Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I was nominated and I didn't even know it!

...and, I've been tagged with Seven Sevens

Well, I just found out that I was nominated for a blog award! The bad news is, I didn't become one of the finalists for the Blogs of Beauty Awards, hosted by Two Talent Living...but as they say in Hollywood, hey, it's an honor just to have been nominated!

Notes in the Key of Life was nominated in the "Best Variety" category. What an honor! I plan to go vote for the finalists as soon as possible. Thanks to Two Talent Living for hosting this award; it just goes to show how many wonderful blogs out there are being written by Christian women.

And now, She Lives has tagged me with the "Seven Sevens" meme.

Seven Things to Do Before I Die.

1. See all my children marry and have kids (one is married already)
2. Go to Ireland/Scotland/England
3. Write a book
4. Go to Paris
5. Learn to speak Spanish
6. Learn to speak French
7. Visit New York City with my mom and sisters

Seven Things I Cannot Do
1. Play the piano
2. Play any kind of team sport without looking like an idiot
3. Whistle--I don't know why, I'm just incapable of doing it!
4. Make a decent pie crust
5. Program a VCR or DVD player--or maybe I'm just too lazy to learn
6. Cut hair--even bangs!
7. Sew

Seven Things that Attract Me to My Husband [romantic interest, best friend, whomever]

(not necessarily in this order!)

1. His (sorry, there's no other way to say it) sexy speaking voice
2. His beautiful blue eyes
3. His hands
4. His character and integrity
5. His loyalty
6. His love for God
7. How he's great at all those sports I'm terrible at

Seven Things I Say Most Often

1. Y'know?
2. Amazing
3. Awesome
4. Give me a break!
5. Oh my goodness
6. That's ridiculous
7. "crazy" as an adjective for anything that's amazing or awesome :)

Seven Books (or series) I Love
1. The Bible
2. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
3. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis
4. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Eyre
5. The Emerald Ballad Series, by B. J. Hoff
6. The Mark of the Lion Series, by Francine Rivers
7. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

Seven Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again
1. It's a Wonderful Life
2. Braveheart
3. Gone with the Wind
4. Gladiator
5. A Christmas Story
6. When Harry Met Sally
7. Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Seven People I Want to Join in Too:
BUT...I will totally understand if you don't. I know this is a busy time of year for everyone...but do it for fun if you get a moment!

Julie Anne
Mei Flower

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My interview with Steve Beard of

"Thunderstruck has always been a spiritual hangout for those who are curious, confused, or confident."--Steve Beard

One of my regular stops on the Web is, the blog of Christian film critic Steve Beard. As a news person, I view the site as a wealth of links to things I need to know in order to keep in touch with what's going on in our culture.

I got curious about how Steve compiles all those links, and how he ended up being a film critic, so I requested an e-mail interview with him. Steve graciously agreed, and here's the interview:

CINDY: First of all, tell me about yourself. What is your background, and how did you become a movie critic?

STEVE: I grew up the son of a preacher man in Orange County, California (the poor version of what is seen on television). My friends and I surfed, skateboarded, and played in a roots rock band called the Belvederes. Shortly after college, I moved to Washington D.C. and was a research assistant at the Institute on Religion and Democracy and the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Fourteen years ago, I moved to Lexington, Kentucky, to edit Good News magazine. As a writer, I began to turn my attention to the way in which faith emerged in pop culture – television, rock music, film, and comics. Doors opened up for me to write for publications such as Charisma, Risen, The Washington Times, and World. I began writing on film and music for, The Phantom Tollbooth (,,,, and

Two years ago, I wrote lengthy biographical essays on Bono, Johnny Cash, and Al Green for Spiritual Journeys: How Faith Has Influenced Twelve Music Icons (Relevant, 2003).

CINDY: I've called your blog,, sort of a Drudge Report from a Christian worldview. How did it come about?

STEVE: You are very generous. Originally, it was merely a collection of my own writings. Soon, I started posting articles that I thought friends of mine should check out. What began as a trickle of articles dealing with faith and pop culture in “secular” or mainstream publications is now steady stream – enough to keep me very busy. It did not take long before the articles and the website was being checked out by more than my friends and I began getting notes from fellow travelers from all over the place.

Thunderstruck has always been a spiritual hangout for those who are curious, confused, or confident.

"What you see on there is what I am reading about"

CINDY: The variety of links on your blog is amazing. How do you find those links? Do you invest a lot of time in searching for them?

Depending on my deadlines, I spend several hours per day checking out all kinds of websites that may have something that fits within my interests.

Are there any specific criteria you use when seeking links for your blog? Anything in particular that makes you go, "Yep, that's going on the blog!"

Although the blog is focused on faith and pop culture there are all kinds of articles that do not fit within that category. I love fashion, BBQ joints, Oakland Raiders football, traveling, and Cajun food. I’ve had articles on the history of the bikini, record reviews of Social Distortion, the ministry of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as Krispy Kreme Donuts. None of those subjects fit into a particular category but they are all things that I love. There is nothing clinical about Thunderstruck. What you see on there is what I am reading about, whether it is regarding the legalization of pot for medicinal purposes or the rise of teenage pregnancy. On the same day, I posted an article by Andrew Sullivan supporting gay marriage, as well as one from Mitch Romney opposing it. I was reading both and I thought that everyone else should. Just because I post an article does not mean I support the ideas behind it. It simply means that I think it is worth reading.

"Thunderstruck is devoted to pointing out the way in which faith expresses itself in art and culture"

CINDY: Your site is all about the popular culture. Why should Christians care about what’s going on in the popular culture?

STEVE: Our culture has a voracious appetite for spiritual engagement – even in our entertainment. We are far more mystical than we realize. The music, the movies, the TV shows that we watch reflect that. There are tons of programs that deal with heaven and hell, murder and justice, sin and redemption. We may not agree with them all, but at least they are bringing up these important topics. Thunderstruck is devoted to pointing out the way in which faith expresses itself in art and culture—The Matrix, Switchfoot, Bruce Almighty, U2, Lord of the Rings, P.O.D., Joan of Arcadia, and Johnny Cash.

