Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The End, Has Come

Only days are left until my favorite show comes to an end. With that being said, I have to wonder... Are you LOST? LOST the television series, has been on the air for six long seasons filled with confusion, questions and very few answers. With only days left before the big finale, LOST viewers are more lost than ever. If you are not familiar with this amazing show, the story follows several survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, that crashes on a mysterious island. With hints of science fiction, spirituality and some bizarre geological occurrences, LOST has enticed its viewers with a plot line that always leaves you hanging.

An interesting aspect of LOST is the name selection for most of the characters on the show. From philosophers to scientists, authors to theologians, LOST provides an interesting parallel with their characters. Jack & Christian Shepherd are paralleled with, well Christian Shepherd. In the latest season of LOST, Jack is also associated with the number 23 and with his name selection its hard not to assume “The Lord is my shepherd….”.  LOST character Desmond Hume is associated with philosopher David Hume, Charlotte Staples Lewis with author C.S. Lewis and the list continues. LOST viewers still want to know the connections other than the obvious storylines paralleled in these characters, but hopefully resolve will come soon!

Probably my favorite aspect of this show is this ultimate push and pull between the good and evil qualities of every character. LOST writers and producers have truly mastered the art of capturing the humanity of the world in these characters. With themes of power, greed, love, betrayal, peace, faith and science, we as the viewers cannot help but reflect what we ourselves could be capable of doing.  I have been an avid fan since the first season when weird polar bears and a crazy smoke monster were among my only questions and as I have watched, I cannot help but feel bittersweet about the end of such a life changing show.

One of my favorite parts of this show, is how so many of the aspects of my spiritual walk with God are played out before my eyes in a way that I would have never imagined. One of the most intriguing characters on LOST is a man named Benjamin Linus. Over the years, LOST viewers have watched this man go from a well hated villain to a common hero. Ben will always be one of my favorite characters, because he depicts a man who just like everyone else, gets caught up in something far bigger than himself and loses sight of what’s really important. Ben truly was LOST. In recent episodes we have seen Ben transform into the leader that “the island” may have intended him to be, a humble and broken leader. But this came at a high cost and a huge lesson. In the following clip, you will see Ben at his most broken of moments and even more you will see one the most moving depictions of the power of Grace and Mercy ever displayed on national television.

I can sincerely say that this clip alone is the number one reason why I love LOST. This clip is one of the most honest and insightful views of human nature and the amazing power that Grace has when given freely, opening the door to the road of redemption.

For those of you have never seen the show, I would not recommend starting at the end, but rather head to a local movie rental store, pick up the first season and spend sometime watching the show that has transformed a generation of television. Watching the show for the first time during the series finale will definitely leave you confused and clueless. So don’t expect to understand what’s happening! Start from the beginning and enjoy it! For those who do watch already, I look forward to getting LOST with you this Sunday night, May 23rd. If anything, LOST tought us a few things about ourselves and hopefully, we can apply some of the many lessons these characters learn about Love, Hope, Faith and Grace to our own lives!

Embracing Your Fear

In my quest to live the life that God created me to live, the chain that holds me back the most I have discovered, is the chain of fear. I have a fear of rejection, a fear of failure and a fear looking stupid. These fears keep me from pursuing the life God has called me to live as I opt for the life I can arrange because it feels safer.

If we are truly going to live life, then we have to trust God and face the fears that haunt our lives. I believe that true life is found on the other side of our fears. Jesus said this about life; The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness (John 10:10; NLT).  Jesus promises His followers a full life, but before He makes that promise, He reminds us that Satan’s plan is to take away our life. So I ask you; What better way to take away our life than to cause us to fear the very path which will bring us to life?

Here is the problem we have to deal with in our hearts: How do we face our fears? I wish I had an answer to this, but I don’t have one. This is a question I constantly struggle with myself. I know that God has a life waiting for me on the other side of my fears, I know that God provides what I need to get me through my fears, but I feel paralyzed in my fear. I want so desperately to live a life of courage and to be bold, but I keep hiding in the shadows.

