Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lessons from Coming of Age

As I watched a young lady become a bat mitzvah this past weekend, I was struck again by how much faith could positively alter our secular lives.

Here are three examples of real-world practicality that struck me during the proceedings, if only we had the courage to make the necessary changes.

#1:  Weight lifting workouts should be done in teams.

Personally, I hate lifting weights.  The amount I’m capable of pressing is humiliating, and there is no inherent feelings of joy in the process.

However, get a group of seven or so guys in a circle around the barbells, lift in unison displaying the weights to the world, circle around a few times while shouting “hey!” – now we’re having fun. 

I wouldn’t be surprised if the other gym rats burst out in rhythmic clapping; maybe even joining hands in alternating concentric circles around the weight bearers.

#2:  All staff meetings at work should be sung.

Tend to zone out when the minutes from the last meeting are read?  Or when the associate VP of community marketing drones on about peer to peer connectivity?

Now imagine those moments being led by a trained cantor, giving a little jazz oomph to the boring parts, and an appropriately solemn lilt to the forecast for negative sales in the third quarter. 

No news is bad news when it’s got a good beat.

#3:  All politicians should be required to recite and explain the meaning of an assigned passage from the Constitution before taking office.

Several months of study with a rabbi leading up to a public recitation couldn’t hurt.  And if they get it wrong, they don’t get to become “the man.” 

And not just reading the thing (although that would be a welcome change) – but having to take a moment to explain what the passage means in practical terms, to show that they actually understand what they read.

“Fellow Americans:  my portion includes the call to ‘promote the general welfare.’  The key word ‘general’ struck me as a reminder to promote everyone’s welfare, and not just the ‘special interest welfare.’”

Now that would be nice.

Mazel tov.

Just my thoughts,


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Maybe the Doctor Can Fix this Traffic

Next time I'm stuck on the 405, I'll remember this: 

Near Beijing, a traffic jam is in its ninth day.

62 miles long, and likely to last until September.

Some sojourners have taken up to three days to complete their journeys. 

That's a consistent speed of less than a mile per hour.

Suddenly Doctor Who isn't looking so fictiony.

Just my thoughts,

The Doctor waits for a ride in "Gridlock"

Monday, August 23, 2010

Third Way Mosque Solution

My friend, and good “let’s look at this with clear eyes” debater, sent me a solution to the whole mosque-near-ground-zero thing. David is Canadian, which is perhaps what gave him the distance to not just get caught up in the politics of it all.

The “Third Way” he refers to below is a notion that I keep bringing up; stick around me long enough and you’ll even hear it in my movie reviews.

The idea is that whenever Jesus was given a choice between two options, he typically found a third option, one that confounded expectations while living out true “good news.”

So here is what David sent to me:

“I think I found the Third Way in this dilemma.

“America should not allow the mosque to be built by the Muslim billionaire.

“America itself should fund it and build it.

“On the front will be placed a plaque that reads:

“‘This place of worship and peace was built in memory of the innocent victims of 9/11. It is a gift from the American people.’

“That is carrying the pack the second mile.”

Just David’s thoughts,


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beauty and the Coach

This day in history:  in 1993, Cheers ends its 11 year run.

My favorite character from Cheers was Coach; and the scene that solidified that was the one I have below.

In this episode, Coach’s daughter has come to visit, her obnoxious fiancée in tow.  Coach hates the boyfriend, and thinks his daughter deserves better.

She, however, is more pragmatic – she knows that she is a homely girl.  It isn’t a question of what she deserves; it’s the reality of what an unattractive woman such as herself can get.

In the climatic scene, father and daughter have a truth-off: he tells her what he really thinks of the fiancée, and she tries to force dad to face the facts about her.

You see, he keeps saying that she is beautiful; but she finally gets him to stop seeing her as his little girl – with obligatory rose colored glasses - and see her as she truly is.

And the truth of her attractiveness at last, - painfully, but at long last - comes to light.

Insert here your own take on what this demonstrates to us about love/faith/beauty.

Just my thoughts,


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ack and Grace

Stephan Pastis, the mad genius behind Pearls Before Swine, gives us a story that tempts me to label this entry as one of "faith."

Not because it contains any faith elements; just that it showcases a faith principle that borders on parable.

Inspired me, at any rate.  I gotta work on that "something something my enemy" thingee.

Just my thoughts,


Friday, August 13, 2010

Speaks To and Through The Heart

First, I saw on Letters of Note this quote from Marting Luther King, Jr. to Sammy Davis, Jr.: 

“Art can move and alter people in subtle ways because, like love, it speaks through and to the heart.”

Then I was directed to Experimental Theology’s blog’s entry on art that (intentionally, it seems) tries to NOT speak to the heart (thanks Bryan for the referral).  

Most profound point, "Our spirits can't be long sustained in such an environment..."

[Good to note that the “Christian Bookstores” where this type of art is found seeks to service a rather small percentage of Christians.]

Professor Beck's discussion put in mind a recent close encounter I had with such an approach to art.

Not that long ago, I listened to a woman who oversees the worship and arts at a large church as she talked about the purpose of art in worship. 

She doesn’t allow art in her church without a definable “take-away.”  Unless the congregation understands and can articulate how the art affected them, the art has no value.

Understands and can articulate.

If they can say, “That song showed me that Jesus loves me,” the song has value.

If the music moves them beyond words, the song has no place in her house of worship.

If they can say, “That piece of art clearly symbolizes the broken nature of Jesus on the cross,” the piece of art has value.

If the art draws them out, pushing their spirit to focus behind themselves (elevates them, even), the piece of art has no value.

If they can say, “That drama perfectly explained the nuances of Calvinistic Christology,” the drama has value.

If the drama hits their gut, makes them weep and wonder if there is a power in the universe that can touch and heal a grieving heart, then that drama can hit the road, Jack.

Does it inspire?  Arouse?  Is it (lord, please no) transcendent?

Then it doesn’t fit in her practical theology.

Heaven help us all.

Just my thoughts,


Thursday, August 12, 2010


I write screenplays.

Which means I work in the medium of words within a visual medium. 

So of course when someone uses visuals to discuss words, me likes it, me does.

Thanks to Jeffrey for the find.

Just my thoughts,


Friday, August 06, 2010

Useful UFO Information

I've always been confused when spotting UFO's; but with this handy chart (thanks blastr), I now know exactly what I'm looking at!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Betty and DD Get Professional

Two of my favorite acting teachers (east of Las Vegas) are upping their web presence by hiring a professional.


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Chockfull of Spoilers...

But this INCEPTION parody made me laugh.

View only if you have already seen the movie.