Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fireproof: My Review

I have to admit something. I wasn't going to go see this movie until I saw that Phil Johnson had gone to the premiere and liked it. I can't remember Phil ever making any comments on movies before. I have no idea if we have the same taste in movies, but his was the first one I saw where I felt like there might be a chance I'd like it.

I wasn't disappointed.

I read Dan Phillips' review, after I saw the movie, and it was tempting simply to link to it and be done. But I decided I still wanted to go on record with my own thoughts.

The movie centers around Kirk Cameron's character, Caleb Holt, a captain and fireman whose marriage is quickly dissolving. The opening minutes make it apparent that he is the lion's share of the problem; he's emotionally abusive to his wife Catherine, and he spends his off-hours dreaming about a boat and looking at pornography.

When his wife tells him she's through and wants out, he tells his folks, and his dad challenges him with a book called The Love Dare. This is a 40 day program in the form of a journal.

Caleb reluctantly agrees to try it, and then the real challenges begin. His wife decides that she doesn't love him, starts flirting with a doctor at the hospital where she works as the PR person, and prepares to file for divorce.

I won't give away much of the rest, except to say that Caleb comes face-to-face with his real problem - his sin, and even after he makes peace with God he must face the consequences of his actions to that point.

One of the things I really appreciated about the movie was that it reflected reality. The characters, especially the supporting characters, were regular people. They acted like people would react in a comparable situation. The response to the Gospel is realistic, too; it shows a wide range of reactions to it, including open hostility.

My wife and I both loved the fact that the movie had the Gospel interwoven throughout and it was central to the plot, instead of the movie just being a morality tale with a altar call stuck in at the end.

I'm sure you'll hear many comments about the acting. I thought it was fine, though it reminded me more of TV than a movie. That may be an apt comparison, since in many ways, it is more like a made-for-TV movie rather than a feature film.

That's as much a commentary on what passes for entertainment in the theaters these days as it is on the quality of the acting. Movies have always been an outlet for things you can't see on TV, and when something comes along which doesn't offer filthy language, gratuitous sex, or gruesome violence, it may be impossible for many to view it as anything but a "saccharine-sweet Christian alternative." Ironically, as TV continues to push the envelope, the gap between it and movies keeps shrinking. This may be the best apologetic of any for Fireproof: despite its limitations, it's something you won't see elsewhere in the theaters or anywhere on TV.

There are some intense scenes, such as the one where a young child is rescued from a burning house, and another where the firemen have to move a car off the train track as the train bears down on them. These, along with Kirk's convincing performance as the angry husband, are probably OK for teens, but are too much for younger viewers.

But for everyone else, the movie offers a realistic view of marriage and relationships that don't always go as planned, of the consequences of sin and the difficulty of forgiveness, and it uses a nearly-hopeless marriage to illustrate how God's redeeming love works, both horizontally and vertically.

Go see it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Bailout" No Longer

I wondered how long it would be before they tried to jettison the term "bailout." It's so negative. Now we have an "economic rescue plan."

Was it just me, or were we basically being extorted into supporting this $700 billion dollars of bailout last night?

If you don't do this, you'll lose your job, your house, your business; no one will be able to get loans for anything. Complete financial collapse is imminent, and will surely come upon us without passing this legislation.

It looks like we're going to be hosed. And we're helpless to do anything about it. Bad enough Social Security will soon be bankrupt. Now the government is going to be saddled with a bunch of debt that no one who trades the things thinks are worth buying.

If I trusted in horses, chariots, donkeys or elephants right now, I would be in complete despair. Instead, I trust the Lion of Judah, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Favourite News Site - BBC Monitoring

One of the most interesting web news offerings is from the BBC, from BBC Monitoring.

It describes itself in this way:
BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

Centralized access to news from other countries, in English (and translated), is unique among offerings out on the web. If you know of something similar, or better, I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike Coverage

Here's a sampling of live media coverage of Hurricane Ike available on the Web.


KTRK ABC 13 - live video

KHOU - Hurricane page. Also has live video feed, but I couldn't get it to work.

CNN - has 4 live streams that rotate. Stream 2, for example, was broadcasting from Galveston's sea wall earlier. Governor Perry is on there right now.


KUHF - Houston NPR affiliate. Choose the news stream. The homepage also has hurricane information updates.

KTSU - Also a Houston public radio station. Looks like Jazz programming, but currently streaming news.

KIKK - CBS Radio Houston, and affiliated with CNN. It sounds like this is one of several affiliated station carrying a single stream at this point.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Homosexuality and the Bible

Came across this thread on Darrell Bock's blog. It was originally about a trip to Taiwan, but has morphed into a discussion about homosexuality and the Bible. One of the participants, Lynn, has even written an e-book on the subject.

It makes for an interesting read and a caution about what happens when we get our view and beliefs from somewhere other than the Bible. Anyone can fall into this trap, and that is why we must constantly test everything against Scripture. Our responsibility as believers is to make every effort to understand what the Bible says and then conform our lives to that teaching.

I would venture to say that our main problem can be safely summed up in this quote by Mark Twain. "It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand." It bothers us because it goes against our nature. But it is vital that we let the Spirit convict us and do His work.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Writer's Digest Books - Everyday Biblical Literacy

Writer's Digest Books - Everyday Biblical Literacy

I find it fascinating that anyone recognizes a need for this. But even more fascinating is that it is a secular publisher of books on writing. It leaves me wondering who exactly perceived the need?

I haven't read the book, or even seen any excerpts. If anyone knows anything about it, make sure to drop a note in the comments.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Republican Singing

Word is that John Shillington, the worship minister at North Phoenix Baptist Church, and Ruby Brown, who is a featured soloist on many of the songs there, will be singing tonite at the Republican National Convention.

If you have a chance, they are both worth a listen. Ruby in particular has an incredible God-given talent.

Since we have no cable, I'm going to try C-Span's streaming coverage.

Update: well, it looks like they were on at the very beginning of the coverage yesterday, so I missed them. However, in the age of YouTube, you never actually miss anything at all. Here's the replay, courtesy of NPBC.

Tardis in ASCII

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google Chrome

I've downloaded it. I'm using it to write this post. But other than that, I like Firefox better.

Anyone else tried it yet?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day Bonus - President's Weekly Radio Address

I forgot I even had this. I just opened up my Sage RSS reader for the first time in probably 12 months or more saw this amongst the offerings.

The RSS Feed of the President's Weekly Radio Address. Goes back to 2005!

Might be available on iTunes as well.