Friday, September 22, 2006
Since the price of going to the movies has reached seven dollars for matinees and ten bucks for the evening shows in my neck of the woods I have cut back going to the theatre. After all, if you have a watchful eye you can now get many DVD's for as low as 5 to 7 bucks, if you wait about six months after their release....but..... Recently, I got the movie bug, broke down, and payed the big bucks to see three films which I would like to highly recommend. Just something magical about sitting in the dark staring at a sixty foot screen that keeps me coming back again and again. The three films are the Illusionist, Little Miss Sunshine, and Jet Li's Fearless. Of the three, I liked Little Miss Sunshine the best. It was absolutely hilarious watching this, bust the gut, roll on the floor, must see, Indie film. The film is kind of a hybrid between the Royal Tenebaums and Sideways but better, imo, because of numerous "out of left field" episodes which keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat once the family heads to California for the big beauty pagent contest. This film came to my attention after reading the reviews on Rottentomatoes. It received a 93 % approval rating on the tomatometer which is almost unheard amongst the critics at Rottentomatoes. Return of the King received 94% by contrast. It's not critical one see this film on the "big screen" but it is a must see film once it is released to DVD.......The Illusionist is a period piece which stars Edward Norton and Sideways Paul Giamatti. One has to suspend ones logical sensibilities to accept the ending but it is entertaining and the performances and production quality are all excellent and I liked the unique peak into the world of magicians.....I went to see the film Fearless yesterday because I am a sucker for the Hidden Dragon, Hero, and House of the Flying Dagger, martial arts films. I must admit, I didn't much care for the first half of the movie where Li is presented as an obnoxious kung fu narcisstic fighter but the second half of the film is excellent. I don't want to give anything away but I will say that the moral and personal transformation underpinnings of this film are admirable and worth the price of admission.....So, I am currently on a hot streak of three for three in the movie department and thus I don't feel quite as bad for laying out the big bucks over the past three weeks....
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Wednesday I bought one of those flashdisks and decided to download all my stuff so I could take it back and forth to work....and....while going through all my floppies I found some old yahoo discussion group entries that I had kept...which...in turn, inspired me to go back to the various discussion groups archives and download some of the more memorable entries and discussions. This is going to be a big project but I think it will be worth the effort since it will give me an opportunity to reread some of memorable discussions I have encountered over the years. I also intend to go at a slow pace so it won't be a burden or additional stressor which is something I don't need at this time in my life.....I have decided to start with the old Postmodern Christian Archive discussion group which I found is still listed. The group is no longer active as far as I can tell but this is the first group I joined back in 1999. I have many fond memories of this group and found the discussions incredibly stimulating, in large part, because it was the first time in my adult life I had ventured outside of my conservative Christian sub-culture to "engage" folks who saw the world much differently than what I had grown accustomed to for the past twenty three years. And, at times, the whole experience was surreal and sometimes overwhelming as I tried to keep up pace with a group of folks who were often more educated and informed than I was on numerous subjects. I soaked it all in though and it marked a radical new beginning in terms of what I thought and how processed information. It will also be interesting to go back and reread some of the discussion threads now that I am at a different place in my life.....Well, that's it for now. If I can get motivated I would like to do a series of blog entries on the topic of Jungian archetypes. I have been reading some books on the subject over the past couple of months and find the whole subject fascinating and relevant to my current situation in life. But, we will see. I don't want to start the series if I don't think I can finish it. I have done that too many times before......
Friday, September 15, 2006
A critical examination of the past, particularly a hard, honest look, at one’s life, family, and relationships with various institutions can be a mixed bag, especially if one has experienced a significant amount of abuse, neglect, rejection, etc. It’s can be a mixed bag because even in the midst of abuse or mistreatment there are generally examples of love, care, support, or acts of kindness by those who may have been abusive or neglectful. Imo, self awareness of one’s past is potentially a good thing…but…it can also result in temporary or sometimes long term rejection of those individuals or institutions who may have been abusive at times. I have no desire to suggest or judge how people deal with their past but simply to point out that a critical examination of one’s past will generally lead to a growing self awareness that may potentially lead to a significant amount of cognitive dissonance and or rejection of one’s past…
For many people religion and our relationship with a religious community is a very important aspect of our lives and thus effect us on a very deep and profound level…..and….for many, if not the majority, our experiences with our religious community may swing back and forth between the positive and the negative…but…. for some…ones past experiences with the Christian subculture may now, in hindsight, border on the abusive, manipulative, and even cultish…..and thus…..one may understandably be tempted to throw the baby out with the bathwater or chuck religion altogether. I suspect for most of us the experiences with our religious past may not be so extreme so we may just become critical to the point where it either rubs people the wrong way or creates questions of doubts about our standing with God and the Christian community with our fellow brethren.
Over the years I have done my fair share of criticizing this or that regarding my Christian past and, the Christian subculture in general, but today I want to acknowledge and pay tribute to some of the positive contributions of my religious past. I came up with the idea for this tribute while teaching one of my classes earlier this week. While I was teaching I was reminded how my teaching style and the fact that I was a teacher to begin with was predominantly and positively influenced by the Christian subculture.....In an effort to not sound too long winded I'll limit my acknowledgements to the major influences. Here is my Cliff note version the people, communities, and authors who I am forever indebted for positively influencing my life.....
Beulah Nash: For, taking me under her wing when I first became a Christian….and….for her generous hospitality.
The Charismatic movement: For, modeling that "experience" is an important part of our lives and a legitimate and equal partner with science, reason, and logic....and....I don't need to suppress my feelings. It's o.k., to have feelings, even the dark emotions.
Maranatha music industry, Keith Green, Phil Keaggy, and the Second Chapter of Acts: For, revolutionizing the Christian music subculture and providing millions of young Christians with something relevant to listen to.
Dan Bushy and Glenn Calkins: For, being such great Christian friends. I wish I knew where you guys were today.
Francis Schaeffer: For, teaching me that "all" of life is spiritual and rescuing me from the world of religious dualism....and....opening a window to the world of art, culture, philosophy, environmental issues, and classical music at a time when I took great pride in being a cultural barbarian.
Franky Schaeffer: For, risking his career and reputation by engaging the culture, on it's terms, at a time when most evangelicals were steeped in a pietism that made them culturally irrelevant...and...for later following his conscious to become Eastern Orthodox which took alot of guts.
Susan Schaeffer Macaulay: For, inspiring me to become a teacher and introducing me to the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason who influenced my teaching style and methodology.
Jacques Ellul: For, opening the door to the dialectic method of thinking which helped provide a critical corrective to my black/white, either, or, thinking….and….for stimulating my thinking in regards to the role of technology, pacifism, and neo-orthodoxy.
Vernard Eller and the Christian Anarchist community: For, helping break the bonds of my political and theological leaning ideology.
C.T. McIntire Jr., George Marsden, Herbert Butterfield, and The Christian Institute of
Calvin College: For, producing professors and writers who stimulated my thinking for almost ten years on the relationship between culture and Christianity…and….teaching me that Christianity could make important positive contributions on such topics as science, pop culture, technology, war, the environment, music, literature, etc.
Barry Lily and Al Wilson: For, accepting me and not judging me during some of the darkest days of my life.
Marcus Borg and Dominic Crossan: For, helping me understand and accept that one can maintain the “essence” of the Christian faith without agreeing or accepting all of the particulars…and…for modeling a spirit of religious tolerance.
Pomoxian, Faithmaps, and other Christian Postmodern leaning discussion groups: For, providing a safe place to interact with others while continuing learning…and…for, probably helping prevent me from throwing out the baby with the bath water in regards to my faith…..And thanks to all of those people and communities that also made positive contributions but were not mentioned due to limits on time and space.