Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Kinsey the Sweetheart

The great thing about this pregnancy is how excited Kinsey is about it. She is absolutely loving talking about the baby and praying for him. Every night, she has to give Sheryl a hug and kiss and every night she goes down to Sheryl's abdomen and talks a little bit to him and then gives it a kiss.

Last night, I put her to bed and Sheryl was downstairs. Just after we had turned out the light, Sheryl calls me to the stairs and says that the baby is moving and wants to know if Kinsey wants to feel him. I barely get the words out of my mouth and Kinsey jumps out of bed and runs down the stairs like someone had just told her that Santa had come. She climbs up into the chair and leans down to watch Sheryl's abdomen intently. She talks to it and rubs her hand on it.

Unfortunately, he didn't move for her. I've felt him a couple of times and I know she will too eventually. But she is so excited for him to get here that she bought a Baby Einstein cow for him with her own money the other day. She's going to be a great big sister to Connor.

Yes, we have decided on the name. It will be John Connor Wilson and he will be called Connor. We're glad to have a name and put to rest...that other name.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Imagination: The Secret Message of Jesus Part 3

I have actually finished the book (and started another one), so I'll talk about Part 3 this week and do a closure thing with the Appendicies next week.

Chapter 14 Kingdom Manifesto
I really enjoyed this chapter as the beginning of this section. He really takes a hard look at the Sermon on the Mount. I thought he looked at some really interesting things. He did a great quote from Dallas Willard about the "cutting off the hand" passage from the Sermon and offered an interesting paraphrase that included the following quote:
Or if someone forces you to carry his pack a mile-which a Roman soldier could do to any Jew-by willingly taking the pack the second mile, you show yourself a generous human being, strong, self-controlled, dignified, not dominated. The first mile may be forced, but the second mile, you walk free-transcending your oppression. The way to transcend a corrupt system is through generosity-giving, not holding back.
Chapter 15 Kingdom Ethics
Wow, just another great chapter. McLaren's meditation on the control money, sex, and power can hold over us was another one of those reaffirming things of ideas I had heard before. But he also talks about how we as followers of Jesus HAVE to lay all those things down.

Chpater 16 The Language of the Kingdom
Now this one I wasn't as sure of. In it, McLaren talks about different language/terminology for the Kingdom, because people in our Western world don't relate to the idea of "Kingdom" as well as they would have in Jesus' day. He suggests the following ideas: the Dream of God, the Revolution of God (I'm more partial to this one, but I don't like it very much), the Mission of God, the Party of God, the Network of God (???), the Dance of God. I really don't like any of those very much, and maybe Kingdom doesn't capture the whole ideology, but it really works to talk about the reign of God.

Chapter 17 The Peaceable Kingdom
Really fine chapter here. It discusses pacifism and just war theory and how do we as followers of Jesus respond to cultural violence. He also writes a great section on the turning of the torture and violence of the Crucifixion into a repudiation of violence. Just a great job on that one.

Chapter 18 The Borders of the Kingdom
This chapter on one hand really attracted me and on the other really made me question what McLaren was saying. He does a good job of countering the inclusiveness of Jesus with the exclusivity of the Pharisees. However, he brings up the idea for people joining the followers of Jesus: purposeful inclusion. This is the idea that "the kingdom of God seeks to include all who want to participage in and contribute to its purpose, but it cannot include those who oppose its purpose." I like that idea a lot, but I wonder what that means about people who want to join, but won't align their behavior to the standards setup for the Kingdom. I realize that's a vague statement, but it just got me thinking.

Chapter 19 The Future of the Kingdom
This was an interesting look at the book of Revelation. He really puts out the idea that Revelation was speaking specifically to the people of that time period: persecuted Christians, but also talks about eternal hope for all Christians. Which makes sense in a way. I mean, why would John write something that would have very little meaning to the people of that time?

Chapter 20 The Harvest of the Kingdom
A lot of interesting ideas in this chapter. One in particular was the idea that at the Judgement God will judge us as nations, and not just individuals (Matthew 25). McLaren also compares Jesus' mindset on the afterlife with those of the Pharisee, Saducees, Hellenists, and Zealots. I'm not sure exactly what to do with this one overall, but it raises some interesting questions.

