Afternoon Brew 02/28/13

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Verge Network Regional – Chicago – Any one want to go on November 1st and 2nd?  Hirsch is speaking and can learn a bit more about missional church and being a gospel community on mission! 

IX Marks Review – Everyday Church – 9 Marks has a nice review of Steve Timmis and Tim Chester’s book, Everyday Church.  This book is fantastic, and is a great follow up to Total Church.  I highly recommend this book to any church planter or church looking to transition to a more missional mindset. 

Young Adults After the Recession – Pew Research has a look at the spending and consumption habits of adults under 35 after the recession.  This seems pretty consistent with Tina and I, as well as what I have heard from others. There is a downplaying of debt and less consumerism.  I’m not surprised, but I still think there is much work to do in teaching burgeoning generations to be responsible with money and steward it well for the present and future. 

History of the Missional Church – A cool look at the history of the Missional Church, starting with Lesslie Newbigin and some of his writings after returning from India in the 70’s.  I guess this Brew turned into a Missional Brew today, so enjoy and you can click on other links to the other articles in the series.  Well worth the time and investment in finding out how missiology has changed in the past decades.

Re:View – Good Will Hunting

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GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997)

Starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, and Stellan Skarsgård

QUICK SYNOPSIS

A young janitor at MIT, Will Hunting (Matt Damon), is a gifted mathematician.  However, his rough and troubled upbringing in South Boston and rough crowd of friends, including his best friend Chuckie Sullivan (Ben Affleck) has left him on the outside looking in, and one particular scuffle lands him in jail.  Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård) discovers this youths unique aptitude, and is allowed to take him under his wing as long as Will sees a therapist.  After going through a few therapists, Will starts meeting with an old roommate of Professor Lambeau’s, Doctor Sean Maguire (Robin Williams).  After some initial hiccups in their time together, Sean and Will begin to develop a reporie and even a friendship that plumbs the dpths of Will’s past and present issues, as well as helping Sean address some clutter in his own personal life.  As the movie progresses, Will is forced to face his own rough upbringing and “Southie” street life, as well as his new found work with Professor Lambeau, job offers from his work, and a girlfriend (Minnie Driver) who wants to be a part of a life he is unwilling to bring her in to.

QUICK TAKE

In Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s writing debut, Good Will Hunting deals with the complex life of a math genius who is nothing like most math genuises.  In spite of his troubled past and even more troubled present, Will is ushered into a world unlike his South Boston life.  He meets Skylar, a bright young woman going to Harvard, who he starts to date on a whim after visiting a bar.  Under Sean’s encouragement, he keeps seeing her, since he normally pushes dates away after one date.  This movie’s narrative is less of a story of a rags to riches story, or from Southie to MIT genius, but more of a story of a troubled genius who must deal with his past in order to find what truly matters in life.  Sean shares a similar story to Will and the two develop a friendship that helps Will to deal with his demons, even after he pushes Skylar away.  Sean helps Will to see his genius has allowed him to know everything while experiencing nothing, and Will uses his intellect and wit to keep everyone in his life at an arms length.  Will’s story becomes one of getting out of the hole that has been dug for his life and finding a purpose greater than his current Boston life and even greater than his math wizardry at MIT.  Sean helps him to see beyond those things to a different risk, a different adventure beyond worldly success or a comfortable, familiar life.

Such a good movie with a great exploration of success, love, personal demons, and life.  The underlying tension between Sean and Prof. Lambeau, as two former roommates whose lives have gone in radically different directions (one “successful” and the other not) plays out in Will’s life as he battles his own problems long with the dual tension of love and worldly success.  It brings to mind what Jesus said about gaining the world but losing your soul.  While Will is not striving for salvation in Jesus, he certainly is caught between a lucrative job because of his genius and the relationship he has with Skylar and his friendship with Sean.  Is what he longs for worldly gain (Vanity, as Solomon would put it) or does he “see about a girl”.

BEST QUOTE (long and a tad vulgar, but too good not to post)

“So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid. And I’d ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, “once more unto the breach dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you… I don’t see an intelligent, confident man… I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you’re a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my fucking life apart. You’re an orphan right?
[Will nods]
You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally… I don’t give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can’t learn anything from you, I can’t read in some fuckin’ book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t want to do that do you sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.” – Sean (Robin Williams)

Noon Brew 02/27/13

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5 Observations From the Oscars – Luke Simmons shares some good cultural insights from watching Sunday night’s Academy Awards.

Missing School to Work in the Mine – The New York Times reports on the ever-present problem in India of illegal child laborers, better known as slaves.  Child labor is a major problem in developing, large countries like India, and the problem is only compounded when trafficking of kids from other countries becomes involved, as well.  The conditions are horrendous and the safety of the mining operations are hazardous, putting many of these children (some as young as 5 according to reports) at serious risk. 

