Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

American Idol

I love watching this show. Unfortunately I missed it the other night. After reading some blogs on the men's performance, this guy really stood out. With the internet being what it is, I found the contestant who is said to have had the best performance of the night (according to the blogs anyway). The contestant is David Archuleta and you can go here to click the button and hear the audio version of the song. You'll need to scroll down a bit to hear the John Lennon tune. I used to have the video of this performance in this post but YouTube pulled the video.

Who would've thought to have a jazzy rendition of John Lennon's Imagine? Archuleta's interpretation of Lennon's song is not only astounding but, dare I say better than Lennon's. Go listen to it and hear what I mean.

When CDs turn into a Beta Max

Here is an interesting report from the Los Angeles Times that said 48% of teenagers bought zero (n0ne) CDs in 2007 up from 38% in 2006. With iTunes leading the way most teenagers receive their music, it looks as though CDs may become like LPs and 8-track tapes. Now music is simply stored on one's computer and iPod. Connections to hook up one's iPod are on home stereos, automobile stereos, and portable sound systems. Heck, I have two iHome players, one at the office and one at home. I also have a Bose Wave Radio with a special input cord to plug into my iPod.

It sure makes for a simple stereo experience, with fewer cords and extra components hogging up those "home entertainment units". Perhaps now more people will ditch their O'Sullivan "put together" furniture for classier and nicer furniture in their living rooms. This is one decorative because it could possible be the end of CD players and other like-components (e.g., turntables, cassette players, and the like).

Another bonus is that now that CDs are going away, we're gonna need something to do with all those CDs we've bought in yesteryear. Perhaps its time for us to make art out of it, kind of like the way some folks did with their old AOL introductory installation CDs.

It's the Details that Reflect Proper Attitudes

I remember a conversation I had many years ago with a church member when I was the Student Minister at Scarsdale Congregational Church, in Scardsdale, NY. We were talking over coffee and I had just been hired, still in seminary, to do my Field Education placement with the church.

I had not yet joined the United Church of Christ and was still a Southern Baptist, who had transfered from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. Having been at Union Theological Seminary in New York for one year, I was getting used to the importance of words, how they are said, and what impact they can have in conversation, from the pulpit, and spoken during the Pastoral Prayer time in worship.

The conversation between me and this church member revolved around my use of the pronoun 'Him' in reference to God. "What's the big deal," I asked, "You know I mean that God truly transcends gender and the masculine pronouns are how we've come to understand God. Besides, this is how the Bible references God." My fellow church member (and former denominational leader) explained that unless I am willing to better navigate the use of pronouns in my prayers, sermons, and conversations--how was she to know if I "really" believe what I say when I say that God transcends gender? In other words, she couldn't possible know. It is as if I am saying one thing to church members but in reality, mean something totally different. It's like the political candidates who say they are against NAFTA in Ohio but say they support it in Texas. In general they support its revisioning but given the audience, their response differs in the particulars.

So today I am very keen to be as authentic as I can possible be. Whether in my sermons, my Pastoral Prayers, or in conversation, I am very careful of gender language. And, to keep me on the right path, I am even careful in my personal prayer time when the door is shut and I am alone with God. Even then, I am mindful of the words I pray.

In another example, the Washington Times, a conservative-run newspaper has issued some new changes it is making in its reporting. Here are those changes:

1) Clinton will be the headline word for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

2) Gay is approved for copy and preferred over homosexual, except in clinical references or references to sexual activity.

3) The quotation marks will come off gay marriage (preferred over homosexual marriage).

4) Moderate is approved, but centrist is still allowed.

5) We will use illegal immigrants, not illegal aliens.

As you can see, they are being mindful of the little things to ensure that what they say truly reflects their appreciation of diversity and of the diverse constituents who read their paper. Simply taking off the quotes around 'gay marriage' is a huge step--leaving the quotes around the two words only serves to reinforce the pejorative argument that the idea of gay marriage is not only illegitimate but also reinforces a charge from many conservative pundits and religious leaders that it's a charade used for political purposes.

One can see the correlation between the change of aliens to immigrants too--the former sounding like something so foreign that it must be regarded with immediate mistrust and the latter, more descriptive and thus more humanizing. The former turns people into a feeling of disconnect, the latter into a 'these are people we're talking about' discussion.

What we say does matter--as much as how we say it. Regardless where you stand on the issue of political correctness, admitting how our words affect our behavior is the first step in reminding us that many of the issues that affect us involve people--people just like, or only slightly different, than you and me.

h/t to Joe.My.God

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Seasons of Love

Here is a song from the movie Rent, based on the Broadway musical.

See, it is amazing, right?

It's Almost Over

There are only a few experiences in my life that I can say with all honesty have transformed my life. Transformed is a big word and it has a lot of meaning wrapped up in it. So I am careful to limit identifying what those tranformative experiences are--lest one consider that one small thing may discount the rest.

So what has transformed me? Here is a brief list (there are others but I feel that some things need to remain private for my own well being).

1. My relationship with God, trusting in Jesus, and learning about God's Kingdom experience.

2. Coming out. I could write page after page on the benefit and experience of doing this--and perhaps I will some day soon.

3. Seeing the musical Rent, on Broadway (seven times).

You see, it's that last one that may cause some who haven't seen it to think I am being 'over the top', or have seen it but don't understand why it's so incredible to me. I have friends who've seen it and hated it. But for me, when I saw it and what it revealed to me utterly changed my life forever. Today I own the movie based on the Broadway hit starring the original cast members. I also own and have in my iPod the cast album of the show. It's messages of hope amid devastation rivet my soul in ways other life experiences have been unable to sustain.

PageOneQ has a great article on the impact of the show and how it's closing after 12 years. Reading the article, I was transported back to 1998 when I saw the show with wide-eyed amazement and felt again some of the emotions that I experienced then. And, it brought a tear to my eye too. Sure, I am sentimental. Still.. it was a great experience and I count myself fortunate to have been affected by it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Joke of the Day: The Love Story of Ralph and Edna.

The love story of Ralph and Edna.

Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want
them to, doesn't mean they don't love you with all
they have.

Ralph and Edna were both patients in a mental
hospital. One day while they were walking past the
hospital swimming pool. Ralph suddenly jumped into the
deep end. He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed
there. Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam
to the bottom and pulled him out.

When the Head Nurse Director became aware of Edna's
heroic act she immediately ordered her to be
discharged from the hospital, as she now considered
her to be mentally stable. When she went to tell Edna
the news she said, 'Edna, I have good news and bad
news. The good news is you're being discharged, since
you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by
jumping in and saving the life of the person you love.
I have concluded that your act displays sound
mindedness. The bad news is, Ralph hung himself in the
bathroom with his bathrobe belt right after you saved
him. I am so sorry, but he's dead.'

Edna replied, 'He didn't hang himself, I put him there
to dry. How soon can I go home?'

h/t Siegfried

Monday, February 18, 2008

Great Quotes

It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong. - Voltaire (1694-1778)

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. - George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

Suicide Blog?

You know, it's weird right, the talk of suicide. I found a blog today about a woman who blogged about her last 90 days of life. I have no idea if its true, if she really went through with it, or if this is a stunt. Lord only knows the internet is full of folks who would 'play a game like this'... still, if its even slightly true, is reading her final thoughts too macabre to read? Is there a breach of ethics here or, is this like watching motorcar racing only to see the spectacular crashes?

If you've reconciled with your conscience as to whether or not you should even go there, go here to read the supposed "last 90 days of Jane's life".

What will be the Future? From a film in 1960

Friday, February 08, 2008

Things NOT to Get Your Sweetie

Here's a great post about what NOT to get your special someone for Valentine's Day. It's both hilarious and thoughtful, at least to me anyways. ;)

Here are some examples:

For Him:

1. Avoid soaps, lotions, potions, anything that smells like candy. Unless it's actually candy.

2. Flowers. He just doesn't understand why you would buy him something that he has to a) nurture and b) nurture. If you simply must, a cactus might pass--but remember, he wants a gift that can take care of itself.

3. Unfun tools. Yeah, he gets it. You want him to shovel the snow. Do not buy him a shovel to drive the point home. (Large noisemaking power tools excluded.)

For Her:

4. Homemade coupons. Whether they're for dish duty, garbage duty, dinner, or something else, she's not likely to be impressed. Did your high school girlfriend even use hers?

5. A gift certificate. Step it up with something a little more personal--unless it's for 300 dollars and you can't wait to take her to the store and shop. All. Day.

12. Any gift you once bought for an ex-girlfriend. She will find out--and punish you.

Monday, February 04, 2008