Chapter 21 Seeing the Kingdom
A really nice summary about trying to see the Kingdom, of having our eyes opened to what God is trying to do in this world. And it quotes Emily Dickinson, so it's a great chapter, just for that.

Next Monday: The Appendicies and final thoughts.

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Return

Some of you know that from 1994 to 2000, I taught high school English at Martin Luther King Junior Academic Magnet High School for the Health Sciences and Engineering (yes, that is its full name). In the 1996-7 school year, I was teaching a majority of the seniors in my Honor English classes and one class in particular, my 6th period, was pretty problematic. The kids liked to push limits with their behaviors and really try to elicit reactions from me. They would write names on my white board (Oliver Clothesoff is probably the only one I can put here), say things in class that were right on the border of inappropriateness, and generally push my buttons.

Well, one day I came in and my nameplate was missing. Some of you might say, "Big deal." However, this was a special to me. The teacher that I had worked with during my student teaching (Mrs. Tune at Hillsboro High School) had given to me when I finished. It was really symbolic of what I was trying to be as a teacher. Now I knew that I couldn't show these kids how upset I was about this or some other things might disappear (I'm honestly kind of surprised that my desk didn't disappear at some point). I asked about it and no one fessed up, so I left it alone.
That year $1000 for the Senior trip was also stolen from my desk.
I learned a lot from that year. I learned that I had to be a teacher and not a friend to the kids. I could be friendly, but when push came to shove, I was the teacher. Plus, I was 25 and they were 18. Why did I care whether they liked me or not? I learned that kids feed off reactions. If they do something and you react in a way that amuses them, they will do it again and again. There was a particular teacher that they did this too and I was determined to not be as ridiculed (to my face anyway) as that teacher was. And again. I learned to keep things as interesting in the class as possible, but remember that they had to pass my class to graduate.

Wednesday night at 9:30. I get a phone call at home. "Is this the Phil Wilson that taught English at MLK?" I answered yes. He told me who he was (we'll call him Bill) and asked me if I remembered that nameplate. I of course answered yes. He confessed that he had been the one that had taken it. He had been going through some stuff and found it. He lives here in town and wanted to return it. So I gave him directions to my office and yesterday, he returned it to me. We caught up some and reminisced about how he and I acted during those times, some of the struggles we had, one of the conversations we had. I thanked him for bringing it back to me and he thanked me for taking it back.

It was a great reminder to me that there's a lot of growing up that happens between 18 and 27 and that people can change a great deal in that time. It was also a great reminder of those days when I was teaching and I might have to write about that some more.

Addendum: A sad addendum to this story is that the student who did this died in a motorcycle accident less than six month later.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

iTunes Blog

I got this from this site and thought it looked kind of fun.

How many total songs?

2892 songs, equal to 12.8 days or 16.58 GB.

Sort by song title - first and last?
First: “'After the beheading'” by James Horner
Last: “Zihuatenejo” by Thomas Newman

Sort by time - shortest and longest?
Shortest: “Shut Up Wesley” (0:01) by Jean-Luc Picard
Longest: “God's future for the world has arrived in the person of Jesus” (1:22:56) by N.T. Wright

Sort by Album - first and last?
First: ...in the light The Very Best of Charlie Peacock by Charlie Peacock
Last: Zoe Conference 2004 by Various

Sort by Artist - first and last?
First: 'N Sync (from a Christmas compilation. I do NOT own an 'N Sync CD)
Last: Zoe Group

Top five played songs?
Every Breath By Me by The Police and Ben E. King
Owner of a Lovely Butt by Yes vs. Sir Mix-A-Lot
The Silence of God by Andrew Peterson
Paperback Believer by The Beatles vs. The Monkees
Epilogue/Amazing Grace by Phil Keaggy
And yes, Malia, some people do do it.
Find the following words. How many songs show up?
Sex: 0
Death: 7
Love: 151
You: 354
Home: 53
Boy: 26
Girl: 9

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Kids are weird. And no, I'm not just discovering that.

