Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The finale had a particularly funny moment, combining one of the early round "bad" singers with one of the current stars that the show is responsible for launching. If you didn't see it, it was kinda funny. The guy's name is Michael Sandecki, who claims to be a Clay Aiken look-alike. Apparently, it was enough for Clay to change his hairstyle. Here it is...
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
I can just imagine some of the words that might come up on ESPN's version:
Feel free to add your own words to the list.
This made him (oh, man, this is so bad, it's good)...A super-calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.
(more at www.mikeysfunnies.com)
Monday, May 22, 2006
Friday, May 19, 2006
By Dave Tippett
10. In Last Supper painting, Da Vinci drew himself in background as waiter preparing the bill
9. In the painting, James seen listening to iPod in background
8. In movie, TV in background has old "Andy of Mayberry" episode on, the one where Aunt Bea warns Opie to not be involved in no heresy
7. One disciple at Last Supper table seems to have Nike swoosh on his sandal
6. Da Vinci’s "Mona Lisa" revealed to have been first wife of that American Gothic farmer guy with the pitch fork
5. Was discovered that Da Vinci was insanely jealous of the ancient ancestor of Thomas Kincaide and their better-selling "The Soft Lighting Last Supper" painting
4. Da Vinci's followup painting was first velveteen Elvis
3. The Books of Judas and Mary Magdalene traced to goofy teens on MySpace.com
2. "Code" actually just Da Vinci’s ATM card pin
1. Closer examination of Last Supper’s tablecloth reveals food strains that map out who shot JFK
Copyright 2006 Dave Tippett (djtippHA@yahoo.com).
"Maybe I'm a bad Christian and I'll have to answer for this someday on the
other side of the pearly gates, but the number one thing that makes me
uncomfortable is that this seems like a great opportunity for Christians to line
up to say stupid things. You know... people like Pat Robertson... but that's
just an example."
"In all seriousness, the main concern seems to be that the unchurched will
see this movie and accept it as gospel truth, and I say if anyone takes The
DaVinci Code as gospel truth, whether they are the unchurched or stereotyped
preacher's kids, then they aren't especially intelligent. I read "The Lovely
Bones" by Alice Sebold. It wasn't scriptural in any way, shape, or form, but it
didn't shake my faith, or brainwash me into thinking that the biblical
description of Heaven was untrue.
It doesn't matter who or what you follow. It doesn't change the fact
that this is still just a novel.
And you know what else doesn't matter?It doesn't matter if Jesus got
married and had kids or not.I still believe that Jesus Christ was a man with no
home, who didn't have a place to take a wife, and was tempted in every way
(including sexually) and yet did not sin.But if Jesus got married and had a
family, He would be no less of a Savior to me, or to you.
There's a big, huge, ENORMOUS difference between a historical
discrepancy, and a supernatural one.Either Jesus suffered, died, and rose again
to save you from your sins, or He didn't.
A wife and kids doesn't change that."
You can read more here, and don't hesitate to read the critical reviews (scroll down to "Bloodbath at Cannes! Critics Crucify 'Da Vinci'!") \
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Brian McLaren on The Da Vinci Code
An interview by Lisa Ann Cockrel
With The Da Vinci Code poised to go from bestseller list to the big screen on May 19, pastor and writer (and Sojourners board member) Brian McLaren talks about why he thinks there's truth in the controversial book's fiction.
What do you think the popularity of The Da Vinci Code reveals about pop culture attitudes toward Christianity and the church?
Brian McLaren: I think a lot of people have read the book, not just as a popular page-turner but also as an experience in shared frustration with status-quo, male-dominated, power-oriented, cover-up-prone organized Christian religion. We need to ask ourselves why the vision of Jesus hinted at in Dan Brown's book is more interesting, attractive, and intriguing to these people than the standard vision of Jesus they hear about in church. Why would so many people be disappointed to find that Brown's version of Jesus has been largely discredited as fanciful and inaccurate, leaving only the church's conventional version? Is it possible that, even though Brown's fictional version misleads in many ways, it at least serves to open up the possibility that the church's conventional version of Jesus may not do him justice?
So you think The Da Vinci Code taps into dissatisfaction with Jesus as we know him?
