Friday, March 31, 2006

For My Friends In Italy

If the words "lost" and "map" mean anything to you, you will want to click on this link.

If you haven't yet seen this week's episode, STOP. Watch the episode and then come back.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

What I Should Be Doing Right Now

I *should* be working on a paper for seminary due this Monday night. I'm writing about the different ways Moses appears in the gospels, and what significance that has for us today.

Or rather, it's what I will be writing about when I get around to it. I told Krista that it's a good thing I didn't go to college with her because I would have really brought her GPA down (she's writing about the uses of words having to do with water in Isaiah and the gospels, and she's been working on it all day and is more than half done).

Anyway, I told myself I would only put it off until eight o'clock tonight at the latest. And according to my watch it's 7:58 so catch you all later.

Frogs


One of the things I love about spring is that all of my frogs come back. They live all over the place in our back yard. Possibly one of the most traumatic events of our early life in this house was when I accidentally lawn-mowed one of the little guys. I told Krista I wasn't sure I could mow the lawn ever again. I felt guilty for weeks.

Anyway, they're back now and hooray! I love to hear them calling to each other out there at night, and I love that they're here. I love to show them to my kids, and last year we had several pregnant momma frogs living along the foundation of our house! The decline of world amphibian populations should be disturbing to everyone, and I, for one, am glad to do my part by not mowing the lawn yet.

I've included this chart from the Global Amphibian Assessment website, showing the number of amphibian species in various parts of the world. These guys are tracking the world health of amphibians overall. Pretty fascinating stuff, be sure to take a look!

Note to My Friends: Cyborgs are Evil

You know, I was raised by my Dad to know all about cyborgs, werewolves, mutated survivors of nuclear war and so on. We often watched the Saturday afternoon sci-fi movie. And I am disturbed to say that we appear to be in great danger, and just like in the movies we continue blithely along while the robots make their bid for world domination.

I, for one, am extremely disturbed and frightened by the Bluetooth phenomenon. Have you noticed how many people wear these things all the time? Not just when they are on the phone, no! But when they are sitting around reading a book, while they are in the bathtub, while they are plotting world domination. CYBORGS! Yes, that's right. Don't try to deny it. Evil, evil cyborgs. And they hate us because we are human. They want to use us for spare parts. Creepy!

NOTE: Remember when people used to be embarassed if they had to get a hearing aid? Seems kind of cute and unobtrusive now, doesn't it?

Note (2): If you end up having to get a cybernetic implant of some sort and you are not evil, please refer to yourself as bionic.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

When Does Matt Blog?

I have heard rumors that my faithful friends in Montana are asking, "When does Matt blog?"

Well. Not during LOST, that is for certain.

Most often I blog while my kids are in the bath. Sometimes (like tonight) I do it sort of late at night after everything else is done. Or sometimes I do it early in the morning.

It's sort of my hobby, you know.

Does that answer your question, my Montana bretheren and sisteren?

Mmmmm. Good t.v. night tonight.

We started with "The George Lopez Show" which I think is my favorite (current) sitcom. Perhaps because I am hispanic. Or perhaps because his show is what my show would be. Except I wouldn't make mean jokes about my family. But the rest would be the same.

Then I took out the garbage, turned off the lights in the kids' room and ran off to get fresh strawberry milkshakes for me and Krista and then JUST IN TIME I got home for a brand new episode of LOST! Woohoo! And it was a good one!

Religion with Angry Bob

Click on the picture to make it "reading size." And remember the moral of the story.












You can see more Pearls Before Swine on their website.


Monday, March 27, 2006

The World's Fastest Indian

Krista and I crossed over to the Darkside this weekend and went to see "The World's Fastest Indian."

Basic Story: Anthony Hopkins plays an old man who wants to take his ancient Indian motorcycle from New Zealand to the Bonneville Salt Flats in the USA so he can try to break the world speed record.

It's well acted, well written and well directed. To call it inspiring might be exaggerating. Enjoyable would be a fair thing to say.

The weird part is that it is basically a movie without a plot. You have the driving force of the guy's lifelong desire to race his motorcycle providing all of the tension, and a bizarre series of crises strung together. It was pretty clearly a biography, and apparently they felt bad making things up to turn it into a story. Strangely, it was still an enjoyable movie to watch, I didn't even notice the missing plot until we walked out of the theatre.

