Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How CCM is supposed to be

I'm not one to jump on the Contemporary Christian Music bandwagon anymore - many of the newer songs released seem like copies of one another. However, I did notice that today Bebo Norman released a song called "Britney." Here are the beginning lyrics.

Britney I'm sorry for the lies we told
We took you into our arms and then left you cold
Britney I'm sorry for this cruel cruel world
We sell the beauty but destroy the girl
Britney I'm sorry for your broken heart
We stood aside and watched you fall apart
I'm sorry we told you fame would fill you up
And money moves the man so drink the cup

The song is a moving Christian counter-response to the way in which culture has responded to the failures of a so-called pop princess. How refreshing to hear an artist presenting biblical truths and exposing the bankruptcy of Western culture! (Full lyrics here.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Is it that good?

Craig Detweiler, author of Reel Christianity and producer of Purple State of Mind, has posed the possibility that The Dark Knight could be the movie of the decade.

Funniest Video of the Month award

This video wins the award for the funniest thing I've seen all month. Joe Cocker, with subtitles for the clear-headed:

(ht: Ben Witherington)

Ebert reflects

Roger Ebert reflected this week on his time with Gene Siskel doing installments of "At the Movies." Here's one of his stories:
The day we fully realized it in our guts, I think, was the first time we were invited to appear with Johnny Carson. We were scared out of our minds. We'd been briefed on likely questions by one of the show's writers, but moments before airtime he popped his head into the dressing room and said, "Johnny may ask you for some of your favorite movies this year."
Gene and I stared at each other in horror. "What was one of your favorite movies this year?" he asked me. "Gone With the Wind," I said. The Doc Severinsen orchestra had started playing the famous "Tonight Show" theme. Neither one of us could think of a single movie. Gene called our office in Chicago. "Tell me some movies we liked this year," he said. This is a true story.
It's doubtful that anyone will ever become the go to movie reviewer that Ebert has been for the past three decades.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Billy the kid, er, young man

It's not the best acting, necessarily, or the highest budgeted film, by any means, but the subject matter is enough to get my attention - Billy Graham, the evangelist of the 20th century. In theaters this October.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Girl Effect

Dan Heath at Made to Stick deconstructs The Girl Effect, or more particularly, the video describing the concept:

(ht: JollyBlogger)

Earth, hands, mouth

The Marginal Revolution blog recently pointed readers to a story about the most important restaurant in America. Much of the charm of Blue Hill at Stone Barns:
Your expectations are further confounded by the menu. Don't look for conventional groupings of starters, main courses, and dessert. They're nowhere to be found on the Blue Hill at Stone Barns menu. Instead you are confronted by this:
List of ingredients on the menu.

On the left side is just a list of all the ingredients Barber and his cohorts have at their disposal in the kitchen that day. The right side has a list of prices that depend on how many courses you have. Your server will ask you if there are any ingredients you don't want the kitchen to use in your meal, and after that you are in the kitchen's hands. Eating this way adds elements of surprise and a even a little drama to your restaurant experience.
I was instantly envious of New Yorkers who have already gotten to take part, even though my deep southern cooking roots cause me to read the dish descriptions and scratch my head.

Also, I love the quote on the restaurant's website:

Find the shortest, simplest way between the earth, the hands and the mouth.
~Lanza Del Vasto~

Monday, July 21, 2008

Crashing into truth

Yesterday at God's Politics, Phyllis Tickle delivered "A Crash Course in Jesus Studies." Here's an excerpt:
[I]t should be no surprise that the Jesus who has emerged from all of this professional scholarship and lay furor is as multiform and various as the scholars and concerned laity who have engaged the quest. The end result, in fact, of our dozen or so decades of scratching through history is such a multiplicity of Jesuses that one has to say, "Whoa! Let's just hold up here a minute and think this thing through a bit more clearly."
Story, perhaps, is better than intellectual argument in this kind of process.
And she tells a story, not necessarily one that's new, but a story nevertheless about perspectives which begins like this:
Let us suppose then. Let us suppose that there is a huge, deadly wreck on busy Main Street, USA, in the midst of midday traffic. There are, technically speaking, several hundred witnesses, albeit from very different perspectives.

The story is good, and yet I believe it is misleading. The story is one of many postmodern styled stories which seems to exalt individual understanding and experience above all other things. For sure, something happened, but exactly what happened will forever be subject to interpretation. I think Tickle's story, and her ultimate point, leaves no room for the firm assertion of multiple passages of Scripture that God's Spirit is the means by which the truth about Jesus is finally arrived at.
Don't get me wrong, I like Tickle's story, and I especially like her conclusion:
[E]very single one of us, if we live another decade or so, is going to have to decide what he or she thinks not only about the crash, 2,000 years ago, of Messiah into space/time but also about how we understand and engage the records of that event that have come to us over the centuries. Pray God we do it well.

I for one believe, and am extremely grateful, that God didn't leave it entirely up to us to figure it out. The truth is out there, and God's Spirit is our chauffeur on the road to that truth.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kings of the road

Talk about two guys having some fun together! From August 30, 1969, this is just great:

Roger Miller and Johnny Cash

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ideological warfare

James K. Glassman explains How To Win the War of Ideas.


Trading noise - for free!

Musician Derek Webb, along with a few friends, has decided that there are benefits to giving music away. Check out his new site, NoiseTrade, and download some tunes. You can pay if you want, or you can submit friends' e-mail addresses so they, too, can share the wealth.

Great site with great music - well worth checking out.

(ht: Collide)

Friday, July 11, 2008

If you want to win their hearts...

Andrew Klavan writes in City Journal about visiting an inner city elementary classroom, and fascinating the kids, not just with his storytelling ability, but because of his unknowing example of being, as the teacher put it, "a man - obviously tough - who's not a gangster." Klavan writes:

The teacher told me that she once had to explain to the class why her last name was the same as her father’s. She dusted off the whole ancient ritual of legitimacy for them—marriages, maiden names, and so on. When she was done, there was a short silence. Then one child piped up softly: “Yeah . . . I’ve heard of that.”

I’ve heard of that. It would break a heart of stone.

After delving more deeply into the heartbreak of the kids' situations, Klavan, a conservative, challenges:
Conservatives respond to this mostly with finger-wagging. But creativity has to
be answered with creativity. We need stories, histories, movies of our own. That
requires a structure of support—publishing houses, movie studios, review space,
awards, almost all of which we’ve ceded to the Left.

And he ends his story with these great words:
If you want to win their hearts, you have to tell them stories. I have reason to believe they’ll listen.

Talking about church growth

Billy vs Martin

Jim Henderson has bought into Rob Bell's assertion that American Christianity is shifting away from Billy Graham toward Martin Luther King, Jr. Henderson states in this post that Billy Grahams 1953 book, Peace with God, "appealed to the masses of Americans worshiping at the altar of individualism."

Interesting that for Henderson, justification and peace with God are individualistic (read: selfish) desires. And do you really think MLK would have done what he did without a firm grounding in the knowledge that he had obtained peace with God? The apostle Paul implored people with these words: "Be reconciled to God!" Was Paul selfish and individualistic to preach such a gospel? C'mon.

Once again, I think, leaders like Jim Henderson are straying from foundational Christianity into territory which has much less biblical support.


Beware of Bible experts.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


You need to watch this movie. Several times. Now.