McLaren: For all the flaws of Brown's book, I think what he's doing is suggesting that the dominant religious institutions have created their own caricature of Jesus. And I think people have a sense that that's true. It's my honest feeling that anyone trying to share their faith in America today has to realize that the Religious Right has polluted the air. The name "Jesus" and the word "Christianity" are associated with something judgmental, hostile, hypocritical, angry, negative, defensive, anti-homosexual, etc. Many of our churches, even though they feel they represent the truth, actually are upholding something that's distorted and false.
I also think that the whole issue of male domination is huge and that Brown's suggestion that the real Jesus was not as misogynist or anti-woman as the Christian religion often has been is very attractive. Brown's book is about exposing hypocrisy and cover-up in organized religion, and it is exposing organized religion's grasping for power. Again, there's something in that that people resonate with in the age of pedophilia scandals, televangelists, and religious political alliances. As a follower of Jesus I resonate with their concerns as well.
Do you think the book contains any significantly detrimental distortions of the Christian faith?
McLaren: The book is fiction and it's filled with a lot of fiction about a lot of things that a lot of people have already debunked. But frankly, I don't think it has more harmful ideas in it than the Left Behind novels. And in a certain way, what the Left Behind novels do, the way they twist scripture toward a certain theological and political end, I think Brown is twisting scripture, just to other political ends. But at the end of the day, the difference is I don't think Brown really cares that much about theology. He just wanted to write a page-turner and he was very successful at that.
Many Christians are also reading this book and it's rocking their preconceived notions - or lack of preconceived notions - about Christ's life and the early years of the church. So many people don't know how we got the canon, for example. Should this book be a clarion call to the church to say, "Hey, we need to have a body of believers who are much more literate in church history." Is that something the church needs to be thinking about more strategically?
McLaren: Yes! You're exactly right. One of the problems is that the average Christian in the average church who listens to the average Christian broadcasting has such an oversimplified understanding of both the Bible and of church history - it would be deeply disturbing for them to really learn about church history. I think the disturbing would do them good. But a lot of times education is disturbing for people. And so if The Da Vinci Code causes people to ask questions and Christians have to dig deeper, that's a great thing, a great opportunity for growth. And it does show a weakness in the church giving either no understanding of church history or a very stilted, one-sided, sugarcoated version.
On the other hand, it's important for me to say I don't think anyone can learn good church history from Brown. There's been a lot of debunking of what he calls facts. But again, the guy's writing fiction so nobody should be surprised about that. The sad thing is there's an awful lot of us who claim to be telling objective truth and we actually have our own propaganda and our own versions of history as well.
Let me mention one other thing about Brown's book that I think is appealing to people. The church goes through a pendulum swing at times from overemphasizing the deity of Christ to overemphasizing the humanity of Christ. So a book like Brown's that overemphasizes the humanity of Christ can be a mirror to us saying that we might be underemphasizing the humanity of Christ.
In light of The Da Vinci Code movie that is soon to be released, how do you hope churches will engage this story?
McLaren: I would like to see churches teach their people how to have intelligent dialogue that doesn't degenerate into argument. We have to teach people that the Holy Spirit works in the middle of conversation. We see it time and time again - Jesus enters into dialogue with people; Paul and Peter and the apostles enter into dialogue with people. We tend to think that the Holy Spirit can only work in the middle of a monologue where we are doing the speaking.
So if our churches can encourage people to, if you see someone reading the book or you know someone who's gone to the movie, say, "What do you think about Jesus and what do you think about this or that," and to ask questions instead of getting into arguments, that would be wonderful. The more we can keep conversations open and going the more chances we give the Holy Spirit to work. But too often people want to get into an argument right away. And, you know, Jesus has handled 2,000 years of questions, skepticism, and attacks, and he's gonna come through just fine. So we don't have to be worried.
Ultimately, The Da Vinci Code is telling us important things about the image of Jesus that is being portrayed by the dominant Christian voices. [Readers] don't find that satisfactory, genuine, or authentic, so they're looking for something that seems more real and authentic.
Lisa Ann Cockrel is associate editor at Today's Christian Woman.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
“An alarming number of people take its spurious claims very seriously indeed,”
said Austin Ivereigh, press secretary to Britain’s top Catholic prelate Cardinal
Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. “Our poll shows that for many, many people “The Da Vinci
Code” is not just entertainment.”
Read the article.
