Saturday, February 25, 2006

Where the Oscars should go

A site called had a contest to submit fake movie posters of amalgamated movies that contestants would merge or meld from two into one. I'm not explaining this well, which is why I guess they say a picture is worth a thousand...

But, does it say something about me that of the one hundred or so pix, my favorites - on a gut-level - are the following:

Is Banner Man gonna be there?

Where High Church meets Big Wheels.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Oh, the sweet subtlety of irony

Because sometimes, blurbs is all that will come out.

  • "Bass! How low can you go?" I'm in a serious need for music now. I've been buying cd's like crazy recently, but hardly able to listen to them. I got Common's Be and Danger Mouse, The Mouse and the Mask a couple days ago, but hardly listened to them. Got four discs last weekend. That's a serious splurge for me. And, to top it off, I found some previously lost discs (interestingly enough, not at my house), including a best of from Public Enemy that I have no other copies of. But my right ear has been underperforming since I got an ear infection two weeks ago. (Don't even ask about my insurance, or temporary lack of coverage, thereof.) Seriously, Bring the Noise. I want it.
  • Why does this Danny Kass snow boarder look like Zack Braff and his compatriot, Shaun White, look like Carrot Top?
  • And this thanks to Micah, Eric Conveys an Emotion. Eric's a nerd. Eric is also funny. That's the best type of nerd (and if you aren't a nerd, you wouldn't be here...) My favorite "emotions" include "Hamster in Underpants" and "Visiting for the Very First Time." All effortlessly and tastefully performed. All free.
  • This is Eric "Kicking A$$ and Taking Names."

Remember, you're here to serve and learn. You should be doing some more learning.

A small black church across the street from my old grade school in my neighborhood was approached one day by strangers in suits. These suits represented a large, Protestant, American and white denomination. The denomination has in recent years try to find a presence within the urbana. The denomination also owns the building within which the church was meeting. The suits informed the pastor, with no uncertain terms, that they had to vacate the property, the denomination was moving in. So the church was shut down so that - how shall we say this - carpet-baggers can move in and handle ministry in the area. It was from that point that we knew that if we saw a large group of white people (usually teens) in our neighborhood, we knew where they were coming from. The denomination's presence in the city (remember, they neither asked for nor received assistance from the locals) was fairly short-lived, despite seemingly bottomless resources. Maybe I should tell this story to this, um, uninformed brother.

Some time ago, my friend Adam was opining about how some white christians were praising stereotypical depictions of black Christians in Church movies (as in, The Gospel and the Medea franchise). I think I might be more susceptible to seeing his pov on this. In his closing comments on his review of The Second Chance, Dr. Newman, the president of, says:

Themes of racial reconciliation can make for great film. Glory Road was a good example of a movie of this type. But when movies focus on church politics we cannot expect that many people outside the church will want to see such fare. And even if a few do, will they come away with the right message?

Excuse me? Glory Road? Speaking of message movies! Right, the heroic white coach and staff would lay down their reputation to lay waste to racism on the basketball court? Please! Even the coach acknowleges that this was a dramatic embellishment - he put out an all-black starting lineup (the first for a South D I school, btw, not for an American school, as is suggested by the movie).

But Newman's main point against the movie is in the airing of dirty laundry (the same issue is addressed by William Mangus at Christian Spotlight, but he doesn't go into detail here) . The problem to concentrate on, his talking points seem to insist, isn't the need of urban ministry and the neglect of the subrban church to become incarnately involved (as listeners and learners first), but it's that the filmmakers have the audacity to put a megachurches shortcomings in this area "on blast," as my students would put it. The man needs to take a page from Ethan, and serve and learn. The Second Chance - despite not being the mainstream movie most of us would've wanted - was true to life. Seriously, church, we should stop worrying about non-Christians seeing us attack racism and the status quo within the church. Isn't that what we should be doing? Aren't we supposed to not keep secrets?

Monday, February 20, 2006

By the Hammer of Thor!

I usually save my religious ire for the new religions and spiritual trends. Anything less than a thousand years old, I think, is just not worthy to be taken seriously. Islam, Christianity and Judaism all have their roots going back thousands upon thousands of years in monotheism and have been firmly established, so that any large variations on them are absurd, yet sad ("I, too, can become a god? Where do I sign up?"). I don't think it's necessary to name names, so I won't.

