Thursday, December 31, 2009

The last day of the year, and of the 2000's, is finally here

It took a while, didn't it? It seems like January 1, 2000, was such a long time ago. What were you doing on this day, ten years ago? Working yourself up into a frenzy with all the fear about Y2K, or were you as calm and cool as Barack Obama probably was?

Anyway, here's to the 2010's! May you find them to be fun and adventurous. And you would probably do well to take the prophet Micah's advice: do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

"I play tennis for a living, even though I hate tennis, hate it with a dark and secret passion, and always have."

This is from the first page of an autobiograpy I'm reading, entitled Open:
My name is Andre Agassi. My wife's name is Stefanie Graf. We have two children, a son and daughter, five and three. We live in Las Vegas, Nevada, but currently reside in a suite at the Four Seasons hotel in New York City, because I'm playing in the 2006 U.S. Open. My last U.S. Open. In fact my last tournament ever. I play tennis for a living, even though I hate tennis, hate it with a dark and secret passion, and always have.
I know this word I'm about to say is way overdone, thanks to Keanu Reeves, but still: Whoa. Even though he played tennis spectacularly well, Andre says he hated it. He hated a game which brought him fame and fortune, and landed him into the history books and on countless magazine covers. A game that he played professionally for well over a decade. A game that gave him an Olympic gold medal. And it was this game he hated.

Okay, Andre, I'm hooked. Serve me up the rest of your story. No foot faults, please.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Nine" to be pulled from theaters in numerous cities

Is Nine failing in spite of itself, or because of itself? It's a musical, which is always a risky business at the box office - for every Chicago that does quite well, there's a Rent that just doesn't. It has six Oscar winners - Daniel Day Lewis, Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman, Dame Judi Dench, Marion Cotillard, and Penélope Cruz. It's based on a Tony-winning stage production, which itself was based on the celebrated Italian film .

So, why is it seen as a failure?

Friday, December 18, 2009

everyone goes crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man

Wow. So Generation-Y men (or Generation Next, or the Millennials, or whatever they're called these days) are turning out to be natty dressers.
Today the well-off 55-year-old is likely to be the worst-dressed man in the room, wearing a saggy T-shirt and jeans. The cash-poor 25-year-old is in a natty sport coat and skinny tie bought at Topman for a song. Young men are embracing the “Mad Men” elements of style in a way that the older men never did, still don’t and just won’t. The result is a kind of rift emerging between the generation of men in their 20s and 30s and those in their late 40s and 50s for whom a suit was not merely square but cubed, and caring about how one looked was effeminate.
I guess that says something against my own generation - "Gen-X" - which is supposed to be full of slackers and sloppy dressers. Or maybe it says something about the baby boomers, since they aren't dressing much better these days. But it's difficult to tell from here in Vermilion County, Illinois, where the ghett0 and biker looks are prevalant. Maybe I'd notice more if I was further north, say, here.

Looking through Wikipedia, I discovered that my two daughters, who I thought would be part of the next generation after me and my wife, skipped over the fashionable Y and went straight to Z.

Be careful about where you attend to personal issues

Have you been licked by the spirit of the buffalo?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Poor Joe Lieberman

One liberal author wants him to shut up when he's just trying to work, while another liberal author demands that he lose his job altogether. What's an independent to do?

I suggest that the people of Connecticut boycott Michael Moore. Don't buy his books, don't read his website, and don't watch his movies.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is Hannukah mentioned in the Bible?

Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

I think it's significant that Hannukah is referred to as the Feast of Dedication, and not eight crazy nights.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

what is the church?

The church is not a theological classroom. It is a conversion, confession, repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness, and sanctification center, where flawed people place their trust in Christ, gather to know and love him better, and learn to love others as he has designed. The church is messy and inefficient, but it is God's wonderful mess - the place where he radically transforms hearts and lives.

Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change, pg. 116

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"I found it compelling and very well done."

Stanley Fish on Going Rogue:
My assessment of the book has nothing to do with the accuracy of its accounts. Some news agencies have fact-checkers poring over every sentence, which would be to the point if the book were a biography, a genre that is judged by the degree to which the factual claims being made can be verified down to the last assertion. “Going Rogue,” however, is an autobiography, and while autobiographers certainly insist that they are telling the truth, the truth the genre promises is the truth about themselves — the kind of persons they are — and even when they are being mendacious or self-serving (and I don’t mean to imply that Palin is either), they are, necessarily, fleshing out that truth. As I remarked in a previous column, autobiographers cannot lie because anything they say will truthfully serve their project, which, again, is not to portray the facts, but to portray themselves.

The questions to ask then are (1) Does Palin succeed in conveying to her readers the kind of person she is? and (2) Does she do it in a satisfying and artful way? In short, is the book a good autobiographical read? I would answer “yes” to both.

You might be asking, who is this Stanley Fish guy? Answer.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

known by the fruit

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

Luke 6:43-45

Friday, December 4, 2009

"I think the public rightfully is still making it an issue. I don't have a problem with that."

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin apparently thinks that two wrongs make a right.
Speaking to the conservative talker Rusty Humphries today, Sarah Palin left the door open to speculation about President Obama's birth certificate.

"Would you make the birth certificate an issue if you ran?" she was asked (around 9 minutes into the video above).

"I think the public rightfully is still making it an issue. I don't have a problem with that. I don't know if I would have to bother to make it an issue, because I think that members of the electorate still want answers," she replied.

"Do you think it's a fair question to be looking at?" Humphries persisted.

"I think it's a fair question, just like I think past association and past voting records -- all of that is fair game," Palin said. "The McCain-Palin campaign didn't do a good enough job in that area."

McCain's campaign counsel has said the campaign did look into the birth certificate question and, like every other serious examination, dismissed it.

Palin suggested that the questions were fair play because of "the weird conspiracy theory freaky thing that people talk about that Trig isn't my real son -- 'You need to produce his birth certificate, you need to prove that he's your kid,' which we have done."

Wait a minute. Asking about Trig's birth certificate and parentage wasn't fair, but continuing to ask about Obama's birthplace, despite the existence of evidence showing that he was born in Honolulu, is fair? I guess not all conspiracy theories are created equal. Or maybe some are more equal than others.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

hunting a tiger

CJ Mahaney offers some excellent words in response to unfolding drama of Tiger Woods' life.
As expected, the allegations of adultery involving a public figure are attracting a media pile-on. This is a big story with a big audience and it’s a story that will not disappear soon. Tiger Woods is being hunted by the media.

But let us make sure we do not join the hunt. A Christian’s response to this story should be distinctly different. We should not be entertained by the news. We should not have a morbid interest in all the details. We should be saddened and sobered. We should pray for this man and even more for his wife.

And we can be sure that in the coming days we will be in conversations with friends and family where this topic will emerge. And when it does, we can avoid simply listening to the latest details and speculations, and avoid speaking self-righteously, but instead we can humbly draw attention to the grace of God in the gospel.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

7 ways to save

We just finished up Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University at church tonight, but you don't have to attend all 13 weeks of that to learn some steps and improve your financial situation. Make your New Year's resolutions early and start saving now by using these methods. Sure, they are pretty much all common sense, but the thing about common sense is that it's usually pretty practical.