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Owl Post 2-13-15

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The Parenthood Finale

enhanced-30806-1399677093-5It’s a show that has touched my heart and proved that Americans still have an affinity for family values, morality and doing the right thing even when it’s hard.

You won’t see many shows or movies these days that tackle the realities of family life in the gritty, authentic way that “Parenthood” does. For the past six seasons, the Braverman family of “Parenthood” has faced a variety of hardships that require compromise, forgiveness and unconditional love.

Biblical Reasons to Doubt the Creation Days Were 24-Hour Periods

Creation-hands-LR. C. Sproul, who drafted the original Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy, once said, “When people ask me how old the earth is, I tell them I don’t know—because I don’t.”

Contrary to what is often implied or claimed by young-earth creationists, the Bible nowhere directly teaches the age of the earth.

Rather, it is a deduction from a combination of beliefs, such as (1) Genesis 1:1 is not the actual act of creation but rather a summary of or title over Genesis 1:2-2:3; (2) the creation week of Genesis 1:2-2:3 is referring to the act of creation itself; (3) each “day” (Heb. yom) of the creation week is referring to an 24-hour period of time (reinforced by the statement in Exodus 20:11); (4) an old-earth geology would necessarily entail macroevolution, hominids, and animal death before the Fall—each of which contradicts what Scripture tells us; and (5) the approximate age of the earth can be reconstructed backward from the genealogical time-markers in Genesis.

George Lucas Rips Hollywood, ‘Stupid’ Cat Videos at Sundance

LUCASFILM-01George Lucas offered a bleak assessment of the current state of the film business during a panel discussion with Robert Redford at the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday, saying that the movies are “more and more circus without any substance behind it.”

However, the “Star Wars” director hit back at critics who said his role in kicking off the blockbuster film business has watered down cinematic storytelling.

‘American Sniper’ exemplifies a new kind of war film: The professional procedural

american-sniper-poster‘American Sniper’ exemplifies a new kind of war film: The professional proceduralThere’s no doubt that “American Sniper” is a big hit with the red-state constituencies from which Kyle and many of his fellow service members hail. But the movie — a well-acted, absorbing portrait of Kyle in action during the Iraq war and coping with trauma and dislocation when he returns home — has been a hit with viewers of all philosophical stripes. It may be the first — and last — movie to earn Twitter love from Sarah Palin and Jane Fonda.

The Complete Works: Ranking All 121 Billy Joel Songs

Billy Joel and Elton John in ConcertBilly Joel is the closest thing Madison Square Garden has to a sure thing — certainly more than the Knicks or the Rangers or the Liberty. It’s been 21 years since Joel released a new pop album, yet he sold out the arena 12 times in 2014 alone, and he’ll play his second (also sold-out) show of 2015 tonight. He has established a standing residency there, like a guy who plays a monthly nightclub gig, except that the club happens to seat 18,000.

Padmé Didn’t Die of a Broken Heart

PadmegreenscrshotThere’s something you missed.

I find it odd that one of the most pivotal and mysterious moments in the Star Wars saga is discussed infrequently, and when it is the case is closed. Some time between 2005 and now the greater part of people who’ve watched this movie have all come to the same conclusion, and all that is debated is if they like this course of events or not.

Of course, I’m talking about the end of Revenge of the Sith, one of my all-time favorite films. I haven’t been counting, but I’ve seen this movie 500 times, and I’m still finding new things to consider. The final hour of this movie is densely packed with information, but it doesn’t hold your hand. Where a lesser film would have wrapped thing up with an expositive voiceover, Revenge of the Sith demands that the viewer watches how things unfold, and then asks the viewer to put the pieces together themselves. Unfortunately, not everyone has put them together the proper way, and that leads to a lot of differing conclusions regarding the anticlimax of the movie.