With that being said, let me offer a couple of suggestions in connection with facing the fears that plague our lives. First, we need to have companions. Solomon wrote: Two people can accomplish more than twice as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10; NLT).  Part of fear, at least in my experience, is the feeling of loneliness. In a fellowship we are able to encourage each other and to walk side by side into the uncertainty of fear. Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego were able to stand tall when everyone else bowed because they had each other. Peter and John were able to stand before the Sanhedrin because they were together. It is not enough to have a pep talk before being sent on our way, but we also need companions willing to travel the journey of fear with us.

The second idea is that we need to take it one step at a time. In the movie version of The Return of the King there is a scene when Frodo and Sam look over the final leg of their journey to Mount Doom and see that there are 10,000 Orcs which stand between them and their destination. Sam says to Frodo; “We have to go in there Mister Frodo, but let’s make it down this hill for starters” (paraphrase). Rather than focusing on the entire task of making it through the army of Orcs Sam decides to take it just one step at a time. In the end the Orcs are called off to battle Aragorn and the army of men which had marched to the Black Gate, so in the end the journey through Mordor turned was not as bad as first thought. I think the same can be said about our fears. If we take it one step at a time we will discover that the situation isn’t as scary as we first thought.

We have to face the fears that darken our hearts and rob us of life. The more we ignore our fears the bigger they grow inside of us. Only as we move to confront them do we discover that these fears diminish in size. It is also through the experience of facing our fears that we learn to trust God. The more we trust God the easier it become to move forward in obedience in the future.

The quest for life goes through the valley of our fears. To discover the full life God has created for us to live, we need to take steps to conquer these fears one step at a time . Only then can we really enjoy living life.

Friday, April 9, 2010

An Encouraging Thought

Take a moment and think about your life. Do you like you life right now? Are you hoping for a change? Is there something that is missing? Think about what your life is like and how that compares to your dreams. I know for many of us, our lives are not quite where we would like them to be. We find our current life a little boring and we constantly complain that there is nothing to do. Sometimes we are just plain lonely. We see other people with all these friends or with a companion of the opposite sex and we become a little jealous. We perceive that our lives don’t measure up to theirs. Other times, we desire to have this amazing relationship with God but our lives lack the promised peace and hope which comes from a relationship with God. We get depressed and begin to doubt whether or not God has really saved us.

Regardless of how you feel about your life right now, you are in the right place. God has put you in this place so that you will see Him. For those who don’t know Jesus, God has put them into a place so that if they would only open their hearts and seek Him, they will find Him. For us who do know Jesus, we are in just the right place to be used by God. God has placed into our lives experiences, knowledge, and the salvation we need to make a difference. We might think it is a small and insignificant difference, but it will be the difference that God desires.

It is no secret that I love The Lord of the Rings. It has many themes woven into the story that apply to our lives as Christians. In the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, there is one scene that I absolutely love because of the way it stirs my heart. The Fellowship has been forced to go through the mines of Moria. They come to a place where the tunnel splits and Gandalf does not know which way to go. The group sits to rest and think about their options. Gandalf and Frodo begin to talk about their task. Frodo confides in Gandalf and says, “I wish the Ring would never have come to me. I wish none of this would have happened.”

Gandalf replies, “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to do is decide what to do with the time given to us. There are other forces at work in this world besides the one of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case you also were meant to have it, and that is an encouraging thought.”

God chooses not only the places but also the times in which we live. He has privileged us to live not only in the greatest expansion of human population but also with the greatest opportunity for the spread of the gospel. We all have a mission in our lives. How we carry out this mission is our purpose. The truth is, often times this mission can feel overwhelming. There are so many people who have not even heard the name of Jesus, and millions more who have heard and have rejected Him. The sheer numbers make this mission seem impossible. There are the people whom we encounter everyday of our lives, and despite our efforts they do not seem to be changed. The lack of response makes this mission to seem pointless.