The Case of the Missing Word

My Bible is missing. Let me know if you see it anywhere. I thought I packed it in my bag when I went to Corvallis this weekend, but I didn't see it when I got there. I didn't see it in my bags or in my jacket pocket, or in my car.

Where are you, Bible?

On a related note: I made a new policy for my personal life last week, that I don't read my e-mail before spending time with the Lord. Otherwise my e-mail dictates my mood and life to me. And that's just not right. So. Until I find my Bible, I guess I just can't read my e-mail. Just kidding.

Don't drink and drive


Here is a strange thought. Why do all of the "Don't Drink and Drive" signs have pictures of martinis on them? Do you think police officers are always pulling people over who just had one too many martinis? Is the problem with drunken driving centered on those hip martini parties?

Wouldn't the picture below be better?

A Hallmark Moment

I had a Hallmark moment today, one of those times that you realize could be on a television commercial specifically designed to make people cry and buy greeting cards.

I was standing in the kitchen making lunch for K and the kids, when I looked outside and saw my beautiful wife playing soccer with our two beautiful kids, and the sun was slanting down on them in just the right way, and of course the bulbs K planted last summer are turning into flowers, and our trees are blossoming right now, and the kids and K all looked so happy and they were laughing with each other.

It's one of those moments that I couldn't have imagined ten years ago. How could I understand how much it means to have a fun-loving wife who enjoys our kids? Or really, how could I imagine having a job that was flexible enough for me to be home for lunch to see this?

Thank God for the blessing of Krista, who makes our house home, encapsulates half of what I love about our kids, makes me a better person and helps me enjoy all the other, lesser blessings of life.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

If you only go to one website this year...

Then it's gotta be this one.

Yes, it's time for some official Burning Hearts Revolution gear. Don't worry, our impressive thinktank of creative thinkers will be working on new and impressive things to add here occasionally, so don't feel bad if you buy all of these at one time and get a sort of lonely feeling afterwards. We'll make more, we promise.

p.s. Despite the popups and hypno-adds, these high-quality tie-in products are meant purely for your laughter-inducing enjoyment and there is no reason that you should feel an actual need to purchase anything.

p.p.s. We have been told, however, that it's very comforting to have a throw pillow with the Revolutionist on it.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Politics on t.v.

Someone on t.v. said that we are now "throwing off the shackles of prefabricated political solutions" which is another way of saying, "I know you don't know what I am saying but you must now agree with me because I am smarter than you."

Go Ralph Nader!

oops. I mean, Mikalatos/Culbertson 2012!

New Devotional

I put up a new devotional on one of my many blogs. Because one blog just isn't enough.

Getting to Know You: Which of the following statements is *not* true about Matt

1. Krista once agreed he could have a pet monkey. (43%)

Believe it or not, Krista once agreed I could have a pet monkey. I couldn't figure out how exactly one gets one, though, at least not before we had kids. And then it just seemed silly to get a monkey because our kids already acted like monkeys. Plus, rabies shots are expensive.

2. He once insulted Sonny Bono to his face. (21%)

True confessions: I was the vice-president of the College Republicans. I met Sonny Bono at a fundraiser. As he left the party I shouted, "Sing 'I want you, babe!'" This, I am sure brought up some bad memories, because he said (not nicely), "Why don't you sing it?" To which I had to honestly reply, "Because I don't know it." Ooops. Score one for the democrats!

3. He almost had a job writing for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". (21%)

This is true. Then I told the person who was getting me the job that Buffy was the "stupidest movie I had ever seen." For some reason she retracted her offer to get me a job.

4. He speaks some: Latin, Spanish, French and Chinese. (4%)

I don't speak any French. Not a lick. Krista is the only one who voted for this one, proving that only she truly knows me. C'est la vie!

5. "Mary Poppins" is one of his favorite movies. (7%)

No, really. I like it.

6. He almost fell off Vernal Falls in Yosemite. (4%)

Yup. In middle school we were taking turns sliding down this one part of the upper river that led to the falls, and I pushed further out into the river so I could go faster. Three guys had to jump on me to keep me from careening to my watery grave. Thanks, guys. I owe you one!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A toast

To the BHR community--

You brilliant, cultured, well-loved Ladies and Gentlemen on seven continents, long may you wave the flag of the revolution!