The Catholic Writer Today

old-booksFor years I’ve pondered a cultural and social paradox that diminishes the vitality and diversity of the American arts. This cultural conundrum also reveals the intellectual retreat and creative inertia of American religious life. Stated simply, the paradox is that, although Roman Catholicism constitutes the largest religious and cultural group in the United States, Catholicism currently enjoys almost no positive presence in the American fine arts—not in literature, music, sculpture, or painting. This situation not only represents a demographic paradox. It also marks a major historical change—an impoverishment, indeed even a disfigurement—for Catholicism, which has for two millennia played a hugely formative and inspirational role in the arts.

 

Books · Christianity · Dating · Faith · Jesus Calling · Loneliness · Parenthood · Trailers · Writing

Owl Post 10-31-13

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On TV: Why I Like this Show So Much? It’s With You:

Parenthood-Season-5-Promotional-Poster_FULLLast TV season I created something of a niche here on Mbird with commentary on NBC’s Parenthood. Although I am excited one of my favorite programs was renewed (after some doubts), I’ve been admittedly uninspired to write on the new season until now. And unlike most posts on current TV programs, this one has no spoiler alert since I don’t give away too much—this is more of a meta-analysis on why I think the show has such a devoted almost cult-like following. Basically, I want you to watch it if you aren’t, and if you’re obsessed like me, perhaps these words might help you see why you enjoy it so much.

How Loneliness Made Me Stronger:.

I lived in England once. For a year after college, I studied English literature in one of the oldest university towns in the world. Many unexpected things happened that year, but the loneliness was perhaps the most surprising.

I had studied abroad in the same city during college just a couple of years before and my previous experience had been full of friends. I lived in a house with twenty people I went to college with in the States, and we were all venturing together.

The 8 Habits of Highly Successful Young-Adult Fiction Authors:

The_Fault_in_Our_StarsYoung-adult fiction, commonly called “YA fiction,” has exploded over the past decade or so: The number of YA titles published grew more than 120 percent between 2002 and 2012, and other estimates say that between 1997 and 2009, that figure was closer to 900 percent. Ask a handful of young-adult fiction writers what exactly makes a YA novel, though, and you’ll get a handful of conflicting answers.

Toward a Biblical Approach to Dating:

There are two popular, misleading ways of relating the Bible to dating. The first is to think that because the Bible does not speak about dating, we have liberty to dive headlong into romantic waters, guided only by desire to get married. We’ll call this the libertarian approach. This view allows us to imbibe secular dating-game platitudes like the currently popular sage wisdom called flirtexting.

Sarah Young Still Hears Jesus Calling:

41Ln-2qy-ZLJesus Calling didn’t seem destined to sell millions. And then, quite unexpectedly, it did.

During the first three years after its 2004 publication, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence sold a total of only 59,000 copies, a modest success for a daily devotional from a then-unknown author. But then book sales skyrocketed: 220,000 copies in 2008 alone.

Dating Games: 10 Worldly Things that Singles Do When Dating:

Look at the typical evangelical church and you will find singles dating one another. Stop and look closely for a moment. Many of their dating habits are patterned after worldly thinking. The devil is probably laughing at us. He really doesn’t have to do anything to stir up a mess in evangelical dating culture. We’ve created our own mess by thinking more like the world rather than distinctly as Christians.

 

Christianity · Faith · Parenthood · Uncategorized

The Beauty of Being Adopted

60171707On Parenthood this year, Joel and Julia have been the foster parents of a young boy named Victor. Like many people wanting to adopt, the assumed they would be getting a baby,  but as they waited for the right child to come along, they opened up the parameters to include a child of any age. What comes to their door one night with the social worker is unexpected, a troubled 10 year old boy. The struggle this season has been to integrate him into the family (make him feel part of the family), especially since Victor is old enough to realize that he is not the natural-born son of Julia and Joel.

Victor has struggled with the issues of identity; he has felt the insecurity that comes from the lack of intimacy blood relations can bring, almost without question (This is not to imply that this is always the case. Many people struggle in their natural-born families with issues of love and acceptance). Victor has felt that weight of trying to earn the love of his foster parents, always worried that he will be given back to the system if he does not live up to their expectations. Much of the season he has just not performed, he has rebelled and dared the Grahams to love him in spite of his misbehavior.

