Monday, September 28, 2009

Lord Save Us From Your Followers

I've been hearing about this documentary for about a year now, and I've been excited to see it since. If it came to the NYC area, I missed it, and have to wait.

If you've not heard about this, here's a brief primer:

From Church Marketing Sucks:

Maybe I was afraid it'd be just another apology, maybe I was afraid it would just plain stink, ... but I wasn't so excited going in to it.

But the actual film put any of my worries to rest.

If you're not familiar with the movie, I'll give you a quick synopsis. A pastor from Portland puts on a white suit with tons of religious bumper stickers and magnetic fish, then he heads across the country interviewing people about their perception of Christianity and Christ.

Pastor Dan Merchant does his share of hilarious finger-pointing at mind-numbingly absurd efforts by the church. But even better, he tells the moving stories of churches that are healing wounds, loving the unlovable and truly making a difference.

It's the type of movie that will leave you reflecting on your own faith and positions and challenge you to make changes for the better. And not just that, it's the type of movie you can bring friends to who wouldn't normally step foot into a church. Afterwards, you'll probably have conversations you never thought were possible.

Other interesting perspectives from the blogosphere: From the search, and from Jason Boyett also here,

Check out these two you tube previews here. Some footage overlaps.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Friday Compendium O' Links

I was thinking this week that it seems I am neglecting my regular blogging because of this novelty fad called Friday links. Then I realized I haven't blogged all that much in a while, and even when I did, I didn't have much to say.

My faithful reader (you know who you are NZ-B!) knows that I am never short of something to say, I just don't have a keyboard nearby when my choicest rants come forth.

Anyway, onto the links.

Last week I tried to be organized in some sort of way. Nope, not this week. Takes too much effort.

When they went after the HumVees, I didn’t care because I drove a small car. When they went after bottled water, I didn’t care because I drank tap water. Now they’re going too far!

When I banged my head as a kid, my dad used to put me into a headlock and "rub the bump" down. For all you mallu kids out there, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Well, it turns out he was doing it wrong.

If you want a thought provoking blog on Christianity and Faith, check out Jason Boyett. A while back, he interviewed an athiest. Fascinating. Part 1, Part 2

I'm not sure whom to blame on this one, the photographer or the parents.

Craig's List bucks all trends. It makes money, despite no banner ads. It runs afoul of the law for its risqué ads. And its design is maddenly simple. When you read this list, a mixture of emotions comes back, chief among them, fear. Then there's this utterly fascinating article on the phenom, Craig Newmark, and his genius (?) from Wired. Warning, very long.

Another Jason Boyett link...this time not so serious. Flash mobs! The Japanese, it seems, are experts. After finishing them search for "Improv Anywhere" on youtube. My favorite is the little league baseball game, simply because the kids feel so cool.

A common theme this week seems to be stupid criminals. Here, here, here, here, here and here. The last one is the best.

This link is 2 weeks late. Where were you? I was at work (in Canada), wondering why a coworker was late. All our managers were at a leadership retreat. When he did come in, he told us. The rest of the day was spent trying to find out as much as we could. Weird thing is that our bosses never did find out until they got home.

From the "I Wonder Why That Is?" Dept., seven jurors in the John Gotti, Jr. trial make last-minute appeals to be dismissed. The reasons were not immediately disclosed.

Man shoots hunting partner because he thought he was a squirrel. That's nuts! Ha! Thank you, thank you! I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitress!

Underwear Index Shows Economy Not Bulging Just Yet. (ha!)

Solar panels out of hair? Nope, not an invention by the professor on Gilligan's Island.

Finally, a link to one You Tube artist who publishes "literal videos". Literal videos are music videos where the music depicts what's actually going on. total eclipse of the heart is my favorite

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Friday's Compendium O' Links

A lot of cool and interesting links this week. Hopefully you enjoy.

First, the musical:

They're not being greedy, no, not at all.

Apparently Bollywood music is ubiquitious.

Vampire weekend 2.0 is coming!

Next the faithical:

Kathleen Sebelius, former governor of Kansas, talks frankly about the Catholic Church denying her communion for her views on abortion.

Fascinating story on prayer and how to pray; no not from Christianity Today, but from the NY Times.

Since this is Ramadan, an interesting photo blog on 30 mosques in 30 days.

On to the animal
(OK the 2nd one should probably go in the musical section, but I need another...shoot me!)

Scientists have determined that a mythical eagle in New Zealand did, in fact, exist and have named it the "Haast Eagle." The eagle weighed over 40 pounds and had powerful enough talons to kill a human. The bird is extinct, and we know we're supposed to be sad about that but ...

In the bird bird music video.

Doubtless, you think you have seen all the email forwards about optical illusions. I did too.

Finally the humorous, cool links:

How to win at scrabble.

Oh, those olden days ways were a special time, when wives used to demonstrate the power of bulletproof glass.

Crazy strong hair.

The health care debate is important—but it pales in comparison to the age-old "Pirates vs. Ninjas" question. Fortunately, Wired UK has taken this debate head on. For the record, ninjas would totally beat pirates in a fair fight ...

What not to do in the background of a cool Obama pic.

What not to do to geeks.

Be NASA for $150.

Weekly dose of cardiac arrest.

My favorite link of the week! As the poster says, the look at 00:32 is awesome.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday's Compendium O' Links

I thought last Friday was my first foray in to the world of Friday linking. But it turns out that I was there one month ago, and didn't realize it. Oh well.

Anyway, onto the links:

Be scared, be very, very scared--rodents of unusual size do exist. Also, here, here and here.

Staying with the animal theme, is your internet connection faster than a pigeon?

