Saturday, March 31, 2007

Everbody was Kung Fu Fighting!

Kung Fu movies were a big player in my childhood. My older brother was obsessed with Martial Arts, and we were huge fans of the infamous Saturday Night Kung Fu Theater that aired on local TV at about 11:30pm. My favorite Kung Fu movie was "Five Deadly Venoms", a classic that features various different styles of fighting including, "The Snake", "The Lizard", "The Toad", "The Centipede", and "The Scorpion". As a kid, I was captivated by this movie. It'd be fun to see it again.

The reason I'm blogging about this is because I recently found this post, which features the 5 best Kung Fu movies of all time. "Five Deadly Venoms" tops the list!

Are "More" and "Better" really more and better?

I just started a book called "Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and The Durable Future" by Bill McKibben. Here's a quote from the introduction that made me think:

"And in the end it's reality I want to deal with - the reality of what our world can provide, the reality of what we actually want. The old realism - an endless More - is morphing into a dangerous fantasy. (Consider: if the Chinese owned cars in the same numbers as Americans, the world would have more than twice as many vehicles as it now does.) In the face of energy shortage, of global warming, and of the vague but growing sense that we are not as alive and connected as we want to be, I think we've started to grope for what might come next. And just in time."

McKibben's point is this: "More" and "Better" are not turning out to be the best motivations for civilized society. Rather than making our lives full and rich, these economic motivators have left us overindulgent and wanting. Perhaps simplicity and community are the best motivators for a new age. If so, we are certainly poised for a better world. That not only makes me excited about America's future, but it also makes me excited about the cause of Christ. After all, Jesus is the perfect model of simplicity and community.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The latest Time Magazine cover story is "Why We Should Teach The Bible in Public School." The premise, per the title, is that teaching the Bible might be necessary for a well rounded public school education. I'm skeptical because I believe it is a little wierd to teach the Bible without doing so in a context of faith. That would be like a math teacher instructing students about literature. Studying the Bible is not simply an intellectual pursuit. It is, at its core, a spiritual pursuit. So, while I'm not opposed to students being exposed to Scripture, I am uncomfortable with the idea of the Bible being taught in an intellectual vaccum. It was never intended to be viewed in this light.

Here's a snipet from the Time Magazine article:
"Says Stephen Prothero, chair of the Boston University religion department, whose new book, Religious Literacy (Harper SanFrancisco), presents a compelling argument for Bible-literacy courses: "In the late '70s, [students] knew nothing about religion, and it didn't matter. But then religion rushed into the public square. What purpose could it possibly serve for citizens to be ignorant of all that?" The "new consensus" for secular Bible study argues that knowledge of it is essential to being a full-fledged, well-rounded citizen. Let's examine that argument."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Little Perspective...

I found this video fascinating. I've never seen anything that so clearly demonstrates that the majority of the world lives on the margins, and the vast minority of the world lives in wealth. We must do what we can to move our world into greater balance. I think we do that by first deciding to live with less, and then deciding to do more to help others with that which we don't need.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"That's Not Nice"

Peggy Noonan is just about always a good read, with insightful wisdom and intelligent discourse that rarely hits below the belt. In her latest Opinion Journal, she shares what many in our country are undoubtedly feeling in this supercharged political climate (Especially in light of the recent wave of hate speech by the likes of Ann Coulter and Bill Maher). My guess is that there are some on the far left who would be viewed as extreme, some on the far right who would share that title, and the middle is divided into those who care and are frustrated, and those who don't care and are frustrated. For those of you who care and are frustrated, this article should give voice to some of the causes of your frustrations. Hopefully it will convince you that it's still OK to care.

One other thing about this article: Noonan points out that Grandmothers have a lot of wisdom, and they have the kind of discipline and sensibility to restrain from the things that "are not nice." Noonan writes, "Fifty years ago, no one speaking at a respected political gathering would say, would even think of saying that Adlai Stevenson is a faggot. Nor would Arthur Godfrey or Jack Paar have declared on their television shows that we'd be better off if Eisenhower died. Is our discourse deteriorating? Yes, it is." Although I agree with Noonan's sentiments, I do find it troubling that prior generations demonstrated such great restraint, yet were capable of such great oppression with reference to race relations. They wouldn't have called other candidates "faggots", but they wouldn't have had a problem calling a black candidate a "nigger." Just a thought.

I still get Noonan's point, and I think the article merits acclaim. Her basic points are true and much needed in today's political world.

Surfing the Amazon?

So, this is the coolest thing I've seen in a while. Twice a year the waters of the Atlantic Ocean roll up the Amazon River, in Brazil, generating the longest wave on the planet. This phenomenon, known as the Pororoca, is a surfers dream: the never-ending wave. This statement, however, would make me think twice about surfing the Pororoca: "Surfers have only recently realized the extreme challenge of surfing the “Pororoca”, despite the fact of the large risks involved; ship waste and wreckage, poisonous snakes, to name just a few."

Check out this video of some pretty crazy dudes catching this amazing wave.


Son, please step out of the car.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How to Catch a Seagull

That's a lot of trouble to go through just to catch a rat with wings!

What's that behind the cloud?

Nice day at church? It's a good thing that the gates of hell shall not prevail against us!