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 5.20.44 PMWhat has been so powerful to see, has been the journey of Joel and Julia as well as the Baverman family as a whole. They have opened up their hearts to Victor, even when he has not deserved it, even when he has been as obstinate and difficult as possible, they have chosen grace and mercy over condemnation. Joel and Julia, at the end of the season choose to adopt Victor and make him legally part of the family. There is a beautiful scene, a few days before his adoption papers have been signed where Victor is running through the house with a football. He has been told not to, yet he does and breaks an expensive vase. Julia, understandably upset, reprimands Victor. He asks her if he will still be adopted and what comes next is pure grace. She tells him, “I’m never going to change my mind… I want you to stick around”. Acceptance and love in spite of wrong-doing, grace and mercy instead of punishment, adoption instead of banishment; all of these are what God offers to us. The Apostle Paul says in Galatians,

“I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”

The last scene of the season, the whole extended Braverman clan has gathered in the judge’s office to see Victor adopted. What follows was a perfect picture of what happens when we become part of the family of God. Victor is surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses”. Each of them promises to love and support their new family member. This is what happens when someone joins the family of God. No longer is life a “Lone Ranger” undertaking, it is lived as brothers and sisters, children of promise, called to freedom and life in the body of Christ. In this family we love one another, laying down our lives for each other because we have been bonded through the blood of Jesus. Victor is told by the judge that he has all the rights of any natural child; this our identity in Christ. We have all the rights as heirs of God through Christ.

For those who struggle with the ideas of identity and acceptance, there is no greater thing than knowing that no matter what happens, you are loved. God offers this adoption, this acceptance into his family to you. You don’t have to go through this world alone. Family, true family awaits, just run to Jesus.

abortion · Christianity · Coffee · Disney · Faith · Movies · Parenthood · Star Wars · Tim Challies

Owl Post 2-1-13

Owl Post 2-17-12

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The Gospel Brings Freedom to Truly Love:

What is love? In short, love is joyfully and willfully sacrificing yourself in the service of others for the purpose of seeing them blessed. This is what we see in the gospel and this is what Christians endeavor to do as we respond to the gospel. The Gospel is the most heart-melting and liberating truth. It models and motivates true love.

What TV Teaches Us About Abortion:

264a3cda-1e13-492f-9540-609c51efa45aEarlier this month, NBC did something rare. In fact, it’s happened on average only once every two and a half years years since 1972. The network (spoiler alert) included an abortion plotline in a recent episode of its Tuesday night drama Parenthood. When high school sweethearts Amy and Drew discover she is pregnant, Drew wants to keep the baby, but Amy insists on having an abortion. Without counsel from their parents, they navigate the complicated and clearly heartbreaking process. Hailed as “brave” and “refreshing” by abortion advocates, the plot struck right-to-life groups as yet one more attempt by Hollywood to push a pro-choice agenda.

Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy on ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Lincoln’ and Secret J.J. Abrams Meetings (Exclusive)

kathleen_kennedy_cover_a_pIn November, a journalist asked J.J. Abrams what seemed like an obvious question: Was he interested in directing the next Star Wars movie? Disney had just paid a whopping $4.05 billion to acquireGeorge Lucas‘ iconic Lucasfilm and had stated its intention to turn out new Star Wars films every two to three years beginning in 2015. The prolific Abrams, who had sparked the flagging Star Trek series in 2009, seemed a natural fit. But he quickly shot the idea down. While Star Wars was “the first movie that blew my mind in that way,” he said then, he wanted to focus on original material.

Awakening to Every Pleasure:

It may be the most common feature of the bestselling Christian books. “We all want to be great for God and do things that would be impossible without his presence and help. So live a life that’sGreater.” “You are living a life of comfort, ease and complacency, so step out and do somethingRadical.” “Your life is just passing you by as you sit on the sidelines, so God is calling you to be a follower, Not a Fan.” “You want more Jesus and are bored with what Christianity offers you. You need to rediscover God’s Crazy Love.” It goes on nearly ad infinitum. Some are awful, some are brilliant, but the theme is largely the same: There must be more to life than this! Please tell me there is more to life than this!

