So my birthday was this week. The big 28 on Tuesday. Woo! I don't ask for much on my birthday. Maybe a trip to Waffle House or some small little gadget.
This year, I got a car wreck. My wife Allicia was in an accident that, praise God, did not hurt her or the baby. But it totaled the car. Absolutely destroyed the front part of it. The gas pedal sticks, the hood is all bent, and some bar on the inside is broken in two.
Happy Birthday to me!
I'm trying to do a good job of accepting the hand God has allowed to be dealt to me, but I gotta say it sucks. The only insurance that was on the car was liability, so there's no shot at the insurance company fixing any part of it. Which means that we still have to make payments on a car that we can't drive.
I know that God has a plan. But I can't quite figure out what the heck he's doing. Far be it from me to question The Almighty, but with a kid on the way, all Allicia and I want is just a little relief.
It could have been much worse.
Movie in theaters with a positive Christian Message
Rated PG-13 for some violence and drug content. In wide release on Sept. 30.
Here's a film that is selling you on the positive Christian message. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I've never seen any of the recent "faith" films like the depressing Left Behind or that Fireproof movie with Kirk Cameron (Kirk Cameron is the reason I have yet to see that film. So annoying). So out comes another film under the same banner, from the same creators.
Part of me thinks I'm hypocritical because I'll watch silly movies like What About Bob, but don't want to sit through a movie that has strong faith ties. The other part of me wonders if there's so much of a focus on faith that actual film quality is neglected. As Jars of Clay frontman Dan Haseltine tweeted earlier today, "Even my 10yr old son dislikes faith based films because he says they are trying to sell him something like a commercial."
It just seems like Christian media has such a focus on "spreading the word of Jesus" that art quality is second-tier. Listen to your average Christian talk station and you'll hear what I mean: the programs have a very poor quality. Yet if you try to criticize, they'll almost always give you the "We don't have enough funding excuse." Which is crap: you can produce good radio without a budget if you're creative enough.
So why should I spend my hard-earned money on something that isn't great quality because the creators thought, "Oh we don't have to try our hardest, it's about Jesus, people will love it." Isn't that dishonoring Christ by slacking off? Meanwhile, there are "secular" movie makers who are giving their absolute best dedication to the gifts God has given them, making movies that may not have in-your-face Christian messages, but nevertheless paint a positive moral picture.
Why shouldn't I give my money to them instead? You don't have to push Jesus into people's faces for them to see him.
But, judging by the trailer, it seems like a very well-crafted film. For the first minute of that trailer, I was really amped about seeing this movie. But toward the end, it seemed to turn into one of those pamphlets you get on the street about trusting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Regardless of the overly-evangelical feeling I got at the end of the trailer, I probably will go see this film at some point soon, as I think the cinematic quality will outweigh the pushy evangelism.
Movie on TV this weekend with positive Christian messages
The Jackie Robinson Story (3 p.m. ET on ESPN Classic)
With the baseball playoffs coming up, what better way to get into the spirit than to watch a film highlighting one of the most courageous (see how I brought that full circle!) men of the 20th century. It definitely shows its age, and was low budget, but it's a pretty powerful story, especially seeing Robinson play himself. For anyone who thinks that athletes are too spoiled to be admired, Robinson provides a stark contrast to that snotty-rich athlete that seems all too common in today's world.
Catholic Football Predictions
Please don't use this information to place bets. If I could get rich based on these predictions, I wouldn't work customer service as a day job.
• Wake Forest over Boston College (Montel Harris is back! Hopefully he brings the glory days back to Wake Forest with an obnoxious win over BC)
• Notre Dame over Purdue (Tyler Eifert comes home! Big win for Notre Dame on the road)
• Duquesne over Bryant (I dated a girl from a town named Bryant. That relationship ended poorly. So will Bryant's game against Duquesne
• Colgate over Fordham (Fordham's PAtrick Murray was punter of the week!
• Holy Cross over New Hampshire (New Hampshire is dedicating their game to two brothers who were injured in an auto accident last month. Sadly, they'll lose the game)
• New England Patriots over Oakland (OK, so not a Catholic organization, but Tom Brady is Catholic, and he cut his hair. Just like Samson. Wait a minute....)
Last week's record: 2-2 (I predicted HC over NH last week. My bad)
Beautiful Catholic Church worth driving to see
St. Mary's Basilica, Covington, Ky.
This church holds the world record for largest stained glass window. At 67 feet long by 24 feet wide, it's freakin amazing! And if you go to the church's official web site, they have NO good photos of the window itself. If your church holds a record for beauty, wouldn't you display that as soon as you could?
Remember what I said about Christian media not giving it their all? Ugh.
Anways, since you can't really see it online, you can visit the church from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday through Saturday. Mass times at 9:30 a.m. on weekdays, 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Best Catholic Blog to read on the Toilet
I'll man up and admit it: I do a lot of reading on teh toilet. Mostly Sports Illustrated and those interesting Yahoo! feature stories on the front page. But lately, I need to get more Catholicism in my life, on and off the pot.
This week's pick is Jeff Geerling's site, www.lifeisaprayer.com. Jeff's site is a good place to get updates from this year's Catholic New Media Celebration, an event Allicia and I originally planned on attending before finding out she was pregnant. Amazing how the miracle of life overrules Catholic podcasting!
One other reason I like Jeff's site is because he's geekier than I am! Remember what I said about Christian media not giving their 100 percent best? Jeff definitely doesn't fall into that category. He gives great insights on what it takes to design apps (such as this post about whether or not to develop for Android), along with a good dose of faith too.
His writing is so down to earth that even if you don't speak techno-babble, you can probably figure out what he's talking about. It's a very fun, sometimes educational, read from someone using their gifts and talents for God's glory.
Here's to Jeff Geerling, a good read in AND out of the bathroom.
What Your Priest Won't Tell You This Weekend
I'm no theologian. But if I was given this week's Gospel reading, here's what I'd tell my congregation, in an extremely short but poignant Homily. Which means that your priest will probably tell you something different and probably better. Oh, and this week's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 21:33-43.
It's an easy trap to fall into, to think that you are better than other people who loudly and actively preach against Christ and Christianity. 'I'm better than them, I'll think to myself, because I don't treat Jesus this way.'
'I wouldn've been one of the ones who killed the heir in this parable,' I think to myself. Or would I? See, the part that gets me feeling bad each time I read this is the line where the servants say, "let us kill him and acquire his inheritance." It makes me wonder how many times I've "killed" Christ in my heart, based on my own selfish desires to acquire great things. How many times have I acted selfishly in the name of greed?
So many that it puts me to shame. Christ's words at the end of the parable are a stark warning to me: God will take away his Kingdom from me and give it to people who produce wonderful things. Each time I read the story, I am reminded to pursue God for selfless reasons, and to always produce good things with the talents he has given me.
I don't want anything taken away.
I Found a Catholic on Youtube!
It's hard to believe sometimes, but there are Catholics that have embraced Youtube! Each week we scour Youtube to find a real Catholic who believes in the video format and share their goodness with other children of God. Here's this week's find!
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh talks to Catholic Review about his Catholic faith and what he loves about it. I loved hearing that he has a Bible study with his coaches on Tuesday mornings, and that the players have a heavily-attended bible study on Thursday. And hearing an NFL coach talk about David's Mighty Men? Now that just makes me downright giddy.
If the Ravens end up beating the Patriots in the playoffs this year, hearing about Harbaugh's faith will only make me 97 percent mad that my team lost.
A Tweet to Leave You By