I began the site about five years ago and it has just kind of taken off. There is an entire generation out there that blurs the line between the sacred and the profane in a way that previous generations didn’t. It seems to me that Christians should be able to engage our culture regarding movies such as Walk the Line, books such as The Da Vinci Code, The Purpose Driven Life, or Kanye West’s hip-hop or the latest album of The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Some of my church going friends get angry and frustrated when Hollywood does not act like the church. Whoa, who ever said it was supposed to? Hollywood only cares about one thing: Money. Unfortunately, some preachers are the same way.

CINDY: Your list of musical favorites includes very few "Christian" groups. Do you think contemporary Christian music is inferior? What could it be doing better?

STEVE: Ouch. Ironically, I became a believer because of the friendship with some guys in a rockabilly group called Wild Blue Yonder and a punk group called Undercover. I like to blur my worlds. Perhaps that is more indicative of the state of my soul than the quality of Christian music. I have some friends that really hate Christian music. I don’t; I just don’t listen to it. But when I listen to Buddy Miller or the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s new record, it sounds like worship music to me. The same goes for Johnny Cash, hard rock-rap like P.O.D., Switchfoot, Lifehouse, or even some of Elvis’s gospel stuff. I still find certain U2 songs to be the kind of transcendent jump start I need every day. I listen to Dylan’s gospel albums and a lot of the Blind Boys of Alabama or even old blues stuff from Blind Willie Johnson or the Rev. Gary Davis.

I appreciate what Jars of Clay did when they played at Live8 in Philadelphia. We need more of our faith-based bands to mix it up with the mainstream artists.

CINDY: What's wrong with Hollywood today? What's right?

STEVE: Great question. I tend to see the glass more full than empty. Hollywood is far more responsive today than they have been since I have been a movie buff. I know that the some writers remember a time when every script was given a thumbs up or down by a Christian agency in Hollywood. Those days are long gone. Make your peace with the past and move on.

Wasn’t it great the way that Nightcrawler could be a fully Christian superhero in X-Men 2 without everyone breaking out in hives? I loved that. He was blue with pointy ears and a tail and quoted the 23rd Psalm and the Lord’s Prayer. No one poked fun at him. He was not a superficial, stereotypical Christian. It was so organic.

There is only going to be one Passion of the Christ, but there are many more Matrix-style movies to be made.

OK, this is a biggie, but maybe you could give me an in-a-nutshell kind of reply. How should Christians most effectively be sharing their faith in today's world?

It is very rare that a painting, book, film, or television broadcast actually brings someone closer to God. However, they can all nudge, probe, prod, entice, or inspire. We need to be able to use the world around us –nature, entertainment, sports, philosophy, politics— to engage our culture with the big questions. Why are we here? Where do we go when we die? Does it matter if we tell the truth?

In all actuality, it is very rare to find someone who made a decision to follow God based on some form of media. Usually, people are drawn to God in tragedy or despair or in rare, quite moments of contemplation. They are often introduced to God through someone around them who loves them and loves God.

Does the single mom down the street know that she could call on you to watch her kids in an emergency? Does your alcoholic brother-in-law know that you will come pick him up at a bar so that he does not drive home drunk? All I am saying is that we need to be vulnerable, available, and grace-filled to those inside and outside the four walls of the church.

I believe in making our case in the public arena but I shudder when I see some of the preachers who get picked to represent our side on television. We share our faith with open arms and smiles and winks, not with wagging fingers, swinging Bibles, or clenched fists.

CINDY: What do you hope your readers get from your blog?

STEVE: The reason I began Thunderstruck was to show my friends—those who believe and those who do not—that the entire world (even The New York Times) is writing and pondering stories that used to get ignored or relegated to the “Religion Page” found at the back of the sports section on Saturdays. I hope that they use the articles on the site to think about the big questions in life. I know that she is extremely unpopular with everyone in the Church, but what are we supposed to do with this comment from Madonna: "I'm constantly trying to figure out what my place in the world is. That search was obviously instigated by the birth of my daughter. In my film, I talk about how I woke up one day and thought, 'my God, I'm about to have a baby; how am I going to teach my child what the meaning of life is when I don't know myself?' If she asks why she's here and who is God or why are people suffering, I want to have answers. And I want to ask those questions, too."

Do we ignore her because she has offended us in the past? Jesus would be bummed if that were our response.

Has your blog changed your life in any way?

STEVE: I’ve met a lot of great people along the way. It has been a blessing, I am told. I’m glad.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Is anything as gripping as Handel's "Messiah"?

"Across the span of 250 years, Messiah still holds its extraordinary grip on musician and audience member alike. It reaches us with its directness of expression and its infinite capacity for self-renewal. It bestows on us the special gift of aesthetic and spiritual grace."--Henley Denmead

To my shame, I had never yet attended the Rockford Lutheran Choral Union's annual performance of George Frideric Handel's "Messiah," despite having lived here for over 26 years. But this past Saturday night, my daughter Elizabeth and I made our way to Trinity Lutheran Church, entered the beautiful sanctuary, found a good pew, and waited in anticipation.

I have loved music from "Messiah" since I was first really introduced to it, in junior high. Every year, Vidor Junior High School's choir performed what was no doubt a simpler version of the oratorio.

We had an outstanding choir director who taught me most of what I know about sight-reading and singing harmony, and the music program was excellent. Mrs. Sowell ran a tight ship, but she was fun and lively and I remember her fondly. She must have been at least in her mid-50's then (in the early 1970's). (If anyone from Vidor, Texas stumbles on this, I would love to know whatever happened to her.)

I remember being thrilled to get a solo in the performance in what was probably my eighth grade at VJHS. It was "He Shall Feed His Flock." (Interestingly enough, I had all but forgotten that fact until we listened to the aria Saturday night. My sister later confirmed it.)

George Frideric Handel

"I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself!!"

