Monday, February 28, 2005

Manofredearth & Katieeden on Display



Manofredearth and Katieeden


Katie and I had an excellent time this past weekend at our friends' wedding. They had a Renaissance theme, and Katie made these outfits to wear. She also made two other dresses, plus the bodices. Her ability to create professional-looking clothing amazes me, and it's only a hobby! Between work required for her Masters degree, her job at the community college, and helping with Gabriel and things around the house, I believe she decided sleep was no longer a necessary function.

These outfits will also come in handy now that we're joining the Society for Creative Anachronism with the same friends who just got married. We also know of a few upcoming fairs and festivals we could wear these to. All in all, Katie did a phenomenal job, and I can't believe she pulled it off in the time she had!

Commence envy...

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Constantine

The movie Constantine opened today, and I was glad to have seen it. I hope that people see this film and use it as a great jumping-off point for faith discussions in the same way that people who had seen The Matrix have done. The movie, while being visually impressive and captivating, is also brimming with juicy ideas begging to be discussed outside the theater. Some of the topics touched on include faith vs. works, the nature of God, the symbolism of spiritual warfare, and the ideas that the average non church-going person has regarding this issues and more. Constantine, while be based off of the DC/Vertigo comic of the same name, draws heavily from Christian/Catholic mythology, symbolism, and theology. Some Christian viewers may be dismayed over the absence of faith in Jesus by the characters fighting the demons, but it illustrates the very heart of the struggle of John Constantine who attempts to purchase his way into heaven through his service. How many people do we know who walk through life thinking "If I just do enough good, doesn't God have to take that into consideration?"

Two scriptures continue to rattle through my head since seeing this film:

John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out devils in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a work of divine power in my name will be able the next moment to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us.
Mark 9:38-40


There is no greater love than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13



Again, I find Constantine to be a great jumping-off point for faith discussions. There are certainly issues of content and language to consider when deciding if this movie would be appropriate for you and whatever group you are in or forming, but the movie is, in my opinion, worth it. In general, this movie has received less-than-admirable reviews, so I have compiled a few links to some favorable reviews. Something I was told when writing a movie review in high school has stuck with me: "It's always easier to write a bad review than a good review, no matter what you thought of the movie." So keep that in mind, take all the reviews with a grain of salt, and see the film for yourself.


Minnesota Star Tribune - You may need a subscription, I was able to read it without one.

National Review Online - Contains a few tidbits that I'd consider "spoilers".

Daily Trojan USC Student Newspaper - Again, some "spoilers".

The Macon Telegraph - A short and to-the-point review.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Three Days in Heaven and in Hell

I have been reading a lot of information, these last three days. I have been reading scripture, I have been reading commentary, I have been reading web forum posts, I have been reading the news, and I have been reading my self. I was on a mission. It was a simple mission, so I thought, a mission to provide an acceptable and adequate theological reason why I am not, and why I believe God is not, any more offended by same-sex marriage than the marriage of a heterosexual. It was not a simple mission, and some may say I have failed, but I am finished. I will provide what I have come to realize are the guiding ideas I have regarding God and Christ, ideas that some will say are simply incorrect or down-right heretical. I will be alright with that; I am a heretic in good company, that is for certain.

I believe that one reading this expecting to have their mind changed (or expecting I am attempting to change one's mind), will not. These positions and thoughts are not taken and put on like masks or costumes, to be paraded about as fads or hip-thinking. These thoughts and ideas are ways of thinking, ways of life, that have been arrived at over years of prayer, tears, relationships, reading, living, and a little bit of dying, dying to old ways and to old selves. I do not wish one to read what I am writing as a challenge inviting argument, though you are free to do so. Read as if I am opening up to you who I am and why I believe the way I do, whether for wrong or for right, because I wish to convert no one through these particular thoughts today. I seek not to argue, but to explain, expose, and lay myself bare for you to understand.

First and foremost, God is Love. That's Love with a capitol "L". God is also just, holy, and righteous, but, knowing that God is Love, I have come to firmly believe that God's justice, holiness, and righteousness will look like Love. Because of this, I strive to err on the side of grace. When God judges what I have believed and done, I would rather hear that I loved too much to a fault than to not have loved enough. I do not say this to mean that anyone who does not accept same-sex marriage is unloving; I say this to mean that this is where the Love of God has led me.

Regardless of whether or not science ever produces a biological trigger for our sexual orientation, the fact remains that one can not genetically prove that they are biologically heterosexual or biologically homosexual. Neither group, as a being, chose their orientation, either. Demands of proof that one "is born gay" from the heterosexual community should be met with the same demands from the homosexual community that the others were "born straight". I have yet to meet a single person, on either side of the issue that is capable of telling me when they choose their orientation, because orientation is not a choice. I can no more choose to be gay than someone who is gay can choose to be straight; it is a matter of one's very being. A homosexual can choose to abstain from sexual relations, but they will still be a homosexual. The number of people from programs that claim to convert homosexuals to heterosexuals that say they either "reverted" or simply claimed to be "cured" in an attempt to believe it later on down the line, is staggering.

The most loving thing Christians can do is to provide every person with as much access to the fullness of life as possible. If some are right, and homosexuality can be "cured by God", then nothing will stop God's conviction in those lives. But if some are wrong, and homosexuality is a life-long orientation that one does not choose, then a grave disservice has been done to our homosexual brothers and sisters in denying them the same opportunities in life that the rest of us have.

In closing, I have essentially failed in the prime request that was asked of me: to provide scriptural basis for my belief. I will say this, that it my very reading of scripture that informs my belief. The passages of love, grace, and justice speak volumes over the traditional seven passages that are used to exclude our homosexual brothers and sisters to the fullness of life through love and acceptance. I wish I could list for you in neat detail every passage that would prove my position to you, but I cannot. I began to, but it came across as proof-texting, a practice I have learned to despise as it can be used to make scripture say whatever we want it to say. I can only say that the time may come when I will know whether I was right or I was wrong, and my only explanation can only be that I erred on the side of grace.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Interesting Links, few comments...

I'm still taking in way more information than I am willing to comment on at this time. Instead of commentary, tonight I have selected links to articles I have found of interest. Happy reading.

A Breathtaking Budget
from WashingtonPost.com

City Will Request a Quick Decision on Gay Marriage
New York City may step forward for citizens' marriage rights
from NYTimes.com

FOIA Eyes Only
The US Gov't and the torture memos problem
from Slate.com

Christian Family Values
and how they've changed over time
from Sojo.net

Sony, IBM, and friends
This is a bit of a departure for this blog, but if this continues to progress as it is, I will finally be leaving the Nintendo camp for Sony and the PlaySatation III. There's only so much abuse a Final Fantasy fan can withstand, and I have not heard anything from Nintendo that sounds like it could even remotely compete with this. And if I put the words "God" and "Politics" under here, I can pretend like it's related somehow.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Mental Drain

There has been quite a bit of information to post on, but I can't bring myself to write much about it. What have been the items I feel need an opinion of my own attached to them?

-Bush's State of the Union address (various points. Some good, a few more than that not so good.)
-Appointment of Gonzalez despite being pro-torture.
-The US Gov't's deceit over the last decade while Iraq sold oil to other countries while we knew about and secretly assented to it.
-A 3-star general's remarks about the fun of killing resulting in merely a "stern talking-to"

So, I just don't have the energy to make any more remarks about this than I have already. it's too late at night/early in the morning and I need to get some sleep. Maybe I'll pick up one of these topics and address it, but for now I just felt like posting that I had noticed them and opted not to expound upon them.

That's all. Move along now.
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