Super Powers

March 5, 2008

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   I’m off to my phone booth

 Two things I like:  Movies and TV shows filmed from different angles and viewpoints (Vantage Point & Crash) and movies and shows about men and women who have travelled this world immortally through generation and generations (Highlander & New Amsterdam).  Included in this list are movies and TV shows where someone’s super powers are the central theme of the show (Smallville & Spiderman & every other Marvel comic movie)

I’ve been thinking about why I & so many others like these projects so much, and I think I’ve come to a conclusion.  We enjoy playing God.  And these types of media are like the apple hanging from the tree, and it’s just out of our reach.  But at least we can watch.

Currently, the only person I know for sure that has the power to travel through time or to be everywhere at once or to climb tall buildings (should he choose to) is God, and it’s no secret that most of us envy, not only his position, but his abilities to “do whatever he wants.”

And we cannot.  But we wish we could.

So there’s this incredible tension that exists inside of us that cannot be quenched by the climax of a two hour flick at the theater down the street with overpriced food or the cliffhanger of 41 minutes of an episide of Lost.  The tension leaves the theater or the couch with us and stays in our minds, wishing that we too could “jump” from Main street to a Wall Street bank or that a plane crash survival was possible because being “lost” on a deserted island with Jack, Kate, or Sawyer couldn’t be all bad, right?

The only thing I know for sure is this:  That humankind, if given the opportunity for any of these types of God-like gifts, would more than likely ruin itself altogether if we had them.  Look what we’ve done with what we have.

This has been a thought I’ve had for “Watercooler Wednesday”  with Randy Elrod.

Until next time…

Are you laughing or crying?

February 21, 2008

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So there is this thing that happens to me from time to time that I thought you should know about.  It happens in the context of movies and only yesterday did I think it was wierd, because I did it in front of people – actual people who I know.

A few years ago, Carie and I went to see “The Notebook” at the theater.  Now I’m not one of those guys who don’t cry when it comes to movies.  Because I do.  A lot.  When Rudy makes the tackle.  When Bruce Willis as an astronaut father sacrifices himself for Ben Affleck as an astronaut son-in-law.  Four times when people die in Greenbow, Alabama, and on and on the list goes of times when I’ve cried at the movies.  Typically the stories of sacrifice are the ones that really get my eyes flowing like the Nile.

Anyways, back to my story.  Carie and I were in the theater and the the end of the movie “The Notebook” comes upon us.  Being a cryer in the theater, naturally I start to cry, however, I was not prepared for the amount that I was going to cry.  I started weeping, almost uncontrollably.  Not wanting to be embarassed by the amount of my tears, I adjusted my emotions and purposefully began to laugh, but the translation changed to uncontrollable laughter.  This made everyone else in the theater ticked off at me for my outlandish behavior.  Carie was not pleased.

So this week, Carie and I spent some time at some friends house for dinner and a movie.  For the evening movie, we decided on “Simon Birch“, a movie which everyone else in the room had seen except for yours truly, but they thought it would get me crying, so we decided to watch it.

At first, I could see where it was going and some small tears came to my eyes around the time when Ashley Judd died (Simon’s best friends mother) and other similar melancholy parts.  But then the end comes and Simon’s about to die,and he says,”I have to go now.”  And I lose it.

In front of my wife, and three friends, I start crying – uncontrollably.

And of course I adjust my crying to laughter, and that too, becomes uncontrollable.  Then everyone else in the room begins to laugh uncontrollably (also while they are crying).  And it’s just this wierd dynamic in the room at this point, that we should all be sad, but we’re all laughing hysterically.

I love to hide my emotions.  Sometimes this does not translate well.

By the way, I would love to see you this afternoon check my new vlogs out.  Here’s one for your personal enjoyment.

Until next time…

Two things of note I’d like to share in my blog this morning.  I will give them to you first, and explain them second:

1.  We are 95% moved into our new home.

2.  I saw the film, “Golden Compass” on Sunday night.

Let’s start in the very beginning.  That’s a very good place to start. (“The Sound of music,” anyone?)  So yesterday, it was finally time for us to move into our new home.  The reconstruction is not quite done, however, with the sink being installed over the weekend, we had everything we needed to being mostly functional.  So on Monday morning, after finishing my blog, I began the process.

Carie and I don’t have tons of stuff, but we do have some, and so from 8:30 am to 10:30 pm, with a brief respite around lunch time and a conversation with Darren and Scott in the afternoon, I labored to move things from my old apartment (BNL, anyone?) to the new home.  Many of you know where I lived before, and perhaps you’re thinking,”He only has to move across a parking lot.”  But this was not just any parking lot, this was the Bank North Garden during a Bruins home game.  I slipped and slid all across the parking lot with large pieces of furniture like our bed, bureaus, and the occasional box of clothing.

Thankfully, Darren was able to help with the big stuff, and we couldn’t have gotten our bed up the stairs without help from Stevie B., but in the end there was just a lot of little stuff to move.  Carie arrived around 7:30 pm after a long day of work and a final exam at Woo State in Spanish Culture,and for the next 3 hours, we (Marty, Carie, and Jessica) worked tirelessly to at least be in the house overnight; a task we eventually accomplished.