9 WAYS TO FIGHT THE TEMPTATION OF PORNOGRAPHY:

In an earlier post I wrote, “7 Negative Effects of Porn,” I focused on the harmful psychological and sociological effects of pornography. This post will focus on a biblical and grace-centered way to resist the temptation to view porn. This post is primarily aimed at men, but I hope that there is some help here for the growing number of women who are addicted to porn and I hope that more Christian women will write on this hidden issue.

Never Say Yes to a Nightcap:

whiskey_glass_250The vicious cycle of the nightcap begins innocently. Jane has a snifter of cognac, to clear her head, to ease her to sleep. Why not? It’s something civilized people do. So she does, and she slides into sleep a little more smoothly.

But it’s slightly less revitalizing than the sleep of sobriety. She doesn’t hit the same cycles. The next day she is ever-so-slightly anxious, on edge. She yells at a co-worker. Jane never yells.

Abrams brings fandom, secrecy to ‘Star Wars’ universe:

Sorry, Darth Vader. J.J. Abrams is now the face of the Star Wars empire.

The Force gained a new creative leader, Trekkies lost one and Abrams expands his own sci-fi pop-culture résumé as the director of Star Wars: Episode VII, tentatively arriving in theaters like a massive Imperial Star Destroyer in 2015.

Q&A: Why Would Patrick ‘McDreamy’ Dempsey Buy a Seattle-Based Coffee Chain?

5d4a125a-04b4-41ac-bb22-0eb8d4f5daffPatrick Dempsey’s doing just fine without having to pull a West Coast coffee chain from the brink of extinction. Besides being one of Hollywood’s most seasoned lady killers, he’s still making a fine living for himself as McDreamy on the ABC medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” now in its ninth season. But Dempsey’s not satisfied merely acting. That’s why Global Baristas, LLC — an investor group led by Dempsey — surprised observers by outbidding Starbucks in early January to purchase Tully’s, a small, bankrupt, Seattle-based coffee chain. As a result, when Dempsey’s not filming, he’s likely meeting baristas, visiting cafes, and drinking way too much coffee. In between, he had a few minutes to chat about his latest venture.

Disney’s Beautiful short film: Paperman

abortion · mbird.com · Movie Review · Movies · Parenthood · Star Trek · Tolkien

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Mockingbird at the Movies: Silver Linings Playbook

JENNIFER LAWRENCE and BRADLEY COOPER star in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOKIn David O. Russell’s newest film, Silver Linings Playbook, the clinical psychological and psychiatric issues abound: an undiagnosed bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, sex addiction. Behind these, though, are the everyday varieties of guilt and self-contempt, delusional thinking and mixed-up love, and some classic rom-com dance competitions for good measure.

Concerning Christopher – An Essay on Tolkien’s Son’s Decision to Not Allow Further Cinematic Licensing of His Work:

9780618126989_p0_v1_s260x420Often, when a lengthy discussion of the Hobbit films takes place, someone asks “What about the other books? What about material from The Silmarillion, orUnfinished Tales? Will these be adapted to the big screen?”

The answer to this question is a simple one. As it stands, the literary executor of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, his son, Christopher Tolkien, has refused to consider any further licensing of his father’s work for cinematic purposes.

The Year in Television 2012:

51kAMZ85vBL._SX500_Since we’ve been talking so much about television this week, why not go all the way and do our annual recap? Truth be told, it was a slightly off year on the small screen, the first plateau in quality that I can remember in about ten years. A number of the top-drawer shows experienced something of a “downturn”, e.g. Justified and Louie, and new contenders were not quite as numerous. Which isn’t to say there hasn’t been plenty worth watching and commenting on. God no: (This is an interesting list, even though I am not sure I completely agree with all of them)

‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Is Not Pro-Torture:

SUB-24ZERO-articleLargeThere are two ugly interrogation scenes in the opening minutes of Zero Dark Thirty that haunt the rest of the experience, and that have come to haunt critical reception of the film itself.

