Friday, October 06, 2006

Pop Culture Roundup

I've finally crawled out of my book slump and found some reading that speaks to what got me to give it up for a while. I'd heard some really positive things about The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne, which is not a true autobiography but does recount portions of his Christian experience as he seeks to return to what Jesus truly asks of us. He calls himself an "ordinary radical," and parses out the term so we know what he means: "ordinary" as in not special, and "radical" is getting to the root of something's meaning. So here is a guy, not special, trying to live the root of Jesus' message. I picked up a book a while back by Erwin McManus called The Barbarian Way and from the back cover thought that it would be what Claiborne is describing. Where McManus gives a handful of analogies, likening raw Christianity to jetskiing and other Xtreme activities because of how risky they are, Claiborne organizes hundreds of college kids to go down and sit with 40 homeless families to keep them from being evicted from an old church. He hung out with Mother Teresa and took a trip to Iraq to meet victims of "collateral damage." By miles, Claiborne's book seems more authentic and truly more risky. Sure, jetskiiing can hurt you, but what does that really have to do with Christianity the way living with the poor does? Which is truly the Barbarian way? You don't even need to read the whole thing...just read Chapter 6. That'll be enough to stab you in the heart.

I made Mrs. Jeff watch Sneakers the other day. I couldn't believe she hadn't seen it, and I couldn't believe I'd forgotten what a good movie it is. It has wit and charm and a very recognizable cast. "Is that Johnny Depp?" "No, that's River Phoenix." "Huh." Yeah, huh. The plot is kind of a low-tech "the government wants to spy on us/computers are evil/elaborate break-in" hybrid, which is really secondary to the character interaction and the secrets they keep from each other.

Of course, I've been watching the Tigers this week. Well, the way ESPN and plays it, I've been watching the Yankees and Let's Watch Jeter's Highlight Reel Again During the Rain Delay and Talk Endlessly About How Great He Is Show. The headline on FoxSports after the Tigers tied the series yesterday: "Reign Delay." Nope, no bias to be seen. I get that everyone thinks that the Murderer's Row [stuff] eclipses the Tigers' Magical Season at this point, but New York media could work a little harder to pretend it's not New York media.

No one CD stands out this week. I've been listening to some Gov't Mule, Gomez, KT Tunstall, and I just remembered that a new Decemberists album came out on Tuesday.

Around the web, check out this church flyer. I laughed out loud at how oblivious it is.