Back from Catalina Island!

Just to let you all know, I’ve been away at Catalina Island with our 7th graders from the school.  I had an awesome time snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, and just hanging out with the kids.  Needless to say, I’m quite tired now, and will post some more thoughts maybe on Monday.  Hopefully by then, we’ll be celebrating another Red Sox World Series championship!

Doug Pagitt on Way of the Master Radio

Here’s an audio link to Doug Pagitt on Way of the Master radio on Monday, during the first hour.  It is absolutely startling!  I know the Emerging Church has a different way of dealing with doctrine, to say the least, but this is absolutely unbelievable.  If you aren’t convinced that the Emergent church approach to Scripture and eternity isn’t a problem, you MUST listen to the first half of this clip.  He didn’t stick around long enough to defend his view against actual verses.

So do I disagree on principle or because Pagitt isn’t my personal preference?

An Interesting Sound Clip

Here’s a sound clip from a talk station out here in LA.  It’s the John Ziegler show, which I listen to pretty frequently, and it is on a kid named Johnnie MacArthur.  He’s John MacArthur’s grandson.  What’s even more odd, is that I had this kid in Awana when I went to Placerita Canyon Baptist.  He lived in the area and came with a friend.

Check it out.  Pretty cool sound clip.

In Appreciation of New England: Part 2

There are some things that you just can’t do outside New England.  Drive without a seat belt .  Smoke in a restaurant.  (Although i hear that one may change, or already be changed)  Have a perpetual yard sale.  Talk with anyone you’ve never talked to before about the Red Sox.  Disregard the letter ‘r’. 

Another thing are things like fairs and festivals.  After having gone to the LA County fair, I was disappointed and missed the New England style festival.  This past weekend the my family and Leah’s family went to an apple festival in Hampton Falls.  We took pics of Micah in the pumpkin patch, took a ride on a wagon beind a tractor, ate some good food, listened to a bluegrass band, and shopped around. 

If you want to see pics of Micah, check out his blog.  If you don’t have the address, email me and I’ll email it to you. 

Here are a few pics from the day:

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I like the way I framed this one.

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Here’s the grilling of the corn.  Really gives the corn a diferent flavor.  You just feel more New Englandish if you eat stuff like this. 

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Here’s a look at the rest of the place.  There was the stage, a hay bale pyramid for people to sit on and take pictures.  They also had homemade donuts with cider.  One thing I miss a lot in California is apple cider.  We just can’t get it there.  And if, for some odd chance someone is selling it, its $7 a half gallon. 

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Here’s lunch.  One corn is husked, one isn’t.  Then there is the classic Sausage with onions and peppers.  This was my fair food, but couldn’t get it at the LA County fair.  Love the sausage with grilled onions and peppers. 

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Here’s my sister Beth, her son Nehemiah, Micah and I.  Niam didn’t want to be good for pics.  I think he felt the heat of competition from Micah to be cuter.  Couldn’t pull it off…

In Appreciation of New England: Part I

Deep on the inside, I guess I will always be an New England person.  There is something about coming back to the area that makes it feel so natural.  I haven’t been home in the fall in nearly 9 years, so early on in our marriage, we figured we would come back to New England when I finally wasn’t in school for the first time.

One of the biggest things has been the widespread support of the Red Sox.  When we got here, everyone was gearing up for the first game of the ALCS, which was still a few days away.  When I watched the news, the lead stories were all about the Red Sox.  What was parking going to be like around Fenway?  What was the weather going to be like at game time?  Does Cleveland have its own curse?  The first ten minutes of the half hour news was dedicated to the Red Sox. 

Then I was listening to the radio, and there were playing a remix of “Sweet Caroline”, which is played during the 7th inning stretch at each home game at Fenway.  Interspersed were sound clips of various calls of games, including the series sweep of the Angels.  It was played just like any other song would be played. 

When we go out, EVERYONE is wearing something with a “B” on it.  And everyone is talking about it.  The thing I may like the most is that you don’t see a lot of pink Red Sox hats.  Instead, the girls are wearing true, old school hats and shirts. 

Of course the Sox game is the topic on every TV show or radio show.  When the game went to almost 2am into Sunday morning, everyone at church was tired because they had to watch it.  Everyone was down because of the loss.  Yes, its October in New England, or Soxtober.  