And now...let us write generous haiku in honor of ourselves. Or limericks. Or, for those of you with nothing to do, Shakespearean sonnets.

More material possessions that make me happier than they have any right to do

our dishwasher
"blackout" shades
my watch (a gift from Krista)
my (homemade) bookshelves
my wedding ring
my Doc Martins
my laptop
my library

Query: Would a blog count as a "material possession"?

Four things that made me happy today

1) One of my bosses from the national team came and hung out today and took my team out to dinner.

2) A new episode of LOST tonight, finally! And it claims it will have a new episode next week!

3) My recycling cart. Wednesdays are garbage night and there truly are very few material possessions that I enjoy more than my recycling cart. It makes my life easier and better. And I bought it from a guy at a garage sale who didn't know what he was doing and sold it for, like, 2 dollars or something.

4) My lovely wife and well-kempt children joined us for dinner. My lovely wife watched LOST with me. My wife appreciates my recycling cart.

check it out

Locations of visitors to this page Andy has one of these on his page, so I thought we would test it out here in a post. Should be fun. It shows little dots to represent each and every one of you.

On Fire!

Our friend John recently wrote about his hatred of static. At first I thought he was insane, but then I came across this news article. So. What should I do with all my wool clothing, that's the real question.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Two Important Facts About Today

1) K and I have a big midterm tonight.

2) Herman of the Zone is coming to stay with us.

Poll results are in (Parenting With Matt 101)

The results of our "Parenting With Matt 101" poll are in. A clear majority said that if their child saw a fat person walking by and said, "Daddy, look at the fat person" their reply would be, "Shhh! Do you want them to eat you?"

A few thoughts. One, it is highly unlikely that a fat person would eat your child. What this does reveal however, are two different and equally important parenting observations. Here they are:

1) Parents lie to children to get their way. Frightening the child into submission is just faster than explaining why we don't say mean (but true) things about the people around us in America. In other countries, of course, it would be completely acceptable to say that a fat person is fat. Anothre example would be my mother telling me that I had to eat the crusts of my bread because "that's where all the vitamins and good things in the bread are." Only as I got older did I realize that this is a complete crock, made up purely so that she didn't have to cut my crusts off my sandwhich.

2) Everything is scary to a parent. Once you have children, the world becomes a frightening world where everything can kill or maim. LOOK OUT! There's a plastic bag on the floor! Don't you know those can suffocate people? Can you believe those electrical sockets with no cover on them? Don't the bars on that lion's cage look a little far apart, I think a child could slip through! Be careful of that fat person, they might eat the baby.

So, thanks for voting. Here are the results of our poll:

Answers Votes Percent
1. Let's try to think of something nice to say. What a lovely shirt that person is wearing. 6%
2. I believe the correct term, my child, is "obese." 4%
3. Yes, and I am balding. And you are short. 14%
4. This is, after all, America. 6%
5. Shhh! Do you want them to eat you? 45%
6. You need to apologize to that fat person right now. 2%
7. I refuse to answer these ridiculous quesions, Mikalatos. I don't have kids. I'm not even married. For crying out loud! Put one of those easy questions about the monkeys back on here. 16%
8. I believe you mean "phat". 6%

Saturday, March 18, 2006

South Park vs. the Scientologists

You may have heard that a re-run of a South Park episode making fun of the Scientologists got pulled at the last moment this week. Isaac "Chef" Hayes has also quit South Park since he is a practicing Scientologist. I am not a big fan of either Scientology or South Park, but you have to admit that the response of the South Park creators to this whole thing is pretty funny. Here it is:

"So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!"
The duo signed the statement "Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu."

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Office

Krista returned from Italy having seen what she said was possibly the funniest single episode of sitcom-type show she had ever seen, called "The Office."

I was confused at first because ALEXIS, who loves the show told me never to watch it. She said I would be disturbed by it, that it was raunchy (but funny) and on and on. So I watched it this week and do you know what? It was funny. And do you know what else? It was clean.

So. Alexis. What is going on here? Am I an old stick-in-the-mud? Do I seem like a fuddy-duddy to you? I started watching LOST on the first episode of the first season, the first night it was on t.v. I am cool. No, seriously, I really am. Don't let the baldness fool you. Why are you trying to keep me from seeing good t.v.? Is it for my health? Or are you just trying to keep all the good jokes for yourself? Hmmmm? Or is there something more sinister at play?

