Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein, Capitol Punishment, and Vengeance

There is a lot the consider with the execution of Saddam Hussein, which was conducted this morning. The death penalty, ideas of justice versus revenge, even degree of sin. I was going to have a go at it myself when I discovered this post at Mere Comments, which it is much easier to simply point to. The post seems to me a bit hard on Catholics in general, but it still brings up some insightful points. The coments following it are also(almost always) good to read, especially for those desiring some form of Catholic response.

The topic of capitol punishment came up in a religion course of mine this past semester when we watched the film Dead Man Walking, itself a true story. Can we justify taking one life for another, or others? The Old Testament can, but how is such an idea reconciled to the New Covenant? Is killing always wrong, and then, what of war, what of people, like Saddam, whose atrocities are nearly unnumbered and doubtlessly attributed? Again, there's a lot to ponder, I think.

I also can't help but noting that vengeance is one of the many topics VERY interestingly touched on in the Star Wars: The New Jedi Order series of novels that I have been reading in for some time. The philosophical and quasi-religious questions faced by some of the younger Jedi characters who are striving to 'work out their faith' are some of the main reasons that a handful of these novels have found their way into my library. A deeper look into the questions explored in them may be warranted sometime in the future.

-N

Friday, December 29, 2006

4 Stars for Children of Men

The ChristianityToday.com movie review of the Christmas-day release Children of Men gives the film 4 out of 4 stars... a rarity for CT(in the last four years only 20 films have been ranked so high). Ever since their review of 2005's graphic-novel adaptation A History of Violence--also a 4 star film--I've respected the CT film reviews, as they certainly aren't done by ultra-conservative Christians that will fail you for a cuss word.
I've yet to see CoM myself, but I've been interested in the film since I first saw a trailer a few months back. The review will likely have spoilers, so avoid it if you're concerned about that, but do check the movie itself out.
You can view the trailer here, at the bottom under Universal.

-N

Thursday, December 14, 2006

C. S. Lewis returns

I read this on the 8th in The Business of Heaven, although I believe the original source was Mere Christianity...

If you ask your conscience, you get one result: if you remember that you are dressing up as Christ, you get a different one. There are lots of things which your conscience might not call definitely wrong (especially things in your mind) but which you will see at once you cannot go on doing if you are seriously trying to be like Christ. For you are no longer thinking simply about right and wrong; you are trying to catch the good infection from a Person. It is more like painting a portrait than like obeying a set of rules. And the odd thing is that while in one way it is much harder than keeping rules, in another way it is far easier.

Have a great week!

-N

Sunday, December 10, 2006

On Santa Claus


My brother has just published a post on the history of Saint Nicholas, the poor fellow that we've contorted into Santa Claus. Anyways, it's a brief but interesting history on the Saint who proves that evolution isn't always a step forward.
Here's another link.

-N

Friday, December 01, 2006

Global AIDS Day


December 1st is Global AIDS Day, and the (RED) campaign is in full motion.
(RED), the brainchild of U2 lead Bono, is a campaign to raise money to help the fight against AIDS, be it through AIDS education, supplying for needs of AIDS orphans, or paying for HIV testing or early treatment. Partners in this campaign include some familiar names: American Express, GAP, Motorolla, and Apple amongst them, all of whom are offering means for us(the consumer) to help raise money for the project.
joinred.com features much more information on the campaign, the partners, and, most importantly, how we can be involved in this campaign in the battle against the growing epidemic.
Check out (RED) for more details, and, again, as it is Global AIDS Day, try to remember this atrocity, and to remember that it will take all of our efforts to see the change desperately needed.

-N

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Where is the Wisdom?

I recently was introduced to Ravi Zacharias and RZIM(Ravi Zacharias International Ministries) through a link on a youth ministry news letter that I receive. The link was to an insightful little article called 'Where is the Wisdom?', concerning the failure in the church(and more generally, the world) to "challenge the mind of this generation" and to, ultimately, serve God with our minds as we are commanded to.
This is always an issue worth revisiting in my mind, and I fear what will happen to many followers of Christ in this next generation who fail to think, to ponder, and to 'test all things'.
Again, the article is very short, and, I think, quite good.