When you are feeling like that, I want to encourage you, just as Gandalf encouraged Frodo. God has placed you where you are, for a reason. There is a purpose to your life, right now, exactly where you are at. If you remain faithful to God, you will experience the purpose of God in your life. Yes, things will not go as you would like them to, but regardless of what happens God will use it to change lives, most likely yours.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10; NASB).

God has created us and then saved us, for a reason. Before we were born, God had a plan for our lives. As we are faithful to God, that purpose takes shape in our lives, and that is when we begin to experience the life God intends all people to live. The good life of God is discovered in living out our divine purpose.

I hope that you see your life right now as a privilege. God has created us and placed us here, during this time, so we can impact our corner of the world for Him. We are perfectly suited for this task, because He has created us for this. When we grasp this truth our lives will have meaning and hope. God is at work in the world, He wants us to join Him, and that is a very encouraging thought.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The God Who Dreamed

In the beginning was the Word….
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
John 1:1, 14

Seated at the great desk, the Author opens the large book. It has no words. It has no words because no words exist. No words exist because no words are needed. There are no ears to hear them, no eyes to read them. The Author is alone. And so he takes the great pen and begins to write. Like an artist gathers his colors and a woodcarver his tools, the Author assembles his words.

He takes his quill and spells the first word. T-i-m-e.

Time did not exist until he wrote it. He himself, is timeless, but his story would be encased in time. The story would have a first rising of the sun, a first shifting of the sand. A beginning…and an end. A final chapter. He knows it before he writes it. Time, a footspan on eternity’s trail.

Slowly, tenderly, the Author wrote the second word. A name. A-d-a-m.

As he writes, he sees him, the first Adam. Then he sees all the others. In a thousand eras in a thousand lands, the Author sees them. Each Adam. Each child. Instantly loved. Permanently loved. To each he appoints a place. No accidents. No coincidences. Just design.

The Author makes a promise to these unborn: In my image, I will make you. You will be like me. You will laugh. You will create. You will never die. And you will write.
They must. For each life is a book, not to be read, but rather a story to be written. The Author starts each life story, but each life will write his or her ending. What a dangerous liberty. How much safer it would have been to finish the story for each Adam. To script every option. It would have been simpler. It would have been safer. But it would not have been love. Love is only love if chosen. So the Author decides to give each child a pen. “Write carefully,” he whispers.

Lovingly, deliberately, he writes the third word, already feeling the pain. E-m-m-a-n-u-e-l.

The greatest mind in the universe imagined time. The truest judge granted Adam a choice. But it was love that gave Emmanuel, God with us.

The Author would enter his own story.

The Word would become flesh. He too, would be born. He too, would be human. He too, would have feet and hands. He too, would have tears and trials. Most importantly, he too, would have a choice. Emmanuel would stand at the crossroads of life and death and make a choice.

The Author knows well the weight of that decision. He pauses as he writes the page of his own pain. He could stop. Even the Author has a choice. But how can a Creator not create? How can a Writer not write? And how can Love not love? So he chooses life, though it means death, with hope that his children will do the same.

And so the Author of Life completes the story. He drives the spike in the flesh and rolls the stone over the grave. Knowing the choice he will make, knowing the choice all Adams will make, he pens, “The End,” then closes the book and proclaims the beginning,  “Let there be light!”    

Max Lucado - A Gentle Thunder

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lines kann uns trennen, aber die Hoffnung wird uns vereinen

"Childhood is measured out by sounds, smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows" - John Betjeman, British Poet (1906-1984)