After we hear the terrified voices of Americans trapped on the upper floors of the burning towers on 9/11 against a black screen, the movie opens on a character named Ammar, suspended from the ceiling by chains attached to both wrists. It is two years later. Ammar is bloody, filthy, and exhausted. We learn quickly that he is an al-Qaeda middleman, and a nephew of Khalid Sheik Mohammad, architect of the 9/11 attacks. Ammar is believed to know details of a pending attack in Saudi Arabia, and he is uncooperative.

TIME Sounds the Alarm: The Pro-Life Cause is Winning

1101130114_600The story – “What Choice?” – is written by Kate Pickert. The main point of the article is that Roe v. Wade hurt the pro-choice cause by delivering the movement’s main goal and by energizing a generation of pro-life activism.

Not surprisingly, the story is biased against the pro-life cause. Though the issue of “personhood” and “life” is alluded to (see below), Pickert never explores the reasons for a surge in pro-life activity. Had she sought to explain the pro-life perspective, she would have shown how this debate is really a showdown between reproductive rights and human rights, and which rights are foundational to freedom.

Can’t we aim higher than ‘Honey Boo Boo’?

No one forced me, but I finally decided it was time to discover what all the business was about Honey Boo Boo.

Even though I’ve made reference to the show featuring a former beauty tot, now 7, and her family, I’d never actually watched a full episode. I still haven’t, but I watched enough to need a jaw adjustment.

Alas, a few minutes with “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” confirms that even mindlessness has its limits.

Cover Art and Release Date for Star Trek: Enterprise Season 1 on Blu-ray

star-trek-enterprise-season-1-blu-ray-coverIt’s official. The first season of Star Trek: Enterprise will be released on Blu-ray on March 26th.

On Monday, Star Trek visual FX artist Doug Drexler posted the official cover art along with the release date on his Facebook page.

The chosen cover art for the hi-def release, is said to have received the most votes in a StarTrek.com poll, which we reported on back in November.

In addition to the 25 first-season episodes, the first season set will include new audio commentaries with Rick Berman, Brannon Braga, Dan Curry, Mike Sussman, David Livingston, Connor Trinneer and Dominic Keating. Plus a few bonus features, including a three-part documentary, entitled “To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise”.

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Owl Post 12-18-12

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It’s Okay to Shamelessly Enjoy The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

gandalf_comes_knockingIt seems that ever since Peter Jackson announced that he was going to splitThe Hobbit into three movies, people have done nothing but predict disaster of epic proportions. Some immediately heralded the dawn of a new George Lucas, while others who had never been pleased with his interpretation of the initial Lord of the Rings trilogy triumphantly crowed, “I told you so!” to anyone within shouting distance.

So I’m awfully pleased to say it—The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is lovely. Please just go and enjoy it.

My Take: Searching for God, settling for sex:

 When a friend alerted me to the “Fifty Shades” trilogy in April, none of us had any idea it would sell in excess of 40 million copies within months, or that sales of whips, chains and other BDSM paraphernalia would skyrocket as a result, or that a European hotel would replace its Gideon’s Bibles with “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Many legitimate possibilities have been offered for the seeming success of “mommy porn.” Women are more sexually liberated than ever before. Couples are longing for ways to spice up their sex lives. Many women have a deep inner longing to be dominated by a man who’s absolutely obsessed with them.

Previously on Parenthood, Pt. 5: Perfect Love & Prodigal Returns:

phd_411_13This is the fifth installment in a look at the theological and pastoral wisdom found in the current season of NBC’s Parenthood, mostly regarding the intersection of unsuspected love in the context of suffering. It has been almost a month since I have written anything, mostly because I felt the program was in the middle of a filler-episode streak, understandably serving to carry on the narratives of its many subplots but not standing out with profound moments of grace in ways earlier episodes have. Don’t get me wrong. There were some touching moments in recent episodes like Adam caring for Kristina while she is retching on their bathroom floor due to chemotherapy, Joel taking Ryan under his wing at the construction site, and Max going to a middle school dance for the sake of his sick mother’s desires. The latest episode, “What My Wondering Eyes See,” despite some hokey elements mostly related to Santa Claus, broke Parenthood‘s recent streak though with some noteworthy moments highlighted here.

The Best Movies of 2012 – The Atlantic:

A few boilerplate caveats: I saw a great many films this year, but by no means all of them. In particular, I missed a few documentaries that might well have made their way onto this list. It was also a very good year for film—the best, perhaps, since 2007—so a number of movies that could have made the list in weaker years (ArgoThe Dark Knight Rises, Life of PiLes MiserablesSkyfall, etc.) have instead been consigned to honorary mentions. Finally, lists such as this one are inevitably silly, idiosyncratic things, and mine is no exception. So have at it. And after (or before!) you’ve gone through the slideshow of the best (ranked from one to 10), don’t neglect the still-more-idiosyncratic-categories below.

Peter Jackson and The Hobbit cast on The Desolation Of Smaug:

 

:Nerdfighter Book Recommendations:

Batman’s Evolution:

evolutionofbatman-jpg_110320

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Owl Post 11-28-12

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Purchasing Joy:

Through the weekend that follows Thanksgiving I have been maintaining a page that provides a round-up of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals that are of particular interest to Christians. This is something I have done for several years now, yet every year I do it with a bit of a guilty conscience. There are both benefits and drawbacks to publicizing deals like these. On the one hand, it is a means of connecting Christian retailers with people who may be interested in taking advantage of a few pre-Christmas deals, but on the other hand it may just feed the consumerism that is rampant both outside the church and within.

Eating Poorly, Sleeping Well: Mockingjay and the End of Progress:

There are dystopian novel plots that resolve, and there are those that do not. Commercial success demands resolution, which is a great reason why Collins will have to overcome a credibility barrier with adolescents and young adults if she ever wants to match The Hunger Games trilogy’s sales with future works. Peeta?? Come on – all pulp bestselling authors know that the dark, masculine hunter is supposed to win out in adolescent-lit love triangle. Anyone writing a conventional dystopian epic knows that readers like resolution, and let’s face it, Panem’s new government doesn’t seem particularly promising. Katniss fails in her assassination attempt, which honestly changes the prospective climax into a major letdown. Most people seemed disappointed by the ending in some way or another, but it’s also safe to say that the third book is the most honest – since it alone in the series doesn’t have to appeal to anyone commercially (they’re all buying it anyways), Collins is free to present her undistilled vision for her literature. Even in the raw, oft-disappointing power of Collins’s vision of her characters as weak, suffering, or powerless, audiences still try to recover conventional meanings of glory from her work. “Real or not real?”, the poster at left reads. “Tick, tock, this is a clock”, a poster from Catching Fire reads. And yet, there are no deep musing on Time in this trilogy, no thematic explorations of reality in the way those two posters would suggest. Similarly, the clichéd love triangle disappoints many readers at the end, and the naive theme of political revolution takes an obvious backseat to Katniss’s own internal trauma. Whatever Collins is presenting us with, it’s certainly not the easy romance and suspense which drew people into The Hunger Games, and neither can it be described by simple catchphrases which, quite frankly, are more situational and fun for Collins than universal or philosophical points. Instead, it’s the plot itself that articulates her vision.

Newly Unemployed Newlyweds and Billy Joel’s Fiery Optimism:

I’ve recently become fixated on fire – in both its noun and verb form. This preoccupation began when, three days after returning from my honeymoon, ten days into my marriage, I was fired from my position as a first-time 5th and 6th grade teacher. This jarring turn of events has (much like the beginnings of a B-rated rom-com) led to some soul searching. After weeks of crosswords, wedding thank you notes, episodes of Gilmore Girls, and intermittent moments of panic, I’ve landed on Billy Joel’s 1989 hit “We Didn’t Start theFire” as an unexpected spring of inspiration.

