The English Patient beats Fargo for Best Picture. A long, pretentious, and interminable picture, Patient tells the story of a man who sells out the free world for his lover. Yeah, a real testament to the human spirit, fellas.

1997Titanic wins Best Picture. Granted, when the boat sinks (approximately 4.5 hours into the movie) things get interesting. However, prior to this the viewer is forced to sit through a ponderous, cliché-ridden, trite love story that a freshman English major would be embarrassed to submit to an instructor. Particularly gag-inducing is the scene where Kate Winslet stands at the bow of the ship, spreads her arms and screams, “I’m flying! I’m flying!”

Keep in mind that the Academy chose this over L.A. Confidential.

__________

Well, those are mine. So I put it to you, cinephiles. What do you think are the most egregious mistakes that the Oscars have made over the years? Any category is welcome, including Best Actor, Actress, Director, Supporting, etc.

Filed under: Movies, ,

I Like This Site, Which I Guess Proves Them Right

This is one of the funnier things I have seen in a while:

Stuff White People Like

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Conclude What You Will

hshotsup017.jpg

[H/T: Higgaion]

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Pentecostals With Mullets: Brother Barry Woo-hoo!

If you got a kick out of the sermon on pissing against the wall, click below. These videos cannot be imbedded so you have to go directly to YouTube to see the goodness. But I promise you, its worth it.

Brother Barry Part One

Brother Barry Part Two

Brother Barry Part Three

[H/T: Friendly Christian]

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Strange Analogy

Contemporary church music is to traditional church music as American Idol is to rock ‘n’ roll. Discuss.

Filed under: Music, , , ,

Another Reason I Don’t Miss the Ministry

Considering this bizarre ad for a minister, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I have copied it in its entirety. The only changes that I have made are to remove identifying information, put the ad in blocks, and clean up the text to make it easier to read.  I have also inserted my own comments (not indented) between the copious requirements made by the church in question.

The _____ Church of Christ, a new congregation, seeks a dynamic full-time minister to come and minister to us. The church started in the ______ area almost two years ago and now has 150 members. We are now at a point where we need a full-time minister to come and join the team. This will be our first full time staff position. We still do not own a building, so please send your resume via email. If you are interested in a rewarding and successful ministry, then please apply. Here are the qualifications we are looking for:

Okay, nothing too weird so far, except for the bit about being interested in a rewarding and successful ministry. Apparently, they want to avoid those preachers who are only interested in failing ministries.

Professional: Leadership – Training and/or Understanding of the dynamics of leadership and management. Past experience and success in organizational management is a plus. Self-Starter – The candidate should be a self-starter, not requiring supervision.  Visionary – The candidate should be a visionary, having a clear vision for the church and the ability to realize that vision. Musical Ability – Though not required, the ability to train or lead in the praise and worship team and the music ministry is a huge plus. Technological – Familiarity with technology is greatly desired. Computer and PowerPoint experience is a must. Presentation – It is desired that the candidate have a strong and polished public presentation with a good public speaking voice. Supervision – The candidate should be willing to work under the direction and supervision of the leadership committee that is temporarily in place until the appointment of elders. Track Record – The candidate must have a track record of church growth and experience in a medium and large church environments.  

First, I love that they give the option of having “Training and/or Understanding of the dynamics of leadership and management.”  What would they do with the applicant who says “I have been trained in the dynamics of leadership and management, but I don’t really understand them”?

Next, they say that the candidate should not require supervision. However, 7 sentences later they say that “the candidate should be willing to work under the direction and supervision of the leadership committee that is temporarily in place until the appointment of elders.”  This reminds me of that great scene in Raising Arizona where John Goodman and William Forsythe rob the bank and shout, “Freeze! Everybody down on the ground!” and the old man says, “Well, which is it, young feller? You want I should freeze or get down on the ground? Meanin’ to say, if’n I freeze I can’t rightly drop, and if’n I drop, well, I’m-a gonna be in motion…”

And don’t forget the last part about the track record. That will be important below. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Faith and Religion, Rants, , ,

Some Kind of Hero?

HOUSTON, Texas (AP) — The youth minister who confessed to a 1994 killing is being widely forgiven by members of his former congregation, who say they admire his courage in finally surrendering to police. Calvin Wayne Inman, 29, remains jailed without bail since he was charged Wednesday with capital murder in the stabbing death of a convenience store clerk during a robbery. He was 16 at the time.During Sunday’s service at the 800-member Elim Church, congregants praised the recently ordained Inman as a born-again role model taking responsibility for his sin.”He’s a hero, really,” said Kelley Graham, 24. “I don’t know how many people would do what he did. The Bible says you just need to confess to God. Calvin took an extra step.”

