My 10 Favorite Films

I got tagged on this one by Chris. I love movies and have eclectic taste so this ought to be a  good time. In no particular order here are my favorite 10 movies.

  1. The Godfather, part I – Shear brilliance. A real family film if you know what I mean. I’ve seen it about 15 times and catch something fantastic each time.
  2. The Godfather, part III – A lot of people don’t like this movie but I find it fantastic. It ties the first and third together masterfully.
  3. Hoosiers – Gene Hackman is an inspiration in this movie. This true story shapes a lot of who I am as an Indiana boy.
  4. Rudy – The best Notre Dame movie out there. It was filmed at a time when ND was on top. And the fact that a lot of the extras are people I went to high school with always helps.
  5. Tin Cup – “This is a defining moment. And the thing about defining moments is that you either define the moment or the moment defines you.” Maybe one of the best lines in a movie, ever.
  6. 50 First Dates – Adam Sandler finds the perfect balance of male and female romantic comedy. I laughed, I cried… and generally at thinks that would make you blush.
  7. Little Miss Sunshine – Two words: Super freak. It’s a tragedy that this movie didn’t win best picture in 2006… I’m still not over it.
  8. Juno – The scenes with Juno and her parents are amazing. When Juno and her dad talk about finding love… that is the kind of parent I want to be. (Less the pregnant daughter of course!)
  9. 12 Angry Men – The original of course. This is group dynamics 101. Anyone in ministry needs to watch it 20 times.
  10. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby – This is not the most complete movie in the world. But it has some sound bytes that I catch myself quoting all the time. I prefer the baby Jesus personally.

The rules of the “game” are simple:
1. list your top ten favorite films (in no particular order).
2. if you’re tagged, you’ve got to post and tag 3-5 other people.
3. give a tag back (some link love) to the one who tagged you in your post
4. give a hat tip (HT) to Dan

I’m tagging…

Kristen (queen of the indie film)

Adam (because he’s moving and needs a mental break)

Ryan (because he needs a reminder to blog)

Autumn (cos she watches more movies than anyone I know)

Dennis (because “i’m teaching in Cuba this summer” is no excuse!)


2 Quick Movie Reviews

A couple months back Kristen won a subscription to NetFlix. Since then, we’ve been catching up on our movies. Here are two quick reviews of movies we’ve watched in the last 48 hours.

Man of the YearMan of the Year. Any movie with Robin Williams is going to be funny. Robins plays Tom Dobbs, a late night talk show comedian who runs for president and wins. At least, he thinks he wins until he learns that there is a conspiracy. What shocked us was that this wasn’t a comedy! It’s fairly dramatic as Dobbs and his handlers discuss many serious issues infected our political system. This is a great election year movie and I’d highly recommend it. 

No Country for Old MenNo Country for Old Men. This was a very pretty film. There is a reason it won Best Picture at the Oscars. It has a great cast. I like Tommy Lee Jones and Woody Harrelson and the rest of the cast which you’ve never heard of. But this wasn’t the best movie of 2007. I don’t know how it won. It was very dark and labeled a thriller. I don’t think it was that thrilling. And I think that there was zero character development as the real star, the bad guy, was just as bad at the end as he was at the beginning. The hero is killed, the lead actor doesn’t do anything lead worthy, and all of the characters are exactly the same as when the movie started. It’s not worth seeing and wasn’t worth the hype. A good movie, worthy of a rental if you simply have to see the Best Picture of 2007. (Fans of Juno will know they were robbed!)


3 Teen Pregnancy Resources

Time Magazine Teen PregnancyEvery once in a while we get a great string of synergy at Youth Ministry Exchange and we really hit it out of the ballpark with solid resources.

Today we released 3 different resources on teen pregnancy.

Big props to Amy for putting all this together. She’s mucho good at what she does.

I am continually in awe of what God is doing with YMX. The other day I had the opportunity to talk to a “real publisher” about YMX and publishing and starting a business and all kinds of things. As I look back at the quality of things that we are able to produce with no money, no staff, no offices, and no backing from a major publishing house… it is clearly a God-ordained movement. It really is youth ministry people encouraging and uplifting one another and sometimes I sit back and just go… whoa, this is cool.

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