Really, aren't they worried about lightning striking them on the spot? Now that's what I call fried chicken! Other song titles include "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Poultry" and "Onward Christian Chickens, Marching 'Cross The Road." I'm not sure which bothers me the most - that this even exists, or that Walmart carries it at all!
I'm looking forward to Volume II: "I Could Cluck Of Your Love Forever," featuring all the hottest, most overdone new worship songs of the church.
You have to check out this site...Walmart does give you a chance to hear the songs, which I assure you is eggciting (sorry....just yolkin' around).
If you need me, I'll be out having an omlette somewhere.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
(This sparks an idea for future posts. I've had an eclectic bunch of "fame-brushes" over the years, and from time to time, as I remember them, I'll let you know. Of course, fame is relative...probably half of my "faithful dozen" readership is thinking "Gloria who?" And one of those faithful readers actually works in Gaitherville, so I'm sure he's thinking "Big deal." But I press on....)
Friday, May 12, 2006
Couldn't help but think a little about Psalm 139 - God knows me inside & out. Sure, there are others who know me. But inside & out? Do we realize how much effort it is to know someone "inside & out?" I paid attention to how much effort went into my "procedure," and it was monumental. All just to look around my upper digestive tract. But God just knows. He knows my thoughts, my dreams, and I can't believe I'm about to type this, but God knows the state of my "duodenum."
Weird? Possibly. But I need a God that big, don't you? A God that isn't that big, well, is more of a little "g" god. They type I worship that really doesn't deserve it, the type of god I put in my life that's full of what appear to be perks, status, and bonuses. But not the God who put me together, the God who knows me inside & out.
All in all, its good to be scoped from time to time. Been scoped lately?
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
This weekend, my friend Rob was in town to play guitar for a concert that featured a female country artist from our area, as well as a couple of other singer/songwriter folks.
Well, it was my friend Rob (who has a couple of terrific tunes 'out there' being considered by various recording artists). And, I had some tickets. So my son and I went to the downtown theater to get our groove on. Or whatever you do when you go to a country music event.
Admittedly, its a lot of country music. I felt like I should be eating peanuts and throwing the shells on the floor, waiting for my name to be called for my non-smoking table for 4.
But talent is talent. It was very good, and they even coaxed Rob to do his song "Three Months And A Winnebago" (great song...coming to a Texas Roadhouse jukebox near you...). I had the privilege of meeting all of the folks involved, and they couldn't be nicer. It would help if those performing country music were jerks, and if some out there are the 'Barry Bonds' of the country scene, I'm unaware. These folks couldn't have been nicer to chat with. Rob was able to catch up and crash with the wife and I - since he did sing in my wedding, my casa is always his casa.
So, I'm not on any bandwagons just yet. For now, Rob's tunes on my mp3 are about as country as I go, along with the soundtrack to O Brother (more bluegrass than country). But it was a nice forray into a cross-cultural experience (more Dale Jr. jackets than you could shake a stick at).
The website(s) for the artists that night are:
Lisa Rutherford: Bravo!!!! This article was so on target, I practically want to frame it. I just hope the word gets out and enough people do it.
Annie Fitzsimmons: The Da Vinci Code is a FICTIONAL NOVEL.It is pure entertainment, and that's it! Why are Christians flipping out and figuring out how to "othercott" it or "evangelize" through it? Let's talk about the gospel in our churches and go see whatever movies we'd like to see.
David Christy: What an excellent commentary. Thank you so much for a clear voice with specific content, rather than the unending "Dialogue for Consensus" that is literally killing us all.
Dennis Payne: I believe Nicolosi is missing the point for many in the Christian community. We should prepare ourselves and learn our church history that "the church" has neglected to teach. I know our Scriptures very well, but I have been caught off guard with church history. Until now, it hasn't mattered, but to prepare for the movie, I'm reading the book, because we have zero credibility to talk about DVC unless we have read it. I challenge every Christian who wants to make a difference with the outcome of DVC to dive into our church history, read the books and don't be afraid to share with anyone who would ask.
Dan Portnoy: Getting bent out of shape isn't helping anybody. I think this movie is a great way to bring conversations about coworkers' spiritual thoughts out around the water cooler. What an opportunity.
