Monday, May 31, 2010

Greater love has no one than this...

Today I am most thankful that I can sit at my kitchen table and write this post without fear of censorship, retribution or persecution. I have the freedom to travel and see whomever I choose today. I was completely uninhibited taking my family to a place of worship yesterday to praise a loving God, or I could have just as easily chosen to stayed at home and watched a How It's Made marathon on television.

I have never known the restrictions of living in a repressed culture. I can't fully comprehend the inability to drive to a local supermarket and purchase food for my family in quantities that should shame us in comparison to 90% of the remaining world's population.

Less than 24 hours ago, Mrs. Tony C and I watched a show on a network dedicated strictly to food that featured a restaurant about 100 miles from where we live, got in the car, drove there, ate, and returned home. No hassles, no permission required.

Today I'm thankful that I have a day off from work to spend with my family however I so choose to spend the day. If I don't like my job, then I can find a new one. If I don't like my profession, then I can go back to school and change it or even start my own business. If I fail, my life isn't ruined because I live in a culture that allows for mistakes, as well as unlimited opportunity.

I'm ashamed that only a few times a year I stop and remember the veterans who paid the ultimate price, so I can do all the things I do. I knew a few of them and called them friends...I greatly appreciate all of them.

May we never forget whenever and wherever we see our country's standard flying proudly the blood spilled to protect it, to defend liberty and all the hope and freedoms the flag represents. Real men and women who sacrificed all they were or ever would be for an idea, a principle.

Thank you on my behalf and that of my family...thank you.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Oh no...what have you started!

With motivational kudos to fellow blogger Shauna over at Blah Blah Blog, I launch into my first video blog (drum roll).

Sorry I'm not better looking...

* All opinions, idiotic statements, acts of foolishness and general tomfoolery are in no way a reflection of the opinions, dignity and common decency of Mrs. Tony C and should not be considered thus in any future proceedings and/or legal actions. There...are you happy?

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's all over...even the crying

And so it ends...

Despite this overwhelming desire to waste my morning surfing, I've managed to resist reading the outtakes by other fans of the television show loved by so many...including me. I know there will be brilliant analysis over on Sussing Out Lost, and Lulaville is bound to share a post or two, but I wanted to share my untainted thoughts before taking in what everyone else has to say (okay, I have discussed it some with Mrs. Tony C and Heavy D, but we've got years of material here people).

First, I have to say I'm working hard to keep my Christian perspective somewhat in check and completely understanding that not everyone believes as I do. The show worked hard at being politically correct which ultimately is counter-productive because it ends up offending just about everyone rooted in a faith. The New Age nuance that drapes over the show has been both ambiguous and somewhat trite over the six seasons, but then again...that's part of the New Age philosophy by definition for some. I'll move on and promise to refrain from any Oprah Winfrey references...

I'm a big fan of any show/movie I choose to watch that holds me in suspense. Lost most certainly accomplished this for over 120 shows. Sitting on the couch with Mrs. Tony C at the conclusion of the pilot episode, I looked at her and said 'How in the world are they doing a series based on this?' I will answer my own question today...quite well, thank you.

There's no need to attempt a series recap, let's keep this post focused on the finale, which I believe was the best episode of the series. Let's be bold too and work backwards with the show's final scene of the Oceanic 815 plane wreckage littered across the beach. It took the very last scene to convince me...they are all dead and have been since the very first scene of the series.

I didn't want to buy into the theories the island was purgatory or some form of purgatory, but I have a hard time going any other direction now. The island was a place for our favorite flawed characters to right the ship before sailing into the light. Did they have a choice in the matter? I believe the presence of dichotomy - black and white, dark and light, good and evil, selfishness and selflessness -suggest they very much did have a choice, but Jack's profound monologue at the very series get-go, 'we either live together or die together,' suggest their fates were somehow intermingled. Jack's father, Christian, helps cement that fact when he stated last night 'nobody does it alone.'

I don't believe the creators were trying to sell us on the concept of purgatory in the traditional sense in Catholicism, but they very much established in the world of Lost, the soul is eternal and not bound by the limitation often boxed in a secular view of life experiences. What happened on the island was specific to some on Oceanic 815 but only another part of the infinite journey we all travel.

Do I still have questions? You bet, but I had no expectation that the writers would answer all the questions the show has generated through its run in the finale. I think it would have been a huge mistake to try...and a little condescending. Last night's show was exciting, emotional, somewhat confusing, funny and all the things we've come to expect as fans. I will miss Lost much like I miss Seinfeld and a number of my other favorite shows that have ended.