The story of Handel's composing of "Messiah" is fascinating. Apparently, Handel composed the oratorio in an amazing 21 days, never leaving his home and often refusing food and water. According to this site: "While writing the 'Hallelujah Chorus', his servant discovered him with tears in his eyes. He exclaimed, 'I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself!!'"

But back to Trinity Lutheran. Finally, the lights were lowered, and the small orchestra began the overture. I was instantly captivated.

The first song sung by the choir is "And the glory of the Lord." As soon as it began, and the beautiful voices wafted over us in stately and gorgeous harmony, I started crying and didn't stop for the entire length of the song.

It was not only the beauty of the music that caused my awestruck was the power, the majesty, the dignity, the authority. "And all flesh shall see it together...for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."

I love "The Hallelujah Chorus," and it also has a powerful effect on me. But probably my favorite song from Messiah is "For unto us a child is born," and has been since I was in junior high. I don't know what it is that captivates me so much about this piece. I love the intricate harmonies, the amazing run-on vocal phrases that spiral skyward, the joyful elation of the violins. (Do listen here if you have a few moments and have any appreciation at all for classical music.)

I honestly don't think I've ever heard any music with the power to transport me to the heavenlies like Handel's Messiah. If the music in heaven is even slightly more amazing and awe-inspiring--and I believe it will actually be much more so--then we certainly have a lot to look forward to!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I will be taking a blogging break during the Thanksgiving holidays. Lord willing and if the creek don't rise, I'll be back on Monday.

Let me also take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to God for all His blessings, including my beloved family!

In the meantime, enjoy this:

Thanksgiving Forecast

Turkeys will thaw in the morning, then warm in the oven to an afternoon high near 190F. The kitchen will turn hot and humid, and if you bother the cook, be ready for a severe squall or cold shoulder.

During the late afternoon and evening, the cold front of a knife will slice through the turkey, causing an accumulation of one to two inches on plates. Mashed potatoes will drift across one side while cranberry sauce creates slippery spots on the other. Please pass the gravy.

A weight watch and indigestion warning have been issued for the entire area, with increased stuffiness around the beltway. During the evening, the turkey will dimish and taper off to leftovers, dropping to a low of 34F in the refrigerator.

Looking ahead to Friday and Saturday, high pressure to eat sandwiches will be established. Flurries of leftovers can be expected both days with a 50 percent chance of scattered soup late in the day. We expect a warming trend where soup develops. By early next week, eating pressure will be low as the only wish left will be the bone.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Just for fun...

Your 80s Heartthrob Is

Kirk Cameron

Update on Burlap to Cashmere's Johnny Philippidis

my interview with Johnny's sister, Nicole Philippidis

I blogged yesterday about former Burlap to Cashmere guitarist/vocalist Johnny Philippidis being in a medically-induced coma after being beaten and left for dead following a car accident in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Reportedly it happened on November 17th, and I've had a tough time finding an update on the Internet.

I contacted Neil Gorman, public relations director of Lutheran General Hospital in Brooklyn, and he put me in touch with Johnny's sister, 32-year-old Nicole Philippidis. She is Johnny's only sibling and is understandably upset, but she was very gracious and agreed to a short phone interview. Following is a transcript of the interview.

CINDY: First of all, Nicole, can you just give us an update on how Johnny is doing right now?

NICOLE: Sure. At this moment, he's in stable condition. He had an operation...the first day he was here, to remove a clot from his head. Luckily, thank God that clot was removed, and we believe that his brain is OK. But right now, all his bones are broken in his face, and he cannot breathe because too many things are in the way of his breathing.
So they have him in an induced coma, and they have him on a respirator so that he doesn't have any problem with blood and stuff getting in the way of his breathing.

His face is split in half...he has developed a bit of pneumonia yesterday; he was supposed to go in for the reconstructive surgery yesterday, but because of the pneumonia they had to postpone it. They are looking to do the surgery tomorrow (Wednesday) because the pneumonia, because they believe, and hopefully with prayer and the power of prayer the pneumonia will clear, and he will, God willing go in for a successful surgery tomorrow at noon. It's a a four-hour procedure.

CINDY: By saying that his face is split in half, what exactly do you mean by that?

NICOLE: Well, uh, the bones. The bones are just kinda, if you can imagine that, that's how they described it to us. The eye sockets are broken, the nose, the jaw...that's how they explained it to us.

CINDY: I called you, as I mentioned earlier, because I couldn't find any further information about it on the Internet and there are people, as I said, all across the country that are praying for him...people that love Burlap to Cashmere's music and remember Johnny from those days.

Can you explain how you found out about this, and what the reaction was?

NICOLE: Well, they called my dad up, because on Johnny's cell phone Dad was the first on his list of calls. And they called up my dad and told him, "Your son was in an accident, and he's OK, just come to the hospital." 'Cause they didn't want to tell my dad that they didn't think Johnny was gonna make it. You know, obviously the parent has to drive here; they don't want to kill the parent too, you know, from making themselves sick.

So my father, he didn't call anyone else, because he just thought that he was going to come here, and OK, Johnny's gonna have a couple bandages, or whatever. And when he got here they took him over to the side and they explained to him that, "You know, listen, this is really bad, and we don't know if he's gonna make it, but we are gonna give him that emergency operation, and just pray..." And my father said, "I've gotta go see him first," and they said, "Please don't," and my father ran in, of course, and was bad. Actually, the police thought he was shot in the face.


NICOLE: They said, there's no way this is somebody beating him up, and if they did beat him It had to be with with an object, you know...

CINDY: Is it true that a baseball bat was used?

NICOLE: Well, the doctors do not believe that human hands could have done this much damage, so we believe there was an object, but the police have not found one.

CINDY: The newspaper said that a passerby found him and is the one who is responsible for...

NICOLE: A detective found him. A detective was just passing by.

CINDY: Oh, wow...That's a blessing from God that he was found by this man...

NICOLE: Oh, you don't even know...I can't even tell you how many blessings from God there were that night. First, the detective found him right on time, because, any longer, who knows? Second, EMS was already around the corner...they were already there, they didn't have to travel far.

