Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Car on the Street

Here's a cool car I saw on the street. A vehicle of the future, perhaps.

Consumer versus Contributor

At a Bible study today, the class went over Collosians chapter 1. For the past two weeks, the study group has been tackling that one chapter, and today we finally made it to the end. In essence, the chapter speaks of the words of Paul to the Corinthians. These are a people currently seeking the truth of God but are wrapped in a culture of idolotry (sp?). Paul is a prisoner, yet he has come to them to speak about the truth of God and how Jesus died that we might live. What struck me most came in Collosians 1:28-29. Here are few translations:

Contemporary English Version
28 We announce the message about Christ, and we use all our wisdom to warn and teach everyone, so that all of Christ's followers will grow and become mature.

29 That's why I work so hard and use the mighty power he gives me.

New International Version
28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

King James Version
28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

(Ahhh, yes. Good 'ol King James. Never fails to confuse.)

Now Paul is speaking to the Corinthians about God as their savior, but in the last verses that I mentioned here, he also speaks about every Christian's call service. In the Bible study, we referred to it as stewardship. In essence, it begs the question of whether we are mere consumers of the Christian faith or contributors to it. I am doing a bit of simplification here for the purposes of this blog post, but the final question we had to ask ourselves was how we were using the talents God gave us to be good stewards and to educate others about the beauty and grandeur of Christ.

It's a simple question yet it's one I know I cannot answer adequately. I have talents clearly that God has given me, but how I am using them to win souls for Christ? How am I using them to strengthen the spiritual maturity of the church? Of MY church?

Do I just go to church to reap the benefits of contructive dialog and grappling with the Word or am also taking that knowledge or using what I know to encourage others?

Do I give away all my talents to the entity who signs my paycheck? Or am I using those talents to fulfill God's mission? And when I am honest with myself and admit that I am not, what can I do to set things right?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

It's a little immature, I know. I had just come out of the grocery store and then I saw him. On any other day, maybe it would have grossed me out, but today, I couldn't stop laughing.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Villa... Who?

Villanova beat Duke? What is basketball coming to?

My picks for the remainder of the tournament:

Pittsburgh vs. Villanova = Pittsburgh
Louisville vs. Arizona = Louisville
Kansas vs. Michigan State = Kansas
Connecticut vs. Missouri = Connecticut
North Carolina vs. Gonzaga = North Carolina (though I do hope Gonzaga wins)
Syracuse vs. Oklahoma = Oklahoma

And what team will win the tournament now that Duke is out? It's hard to say. But I'm liking Kansas and Louisville. And of those two, I like Kansas. However, so far, each of the #1 seeds have proven themselves to be the best in their region consistently. Kansas would definitely be an upset, but what's a tournament without a little surprise? My final four picks are:

Kansas, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, and North Carolina

Of those four, Connecticut and North Carolina will go to the big dance, and UConn will win the championship. Convention say UNC will win, and my aunt loves the Tarheels. Upsets make the game interesting, though, so UConn it is.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Beyond the Ball

In an interview with CBS Sports, the SEC conference chairman noted that NCAA basketball selections were founded on a big picture approach to evaluating teams. They look beyond what the media announcers dubb the "power teams" (UNC, UCLA, Perdue, etc.) and instead consider a number of other factors that go into determining what makes a great team. He mentioned not only the skill of each team's players but also their willingness to compete against higher ranked teams. For some schools that means enduring strenuous travel schedules. The opposing teams they're out to meet often aren't the ones who anything to lose and so will often refuse to travel to the campuses of lower ranked teams because they don't have to. There is fairness in the team selection process that wasn't clear before, and I find it refreshing to know the process is based on a logical, weighted system. It isn't just about the number of games a team happens to win; it's also about the games' level of difficulty.

That said, I give more value to the selection of the final 65 teams that have made it to the NCAA tournament. Just being there validates the practices, plays, and sacrifices each student athlete has made, regardless of whether his team wins in the end. It is a matter of distinction.

