Posts

Showing posts from 2005

Beasts on Film

The two biggest movies out during the holidays now are The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and King Kong.

There is one thing that both have in common besides being reasonable hits, and I'll elaborate on that in a minute. But first some thoughts about the films.

I loved the Chronicles of Narnia book series, and like all C.S. Lewis fans I reveled in the way he made what was biblical into fantastic allegory. There are just flatly certain things we long to engage in, and brilliant, beautiful fantasy helps us connect with that. Lewis acknowledged wonderfully that God did not give us imaginations for nothing.

But I must say that I was disappointed with the film. As much as Christians all around have said that Disney kept all the "Christian" stuff in, for one, that's not exactly the point, and for two, it was still a grand Disney simulation. Being completely Disneyfied, it was not only missing critical dialogue, but all the uniquely enchanting Lewis…

The Best Television Show Ever

One of the most wonderful matters of all time is the show that is being broadcast right now on channel 7. (I'm blogging about it now because I saw it when it was shown last week.)

It is "A Charlie Brown Christmas." No, it is not merely the best Christmas show ever, but the best television thing ever to beam across that medium. Why is it the wonderful matter that it is?

It is thoroughly and enchantingly imbued with all that does matter: relationship, discovery, accomplishment in all of its bountiful glory.

In and around a Vince Guaraldi soundtrack that is phenomenally brilliant (something few would deny), children interact with one another to find what the season is really about. Linus actually takes precious secular airtime to speak some of the most beautiful words ever spoken. They are from the book of Luke, chapter 2, verses 8 to 14. All they do is make plain pronouncement of the One thing that rescues man from his utter abject desperation.

Charlie Brown represents that pa…

The Dramatized Pope

A couple of renditions of Pope John Paul II's life were on television the past couple of weeks. The ABC version was called Hear My Cry, and CBS featured Jon Voight as the pontiff. Looking at Voight's regal depiction of John Paul in the teaser promos made me think of one thing: yes, this man is the Ruler of the World.

I saw a bit of each episode, and the little I saw was filled with all the typical pleasantries of mundane Catholicist drama featuring every facet of his person: the courage-- bringing down communism; the sensitivity-- attending children's events; the inclusivity-- dining with individuals of diverse religions and ethnicities; and the mercy--sitting with his would-be assassin in prison. It was all peppered with the pithy wisdom of the man who keeps the World on track to destruction.

Neither show got many viewers, at least according to the expectations of the networks. You'd think this is because no one cares, and that may indeed be the case, but it isn't b…

A Look at One.org

My latest take on the World is at my webzine The Catholicist Nation. I critique U2 lead singer Bono's one.org, a program he feels is going to eliminate poverty. I don't think that will exactly happen, and I write about why.

Go here to read it.

The Roman Catholic Church Is the Government

On the same day the press leads with the story about President Bush's latest nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court being all about religion, it is revealed that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles allowed at least eight priests to continue their sacerdotal duties even after receiving formal complaints that they had molested children.

The media's spin will always bring about the desired result for the hyper-attentive populace of the Catholicist Nation. What is the reality verses the perception in all of this? It is so frequently laid right out there by the media, but people are so Catholicized they don't see it. Consider if you will:

Perception: A nominee for the Supreme Court should not be given a "religious" litmus test.
Reality: Religion is always a criterion for consideration of a judge. If it was revealed that the nominee was a practicing Satanist, do you think for two seconds he or she would be confirmed? Even when new Chief Justice John Roberts decla…

More of the Same in Major League Baseball

I've spent a lot of time exposing what I call the "Aristocratic Conspiracy" in major league baseball. Just thought I'd point out that this year's American League playoffs feature teams from the top three metropolitan areas (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago). The fourth team (Boston) is from the seventh largest. Over in the National League two of the teams are from the tenth and eleventh largest areas (Houston and Atlanta, respectively).

This doesn't happen by accident. It is because of the nature of the conspiracy: the major leagues simply know they can't survive if these top large media market teams do not frequently appear in the playoffs and vie for the World Series. Free agency makes that happen, and it is no different than giving the Yankees an extra out every time they go to bat.

I listened to a morning radio show a couple weeks ago in which famed pundit and christened baseball expert George Will said that the $200 million the Yankees spent on their pla…

A Take on "Lord of War"

I saw Lord of War with Nicholas Cage the other night, and I enjoyed it because I like finely crafted morality plays even though it was, indeed, spiritually wrenching. What made the film especially profound was that it exhibited several characteristics of the Catholicist Nation. Just wanted to note a few of them here:

1. The Catholicist will rationalize his questionable behavior so frequently that eventually he will become an expert at it. This is essentially the practice of casuistry, making some sophisticated case for an act no matter how evil it is. The World System militant operatives' influence in enabling this practice is brilliantly displayed in Lord of War. Cage's character knows that his elite gun-running operation contributes to the death of thousands, and his wife confronts him about it. He struggles but is resigned to his addiction because he confesses "I'm so good at it." He takes what is good (accomplishment from the talent God gave each of us to do g…

God's Wonderful Matters

A long time ago I dreamed of having my own website in which I could just write about the things I see that destroy people, things that maybe those people would look at and see for themselves and not be mixed up with those things anymore and find true joy and freedom and contentment. I planned to call it "The Pascalian Cynic," first for the French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal, an iconoclastic figure of the highest order; and secondly for the kind of person I see myself as: a cynic who so desires to see authentic expressions of the life that God made in each person. I find that I either rejoice in that expression or I withdraw because it pains me so to watch so many so willingly and often gleefully dance with death. In many ways I've been trained by good Catholicists not to say anything because, well of course, I'd be intolerant narrow-minded bigoted and all the rest of it.