The third thing that was another blessing was that when he got here, it was coincidental that both the head of trauma and the head of neurology of the hospital were here together. That's very unusual for the heads of trauma and neurology to be here at the same time, so he got the best of the best that this hospital--and this is supposed to be a very good hospital--could offer.

CINDY: Also the newspaper mentioned that he had been coming from a studio where he was recording? Can you tell me anything about that?

NICOLE: Sure, sure. I don't know if you know this, but my cousin Steven Delopolous and Johnny came back together again, and got signed again to do another Burlap album. So, luckily they had just finished the demo. The demo has, I believe, three or five, I'm not sure, new Burlap songs. And we were happy that he got to finish that, because...well, you know why...

CINDY: Right, right.

NICOLE: Because when he does wake up--and I know he will, because God is with him--at least he won't have to worry about the demo. He can say, "Well, OK, I had just completed that," y'know.

CINDY: Well, Nicole, everyone in the Christian community that loves Burlap to Cashmere is praying for Johnny. And please pass that along to your parents.

NICOLE: I will, yeah. And that's why he's getting better.

CINDY: Is there anything else that you'd like to add?

Just keep praying, and if everyone keeps praying, I truly believe that he will recover, stronger than ever.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Former Burlap to Cashmere guitarist beaten and left for dead

pray for Johnny Phillipidis

This is a very sad story.

Phillipidis was an immensely gifted guitarist and vocalist with Burlap to Cashmere, whose lone album, "Anybody Out There?" is a classic. If you listen to Christian radio at all, you'll remember "Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth."

Phillipidis and lead singer Steven Delopoulos are first cousins, and their close harmony and amazing guitar work were trademarks of Burlap to Cashmere.

This story was dated November 17th, and I haven't been able to find an update.

Friday, November 18, 2005

It's FRIDAY!!!!

...and I answer the Friday's Feast quiz...

You know the drill...answer these here, or on your own blog.

When do you feel impatient?--When I'm in slow-moving traffic and catching all the red lights when I'm running late for something important.


How many times in your life have you had a broken heart?--I'm not sure I ever have...


Name a book you would like to see made into a movie.--I recently read Anne Rivers Siddons' Sweetwater Creek. While reading, I often thought, "This would make a great movie." The main character in the book is a 12-year-old girl, though, so you'd have to find a really good child actress--a la Reese Witherspoon in "Man in the Moon."

I always used to want to see "The Chronicles of Narnia" on film, but that's come true!
Main Course
If you could thank one teacher for what they taught you, who would it be and what would you thank them for?--I would thank Mr. Jerry B. Moseley, my history teacher in sixth and seventh grade at Vidor Junior High School in Vidor, Texas--for making learning fun, and for believing in and encouraging my writing ability. Mr. Moseley, if you're out there somewhere, I will never forget you! Thank you.

What is your favorite kind of pie?--Pumpkin! So, lucky me, huh? I'm about to enter the biggest pumpkin pie season of all.

Have a blessed weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Evangelical Blog Award nominations are underway

Here's your chance to go here and nominate blogs in several categories.

Here are the categories, and my nominations:

Best Evangelical Teen Blog
Best Evangelical Group Blog--Stones Cry Out
Best Evangelical Youth Pastor Blog
Best Evangelical Missionary Blog--And I Shall Yet Praise Him
Best Evangelical Blog-Humor--I Drank What?
Best New Evangelical Blog--PyroManiac
Best Evangelical Blog-Pastor--Whirled Views with Dan Burrell
Best Evangelical Blog-Apologetics
Best Domestic Evangelical Blog (U.S.)
Best International Evangelical Blog--Pilgrim Scribblings
Best Evangelical Blog-Ministry--Chapelcino
Best Evangelical Blog-Politics--La Shawn Barber
Best Designed Evangelical Blog--Unmerited and Karagraphy
Best Overall Evangelical Blog
Best Evangelical Home Education Blog
Best Evangelical Business Blog
Best Evangelical Video Blog
Best Evangelical Heretic Blog
Best Evangelical Family Life Blog--Amy's Humble Musings
Best Evangelical Mother Blog--Blest with Sons
Best Evangelical Father Blog--Caffeinated Adventures

Now, I admit I would love to even get nominated for one of these awards. However, my blog doesn't easily fit into any of the niche categories. I was going to suggest a new category: "Best Evangelical Culture Blog," but I was too late--Eric Ragle isn't considering new categories now, since nominations are already underway.

My wish for a "culture blog" category isn't just selfish, either. There are so many wonderful blogs that could fit in that category...blogs like Lisa Samson's Author Intrusion, B. J. Hoff's Grace Notes, Word Praize, Write Thinking, A Life in Pages, Charis Connection, Fidler on the Roof and Miss O'Hara, to name a few. Blogs that encompass a variety of topics, but tend to focus on things like the culture, media, entertainment, music and books/writing.

According to the site: "Nominations will end January 5th. On January 6th the voting will begin and the winners will be announced January 16th."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Early reviews call Narnia movie "thrilling"

"Neither the fans of the book, nor the fans of the story behind the story, will be disappointed.”--Ted Baehr of Movieguide

According to an article on the ASSIST Ministries website, Baehr said, "The great news is that the Disney movie version of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE is not only very entertaining, but clearly retains the deeper truth and essence of C. S. Lewis’s great novel, the first in his great seven part CHRONICLES OF NARNIA redemptive fantasy series.”

The story says Baehr was among the audience at the Director’s Guild just eleven hours after the final edits.

Baehr acknowledges there are some differences between the book and the movie, but he says, " have to be very close to the book and very theologically astute to notice the changes...In fact, the movie is a very clear Christological allusion, or imagining, of the story of Jesus Christ."

As a lifelong fan of these books, I've always yearned to see them brought to life on the screen in a way that does the stories justice. I certainly hope that's true of this movie.

