Wednesday, July 2, 2014


I want to ask my local meteorologist what is is up with this "feels like" temperature.   It seems to me that our weather men and women have joined the ranks of politicians who spin and journalists who sensationalize.  They tell me the temperature outside is 95 degrees but it feels like 102 degrees.  Feels like?  Either it is 95 degrees or it is not.  Why try to blur the lines of truth with emotions?

I learned a long time ago that feelings lie.  Indeed, a very wise man in the Bible said, "The heart is deceitful above all things and is beyond cure.  Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)  So please, Mr. Weatherman, or Ms. Weatherwoman, don't try to play on my emotions by telling me it feels hotter than my thermometer says.  I've lived through 53 summers in Texas and they are ALL HOT.  Why try to make it hotter than it already is?

If you want me to "feel" better, tell me it's 95 degrees but we're lucky it's not 102.  Then I will "feel" blessed.  I'll still sweat like a horse, but at least I won't go around wondering if it's 95 or 102 or whatever it feels like to me.  The next thing you know, we will be told it's 6:00 o'clock but it feels like 6:15.  And if that's the case, I better go because I'm running late.

Monday, March 31, 2014


A movie critic I am not, but a movie goer I am.  I went to see the movie Noah in spite of all the criticism it drew from certain Christian critics.  While there were only a few of them they were very vocal, and I would have to say it had a great deal to do with me going to check it out.  Let me decide for myself whether a movie is worth seeing or not, even a biblical one.

My thoughts on the movie are very positive.  In other words, I ENJOYED IT.  Like many Hollywood efforts, it is based on a true story and that part of the story is intact.  What happens around the story is interesting, creative, and totally speculative.  But it had all the elements of a good movie.  There was an engaging story line (loosely based on Genesis), lots of action, romance, and great special effects.  I LIKED the movie, and as a Christian, it did not bother me that a lot of creative license was used.  Without spoiling it for those who want to see it, let me address some of the issues that some people have been vocal about....

GOD'S NAME IS NEVER MENTIONED.  Not true.  God has many names, and one of them is Creator.  That name is used through the entire movie, and it is clear there is only ONE Creator and this Creator created man in HIS image.  In fact, the characters are constantly (and I do mean constantly) talking to, referring to, thinking about, or discussing God. But Aronofsky rightly intuited from the Scriptural account and tradition that, ten generations out from the creation, and before God reveals his personal name to man (which is not "God," incidentally), it would make sense for people to think of God largely as "the Creator."

NOAH WAS AN ENVIRONMENTALIST.  One small scene where he tells his son only to pick what is needed nothing more.  That makes him an environmentalist?  God put man in a GARDEN and told him to TAKE CARE OF IT.  I guess that makes Adam an environmentalist, too.  Picky, picky.  But there's not a lot of tree-hugging here (nor a lot of trees to hug). I have difficulty, as someone who leans right in my own politics, extracting a political agenda from this film.

NOAH WAS A MURDERER.  I had to laugh at this one.  In the story line Noah thinks God wants to wipe out ALL of humanity (which is interesting to think about when Noah was wrestling with all this, but wrong) and in order to obey God's will someone (I won't say who) had to die.  Funny how we never call Abraham a murderer, even though God told him to slay his only son.  While Noah defends his family, as any father would, his only killing was in self defense. 

ROCK PEOPLE.  Of course this is a Hollywood twist, but come on.  C.S. Lewis is intimately known for his humanization of animals and using them to tell God's story.  What's wrong with using rock people?  There was even a thread of redemption in their use.  It's Hollywood, need I say more?

THE STOWAWAY.  Another Hollywood twist, and of course not biblical.  For me, however, it represented the fact that even though the human race was starting over, the sinful nature was still there.  Probably not intended that way, but that's what I got out of it.

ATHEIST DIRECTOR.  Asked on “CBS This Morning” about having called his film “the least biblical, biblical movie ever made,” Darren Aronofsky said he was simply distinguishing his approach from that of much older films, like Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments.Responding to reports that identified Mr. Aronofsky as a self-professed atheist, Leslee Dart, a spokeswoman for him, said she did not believe that he would directly challenge the characterization.  “I believe he would say: ‘It doesn’t really matter what I believe. The movie believes in God,’ ” Ms. Dart said.  The story of creation was told in this movie, quite biblically I might add.  He may be an athiest, but he knows something about the Bible.  Most atheists would have promoted the Big Bang, or evolution as the origin of man's existence.  Mr Aronofsky did not.

My conclusion is Noah is a good movie made by good filmmakers who ask questions and think of movies as art.  It is visually and imaginatively compelling.  But you should also see the movie for yourself, because this is a film that people are going to be talking about, and it's a movie I can't really explain fully in a blog. There have been a lot of rumors about this film - a lot of people talking about it without seeing it, and some of it is false hearsay. Seeing the movie means you can talk about it and give your own informed opinion about it. Better yet, see it with some others, and spend time discussing it afterward.  That's what my wife and I did.

Noah is not political. It is not evangelistic. It is not a theological treatise. Rather, it's a movie that approaches the level of "good art." It asks big questions. It explores concepts like grace, justice, pride, guilt, and love.  It takes a sober look at the evil in the human heart.  For me, it was a movie worth watching.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

525,600 MINUTES

     I don’t know about you but I am very time conscious.  When I forget my watch it drives me crazy.  My kids don’t even wear watches most of the time, they use their phones.  I don’t want to have to draw my phone out every now and then to see what time it is.  I just want to look at my wrist and there it is.  Now they’re making phones that fit on the wrist.  I think it’s just so they can see what time it is.
     One of the interesting things that we all have in common because of watches, cell phones, clocks on the wall at work or school, is that we are constantly aware of what time it is.  Many times a day you check to see what time it is.  One of the most common questions people ask is “what time is it?”  Every once in a while we’ll lose ourselves in a book or a hobby and we’ll say something like this:  “I lost track of time.”  But very quickly we recover and figure out what time it is.  The problem is, that’s not the most important question we should ask when it comes to time.  So as we enter into 2014 I want us to begin asking a better question.  I think you will agree this is a better question.  Instead of asking what time is it, I think we should ask this question:  What am I doing with my time?
     The idea of time slipping away is very much a part of Scripture.  The Bible has a lot to say about how time quickly goes by.  As you get older, there will come a time when you stop thinking about how old you are, and you will begin thinking about how much time you have left.  Instead of looking back at how old you are, you are going to look ahead and sense there is a finish line out there somewhere.  How do we best invest our time in this new year?  What do we do with a fresh 525, 600 minutes?
     In Psalm 90 Moses says, “Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  Our days really are numbered, so why not live them within the context of God’s purpose for us?  How about asking God what HE wants you to do with that day off, that vacation, that business trip, or that weekend you have free?  When we understand that the context of time is eternal, and our few years so fleeting, it helps us make wise decisions as we number our days.  We make better financial decisions, better relationship decisions, and better career decisions.
     Instead of asking what time it is, in 2014 we need to ask what we need to be doing with our limited time.  This is not about “the end is near”.  If you think that way you will run away from the reality that your days are numbered.  But if you will embrace the fact that God has given you life, He’s given you another year, and He’s given it to you for a purpose and that purpose is not you, you will discover a context for which to live your life.  Because when it comes to the concept of time, context is everything.  And the context is there is a grander narrative and you are not the main character.  It’s about allowing Him to leverage our skills and our time for His glory rather than ours.