I have always been a night owl. As you can tell from the time of this post, I love to stay up late. I can function pretty well off of anywhere fro 6-10 hours of sleep. Less than that and I'm falling asleep during conference calls, hoping I've hit Mute to keep them from hearing my snoring. More than that and my body aches and I feel like I've taken a hit of Nyquil.

Kinsey is a strange story in and of herself. As a baby, she used to take two 2-hour naps a day. Sheryl loved that because Sheryl loves her naps too. And even as recently as last year, a two hour nap was just about a daily occurence (for Kinsey, although I'm sure Sheryl would take that too).

Nowadays though, it's a different thing. Kinsey would still take a nap if we let her, generally, although it might involve driving around for 15 minutes (and yes, I've done that). But if Kinsey gets even a 1-hour nap, she might be up until 11pm. Yes. 11pm. Wide awake.

If she doesn't take a nap, there is a good chance that she will fall asleep at 7pm, but also a decent chance that she might wake up at midnight or 1am. Wide awake. Wanting to play.

So on nights that we're going to be out or somewhere, like church on Wednesday nights, we'll let her sleep for a bit

I'm sure that she's just getting her sleep cycle and needs figured out. I just hope it happens before our son is born.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Engagement: The Secret Message of Jesus Part 2

Continuing the review of Brian McLaren's forthcoming book The Secret Message of Jesus...

Chapter 6: The Medium of the Message
This chapter does a really good job of looking at how Jesus primarily taught his message: parables. It's a really interesting examination and plays a little bit back into the idea of why Jesus hid his message some. The idea of Jesus wanting us to both think for ourselves and be dependent on him is a really fascinating idea.

Chapter 7: The Demonstration of the Message
Another interesting chapter on Jesus' miracles. I liked especially the very beginning and then the point that the miracles were not the point of Jesus' message. They were signposts.

Chapter 8: The Scandal of the Message
OK. I thought that I would really like the chapter from its title. I didn't expect it to be on demons. McLaren introduces the idea of transpersonal evil as one explanation of the demons in the Gospels. I think that's an intruiging way to look at it. What I did really like was when McLaren got to the scandal and the upside down nature of the Kingdom, especially this quote:
What if our only hope lies in this impossible paradox: the only way the kingdom of God can be strong in a truly liberating way is through a scandalous, noncoercive kind of weakness; the only way it can be powerful is through astonishing vulnerability, the only way it can live is by dying, the only way it can succeed is by failing?
Chapter 9: You Can't Keep a Secret
I wasn't impressed with this chapter. It was about evangelism, but I didn't think it worked as well as the others.

Chapter 10: Secret Agents of the Kingdom
But I really liked this one. The name of it was a bit cheesy, but the idea behind it is spectactular. The idea being that no matter where we are in our lives (soccer mom, professional, even a lawyer), we can and should be agents of the Kingdom, with our bosses, neighbors, and family. McLaren even agrees with Karl Marx at one point, but I'll leave it for you to read to find out how (p. 85, for those of you with an advanced readers copy).

Chapter 11: The Open Secret
Another great chapter. McLaren takes on the question of why Jesus mentions the Kingdom extremely often, but Paul mentions it very rarely. Basically his point is that Jesus built the Kingdom as the foundation, and Paul was building the building on top of that foundation. I thought it was deftly argued.

Chapter 12: Hiding the Message in New Places
I liked this one, but wasn't overly impressed with it. McLaren did some nice things comparing Jesus and Caesar (Jesus wins, btw), but the rest of the chapter felt weak.

Chapter 13: Getting It, Getting In
Fascinating chapter, really really fascinating. Two very significant parables and this quote:
Faith that counts, then, is not the absence of doubt; it's the presence of action.
It didn't answer all the questions I would like to ask McLaren about his opinions on how to get it (Boy, I'd like to nail him down on what he thinks on some stuff), but he does put it pretty beautifully.

On the whole, I'm still really enjoying the book and really think it's worth a look from people when it comes out in April.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Creative Discontent: Throwing Stones at Stained Glass Windows or Remodeling from Within?