“Evan Almighty”: Preference or Principle

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This blog is supposed to be presenting issues and using Biblical discernment to see whether they are good or not.  Unfortunately, I just haven’t do that too often, but thought this might be a good time.  When we were flying home, I ended up holding a slumbering infant on my lap while Leah slept, so the only thing for me to do was to watch the inflight movie, which happened to be “Evan Almighty”.  For those of you who don’t know, it is a sequal of “Bruce Almighty”, but with a different main character and situation.  Thought I did not see the first movie with Jim Carrey playing the main role, my understanding is that the sequal is more geared towards families than the first.

The main premise is that God appears to Evan Baxter, a former newscaster, now elected to Congress.  He moves his family to D.C., and soon God appears to him and tells him to build an ark.  Baxter fights God’s command, but soon realizes he doesn’t really have a choice.  He eventually wins over his family, and builds the ark despite an absence of support from the community and the threat of losing his job.  Mixed in is a lot of humor focused on Baxter’s appearance morphing into what they presume Noah would have looked like as well as plenty of animal humor. 

When I first saw this movie coming out, something inside of me asked why most Christians had no problem with a movie where they had God being played by Morgan Freeman.  I just didn’t think that God was particularly honored by being portrayed like this.  It isn’t even like he was a disrespectful figure, but it still did not take the holiness and righteousness of God seriously, but rather perpuated an idea that God wants to be your buddy. 

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Interestingly, the only people who were really upset as God being portrayed like this was mostly the Islamic crowds in other parts of the world.  Doesn’t really surprise me that not many Evangelicals in the US were even asking the question of whether this is acceptable.  My view of God is too big for this to be ok in my view.  I still am pretty uncomfortable with such a relaxed picture of God, but I also had a few other concerns about the movie:

1. It seemed to basically not get the idea of the Biblical account of the flood.  The point of the flood was that Creation had reached such a sinful climax that God decided to destroy it and preserve Noah and his family.  The nations had become such an insult to God that they were condemned and destroyed.  For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, it is basically about a Congressman who is responsible for destroying a pristeen landscape so he could make money on building developments.  So much for focusing on real sin issues.  This has become Al Gore’s idea of sin issues. 

2. Another thing that bugged me was how Evan Baxter was obviously not a believer.  He did not pretend to have a relationship with God, and this is demonstrated in the fact that he didn’t know how to pray to God and didn’t see the need to include God in what he was doing in his life.  Then in a dialogue, God tells Baxter that “Whatever I do to you, it is because I love you.”  This sent shrills up my spine, and continues to perpetuate that God is just the big brother in Heaven who loves anyone, despite their feelings about Him. 

3. I was waiting to see what would happen to the people who mocked Baxter throughout the family, then was disappointed to see that they made it on the Ark.  So much for following the original story.  Imagine being Noah, and seeing people cry out to be saved and then watching them drown.  I guess that’d be too harsh for a family movie. 

4. God didn’t close the door to the Ark.  This may seem like a small detail, but it was God who shut the door, not Noah. 

5. The movie was full of seeming contradictions and unanswered questions that beg to be asked.  In the end of the movie, the whole development is destroyed, as well as a lot of damage brought to D.C. through the collapsing of a damn.  They basically ignore the question of what happened to all of the families in the homes that were destroyed.  Were they killed because God was trying to teach a money hungry politician a lesson?  The movie ends with the Baxter family going on a hike.  Did they forget that their house was destroyed in the flood.  The movie doesn’t answer or attempt to answer how God gets people through the tough times.

 This may seem like nit picking, but our country is full of people who are ‘good intentioned’, but have no idea what it means to actually live for God in all circumstances. It was all about doing small things to help out your community, and then everything will work out.  It is shallow to just leave it at “God does good for those that he loves” and then show a Hollywood ending.  That’s not life. 

6. It was obviously not a global flood, just a local flood.  So depending on your view, that may be a good thing for you. 

7. The thing that is most disturbing is that this had just enough of the shallow “christianese” that plagues our country that it was widely accepted by mainline Christianity.  Check out the review on Christianity Today.  I wasn’t expecting to read that. There was just enough in there for people to not ask the questions that need to asked.  Was God honored by this.  I doubt it.  This begs a larger discussion, that maybe I can talk about soon:

Is God either honored or dishonored, or is there a ‘neutral middle ground’.