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a fictional story that offers a unique perspective on how prejudice, hatred and violence affect innocent people, particularly children, during wartime. Through the eyes of an eight-year-old boy largely shielded from the reality of World War II, we witness a forbidden friendship that forms between Bruno, the son of Nazi commandant, and Schmuel, a Jewish boy held captive in a concentration camp. Though the two are separated physically by a barbed wire fence, their lives become inescapably intertwined. The imagined story of Bruno and Shmuel sheds light on the brutality, senselessness and devastating consequences of war from an unusual point of view. Together, their tragic journey helps recall the millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust.
While the film’s conclusion will certainly leave you in stunned silence, once you recover your composure, there will be a lot to talk about. You’ll find references about duty and human nature, good and evil and what a world without hope looks like. Take a chance, grab a friend and see "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas". This movie is emotionally jarring and its implications are profound. However, after watching it you and your friend will no doubt want to go out, grab a cup of coffee and sit down for a real conversation about what really matters in life.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Twinkie So the Creepy Zombie Clowns Won't Eat My Brains!

I love movies. I have loved movies long before I started my love affair with books. I have a very broad range when it comes to my taste in movies. Eclectic, some could say. Don't get me wrong, I have or I like to think I have very good taste when it comes to movies. However, there are some that I love just because. I know that they are complete crap, but I like them all the same.

Yesterday I rented three movies to watch. 2012, the SciFy mini series Alice and Zombieland. I rented 2012 because it looked like a good disaster movie and it had John Cusak in it of whom I am a huge fan. Alice I rented because I never got to finish watching it while it was on TV and lets face it, who doesn't like an Alice in Wonderland tale revamped? Now for Zombieland. I rented this movie for no other reason than my daughter and her boyfriend went on and on about it.

2012 was very good. A little on the long side and I'm glad I just rented it and didn't go see it in the theater, but all in all a good flick. Alice was great! This one I'm thinking about adding to my collection. Zombieland, well this one is added to the ones of "I like just because." I don't think I'll be adding it to the collection, but still a very funny twist on a zombie movie.

What about the twinkes and creepy zombie clown you ask? Well, I have a slight fear of clowns. If there was anything in this movie that really creeped me out, it was the Zombie Clown. The twinkies are my daughters attempt to make up for me having to experience the trauma of the zombie clown. What some daughters will do for their mothers eh? If you want the background of the whole twinkie thing, you will just have to rent Zombieland and see for yourself. The bottom line is, all three movies are, in my opinion, worth your while and the $3.00 rental fee at RedBox.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Smooth Like Mike

It is amazing to me some of the things that one can find on the internet. There is a lot of questionable content out there sure, but every so often you come across something that is just really, really cool. I was surfing around YouTube last night, as I often do, and I found this video. I've been on a Michael Jackson kick the last few days. One of his songs and dances that I have always enjoyed is Smooth Criminal. There are alot of impersonations of this dance out there, but this one I just found amazing. It is very professionally done and for me, just a very cool thing to watch. I give massive props to these guys who put on this show! So, for your viewing pleasure, I give you the MIT Chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity performing a rendition of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal music video. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

By Faith

I am not worth very much. I have no superstar qualities which make me stick out from the crowd. While I possess talents I don’t have any one talent that is uniquely mine, one that no one else shares. My talents are common and ordinary. When the world looks at me I am just another one in a mass of ordinary people.

Evaluating my talents I realize that I am not going to make an impact on a huge amount of people. I don’t have what it takes to make a huge difference in this world. It is thinking like this that assures that I will never make a lasting difference. When we do just the things we are confident in doing and doing just the things we perceive our resources allow us to do, we will not accomplish very much.

We don’t need better self-esteem, but we need faith. When we live by faith we understand that it isn’t about our talents or resources, but it is about God’s power at work in our lives. Stepping out to do God’s will, even when we don’t have the talents and resources, means we are giving God the opportunity to work through us.

Now, that doesn’t mean that every time we step out in faith and we seek to do something bigger than us will be a great success in our eyes. Sometimes it will even seem like a failure. Failure in our eyes doesn’t mean God’s will wasn’t accomplished. It means God’s agenda is different from our agenda.

Part of living by faith means focusing on God’s will rather than on our resources. It requires us to understand that if we are doing God’s will, then He is going to provide what is needed to get the job done. If we wait until we have the resources or the talents to do something we are going to miss out on God working through our lives to make an impact in this world.

