Friday, October 01, 2010

Pop Culture Roundup

I just started a book called The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield. The book is about pretty much what you think it's about: the history of Guinness, and how faith has been interwoven with it. Mansfield first gives a history of beer in general, and highlights its role in religion since its discovery/invention. Ancient religions such as those of the Babylonians and Egyptians used it in rituals. The Pilgrims and Puritans (the PURITANS) brought it with them, and a brewery was one of the first things they built, part of the reasoning being that beer was cleaner and better for you than water. Catholic religious orders produced and sold it; Martin Luther and John Calvin (JOHN CALVIN) loved it; St. Francis used it as an evangelism tool.

I've been trying to start a discussion group in a pub through my church, and have encountered some natural wariness about such a venture. I think I'll share this paragraph with people:
Luther spent much of his life in the taverns of Wittenberg and not just because he loved to drink beer. He often mentored his students there, studied there, met important visitors there, and, upon occasion, even taught classes there. The time he spent in taverns and inns gave him a chance to look out onto the world as it was in his day, to experience and to observe. He surely chatted with prostitutes, helped carry drunks out the fair door, and may have mediated more than his fair share of spats between tipsy husbands and wives. The tavern was where Luther learned of the world he was called to reform with the gospel of Christ.
We watched Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant this week, starring John C. Reilly as Crepsley, a vampire who performs with a cirque of freaks that includes Salma Hayek as a bearded lady, Orlando Jones as...I don't know how to describe it, Patrick Fugit as a snakeboy, and Ken Watanabe as a really tall guy. Two kids, Darren and Steve, go to see their show one night, one thing leads to another, and Darren needs to become a vampire as well in order to save Steve from a deadly spider bite. Steve becomes extremely jealous of Darren's transformation, and eventually becomes one himself through a vampire clan who hates Crepsley's kind. See, there are two kinds of vampires in Cirque Du Freak: those who kill the people they feed on, and those who don't. And apparently the ones who do really hate the ones who don't, like how fundamentalists hate non-fundamentalists for not sharing their militant views. So yeah, they get in some fights. I didn't really care for this movie, mostly due to bad acting and bad camera shots and angles. Plus the story seemed rushed, not that I'd have wanted to sit through anything longer.

We watched Ghost Hunters this past week, as we always do. This week's episode was at the Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, which got Coffeewife and I really excited. The Lemp Mansion has been named one of the most haunted places in America...when I was in seminary, the two of us went with a group of friends to take a ghost tour there. We experienced a "heavy feeling" in the front room, a pamphlet flying off a display with no breeze, a disembodied sigh. TAPS wasn't really able to catch too much with their equipment, but they did experience a couple things. The coolest one happened with Jay and Grant in separate rooms: Jay made two requests to have a word whispered in Grant's ear, and whatever ghost they were dealing with obliged both times. It was pretty cool regardless, but that it was at a place we've hoped to see them investigate, and at which we actually experienced stuff ourselves, made it even better.

Fall always gets me a little sentimental about my seminary days. The Ghost Hunters episode did a little of that as well. So here are a couple songs that provided the soundtrack for my first year:

Gorillaz - Clint Eastwood:

kenna - hell bent:

Alien Ant Farm - Smooth Criminal: