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Showing posts from December, 2008

Striking the Set

Picture this: for the past two months of your life, you have worked very hard on a project. You and a group of others work approximately four hours every single weeknight to meet the project deadline. Both your body and your brain hurt as work on the project takes incredible physical and mental stamina. But through it all, you find comraderie and fellowship with those laboring next to you. Finally, the big day has come. You and your teammates are ready to present the project to the public. The public loves it. They applaud you for a job well done. You feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Then, you and your friends turn around, and tear the project apart piece by piece with your bare hands.

Sound crazy? It's more common than you think. In the theatre world, this is what is known as "striking the set." For an actor, it's perhaps the most dreaded, unwelcome task there is.

I used to hate strike. Not only are you completely exhausted after pouring your heart and so…

Deconstructing Christmas?

We recently received an email from a reader (or visitor perhaps) warning us about the "dangers" that are associated with Christmas. Here is an excerpt from that email:

I would just like to warn you in the Holy Ghost that this so-called Christmas season is not of God. In fact it is an abomination unto Him and as a child of the Most High God I must warn you of this . . If it were really of God the world would have nothing to do with it. They hate Jesus. Jesus was not born on Dec. 25th. He was born around October and not only that but there is no date given in the Holy Word of God . . . There is not one scripture in the Bible admonishing us to celebrate his birth. We are told to celebrate his death, burial and resurrection which we do when we have the Lord's supper. There are lots of good websites which have all the information re this idolatrous false worship . . I admonish you to take heed to God's Word regarding this abomination and flee this idolatry for that is wha…

Romanticizing the Past

Every fall semester I put in a few extra hours and teach a course at a local community college. One of my favorite ways to begin the semester is to ask each student, "If you could be one age for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?" It never fails: the number of students who choose an age in the past always outweighs both the students who choose an age in the future and those who choose their current age combined.

Most of us will admit to doing this as well. We've looked back at a time in the past and thought, "Wow, I wish I could be (x) years old again!" I think this is especially true for women. When you consider the pressure that the world places upon women to be physically attractive, it is easy for us to look in the mirror and lament the days when we were 20 years younger and 20 pounds lighter.

But worse than this, we have a tendency to romanticize the past. Again, everyone has experienced this phenomenon from time to time, but I feel women espe…

Is Christianity Arrogant?

Back in May of 2006, I was privileged to attend an Evangelism Boot Camp in New York City (which is where I met Geraldine). One day, the group of us went to Washington Square Park and we sat around the fountain, taking turns preaching. As a brother named Donovan was preaching, a heckler reacted angrily to Donovan's assertion that he would be in heaven. The heckler stood up and challenged Donovan, saying, "You are so arrogant!" Donovan probed him for an explanation and the heckler said, "You're arrogant because you say you know that you're going to heaven! You are so full of yourself!"

I never wanted to be preaching so badly as I did at that moment. I wanted to push Donovan off the fountain, take the microphone out of his hand, and explain to this heckler that he was looking at the issue from the wrong perspective. It all goes back to Charles' Stanley's illustration on faith vs. hope. I detailed this illustration back in July, but I will review it…

Misguided Hope

A few years ago, I was in a Bible study with some new believers. One night we were examining Matthew 17. When we came to verse 20, which reads: "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you," one of the girls in the study suddenly blurted out, "That's not true!"

We were all quite stunned by the outburst, but I asked her to elaborate. She explained that as her grandmother lay dying in a hospital, she prayed to God earnestly to let her grandmother live. "It says here to have faith as a mustard seed, but I had much more faith than that! She died anyway. It doesn't work." I asked her to define for me what she meant by "having a lot of faith." She said faith was believing with all your might. I explained to her that the reason her grandmother died was because she didn't have any faith. Instead, she had described hope. We like to thin…

Jennifer Gives the 411 on "Annie"

After a month of depressing stories, courtesy of my testimony, I thought I'd lighten things up a bit and choose a theme of "Hope" for the month of December. The Film of the Month to accompany our theme is Annie. Now I know what some readers might be thinking, "Annie? That's for kids!" or, "Hrm, I think I'll skip this one this month." Stay with me on this. Annie is more than meets the eye.

STATS
Year: 1999 (Not Rated - Made for Television by Disney)
Directed by Rob Marshall, based on the stageplay by Thomas Meehan (book) Charles Strouse (music) & Martin Charnin (lyrics)
Starring Kathy Bates, Victor Garber, Audra MacDonald, Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth and a special appearance by Andrea McArdle
Setting: New York City, 1933.

Content warning: No objectionable content observed, however Annie does lie and steal during the "Tomorrow" scene with the police officer. The film takes the position that deceit and theft are wrong.

Please N…