Are You a Light, Am I?

Our love makes us lights in the world. Without love we still live in darkness, but our love, which provides a sharp contrast with the way of the world, shines for all the world to see. Why is our love a light? One reason is because love reveals life the way it is supposed to be lived. The world is filled with places where people are abused, where they are taken for granted, or they are simply ignored. If we as Chrstians participate in these same actions then we will look exactly like the rest of the world. To be lights requires that we stand apart from the world. If we can’t love ourselves and other Christians, how can we love those in the world? If we can’t love ourselves and other Christians, why would the unloved who are lost want to be a part of God's Family? Our love for each other meets a need that everyone has in their hearts.

Another reason love makes us lights is because love deals with our actions. Truth deals with thoughts and philosophies which are constantly argued and debated. When we reduce Christianity down to being just a truth, we turn it into just another philosophical discussion that is to be debated. If the truth of Christianity is lived out through our love then the Gospel moves from something that is debated to something that is real, practical and transforming. Our love is proof that the message is true.

To be lights in the world means that we love: Love God, love ourselves and love the lost. We can possess all the correct doctrine and have all the rational arguments for God's existence, but they are meaningless without love. What sometimes frustrates me is to see people who claim to be standing for "God's Truth," but who are so very unloving in their approach. Sometimes I agree with what they are saying, but I shake my head because by their approach I know they have missed the point. When we live in an unloving manner we prove that we are living in darkness!

 So how can we live a life of love? It begins by doing loving actions, regardless of how we feel about the person or situation. If we wait until we feel like loving then we will never love. Love begins by making the choice. The choice to be kind and respectful to other people. The choice to show love to someone even you don't feel like it at the time. When we do this, we begin to shine in the dark world around us.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Too Busy to Love?

Friends. They are so vital to our lives, and yet we can think of a dozen different reasons not to cultivate friendships. It is time consuming work to maintain friendships, and so we allow ourselves to be pushed along by life only stopping to connect with people when it is convenient to us.

One of the reasons I bring this up is because I often feel like I get treated that way. Yes, I am your friend, but the relationship is based on your terms. So, when I call, they don't return the message, or when I write an email they don't bother with a reply.

It is crucial for us to remember that we are sending a message with our silence. Being busy is no excuse for ignoring someone. We are all busy, and so relationships require we put aside, if not for a moment, the busy-ness to focus on the person. To allow our busy-ness to consume us makes us very self-centered people.
The sad reality is that as I examine my life, I realize that I have done the same thing. I haven't returned phone calls and have let emails go ignored. I pushed away the thought of buying the thank you card or stopping for a visit because I didn't have the time. People who I love and care for are left to wonder if I truly care anymore.

 Here is the question: Who is in need of our love and encouragement? Whose love and encouragement are you in need of? I am sure just like me, there is someone you know who is longing to hear a friendly voice or see a smiling face. Who are you going to share your love with today?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Valentine Wish for All

A very Happy Valentine's Day to all of my friends and family. I love you all! As always have a wonderful day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Eye of the Tiger

I have many television shows that I enjoy watching. From my blog postings, you have no doubt noticed that I am a huge LOST junkie. One of the shows that I haven't been able to keep up on, for various reasons, is Supernatural.
My daughter and I love this show! Mostly for no other reason than it is just good, fun entertainment.

At the end of a Season 4 episode entitled Yellow Fever, the folks of Supernatural treated fans to a hilarious clip of Jensen Ackles lip syncing Eye of the Tiger by Survivor. I have seen this clip so many times, yet every time I watch it I laugh uncontrollably. This represents for me, just one of the simple things in everyday life that make me happy. I hope you have as much fun watching it as I do. Enjoy!

Women, Faith and LOST

Television as a medium has a long way to go in its portrayal of both women and Christians, but in my rewatching of past episodes, ABC's LOST may be a promising start. It's not surprising to discover that TV is lacking in sophisticated portrayals of both women and Christian faith.