From the "I never realized that" department comes this revelation.

If you ever wondered about the mathematics of grocery lines and how to prove the express lanes were not really express, well, wonder no longer. Or you can simply rely on intuition.

Another geeky math link regarding the mathematics of urinal usage. From the genius that is XKCD.

Awesome review of Will Smith Movie

Continuing the awesome theme, the awesomest fight scene evah, and the awesomest song evah!.

Now onto the interesting stuff:

A photo essay 8 years after 9-11. Today is 9-11. Where were you? If you want to relive the day, check out this live thread at FreeRepublic, people posting as news developed.

On the 9-11 theme, an image from space.

More images from space.

A rescuer meets with those he saved, who were recreating their escape.

An artist's rendition of what Manhattan would have looked like a few years ago.

The mad kings of clutter. I don't feel so bad about my pack-rat-edness anymore.

Very cool: Toothpick city

From Dubious: Why are tortilla chips so good? Also known as they're getting paid to study what, now?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Deluxe! Jesus Action figure!

My brother-in-law saw this (click on pic for larger view) on a recent trip to the great white north, and snapped a picture of it. Unfortunately, the price got cut off, but it's $45.99! A real bargain, if you ask me, especially since it's got glow in the dark hands!

Edit: I saw the brand name on the top right of the packaging, and after some quick googling, I found their web site. I can't say much more. The web site speaks for itself, unfortunately.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Links

Other blogs that I read have this "Interesting Links on Friday" gimmick, so I thought I'd copy. When in Rome...

So, here we go:

A fascinating article from the New Yorker Magazine talking about a wrongfully convicted man who was ultimately executed for the crime. Warning: very long and sad.

Another long article, this time from Rolling Stone Magazine, about a deaf, dumb and blind kid, sure plays a mean phone scam.

Cool video of fish shooting bugs in a barrel.

Other cool science videos. Warning. Could spend a long time here.

Kinda funny, kinda depressing.

Yes, this is an actual commercial.

Deep Fried Butter? Seriously?

Mario Cart the Movie...only if.

A five pound gummi bear. [Gummi bears, jumping here and there and everywhere, high adventure that's beyond compare, these are the gummi bears.--is it shameful that I rmeember that?]

After the disasters that were Transformers 2 and G.I. Joe, Where the Wild Things Are (one of my favorite books of my childhood) is my most anticipated movie of the year. Trailers here, and cool article here. The soundtracksounds awesome also.

The following four are all from one of the aforementioned Friday links blogs. All very cool:

For children of the eighties and lego fans everywhere. An 8-bit Trip.

What's on earth tonight

ToTo Africa as interpreted by a Slovenian Choir. And just for fun, Toto Africa as interpreted by Jeffster [from the awesomest show on TV right now].

Who knew NBA statistics were so subjective?

Hope you enjoyed.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Been reading the book of Hosea lately--fascinating book. Been having a jumble of thoughts regarding the illustrations and the events that give us the illustrations.

If there's anyone who can say "Why, God?", it's Hosea. Imagine marrying a prostitute, knowing that she's unfaithful, knowing that everyone knows that she's unfaithful. What kind of love must you have to love her? But as you think about it, this is exactly the point of the book.

Also, imagine naming your kids "Not Loved" and "Not my people". The latter one--wouldn't people assume that, given the nature of your wife, that you don't know the parentage of the kid? As I read the chapter, it never says that kids #2 and #3 are Hosea's. (But it doesn't say that they aren't either).

I searched RZIM's Slice of Infinity website and found this old slice:

I believe one of the most profound poems ever written was penned by an Englishman named Frances Thompson. Thompson was a genius, but he became a drug addict and was on the run for many years of his life. Towards the later part of his life he wrote that magnificent masterpiece he called "The Hound of Heaven." The poem describes God as a persistent hound who, with loving feet, follows and follows until he catches up with this person who is trying to run and flee from him. He writes,

"I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after."

As the poem comes to an end, Thompson depicts the persistent cry of God to the one who flees his presence, the one He pursues to the end:

"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me."

With the wisdom of one who had found himself chased after, Thompson notes the heart of God and the contradiction of man. We run away, fearful that if we have God, we might have nothing else beside. And God says, "You were weak and blind and miserable when you were driving me away, because you were actually driving love away from you. It is Me you seek."

The life and ministry of the prophet Hosea is a fascinating, mystifying look at the love of God and man’s readiness to push that love away. His message will send a deep ray of hope into our hearts if we listen carefully. Hosea was a prophet called by God to marry Gomer, a harlot who continually left the loving home Hosea had provided to return to her life of prostitution. We can almost hear the whispers among the people to whom Hosea faithfully preached, until someone is brave enough to ask: "Hosea, can you tell us how it is you continue to love this woman, a woman who has so betrayed you and repeatedly abandoned her commitment to you? How can a holy man of God like you be joined to a woman such as this?" And Hosea says, "I will be delighted to answer your question if you will first answer a question of mine. How can a holy God like this love such a harlotrous people like us?"

The first thing about the nature of God's relationship with us is that He gives to us a love that we do not deserve. We do not merit it. But not only is the love of God unmerited; it is also a love that grows and is sustained by relationship. The longer we walk with Him, the more we understand how glorious this love is.

Through the prophet Hosea, God spoke graphically to a nation running from his presence. As individuals, He chases after us, woos us into his arms, pays the price to buy us back, cleans us up, and brings us home. Through his Son, God has reached out his arms to pay the price for our sin, to offer us new life, to give us fresh hope and meaning. Let us come to the cross as we are: sinners needing mercy, children desiring love, souls sick of running through our nights and days and ready to follow the One who ordains them.