Don’t Sanitize the Psalms:

In some churches, if our public worship and prayers echoed what we find in the Psalms we might find ourselves called before the church board for correction. Unlike the stoic legalist or safe churchman, the psalmist expressed the full range of emotions in worship. He felt no need to pretend that he had it all together. He did not limit himself to safe clichés about God.

A Sigh of Relief: The Avett Brothers and Anne Steele Get Honest:

Peace can be uncomfortably paradoxical. I’ve found that a vast majority of the conversations I have during the week beat around the bush–and the lack of substance only perpetuates existing anxiety. Art has proved to be exceedingly helpful, in that it often points me to an inescapable truth: when feeling stuck, the worst possible thing to do is hide. But we want to hide. Nothing about displaying fears and insecurities seems the least bit freeing.

In their new album, The Carpenter, The Avett Brothers continue their wonderfully raw and beautiful articulation of real life.

Previously on Parenthood, Pt 4: It’s Scary, It’s Really Scary:

Remember that I introduced this series of posts by looking at an earlier episode poignantly titled “Everything is not OK ,” a title that spoke to Adam’s relentless positivity in the face of his wife Kristina’s suffering. Since then Adam has slowly come to grips with the realities of Kristina’s breast cancer, but the most recent episode (#7, “Together”) portrays his continued futile attempts to keep everything “under control” as he says: “I’ve got this taken care of.” The thing is, Kristina isn’t the only one suffering. Adam is, too. His attempts to keep everything at work and at home under control/business-as-usual are basically unconscious efforts to distract himself from the pain. Ironically, he is killing himself by doing so.

Do Pro-Life Policies Even Matter?

One of the persistent myths in the abortion debate is that the pro-life movement doesn’t actually do much to help save lives. You’ll sometimes hear this complaint from pro-lifers themselves who have cynically concluded that pro-life legislation and pro-life legislators don’t accomplish anything that matters to unborn babies. On the other side, pro-choice advocates will claim that the pro-life cause is all about controlling women and regulating sex and don’t do anything to reduce the number of abortions anyway. If there is one thing cynics on both sides can agree on it’s that pro-life policies don’t work.

Please check out my new podcast on Trek.fm, Literary Treks. It is devoted to all things Star Trek in literature; novels, comics and reference books. We talk to authors, have book and comic news as well as cover books in-depth. So give us a listen.

Books · Culture · Faith · mbird.com · Movies · Parenthood · Republican · The Election

Owl Post 10-22-12

 

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I Am Going to Vote:

Thoughts from John Piper on the election and voting.

Having read several articles by people who don’t plan to vote in the presidential election, my conclusion is: I’m going to vote.

It seems to me that the good that can be done, presumably by the protest of not voting, is mainly done by talking about not voting rather than by not voting. Then it also seems that this same good would be accomplished if those who thought they would not vote did all that talking, but then voted.

Too big to maintain?

Something to think about from George Will.

If in four weeks a president-elect Mitt Romney is seeking a Treasury secretary, he should look here, to Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Candidate Romney can enhance his chance of having this choice to make by embracing a simple proposition from Fisher: Systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs), meaning too-big-to-fail (TBTF) banks, are “too dangerous to permit.”

Previously on Parenthood: I Thought I Could Do It All, but I Can’t …

This is a little tardy since the most recent episode of Parenthood (“There’s Something I Need to Tell You …”) aired over a week ago, but I—perhaps like many of you—typically watch shows online several days later. Nevertheless, this is a follow up to a recent post regarding new developments in the Braverman clan. I am really enjoying season 5 for all its insight into human nature (and relationships, and suffering, and grace…), and this time I want to highlight what is happening with the Julia Braverman-Graham, the hard charging lawyer in the family played by Erika Christensen.