One of my favorite directors in television is Joss Whedon. Whedon is the creator of such shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and my personal favorite, FireFly. Despite the fantastical circumstances his female characters find themselves in, Whedon has been unusually successful in bringing them to life by grounding them in the common experience of women, and portraying that experience with a sympathy and a realness that is often a rarity in male directors. But what about the "common experience" of faith?

I'm hard pressed to think of a female character on television today who thoughtfully approaches issues of faith, but one that comes to mind is the character of Rose on LOST. For me, this show is one of the few on television that actively engages themes of faith. At its center is the fate vs. free will debate. Though it does so mainly through its male characters. Rose, albeit a character who screen time is dwarfed in comparison to the male characters of the show, embodies a thoughtful, confident faith that does not resort to stereotypes of religious folks. In one of the most moving scenes of the series, Rose prays with Charlie, a character struggling to make sense of a difficult situation. Her prayer (to "our heavenly Father") comforts Charlie and her faith impacts all those who come into contact with her.

I would love to see more of this kind of character, both to process my own faith and to help others understand the unique viewpoint of Christian women. LOST's subtle portrayal of faith has led to constructive conversations with millions of fans who would normally dismiss Christianity because of TV's portrayal of them as silly, judgmental or unintelligent. While TV has a long way to go, LOST represents small steps toward engagement with the issues of faith that make up our stories.

37 Seconds

I have just finished watching Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. I have lost count of how many times I have seen this movie. I still get sucked in by the magic and wonder of the story and it feels SO good to be captivated by the special things in life.

The story is about a magical toy store run by Mr. Magorium who is 243 years old. The toys are alive and bouncing and it is a haven for children of all ages. The secret is that Mr. Magorium believes in the store but one day he announces that he is leaving. In fact he says that he is "leaving this world" and he hands over the store to his young assistant.

The assistant is horrifed. She doesn't want Mr. Magorium to "leave" and to make matters worse the store reacts badly and eventually shuts itself down and all the magic departs as well as the customers. The movie has a wonderful moment when assistant takes Mr. Magorium on a special day to help him see the magic of life. He understands at the best last day of life ever. They jump on beds in a bedroom store; they roll out a giant sheet of bubble wrap and dance on it to the sound of popping and laughter and they set all the clocks in a grandfather clock shop to the same time so the whole store breaks out into chiming at the same time.

As the film continues the assistant must either sell the store or discover the source of the store's magic. There is a point in the movie when Mr. Magorium's assistant said that they needed to wait 37 seconds for the clocks to start chiming. He replied "No. We breathe. We pulse. We regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. 37 seconds, well used, is a lifetime."

I sit and ponder this statement. How many of us are too busy to take just 37 seconds out of our lives to talk to God? Too busy to take 37 seconds to marvel at the magic of this world? I am one of the guilty one to be sure. On some days, I take more time with my smoking than I do with my Creator. There is so much in this world that I am thankful for. Taking 37 seconds to talk with God shouldn't be hard. I am not looking for an answer, I just wanted to send the question out there. In closing I will leave you with this, there is still magic in the world if only we take the time to look and realize that 37 seconds well used is a lifetime.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Begining of the End

Ninety-nine percent of all American homes have a television set. Like it or not, TV is a part of our everyday lives. We can't write if off as trivial; we're watching it, and so are our friends, family and neighbors. There's a lot of junk out there sure, but great TV, which admittedly is rare, is no less worthy of our attention than a great movie or book. At its best, a good show expands our understanding of who we are and what it means to be human. It affirms what is universal to the human experience and challenges us to consider the world from another point of view.

After months of waiting, fans of the ABC drama "LOST" can rejoice: the show returns for its final season tonight. But, if promotional materials depicting the cast as characters in DaVinci's "The Last Supper" are any indication, "LOST's" roughly 23 million followers may be surprised to find a great deal of religious imagery in their favorite fantasy show this year.

