Could It Possibly Be True?

Filed in Personal

After Tuesday, I believed that my relationship with Anna was over, barring a miracle. At the same time, both of us are struggling with being apart:

Well the one thing i never thought would happen happend. Its over. And all ive done since he left my porch is cry. I dont let anyone see and i act ok, like nothin is wrong. But inside i feel dead. I want so bad to call him hear his voice. Just say i love you one more time. I miss his touch. His gental way. I cant eat. I dont sleep. I love him deeper than words can say but i cant have him. This hurts so horribly. I wish it never ended! All i can say now is "Jesus take the wheel. Take it from my hands. I cant do this on my own. Im letting go gimme one more chance save me from this road im on. Jesus take the wheel." *carrie underwood* i know ill get through this beacause with God all things are possible. But for now i hurt.

Well, I just might get my miracle after all. We're praying, and seeking God's direction. I still love her. I think I will always love her, no matter what happens. I want us to be together, but only if we are in God's will. And I'm willing to wait as long as it takes for both of us to be sure.

Please keep praying...

And So It Ends…

Filed in Personal

I only hope I honored God and her in the time we were together, and that I loved her as Christ loves her.

Cry Out To Jesus - Third Day

To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right

Chorus:
There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on
They’ve lost all of their faith in love
They've done all they can to make it right again
Still it's not enough

For the ones who can't break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back again
Just remember that you're not alone in your shame
And your suffering

Chorus:

When you're lonely
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus

To the widow who suffers from being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes
For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight

Chorus

I might be hiding some posts; I don't know how I'll be able to look into those eyes without crying...

Merry Christmas

Filed in Personal

The Good: Spending Christmas with my parents in MD. Web-cam video-conferencing with my sister and brother-in-law in NY, so we could watch my neices and nephew open their presents. Seeing my parents' faces light up when they opened their presents from me - especially the picture of Anna.

The Bad: Not getting to see my [censored] Anna at all on what I have always considered to be one of the most family-oriented days of the entire year. Having to censor that sentence. Not being able to explain why.

The Ugly: Travelling on Christmas Day. Being delayed over an hour in Louisville on a stop between BWI and St. Louis, sitting on the plane while the engine was undergoing maintenance.

Fun With RSS

Filed in Web DevelopmentTags: Computers, Geekery, Internet

Just came across Local Weather RSS Feeds. Nifty.

Oh, I use Omea Reader. Lots of choices for RSS aggregators out there, but I like this one.

Why I Am The Happiest Man Alive

Filed in Personal

One, because this woman loves me:
Anna Smiling

Second, because I have both of these beautiful women in my life:
Anna Holding Abbi

Need I say more?

Isn’t She Beautiful?

Filed in Personal

She takes after her mother.

Pro-Life = “Culture of Death”?

Filed in Science, Social IssuesTags: Clone The Truth, Cloning, Sanctity of Life, Stem Cells

Methinks this emailer mis-directed her email-based disdain:

The culture of death is you. You have no regard for the lives of living, suffering people. A cell is not a person, but I and millions of others are and our blood is on your hands.

You are cruel, callous, and very evil. Your God will not judge you kindly.

Ovarian cancer survivor, Parkinson's Disease prisoner for 10 years

For reference, this email was sent to ProLifeBlogs.com, whose stated objective is as follows:

The objective of this site is to raise awareness and support for the pre-born and the sanctity of human life by communicating pro-life news and materials and by enabling a community of pro-life bloggers to promote their sites, interact with one another and influence internet readers.

Now, I'm quite sure our vitriolic emailer simply misdirected her missive, having intended to send it instead to Senate Democrats who tried to block a cord blood measure passed overwhelmingly by the house. I'm sure our emailer has not been taken in by the hype surrounding the completely unproven embryonic stem cell research, versus the already proven adult stem cell therapies.

But, in case I'm wrong, how about we give our misguided emailer a reality check, shall we?