NOTE: "Movieguide is a ministry dedicated to redeeming the values of the mass media according to biblical principles, by influencing entertainment industry executives and helping families make wise media choices." --from Movieguide's website

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dr. Adrian Rogers home with the Lord

"Whether the discussion is compassion, mental alacrity, sense of humor, prowess in the pulpit, passion for Jesus and for lost sinners, or just faithful encouragement of the brethren, Adrian Rogers brought it all to Southern Baptists. If we Baptists had a Hall of Fame, Dr. Rogers would be enshrined tomorrow."--Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth Texas,

Southern Baptist pastor and leader Dr. Adrian Rogers passed away this morning. Read more here and here.

Rogers was a key figure in what was called the Conservative Resurgence, aimed at bringing Southern Baptists back to their historic biblical roots. Rogers recently told the Florida Baptist Witness: "I look back on my life and there are a lot of things that have happened. I have written books, pastored churches, preached on radio and television around the world. But I think the part that God allowed me to have in the turning of the SBC may have the longest-lasting effect and be the most significant."

Dr. Rogers' radio show, Love Worth Finding, airs on Radio 91., and I've often enjoyed catching bits of it as I worked here at the station.

Others blogging about Dr. Rogers today: Mind and Media, Chris Meirose, View from the Pew, Writing Right, Wayward Wretch.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday, Monday...

It's hard to get my thoughts focused today, because as on all Mondays, I'm really, really tired.

But a few random thoughts are floating around:

Scrabble is fun

Members of the adult Sunday School class my husband teaches got together Saturday night for chili and games. Athletic types like my husband played volleyball; I was one of those who, in childhood, was always picked last for any team sport, and I stuck with board games. Scrabble in particular. (Yes, Scrabble has its own website.)

I had forgotten how much I enjoy playing Scrabble. Truth to tell, I had never owned the game before, and in past years I played it mainly with my step-mother-in-law, who was the Queen of Scrabble. In fact, it was when I began to beat her at Scrabble that I began to worry about her.

Shortly after this began occurring (me beating her at Scrabble), she was indeed diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and passed away this past March...not long after we bought the house she and my father-in-law lived in.

My father-in-law left a few things at the house, and one of them was his wife's Scrabble game. It was this game that I grabbed off a shelf before heading out the door for the activity. I kind of felt like I was paying a bit of a tribute to Charlene by playing the game, using the very board at which she had spent a lot of happy hours.

But have you noticed something about Scrabble? It really doesn't matter how great a vocabulary you have. I believe I have a fairly extensive vocabulary, but that doesn't do me a lot of good. What counts in Scrabble is knowing a lot of exotic words that contain high-point letters, and having the skill to combine words in all sorts of ways.

I played Scrabble with two people, Mike and Beth. Mike won; I came in second. But I really enjoyed playing. Another nice thing about Scrabble is, it's slow-paced enough that there is time for conversation. Often while one of us was trying to decide our next move, we were able to talk.

The whole evening was so pleasant, my husband and I decided we really need to have more times like that with fellow-believers. It really is refreshing.

By the way, do you have a favorite board game? Let me know in my comments section!

The best banana bars ever...

Besides a pot of chili, I took these amazing banana bars to the party. This is the second time I've made them, and they fly off the pan like hotcakes and get tons of compliments.

Credit where credit is due: I got this at, although it is exactly the recipe my friend Toni (one of the best cooks I know) has made for years. She tries to keep the ingredients on hand at all times, because she's often stuck with bananas that have ripened too much to eat.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 (16 ounce) container cream cheese frosting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 10x15 inch jellyroll pan.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter. Finally, mix in the mashed banana. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow bars to cool completely before frosting with the cream cheese frosting.

NOTE: I do one thing differently...I actually buy two containers of the cream cheese frosting and put about one-and-a-half containers of frosting on the bars. It just seems to make them more luscious. But they're great with just the one can, too, especially if you're not a big frosting fan.

Friday, November 11, 2005

What obsolete skill are you?

Songs of Innocence, Introduction
You are 'regularly metric verse'. This can take
many forms, including heroic couplets, blank
verse, and other iambic pentameters, for
example. It has not been used much since the
nineteenth century; modern poets tend to prefer
rhyme without meter, or even poetry with
neither rhyme nor meter.

You appreciate the beautiful things in life--the
joy of music, the color of leaves falling, the
rhythm of a heartbeat. You see life itself as
a series of little poems. The result (or is it
the cause?) is that you are pensive and often
melancholy. You enjoy the company of other
people, but they find you unexcitable and
depressing. Your problem is that regularly
metric verse has been obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

(Hat tip to Marla of Always Thirsty.)

Grrr! I can't stand stories like this...

UNDATED (AP) Wal-Mart officials say they meant no
disrespect when a company e-mail described Christmas as a mix of
world religions and suggested that its employees say "Happy
Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."

Read more here.

Folks, it is OK TO SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS. Go to the Alliance Defense Fund's for more info.

I suspect we'll be seeing more and more stories like this as Christmas approaches.

Hats off to Veterans

I'm sure many of you have seen this Veteran's Day piece before, but it never fails to touch my heart:

What is a Veteran?

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.

Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem.

You can't tell a vet just by looking.

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another - or didn't come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

He is the parade - riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies
unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being - a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU".

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, Who has given us the
freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protestor to burn the flag."

--Father Denis Edward O'Brien/USMC

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Happy Birthday, United States Marine Corps!

I am deeply grateful for the sacrifices the Marines have made throughout the years to preserve our freedom, and I’m proud of their tradition of bravery and excellence. My hat’s off to all of you--including my own dear brother who served in the Gulf War. Thank you!

Napoleon's tooth

A tooth that once apparently resided in the mouth of Napoleon Bonaparte was to go up for auction in London today.

This reminded me of a brief period of time in my teens when I was fascinated by all things Napoleon. I read everything I could get my hands on about the man.

Honestly, I think my avid interest was prompted by a movie I saw on the late-night movie on TV. (For those of you for whom cable TV has always been a part of your life: we used to look forward to and enjoy those late-night movies. That's all there was to watch late at night, until the National Anthem gave way to static snow.)

