Friday, January 30, 2009

Look what Mel Gibson went and started...

Yesterday was my Love's birthday. The day is always one of my favorite because she still genuinely gets excited about her anniversary of another trip around the sun...just one of the many things I love about my wife.

One of her two presents this year was the newly released Fireproof DVD, and since her b-day this year coincided with our weekly Thursday 'date night' (and Grey's Anatomy wasn't new), we piled onto the couch and started spinning the disk.

Wow. This is a great movie! Okay, I'll admit I eased reluctantly into watching this and made more than one crack about the less-than-stellar acting, but by the end of the flick...yep...I was streaming tears and rejoicing. Hey, I double dog dare you to watch this movie and not weep at least a little. Can't be done.

If you're married, watch this movie with your spouse (even if it requires a guilt trip to get him to do so...aaahhhemmm). If you are engaged to be married, watch this with your fiance. If you are dating...well...just watch it people!

Don't get wrapped around the acting of the mostly volunteer cast. At the heart of this ministry film by Sherwood Pictures (same people who made Facing the Giants) is a fantastic story about what really makes any relationship work. I'm not going to get into the plot or storyline because I want you to WATCH THE MOVIE!

It so pleases me to see a small budget ($500,000) Christian film succeed. The day before the DVD released, the film had a domestic gross over $33 million. God is truly blessing a wonderful ministry not afraid to take on the secular film industry. Last will not regret watching this movie.

And just so you don't think I'm a cheap skate...her other present was jewelry.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Upcoming...the Month of Love

I enjoy trying to come up with quirky titles for post. Truth probably entertains me more than you.

So if for my entertainment alone, all post in February will be song titles. Now I've confessed before that I'm a classic rock kinda guy. Yes, yes I know it's a vice, and I limit my consumption to occasionally the office, sometimes the commute and rarely the iPod. I avoid tracks that have been known to contain Satanic messages when played backwards like Stairway to Heaven and songs by the Beatles, ELO and Styx...and by the way, back masking was never proven on Styx! Hey, I'm a drummer...that should help you understand my love of rock music.

So, you may see a disproportionate amount of 60's, 70's and 80's songs, but after all, those were my glory years...I think.

Anyway, let's have fun and be sure to give me a little feedback or suggest a better song title that you think matches the post content. Rock and Roll Hootchie Coo!

Monday, January 26, 2009

If I had a dime everytime I've heard that...

I'm going to get off New Agers today (but don't worry, I'll be back) and revisit the economic crises we seem to be amidst. Specifically, let's talk federal budget deficit...again.

While reading through several articles this weekend concerning recent job loss news, more stimulus plans and a swelling budget deficit, I came across one article in particular that made me stop and, that is really scary!

President Obama has already warned - "Potentially we've got trillion-dollar deficits for years to come, even with the economic recovery that we are working on."

Trillions...years. Actually Mr. President, most analyst predict $1.2 trillion in 2009, but what's a couple of hundred billion here and there? What made my brain lock up like Windows Vista trying to multi-task, however, was the staggering analogy used to demonstrate what a trillion dollars looks like in terms we can all relate. Apparently, our minds just can't wrap around the concept of very, very large numbers. After all, it takes the same amount of time to write 1 million dollars, 1 billion dollars and 1 trillion dollars. Most people look at $1,000,000,000 when written out and initially proclaim it to be a trillion dollars. But the extra three 0's they're missing make a world of difference...and about 430 lifetimes.

David Schwartz, a children's book author whose How Much Is a Million? tries to wrap young minds around the concept- "One million seconds comes out to be about 11½ days. A billion seconds is 32 years. And a trillion seconds is 32,000 years. I like to say that I have a pretty good idea what I'll be doing a million seconds from now, no idea what I'll be doing a billion seconds from now, and an excellent idea of what I'll be doing a trillion seconds from now."

You think?

Now that you've rebooted, let's look at how the $1 trillion gets spinned by the people doing the spending. According to the Office of Budget and Management, $1 trillion divided by the 300 million people in the United States comes to $3,333 per person. Well...yes there is $99 million missing from this governmental equation...but they can't worry about amounts under $1 billion (someone needs to pass that memo to the IRS). Since the average person in our country carries a credit card balance of $3245, government debt is very similar to what the average person is doing.