Aslan Is On The Move

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Movies, Pop Culture

Christians love it; liberals hate it

Last week's release of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (LWW) has created quite the media buzz, and quite a blogstorm. Blog coverage began long before the movie's release, and reached a crescendo just before release. And even before its release, the vitriol was evident, as RedState.org pointed out (more on the vitriol later). Several bloggers have weighed in, and collected the thoughts of those that did:

Much great discussion among the God-Bloggers about the movie:

I think nothing sums up the difference of viewpoint than the following:
This oft-quoted section of John Mark Reynold's review:

If you think the wolves in the wood should never be fought, then you will hate this film. If you think evil does not exist, you will be uncomfortable. If you believe forgiveness is cheap and bad behavior has no cost, then this film will make you furious. But if you are like most of us, then this film will make you shout for joy.

Tonight for the first time in a long time I watched a film that made my heart ache with the beauty of the scenes, made me cry, stirred my passions, and made me think. (All those neo-Platonisms! Surrounded as I was by Torrey students all of whom have read the Timaeus, we were the only audience in the world to burst into applause when Aslan asked, "Where is the fourth?")

Compared to this oft-quoted passage from Polly Toynbee's column (itself deserving of a good fisking):

Of all the elements of Christianity, the most repugnant is the notion of the Christ who took our sins upon himself and sacrificed his body in agony to save our souls. Did we ask him to?

If you look deep enough, contained in these two divergent viewpoints is the entirety of the source of the excitement and agitation generated by Chronicles.

REVIEW: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

Filed in ReviewsTags: Movies

Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe Movie Poster
Put me in the camp of those who have been fans of The Chronicles of Narnia since childhood, in which time I have read the series several times. Even reading the books as an elementary schooler, I couldn't miss the obvious allegorical thread of Christianity running throughout. As I grew older, I was amazed that such a brilliant writer of this children's book series also penned much weightier Christian classics as Mere Christianity. When I first heard that Narnia would make its way to the silver screen, I was esctatic. Several fan sites followed the filming and production. Once I heard that the film adaptation would stay true to the book, I was even more excited. So off I went to see the film, an adult fan of the works and personhood of C.S. Lewis, yet with the memory of the fantastic journey the Chronicles were as a child.

A side note here: as is well-known, C.S. Lewis was a contemporary and friend of an author of another recently adapted book, The Lord of the Rings: J.R.R. Tolkien. The two men shared their faith as well as their ability to write amazing works of fictional fantasy; however, Lewis' works of fantasy were written with children as the clearly intended audience. Tolkien's was not. Reading Chronicles as an adult, I still enjoy every bit of the fantastic journey, allegory, and imagery; but the series lacks the plot development and character development of adult literature. Anyone expecting the Chronicles books to read with the literary depth and intelligence of Rings is likely to be disappointed; the same is true with the film adaptations of each. Do not expect to find Rings in the Chronicles, and you won't be disappointed when it does not deliver.

The movie begins with a CG opening of WWII-era German airstrikes over London, and Mrs. Pevensie sending the children off to live with Professor Kirke in the English countryside. The opening does a fine job of setting the period and emotion of the story. When originally written, the war themes of the book would have resonated even with children, who lived through the realities of World War II. We are reminded that this story is intended for children, when the war-time emotions are repeated throughout the movie - usually in the form of Peter or Susan reiterating, "mother sent us away to avoid war", "we didn't come to fight in a war", or some similar variant. As an adult, the reiteration seemed to be overkill; I would be curious to discuss the issue with a younger viewer, to ascertain whether or not the war-time emotion theme resonated.

The Lord of the Rings was not the only book-to-movie adaptation of which I was reminded when watching The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (LWW). The train station scene in which Mrs. Pevensie sends off the four children, and the train rolling through the countryside, reminded me of similar opening scenes in the Harry Potter movies. I'm faily certain that the similarities were unintended and completely coincidental, however.