-N

Friday, November 24, 2006

Richard Bauckham on Jesus and the Eyewitnesses


Chris Tilling, on his blog Chrisendom, has recently had an awesome chance to interview Dr. Richard Bauckham concerning his new book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. I'm pretty excited about the book release itself, and have been since the Bishop N. T. Wright mentioned the project in a lecture on The DaVinci Code in Seattle, so the interview on this blog came as a surprise, and a very pleasant one at that. Check out the interview(and, if you like, the SEVERAL posts following the interview dedicated to the book as well) at Chrisendom.

-N

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Gloria-Deo gets a face-lift

Gloria-Deo, Daniel Hixon's blog(linked to the right), recently received a face-lift on her layout and features. Make sure to check it out if you're not already a reader!
Also, don't forget to check out the Relief-Aid Organizations links, where you have a chance to show the love of Christ to the lives of those facing spiritual and practical needs the world-around.


-Nance

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

C. S. Lewis says...

I thought I'd offer up another Lewis quote for today, partly to satisfy my desire to write something, and partly because I really enjoyed this when reading it this morning.
I've seen it suggested that a team of people -- the more the better -- should agree to pray as hard as they knew how, over a period of six weeks, forall the patients in Hospital A and none of those in Hospital B. Then you would tot up the results and see if A had more cures and fewer deaths. . . .
The trouble is that I do not see how any real prayer could go on under such conditions. 'Words without thoughts never to heaven go', says the King in Hamlet. Simply to say prayers is not to pray; otherwise a team of properly trained parrots would serve as well as men for our experiment. You cannot pray for the recovery of the sick unless the end you have in view is their recovery. But you can have no motive for desiring the recovery of all the patients in one hospital and none of those in another. You are not doing it in order that suffering should be relieved; you are doing it to find out what happens. The real purpose and the nominal purpose of your prayers are at variance.

This is from a selection entitled Prayer is Not a 'Gimmick' in the Lewis Anthology The Business of Heaven(Nov. 14th), amidst a number of selections concerning prayer and the efficacy of prayer. I'm not sure what work of Lewis's this was originally taken from for the anthology.

-N

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Harry Potter

I posted before on this topic almost a year ago now, but this morning following my bi-weekly run in with our local LSU "megaphone guys", decided to approach the topic again, as it is in their minds on the many sure tickets to eternal damnation and separation from God.
A friend once argued to me against Harry Potter on the grounds that interest in the occult arose with the popularity of the series. I can't dispute that; I have a old friend that who was at one time a Harry Potter fan, and did dabble in the dark arts a bit once he had started himself down a self-destructive path, and perhaps the wouldn't have occurred away from his familiarity with the boy-wizard(although this isn't a certainty).
But we'll return to Mr. Potter. I want to begin with a broader stroke.
What is sin? Well there are several definitions, disobedience to God being a nice, general one. Oftentimes a fine definition to 'sin' is a perversion of something. Fornication and adultery are perversions of the sexual experiences that God designed for us, for pro-creation, yes, but also for pleasure; outside of God's intended venue(marriage) is where sex becomes something sinful. Likewise covetousness is a perversion of the thrills and joys that we get from X, whatever that may be, a person, an experience, a thing, and so on. It's the attachment to the thing that leads to the inordinate desire for it that is sinful. It's outside of God's intention for it. The same could be said of drinking and drunkenness or gluttony.
What about Harry Potter? We're getting there, if you don't see it already.
Throughout history is hasn't only been actions that we have perverted into things the are against the will of God, but we have perverted things as well. Christianity is a perfect example. Christianity has been the banner of persecutors, subjugators, and murderers for almost two millenia. It has been a sign taken up by the most un-loving, and thus un-Christian, people of all times, 'justifying' everything from persecution of Jews, to witch hunts and abortion clinic bombings. Christianity is not bad. It is the perversion, the thing that these people create and label as the faith that is so terrible and opposite the movement of God's kingdom.
And this is where we bring Harry Potter and quidditch and Azkaban back into the picture. Anything can be misused to terrible ends, but considering J. K. Rowling's intent was not to convert a generation to proficiency in witchcraft, it is indeed a misuse that leads readers to such ends. Stupid decisions cannot be stopped and are to be expected to a degree from anything. If it is in the heart of a reader to distance themselves from the Lord and His church, that they would do so in this manner, then it is the heart of the reader that takes him there, not the words of the author. It is his choice.

