Vintage Slang

Yagan Shah writes today about 11 Vintage Slang Terms That Need To Make A Comeback at the Huffington Post.

Here are her terms and my thoughts about them:
  1. Groovy.  A song by the Little Rascals is echoing in my head. 
  2. Swell.   Let's leave that one back with Wally and the Beav.
  3. Radical.  I have never been one. Pretty moderate.
  4. Scram.  I am not a gangster from Brooklyn.
  5. Neat.  "and tidy" is what I am thinking about.  ツ
  6. Funky.  Some sort of weird odor associated with a teen's room
  7. The bee's knees.  Something even my grandparents didn't say.
  8. Cool beans.  Food that need to be reheated in the microwave.
  9. Tubular.  Beats me. But I am not an 80s hipster.
  10. Hot to trot.  I just start laughing when I say it.
  11. Wicked.  Newish Broadway play about Oz?
Check out the Yagan's original article here to read how the terms were originally used.

I would love to hear any thoughts that you might have about these terms. Leave a comments and weigh in.

Absolute Relativism

Ever heard someone say 'Everything is Relative" or "There are No Absolutes"? Ever think about how they are 'Absolute' statements on 'Relativism'? You think that someone might say it like this "Maybe Everything is Relative" or "There may be No Absolutes".

Growing up in the Half Empty Land of New York City definitely skewed my life with a predisposition towards half-emptyism. I am challenged to believe that the cup is half full.   I used to cloak my cynicism saying that "I am a realist" ... pretty funny when I think of it.

In retrospect I have to believe that the glass is absolutely half full. Or maybe half empty? Of course, in the picture at the left, the glass is a mug and it's more full than empty. ツ

How do you see the glass? Please leave a comment and let me know.

May we not love alike?

"Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may."

Read this John Wesley quote last week. Our pastor ended a letter by quoting it. The thought of love winning over ideology compels me. Is it really possible to see past our differences and embrace the best in others? Is it possible, in this age of political polarization, to really find common ground and areas of agreement? I suggest to you that it is only possible if we move away from the political and religious extremes. Perhaps it is only possible if we embrace an extreme flavor of love?

- Originally posted May 9, 2012

Science and Religion on Facebook

My friend Brian said this on Facebook a few days ago:

        "Science is good at the how questions, but suck at the "should we" or "why" questions.
        Religion is good at those questions."

I like that! I wish that more scientists and theologians embraced this view.

Cynicism, Expectations and Love

When it comes to expectations there seems to be two extremes - cynicism and naivety. The former says all people are unworthy of our trust. The latter thinks everyone can be trusted to do what we think they should do. I resonate more with the former than the latter.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said "There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love." That speaks to me of my need to tap into the love that lives within me to avoid the cynical response and let go of my disappointment. Perhaps the best way to avoid disappointment is not to jettison our expectations but to wrap them up in love?

- I would love to hear what you think. Please leave a comment.

Philomena | ★★★★★★★★★★

I was not ready for this. Hands down the best movie of last year. Here is what I liked:

The Story: No one told me that this was a story of faith. The movie is based on Martin Sixsmith's book "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee." I loved the way that cynicism is confronted head-on by faith and love. Philomena's faith challenged me deeply.

The Acting: Judi Dench is spectacular as Philomena. I cannot imagine anyone else in this role. Also great as the cynical reporter Martin Sixsmith was Steve Coogan.

The Twists: Every time I thought that I had the story figured out everything changed.
I loved that this true story was so unpredictable and so engaging.

The Relationship: For sure, this is a movie about a mother's search for a son who she has not seen for over forty years. Yet the movie is so much more than a quest.
I loved the way that Philomena changed Martin and how he helped to change her.

I loved this movie, highly recommend it to you, and on a scale of ten, give it ★★★★★★★★★★.
Catch my other mini-reviews by selecting the Movies link in the menu bar above.

Forgiveness is only a Prayer Away

At the onset of this week that many call holy I though that I might share about an amazing woman of faith. The first time I saw Corrie ten Boom was in 1976 on the game show "To Tell the Truth". I remember how the host, Gary Moore, was awestruck by one of the answers to his questions. Corrie passed away in 1983. Following are a few facts about Corrie that I have gleaned from a PBS site.
Corrie was a survivor of Ravensbruck, a Nazi concentration camp. She was arrested by the Nazis along with the rest of her family for hiding Jews in their Haarlem (Holland) home during the Holocaust. She was imprisoned and eventually sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp along with her beloved sister, Betsie, who perished there just days before Corrie's own release on December 31, 1944. Inspired by Betsie's example of selfless love and forgiveness amid extreme cruelty and persecution, Corrie established a post-war home for other camp survivors trying to recover from the horrors they had escaped. She went on to travel widely as a missionary, preaching God's forgiveness and the need for reconciliation.
Corrie's message of forgiveness was tested when, by chance, she came face to face with one of her former tormentors in 1947. The following description of that experience is excerpted from her 1971 autobiography, The Hiding Place.
It was in a church in Munich that I saw him, a balding heavy-set man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken. It was 1947 and I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives. ...