That's my initial take from the finale less than 24 hours later. I'll watch it again...and probably again. Not because I buy into the pseudo-theology the show created. I just find it to be great entertainment driven by relatable, imperfect characters.
See you on the other side...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Stop Comedy Central from making an offensive show about Jesus!

I've got two words for the folks at Comedy Central...that's enough!

According to the Washington Post, Comedy Central is developing the premise for a Fall show that will depict Jesus as unhappy in Heaven because His Father has grown apathetic, so He leaves and gets an apartment in New York City.

Seriously...this is funny to some people.

Keep in mind these are the same Comedy Central execs that cowered under to Muslim threats over showing the image of Muhammad on the show South Park and censored episodes by placing a black box over his image anytime his character appeared.

So apparently it's okay to offend Christians but not Muslims.

A cartoon character of Jesus has appeared on several episodes of South Park, usually in a profane or irreverent manner. One older episode has Jesus with a talk show trying to make it big a' la Jerry Springer style. Despicable.

Do you know why the most holy and reverent symbols of the Christian faith continue to be used in desecrating manners again and again for the amusement of non-Christians?

Because we let them. I say enough is enough...

It's time we banned together to be heard as one voice.'s way past time. If Christians stand idly by and allow our Father and Savior to be reduced to cartooned entertainment in the most blasphemous ways and broadcast across the nation, we have truly given up the Kingdom. The time has come to be an activist for God! He doesn't need us to fight His battles...granted, but how can we in good conscience watch our faith be openly ridiculed and mocked and do nothing!

In this age of political correctness, how about us? We live, work, shop and worship in this country too. Why are Christians not considered when it comes to offensive materials or speech?

Because...we've become complacent and lazy! Apathetic and cold! We've slid quietly into the night as the world continues to party around us crippled by our own inability to cooperate or coordinate due to possible inconsequential issues of theology. Catholics and Protestants. Evangelicals and Fundamentalist. Baptist and Methodist. All Christians. We worship God as our Creator and Jesus as our Savior. How can we possibly sit out these battles knowing we will one day come face to face with God Almighty and look upon Christ who sacrificed so much for us?

I've started a Facebook Group called Stop Comedy Central's Offensive Show About Jesus! If Facebook generates enough clout to have Betty White host SNL, I'm sure we can keep a piece of trash show from ever making it to airing. Get the word out. Start a petition at your church. Write Viacom (Comedy Central's parent company) and let them know how you feel. Blog, tweet, status update, email, IM, text, call...GET INVOLVED!

If you truly believe what you claim to believe...isn't that worth standing up for Christian?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Paul Harvey will be a busy man in Heaven...

I was sitting in Bible study last night and found my thoughts wandering off point a bit...

Now everyone who reads the Bible has their own favorite character. Maybe it's Moses (depicted by this action figure with the ripped abs, huge biceps and disproportionately large feet), Abraham, Noah, or Esther. How about a New Testament character like John, Paul, Mary or Peter (no, not the 70's folk group)?

I've always pictured myself a little like David and a lot like Peter in many ways. I rush into things sometimes before completely thinking them through...even with the best intentions.

Let's take Peter for example. Before thinking through the situation the night Jesus was arrested, he pulls out his sword in the garden when the authorities had come and whacks the right ear of Malchus clean off. Was he going for his throat and missed? Did he realize he was outnumbered hundreds to one? Didn't matter...Peter acted before he thought and Jesus cleaned up the mess. Jesus also dressed Peter down in the process for his actions.

We were reading this story last night in John 18, and I began to wonder about Malchus. Why does John mention him by name and position while telling a story of such great importance with dire consequences? What was Malchus's take on everything going down? Was he just there because he had to be as a servant of Caiaphas or did he want to see Jesus dead?

Luke tells us in his accounting of the story that Jesus picks up the ear and heals Malchus on the spot. So, here I am sitting in church last night trying to picture just what Malchus must be feeling after this infamous scene. First...with but the words 'I am He', Jesus knocks down the entire detachment that had come to arrest him. Malchus is rolling around trying to right himself and gain his composure. In comes Peter with either a precise Ninja move or a swing and a miss, and Malchus is without his right ear. Then, the Man he is there to help arrest picks up his ear and puts it back on the side of his head while chastising the one who sliced him.

Wonder how Malchus slept that night? Do you think he was lying there in the servant's quarters with the other help, rubbing his ear saying 'you ain't gonna believe what went down in the Olive Garden tonight...'? Think he might have had a completely different view of this Man who knocked over hundreds with but His voice? Do you think his thoughts drifted to Jesus with pity for the torment He was about to endure? Did he actually see Christ hanging on that cross in a public spectacle of humiliation and his heart go out to Him?

What becomes of Malchus, the man like so many of us who happen to be on the wrong side at times but have ample opportunity to make it right?

I truly hope to see Malchus in Heaven when I'm called home and hear his story of that night and how his encounter with Jesus forever changed his life and hear Peter's side of the story as they laugh about the whole thing and praise God together for His brilliant plan of salvation.

That would be an awesome Rest of the Story moment. One of many I will get the privilege to hear, I'm sure...

Monday, May 10, 2010

I love the smell of political activism in the mornings...

You woke up in a different country today and probably didn't even realize it...

Despite the efforts of the Republican party to make-believe pander to them and the liberal left to dismiss them as irrelevant and even vile, the Tea Party revolution managed to oust three-term Senator from Utah, Robert Bennett, in the state's primary on Saturday.

He was a Republican.

While you chew on that a moment, shaking your head trying to connect the Tea Party with a effort to remove a conservative Republican Senator, add this to the processor...just because you claim to be Republican doesn't make you a conservative. At least, not by the definition of the Tea Party revolution.

Senator Bennett's undoing was two-fold. First, he voted for a stimulus package that was initiated under the Bush regime and passed under Obama's watch. People were paying attention. Second, his attempt to work out a bipartisan compromise on health-care reform and subsequent vote to make health care mandatory under the new law was on his legislative record. Again, people were paying attention.

Career politicians, lobbyist, special interest groups and the media need to take notice. Despite efforts to invalidate, scoff and even villanize the conservative revolution's movement to end the completely insane actions of Washington (i.e. tax and spend, outlandish debt, and a swelling government payroll), people are paying attention to the actual issues, the real votes cast by politicians, and following the money of influence that flows so freely within the Washington beltway.

It's not about Republicans. It's not about Democrats. Not the talking-head buffoons on radio and television.

It's about real people. Grassroots. Common Sense. How long can the world's largest debtor nation continue to be the world's leader? Where in the Constitution does it imply I should be required by the federal government to have health insurance? Save greed-ridden financial institutes and poor performing manufacturers with tax dollars?

People are paying attention that scares the hell out of you.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I'll take a '40 days/40 nights raincoat' from L.L. Bean, XXL, in seafoam...

Last week, a friend of mine with very different theological views made a comment that I must be excited that Noah's ark was discovered...again.

I will admit that the story of Noah has been a favorite since early childhood. Maybe it's all the animals, the construction of a huge boat, or the fact that water wiped out every living thing save Noah and gang. Maybe it's all those things...but whatever the draw...Noah's plight in an awesome story.

Much like Iron Man (another childhood favorite), I've waited for years for a good movie about Noah's ark. Marvel finally delivered on my favorite Avenger with an awesome first movie. I'll get back to you on the sequel after it debuts this Friday. So where's a flick about Noah? He's a superhero know. Don't even give me that Jon Voight made-for-television movie or Evan Almighty either. A biblical Patriarch deserves at least an A-list actor to portray him in order to be considered a great movie (think younger Charlton Heston or even Tom Hanks).

With today's CGI, THX and XYZ technology, I have no doubt Hollywood could turn out an 'Avatar' quality picture without harm coming to a single animal. Sure, everyone knows the end of the story...but the same is true of Titanic and look at the records that movie broke and awards it won! So you've got a proven winning formula with a big boat and lots of water...mix in a good dose of drama, romance and action...throw in some Divine intervention, L.L. Bean product endorsement opportunities (they truly do make the best rain gear), trim off at least 45 minutes...walla! Blockbuster!

The action figure and accessories potential alone could be a fortune.

Of course, my friend was going in a completely different direction than my IMAX imagination. He thought I'd be happy about Noah's ark being discovered...again...because it would be physical prove validating a story from God's Word. When I explained to him I didn't need any type of proof to validate the Bible for my sake, he was quite perplexed.

If it is actually Noah's ark, won't that bring more people to believe the way you believe?

I don't think my response that if someone needs that type of evidence to believe in God, then they've already missed the boat was exactly what he was looking for in an answer.