Just Courage – Speaking of trafficking and human rights issues, Gary Haugen’s book Just Courage, is $2.99 on the Kindle today.  I am picking up my copy, and would advise you to do likewise.  There are few more reputable and godly men than Gary Haugen, and his work with IJM is well-respected among world governments and Christian churches. 

The University As An Unreached People Group – Bruce Ashford launches a three-part blog series on reaching the American University, and how little Christians have actually done to influence the shaping of the students coming out of it.  Looking forward to this group of posts and stay tuned since it sounds like he is going to touch some good ground. 

Raising Kids In A Pornified Culture – Zach Nielsen, blogger at Take Your Vitamin Z, and pastor at the Vine Church in Madison, writes at the Gospel Coalition how we can effective raise our kids in a pornified culture.  I really appreciate his points and realize the relational, cultural, and spiritual dangers pornography has caused in my own life.

Morning Brew 02/26/13

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Why Johnny Cash Still Matters – Russell Moore has a great post on “The Man In Black”, whose birthday is today.  Happy birthday to one of the most real, down-to-earth, gritty artists who have ever lived. Moore touches on what makes Cash so appealing to both older and younger generations, and why his persona and message will endure in our culture.  Cash has a raw and painful honesty about his music and demeanor that resonates with me and countless others. He also makes some very good, catchy music. 

Social Justice or the Proclamation of the Gospel? – Joe Hellerman has a really good post on social justice and the gospel from the Book of Amos.  He shares some compelling points and concludes that to pit social justice against the gospel is to create a false dichotomy.  Frequently (and this is my own observations) people cannot see the distinctives of the gospel that it is both the good news of salvation of sinners (what has been called Gospel Power) and the creating of a people who live in light of this good news (Gospel Purpose) which includes social justice.  A lack of either of these emphases is not adequate and loses the full gospel. 

The Walking Dead: What Would David Chase Do?The Atlantic shares a roundtable discussion on the latest episode of the Walking Dead (my favorite show on TV).  I share the roundtable’s disappointment on the latest episode, and I am starting to feel the rather molasses-like nature of how the show is progressing.  I get the distinct feeling that the writers and stretching this story arc out until it reaches 16 episodes, and the unfortunate part is they are doing it at the expense of character development.  So much potential is being tossed away at the moment, and it is getting a little tiring. 

5 Leadership Lessons from the Doctrine of the Trinity – Jamie Munson, former Executive Pastor of Mars Hill Church – Seattle, shares 5 lessons we can learn about leadership from the Trinity.  I really appreciate and like his observations on humility and leaders submitting.

Morning Brew 02/25/13 – Music Monday

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MUSIC MONDAY!!!

Spotify Playlist of the Week – Inspired by other lists, I have started the running best of music of 2013.  Best in Show 2013

Check out my new Last.Fm profile.

MUSIC NEWS

Watch Tame Impala perform on Jimmy Fallon and share a live version of Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

The Bonnaroo lineup has been announced and it’s being hosted by one of my favorite entertainers of all time.  Weird Al Yankovic!

Consequence of Sounds shares Atoms for Peace, the side project of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich, and their new album Amok.

Yo La Tengo announced their new touring schedule and sadly they come nowhere close to Wisconsin.  *sigh*  Oh well, check out their new album, Fade, on Spotify.  It’s fantastic

Jack White shares his invention, the Triple Decker Record with VH1 while at his Third Man Studios.  Always good stuff when Jack White is involved

RIP the Temptations’ Damon Harris 

New music from Seryn, an up and coming band with a solid debut EP

Thanks for reading this week!

Weekend Brew 02/23/13 Celluloid Saturday

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CELLULOID SATURDAY! aka I was too busy to post yesterday!

NEW MOVIES

Dark Skies – Early review are not so good.  Another run of the mill thriller/horror movie.  Never been a big fan of horror movies, and this is no exception.  Let me know if I’m wrong on this one, but I’ll take a pass.

Snitch – The premise seems good enough.  A father, played by The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), goes undercover for the DEA to free his son after his son is on the wrong end of a drug deal and is wrongfully imprisoned.  Early reviews are not so good on this one either, and it doesn’t look like anything more than a normal Dwayne Johnson movie.

MOVIE REVIEWS

Remember how I said early reviews have not been good for Snitch?  Matt Mueller at OnMilwaukee.com calls Snitch “a dull fraud”.  Todd McCarthy has a more favorable review, albeit a lukewarm endorsement, at best.

I hadn’t heard about this film, but “Bless Me, Ultima” seems like an interesting coming of age story about a rural New Mexican boy.  I would see this over the other movies out this Friday.  Here’s a review from Christy Lemire at Yahoo! Movie News.