Is this payback because I told you that I don't really like Seinfeld or Friends?

p.s. I don't like "E.R." either. I must shamefully admit, however, to having watched an episode of "Gray's Anatomy" and kind of liking it.

What we did for St. Paddy's Day

We were fortunate enough to be invited over to a real, live Irish family's house for St. Paddy's Day... the O'Brien family. There was green jell-o, shamrock cookies, corned beef and cabbage and a good time was had by all. They had even made cups for us that said, "O'Mikalatos" on them. Fun!

And now a word about the color you wear on this day. First, one of the women who came to the party wore a blue shirt and tried to convince everyone it was green. We all had a good laugh. But since she recently joined the BHR community, I won't say her name. She's pretty funny, though.

I wore orange, because I am a protestant. Catholics wear green. I never knew there were so many Catholics out there!

Anyway, Happy St. Patrick's Day. Kiss an Irishman for luck, and rub a Greek man's belly for good fortune.

Signed,

Matt O'Mikalatos, the happy Irish Greek

SABOTAGE!

Some of you may have noticed some irregularities here at BHR today. You might think that I, the Revolutionist was experimenting with crazy new website nonsense and broke something. But it just ain't so. It was the power-hungry anti-revolutionist people who run things! That's right, it was deliberate sabotage! But don't worry, we'll burn the dirty rats out.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The New Mikalatos Diet

How it Works: Stop eating from the three food groups listed below.

1) Glasses of milk
2) Food that is found on the floor
and
3) Food that is left over from your children

I've lost four pounds!

A special comic strip for all my Calvinist friends out there











Double click on the comic strip to see it "reading size."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A writing update

I said the other day that I had a pending talk with an editor who is looking at one of my short stories. I suspected that he didn't like the new ending, and I was absolutely right. He really, really disliked it. But, on the other hand, he would like to see one more draft. So, in a couple of weeks I will send him another draft. I'll try to make it better!

In the meanwhile, in a bizarre and unprecedented act, I sent a query to a book editor at Bethany House fiction. He's trying to revitalize Christian fiction. So, I sent him a query for the first (and only) novel I ever wrote, "The Hinterlands." It would need heavy editing if he's even interested. Anyway, you can see his website where he answers pretty much everything you need to know about publishing and writing and where he has created a small community which is trying to build strong Christian fiction for the future. It's called Faith*In*Fiction and you can check it out here.

And if you would like to see a quality Christian short story about conversion, check this one out. The story came from a contest on the Faith*In*Fiction website.

What are you doing?


A: We're snails!

Z: We're just slugging around.

At the end of the rainbow you will find...



my house!

Monday, March 13, 2006

What To Do When You Are Torn Between Two Hearts

I can tell how some people come to the BHR. Today I was sad to find someone had found the site by putting "What to do when you are torn between two hearts" in a search engine. I don't imagine they found much here to help them....

Hey kid! Come back! Leave us a message. My readers are sensitive, smart and love to help strangers. Come tell us your troubles and we'll help you find out how to find fulfillment and not be torn between love and love anymore.

Also, we will make you smile, probably with numerous references to monkeys.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Oi

So. MC Hammer has a blog.

Hammertime!

Here are two well-loved poems

Counting Sheep by Russell Edson. Probably the funniest poet alive, with weird, profound insights in his "prose poetry."

God's Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins is everything you could want from a poem. You could read it a hundred times and still enjoy it. Of course he was Catholic.

About William Carlos Williams

Here are two of his most famous poems:

This Is Just To Say

The Red Wheelbarrow

Here are two poems making fun of his two most famous poems:

Variations on a Theme by William Carlos William by Kenneth Koch

The Yellow Goldfish by William Carlos Williams' Cat

About the Trash Can

While you were gone
a massive wind
blew the lid
down the street.

I had to search
for it.

I don’t think
a neighbor
switched it.
Sorry.

Why my kids rule

My Mom (talking about my godsister): So, Miss Joy has a baby growing in her tummy, inside of her. Her tummy is sticking out now because a little baby is inside her tummy.

Z: That means she must be pregnant.

JUSTICE, and why I am not the one in charge

My beautiful wife sends me this missive from her wanderings in Italy:

"Hey Love,
About the trash can...
There was a massive wind storm while you were gone and the lid was blown down the street, I had to search for it. I don't think a neighbor switched it. Sorry.
Love you!
k"

It's almost like a william carlos williams poem, except it cuts like a knife! I'm a better person when Krista is here... she would have explained this to me if she had been here.

Importing Sharks

Scientists are suggesting that Australia needs more sharks imported to beef up the Australian shark population.

In other news, Australians are tying scientists to sides of beef and throwing them into the ocean.

For Fans of the Mouse Fire

Here's the story of a guy who broke his leg kicking a spider.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

JUSTICE, Mikalatos style

So. A while back our neighbors' recycling container and ours were accidentally swapped by the recycling guys. So we ended up with a nasty, yucky one and they ended up with nice clean new ones. No worries, though, totally innocent.

TODAY, however, I was looking at the lid of my 32 gallon green plastic garbage can and realized it was not my trashcan lid. For one thing, the lid is cracked all to pieces. Now, I know my neighbor did not swap them because he has painted the lid of his trashcan sparkly yellow. Which means someone from across the street switched them. Which means that they did it on purpose.

And I know who it was. Do you know how I know? Because those jokers wrote their name on the bottom of it! Ha ha ha! So this next week I am going to type their name into an internet search engine, discover their address and then switch our garbage can covers. Heh heh heh.

The only problem is that this makes me paranoid. I have two of these garbage cans, one of which the handle broke off of, and one of which lost a wheel. Could the whole neighborhood be switching with me? Does that seem right or fair? No, it does not.

And what do I do when these junky garbage cans are completely useless? Do I set them out on garbage day with a note that says, "Please take the cans as well this week?" Do I set them in front of someone else's house? I am just not sure what would be best....

JUSTICE, God style


Slobodan Milosevic was found dead of natural causes in his cell today. A lot of people are upset about this, because they were hoping for justice... meaning that he would be convicted of crimes against humanity and, hopefully, executed. There's no doubt he deserved it. Mass murders, genocide, ethnic cleansing, a war in which rape was a social expectation... and he dies in his cel, apparently of natural causes.

It strikes me that this is the penalty we all face. Milosevic hurt and killed a lot of people, and in the end the worst punishment we could think of was the one God had already decreed for him: death. The same end decreed for me, for you, for all of us. It's just another reminder that we human beings are, all of us, more like than unlike. It's a reminder that Christ's salvation isn't only about being spared from Hell, it's also about salvation in our personal lives, salvation from the destructive presence of sin in our lives here, today.

I've already been tried and found wanting in the greatest court of law in the universe. But the judge has provided another to take my penalty, and I'm in a rehabilitation program now. My hope is to be more like Christ than like Milosevic when my moment comes.

Writing Updates

So... I should be talking with Ryan, the editor at The New Pantagruel either today or tomorrow.

And, last night I sent a new submission to the Christian satire magazine The Wittenburg Door. This morning I had an e-mail from Robert (the head editor of the Door). He had this to say, "Ooo -- SERIOUS satire alert! And very funny, too. I'll submit this to theApril 1 editorial board with a high recommendation, Matt. Good job. Robert"

That sounds promising.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Eavesdropping With Matt (Episode Four)

Dedicated to the old woman who came into Burgerville and out of the snow (yes, it was snowing today), her beehive hairdo wet with melted precipitation, her half-inch-thick spectacles fogged, her elderly husband shuffling in behind her like a confused winter wind.

Bugerville Employee: Ya need windshield wipers on those glasses, doncha?

Old Woman (meticulously removes her glasses in stony silence, rubbing the lenses clear with a handkerchief with a slow and practiced hand, puts them on again, looks to the employee, looks to the menu, all without speaking or acknowledging the presence of anyone anywhere): I would like a hamburger.

Countries I Talked To Today

Venezeula (four times)
Croatia (one time)
United States of America (five times)
Italy (one time)

Just so you know, best phone call was from Italy, because it was Krista.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A young man's opportunity


What is this mysterious organization? Could it be Campus Crusade for Christ, "A young man's opportunity for work, play, study and health"?

If so, where is my axe thingy? And my blue jumpsuit and hat?

3 Important Events This Weekend

1) My sisters are coming to visit. It is their 30th birthday, can you imagine that? We are going to hang out, eat meals and cakes, give gifts and have a grand old time.

