Film hmm... thoughts

What does it mean to love someone no matter what?

between the eyesbetween the eyesbetween the eyesOur adult small groups are wrestling their way through the beatitudes. It’s an interesting study because so much of it hits me between the eyes.

I’ll tell you one thing I struggle with as a pastor. I fight to not become self-righteous.

Here’s what I mean. In my area of ministry expectations are a killer. Students and parents expect me to be and do and approve or disapprove of certain things and I in turn have certain expectations for what I expect out of my students and parents.

And that creates an inborn battle– because both of us are expecting something we are not: Perfect. And expecting perfect responses and actions from imperfect people leads to the ultimate buzz kill in any type of ministry: Disappointment.

Juno posterToday Kristen and I went to go see the movie Juno. I loved this movie because of its Juno posterJuno posterhonesty, frankness and utter lack of the traditional hollywood glamorization. What Juno does is capture the true heart of what it means to do life with one another. It shows real life comedy, drama, heartache, and redemption all in the search of love while wading through the stupid ideals we all encounter and discover to be false.

It’s about a girl who messes up and gets pregnant. In her innocense I could squint and see many of the young ladies I’ve worked with over the last decade making the same mistake and getting into the same predicament, wondering where to turn. She wasn’t dating the guy and she couldn’t even admit to herself that she liked him. From a “pastor’s perspective” I could feel myself giving this girl “the judgment look.” You know, the look of disappointment we glare at a person when they don’t live up to our expectations of purity, innocense, and all that other stuff. It’s not limited to pastors but I suppose we are famous for it. (Yes, we did learn how to do that in seminary. With no partying what else was there to do?)

I was ashamed of myself for thinking I would give this girl “the look.” (Even in my imagination!) Why? Because that’s not an appropriate response. That’s a self-righteous response. It’s me thinking that I am better than a 16 year old who gets pregnant. In actuality I am no better than her. I am just as guilty of 16 year old stupidity as she is. It’s something Jesus would have glared at me about. In fact, it was precicely that type of response that drove me so far from Christ as a high school student myself.

And now I felt myself wanting to do the same thing. Shame on me.

I want to be the type of person who is there for students like Juno. I want to be the person Juno calls when she’s done something stupid. (I love how the movie depicts her waiting for people to tell her it was a mistake, as if she didn’t know.) And I want to have the honest response that even though she’s done something really stupid that it’s going to be OK. I want to lead a ministry that lets people know that it doesn’t matter what you’ve done… that God is a God of mercy and grace and forgiveness and… and opportunity.

There are no mistakes with God. He doesn’t screw up. He doesn’t allow terrible things to happen for no reason. He doesn’t allow our 16 year old mistakes to turn into living breathing babies accidentally. He can turn every “bad thing” we’ve done into something good. He can make all things new. He can allow us to learn to discover love, forgiveness, and grace as we deal with the consequences of our stupid mistakes.

Jesus said— “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. Revelation 21:5-7


You Kill Me: A Good Date movie

you kill meLast night Kristen said the following words, “I got a movie.” Now, in our house this could be good or it could be bad. Lately it hasn’t been that great. (Shrek 3 last week, yuck!)  So when I looked at the cover of this movie, You Kill Me, and realized I had never heard of any of the actors or the movie itself, I figured I was in for a long night.

I was wrong. The movie was worth watching. Starring Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley as an alcoholic mafia hitman sent to San Fransisco for rehab. In the course of his rehab he gets asked to do some funny things, gets paired with a gay guy at AA, and falls in love.

The only thing I can really compare this movie to would be “So I Married an Ax Murderer.To be fair, it wasn’t a slap stick silly as that. But it was as absurdly funny as the Mike Myers classic.

Best part. If you live in Romeo, you can watch this flick for free. It’s available at the library.

family Film Funny Stuff

Hide and Seek by Megan McLane

My daughter, 6 years old, made this video on her own. If you stick with it you’ll see the genius of it. (Daddy inserted some titles to help you; beginning and end and some sound effects.) She’s basically created a movie that you can interact and play along with. If you actually follow her instructions it is way more fun. I’m biased, but I think she has a nack for video and maybe even acting. This is pure Megan that she is often too shy to show. Let me say this again… Megan made this completely on her own. She was playing with Photo Booth for a long time all by herself, and this is one of her many creations.

Film Funny Stuff hmm... thoughts Travel

Forbidden Blizzard

I don’t know if I’ve properly talked about my addiction to But it’s fascinating to see this filmmaker make his way around the globe and video blog his experiences. Today’s installment is unreal. To think of being able to get Starbucks and even DQ in the once forbidden city.



RatatouilleI just got back from taking Bradley, Paul, and Megan to see the new Disney/Pixar movie, Ratatouille.