Brando as Napoleon

The movie was Desiree. starring Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons, so my Napoleonic crush was no doubt directed more toward a young and handsome Brando than the actual dictator.

(Couple of trivia notes: Brando wore a fake nose for the role, and the movie was nominated for two Oscars--Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color, and Best Costume Design, Color.)

People rating "Desiree" on are quite critical of the movie ("This is not Marlon Brando's shining hour"), but as a teen-ager, I liked it a lot. It captured my romantic imagination. I even read the book on which the movie was based, , by Annemarie Selinko.

Assante as Napoleon

I haven't seen Armand Assante as Napoleon, but I have a feeling I would like it. There's something extremely cool about Assante. He's a good actor, and he actually looks more like Napoleon than did Brando.

Sheepish though I've been in admitting I had a schoolgirl crush on a historical figure, I guess I wasn't completely alone. In looking for reviews of the book on, , I found these comments: "As a girl, I had a crush on Napoleon (I know, it is a strange confession). As a teenager, I nurtured those tender feelings by watching Armand Assante play the Emperor in Napoleon and Josephine. And, as a woman, I devoured books about Napoleon's life. How is it then, that I did not hear about DESIREE until I was well into my thirties?"

Wow, someone was as strange as my teen-aged self.

When I really think about it, though, it's not so strange to be fascinated with Napoleon Bonaparte. He really is one of history's most fascinating characters. It'll be interesting to see the ultimate value of his tooth.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Excuse me, but can we leave the envelope right where it is?

I'm not crazy about the trend toward "edgy" Christian fiction

The opposite of edgy?

I've been a lifelong reader, supporter and proponent of Christian fiction...ever since I was a little girl and hoarded my Felicia Cartright, Danny Orliss and Joy Sparton books (and if you've been a Christian fiction reader for as long as I have, you'll recognize those names!)

And let me say right off the bat that I don't care for formulaic, pie-in-the-sky, Christians-are-perfect fiction either. I stopped reading Grace Livingston Hill books when I was in my teens (although I must say I was always intrigued at the names she gave her characters); I have no problem with realistic situations and even controversial subjects, like homosexuality and abortion.

However, I'm concerned about the current trend in Christian fiction toward "pushing the envelope." (By the way, would someone please tell me exactly what "the envelope" is, and where it needs to be pushed to?) I'm told that Christian authors are being urged to be more "edgy" and "gritty."

I don't know about you, but one of the reasons I read more Christian fiction than any other kind, is because it is clearly, obviously, DIFFERENT from mainstream fiction.

Christian fiction offers an ultimate hope--Jesus Christ--that most mainstream fiction can't offer.

In recent years, I believe Christian fiction has handled the seamier side of life with discretion and care--not shying away from the troubling and controversial issues of today's culture, but portraying them in a way that is not offensive and degrading to readers who are trying to obey Biblical injunctions to keep their minds and hearts pure.

In encouraging their authors to "push the envelope" go for "grittier" and "edgier" content--well, if that means including profanity and sexual frankness that crosses a line--I believe Christian publishers are doing their readers a great disservice. And guess what? I don't believe it's what most readers want.

One of my most admired Christian authors, BJ Hoff, blogged eloquently about this very issue the other day. Although BJ dwells more on the definition of "edgy fiction," I love this quote from her: "If your only interest in writing fiction is making eyes bug and jaws drop in CBA, if you want to push the envelope as far as it can be pushed and then go a notch farther--then you might want to ask yourself why."

Just one case in point: I was recently sent a historical Christian novel that I believe came really close to crossing a line. The main thing I remember about the book was not any Christian message at all, but the thick cloud of sexual tension that the writer relentlessly hammered at throughout the story. It was one of those plot lines in which the man and woman had gotten married out of convenience, but began to fall in love with each other. There were constant references to things like the man gazing at his wife's tempting cleavage or rounded rear-end. Frankly, I was turned off. I can read a Harlequin novel if I want that kind of thing.

Contrast that with Liz Curtis Higgs' Scottish series. She manages to portray yearning between a husband and a wife with class and grace; not skirting around the issue when it is germane to the story, but doing so with discretion and good taste.

Liz Curtis Higg's Whence Came a Prince

Not pushing that ubiquitous "envelope."

No doubt there will be an audience for the envelope-pushing fiction books. But this is one reader who is fine with that pesky envelope staying right where it is.

Couple of other things to tell you about...

The Christian Carnival is up at Eternal Revolution. This is a weekly showcase of Christian blog posts. Have you participated? It's a great way to generate a little of what La Shawn Barber calls "link love," and traffic to your blog.

Here's a handy carnival submit form that you can use if you want to submit a post next time. Deadlines are Tuesday at 11:59 PM.

"Jarhead"--good or bad?

Joe (apparently himself a former Marine) at Evangelical Outpost has posted a review of Jarhead that appears to be stirring some contrversy in his comments section.

I've asked my own exMarine, Gulf War vet brother to give me his own opinion of the movie or the book on which it's based. (Since he is in Iraq right now, I sort of doubt if he'll be seeing the movie any time soon.)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Abercrombie & Fitch pulls racy T-shirts

Wow...a "girlcott" actually worked.

I had mentioned the other day that some girls were protesting what they deemed offensive Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirts. (One of the worst sported the words: "Who needs brains when you have these?") I truly believed the "girlcott" would be a fruitless waste of time. But I'm very happy to be wrong!

From an A & F news release: "We recognize that the shirts in question, while meant to be humorous, might be troubling to some."

Mmm, yeah.

Evie fans, give me some time!

Evie, back in the day

I'm getting inundated with e-mails asking me for info about Evie Tornquist Karlsson, where to buy her CDs, and if the new Christmas album she mentioned in my last interview with her is available.