And that's when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor, the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister's frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsie, how thin you were!

Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland; this man had been a guard at Ravensbruck concentration camp where we were sent. ...

"You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk," he was saying. "I was a guard in there." No, he did not remember me. "I had to do it — I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us." "But since that time," he went on, "I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein, ..." his hand came out, ... "will you forgive me?"

And I stood there — I whose sins had every day to be forgiven — and could not. Betsie had died in that place — could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

For I had to do it — I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. "If you do not forgive men their trespasses," Jesus says, "neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses." ...

And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion — I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. "Jesus, help me!" I prayed silently. "I can lift my hand, I can do that much. You supply the feeling."

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

"I forgive you, brother!" I cried. "With all my heart!"

For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then.
I saw the movie version of "The Hiding Place" when it was first released to movie theaters over thirty years ago. I rewatched the DVD version a few years ago with my wife and some friends. Corrie's story always reminds me how forgiveness is only a prayer away. When confronted Corrie asked for help to forgive and God was faithful to answer her prayer. I highly recommend "The Hiding Place". I also recommend to you Corrie's example and encourage you to ask God to help you forgive those who have hurt you. It will be good for your soul.


Many folks are pretty upset by this movie. Following are excerpts taken from an editorial review of it by our pastor, Adam Hamilton, that appeared in the Huffington Post. Click here for the whole review.

The problem for the filmmakers, and also for many of us as we read the story of Noah in the Bible, is a failure to understand what kind of story it is. Which leads us to interpret it in ways that either miss the point or distort the point. Comedian, television host and outspoken atheist Bill Maher recently lambasted the film, and the 60 percent of the American public who read the Noah story as literal history. How literally should we take the story?
But there's something more that makes this particular adaptation of the Noah story not work, and it is possible that it dooms every film adaptation. Portraying or reading this story too literally often obscures the point of the story. The earliest stories in Genesis were not written to tell primeval history. They were written to tell readers about themselves, and about God.

Reading the Noah story as an historian's account of ancient history leaves Christians needing to prove that it was really geologically possible for water to cover the earth to a height 20 feet above the tallest mountain. They find themselves wondering precisely how many species of animal could fit in the ark, or how Noah managed to get them all in there. Or, as Maher pointed out in his shtick on the film, how a good and loving God could choose to kill every man, woman and child on the planet.

The primeval stories in Genesis were told and retold around the campfires for hundreds if not thousands of years before being written down. For an oral culture with no books, no television, no radio, no sports and no movies, stories were the vehicle both for entertainment and for teaching truths about humanity, morality and God. The story of Noah was likely rooted in catastrophic floods of the ancient past (perhaps the end of the last Ice Age when catastrophic floods were seen across the northern hemisphere which would explain why flood stories show up in far-flung cultures around the world). Yet the point of telling the story was not to report ancient history. It was to teach hearers, and readers, about themselves and about God.
Am I suggesting the Noah story of the Bible is not true? No, quite the contrary, I'm suggesting this story tells us deep and profound truths about God, about humanity and about life. But while it is rooted and grounded in the ancient memory of massive floods that had been passed down for millennia, its point is not to tell us about a man named Noah who lived long ago, but to tell us the truth about ourselves, and about God's grief over human violence, God's concern for his creation and God's willingness to give humanity a second chance.

Catch my mini-reviews by selecting the Movies link in the menu bar above.

Will we ever eliminate poverty?

Jesus' words have sometimes been misunderstood; some have even suggested He was being insensitive to those living in poverty. But nothing could be further from the truth. Repeatedly the Bible commands us to be concerned for those in need, and it points out that God has a special concern for the poor. Remember: Jesus knew what it was to be poor; Mary and Joseph had very little in the way of material goods. The Bible says, "Whoever is kind to the needy honors God" (Proverbs 14:31).

Will we ever eliminate poverty? We should do all we can, but the real barrier is our human nature. Unless Christ changes our hearts, the human race will always be riddled with greed and corruption and selfishness. Put your life into Christ's hands, then ask Him to use you to help others overcome both their material and spiritual poverty.

... from Billy Graham's daily column. Click here to read the whole piece.