Film synopsis:
Remy is a sophisticated rat with a high dollar palate. In other words, he doesn’t like to eat garbage like the rest of his family. His pursuit of quality food leads him into an adventure which lands him in Paris at the kitchen of famous chef, Gusteau. The rat befriends an emerging cook Linguine. The friendship gets both of them into trouble… and great fun ensues.

My thoughts:
Both the kids and I liked the movie a lot. In typical Disney style, they did shove a bit of their philosophy down your throat as "anyone can do anything they want." Beyond that… it’s a fantastically fun story with the characters we all have come to expect in a Disney flick. The kids loved the mayhem scenes, but got a little lost in the dialogue. It was also a little long for kids under 6… they started to wiggle and get ready for a nap at points. It was also clearly a Pixar film as it didn’t have the characteristic musical elements of a Disney movie. (Would have been too much like American Tale if that had happened.) Also in Pixar form, there were a few adult innuendos in there but not too many to distract.

Over all, I enjoyed it. The kids enjoyed it. That makes it worth 4 prices of admission, 3 sodas, 2 tubs of popcorn, 2 bags of skittles, and a box of snow caps. (Paul originally got Sour Skittles but asked if I would go get him regular ones… I think he thought they were the tropical ones.) Thank goodness for the awesome matinee price at the Romeo theater. It was a summer sized treat.

Film Funny Stuff hmm... thoughts

Introducing Jesus

This is one of those amazing clips of video that just shocks you with it’s profoundness. It’s based on answering the question, "If I had the chance to introduce Jesus Christ on his second coming, how would I do it?"  I’m not sure how I’d do it… but this is how comedian Steve Harvey would do it. Trust me, watch this video.

HT to Think Christian


Amazing Grace

Amazing_graceKristen and I saw the movie Friday night with friends.

I liked it on a number of levels. First, I didn’t know anything about William Wilberforce. Not that the movie portrayed much more than a small portrait of his life, but I feel like I learned some things after going to the movie… how many movies can you say that about?

It was a novelty to see this movie for three reasons:

  1. It told a gory story without the gore.
  2. It presented Christians as compassionate, passionate, world changers.
  3. It wasn’t cheesy.

That said, it’s worth seeing. DVD or the theater, it’s worth it.


at the Oscars..

Last night Kristen and I watched every minute of the 79th Oscars. You know it’s a bad TV night when you watch a 4 hour award show. I actually can’t remember actually sitting through an entire one before, so it was a first. All winners

Best moment: When Jaden Christopher Syre Smith and Abigail Breslin got to announce two awards for film shorts. They were quite funny. When Jaden messed up one of his lines he did a great job of recovering. Let’s hope they don’t end up like the typical child stars.

Worst moment: It doesn’t get any worse than when Hollywood makes political statements. The Academy definitely went out of their way to "bless" Al Gore‘s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. The former Vice President was practically knighted as the A-list tripped over opportunities to say how fantastic he was. Likewise, the very subpar song by Melissa Etheridge won the award for Achievement in Song Written for a Motion Picture. It was a very typical moment for the Academy Awards as the further try to convince the world that the Left is the only intelligent position.

Honorable Mention 1: I loved the loose atmosphere this year. There were many flubbed lines, zingers, and awkward moments. That made an otherwise boring award show worth watching.

Honorable Mention #2: George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, and Steven Spielberg presented best director to Martin Scorsesee. Four of the best directors of our day right there. Good times.

Honorable Mention #3:
As much as don’t care for Ellen Degeneres’s "I’m gay routine" she pulled a few years ago. She was actually pretty good last night. My personal favorite moment was when she had her picture taken with Clint Eastwood and asked Steven Spielberg to take the photo for her myspace.


Little Miss Sunshine

My favorite movie of 2006, Little Miss Sunshine, was nominated for a slew of Academy Awards. This is my tribute:

Performance by an actor in a supporting role, Alan Arkin
Performance by an actress in a supporting role, Abigail Breslin
Best motion picture of the year
Original screenplay

Editorial note: This is a rated R movie. Parental guidance… you know the drill.

Film YMX

Pursuit of Happyness Review

PursuithappynessKristen and I went to go see the new Will Smith movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, on Friday night.

For the record I think our streak of sad, dramatic movies continues. This has an uplifting ending, but so did Hotel Rwanda.

I wrote of review of the movie for YMX. Below is an taste of that. Full review.

Some men are made successful because of the family they are born into
or the education they receive. For everyone else, success is the result
of hard work and a knack for making a series of good, timely decisions.
The Pursuit of Happyness
documents one mans struggle towards success in a third, elusive
category. A category available only to a few people who work hard, make
good decisions, and overcome adversity which catapults them past the
realms of the successful and captivate the hearts of the world.

Chris Gardner  (Will Smith) grew up without a father. When his son, Christopher, (Jaden Smith)
was born he committed that he would always be present in his son’s
life. This was complicated when Chris struggled to carry his weight in
his marriage and his wife Linda (Thandi Newton) decided to leave him.