Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gone Grey

My inaugural post on this blog was about Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve written a few posts since then about the show and my appreciation for the writers and actors. I’ve often felt the show provided rich insights into the human heart and relationships. It was for this reason I put up with the immorality. The workplace is Seattle Grace Hospital and I had always felt the hospital’s name was a metaphor (like each character’s chosen specialty) of what characters were seeking or experiencing.

Things change.

I slogged through last year. I kept waiting for the characters to start acting like the characters I knew. Never happened. Meredith and Derek on the outs. Again. George sleeps with a “friend”. Again. (This time after he marries Callie.) Meredith loses more loved ones. Christina and Burke implode. Retreads. I’ve already watched these story lines. Most disappointing, however, was the complete lack of redemption. All this ickiness and nothing to show for it.

So when Grey’s Anatomy premieres next week, I won’t be tuning in. I’m saying goodbye to Seattle Grace and hello to an extra hour a week to read.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

At the Movies: Wild Hogs

Wild Hogs is a movie for guys. It has guy humor. It has guy pathos. And it had this gal in stitches!

If you’re under 35, you’re probably going to miss the humor. You need to be at the age where you’re looking back at your “glory days”. In fact, unless Springstein’s "Glory Days makes you sing along every time you hear it, wait a few years before seeing Wild Hogs.

The movie begins by introducing us to Doug, a former wild and crazy guy who has settled into suburbia as a “lame” middle-aged Dad [Tim Allen]; Woody, who married a swimsuit model and was living the high life – until divorce and bankruptcy lowered his position [John Travolta]; Bobby, a henpecked plumber who has a crappy job- literally [Martin Lawrence]; and then there is Dudley, a shy computer geek who is terrified of talking to a woman [William H. Macy].

The four friends escape the dullness and disappointments of their day-to-day lives by straddling their Harleys for afternoons of make-believe when they don their leather and become Wild Hogs. Woody, unable to deal with his downturn in fortune, cajoles his three friends into a cross-country road trip. This trip, as expected, becomes a source of revelation for the foursome.

Tim Allen’s Doug is the emotional center of the film. He’s not running from something as much as he is trying to recover something. John Travolta is in fine comedic form as the poseur extraordinaire Woody (almost made me forget his Scientology weirdness). Martin Lawrence is great as the henpecked, macho-wannabe Bobby. And then there’s William H. Macy. Macy, Oscar-nominated and an Emmy winner, manages to be hysterical as Dudley without ever turning the character into a caricature.

The four men are endearing (although some of the y-chromosome humor did make me groan). Marisa Tomei adds another good-hearted girlfriend role to her resume. Ray Liotta plays Jack, the Wild Hogs’ nemesis - a real biker gang leader. John C. McGinley plays a quirky character that may make it impossible for Scrubs fans to ever look at him the same way again! By the way, did I mention the movie’s ending has a neat cameo?

If you’re looking for a fun evening, Wild Hogs will bring home the bacon.

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Christian Heroes

A few years ago, my hubby taught a Sunday School class on church history. Being a history buff in general, I relished this class. As time went on however, the class was bittersweet. I loved what I was learning, but I lamented not having grown up being familiar with some of the great heroes of the Christian faith. In elementary school, I could have told you lots about George Washington, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and the like. However, I would have been stymied had you asked me about Polycarp, Athanasius, Augustine or who the “Morningstar of the Reformation” was. [John Wycliff]

How sad.

Too many times, Protestants forget that for centuries there was one church. The St. Patrick of the Catholic Church is also our Patrick – a man to be greatly admired and imitated. It’s okay to call him “saint” - after all, Christians are “saints.” The Apostle Paul often wrote letters referencing “the saints” of his time. There are wonderful heroes that are dubbed St. This or St. That. The history of the Catholic Church before the 16th century is the history of Protestants as well and we should know it! We should know the personalities involved in the Protestant Reformation. We should be at least as familiar with our Christian heroes as we are our country’s founding fathers.

To that end, I picked up a small little book entitled, Against the World: The Odyssey of Athanasius by Henry W. Coray. I wanted to know the man who uttered the famous line “Athanasius contra mundum” or “Athanasius against the world” as he stood for the doctrine of the Trinity against overwhelming odds.

The battle was over Jesus and His place in the Trinity. Against Athanasius was Arius. Arius basically maintained there is only one unbegotten God, one originated Being, without any beginning of existence. The Son, therefore, had a beginning, and was therefore a created being, though the greatest and first of all created beings. Since he was created he was also mutable [changeable], but because he was chosen of God on account of his foreseen merits he was entitled to the veneration of men.

Arius was an eloquent and winsome preacher who knew how to make the most of his appeal and even put some of his propositions into jingles, which the common folk sang. The popularity of his hymns and chants contributed greatly to the spread of his heresy.

Between Arius and Athanasius was the middle majority led by church historian Eusebius of Caesarea. Because of their Arian leanings, this group proposed a compromise position by allowing that the Son was of “like substance” with the Father (homoiousios). Believing Truth cannot be compromised, Athanasius and the orthodoxy party continued to maintain the Son was of the “same substance” with the Father (homoousios), until finally, after considerable debate, the emperor threw the weight of his authority in the balance and thus secured the victory for the party of Athanasius. The Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. gave us the Nicene Creed which set forth Athanasius' view as the orthodox position.

Ah, but there’s the rub. Having a religious issue settled by political means creates its own problems and the Arius vs Athanasius battle would continue all of Athanasius’ 80+ years!

The means people are willing to use says a lot about their character. The Arians hurled false accusations after false accusations against Athanasius. They manipulated rulers resulting in Athanasius being exiled five times for his unwavering commitment to the exclusion of one letter (homoousios vs homoiousios)! The Arian supporters time and time again barged into church services of Athanasius’ followers and raped, beat and murdered many of the congregants. All this in the name of religion! (And we think things are bad today!)

Ancient creeds, which set forth doctrines Christians take for granted today, were forged many times by the blood of brave, uncompromising believers:

The Nicene Creed
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and
of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of
the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God;
begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things
were made.

Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was
incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was
crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the
third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven,
and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory,
to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who
proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together
is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one
baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Witty Music

In this blog’s heading, I warned that sometimes the entries are seriously frivolous. This is one of those times.

I LOVE Brad Paisley! Not only is he an incredible guitarist, he’s also one of the wittiest songwriters around. I even look forward to reading the liner notes of his CDs because of the comedic tone. He has such a mastery of the clever turn of phrase, double entendres (never too risqué) and word pictures. His latest, Online makes me giggle. If you spend anytime in cyberspace (or have a young person in your life who does), you’ll appreciate this one. You can watch the video here. (See how many of the performers making cameos you recognize. There are tons!)

His breakthrough comedic story song was probably I’m Gonna Miss Her (although everyone knows it by the title, The Fishing Song). Here’s Alcohol and Celebrity (William Shatner is hilarious!).

Brad is great at comedy, but he’s not one dimensional. Check out his ballad about his wife, She’s Everything. And if you wonder where he’s coming from, watch When I Get Where I’m Going.