Now, having said that and understanding that the myths of old are remnants of practiced religion (whether it be Greek, Roman, Australian, Chinese, Scandinavian, Mayan, etc.), I still have to say, is this guy for real? By the beard of Odin!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Space, Ltd.

Space amounts to friction
the further moments allowing for
existence not being the same as
what we came here for.

Grace is not a construction
it's as real as the air




that leaves us lonely,
howling at the dirty moon
reciting songs of songs
about dreamers looking for
(and never finding)
their lovers.

Place can't leave us restricted -
time will tell
if no one else will

Another Chance

So, the big question on everybody's mind is, is The Second Chance better than The Gospel? Hell yes!

The Second Chance - good news - is probably the best movie of its type that I've ever seen. The bad news is, the competition for overtly Christian movies is weak at best, and generally severely restrictive.

The acting is fine, the directing is fine (capable, according to the NY Times), the writing had some sharp dialogue but few surprises (although I don't want to suggest that it was cliched. It really had some poignant lines, including, "I'm not a social worker!" - delivered by the white associate pastor [Ethan, played by Michael W. Smith] as he was being sent down to work in the black urban church). The best review that I found was written by Peter T. Chattaway, whom, if memory serves me (and it sometimes does) is a fellow Steve Taylor fanatic. Chattaway notes that Taylor's film - although not as quirky or funny as Taylor-heads would love to imagine that it would be - does bring about some interesting questions, notably why the black, inner-city pastor is rarely questioned by the film for his bits of righteous indignation. A not entirely smooth transition is made in a sermon between Malcolm X's "Plymouth Rock statement" and his new faith of the Rock that doesn't shift, even as buildings and loyalties do.

Another interesting thing I thought was how some of the youth from my church reacted to the dispositions of the three pastors. Much like myself, these young'uns grew up in the church. And much like myself at their age, they see everything within the church as black & white, right or wrong. So the pastors, in their minds, because they struggled and did things that a pastor shouldn't do (throw gangbangers up against a gate, for instance. Swear. Stand idly by as others dictate the direction of the church. Wear Gucci.) were hypocrites. But as I got to reflect on that, I thought, "That's nice, the pastors are real people, with real struggles." Not deep in despair, not brooding with doubt or secret lives. Not happy-go-lucky with all of the answers. Not simple or simplistic. Real people with real issues and convictions and fears. Just like the pastors I know in real life. And everybody else.

Oh, yeah. And there's an added bonus with an LA Symphony (w/ Pigeon John guesting) song in the background during a scene (although it would've been mad cool if some dookie-fly b-boy was breakdancing to it in his Addidas and a large ghetto blaster).

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Danged Olympics!

I was getting set to watch "The Office" and "My Name Is Earl." And then they pre-empted that for some stupid ice sports.

Oh, I'm sorry, did that just bore you? Now you know how NBC makes me feel every four years. Literally legendary, ancient and worldwide athletic spectacle reduced to lameness-on-ice.

Proof? How about these Nelly Teletubbies?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Because not every superhero wears tights: Bannerman!

I'm pretty excited about The Second Chance, a deliberately Church-y (and yet, high-quality and relevant) movie from Steve Taylor (a sometimes bitingly sarcastic - but generally socially aware - CCM New Waver from the eighties who, among other accomplishments, produced Sixpence None the Richer's breakout disc, co-produced and co-wrote the Newsboys best stuff, and was set to release LA Symphony to mass acclaim before the higher-ups got greedy). The reasons for my excitement are two-fold. First, Taylor is an idol of mine and has been since the late eighties, when I first heard/saw his antics (he broke his leg jumping into the crowd long before crowd-surfing was popular. Hence, the broken leg). Second, have you seen The Gospel? A chance for a decent movie to come along to redeem movies about the church is a good thing, I say.

(Thanks to for the pic, which I believe they stole from somewhere else. As if I never stole...)