The second arguement that I frequently is that the Potter books shine such a positive light of witchcraft and wizardry, and there are two responses to this:
1) this is actually not so true, as both the protagonists and the antagonists are witches and wizards. Lord Voldemort, who is a personification of all things selfish and evil, is a wizard. That's hardly positive. Harry Potter, who fights the darkness and actually shines of many virtues is also a wizard. There's no universal here. It's the same fallacious arguement made when people say that the New Testament shines a negative light on Judaism, apparently ignoring the fact that Jesus and all of His disciples(from Peter to Judas Iscariot) were Jews, and that Christianity at that time was founded and seen as nothing else than another form of Judaism.
2) Harry Potter doesn't have a monopoly on witches and wizards in the world of fantasy literature. Other prominent appearance of theirs include The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, nominally even, and in the Star Wars mythos, simply by another name. One simply cannot throw out the Dumbledores and Weasleys yet cling to the Gandalfs and deeper magic of Narnia(which is a beautiful symbol of God's covenant with His people), or the Jedi--there's a double standard being unjustly used there. And we know that Christians love at least their Narnia, if not their Middle-Earth and Star Wars also, and well they should.

Something to chew on.
I may follow up with my thoughts(which is all that this is) on more disputed topics in the coming days and weeks.

-N

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pastafarianism

I noted a friend of mine's religious preference on his facebook.com account, and was shocked to see a term that I had absolutely no familiarity with, i.e. pastafarian.
What is this?
Such questions naturally lead you to http://www.wikipedia.org.
There I discovered the comical and a bit frightening story behind pastafarianism, and it's creator-god, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Check out the article at the online encyclopedia if you're interested.

Again, wikipedia.org, an invaluable resource of the web.

-N

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

George MacDonald

I've just started reading C. S. Lewis's George MacDonald, which is basically just an anthology of MacDonald's writings(snippets of it at least); Lewis had always readily admitted to MacDonald being the greatest literary influence in his life. With that in mind, reading the man seemed pretty exciting. Well, now that I'm in it, I thought I'd share one of the 'snippets' that I've really like.
Nothing is inexorable but love. Love which will yield to prayer is imperfect and poor. Nor is it then the love that yields, but its alloy. . . . For love loves unto purity. Love has ever in view the absolute loveliness of that which it beholds. Where loveliness is incomplete, and love cannot love its fill of loving, it spends itself to make more lovely, that it may love more; it strives for perfection, even that itself may be perfected--not in itself, but in the object. . . . Therefore all that is not beautiful in the beloved, all that comes between and is not of love's kind, must be destroyed. And our God is a consuming fire.

Good stuff.

-N

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Writings of Archimedes discovered



I post this for two reasons:
1) Archimedes is an important historical figure, and plenty of folks probably aren't even aware of who he is.
2) I thought end of the first paragraph was pretty funny. Lousy Christians screwing with world history again! I'm surprised we haven't received more heat for this one over the years.

-N

Monday, July 24, 2006

Relief-Aid Organizations

In case you haven't noticed, the LORD has impressed a lot of things on me of late concerning Christians reaching out to the world's impoverished and needy peoples. I heard a report from a IMB missionary last night concerning the earthquake in South Asia last October; in six seconds, tens of thousands of people, predominantly Moslem, were killed. The other figures(and of course the images) that he shared were just unbelievable. Well, I've been trying to respond, adding a lot of links and such to the website for reputable charitable organizations, and I finally decided to just give them their own section underneath the regular links. If anyone could give me some tips as to how to get the "Relief-Aid Organizations" section(heck, and everything below it) in proper alignment beneath "links", that'd be great!
So check out the links, and do consider how our God would have you get involved in the lives of those who are so desperately in need.