Here's another good one but pertaining to the bailout. The $700 billion bailout translates into $45 per week for each American man, woman and child. Going one step further, it comes out to $6 a day. Six dollars a day is also 25 cents an hour, or less than half a penny a minute. Would you be willing to pay less than half a penny a minute to save our economy?

Well...okay... that doesn't sound too bad...but, my 1 year old and 13 year old are going to be pretty ticked when they get their $3,333 bill AND we take their credit cards away.

So much for a happy 2009.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Mothership hears you...

I'm a little behind my normal posting schedule this week. It's not because I don't have anything to comment about...fact is...I have too much on my mind to muse.

My last post (well, before the Bee Gee's video) resulted in a myriad of emails from people who apparently don't want to post a response on this blog but still want to make sure I know their sentiment. I'm okay with that...or I wouldn't post an email link. I usually get a couple of emails from impious readers after a posting that specifically denotes my befuddled understanding of atheistic ideology ( that an oxymoron?). I'm okay with that also. I enjoy the more private exchange of ideas and beliefs.

But, little did I know the energy surrounding the New Age! I received 16 emails from 13 different readers (none regular followers of my blog), and I can't help but wonder how that happens. Is there a New Ager hotline? Phone tree? Signalling light? I just don't get it. I encouraged each one to participate in an open dialogue and promised to moderate justly. The common response, if I received one at all, was Tony C Today is predicated on a religious, conservative viewpoint, and thus my blog attracts like readers...the old 'birds of a feather' retort.

So Child of Aquarius, how did you find my blog? I've yet to get an answer!

Actually, how the holistic dialed in to my blog isn't really important. What chafes me is the patronizing manner in which most of the emails write off the conservative Christian view as 'ignorant', 'close-minded', and 'prehistoric.'

(Let me take just a moment to study the WWJD Post-it on my desk. This may take a few moments is 4 whole letters.)

I read ugly comments a lot in emails from atheist bloggers who feel inadequate and picked on by us 'Jesus freaks.' However, the vile disposition of the New Agers is a whole different ball of wax. Okay, to be fair, I'll state it this way...the one's I've heard from or know personally. Vile New Agers...another oxymoron? Isn't the New Age philosophy found in crap...excuse me...books like The Secret about harmony and kumbaya? Give positive, get positive? You do your thing I'll do mine...the Universe will sort us out?

Somebody needs to clue in a few folks.

As to the ignorant, close-minded Christian comments...have you guys really looked at what you believe and follow or are you just making it up as you go along? L. Ron Hubbard was at least consistently fruity in Scientology and had rules for his make-believe religion. Scientologist are at least told what to think, and when and where they can think it. There is structure...not just philosophical muck that can take on an infinite number of meanings and shapes at the choosing of the person wielding them...I mean, come on people. Even when you play Candyland, there are rules that govern and guide the game.

Christianity takes discipline, discernment and patience. Yeah, God's testing me on that last one.

I've gotta run...I just got an email from a he seems angry.

Friday, January 16, 2009

...and he squeals like a school girl!

I needed a laugh to end this week. Thanks YouTube!

My guess is Barry Gibbs sings 2 octaves lower in normal fitting pants...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil. .

I'm going to be very personal today...please bear with me.

The picture above is a copy of an actual calendar page (I'll risk Rhonda Bryne suing me for copyright violations). The page was removed and saved from an actual desktop calendar marketed by the publishers of the best-selling book 'The Secret.'

I work with the lady who saved this page and keeps it on her computer. Yes, I removed it and copied it...please forgive me. The lady I speak of has bought wholeheartedly into Bryne's book and the accompanying belief system based on the supposed force called the Law of Attraction. She is one of the sweetest people you could ever meet...a wife, mother and grandmother.

She's also dying from cancer...and has been for months. She continues to cling to the hope she reads each day from what you see above. The belief is deep rooted too. I've tried talking to her from a medical and spiritual perspective. As a cancer survivor myself, I've tried to connect with her. Her family talks to her about being more aggressive in treating her condition or else she die. From what I heard today, medical treatment may no longer be a viable option.

For those of you not familiar with 'The Secret,' let me catch you up.

'You shall be like God
.' The original scam. The oldest known to man. The one that cast Adam and Eve right out of Eden and daily walks with our Creator. Satan started it at the beginning of mankind, and he continues today with a new twist on the same old con. Byrne's book has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 104 weeks to date, and a DVD version is also available.

