Lincoln, a review — and a reflection on dead history and dull worship

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Lincoln’s core premise seems to be this: presentations of history should be slow and dull, like a Ken Burns documentary. I knew a handful of minutes in, a few lines of dialogue past the gratuitously brutal and out-of-place war scene, that I would not love this movie. What I did not expect was how uninteresting I would find it throughout. I love history. I revere Lincoln. But at 1:15, almost exactly the half way point, I was distracted by an email and put the screener copy on hold, got caught up in a few things and darned near forgot all about it.

Many have commented before on the odd coincidence of two blockbusters on the same subject, slavery, by two of modern filmmaking’s most beloved directors coming out at the same time: Spielberg’s Lincoln and Tarantino’s Django Unchained. I saw Django back in December. Last month, I also watched the PBS documentary series, The Abolitionists. I found The Abolitionists — all three+ hours — engaging, informative and moving . I found Django emotionally powerful, morally powerful and absolutely entertaining. Lincoln… is dull as drying paint. [Read more...]

Just give — my Lenten practice of giving to every beggar

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About five years ago, I got the idea to fast from judging whether or not beggars are worthy — instead of deciding if each is truly needy, a slacker or con artist, a good street musician or bad, I just give a dollar to anyone asking. It’s sort of a combination of fasting and almsgiving and it has broken my heart open — changed my attitude permanently towards those who beg. [Read more...]

Slow of speech and tongue — reflections on being an introvert and the book Quiet

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As an introvert, I am restored and recharged by time alone, and depleted, often in an acceptable way, by time with others. I will hold back if I have nothing to contribute, while an extrovert will push forward just to be in the mix. Susan Cain’s remarkable book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking looks at how introverts have been short-changed in the social politics of the industrial and information ages, but how their distinct qualities are needed in the society emerging in the 21st century. I look at her book and reflect on my own spiritual journey as an introvert. [Read more...]

Valentine’s Day is not for me — Is it for anyone?

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Valentine’s Day is for those courting, maybe. It’s probably not for people already in relationships. It’s definitely not National Friendship Day for friends, family, coworkers and random people you meet. And it’s not for me. At least not this year. Also, I take a look at the holiday’s religious roots embellished by the myth-weaving advocates of courtly love in the Middle Ages. [Read more...]

Mardi Gras, pancakes and a new tradition

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I consider turning a one-time thing into a new Mardi Gras tradition… [Read more...]

Can John Galliano — in recovery and contrite — be forgiven?

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Is there life for high fashion’s ultimate bad boy John Galliano after his anti-Semitic remarks were caught on video a few years ago? After two years of recovery and public statements of contrition, we’ll soon see. He’ll be at New York Fashion Week next month, with the help of old friends Oscar de la Renta and Vogue editor Anna Wintour. [Read more...]

Britain’s Leading Evangelical Steve Chalke Endorses Same-sex Unions and More [VIDEO]

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Britain’s most prominent evangelical, Steve Chalke, has publicly thrown himself and his entire megachurch organization behind same-sex unions, and acceptance of homosexuals generally, insisting his view is compatible with his evangelical faith and scripturally sound. Watch the video and read excerpts of his statement here. [Read more...]

My first 100 posts

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My Patheos blog is only five months old, so a “Best of 2012″ would be a bit much, but I’ve done exactly 100 posts, which is a good reason to pause a moment and look back. [Read more...]

Do Not Start Fresh for the New Year

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There is a New Year’s lie that, just like hanging a fresh calendar on the wall, we too can start over. Make a resolution. Decide that this year will be different. Somehow reset our lives and start fresh. Us 2.0. Thinking that deciding to change and changing are the same thing. The truth is that our less positive habits, like lily pads floating on a pond, are rooted deep down in the muck… [Read more...]

For Boxing Day — how about a caption contest for this great polar bear photo

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What’s your caption for this wonderful polar bear photo? [Read more...]


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