The Bacon Toaster

Like your ice cream maker, waffle maker, and popcorn machine, the $40 Bacon Express is really
only capable of one task in the kitchen: cooking bacon. But while you can live without ice cream,
waffles, and popcorn, it’s hard to imagine a life without that crispy, salty staple. More here.

The Crown | ★★★★★★★★★★

Ann wanted to watch this ten part Netflix series. I was not thrilled but watched with her anyways. And I am glad that I did. Here is a list of things that I absolutely loved about The Crown.
  • The transparency and honesty of the script. I thought that this would be a puff piece of adoration towards the English monarchy and all things royal. Oh my. I was mistaken. The portrayal of royal life was not cast in the best light.
  • The relational way the story was told. Four relationships dominated the storyline. The narrative emphasized the interactions between Queen Elizabeth and her father, her husband, her sister and Winston Churchill.
  • The maturing of the young queen. I was shocked to find out how poorly educated the queen was in her early life. It seemed to be both a reflection of the times and of the monarchy. Her passion to grow as a human being was impressive.
  • The resistance to change by the British government. It was difficult to watch 'statesmen', Churchill included, manipulate the young queen the way that they did. They resisted everything from TV cameras at he coronation to which royal secretary the queen could hire to who her sister could marry.
  • The responsibility that the queen felt to choose 'The Crown' over her family. This seemed to come to bear frequently. It began when her uncle was banished from the realm when he abdicated the throne and continued on into many decisions Elizabeth had to make.
  • The acting. Claire Foy recently won a Golden Globe for her performance and John Lithgow was nominated for one. The way that these two humanized Elizabeth and Winston was so amazing. The gloves came off and these two showed us a compelling and raw image of these people. I also loved the acting of Matt Smith as Prince Phillip and Vanessa Kirby as Princess Martgaret. 
  • Finally, and I could wax on, each of the ten episodes seemed to speak to the difficulties of making hard decisions even when they are made for 'royal' purposes. The series showed us dysfunction in families, in governments and in ourselves. Each of us feel that we know the 'royal' thing to do but in the end find ourselves questioning the nobility of those decisions.
I really liked the series and, on a scale of ten, give it ★★★★★★★★★★.

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

Martin, Billy and the Lord

I read a short but great article on the Billy Graham website about Billy Graham's relationship with Martin Luther King, Jr. On this day that we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King I thought that I might share a bit from that article.
Describing a 1957 meeting in New York City, Mr. Graham writes in his autobiography, "One night civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom I was pleased to count a friend, gave an eloquent opening prayer at the service; he also came at my invitation to one of our Team retreats during the Crusade to help us understand the racial situation in America more fully."
King credited Mr. Graham with having a significant part in reducing the tension between whites and blacks in the South. In 1965, Mr. Graham canceled a tour of Europe to preach a series of crusades in Alabama, praying that the Gospel would tear down walls of division between the races and seeing the importance of his work alongside King’s.

King later said, “Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend, Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the civil rights movement would not have been as successful as it has been.”

During the civil rights movement, Mr. Graham preached, “Jesus was not a white man; He was not a black man. He came from that part of the world that touches Africa and Asia and Europe. Christianity is not a white man’s religion and don’t let anybody ever tell you that it’s white or black. Christ belongs to all people; He belongs to the whole world.”

Mr. Graham was in Australia at the time of King’s death. He remembers the moment someone approached him with news of King’s assassination, which was followed by journalists seeking a quote: “I was almost in a state of shock. Not only was I losing a friend through a vicious and senseless killing, but America was losing a social leader and a prophet, and I felt his death would be one of the greatest tragedies in our history."
I suggest that you read the entire piece here. I am encouraged knowing that these two were friends. Both of them have exhibited in their lives such a love for God and for the people He loves. I admire them both.

...originally posted January, 2012.

Beware the Half Truth

Religious life seems to be filled with clichés that are almost true.
Here are a few with my short takes on them.
  • Everything Happens for a Reason:
    Some things do happen for a reason.
  • When God closes a door, God opens a window.
    Hopefully the window is on the first floor.
  • God Helps Those Who Help Themselves:
    God helps those who cannot help themselves.
  • Let go and let God.
    God usually does not do things he wants us to do.
  • What Would Jesus Do?
    Not the same as what does Jesus want me to do.
  • You can’t outgive God!
    But you can outgive things given to religious groups.
  • Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together.
    Coffee shops are great places to assemble for fellowship.
  • God Won't Give You More Than You Can Handle:
    Sometimes we need others to help us handle life.
  • God Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It:
    Simplistic readings of the scriptures are not helpful.
  • If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. 
    What if God did not bring you to it?
  • Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin:
    Love your neighbor. Hate your own sin.
  • You're never more safe than when you're in God's will.
    Sometimes being in God's will involves torture and persecution.
Did I miss any of your favorite clichés? Perhaps you can share one or two of them?

Are We Rowing or Rocking the Time Away?

Tough times never last, but tough people do. -Robert H. Schuller

Lost time is never found again. -Benjamin Franklin

If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of. -Bruce Lee

It takes a long time to become young. -Pablo Picasso

Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years. -Ausonius

The time is always right to do what is right. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. -Leo Tolstoy

Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else. -Peter Drucker

Know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time. -Jesus Christ

17 for '17

A few one liner targets for the new year.
Church: Embrace a new understanding of what it means to me.

Exercise: Stretch and Move every day.

Facebook: Comment less.

Faith: Find new ways to engage it.

Family: Stop worrying out about them.

Food: Enjoy what I eat. Continue to use small plates..

Friends: Be open to new friendships.

News: Try to disengage from the nightly news shows - local and national.

Politics: Continue to engage folks who think differently.

Prayer: Ask less for things and more to accept things.

Spiritual: Control less. Trust more.

Theology: See politics target.

Vacations: Take a few road trips.

Writing: Care less about how much I post on my blogs.
That is just 14. Room for you to suggest a few target areas for me. ツ