According to theological experts, the show's characters and themes are steeped in a profound biblical message. All the evidence in "LOST" is pointing to existence of a truly good higher power, and in turn, to the existence of evil. Though the show quotes a wide range of philosophers and has made references to various religious terms, like the dharma of the Hindu and Buddhist faiths, "LOST" for the most part thrives on the Judeo-Christian narrative, particularly from the Old Testament.

Consider the character names, for example. There's Jacob, who is the biblical father of the 12 tribes of Israel. And then there is a baby named Aaron, the name of Moses' brother. "LOST" mirrors the Book of Exodus, when the people of Israel are led out of slavery into the Promised Land. But while the Jews were literally enslaved, the characters of "LOST" wear emotional shackles instead. Indeed, each character has a burden to bear. From a murderer to an alcoholic to a former Iraqi solder who used torture tactics, the characters all have baggage. And this, reaches out to viewers. Deep down, we all know we're not perfect ,That is our personal "land of slavery."

We find ourselves in a context of evil and suffering in the world and the randomness of it all -- 9/11, Katrina, the Haiti earthquake, We've been made for mercy and justice [and yet we] live in a world where those things are out of order, in chaos. We are clueless. We are "lost."

So what can fans expect when the final season premieres tonight on ABC? Speculations are that if the show follows the Bible's narrative, the characters will spend their final season searching for home. Everyone is trying to find a way home for salvation, They are looking for someone to show them the way to the "land flowing with milk and honey."

Friday, January 29, 2010

That's Right, I'm a Buckeye

Most people who have never lived in Ohio just don't understand that Columbus, Ohio (and every Ohio town within 100 miles) "IS" Ohio State Football. Having moved to Ohio from Florida (and now back in Florida again), I didn't quite understand the whole obsession with college football. I have to tell you though, the Buckeye itch is not something you can ignore. What's that old saying, "Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye" and " I bleed Scarlet and Grey". I am and I do.

We start in May with the spring game. All summer we watch the news for the scoop on the players and the practices. We plan our Saturdays around each game starting in August and we don't quit until January. We yell out "O-H!" even in church and somebody will answer "I-O!" Our newscasters wear Scarlet and Gray. Entire cities are familiar with such characters as "The Neutron Man" and "Buckeye Man". Grown men who are famous for little more than being awesome football fans.

Nobody here ever wonders who Sloopy is. Bands and Rappers make the beginnings of careers with songs taunting the opposition "Michigan Who?". TBDBITL makes little kids WANT to sign up for marching band. We BELIEVE in the killer nut-ness of Brutus Buckeye, possibly the goofiest and least intimidating mascot in the history of sports. We are a city, a state and a nation (don't laugh we Buckeyes are EVERYWHERE) united in our love for a team, a tradition and a perfectly coiffed man in a sweater vest. I really do miss Ohio :(


Through a very good friend of mine, I have come to like John Mayer very much. I have always been a fan of slow rhythm music. The sounds of John Mayer have a tendancy to relax me in my many times of stress. And now, for your listening pleasure... I give you Mr. John Mayer... Enjoy.

The Touch of the Masters Hand

It was battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.

"What am I bid, good people", he cried,
"Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?"
"Two dollars, who makes it three?"
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"

But, No, From the room far back
A gray bearded man came forward
and picked up the bow
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
and tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet.
As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.

"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice
Going and gone", said he.

The audience cheered, But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?" Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Masters Hand."

And many a man with life out of tune
All battered and scarred with sin
Is auctioned cheap to a thankless world
Much like that old violin.

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.
But the Master comes,

And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.

Myra Brooks Welch

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


The wise man said,
“Life is a chessboard, of nights and of days.

Where men are the pawns of God.
Moved here and there.
God allows them to love and to lose.
 Allows them to know happiness and sorrow.
To have much and nothing.
God allows them to kill and be killed.
Piece by piece he puts them back into the box.
There is a destiny for every piece.
A destiny for every player.
A destiny for all things.
Control is not for them to have,
Because the hand of God is upon them all.”