A few months back, Scott Owings handed out a paper called Creative Discontent. I wish I could find it because it was very good and really crystallized some ideas that I'd been thinking about. The basic idea of the piece was that discontent is not a bad thing in and of itself, but discontent without action is completely useless.

Many of you that have been reading my blog or listening to me talk at almost any point know that I've had some discontent with the state of Christianity and the church over the last couple of years. And I agree with the paper that discontent can be good. I think change is generally good. Something that doesn't change is dead and to be discontent with stagnation is not bad.

However, to be discontent with no action resulting is one of the most destructive and useless things I can imagine. Do I believe that the church has had and continue to have problems? Absolutely. It can too easily turn into a self-perpetuating entity that becomes more concerned with keeping itself going rather than taking the Gospel to the world. It can become a club where exclusion is the principle, rather than the loving inclusion Jesus showed.

I think the place where followers of Jesus need to be is in a place of critical love for the church. We have to be willing to look at our problems and think about where our message doesn't match up with the message of Jesus. We have to read the Gospels and not just see the salvation message that Jesus talks of, but the life changing message that he reveals. That Jesus' message was not simply about how to go to heaven after we die, but to bring the Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven.

Do you know what would change the world? People actually following what Jesus says! People being willing to go the extra mile to show defiance to a system that puts them under foot. People being willing to stand up to persecution and physical violence by standing up in defiance of that persecution and turning the other cheek saying, "Not only will I not return your violence with violence, I will let you strike my other cheek and you can show everyone that the only power you hold over me is physical."

Should we be discontent with the church as it stands now? In many ways, yes. But if that discontent doesn't lead us to make changes in the corporate life of that church and equally as important in our lives and how we live in them in the pursuit of the life of Christ, then we are clanging cymbals, useless speeches, and empty keystrokes.

May I and all those in the Body of Christ live in the passionate pursuit of His life.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Please Read This

I came across this post today and Christians need to read it.

"I'm pretty convinced, after five years of travel and church services across the country, that we do event church services not because they "reach" the non-Christian better than other kinds of church but because they retain the Christian."

Event Driven Church

Lost Stuff

On Saturday night, the lovely singles of Otter Creek provided a great ministry of offering babysitting for the parents to get a night off to go out to eat or just spend some time together. Sheryl and I dropped Kinsey off and went to see Narnia (yes, again).

When we got back, we picked Kinsey up and noticed that she didn't have her Cinderella doll with her. Now, this is a special Cinderella doll. It's a holiday Cinderella in a white dress, not the normal blue. She bought it with her allowance money. It's her doll.

Well, she was so tired that we really couldn't look hard for it, although we looked all over the building for it on Sunday morning when we got there at 7:30. No joy. Not in any of the rooms at all. And I fully expected Kinsey to go into crying fits about the whole thing, but she just said, "I guess I just lost it," and she's moved on.

Now, if it were me and I'd lost something like my PDA or one of my books or something like that, I would be despondent and/or having a crying fit. It really put into perspective the attachment I have to stuff, to MY things. Maybe Kinsey was thinking about the idea that she has about 10 other Disney Princess dolls, maybe she just didn't care.

However, if anyone finds a Holiday Cinderella doll at Otter Creek in the next couple of weeks or if someone took it home accidentally, I know Kinsey would be delighted to have it back.

Oh, also, Kinsey has taken to referring to the baby as George, thanks to Sheryl's mom. This means we need to decide pretty quickly what the real name will be before George sticks in her mind.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Excavation: The Secret Message of Jesus Part 1

I want to continue my review of Brian McLaren's new book The Secret Message of Jesus, due out in April. I'm about two-thirds the way through the entire book and I'm really enjoying it and finding it valuable in expressing some ideas that I've been working through about the Kingdom. Btw, Adam Ellis is also reviewing the book, and for an alternative perspective on the whole Emergent Movement, check out the EmergentNo blogspot and Slice of Laodicea, among others. As for me, here are my thoughts on Part One: Excavation.