Romney has the momentum:

We are at a turning point in the presidential race. For the first time today Mitt Romney leads in the RealClearPolitics electoral college averaging of polls by a 206-201 margin. In the Gallup 7-day tracking poll Romney went ahead by 7 points, suggesting that the vice presidential debate (Oct. 11) was, if anything, a positive for the GOP ticket. There is so far nothing to show that the second presidential debate on Oct. 16 slowed Romney down.

The ‘Cloud Atlas’ Question: When Is an ‘Unfilmable’ Book Actually Filmable?

There’s no telling why a great but straightforward book might become a lousy movie—or why a film version of a “difficult” novel might be a classic.

The 25 Most Devoted Fan Bases:

Not sure if I agree with the rankings; what do you think?

For most consumers of pop culture, fandom is a lower-case concern. They are “fans” in the sense that they may like a particular movie, TV show, band, or personality but don’t think much about it when not experiencing it firsthand. Capital-F Fandom is something else altogether. It goes beyond “like” or even “love” and straight to “devoted.” Their Fandom is all-consuming, a jumping-off point for a deep dive into fan fiction, convention-attending, recap-writing, role-playing, costume-making, language-learning, and more. There is a passion to this kind of Fandom that binds enthusiasts in the manner of people who share a secret — this secret just happens to be shared with millions of others.

My good friend Colin from Treknewsandviews was able to get a shout-out from Connor Trinneer of Star Trek Enterprise fame while he was at Destination Star Trek London.

Book Reviews · Books · Christianity · Government · mbird.com · Parenthood · Politics · Science · The Election

Owl Post 10-5-12

Romney Soars, Obama Fumbles:

DENVER — The Romney camp began flooding into the post-debate spin room before the candidates had given their closing arguments. They couldn’t wait to start the gloating. “Governor Romney was the clear winner,” crowed his strategist Eric Fehrnstrom. “If this were a boxing match, it would have been called by the referee.” And: “Someone should check the heels on President Obama’s shoes. They’re probably pretty worn down, because he just spent 90 minutes back on them.”

At Least 5 Things Scripture Teaches Us About Governments:

Government is one of the facts of life in this world. All of human history has shown that we need to be governed. Not surprisingly, the Bible speaks to government. Here are five things the Bible teaches us.

Everything Is Not OK (on Parenthood)… the Bad Thing Is Already Happening:

Have you been watching the new season of Parenthood? This show continues to deliver the goods, which mostly come in the form of true-to-life suffering, chaos, loss, and grace, love, and peace amidst it all—very much in line with the Mockingbird conference last week in Charlottesville.

The most recent episode’s title says so much: “Everything Is Not OK.” It refers to the startling news that Kristina Braverman has received (I used to find Kristina’s character fairly annoying, but she has been endearing herself to me lately, mostly due to her present suffering), namely, that she has breast cancer. In this episode, her husband Adam Braverman’s relentless positivity is met with the reality of Kristina’s situation. The irony is his positivity only serves to make her feel worse, and thus she no longer wants to talk to him.

HOW TO CULTIVATE FRESH FAITH IN THE GOSPEL:

There are times old, memorized Bible promises just don’t help me trust Jesus. I recite them in the face of temptation, but nothing. No power, no belief, no victory. Is this because Jesus isn’t trustworthy? After all, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory” (2 Cor. 1:20). Why aren’t they “amen-ed” in my heart in the face of temptation of despair? Is there something wrong with my Bible? Or maybe Jesus only occasionally makes good on his promises? That, of course, contradicts God’s Word, and we must always interpret the Bible in light of the rest of the Bible.

Defending the Free Market – Book Review:

Robert Sirico, Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy. Washington, DC: Regnery, 2012. 256 pp. $17.33.

Already this presidential race has provoked countless controversies. The party conventions exposed a diverse range of value systems, worldviews, and religious convictions regarding marriage, sexuality, sanctity of human life, and human dignity. Various factions clamor to define the future of our nation. And the ongoing jobs crisis perhaps makes economic debates more germane and inescapable than ever.