The next scene finds the four children arriving at the Professor's house, and the story takes off from there. I was impressed with how closely the movie followed the book from this point forward. A few things were changed, but nothing terribly detrimental to the telling or underlying intent of the book. For instance, in the book, Lucy first encounters the wardrobe when the siblings are exploring the house to pass the time during a rainy day. The other three leave the spare room while Lucy enters the wardrobe. After her hours of adventure, she emerges from the wardrobe, shouting, "It's okay; I'm back!" only to find the other three outside the door, having just left the room. Lucy encounters Narnia a second time while playing hide-and-seek, and it is during this encounter that Edmund follows her into the wardrobe. However, in the movie, Lucy's first encounter with the wardrobe, and with Narnia, is during a game of hide-and-seek. and she emerges from the wardrobe, shouting, "It's okay; I'm back!" only to find the game right where she left it. Lucy enters Narnia a second time through the wardrobe late at night, while everyone else is asleep; Edmund sees her going upstairs as he is leaving the bathroom, and follows her. I'm not sure why the writers made this change, but it didn't appear to detract from the story.

The only other scene I wish the movie has held more closely to the book was the conversation between the children and the beavers in the Beaver's Dam. Their discussion of Aslan is one of the most compelling in the entire book. The movie maintained the plot points, but lost some of the awe. The exchange in which Mr. Beaver reveals that Aslan is a lion, and the children ask, "Is he safe?" and the Beaver replies, "Safe? Of course he's not safe... but he's good" still sends chills down my spine when I read it. The "no, but he's good" line is maintained at the end of the story in an exchange between Lucy and Mr. Tumnus, but doesn't have quite the same effect.

Otherwise, the movie stays very close with the book. As the plot progresses, one cannot help but be impressed with how visually stunning this movie is. The fantastic CGI blends in well with the live action; the scenery is grandiose; and most importantly, Aslan is every bit as awesome as any Chronicles fan would expect. The "reveal" scene at the Stone Table is perhaps one of the best secenes in the movie.

Refreshingly, the obvious Christian allegory in the book is maintained in the movie. From the "Lord, Liar, Lunatic" conversation in the Professor's study, to Aslan's recognition of the "deep magic" that "defines right from wrong and governs all our destinies", the Christian themes remain integral to the story. In fact, whether inadvertently, or as a blatant pander to the largely Christian audience (or somewhere in between), the script even adds the line, "It is finished," spoken by Aslan to Peter at the end of the Last Battle, right after he kills the White Witch. The one point that stood out to me as having missed the intended tone occurs in the scene in which the White Witch comes to Aslan demanding Edmund's traitor blood, and then renounces her claim after her conversation with Aslan. The White Witch asks Aslan, "How can I be sure the promise will be kept?" to which Aslan responds with a ferocious and righteously indignant roar. The crowd laughs when the Queen stumbles in fright at this roar. Aslan's reaction here represents the same righteous anger of Christ should one dare question the integrity of His Word. I liken it to Christ's cleansing of the temple, or the reverent fear each of us will experience at the foot of the Judgement Seat of Christ. In my opinion, a more appropriate response to such a situation would not have been laughter, but reverent fear and awe at the demonstration of raw power and righteous indignation of the King of Kings. Aside from this one disagreement, the movie does a wonderful job of preserving the allegorical thread and Christian undertones of the story.

Most pleasantly surprising, the acting in the film is top-notch. Ten-year-old Georgia Henley is absolutely fantastic in her major-film debut as Lucy Pevensie. In fact, Henley most completely fleshes out her character of any of the four siblings, and superbly portrays the subtleties and spiritual undertones of her character. In the book, Aslan and Lucy have a special relationship; Henley's acting demonstrates the nature and reasons for that relationship. Tilda Swinton (community leader Sal in The Beach, among several roles) embodies the cold and imposing character of the White Witch. Skandar Keynes, also in his movie-debut performance, ably portrays Edmund Pevensie's initial character flaws, as well as his changed, contrite nature.

Overall, I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of the Chronicles series, or anyone interested in a very well-done children's movie. (And while the battle scenes are marginally graphic, Disney stays true to its intended audience; no killing is portrayed, including Aslan's death scene. Even Peter's sword - used to kill Maugrim, and again in the battle, remains gleaming and unbloodied.) As well-produced as this installment was, I cannot wait to see what Disney has in store for the rest of the series.

Five Months Today

Filed in Personal

Anna and I have been together five months today!

This beautiful little one was two months old yesterday:
Abbi with candy cane
The three of us went to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (review forthcoming) last night - her first movie! It is inexplicable the way I cherish these "family" moments. I pray that, even once we are a family, I will never take them for granted.

I am truly blessed!