What Suffering Does

We live in a culture awash in talk about happiness. In one three-month period last year, more than 1,000 books were released on Amazon on that subject. But notice this phenomenon. When people remember the past, they don’t only talk about happiness. It is often the ordeals that seem most significant. People shoot for happiness but feel formed through suffering. But notice this phenomenon. When people remember the past, they don’t only talk about happiness. It is often the ordeals that seem most significant. People shoot for happiness but feel formed through suffering.

Now, of course, it should be said that there is nothing intrinsically ennobling about suffering. Just as failure is sometimes just failure (and not your path to becoming the next Steve Jobs) suffering is sometimes just destructive, to be exited as quickly as possible. But some people are clearly ennobled by it. Think of the way Franklin Roosevelt came back deeper and more empathetic after being struck with polio. Often, physical or social suffering can give people an outsider’s perspective, an attuned awareness of what other outsiders are enduring. But the big thing that suffering does is it takes you outside of precisely that logic that the happiness mentality encourages. Happiness wants you to think about maximizing your benefits. Difficulty and suffering sends you on a different course.
Then, suffering gives people a more accurate sense of their own limitations, what they can control and cannot control. When people are thrust down into these deeper zones, they are forced to confront the fact they can’t determine what goes on there. Try as they might, they just can’t tell themselves to stop feeling pain, or to stop missing the one who has died or gone. And even when tranquillity begins to come back, or in those moments when grief eases, it is not clear where the relief comes from. The healing process, too, feels as though it’s part of some natural or divine process beyond individual control.

... from an editorial by David Brooks. Click here to read more.

This is not a way of life at all ...

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

... taken from a speech by President Eisenhower to the American Society of Newspaper Editors in April 1953

Anyone surprised that this biker was stereotyped?

"To the family in the red SUV at Tim Horton’s today.

Yes I am a big 280 lbs guy with motorcycles and a full of tattoos, I am a welder, I am loud, I drink beer, I swear and I look like I would eat your soul if you stare at me wrong.

What you don’t know is that I have been happily married for 11 years, my kids call me daddy, I am a college graduate, my mother is proud of me and tells everyone how lucky she is to have such a wonderful son, my nieces and nephews are always happy to see there m’nonci Luc, when my daughter broke her arm I cried more than she did. I read books, I help people, I go out of my way to thank war veterans and I even cried at Armageddon…

So next time I smile and say hi to your little girl and you grab her and tell her “No no dear we don’t talk to dirty bikers” remember that even tho you hurt my feelings this “dirty biker” would be the first person to run into your burning house to save your little girls gold fish so she wouldn’t be sad!!!!"

Thoughts on a few Oscar Nominated Movies

Have not seen all of the nominated films but thought I might share a few thoughts on the ones that Ann and I have seen.
  • American Hustle | ★★★★★★★★★ | This was tied for the best of the five on this list. It was edgy, intriguing and funny. Christian Bale and Amy Adams were outstanding in the lead role. Had me guessing until the end.
  • Captain Phillips | ★★★★★★★ | This movie surprised me in that it was much better than I expected.
    Tom Hanks played a great part in the titled role and Barkhad Abdi was simply brilliant as the pirates leader.
    But I think that it suffered from a lack of editing and was about 20 minutes too long.
  • Gravity | ★★★ | I was amazed that this snoozer got an Oscar nomination. It was a movie about nothing. Apart from the theme of getting back to earth it had no story line and was a waste of great acting talent.
  • Nebraska | ★★★★★★★★★ | This was tied for the best of the five on this list. I mean who doesn't love a story about a son who loved his dad so much that he would drive him so long for such a hopeless cause. I loved Bruce Dern in the lead role and Will Forte did a credible job playing his son.
  • 12 Years a Slave | ★★★★★★★ | I so wanted to like this movie but found it to be very predictable. The movie was more about Edwin Epps, the evil plantation owner, than Solomon Northup. I wanted to know more about Solomon's story before and after his kidnapping but those parts of the book were omitted in the screenplay.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street | ★★★ | How did this long and pointless movie get nominated for an Oscar? I found the movie to be: WAY too long (3 hours); have WAY too much sexual content; and WAY too repetitive.
Some of you probably disagree with me. If so I would love to know what you really liked or disliked about these movies.

On Sale? Really? Am I that much of a Sucker?

Got an email from Starbucks regaling me with dreams of big savings if I would just go to their website or to one of their stores. So I went to their website and found this "on sale" box of Sumatra k-cups which regularly sells for less at Walmart. Ugh!! Why am I always drawn to these ad scams? Is it just my quest for cheaper prices or is it something else? Do I really think that companies like Starbucks really want to help me out? Am I that much of a sucker? Perhaps I am? I did click on the link in the email. I am such a sucker!