Byrne is selling a seductive message that anything you want is possible... and easy to get. Just wish for it. But, this isn't just about keeping an optimistic attitude to improve your life Tony Robbins goes far beyond that. Byrne says the Law of Attraction guarantees that if you think positive thoughts about what you want, you will get it. 'The Universe' will bend over backwards to hand you whatever you wish, a better job, good health, anything.

But that's not the worst part. Among all the positive rhetoric are some very repulsive concepts. While you are rearranging the universe to suit your own wishes, Byrne claims you must avoid people who might inspire negative thoughts. So you should never look at overweight people or let sick people tell you about their illness.

Furthermore, it nastily suggests that victims of catastrophe are the authors of their misfortunes. Stop for just a second and think about the implications of just that claim (i.e. Holocaust, World Trade Center, Great Depression, etc.)...atrocious.

I'm not making this up. It's all in there and more. I've watched the DVD and read the book.

Unfortunately, people are really buying this stuff ... and it is dangerous. The book contains examples of people who supposedly cured themselves of cancer without treatment, and people who bought expensive things because they just knew the money was coming in eventually. Oprah's on board. Bryne's been on most of the major news magazines without serious challenge to her claims.

Byrne is spewing a moronic choral of greed and selfishness, and she is making a fortune. But, I'll give you this for free... Byrne's garbage is simply a repetition of the oldest lie known to man — 'You shall be like God.'

Again, forgive me for being blunt and foreboding. I'm hurt today...and I'm really mad...angry at the ignorant, naive, and gullible.

My title is a quote from Plato... but I wanted to use one from 'The Godfather.'

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Don't take a knife to a gunfight....

The poor Israelis are taking a verbal beating from the United Nations for just trying to defend their sovereign borders. Naturally as one of their closest allies, the U.S. shares in part of the criticism...but what's new on that front. It always amuses me that France takes pleasure and every opportunity to scold us on the world stage. Apparently, the French have forgotten a major reason schnitzel isn't their national dish and Wagner's operas are not just heard in their original language because translation isn't necessary. Want to make someone from France uncomfortable? Just bring up WWII in the topic changes to global warming pretty fast. But I digress...

I'm completely perplexed by both the dubious and misguided response from the United Nation when it comes to Israel/Palestinian relations. It almost seems the U.N. is waiting for a Palestinian epiphanic moment when Muslims concertedly go, 'Hey, Jews aren't so bad. Maybe we shouldn't kill them and wipe them from the planet after all...Mecca lecca hi, mecca hiney ho.'

I just don't see it happening...

So, why is the world community bashing just Israel? I mean, Hamas had been lobbing Qassam rockets into their country for months from Gaza, and the Israelis got tired of it. You can only say 'Stop that...' so many times before you back it up with '...or else.' But, there's a broader understanding by Israel that has left them with few options. Psychologist tell us there are only two basic human responses when confronted with harm- fight or flight. Maybe this works in the collective as well. One thing is sure, Israel has never been a nation to back down from a fight. I love that about them, and I think most Americans share that sentiment.

The irony to me is most of the world siding with Hamas over Israel...Hamas! Known terrorist Hamas. The same Hamas killing fellow Muslims in the now minority Fatah party while shooting rockets into Israel at civilian targets. Great bunch of human beings in Hamas. We should open our arms real wide and welcome them into the world community with a big kiss...make that a French kiss.

I say let Israel do what they feel they've got to do, even if the fight extends to say, Iran...we sure don't seem to have the stomach for it anymore.

Friday, January 9, 2009

TGIAS (Thank God It's Almost Sunday)

Sunday is the day we are all more ways than one.

I'm a carpe diem kinda guy. Without being to New Agey, I can really appreciate each and every moment God blesses me with here on Earth...even Monday mornings. The book 'Chasing Daylight' really addresses how as Christians we should seize every moment to bring glory to God.

But that's not what I'm about today...

Today, I'm looking forward to Sunday. I didn't get to go to church Wednesday night, and I miss my church family. More importantly, I look forward to the opportunity to gather with my church family and worship God in the one accord spoken about 12 different times in the book of Acts alone.

Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Philippians 2:2

Paul is speaking in Philippians to the church about uniting in humility, the same humility demonstrated for us by Christ. For me, this comes easy on Sundays as I put all pretentiousness aside and check my often judgmental self in exchange for a more tolerant demeanor. My wife might possibly take exception with that statement, but I feel it comes easier to be more Christ-like knowing Sunday is His day.