On Sunday night, after the game (By the way, picture this:  Brett Favre beating the Pats in the super bowl.  What person in their right mind is gonna scowl at that?  It’s a wicked awesome thought.), I went with some friends to see, “The Golden Compass”.  I can honestly say, that it is exactly what I expected.  So please allow me to share with you my thoughts on the movie.

I had read an interview by the author of the books that I had found, thanks to Jenn’s blog, and really didn’t go into the movie with too many preconceptions about what I was going to see.  I am a pastor, and I know it’s been called a terrible movie because of its philosophy, but I’ve seen hundreds, and quite possibly thousands of terrible movies with bad philosophies, so I figured I’d just go into the theater with a clear mind.

Two thoughts come to mind:  No Likeability  and too spread out.  Let’s start with the latter, shall we?

The movie has all these things going on, and never really comes to a clear point. Even Lord of the Rings, as epic as it was, had a goal that it reached by the end.  And though this trilogy might have a goal (I don’t know), I could not figure it out.  It could have been saving the girl’s father, or taking down the Magisterium, a symbolic representation of organized religion, or just showing off Nicole Kidman as an actress, who knows?  Like Steve Martin said in the epic 1985 thriller, “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”, “Here’s a thought, have a point, it makes it so much easier for the listener.”  Or in this case, the viewer. 

There was a lot of neat characters and lands and even ideas.  One of the things I enjoyed about the film, not unlike one of the things that the Potter books and films excel at, is the unique ideas the author and film crews employ to make the grander vision of the film work.  An example of this is the animals (called demons in the story, but actually a representation of the soul)that accompany almost every individual in the story.  For children, the animals change into different types of animals, depending on what the situation calls for.  As adults, however, the animals/demons stay the same.  How they use that thought in the movie is good stuff.

The second thing I didn’t like about the movie, that is almost found in every other fantasy movie ever made that anyone likes:  The likeability of the hero/heroine.  In this case the movie heroine is a little girl, possibly around the age of 11,named Lyra.  The first thing Lyra does in the movie is lie.  By the way, this is the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th thing she does too.  Basically Lyra is a little liar and schemer.

This is not a bad thing if she is a supporting actress or even if there is some sort of redemption that takes place in her life (though I doubt the author believes in that) by the end of the movie.  And maybe it will come later (Haven’t read ahead yet), but throughout the film, I just don’t like her.  The only endearing quality she shows is courage, but very seldomly does she use that trait to help someone else, though it does happen.

Listen, by the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I was hooked, and Harry was my best friend too (sorry Ron Weasley).  But in the Golden Compass, I didn’t like anybody, not even by the end of the movie.  This, my friends, is a problem.

There’s only one reason I would go see this movie if I were you, and that is if I were a huge fan of the movie genre, “fantasy”.  Otherwise, you’ll never see that $10 again.  I don’t say that because “I don’t want you to see that stinking atheist film either,” but I say that to let you know that “enchanted” was a better movie than “The Golden Compass”. 

But is that because, as my wife pointed out,”McDreamy’s in it”?

Until next time…

What are you willing to pay?

November 28, 2007

Christmas time is here and the ever-rising cost of Christmas has joined this yuletide season.  Toys, decorations, gifts, parties, and food all bring with them the idea of spending lots of money.

To share with you this idea, I have borrowed a popular advertising scheme on print, radio, and TV to show too, that the virtue of self-sacrifice is a rising cost.  You may or may not know this, but following Jesus means sacrificing your desires and wants for Him – Giving Him all the praise and glory for everything in your life.  Sound easy?  Let’s just see about that:  (We’ll start with an easy one)

*Cost of two cheap tickets to a NFL Sunday afternoon game:  $200
*Cost of food for two at the same game:  $50
*Cost of investing in someone and inviting them to your Sunday morning service:  Priceless

*Cost of staying home on Thursday night because it’s been a long hard day at school or work:  Free
*Cost of ordering a pizza that evening because you have nothing in the house:  $15 (including a 2-liter of soda, of course)
*Cost of going to your Thursday night small group (or whenever you might meet) and growing together with other followers of Christ who’ve also had a hard week:  Priceless

*Cost of sitting and reading a novel at lunch time during work hours:  $6 (You bought the novel at Wal-Mart)
*Cost of walking to the mall to get some last minute shopping done during lunch time:  $150
*Cost of spending quality time with a co-worker, and investing in them relationally because you care about them as a person and as a follower of Christ:  Priceless

*Cost of 2 Sunday evening tickets to see the new holiday movie, “Enchanted”:  $20
*Cost of eating at the theater that evening:  Unprintable as it might go up after today.
*Cost of attending “Christmas Traditions” at Fellowship Church and connecting relationally with others here at your church:  priceless

*Cost of being born in a manger in an animal setting:  A little comfort
*Cost of walking around Israel and the surrounding areas speaking the truth, loving, and serving people:  A little rest
*Cost of giving your life for a world that will choose to ignore what you did for them just so they would be able to have a relationship with the Heavenly Father:  Priceless

So how much did you want to pay?