So now there's the Internet. Joy! Here I can boldly lay out my case about what…

Help for New Orleans Part II

One of the remaining issues now along the gulf coast in the wake of hurricane Katrina's devastation is what the final "body count" will be. By some estimates it will be as many as 10,000 dead. One of the questions frequently asked of someone who believes in God is, "Okay, so we ask God for help. Well, what about them. What about those who died. How come God didn't help them?"

The funny thing is that in all the media-generated discussion about whether God is responsible for this or for that or for none of it or for all of it, it is never brought up that Jesus addressed this exact question.

Look at the book of Luke, chapter 13. The account is not in any of the other gospels, it is only in Luke. Here some people ask Him, essentially, "Hey, Jesus, what's the deal with that tower that fell on a bunch of people killing them? And what about the people who were sacrificed for pagan rituals, what's the deal with that?" (In other words, "Why do t…

Help for New Orleans

Looking at all the people now screaming for help in New Orleans after the devestation of Katrina, hearing about how much more George Bush could be doing, listening to only the stories on the media of people whining and complaining and groaning, I just wonder what would happen if they actually asked God for help.

No, actually asked Him for help, not demanded it or cajoled it or bargained for it. It is just that I read in the Bible about just asking and you'll be fed. He fed thousands with a few fish and bread. He said we're more valuable than some birds. He said if we asked we'd be able to move mountains. I'm just saying that's what I read in the Bible.

I actually think there are some people doing great charitable things for God there. I really think there are a lot of people doing that. I think some people are being really blessed in some way somehow there. But it seems all I hear about are those who're being shafted-- at least that's what the media tells us.…

What We're Supposed to Think About Origins of Life

In the Los Angeles Times this morning there was a feature piece and an editorial of note regarding the origins of life. The Times is pretty set on ridiculing anyone who doesn't buy into the story of evolution*, and today's episode was no different. The interesting thing is that in smugly dismissing those crazy creationist young-earthers, they are indeed revealing the inadequacies of many Christian's understanding of what really happened millions of years ago. All this makes for more fun in the Culture War.

The feature article was about the people near Palm Springs who've built some large dinosaur models we can all see from the freeway, and with their expanding "Dinosaur Park" they're making the case that dinosaurs and humans lived together at one time. Again, the entire tenor of the piece is that these people are really stupid for not getting the realtrueactual science of the issue.

The editorial is from columnist Rosa Brooks who takes her shot by revealing…

"We're Not Afraid! Really We Are!--er--Aren't--er..."

I just put up my latest webzine home page piece about the novel web gallery of all those who "Aren't Afraid" in the face of grave terrorist threats. Click here and it'll take you there.

What Is It That She Really Wants?

I am fascinated by the attention Cindy Sheehan is getting. I'm not surprised, because she is the perfect tetherball for both armies in the culture war to slap around the pole. I am reticent to blog about it for fear of getting sucked in myself. I offer just a few additional thoughts on it, only because I believe no one, the least of whom is Mrs. Sheehan herself, knows what it is exactly she wants. In fact I don't believe anyone who is on one side or the other knows exactly what they want.

I noted the other day that she wore a t-shirt with "I want the truth" above a peace sign. Does she really want the truth? My conjecture, and please correct me if I'm way off here, is that the truth she wants is to get her grief assuaged after a good scolding of George Bush. She's literally expecting some sort of cathartically emotional massage afterwards. As such, maybe it would be good for her to give Bush a thorough "what's what," because then she will get her…

Niger:How Many Times Has This Happened Now?

I was thinking about the situation in the African country of Niger, currently enduring a famine the media typically term a "humanitarian crisis." As I looked at the sparse attention given to it, I noted how much even the most well-intentioned people just don't get it.

I'm going to go out on a limb and assert-- I know, this is daring-- that the reason for the abject ignorance is because they all refuse to look in the one place where they'd get it, and that place is in the pages of the Bible.

What does the Bible tell us in light of what is going on all around us?

It tells us that God put Cain in charge of the World System to mitigate the sin of those who refuse to put their trust in Him. (You can read about it in chapter four of the book of Genesis.) The way Cain and his agents do that is

1. Build a city and command allegience to receive the benefits of its glory.
2. Entice people into destitution in order to rescue them.
3. Gratify the wide demand for violence among his…

The Misguided Siege

Who in blazes is Cindy Sheehan? She's exploded onto the news as the woman who's camped outside President Bush's Texas ranch and will stay there until the president meets with her for one hour to explain why her son died during combat in Iraq. And why do we know all about her? The media have grafted the most powerful, muscular legs on the story, and it is now running all over the country. If anyone with any mind thinks about it, though, what exactly is going to be said should the desired conversation take place? It would probably go something like this:

Mrs. Sheehan: "Mr. President, why oh why did my son have to die in a war waged with the most deceptive pretense, for a cause that at this point in time is extraordinarily questionable?"

The President: "I'm sorry you feel that way and I am very sad about the loss of your son. But we are winning the battle for freedom and democracy for which your son died, and if we stop now the terrorists will win."

Is th…

Are You Afraid?

No, really, are you afraid? If so, why? What exactly is it you are afraid of? We all have fears of some things, certainly. But have you ever noticed that someone may be genuinely frightened about things you wouldn't even think of fearing, while you may express great fear about something another shrugs off.

The fact is, we are all afraid of some things, and in a very real sense, all of our diverse fears are surface manifestations of those core universal fears. Funny how it's always pointed out that more people fear speaking in front of a large audience than they fear death. But there is great truth in this phenomena: It's not that we fear death, we actually fear something else.

We fear loneliness. Really, that's it, that's the core fear. We don't want to be separated from those things that truly give our lives meaning: being with another and liking them and them liking us. The most simple and definitive reason some commit suicide is that they fear the abject pain …