She has not replied to two e-mails I've sent her...I'm still hoping! In the meantime, I contacted Aaron Pacentine of Videos for Family, who also interviewed Evie and saw her in concert just a month ago. Aaron replied:

"Oh yes, the christmas album. I know when I was at the concert and had met her a month ago she had a CD there 'COME ON RING THOSE BELLS' there were a few new songs on there and all the songs were digital remastered I guess, from what I could tell. The cover was completely different. So I don't know if that was actually the new album she mention(ed) to you a while before... I wrote her regarding getting to find out to order some for my site, cause I know many people would be interested getting them. I have still had a lot of people contact me regarding get much of Evie's music and even some of her old song books."

Aaron, by the way, is a pretty remarkable young man with quite an entrepreneurial spirit. soon as I get any solid info on how to obtain this Christmas CD, I'll let everyone know.

As I've mentioned before, a large chunk of the hits I get on this blog are the result of searches on info about Evie. Her career and ministry are obviously still of great interest to her many fans.

Do you still support the President?

I do...despite the fact that I don't agree with or approve of everything he says and does. I would vote for him again.

These bloggers are rallying for Bush , calling it "an act of rebellion against those who seek to demolish the Bush agenda and nullify the reasons you voted for him."

Monday, November 07, 2005

It's okay to say "Christmas"

Now that Halloween is over, we're off and running with breakneck speed toward the Christmas holidays. Yes, I said the CHRISTMAS holidays!

I celebrate Christmas. I say, "Merry Christmas." I listen to Christmas songs and sing Christmas carols. I have a Christmas tree and Christmas decorations. I give Christmas presents and send Christmas cards. And I do NOT substitute the word "holiday" for Christmas whenever possible!

No offense to people of other religions. But Christmas is CHRISTMAS. It's about the birth of Christ, and I refuse to apologize for that.

I'm appalled by the efforts to purge Christ from the holiday that bears his name and celebrates his birth...and apparently, I'm not alone in that sentiment.

The Alliance Defense Fund is doing something about it.

According to AP: "In recent years, legal challenges have spread beyond
municipal creches and school Nativity plays to carol singing,
wordless instrumental music, Christmas trees, classroom visits by
Santa Claus, 'Merry Christmas' greetings and distribution of
Christmas-themed cards and gifts.
"The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group, has
announced that its 800 cooperating attorneys have volunteered to
handle without fee complaints about "improper attempts to censor
the celebration of Christmas in schools and on public property."
"THe A-D-F's Alan Sears says that even as Christmas is
suppressed, schools sometimes encourage Ramadan, Hanukkah and
Kwanzaa observances."

You can find out more by going to

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday! YEAH!!!!

...and I answer the Friday Feast quiz:

Feel free to answer these questions here or on your own blog!

What was the last game you purchased?--It might have been my son Justin that actually bought it, but I think it was "Uno." We spent quite a few fun nights this past summer playing Uno.

Name something in which you don't believe.--Atheism. Oh, yeah, I know there are a lot of people who say they don't believe in God, but there's got to be that niggling little doubt--especially when they're dying. Agnostics, yes. But I have a hard time believing there are 100 per cent positive atheists. They have to be taking the non-existence of God on faith to some extent. Ironic.

If you could choose a television personality to be your boss, who would you pick?--
This guy. Because I think he's hilarious and he tries to make the workplace fun. :)

Main Course

What was a lesson you had to learn the hard way?--That every single thing you do in life has consequences.

Describe your idea of the perfect relaxation room.--Actually, probably my own living room--except with the added delight of a view of the ocean or the mountains.

Have a blessed weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Terrific resources for aspiring writers... news about Abercrombie sleaze and sauerkraut (not at the same time!)

There's been some invaluable stuff floating around the blogosphere lately for those of us who aspire to write fiction.

The wonderful Angela Hunt spent a few days on her blog, A Life in Pages, talking about how to construct a story. It starts here, with The Plot Skeleton. I get the feeling I learned more practical stuff from those blog posts than I would have in a semester of some college classes! It actually made me think, "I could do that!"

And if you've always wanted to write, but spent years coming up with reasons why you can't, you can relate to (and be kicked in the butt by) B. J. Hoff's Five Reasons Most People Will Never Write a Novel. Ouch...I think I've used at least a few of these excuses.

Anyway, I'm so grateful for writers like this, who take the time to give generously of their hard-earned wisdom and expertise.

Another immensely helpful blog that I try not to miss is Charis Connection. It features several Christian authors who take turns posting. Just about every word that's posted is invaluable to an aspiring writer.

Other Thursday stuff...

Looks like Abercrombie and Fitch is persisting in being sleazy...but this time, not all young women are buying into it.

According to AP: "UNDATED (AP) - "They're calling it a 'girlcott.' Some teenage girls are calling for a boycott of trendy retailer
Abercrombie and Fitch over some racy T-shirts. The shirts have
slogans like "Who needs brains when you have these" or "I had a
nightmare I was a brunette." The protest began in the Pittsburgh
area when about two dozen girls demonstrated outside an
Abercrombie's. Now, the protest is spreading. Ohio State
University student Elizabeth Ritter says the shirts are degrading
and she wouldn't wear one."

Illinois State Senator and GOP gubernatorial hopeful Steve Rauschenberger is getting on board with the protest--although I'm not sure how much good that will do. Rauschenberger plans to introduce a resolution into the Illinois legislature calling on A & F to stop selling the racy shirts. Again according to AP: " The 49-year-old state Senator says he doesn't pretend to be the bellwether of what's cool but he believes the T-shirt disrespect women."

Resolutions and girlcotts aside, Abercrombie says young women are still buying the shirts...and I'm sure that's all they care about.

Better stock up on your sauerkraut!

Worried about the possibility of an avian flu pandemic? Sauerkraut may a key to preventing it, according to an e-mail I got today from the Fremont Company:

"Sauerkraut sales are going through the roof, with some Midwest stores reporting an 850% spike just last week on a recent report that scientists at Seoul National University successfully used Kimchi Sauerkraut to treat chickens infected with Avian Flu. Both Kimchi and traditional Sauerkraut are made by fermenting sliced cabbage, producing a high level of lactic acid, which may be the critical element in preventing Avian Flu.

"'We saw our sales climb immediately as this news hit,' says Chris Smith, VP of marketing for Frank's Sauerkraut, one of the United States' leading brands of Sauerkraut. 'Men's Health Magazine also advised constructing a pandemic kit containing sauerkraut because of its lactic acid bacteria. People are stocking up on sauerkraut like bottled water before a hurricane hits. We hope to be able to keep up with the demand this season,' he adds."

Now, I'm normally no big fan of sauerkraut, but this made me think of a wonderful recipe my mom used to make when I was growing up that included sauerkraut, pineapples and hot dogs. I know, it sounds weird, but it worked.

Now my sister Lisa tells me there's a fantastic sauerkraut salad recipe. I have no idea if this is the one she's talking about, but I found this one at

Sauerkraut Salad

1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 cup white sugar
1 (20 ounce) can sauerkraut
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 ounces pimento


In a saucepan combine the salt, vinegar, caraway seeds and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the sauerkraut, onion, celery, pepper and pimento. Remove from heat and let marinate overnight before serving.

And here's a site devoted totally to sauerkraut recipes.

Hey, if it will help prevent the dreaded avian flu, I'll eat bet.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Signs and wonders, Jesus on a wardrobe...

...and whatever happened to discernment?

Darren Marlar and I ignited a firestorm of controversy on the air this morning, when we talked about a man in Romania who claims to see Jesus, Peter and Paul on a wooden wardrobe.

I'll admit, we joked about it. It seems every other week we get a story about someone seeing a picture of Jesus on a grilled cheese sandwich or the image of the Virgin Mary under an overpass.

I had what I feel is a legitimate question: How do these people KNOW these are images of Jesus, Peter, Paul, Mary or whoever, when we don't actually know what these people looked like? There were no cameras around in Bible days, so whatever visual image we have of Jesus or anyone else in the Bible can only be an artist's depiction.

Well, a listener called in, and in a very nice way, let us have it. She decried what she called our mocking, our hard-heartededness, skepticism and lack of faith. She believes we should be open-minded about such things. If this man thinks that's a picture of Jesus on his wardrobe, why not? Why couldn't God have revealed himself to the man in this way? And if people want to flock to it, why not? They're just having faith.

With all due respect, I disagree with this lady. I believe we as Christians are to use discernment. I don't think there's anything wrong with a good, healthy dose of skepticism. I John 4:1 says, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

I'm not ashamed to say I believe in miracles. I've seen many wonderful, amazing things happen that can only be explained by God's power--so I truly don't believe my heart is hardened to the miraculous.

However, another thing that concerns me about the Romanian wardrobe "miracle" is that the priest is urging people to "fast and pray to these holy images."

Uh, no. The Bible calls that "idolatry." We should be fasting and praying to the Lord, not a block of wood.

I'm a little cynical about this business of being "open-minded" when it comes to spiritual things. If you leave your mind TOO wide open, any crazy thing can fly right into it.

I leave you with this quote about discernment from John MacArthur:

"Discernment flourishes only in an environment of intense faithful Bible study. Say it again...discernment flourishes only...only in an environment of intense faithful Bible study. That's why in Acts 20 when Paul was so worried about the Ephesian elders, he says, 'I know that after I leave wolves are going to come in here, perverse wolves are going to rip you up... the enemy is going to infiltrate, you're going to buy in to some error, of your own men perverse ones will rise, they'll lead you astray, you're going to have doctrinal chaos, doctrinal confusion here, and so I commend you to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up.' The Word, the Word."--John MacArthur

...and on a completely different note...

I just want to say congratulations to Rodney Olsen of The Journey, on his second "bloggiversary." Rodney is a fellow radio person, and lives in Australia...a place I've always wanted to go. Bless you, Rodney!

OK, this is a little scary...

My post yesterday about Mel Gibson's upcoming new movie drew some interesting comments from my readers.

I posted a recent photo of Mel, taken at a news conference about the movie Apocalypto.

Katy said: "Cindy, Was it you who posted a pic of Mel not that long ago? The one with his hand in front of his face? Can you point me to it? I'm sorry, but that pic really makes me want to say, 'Mel! What's up with the beard?'"

This from Matt: "Mel looks like either Osama bin Ladin or Saddam Hussein when he was captured." Ouch!

Judge for yourself:

Handsome Mel

Captured Saddam

Mel at recent news conference

Mel..if you're reading this...maybe you should lose the beard. :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mel Gibson's Mayan movie


Normally, I tend to like Mel Gibson movies, although I do have my reservations about them, and I certainly wouldn't give them a blanket endorsement. However...

Braveheart is on my list of top 10 movies of all time. I'll admit I close my eyes during the more violent scenes. But it appeals to me on several levels, not the least of which is my intense interest in all things Scottish and Irish. It has everything: romance, heroism, intrigue, conflict, even moments of humor. (Here's a really cool Braveheart fan site.)

I liked The Patriot, although...OK, here's one of my reservations about Gibson's films. They are too bloody. I think he overdoes the blood and gore--all in the interest of historical accuracy, but I guess I don't want to see that much accuracy. Call me squeamish, but it simply offends my sensibilities.

I liked Signs--although, of course, Mel didn't direct that; M. Night Shyamalan did. Critics didn't like the movie, but I thought it was engrossing, and actually included a good faith message.

The Passion of the Christ appealed to me because it is about the Person who is the be-all and end-all of my existence. I have some reservations about it, and it would take a whole 'nother post to go into all that, but overall I thought it was a great film.

One of the things I thought worked about The Passion of the Christ is that it was shot in the original languages. I believe that lent major authenticity to the movie. It was so easy to imagine oneself in the middle of the action as it actually took place in Israel over two thousand years ago.

But now, Gibson is set to film an action thriller set in an ancient Mayan settlement and shot in the Yucatec dialect.

I could be wrong, but right now I have absolutely no interest in seeing this movie. Zero.

Oh, and Mel--what's up with the beard???
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