Showing posts from November, 2012

Pop Culture Roundup

I finished Boneshaker this week, which means I can now move on to the next book in the series. From what I can tell, the series isn't a bunch of sequels so much as a collection of stories that happen in the same universe. I like that. I look forward to reading more.

We watched The Avengers the other week, the movie that many other movies have been building toward for years. Thor's brother Loki is conspiring to bring an army from another world to start a war on earth, so Nick Fury has to gather his newly formed team to stop him. The film was written and directed by Joss Whedon, so they couldn't go wrong on that front. Besides that, the effects were good and the actors had good didn't seem like it was a bunch of stars thrown together to make a summer blockbuster. At its heart it is a big silly action movie; with so many characters there isn't a whole lot of time to delve into subplots too deeply. The closest we get is Bruce Banner's hesitancy to b…

Programming Notes

I just wanted to give a heads-up as to what you'll find here between now and the end of the year, because I like doing that sometimes.

First, with Advent fast approaching, you'll be able to find a series of Advent-based reflections the beginning of each week during that season. I suppose that it's become part of my own discipline in observing this time of year.

And then comes the Year-End Pop Culture Roundup, in which I look back at the books, movies, TV shows, and music that I've experienced over the course of the year and name my favorites. I always enjoy putting this together.

I also have a few more book reviews to post. But I've been a little back-logged with those, so it'll take a little more time. Please no one from Speakeasy kick me out.

All that, and tune in to see whether I can resist posting some lame "looking back on the year that was/looking forward to the new year" thing.

And...that's pretty much it. Thanks for reading.

The Way of Things

In death and in grief, we do not so much need protection from painful experience as we need the boldness to face it. If we choose love, we must also have the courage to grieve. - Roy M. Oswald, Running Through the Thistles

On November 17th, Michigan played its last home game of 2012. Their season had a few more games to play, namely the annual showdown with Ohio State and the eventual bowl game they'd already secured for themselves, details to be announced.

The game itself wasn't really notable or headline-grabbing. They played a hapless Iowa team that had experienced an incredible amount of bad luck with injuries and was perhaps just trying to get to the offseason and begin thinking about next year. The bigger story was that it was Senior Day: a chance to recognize and say thank you to the graduating class as they took the field at the Big House one last time.

Atop the list of seniors to be recognized was one Denard Robinson, arguably one of the most exciting players ever to …

Now Thank We All Our God

Have a blessed Thanksgiving. Do your best to block out the Black Friday stuff and take time to give thanks.

Small Sips Admires The Cake Centerpiece

The Good Ol' Days. Jan at A Church for Starving Artists notes the necessity for evolution in the church:
The Church is slow at evolving.It used to be true that church women’s groups were formed as an outlet to promote the leadership and gifts of women because those women could not serve as official leaders of the church.  But today, most church boards (in congregations that allow the ordination of women) are predominantly female.   Note:  A very nice church lady once came to my office years ago complaining that “all the women leaders” were coming elders now so how was she supposed to get Circle Leaders?It used to be true that pews were created to seat worshippers in a way that made sense.  But now I see pastors with screwdrivers lurking around the sanctuary wondering . . .It used to be true that Pastors stood in pulpits to preach both for symbolism and acoustics.  But now, some pastors find it more intimate and authentic to step away from the pulpit.We can expect all the cool thing…

Pop Culture Roundup

I recently read The Silent Years by Alan W.C. Green, the review of which you can read here.

I'm still reading Boneshaker. Set during the Civil War, Seattle has been walled off after a drilling disaster that unleashed some kind of toxic gas into the air, which causes death and reanimation. Unfortunately for a few characters, they have no choice but to go into the city for various reasons. This has been an engrossing book so far, but I haven't been able to sit down and read it as much as I'd like due to, you know, "real life." It's books like these that make me yearn for the days when I'd rock Coffeeson for 2-3 hours at a time during his nap.

We watched The Change-Up last week, starring Jason Bateman as lawyer and family man Dave, and Ryan Reynolds as perpetual slacker and ladies' man Mitch. The two go out for a night, telling each other about what they envy about each other's lives. They end up drunkenly peeing in a fountain and wish for the other…

Book Review: The Silent Years by Alan W.C. Green

It's not a terribly new or original thing to attempt to envision what Jesus' life was like before he began his public ministry. Before describing this 1- to 3-year period where he begins teaching, healing, and scandalizing the establishment leading to his death, the Gospels only provide a few fantastic infancy accounts and one episode as a 12-year-old during a visit to Jerusalem. The rest is left up to imaginative questioning: How did he discover his identity or his sense of call? What was life like for him growing up?

As mentioned, trying to answer questions like these is not a new idea. Dating back to the first few centuries of the church, there are non-canonical accounts of Jesus as a boy such as the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, which feature Jesus discovering and using his powers in selfish and reckless ways like an X-Men Origins story. In more modern times, popular authors such as Anne Rice have made their own attempts at such storytelling, and Mel Gibson added a few imagin…

Vintage CC: Darren

I know that I've re-posted this entry from February 2008 once before, but this Saturday is the 10-year anniversary and so I'm doing it again.

While I was in college, I joined a fraternity. A lot of people who have never been in a fraternity or sorority wonder what possibly could have possessed me to do such a thing. In fact, I surprised myself the day I seriously began considering it. My experience of this consideration happened because two members lived across the hall from me my freshman year, I’d come to know a few others through my involvement with the Athletic Band and a few others through campus ministries. Essentially, I started relationships with a lot of the guys before I pledged, and as a result going through the process became a real possibility after a while. I got to know them first, and wound up pledging because of that.

That isn’t the full explanation, but it chiefly boils down to relationships that I had beforehand. That still isn’t enough for some, but I can&#…

Small Sips Is In a Bunker Until November 7

Old church, new church. Jan reflects on a generational shift that she sees in churches she works with: I remember in serving my last church that it was very much like serving two different congregations. There was the church that expected ministry from me like the ministry they had experienced for the majority of their lives. And there was the church for people who had been hurt by the church, had never been part of the church, and who would never walk through the door of a traditional church. Today serving in a Middle Judicatory (in my case a Presbytery), I serve two sets of pastors and two sets of churches. There are the churches who want a pastor who preaches, teaches, baptizes, buries, and visits the sick. And there are pastors who know how to do this, both with and without enthusiasm.  And then there are the (rare) churches who want a pastor to lead them into the 21st Century, to equip them to be ministers, to teach them not so that they are smarter but so their faith is deep…

Pop Culture Roundup

I've found myself greatly interested in the steampunk genre and subculture lately, which is totally the fault of the blog Steampunk Theology. I even had good intentions of putting together a steampunk costume for Halloween, but then I saw how much steampunk clothing costs on the internet, resolved to put together my own costume instead, realized how long such a piecemeal effort may take, and decided I'd work toward having something finished by next Halloween. In the meantime, I happened upon the Clockwork Century book series, which features steampunk...AND ZOMBIES. *head explodes* Upon such a wonderful discovery, I fired up my long-dormant Kindle and downloaded the first in the series, Boneshaker. I'm not too far into it at this point, but it's been pretty enjoyable nonetheless.

I finally made it through the first season of The Walking Dead. Other fans of the show will respond, "It's only six episodes. What took you long?" Yeah, I know. This first season…

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