2) I will talk again with my editor friend at the New Pantagruel about the newest draft of my short story. I think maybe he did not like the new ending, as he wrote to tell me he had some questions. But if he still wants it I will re-write that sucker until it looks like Tolstoy.

3) Saturday.

Lord Of War


I have this tradition that when K is out of town, I rent movies that she would not want to watch with me. A lot of times what this means is that I end up watching a lot of garbage while she is gone. She's really altered my taste in films, to be honest. I just don't have patience for a lot of the movies that I used to like.

So. "Lord of War" with Nic Cage (and, as it turns out, Ethan Hawke) was actually pretty good. It's the story of a Ukranian-American who discovers he is very talented at selling guns, goes into business and becomes an arms dealer. It's well written and the acting is great. It's amazing how Nic Cage can take a completely detestable human being and keep him just engaging enough for you to want to see what happens.

The strengths of this movie all come out when it is addressing human nature and the depravity of people. The lies, the violence, the greed, and Nic Cage's character's complete inability to have normal human relationships, Ethan Hawke as the lawman who knows Cage is evil but won't break the law to bring him down, Jared Leto as the brother who self-medicates to dull the pain and suffering he sees in the world.

The movie weakens when it takes a didactic route to shove its message down your throat (believe it or not, the message is: Guns are bad and your government is a bigger arms dealer than any individual dealer out there). There are a couple places (the beginning montage that follows "the life of a bullet" from manufacture to murder, the completely unneccessary filmmaker's editorial titles at the end of the film) where the passionate anti-war message gets in the way of the movie. I think, in fact, that the movie would be a better propaganda piece if you dropped the preaching and stuck to the story. In some ways, honestly, it reminded me of a Christian movie: "And now, we will come out and explain everything about the movie to you and tell you, your life doesn't have to be screwed up like Nic Cage's life...." It's nice to see that we haven't cornered the market on didactic film making.

Overall, I enjoyed the film. Lots of good lines, good insights into human nature, African despots, families, bizarre anti-social behavior and one strand of story, at least, where we see some redemption, or at least righteousness. And, of course, we see that living a life of sin is its own hell.

WARNING: I liked the movie pretty well. But there is a reason that K wouldn't watch it, my friends. It gets an "R" rating for violence, cursing, drug use and some inappropriate sexual relationships.

Tomorrow night: Another movie about Africa. Another movie with guns. "The Constant Gardener."

*&^%@#$!

I am not sure why an assembly of symbols is meant to convey cursing. I am not actually cursing, but I thought I would put those symbols in place because LOST WAS A RERUN AGAIN THIS WEEK! That is not right. And it was a first season rerun, too. Oh well.

On the positive side I had a very pleasant phone call with my buddy Chris instead of watching the rerun of LOST.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I can't sleep

I can't sleep when my wife is gone. But I can blog just fine.

Italia


My beloved received me home yesterday only to hop on a plane for Italy today. She's off on a shepherding trip to see our gang ministering there.

A friend said, "You guys sure love to travel."

Well. I guess. Mostly we love to do ministry and do what God asks us to do. And this is part of that. I honestly could do with less travel. But this is what he is asking of us right now.

In the meantime, I am hearing a lot of crying from the kids about how lonely they are without mommy. Z told me today that "Every noise reminds me that mommy is gone." Little A couldn't fall asleep until she came and crashed on the couch next to me.

Christians and politics


Here's a little interchange between Billy Graham and Larry King from their interview last December:

KING: What do you make of the Christian conservatives involvement in politics?

GRAHAM: I think they have every right to be involved. I'm trying to stay out of politics. And I have been queried quite a bit lately, why I don't take stands on certain issues. I just feel that my issue is the Gospel of Christ, that God loves you and that God is willing to forgive you. Put your trust in him. And I think that's my message. And if I get off on these other things it divides the audience.

Blame Kelley for this one


Kelley wrote about this and asked for my thoughts. So you can blame her. I had no idea about it until just now.

Apparently there's an organization called Christian Exodus which is encouraging Christians to move to South Carolina to take over the government (through legal means). At which point they will cause the government to give them their rights as a State or secede.

My thoughts. Hmmm.

Well, my first thought was that this is a joke website, like Dog Island, which I like a great deal. It's enough to make me smile just to go visit. But the more links I started clicking on and attached blogs I started to see I couldn't figure out how anyone would have the time to make a joke website so extensive. Also, it is only marginally funny before it becomes, well, quite frankly, a little pathetic.

Anytime Christians start thinking that politics is the answer to world transformation I just feel sad. And when they add to that thought the concept that cutting themselves off from the evil pagans somehow helps things, I am just speechless.

Okay, folks, put your seatbelts on, because I have a surprise for you. The most political thing that Jesus said during his "earthly ministry" was to pay your taxes. It's not like the Roman occupationist government was a godly, loving government, either. They had slavery. They used crucifixion as a punishment for thieves, runaway slaves and political dissidents. They wore skirts.

Still, we don't see Jesus gathering a big crowd, standing up and saying, "Hey! I have one important message for you! Everybody pack your bags! We're all moving to Joppa, taking over the city council and kicking out the Romans!" Hoooraaaaay! Shouts of acclaim from the crowd! Much rejoicing!

Don't get me wrong. God cares about politics. He does. And one day he is going to take over the government and rule as King, which will be awesome. But the thing he seems most concerned about when he addresses various governments is whether or not they are just and righteous, whether they care for the poor and widows, whether the people are faithful to their spouses and so on. I don't think that Christian Exodus' desire to do away with the law that forces emergency rooms to treat people with no money fits in. I don't think that what the US really needs is a bunch of hospital waiting rooms full of impoverished dead people.

Why didn't Jesus make more political comments? Well, look at what he did talk about. He talked about transformation through personal relationship with him. He talked about love for God and your neighbors. He talked about entering the Kingdom of God. You want to change the world? Then share the good news. You want to see our society changed? Then start living like Christ matters, and teach other people to do it. You want to see the hearts of people changed, you want to see abortion and slavery abolished and every person working their hardest and private individuals taking care of the impoverished instead of the government doing it? Well, it's not going to happen through legislation, friend. Good luck. Go read about Prohibition. Societal transformation cannot come without personal revolution. Personal revolution can only come from the Holy Spirit. End of story.

NOTE: I just want to say that should the good Lord choose to bring judgment on the good people of South Carolina by allowing Christian Exodus' plans to come to fruition, I would much rather live on Dog Island.

NOTE (2): I would rather not live in South Carolina regardless of who is in charge.

NOTE (3): I am running for President of the United States in 2012. If someone could get started making bumper stickers I would sure appreciate it.

A Public Thanks to the CCC national team

Many thanks to the CCC national campus team, which gifted me with a $15 gift certificate to Amazon.com, which I then used to buy:

A History of the African-American People (Proposed) by Strom Thurmond, as told to Percival Everett & James Kincaid

Story Quarterly (40)

Ultimate Prizes by Susan Howatch

So, I'll be reading these lovely books pretty soon! Sweet!

Dan Brown, defender of the faith

You may know Dan Brown, the author of "The DaVinci Code". The plot is built partly around the idea of a conspiracy to hide the "fact" that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and that their children form a sort of royal bloodline. Of course Christians all over have been offended and angry about this best selling novel (which of course they had to buy and read, I am sure).

Well, now Dan is being sued for plagiarism. He's been unsuccessfully sued once before for the same thing. It looks like a pretty weak suit. But in recent interviews he said, "Suggesting a married Jesus is one thing, but questioning the Resurrection undermines the very heart of Christian belief." It turns out he considers himself a committed Christian. I think he clearly doesn't understand what that means. But I thought that was an ironic quote that I would like to pass on to all of you.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

FIREWALL

And so, three of us set out to go to "Firewall", the new Harrison Ford movie.

This was a terrible movie. It was incoherent, badly written, implausible, and too many of the suspense scenes involved Harrison Ford typing on a computer keyboard. There were unnecessary scenes of torture, many of them involving the poor audience members. Harrison Ford is getting old. His only chance left is Indiana Jones IV. Or Star Wars VII. Or Witness II.

Question: When was the last good Harrison Ford movie?

South Carolina

If you've been wondering why I don't reply to your e-mails, answer your phone calls or return your post cards, it's because I am in South Carolina. I'm here at our national leadership conference. There are a lot of good things about the national leadership conference, but abundant time to spend on the internet or on the phone is not one of them. I have, however, had Matt O'Brien explain tournament poker to me, and have actually made it to one movie. You can see the review above.

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