-N

Monday, July 10, 2006

Compassion International

I just wanted to point out that a couple of links to Compassion International's website have been added here. Compassion is one of the most worthwhile ministries I've ever encountered, focusing heavily on child sponsorships where our money goes to provide food, medical attention, and education to children in less fortunate countries, not to mention that these kids are introduced to Christ, maybe for the first time. Compassion was also listed recently by the Wall Street Journal among the top ten most trustworthy non-profit organizations in the world. Pretty high praise. Check out Compassion.com for yourself for more info on them.

The LORD upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes ofa all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season.
You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.
Psalm 145:14-16

This is another good chance for Christians to, as Audio Adrenaline would say, be His hands.

And if anyone starts to wonder, this is going to likely be my last post for a while, as I'm at the start of an internet fast right now. I only posted this time because I found out that you could link to Compassion on your site, and I wanted to be sure to point it out to everybody.

Again, Compassion International.

-N

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Texas Episcopal Congregation Leaves National Church

One of the largest Episcopal congregations in the nation is leaving the national Episcopal church following the results of the church's national convention last week.
Christ Church Episcopal in Plano, TX released a statement approved by church leaders stating the following:
The mission of Christ Church is to make disciples and teach them to obey the commands of Christ. The direction of the leadership of the Episcopal Church is different and we regret their departure from biblical truth and the historic faith of the Anglican Communion. ... We declare our intention to disassociate from ECUSA as soon as possible.


Well said: "We regret their departure from Biblical truth...", very well said. . . no pun intended.

ChristianityToday.com has also reported on this, pointing out that Christ Church Episcopal is larger than the entire diocese from which the new Episcopal church presiding bishop came.
Christ Church's pastor, Rev. David Roseberry, was a firm opponent of the consecration of Rev. Gene Robinson in New Hampshire in 2003, and has since frequently criticized the church's national leadership.

-N

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Episcopal Church in America continues to slip

Katharine Jefferts Schori was elected Sunday to lead the American Episcopalian Church, and conservatives are mad. Why? For one, the fact that she is a woman. Three of the dioceses in America still do not ordain female priests because they believe it to be contrary to scripture, much less a female bishop. But wait until those diocese hear her take on homosexuality.
Schori allows the blessing of same-sex unions in her small desert diocese. After the national church recognized gay unions as part of its "common life" in 2003, Schori's diocese said it would "support relationships of mutuality and fidelity … between those persons for whom the celebration and blessing of a marriage is not available."

Did someone mention the phrase 'contrary to scripture'? CT's report also points out Schori's support of the consecration of openly-gay bishop Robinson in New Hampshire back in 2003.
As if relations between the American Anglican Community and those in, say, Great Britain, needed further strain, well here here it is.
We need to pray for the Episcopal church, that they might have direction, or rather acknowledge that direction already given them by the LORD, unity, and for those standing fast to the scripture, integrity, that they may continue to oppose the subverting of this body by unsound teachings and sin.

For more on this election, see this article.

-N

Saturday, June 17, 2006

the next NOOMA is out there

013 Rich is out, and you may have no clue what I'm talking about.

Rob Bell, author of the popular book Velvet Elvis, has been really making his mark in the mainstream youth/college ministry world over the last fews years with his phenomenal NOOMA ministry. These short(usually 10-12 minutes) video messages are described by nooma.com as follows:
The new format

We can get anything we want, from anywhere in the world,
whenever we want it. That's how it is and that's how we want
it to be. Still, our lives aren't any different than other
generations before us. Our time is.

We want spiritual direction, but it has to be real for us
and available when we need it. We want a new format for
getting Christian perspectives.

NOOMA is the new format.

It's short films with communicators that really speak to us.
Compact, portable, and concise. Each NOOMA touches on
issues that we care about, that we want to talk about,
and it comes in a way that fits our world.
It's a format that's there for us when we need it,
as we need it, how we need it.