Of course, 2 of my "certified dozen" readers had some interesting things to say. I would like to personally invite my friends Jeremy and Chris to go to the movie with me. Maybe we'll invite Barbara, though she'll be seeing the cartoon flick, or the the "one starring the Scientologist looney, or the one where Hollywood can make a "killing" glamorizing a national tradgedy." (quote courtesy of Chris P)
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
"The natural antioxidants found in tea and certain fruits like berries and
grapes can also be found in Hershey's Extra Dark. This is good news;
however, like most indulgent treats, Hershe's Extra Dark should be enjoyed in
Can we get warning labels like this on fried chicken, buffets, etc?
Let's "Othercott" Da Vinci
Many Christians see The Da Vinci Code as an opportunity for evangelism; others say it's a chance to engage the culture. Rubbish. Da Vinci is dangerous, so I'd like to suggest a better alternative.By Barbara Nicolosi posted 05/03/06
Related:• Da Vinci Code special section
I've read and heard a lot lately from Christians who suggest that we should be willing to "engage" The Da Vinci Code, so that we can be a part of the "cultural conversation." Believers are touting the upcoming movie as an "opportunity for evangelism" and even an incentive to bolster our own faith.
This film is based on a book that wears its heresy and blasphemy as a badge of honor, and I intend to stay far away from it.
I get lots of calls to do interviews about The Da Vinci Code, but I duck as many of them as I can. Basically, I hate talking about DVC because I have a personal relationship with Jesus—and he isn't a proto-feminist goddess-cultic with a weak personality that could have been simply co-opted by power-hungry misogynists.
I love Jesus. It makes me physically sick to entertain discussion about the ways in which the defining acts of his life—his Passion, Resurrection and establishment of the Church—could be a diabolical scam that he never anticipated nor experienced. It would make me sick to hear salacious lies about anyone I love; how much more my Savior?
Besides that, I don't think we should encourage people in the terrible sin against the Holy Spirit of speculating that things that are holy are evil, and that things that are evil are holy. Isn't that what is going on here? How is that not painful for anyone who knows the Lord?
Don't debate the Devil
DVC as great opportunity for evangelism? Hmmm. The climate of evangelism is not consistent with a posture of defiance and cynicism. Is slander an opportunity? Is angry superiority an opportunity? DVC represents all the "opportunity" that the Roman persecutions offered the early Church. Rah.
And here's another thing that troubles me about the "opportunity for dialogue" stance. The debate is all on hell's terms. I am somebody who reads about exorcisms. I don't know why. I just do. And one of the first rules of exorcism is that you never answer the Devil's questions. You don't debate the Devil. You do not give evil the authority to question God.
DVC represents a debate in which the questions start with Satan's presumptions. I find it beyond naive to convince myself that the folks who are lapping up DVC are on a "search for truth." They're not. They are on a crusade to validate their own rejection of the authority of Christ and the Church.Here's a typical DVC-inspired dialogue. See if you can find a search for truth in it.
It usually starts with something like this: "Everybody knows that the Church Fathers were liars. Can you prove the compilation of the Bible wasn't pure politics?"
And just when you start saying, "Well, I don't agree that the Church Fathers were--", the questioner moves on with eyes flashing unnaturally, "Why is the Church so afraid of women, huh? Why has it suppressed them since the beginning? Answer THAT!"
You clear your throat and say, "Well, I wouldn't say that the Church is afr--
"But they've moved on: "The fact is, there is no evidence for the Resurrection. Have you ever read the Gospel of Mary Magdalene?""Well, no, but--"
"See you people are all brain-washed." [Exhalation of disgust.] "How so many people could be so stupid is amazing to me."
When you debate with Satan, there is no opportunity for anything but people digging their heels into the sludge of chaos and confusion.
Scandalizing the sheep
I also hate the idea that some of the sheep would be scandalized away from Jesus by this idiotic story. And they will.The sheep have been bred as teeming little narcissist lambs who stubbornly consider themselves "special," no matter how mediocre their understanding and living out of their life of discipleship. We have a global pasture full of sheep pasturing themselves, with coats shamefully besmirched by loving their sins.
They bleat defiance and pride of their filth, and insist that Jesus is indifferent to their degradation and shame: "Who knows, Jesus is probably just like us!" They don't know, and don't know that they don't know, or don't know, and don't care that they don't know.
