Friday, April 02, 2004

I've declared it unofficial Cat Day, so I posted pictures

Posted some new pictures over at The Fotolog; mostly pictures of my cat.

Gateway to Close All Retail Stores

As a Gateway fan, I am sad. The loss of the stores is a bummer, but hopefully the new guy--Wayne Inouye (who turned eMachines around)--will make business decisions in keeping with the quality of the product.

Computer maker Gateway Inc. announced Thursday that it will shutter all of its stores next week, eliminating nearly 40 percent of its work force in a move aimed at breaking out of a three-year slump.

Read the whole article here.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004


I am just me. I am not nationally/internationally known like Brian McLaren or Rick Warren. When I went to EC04 in San Diego, no one asked me to have my own “personality cohort.” I’m just me: volunteer (“unpaid staff”) college director of a local church, M.Div. student who works fulltime. I step into the fray only as myself. Take my thoughts or leave them. Leave your comments, or don’t. Anyhow, here’s my two cents on the Passion of the Christ.

I write this on the backside of College Bible Study at TFB. I say this only because of the comments that were made last night concerning The Passion. One student doesn’t care to see it. Another was unmoved by the movie as gospel, though the film-craft was impressive. General consensus was concern over what happens when Jesus becomes a Pop Icon. Mix into this the three week small group series from Purpose Driven Church, and you have a picture of the internal conflict within me.

Like the student, I too was mostly unmoved by the movie. I walked out thinking, “Hmmm.” I too do not see it as “possibly the greatest outreach opportunity in 2000 years.” (Excuse me for saying so, Mr. Promotion-Video-Producer, but the church was, is, and remains the greatest outreach opportunity in 2000 years--and before that it was the nation of Israel!) But that’s not the main issue for me. The main issue is that American evangelicals are missing out on is the fact that this is film—ART. We (collective, not specific) are so determined to morph The Passion into the next Four Spiritual Laws, that we are missing a golden opportunity to begin to learn how to exegete culture. Despite all the effort that went into the “three week small group series,” it entirely misses the real impact: learning how to see the spirituality in our culture and how to speak that language of spirituality.

Now, realize, I do not say all of this as one who knows all about “cultural exegesis.” I’m basically clueless as to the process, but I see the necessity—especially given the rate of change, variety, and mobility in American culture. I need to learn this. Yesterday, I came across Ransom Fellowship. The have a downloadable .pdf called “Probing Questions for Pop Culture” that has four pages of questions that can act as starting points for discussing film. Here’s a few (shortened for space—there’s tons more… four pages, in fact):

What was your initial or immediate reaction to the film?
What is the message(s) of the film, or view of life and the world that is presented in the story as it unfolds?
What is attractive here? To whom? How is it made attractive?
Where do you agree? Where do you disagree?
In what ways were the techniques of film-making (casting, direction, script, music, sets, action, cinematography, lighting, editing, etc.) used to get the film’s message(s) across, or to make the message plausible or compelling?
What other films come to mind as you reflect on this movie? What novels or short stories? What Scriptures?
With whom did you identify in the film? Why?

Thankfully, the curriculum for the three week “Passion” small group has a few questions like this, but they are insufficient. Now, I realize that cultural exegesis is not the purpose of this curriculum. The stated purpose of the curriculum is, “…to help you discover the tremendous hope, love, and forgiveness that is available to you through Jesus Christ” (pg. ii). My first response to that? That purpose is a bit lofty for three weeks, but that’s a whole ‘nuther issue.

I also realize that many church goers are not ready to do in-depth exegesis of any kind. Fine. But let’s get on the road. Baby steps are better that duff-sitting, sponge-producing business-as-usual.

I think the fact that this film was produced and is doing so well tells Christians that people are ready—have been ready for years—to talk about spirituality and truth and Jesus. I have to ask myself, “Where have I been? What have I been talking about? Have I been listening at all?”

I’m no wave-rider, but I know a kick in the head when I feel one.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004


Posted the last of the Emergent fotos and a couple artsy ones of my own over at The Fotolog.

I really need to remember to copy some more to my jumpdrive...

Monday, March 29, 2004


"Bass, 25, said he had no choice but to quit George W. Truett Theological Seminary in December after administrators confronted him about his sexuality and revoked his financial aid."

Regardless of whether or not you agree with Baylor's position on homosexual practice, why should they give money to someone who holds beliefs in conflict with the school. Baylor is a private university that clearly states its position on these issues. The student--if he read the student handbook--knew Baylor's position. So, why did he go there and why is he surprised they took back THEIR money?

Read the article here.