I've made a passing reference to one of Bell's videos before on here, but I wanted to take a chance and really spotlight this ministry, because it's something I support. If you want to learn more about this ministry, Rob Bell, or the individual NOOMA videos, check out NOOMA.
For a look at the newest video, Rich, released this month, you can check this link.

-n

Sunday, June 04, 2006

CT Interviews The Omen Director


Anyone's whose been watching TV or been to see a film lately knows that this Tuesday--appropriately, June 6th, or 6-6-06--sees the release of the remake of the classic Gregory Peck meets the Anti-Christ horror flick, The Omen.
By all the commercials I've seen thus far, this film looks pretty good and really freaky. And of course it will have a heavy spiritual connotation, given the plot material.
Now, in a really awesome move, I think, Christianity Today has done an interview with the film's director, John Moore, for more(no pun intended) on this upcoming quasi-religious-horror-thriller monster that he's created. They talk a bit about the original, about Moore's own beliefs, and a few other interesting topics are brought up as well. Check it out.

-N

Friday, May 26, 2006

DaVinci what? and the release of X3


Well as everyone probably knows, The DaVinci Code hit theaters last weekend, but to surprisingly weak reviews. The thriller based on Dan Brown's mega-hit, best-selling novel has been complained of as to slow, and it certainly isn't the best script Tom Hanks has ever had to work with. The score by Hans Zimmer is incredible, and overall the film is alright, but certainly not what everyone expected from the 40 million + copies sold novel.
Talks are nonetheless already underway for the adaptation of Angels and Demons, a prequel to The DaVinci Code, to the big screen.
DaVinci also seems to be passing by rather quietly on the controversy front as well. Any viewers who have read the novel will note several distinct changes in the film from Brown's original vision, be it in the 'historic' details, the actual film's plot, or just in the characters themselves. Robert Langdon(Tom Hanks) is a fine example of the latter, as the professor transforms from a silent supporter of Teabing's anti-Christian and anti-church theories in the novel to an outspoken critic of his facts and his ideas in the film. An interesting change, and one can't help but wonder what motivation the film-makers had for it.

Hollywood's latest blockbuster offering however is receiving a warmer reception from critics: X-Men: The Last Stand(a.k.a. X-Men 3). Christianity Today's review can be found here. It's a great addition to the now X-Men trilogy, and will certainly dominate the box office this weekend despite The DaVinci Code.

Nance

Saturday, May 13, 2006

thehungersite.com

I've added a link to the hunger site to the blog. If you're now wondering what exactly the hunger site is...
What is The Hunger Site?
The Hunger Site is the world's first online activism site. It gives Internet users the daily opportunity to quickly make a difference in the fight to end hunger. In less than 5 seconds, visitors can click on the "Give Free Food" button and, at no cost to them, send food to the hungry in countries like Bosnia, Lebanon, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Honduras, Mozambique, Eritrea and the United States - anywhere there's a need. To date, more than 150 million visitors have clicked to give more than 14,000 metric tons of food (almost 250 million cups of food) to the world's hungry. The staple food is paid for by The Hunger Site sponsors and distributed by America's Second Harvest and Mercy Corps. The site's grassroots popularity has been recognized with prestigious Web awards in the activism category -- the 2000 Cool Site of the Year Award and the People's Voice winner at the 2000 Webby Awards.

Essentially, their daily sponsors give money towards world hunger based on the number of folks who visit the site and click one link. So, by visiting the link daily you can support efforts to alleviate world hunger.
Check it out.

-N

Friday, May 12, 2006

perhaps DaVinci will see fewer boycotts than expected

The anticipation is building, because this is the last weekend before Ron Howard's The DaVinci Code with Tom Hanks will hit theaters.
The big issue in the church of late has been how to respond to this film. Some(myself included) are opting for an 'engaging the culture' strategy, discussing the film and getting people to acknowledge the issue; others are going with the old faithful stategy of boycotting. Or if they'd like to be really clever, "othercotting". However the latter may not be as prevelant a response as you'd think.
Comparing TDC to the Martin Scorsese 1980s film with Willem DeFoe The Last Temptation of Christ, Michael Licona, director of apologetics and interfaith evangelism for the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board, says this:
"I think we made a mistake back then," he says. "I think we communicated that we're not interested in having critical discussions-that if you mention Jesus in a negative way, we're just going to pick up our ball and go home."


For more of the article, check it out at Christianity Today.

-N

Thursday, May 04, 2006

EXTRA: Star Wars news worth blogging


I don't normally have two posts in one day, heck, I'm lucky to have two a week, but I thought this was important enough to share:

This September: Original Unaltered Trilogy on DVD

Star Wars purists around the world cry out in excitement, astonishment, and poor Chewbacca impersonations. Good-bye Hayden Christensen, hello Sebastian Shaw; Han shoots first, no more Gungans, and Boba Fett doesn't have to remind us of Attack of the Clones any more.
The original, unadulterated(as I like to say) Star Wars Trilogy, as it appeared in the 1977, 1980, and 1983 theatrical releases, will come to DVD for a limited time September 12th of this year and will be available through New Year's.
And in case you're skeptical, thinking that perhaps this report was fabricated, Lucasfilm is pulling an April Fools joke in the wrong month, or are just flabbergasted that GL is doing something right for once, then you can calm your anxieties and read about it here, here, here, and here as well.

-N

C. S. Lewis says... quite literally

BBC, the original broadcasters of Jack Lewis's Mere Christianity radio talks during WWII, have added a couple of audio recordings of Lewis to their site for anyone to listen to. They include one of Lewis's war talks, Beyond Personality: The New Men, and the introduction to his The Great Divorce.
I have a cassette recording of Lewis narrating his book The Four Loves, and I always thought it was great to hear these works from the mouth of the man himself. Plus he has such a great accent!
Check them out at the article from Christianity Today above linked, or at BBC right here.

-N

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

CT's interview with Hoodwinked director

Hoodwinked hits DVD today, and to kind of support the release, Christianity Today has done an interview with the film's director, Cory Edwards.
I haven't seen the movie yet, although I really want to--it looks hilarious--but the interview was pretty interesting, so I thought I'd go ahead and share.

-N

Sunday, April 23, 2006

C. S. Lewis says...


Lewis is one of my favorite authors of all time, if not my single favorite, so I've decided that he'd be a great man to quote on this page when I have little original thought of my own to post. Unfortunately this appears to be a common predicament that I find myself in, so if we're lucky, we'll find Jack's quotes on here fairly often.

from Mere Christianity:
A man who makes his golf or his motor-bicycle the centre of his life, or a woman who devotes all her thoughts to clothes or bridge or her dog, is being just as 'intemperate' as someone who gets drunk every evening. Of course, it does not show on the outside so easily: bridge-mania or golf-mania do not make you fall down in the middle of the road. But God is not deceived by externals.


-N

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

From No Perfect People Allowed

I thought I'd offfer an interesting quote on Christians and tolerance from John Burke(pastor of Gateway Community Church in Austin, Texas)'s book on "how do we live out the message of Jesus in today's ever-changing culture?"
The way we must navigate these cultural shallows comes from understanding that in a postmodern culture, the messenger is the message. How we are perceived is every bit as important as the truths we espouse. What they see is what they get. The attitude of the church culture will either convey the person of Christ and his attitude, which was outrageously accepting of and attractive to the "sinners" of his day, or our attitudes toward others will reinforce a stereotype that does a disservice to Jesus.


-N

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Tanning beds are addictive?

I knew it.
They're like cigarettes, except they make you 'prettier' instead of 'cooler'. And they come in bigger packages with shiney lights.