Inman went to authorities on February 5 and admitted that he stabbed Iqbal Ahmed, 64, nearly 14 years ago in suburban Pasadena.

According to police, Inman said he and a 13-year-old friend planned to rob the convenience store. When Ahmed asked to see identification before giving them tobacco, Inman stabbed Ahmed in the chest with a kitchen knife, police said.

Inman resigned from the youth job in December.

“The debt he’s paying to our society is teaching our young people to do the right thing,” said Cheryl Ellis, a member of the church’s youth staff. “To lock him away someplace and say he owes it to society is robbing the next generation of a mentor.”

Robin Thac said her 17-year-old son was active in the youth group that Inman led.

“I am thrilled my son has a role model to accept responsibility the way Calvin has,” Thac said. “There are way too many men who don’t accept responsibility.”

Police have said Inman’s friend, now 28, has acknowledged being involved in the robbery but not the stabbing. Because of 1994 juvenile laws preventing prosecution of people 13 or younger, police said they could not charge the friend. [Source]

This story disturbs me on many levels. Its always disturbing to imagine children or teenagers being capable of murder. Its also disturbing that Inman sat on his crime for 14 years and went through the process of becoming a minister with this on his heart.

But the part that disturbs me the most is the response of the congregation. Not the part about forgiving him, but holding him up as a “hero”. In what way is Inman a hero? Because he couldn’t live with the guilt any more? That just means he is not a sociopath. Is he a hero because he decided to take responsibility for his actions? That just makes him a man.  I can’t help but wonder if any of the parents of the teenagers (or the teenagers themselves) in this congregation are horrified about this.

I am not making light of the courage he must have had to muster to go to the police and confess; in fact, I commend him for it. Furthermore, I hope that he finds the redemption that he so desperately needs in Christ. And we should all rejoice that the family of his victim will finally have some peace.

But Inman is no hero or role model. A hero would not have robbed anyone. A hero would not have committed cold-blooded murder. And a hero would not have masqueraded as a servant of Christ with blood on his hands.

Feeling guilt for an action does not make a hero anymore than taking responsibility for an action. Believers, we need to be careful about who we hold up as role models.

Filed under: Faith and Religion, , , , , , , , ,

Valentine’s Day 2008

 Christine and I celebrated Valentine’s Day with a phone call this morning since she is overseas on business right now. I hate that she is gone, but I can’t say that I am terribly upset with her being gone on Valentine’s Day. I have never been a fan of this holiday. I think that the candy, flower, and greeting card industries make plenty of money the other 364 days of the year. But that’s just me. If you love the one you’re with, is there ever a bad time to let them know it?

This won’t be one of those cloyingly sweet posts where I gush about how my wife is “the bestest ever!” for two reasons: First, if she was perfect, she wouldn’t have married me. Secondly, I have only been married once and have no real basis for comparison (nor do I want one).

But I will say that I miss her; I miss her for the same reasons that I married her. I realized very early in our relationship that she was somebody that I wouldn’t get tired of; I would always be happy to see her at the end of the day. She is fun, smart, thoughtful, affectionate, compassionate, energetic, adaptable, and endlessly patient.  She enjoys a fishing trip as much as a night on the town. She laughs as hard as I do at the same things. She is a whiz-bang cook. She loves Jesus and the church, but not sanctimony or hypocrisy. She can hold her own in a conversation whether the topic is politics or the movie we just watched. She is willing to try anything (in fact, she recently told me that I was turning her into a music snob…yes!).  And I will never be able to repay her for 4 years of tolerating life with a grad student. When I get my degree, I will be able to say to her, “I couldn’t have done it without you” and mean it.

But now I want to say to her be safe, enjoy your trip, and come home quickly. I’m waiting, and I love you.

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Two For Tuesday: Religion/Politics Notes

If you want to know one of the reasons why I will probably never give money to my alma mater, Harding University, click here. I mean really…Mike Cope can’t speak at Harding but this guy can?

__________

The best sermon I have ever heard on peeing. I’m not kidding.

Thanks to Matt at Kingdom Living for this one.

Filed under: Faith and Religion, Politics, , , ,

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