Yes, I look very forward to Sunday...and to the day when every day is like Sunday in my life.

Have a blessed weekend with your family.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's another Festivus miracle...

Richard Dawkins -- famed evolutionary biologist and bestselling atheist has launched a new 2009 campaign in Britain to get atheists to "come out." All over central London, the tube, and on the sides of buses will be the following slogan:

'There's probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.'

Yes, I blogged about this in November when the American Humanist Association forked out money for a Christmas campaign in Washington D.C. challenging the existence of God Almighty. Most of my views in that blog remain static. Hey, if you don't want to believe in God, well, offending me is the least of your problems. You can stand on the street corner in a rubber suit and belt out atheist pish posh all day and night. It's your right as an American...and God bless...wait, I mean, bless America...wait that doesn't work about 'U.S.A all the way!'

Yeah right... anyway, there is one issue I've reconsidered. The campaigns in Britain and the U.S. might have a counter effect not anticipated by their sponsors. By creating a stir around something as profound as the existence of God, people (who might not otherwise) start thinking about God and His role in the true big picture of life. What question is more important to the believer and the atheist? Why did Richard Dawkins take all that time writing about something he doesn't actually believe exist? Are the Humanist obsessed with in-your-face antics directed at the religious? Did I lower the garage door when I left this morning?

A ha! I got you thinking about the garage door. See what I mean?

The very slogan used by the British Humanist Association 'probably no God' creates a realm of debate with -'probably.' The persons targeted by the ads could easily become confused:

Well, do they believe in God or not? Look people, my eternal soul is in the balance here. The Jesus people seem pretty darn sure about what they believe. There's no 'Jesus probably died for your sins' or 'God might love you and He might not' stuff. Hey, I need to be sure here before I start living it up as you Humanist suggest. By the way, what is that...Humanist? Isn't that what George Costanza made up fake Christmas cards to and passed around his office on Seinfeld?

Yeah, I'm feeling pretty good about this campaign. Money well spent. You're still thinking about your garage door...aren't you?

Monday, January 5, 2009

First the Vikings lose and now this...

I'm not from Minnesota. Actually, I've never even been to date. But, I've been a Viking fan since the days when Fran Tarkenton was calling the signals for the Super Bowl-losing Purple People Eaters. I know...some of you youngsters are going...who? Well, Fran the Man is all over the NFL record books. The University of Georgia product was an NFL MVP and 6 time All-Pro. Yep, since the days of Tarkenton, Alan Page (the first defensive player to win MVP and current Associate Justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court), Chuck Foreman, Jim Marshall and Paul Krause, the Vikings have been my team win or lose...and we've done a lot of the latter.

My purple mania runs deep too. Aside from the given 'ceremonial headpiece' adorned for each game by any true Vikes fan, I have something even more cogent to my case as Viking Fan #1. That's right. History in the form of paper...a photograph. But not just one, oh no, I have two!

When it came time in my fifth grade year for class pictures, my mother took painstaking measures to ensure a quality family heirloom by carefully selecting my photo attire...or so she thought. You see, we played tackle football each and every day during outside recess at Church Hill Elementary, and yours truly wouldn't be caught dead playing in any shirt that wasn't purple and yellow. Picture day was no exception! But to keep peace in our household and hopefully avoid the beating of a lifetime, on this picture day, I packed THE shirt, the Coup de Grace of yard-ball apparel...the purple #10 mesh, home colors Viking jersey...a real beaut. My team never lost when I had it on while playing...never. Surely my mom would appreciate the effort to at least wear my very best purple. Besides, only first and second graders wear bow ties.

So there I am...forever canonized on the family tree of circa 1974... grinning ear to ear, hair a mess (Peter Brady style, remember), chipped front tooth, and wearing the very proof of my die hard love of all things Viking. And unlike today's age of instant digital photograph proofing, it was a full 2 months before I got that beating...but apparently not enough to deter a repeat performance... for my SIXTH grade pictures! I challenge any Minnesotan to top that for fan loyalty.

So today I mourn...but not just because the Vikings lost to the Eagles yesterday, I grieve for the people of Minnesota who were so obtuse to do this...

Senator Al Franken. Wasn't Governor Jessee 'the Body' Venture enough?

Come on Minnesota. The Vikings will eventually win a Super Bowl...but how can you make this clown a U.S. Senator?

The heartbreak continues...