Chapter One: Troubling Questions About Jesus
McLaren here talks a lot about questions that he's had about Jesus' message and his perceptions about how it's been twisted. This part will either really resonate with people, echoing similar questions that they have had with disconnects in the message of the church and the message of Jesus, or people will see these as unncessary questions. This quote at the end of the chapter is one of the most intriguing to me:
Wouldn't it be interesting if the people who started discovering and believing the hidden message of Jesus were people who aren't even identified at Christians, and wouldn't it be tragic if people like myself, identified as Christians, were unwilling to consider the possibility that they have more to learn (and unlearn) about the message of Jesus?
I think McLaren really hits on some touchpoints with this chapter and that it serves as a great jumping off point for people who know there's more in Scripture about Jesus' message, but just aren't sure how to get there.

Chapter Two: The Political Message of Jesus
Loved this chapter. Loved it. It really did a great job of putting Jesus into the political context of his day. I thought McLaren did a superb job summarizing the view of the four major Jewish political movements in Roman Judea: the Sadducees, Zealots, Essenes, and Pharisees, and then counterposing Jesus' message to what they were saying, i.e. how was it possible for Jesus to say that people's righteousness should exceed the Pharisees when the Pharisees were the ones that were the strongest propents of holiness and righteousness, and how could this guy say that when he hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes? I could talk a lot more about this, but will save it for another blogpost.

Chapter Three: The Jewish Message of Jesus
Here, McLaren gives the Jewish prophetic background to what Jesus talks about, particularly in their mindset of a new order coming to Israel, with regard to justice, as well as how that aspect of Jesus' message would have directly set him up against the existing authorities of the day.

Chapter Four: The Revolutionary Message of Jesus
This chapter revists the narrative nature of Scripture that McLaren established in The Story We Find Ourselves In. For someone that's read it, it will be somewhat redundant, but it's also important to think about that narrative nature as we see how Jesus and his message fits into it. And again, McLaren focuses on how that revolutionary nature of Jesus' message would have set him up against the authorities of the day. You'd almost think he's developing a theme and application of Jesus' message for today.

Chapter Five: The Hidden Message
This might be where some people really disagree with McLaren, but I really think he hits on a great point here. Jesus almost seems to hide his message in deliberately using language that people will misinterpret or misunderstand. It was almost like he didn't want people to really get the message itself from what he was teaching. It's like he wanted people to start doing what he said and get the meaning of the message that way.

Like I said, I'm really enjoying the book and McLaren's is offering some great insights into Jesus and his message. Some of it is new, some of it is reinforcing thinkings that I've been having for a while.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Forgiveness, Acceptance, and Repentance

I had a conversation yesterday with the Nashville Cohort about the man who shot the Pope being released, and how the Pope had forgiven him. It led to a discussion about forgiveness and it really got me thinking.

I read in Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis or heard him say somewhere that just as there will be 100% forgiven people in Heaven, there will be 100% forgiven people in Hell. It's struck me as a fascinating concept. I am convinved that forgiveness as we think about it for ourselves is for US, not the people that we are forgiving. If someone wrongs me, I'm sure they don't give a rat's patoot if I forgive them. What it does is release the power of that offense from me. I don't let that anger or desire for retribution control me any longer.

However, through Jesus, we are forgiven our offenses against God by God. The real trick of things is HOW we live in response to that and that's where the repentance and acceptance comes in.

Let's put it into this perspective: Imagine someone who was abused by a family member. The person abused should as a follower of Christ forgive the abuser. However, if the family member continues in that behavior (or seems like he would), then the person abused should not be in relationship with that person. It's not until the abuser changes his ways that the abusee should be in relationship with him.

You see, repentance is not simply saying, "I'm sorry" to God while going ahead and knowing full well that you are going to do the same thing again. Repenting doesn't mean being sorry; it means changing your life to live in accordance with God. It means becoming a new person, being "born again."

But here's the other wrinkle in this whole thing. If we take Jesus' life as the example for how he lived, how do we interact with sinners? The traditional chuch mindset is to have someone agree with what we believe or do and then accept them into our fellowship. Basically acceptance can only happen when repentance happens first. However, Jesus operated in a completely different scope. Look at the story of Zaccheus and any of the other times Jesus was with sinners. For those sinners to be in Jesus' presence, repentance was not a requirement. Acceptance of who they were came first, and the repentance MIGHT follow. I doubt that every person who came into Jesus' presence changed their life, but that didn't seem to change his acceptance of them.