-N

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Review: She's the Man

I can't believe I'm writing this...
For a movie whose tagline is Everybody has a secret... Duke wants Olivia who likes Sebastian who is really Viola whose brother is dating Monique so she hates Olivia who's with Duke to make Sebastian jealous who is really Viola who's crushing on Duke who thinks she's a guy..., this was surprisingly good.
What we have here: 1) a chick flick, in the high school sense of the phrase, 2) a film all about impersonating the opposite sex(think Mrs. Doubtfire for teenagers), and 3) an unexpectedly funny movie. This is the story of Viola, who can't play soccer at her school because the girl's team was sacked and she's not allowed to play for the guy's team. Obvious solution? Impersonate her twin brother attending a rival school and trying out for that guy's team(not just for the girl's for some reason) to get payback at her old school. Complications of course follow, anything from having the 'hottest' girl in school liking her(him?) and you having a thing for your roommate, to, again, very Mrs. Doubtfire, having to play both of your selves at one event simultaneously.
David Cross is hilarious as the school's principal, and Vinnie Jones(the upcoming X-Men 3's Juggernaut) is a terribly frightening Australian soccer coach--also a fun character. The writer's a thought did a great job with most of the gags, and I guess Amanda Bynes deserves some credit to for a job well done, and if I may say so, she made an eerily convincing male. Good to see that someone for Nickelodeon's All That is amounting to something now.
There's a bit of language, and some things that I'm not sure are appropriate for younger kids, but as far as PG-13 goes, this film's pretty tame, and again, surprisingly good. Even the guys should appreciate it.

-N

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Review: V for Vendetta

Last Friday saw the release of the new film V for Vendetta, written by the Wachowski brothers of Matrix fame, and based the graphic novel by Alan Moore. Moore's other works over the years include The Watchmen, From Hell, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Given the dismal film adaptations of the latter two in years past, Moore understandably disassociated himself with this project. . . big mistake.
V is the story of a terrorist known only as V(Hugo Weaving, The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings) amidst a futuristic facist British society who is fighting back against the oppressive government with such banners as 'people should not be afraid of their government, a government should be afraid of its people.' The story also includes a protege of sorts to V in the character Evey(Natalie Portman, Star Wars), who is taken under the wing of the ararchist as he battles the government.
Although it is advertised as an action film, V is really much for of a drama, with much more time given to a very strong and solid character development than action and effects. It's a little over 2 hours long, but that wasn't any bother to me as well done as the film was and involving as the plot becomes. The acting by the two stars is superb, and they are butressed by a strong supporting cast as well.
The film, however is not with out it's controversial topics(it's handling of some of which earns it a lower rating from some other reviews, including Christianitytoday.com), among which are homosexuality, Christianity, and, of course, politics. If you want my views on homosexuality, you need only read Leviticus 18:22 and Matthew 22:39. V views homosexuality from a very liberal vantage point, and also takes a stand against a heartless brand of ultra-conservative Christianity that fuels hatred and oppression of peoples(the homosexuals among them) in this future. Any 'Christianity' that promotes hate or the mistreatment of a person I stand against as well, as would Christ I expect, who taught again and again on the importance of loving people--even those who are in sin. As for the political blows dealt by the film, I feel like the conservative politics of V are so far removed from those actually practiced in the U.S. today that there should be no offense taken; the film should only offend conservatives as much as 1984 did liberals.
But go see the film if you're looking for something fun-yet-thought provoking, and consider the more controversial themes for yourself; I highly recommend it.
Please note: V for Vendetta is rated R for strong violence and some language.

-N

Monday, February 27, 2006

Interesting article concerning Dan Brown

If you have been living under a rock somewhere for several years now, and don't recognize the name Dan Brown, then here's a nice intro for you. Brown is the author of the blockbuster, controversial, best-selling novel The DaVinci Code, as well as several other best-selling novels including Digital Fortress, and Angels & Demons, a prequel to The DaVinci Code. The former, moreso than any of his other writings has been blasted by conservative Christian critics for years since its publication as 'anti-Christian', due to some of the events described in the novel, such as the marriage of Jesus Christ to Mary Magdalene. I can't offer any valid opinion on this point, as I've yet to read the novel, but I'm hoping to get around to it sometime this spring(the novel will be released in paperback format for the first time on the 28th of next month) before the release of the film, directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks.
Now it seems that Brown has been under legal heat since the publication of his novel, apparently being on the receiving end of several law-suits among which this is merely the latest. The really fascinating thing about the article to me was a quote from Brown himself:

“Suggesting a married Jesus is one thing, but questioning the Resurrection undermines the very heart of Christian belief,” said Brown, who described himself as a committed Christian.


again, interesting stuff, check out the link for more...