And now The Da Vinci Code comes along to sheepish ears that are primed and ready to be told that holiness is impossible. And that is why this book is a success. It says to people, "If Jesus was a sham, then anything is permissible." (Ref. "You shall be like gods!")
I thought of this when I read a recent DVC rant from Mark Shea, who wrote that "the most maddening thing about this book is the thought of somebody losing their faith over this—this!—stupid piece of dimestore erudition. If you are going to risk your eternal soul, it should at least be over something noble and romantic and big. If you are bound to damn yourself, then at least let it be over a torrid and star-crossed love affair, or out of tragic hubris that sought know What Man Was Not Meant to Know . . . But to lose your soul over this cartoonish, illiterate, dishonest piece of hack drivel?"
I recently attended a DVC event at a local Evangelical church. Several panelists gave long speeches about how Christians should welcome DVC as an opportunity for dialogue, then opened the floor for questions. A woman began her question by saying, "I don't have any problem with the fact that Jesus had sex . . ."
Unbelievable! Yeah, let's all march our troops into "dialogue." The fact that our troops are completely disarmed for a fight seems to be irrelevant! Many of our Christian sheep will be ripe for slaughter from DVC. All they will have to go to battle with is the Bible. But DVC undermines biblical authority by saying that the Bible was the product of a purely political process. This debate will shake the faith of many who are not prepared for it.
An alternative "boycott"
So, what can we as Christians do in response to the release of this movie?
Some are suggesting a protest. But the problem with this option is that it doesn't work. Any publicity is good publicity. Protests not only fuel the box office, they make all Christians look like idiots. And protests and boycotts do nothing to help shape the decisions being made right now about what movies Hollywood will make in the next few years. (Or they convince Hollywood to make *more* movies that will provoke Christians to protest, which will drive the box office up.)
Some suggest that we simply ignore the movie. But the problem with this option is that the box office is a ballot box. The only people whose votes are counted are those who buy tickets; if you stay home, you have thrown your vote away, and you do nothing to shape the Hollywood decision-making process regarding what movies will make it to the big screen.
Some suggest that we go see the movie so we can be better prepared to discuss it, to "engage the culture," so to speak. But if you've read this far, you already know how I feel about this. The problem with this option: No one's listening. They think they know what we're going to say already.
But I'd like to offer another option.
On DVC's opening weekend—May 19-21—you should go to the movies. Just go to another movie. That's your way of casting your vote, the only vote Hollywood recognizes: The power of cold hard cash laid down on a box office window on opening weekend.Use your vote. Don't throw it away. Vote for a movie other than DVC. If enough people do it, the powers that be will notice.
The major studio movie scheduled for release against DVC is the DreamWorks animated feature Over the Hedge. The trailers look fun, and you can take your kids. And your friends. And their friends. In fact, let's all go see it.
Let's rock the box office in a way no one expects—without protests, without boycotts, without arguments, without rancor. Let's show up at the box office ballot box and cast our votes. And buy some popcorn, too.
As for The Da Vinci Code, don't go see this stupid movie. Don't pay money to have the insidious lies of the enemy introduced into your heart and mind. Let's "othercott" DVC on May 19 by going to see Over the Hedge instead.
This commentary was adapted by permission from Nicolosi's online blog, Church of the Masses.
Barbara Nicolosi is the founder and director of Act One, an organization whose mission is to train committed Christian writers to work in the Hollywood film industry.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Just when you thought it was safe to enter your local "Christian" retailer, along comes this.... thanks, I think, to my friend Kyle for giving me this insightful information for the gift-giving season, just in time for Mother's Day! I thought this was a joke, but it appears to be legit. Apparently you can customize your order, so you can get a Rahab the Prostitute, Balaam's Donkey, or my favorite Bible name, Cushanrishamathaim (I promise, he's in there...) Just think, your church league softball could actually have the Davids vs. the Goliaths, the Pharisees vs. the Sadducees, and the ever popular Pharoah vs. Moses!
If you happen to be on the outside of Christianity looking in and actually stumble across this, let me be the first to apologize. This shouldn't happen. I doubt its what Jesus had in mind as he was slowly dying an excruciating death on the cross. The life he calls us to is infinitely more transforming than any apparel we might wear (which, unfortunately, for many Christians is about as deep as it gets).