What if all three of these things came into play as we act out as followers of Christ in our daily lives and into our coporate lives as the church, the body of Christ? I hope I didn't ramble too much with all of this and it makes some modicum of sense. How do these three concepts work out you readers?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

My Son

Well, any of you that read on Friday (before the Battlestar Galactica post[Great show! And another cliffhanger?!?]) know that the ultrasound showed us a boy. Sheryl and I are very excited and Sheryl was a little bit surprised as she was totally convinced it was a girl. His first name will be John, like mine and my dad's and my grandfather's, but we haven't decided on the middle name which will be what he goes by.

As I've said before, I would have been ecstatic over a child of either sex, but I will admit that the idea of having a son is really exciting. Of course, there are new challenges, such as remembering to point south while changing the diaper.

But the most interesting one so far has been thinking about clothes, and this works on two levels:

1) Buying them. Sheryl and I went to Target on our usual weekend trip (toiletries are cheaper there than at the grocery store). We walked over to the boys section for the first time and were kind of at a loss. For the last 5 years, we've been buying all of these frilly, lacy, pretty things with bows and ribbons and stuff that Kinsey just loves (we can't get her out of her Sunday dresses when we get home from church). Now we go over to the boys area and are looking around and thinking, "Wait. How do we do this? It's not cute as we've been thinking about it for a while." So our whole thinking will be changing on that.

2) Baby Shower. Since we've announced that we're having a boy, two people have suggested that we do a shower for this one. And honestly, I'm torn on it. On the one hand, we are going to need clothes for the little guy. And having other people give them to us would be great. On the other hand, we had one for Kinsey and I wonder if all the fuss is necessary. There are quite a few people at church with boys that we might be able to borrow clothes from. Especially considering that I think there have been close to 200 babies born in the last 5 years at Otter Creek. But that decision is ultimately out of my hands and gratefully so.

At any rate, we're very excited and Kinsey's excited. Now we have to paint another room, move the stuff out of that room and feel the house grow a tad smaller but in the best way possible. Thanks again for all the thoughts and prayers.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Brian McLaren's The Secret Message of Jesus Intro

Last week, I received an advance copy of Brian McLaren's book due out in April called The Secret Message of Jesus (TSMOJ). I wanted to give some thoughts on the book and I figured that I would take the next few Mondays and put down some thoughts.

One of the things I'm very excited about is that the entire subject of the book is on the Kingdom of God, a subject that has been of extreme interest to me in the past 18 months as I see it as the primary message of Jesus. I'm not really excited about the title of the book, because it kind of seems like one of those things to entice people to pick it up, but I guess that's the point of marketing.

I'm also very excited that another favorite book of mine, Mere Discipleship by Lee Camp, is quoted twice in this. I think Lee is a great guy and thinker and I would be excited if his work got some more exposure, but I think his family would like the royalty checks... I will go ahead and confess to the readers of mine from Otter Creek that I will be teaching a class on the Kingdom this summer and "borrowing" a lot from both Mere Discipleship and TSMOJ.

I'll talk about the intro here and it's important to note that McLaren starts out most of his books the same way. He introduces himself and his ideas and then directly address his potential readers. McLaren loves to imagine. You might say that he's a dreamer, and he's probably not the only one. He asks a lot of "What if?" questions in his books. In one of my favorite parts of the introduction, he makes the following statement:

Think about all the people who have explored the Gnostic Gospels in recent years, hoping to get a better, more radical vision of Jesus and his message. What if the problem isn't with our accepted stories of Jesus (the stories given us by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John rather than these alternate accounts) - but rather with our success at domesticating them and with our failure to see them in their native wildness and original vigor? What if, properly understood, the canonical (or accepted) Gospel of Matthew is far more radical and robust than the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas, or the canonical Gospel of John is far more visionary and transformative than the apocryphal Gospel of Peter - if only we "had eyes to see," as Jesus says?
In calling this the secret message of Jesus, McLaren is NOT putting himself up as some kind of Gnostic Guru, figuring out secrets that no one else ever has. In fact, he's kind of popularizing and rethinking the work of people like N.T. Wright. What he is doing is asking questions that a lot of people have been asking over the last decade or 20 years or so. And he's giving answers that make sense in the Biblical light and some I'm not sure about as well, but we'll get to those later as we get into the actual text of the book.