-N

Thursday, February 09, 2006

thoughts on N. T. Wright

So I've been reading N. T. Wright's Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship for the last week or so, and I've been given, over and over, a new perspective or a calling to find one on several passages of scripture. The following isn't anything just phenomenal, but I read it yesterday in the book and thought that it was neat, concerning a familiar passage in the gospel of Mark:
James and John come to Jesus and ask that they may sit, one at his right and the other at his left, when he comes into his kingdom. Jesus explains that sitting at his right or his left is not his to grant; that os for the Father. Fair enough, we think. Then, as we read on, we realize what this means. For Mark, Jesus becomes King when he is crucified, publically placarded as 'King of the Jews'. And on his right and left there hand two brigands, two insurrectionists. No wonder Jesus told James and John they didn't know what they were asking for. . . And when the chief priests handed Jesus over to the Romans, James and John were nowhere to be seen. They had run away, lest perhaps they should after all find themselves sitting on Jesus' right and left as he came into his kingdom.

It reminded me a bit of the NOOMA video, Kickball. Rob Bell, as usual, points out the obvious, in a way that reminds us how often we try to look past it: the reason that God so many times tells us 'no' in the face of our hopes and desires, is that we, quite simply, don't see the big picture like He does; we don't know what we're asking for.

Just thought it was neat...

If you'd like to learn more about/hear more from N. T. Wright, check out
this page.

-N

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

megaphone guy


If you've seen Rob Bell's NOOMA video "Bullhorn", then you know the 'bullhorn guys' that my post is kind of alluding to.
So we have these guys on campus here at the ole' war school(LSU); they generally show up on Tuesdays and Thursdays preaching damnation, "debunking" evolution, and condemning all of us hypocrites.
Well... I wasn't to moved by this "sermon". Why? Well, I'm not going to Hell, I don't subscribe to evolution, and I generally don't consider myself a hypocrite. But it was interesting to watch and listen, not only to this guy, megaphone guy, but also to the LSU kids who responded to him.
So I don't know if people just get caught up in the moment and randomly say things when they're arguing in Free Speech Alley, but most things being said on both sides were unfounded and generally not-very-well-thought-out sounding.
We have the megaphone guy shouting again and again that evolution is not a fact and without proof, but the only piece of the formless evolution puzzle that he opts to shoot down for us is "Nebraska Man", which most folks probably already knew to be a fraud. Then one of LSU's finest responds that he's full of it, because there are fossil records which clearly show the evolution of monkey to man. This of course is also not true, with one of the weakest points of evolutionary theory being the holes in the fossil record which leaves out all of the assumed intermitten fossils.
Then as the megaphone man continues, comparing the lies of evolution to the truth upon which the scripture is based. To this, another of our flagship university's young scholars shouted out that answer which Pilate sought from our Lord Christ Jesus to millenia ago, he shouted out "Truth is what the majority believes!"
Now, I'm not sure if he was taking into account that the majority of folks used to believe that flight was impossible, tomatoes were poisonous, or that the elemental building blocks of all matter were scarecly more varied than wood, stone, fire, and water. Surely he was, and he just didn't mean what he said.
But all of this to say: these arguements and rebuttals were ill-concieved, weak, and basically dumb.
So it always is when megaphone guy decides to share his sick and heartless, loveless gospel. Not the gospel of hope and forgiveness that Christ so often presented, but rather the hell-fire and brimstone 'gospel' that nobody wants to listen to, that turns away others who apparently want to debate, and that doesn't work.
So, though I never thought I'd be saying this, instead of preaching the end of John 3:18, perhaps they should look back two verses to the worn-out but ever true "For God so loved the world..."

-N