In honor of his feature-length directorial debut, some more lyrics from Christian "troublemaker" Steve Taylor:


One man's grinning from behind the net
Waits 'til the camera's adjusted

Don't you worry 'bout the flak you'll get?
Aren't you scared of getting busted?
The ball gets booted

It hits the crossbeam

Up goes the banner
"JOHN 3:16"

He don't worry 'bout the critics

They tow the line

He don't worry 'bout the cynics

They live to whine

He ain't gonna change the world

But he knows who can


Prime time football in the Buffalo snow

Freezing his little epidermis

Lifts that banner at the first field goal

Drinks clam chowder from a thermos

He's never missed a game

He never spells it wrong

He never talks back when they tell him "Move Along"

He don't worry 'bout the critics

They'll howl for days

He don't worry 'bout the cynics

They navel-gaze

He ain't gonna change the world

But he knows who can


Sports fans everywhere dying for a drink

But they've gotta find the well first

One man's ready with a banner and a wink
A whole lotta souls are getting well-versed
Every time I see him

I smile a little more

I can't help praying for another high score

He don't worry 'bout the critics

They'll howl for days

He don't worry 'bout the cynics

They navel-gaze

He ain't gonna change the world

But he knows who can


He don't worry 'bout the critics

They've met their match

He don't worry 'bout the cynics

They sniff and scratch

He ain't gonna change the world

But he knows who can


Thanks to for the words.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Happy Whatever Day

In honor of this semi-holiday (meaning I really don't know which holiday it is, just that I get off today for some president or something or another. Thank you, dead prez.), some more pieces of random memorability:

  • Bought Peter Gabriel's Passion this weekend. Which is funny for a couple reasons. One being that I rarely buy soundtracks. By principal, they shouldn't be listened to divorced of their cinematic source. I don't care what you think of John Williams, it just ain't natural to listen to that stuff through headphones, or blasting it, unless you're watching the movie to go along with it! Two, it's a soundtrack for a movie I'll never watch. Three, this ear infection has effectively closed up my right ear, so I'm at about 1/4 hearing through that side. Ok, that's not funny. And it's three.
  • A year later, we finally have a decent commentary on the impact of Crash. Thanks to Jeffrey Overstreet.
  • I don't really care for Wow Gospel 2006. At least not yet.
  • I don't care for the Winter Olympics. Not in the least.
  • Tomorrow's Valentine's Day. Sweetest Day is later in the year. Just in case you, like me, get those two mixed up.
  • A great little blog about the church I wrote up the other day. I wonder if it helps that I called it "A look at the whore"?
  • I'm not getting ANY work done today.
  • Oh, and a good little movie, certainly for Christians to look at, is End of the Spear. Finally saw it last night. Fast-paced, with only a few snafu's (some connections aren't really explained or developed, especially at the end), but definitely more worthwhile and enjoyable than The Gospel and about the same (unfortunately) as TL,tW,&tW.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Seattle's disappointing loss, How I overcame the flu and lived to tell about it, etc.

  • It's not the fact that Seattle lost that upset me. It's that the best offense in the NFC procured a total of 10 points in the flippin' Game On Super Bowl.
  • My girlfriend doesn't like red. Now, what am I supposed to do for Valentine's Day? Walking around as a big ol' beating heart, apparently, is out.
  • I had the flu last weekend, I think. I say I think because I'm not quite sure. It sure felt like it, through the first day and a half of sleeping through the weekend. After that, I was fairly well-rested. I just didn't have my voice back and was at a bit of a loss in the classroom. Of course, by Wednesday I regained my voice. Wednesday night, the hearing left. Had large glups of goo coming out of my ear on Thurs/Fri.
  • I hate ear infections.
  • I hate being whiny when I'm sick.
  • I don't know what else to do when I'm sick.
  • I don't think I'll be watching the Winter Olympics. I know it's the tip-top. I know it's the creme de la creme. The best athletes in the world jostling for position in just about ever game imaginable on snow (except the ever-growing sports of Snow Angel and Snow Person Building. Which, if there was any justice in the world, will fill the space left by the Skleleton in four years). It's just that the games are - how would I say this? - just not male enough.
  • The Greek gods were a messed-up crew. And Zeus was into bestiality.