Now I must make my picks. Several of my favorite schools have made it to the tournament, and most of these are relative surprises. They're going against highly favored teams, and their wins would be what most announcers would call upsets. I'm going to call the games as I'd like them to go anyhow. Not as the experts say they will, but as I hope the outcomes will be.

Ohio vs. Sienna = Ohio
Utah vs. Arizona = Utah
Wake Forest vs. Cleveland = Wake Forest
WVA vs. Dayton = Dayton
Kansas vs. N. Dakota = Kansas
Boston College vs. Southern Cal = Southern Cal
Michigan State vs. Robert Morris = Michigan State

UConn vs. Tennessee = UConn
BYU vs. Texas A M = BYU
Purdue vs. N. Iowa = Purdue
Washington vs. Mississippi = Mississippi
Marquette vs. Utah = Marquette
Missouri vs. Cornell = Missouri
California vs. Maryland = Maryland
Memphis vs. CS Northridge = Memphis

UPitt vs. E. Tenn = UPitt
OK State vs. TN = TN
FL vs. WI = WI
Xavier vs. Portland = Xavier
Villinova vs. American = American
TX vs. MN = TX
Duke vs. Binghamton = Duke

UNC vs. Radford = UNC
LSU vs. Butler = LSU
Illinois vs. Western KY = Illinois
Gonzaga vs. Akron = Gonzaga
Arizona vs. Temple = Temple
Syracuse vs. S F Austin = Syracuse
Clemson vs. MI = MI
OK vs. Morgan State = Morgan State

Road to Final Four Picks

Image credit:
Image credit:

Today a reader asked me how I was doing with my basketball challenge. I told her I hadn't had time to keep up with the games as I'd like. I will begin this weekend. Today at 1pm, the Florida Seminoles are playing. Since I don't know if the Seminoles are the same as the Gators, I suppose that will be the first thing I research once I've finished this post. She and her husband are huge Gators fans.

It behooves me as well to announce my picks at least for the Final Four. Unfortunately, no team from Florida will make it even to the Sweet 16. My aunt favors North Carolina. I favor Duke. But identifying the serious contenders -- a feat requiring more than supporting the teams with prettiest colors (as I admit to having done in the past) or the team that happens to be leading at the time I tune into a game -- that takes effort. I will do a bit of research, abd compile four picks.

Coincidently, the Seminoles are playing Duke tomorrow. How confident am I that Duke will win?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Post From My Film Blog

Here's a post from my film blog Walking Toward Wisdom in Film:

Here's an interesting tidbit of information about a new Jaimee Foxx film coming up in April. The film is called The Soloist and is about a successful musician who ends up homeless because of mental illness. In conjunction with the release of the film orchestras around the country are accepting donations of non-perishable goods.

The League of American Orchestras (“the League”), Feeding America, and Participant Media are three major organizations teaming up to sponsor this event. For more information about these organizations, visit their websites at,, or

Here's a blurb about the food drive and the upcoming Soloist from a press release:

League President and CEO Jesse Rosen commented, “The story of The Soloist reminds us that classical music has the power to sustain spirits and change lives, even under the most difficult circumstances. Our team effort with Feeding America and The Soloist gives America’s orchestras a way to use that power to make an even greater difference in our communities--to feed both body and soul.”

Vicki Escarra, Feeding America President and CEO, said, “Feeding America is thrilled that America’s orchestras are joining us in our fight against hunger in America. This partnership will help the hungry in nearly every community nationwide and the 36million people who are at risk of hunger.”

The Soloist, starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr., directed by Joe Wright, will be released by Paramount Pictures to theaters nationwide on April 24.. A DreamWorks Pictures/Universal Pictures presentation in association with Studio Canal and Participant Media, the film is based on the true story of the relationship between Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a gifted Juilliard-trained string player whose mental illness and unfortunate circumstances landed him among the homeless on the streets of Los Angeles . Featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Soloist is a testament to the redemptive power of music and a reminder of our connections to the most vulnerable among us.