The Rabbit Room has a discussion on the classic movie Amadeus.  Pete Peterson explores some of the major themes addressed from the pages of Biblical theology and also asks some questions regarding the writer’s treatment of the historicity.  Good discussion and article.

James Harleman, at Cinemagogue, has a great review of the new movie, Escape From Planet Earth.  He gives it a favorable review and touches on some of the biblical allusions and redemptive themes in the narrative.

MOVIE NEWS

AP picks Argo as their Best Movie of the Year.  This seems a shoe-in to win best picture, but I still give Silver Linings Playbook a puncher’s chance.

Speaking of the the Academy Awards, Yahoo! Movie News shares some super cool historical facts about the Oscars.

OOOooooohhh!  A lightsaber class!  This might just be a tad past my nerdom, but I salute these gentlemen and ladies on their commitment to a false reality.

Empire Blog has a story with Mark Hamill on where the agreements are at with the classic Star Wars class of characters and their involvement in the new Star Wars movies.   “They’re talking to us,” Hamill says. “George Lucas wanted to know whether we’d be interested. He did say that if we didn’t want to do it, they wouldn’t cast another actor in our parts – they would write us out.”  I would rather see this than recasting them.  However, their involvement seems probable.

IMDb 250 – Twelve Monkeys

Twelve Monkeys (1995)

Starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, and Bruce Willis’ rear end

Quick Synopsis

Venture into the future as an imprisoned James Cole (Bruce Willis) is volunteered for a special mission by a group of goofily dressed scientists.  We come to find out he and the rest of the world lives in the underground, as a deadly virus has wiped out 5 billion people and only 1% of the people now survive on the earth.  Cole is then sent back in time to try and ascertain the virus’ origins and obtain a sample in its pure form so the scientists can study it and find a cure.   

When Cole is sent back, at first he inexplicably ends up in 1990, six years before the virus is unleashed, and is tossed in a mental institution, where he meets compassionate psychiatrist Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) and the eccentric and quite loony Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt).  After escaping the hospital, James manages to be sent to the correct time period and beings his quest to locate the source of the outbreak.  He again crosses paths with Dr. Railly and they work together to find Goines, who is connected the mysterious eco-activist group, The Army of the Twelve Monkeys, which is believed to be the source of the virus and the end of the world.  Through a series of unexpected events, this story takes many twists and turns that ends completely different than you expect. 

Quick Take

Seriously, Bruce Willis’ posterior deserves full credit in this film.  As much as I enjoyed this movie, I can’t help but think that Willis made a bet with himself that he could reach a full (moon?) saturation point by showing off his butt in this movie.  Anyways, let’s move on to talk about the movie, shall we? 

Twelve Monkeys is a fantastic commentary on the “what-ifs” of consumerism, lack of attention to the environment, and the over-medication of society.  The story explores how something good, like technology and medication, can be over-used and become merely a replacement disease for the disease we were curing or the suffering we were alleviating.  You have to ask yourself, “Is progress, consumerism, and self-actualization worth it if it all ends like it has in Twelve Monkeys?”  Pitt’s character reflects that it is not normal to be ant-consumer.  Life’s problems are solved through consumption and self-actualization and to think and act otherwise is to be considered crazy, and then you end up in a mental institution, like Goines.  It’s not a matter of right or wrong, in the movies opinion, but of popular opinion.  The movie is also a battle of moralistic assumptions and who sets the standard of right and wrong. 

Pitt’s performance in this movie is fantastic.  He is just the right mix of crazy and fun to make Jeffrey Goines believable and is a pre-cursor to his more prominent, anti-consumer role as Tyler Durden in Fight Club.  Willis is cast differently than his roles as John McClane, the action hero, and he does a fantastic job of having a sort of crazy, frenetic edge to his character throughout most of the film. 

Overall, this is a thought-provoking, well-acted, quality movie well worth its position in IMDb’s Top 250.  I really like this movie, and after seeing it again, like it more than I did the first time. 

Best Quote

“There’s the television. It’s all right there – all right there. Look, listen, kneel, pray. Commercials! We’re not productive anymore. We don’t make things anymore. It’s all automated. What are we *for* then? We’re consumers, Jim. Yeah. Okay, okay. Buy a lot of stuff, you’re a good citizen. But if you don’t buy a lot of stuff, if you don’t, what are you then, I ask you? What? Mentally *ill*. Fact, Jim, fact – if you don’t buy things – toilet paper, new cars, computerized yo-yos, electrically-operated sexual devices, stereo systems with brain-implanted headphones, screwdrivers with miniature built-in radar devices, voice-activated computers… “  – Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt)