Saturday in ATL

At Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, GA

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The Voices In Your Head

I think back over my own processes and wonder why I made certain choices. Or I watch others and wonder why in the world they chose certain paths.

We have those moments of inspired clarity when we see who we are and want to be, and the life we desire to live. And then real life starts happening again! What if those visions you see about yourself and your life in those flashes of lucidity were your real life?

via Jim Palmer » Blog Archive » That conversation in your head is stealing your life..

Read the whole article. I especially like Jim’s take on “because you’re human” feelings, which should have an amount of negativity from the human experience; contrasting those with “life-sabotaging” feelings, where the negativity goes so far off course as to really look inhumanly off-kilter. We all make decisions based on the baggage we bring to the table: mistakes, successes, experiences good and bad. And sometimes we let some of those things throw us over the cliff of reality with nary a whimper… Jim goes on to write:

How do you change this? You have to transform that conversation in your head about yourself, others, life, and God.

Are you changing the conversation today? Are you asking better questions, seeking better answers, living out better actions today?

And The OSCAR Goes To…

Yesterday and last week, we went to the AMC Best Picture Showcase – taking in all nine best picture nominees before tonight’s OSCARS. This is the first year I’ve seen all of them, and I’ve got my own favorites and predictions for the evening.

BEST PICTURE: I think this one is going to go to THE ARTIST (that’s John Goodman “on set” in the photo to the right, photo from Oscar’s website). Of all nine films, this one has everything from stylized reality to great story-telling to wonderful acting/casting. My personal favorite film of the nine was WAR HORSE, but I think THE DESCENDANTS could come from behind to take this one as well.

LEAD ACTOR: JeanDujardin, THE ARTIST, should win this one for what will hopefully be a US-breakout performance.

LEAD ACTRESS: Viola Davis, THE HELP – great movie that was shortchanged in the marketing as a “chick flick”.

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Seeing that Christopher Plummer, BEGINNERS, probably has this one wrapped up, but I’d love to see Jonah Hill win for MONEYBALL to show in the winners’ circle.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: This one’s going to be Octavia Spencer, THE HELP. Again, great film, strong women throughout.

Will be watching for these and all the rest – AND for Billy Crystal’s return as host and troubadour. Will be checking in on GetGlue and tweeting from @rickcaffeinated with hashtag #oscars – feel free to chime in.

Warning: Don’t Read This…

My life has taken some weird, cool, controversial turns religiously, philosophically, theologically…

As I explained in A New Kind of Christianity, and as I explain even more energetically in my upcoming book (Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?), I don’t think the way forward is taking out or throwing away deeply held Christian beliefs. Rather, I think we need better understandings of those beliefs.

via Q & R: Sin? – Brian McLaren.

… and when I saw this note and promise of a new book from Brian McLaren, I was juiced to kick all that up a tad.

Faith and belief are so much bigger than I think we give credit for in our lives and in the lives of others. Over the past twenty years or so now, folks like McLaren, Rob Bell, John Piper, Louie Giglio, Phylis Tickle, Tony Jones, and so on and so on have challenged me and my beliefs. They’ve questioned me while giving me foundations to build on. They’ve encouraged me while ripping out chunks of hardened-heart.

We’ve got it too easy in lots of respects. Church doctrine tells us what to believe as men and women before us have done their own wrestling – so now do and believe the way we’ve nailed it down. Don’t ask questions – doubt and uncertainty are hard, but our beliefs are rock solid. Stand for this so you won’t fall for anything different.

That’s a generality, and I hate going there. But it’s true – in the midst of church life there’s very little room for question or disagreement. There’s no time for thinking things out and making them our own. The faith passed down is already good enough, and it’s a slap against the establishment to attempt to go our own narrow way.

All of that to say that I’m looking forward to the new book to come, and I look forward to wrestling with angels in order to lay hold of real and meaningful blessing.

You can be Captain America, too…

When it comes down to it, I think this vibe in a character is the one that’s needed most in real life:

“This sounds silly, but you like the way you feel about yourself. You like the way you look at things when you really are doing things for the right reasons. No ego, completely selfless. It’s a great way to be. I’ve really grown into the guy.”

– Chris Evans via ‘Avengers’ Uses Captain America As Point-Of-View Character, Says Joss Whedon.

That it’s in a great film franchise that’s part of a bigger overarching, encouraging, challenging story just makes it that much more rich, doesn’t it?

Because It’s Friday, and Because It’s Bubble Wrap

As our kids have grown up over the past sixteen-plus years, one of the wonderful influences on their young lives has been Veggie Tales. So when C showed me this Silly Song With Larry – well, I just needed to make sure everyone had the joy of singing vegetables and bubble wrap…

Good News Ain’t Easy

“The good news is better than that.” – Love Wins – Rob Bell, p. 181

There’s something about that thought that stuck out enough to me to mark it down as a draft, a potential post, on this blog. Nine months later, and maybe I’ve found the right timing, the right opportunity to bring something to bear. Because I think we get so much wrong, that when we eventually think we might have it right – well, we might still be completely wrong.

Good news is better than that.

When your life is a metaphorically constant banging of your head against the wall, simply stopping the rapid back and forth motion against the hard hurtful object is enough to bring peace. But it’s not real peace as much as it’s the stoppage of pain. Real peace takes work. Real peace is valuable and lasts longer, runs deeper. Real peace is communal and relational. Real peace is different than just stopping the banging.

What’s easy seems to be the right way. Having things work out the way we expected can be misconstrued as the right way. Small blessings can be blown out of proportion. Listening to the folks giving us kudos but not paying as much attention to the people with dissenting views can give us a false positive on what’s the right way. And whether this is playing out in a positive or a negative bent, this is not a good thing.

Back to the statement above, that “the good news is better than that” – how many times have we settled in on “the good news” and closed ourselves off from what, in fact, might be better? I think: too often; too readily; too dogmatically. We might be doing good things, but we’re closing ourselves off from better choices. Or worse, we’re self-destructive and there’s no way on earth for us to see what’s going on because there’s no way on earth we would pay attention outside our circle of enabling friends…

So after beating around the bush, let me be as blunt and still as vague as I can be: The good news is better than that. But, you won’t open your eyes to what that good news might really be. In the process of making choices, in thinking things are getting better, you are setting yourself up to fail – and this time, it is hurting those you love the most. With that in mind, your stance on “doing the right thing” is shattered on the hearts of people who hold you most dear. They will forgive – but you will not know how much because you’ve closed that door, because you’ve turned that corner. If this were really good news, your actions and choices would be better than that. But it’s not, and they’re not, and well, I’m pissed.

And God is given either the credit or the blame. In reality, you’re not listening to Him enough to do either. And the good news is still way better than that.