I've really enjoyed what I've read so far and I think this is one of those books that people could read to really change some thinking, to get us out of Churchianity and into following Jesus.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Battlestar Galactica

I try not to watch as much TV as I used to. I seriously used to have a show I would watch every night of the week. Now thought, I watch news, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report. I also watch sports, but my must watch episodic TV is only the Shield and Battlestar Galactica (ok, the Amazing Race and Survivor).

I loved Battlestar Galactica (BSG) when it was first on in 1978. I was at the height of my Star Wars love and this had space fighters and lasers and those kind of things. I didn't care if it was cheesy and not very well written. I got to seeing science fiction every week. Even watching the series again on SciFi Channel about 5 year ago, it was all of those things, but I still liked it.

So when I heard that the SciFi Channel was redoing the series as a miniseries, and that one of its stars, Edward James Olmos, said that if you liked the first one, you shouldn't watch this one, I didn't. But then, I started hearing great things about the new series. And that it was produced and developed by Ronald D. Moore, the creative force behind Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (the best series, in my opinion), and I started to get hopeful.

So when the miniseries became a full fledged series, I decided to give it a chance.

This may be one of the best TV series I've ever watched.

It's incredibly topical. The series starts off with a surprise attack on humans by the Cylons (who can look human; there are still metal ones) and only 50,000 humans escape. As a result there is deep seated fear about who might be a Cylon and who might not, all while trying to survive the pursuing Cylons and to find Earth, their promised land.

The show examines what it means to be human, if sexual assault is an acceptable means of obtaining information from prisoners, and even if torture is acceptable.

And it even has cool space battles.

The reason I'm writing about this today is two fold:

1) Season 2 starts tonight (Friday) at 10 PM EST/9 CST on the Sci Fi Channel

2) Something added from the 1978 series is religion. The good guys (Colonials) are polytheists that worship representations of the Greek and Roman gods and the bad guys (Cylons) are monotheists who say things like, "God loves you and has a plan for your life." I'm going to choose to believe that Moore doesn't think Christians are bad people (although Pat Robertson seems to trying to prove me wrong). I think he wants us to think about how what we say sounds. Hearing words that I've said and heard a lot coming from someone evil does make me think about it. Does that make it less true? No, but it does make me think about how someone not familiar with that language hears it. There is also the President of the Colonies that believes she has been chosen by the gods to lead the colonials to their promised land.

The whole show is very well done and to be really honest, it's a drama set in space rather than a space opera. And it does what good art should do: makes you think about what you think.

I highly recommend it.

It's a....


He looked great on the ultrasound. Fingers, toes, hands, feet, heart, brain, nose (Sheryl's, we think). Anyway, thanks for the prayers and thoughts.

I'll do my regular post a little bit later too.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Finding Out

Sheryl, Kinsey, and I go in on Friday to find out about the baby. And I say that deliberately. A lot of the focus of the 5 month ultrasound is finding out the sex of the baby and that's the big deal. You start figuring out toys and clothes and the color of the nursery and all that fun stuff. I'm looking forward to it and thinking about names.

However, I also know that the 5 month ultrasound is when people find out about problems their child might have. We have friends who discovered that their child would be lucky to survive the birthing process and in fact did, but only survived for a day or so after that. Joe and Laura Hays in NYC discovered that their son had a condition called CDH, that he is still struggling mightly with and is having trouble right now (please pray for them).

I don't like to think negatively, but I do wonder how I would handle news that our child might have problems or issues or something "wrong." I feel a lot of sympathy for people like the Hays who go through problems like Ira is having and sometimes I feel a little guilty praying that our child won't have those problems. But I do pray that and hope that, and I hope you will join me in that prayer.

And if God doesn't answer that one, I pray that He will give us the strength to handle any problems that might come up.
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