Trying Something New
I didn’t mean for it to happen. I thought I’d just check it out once. Take a quick look, strike it off my “Things I’ve Never Done” list, and walk away. I never thought I’d become one of them. I never planned on this becoming part of who I was.
About six months ago I became a Tokusatsu fan.
Sermon: What Is The Right Thing?
Sermon preached at St Luke’s Liverpool on Sunday 16th of December as part of our NTE mission.
Game Review – Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Where have the last four weeks of my life gone? I’m sure I’ve done stuff in that time. I’m sure I’ve gone to work, eaten food, spent time with friends. But it’s all been a blur. And I know why it feels that way. I can sum it up in now word. Skyrim. The latest game in the sword and sorcery series The Elder Scrolls. A massive game world where you get to fight dragons. Curse you Skyrim! You have consumed my life. And I’ve loved every minute of it.
Words I Don’t Really Understand: Holy
Have you ever sat in church or had a conversation with a Christian and wondered when they stopped speaking English? One second they’re speaking perfectly normal, then all of a sudden they start using strange words and you’re wondering if this is what Swahili sounds like. Just like any other group of people, Christians have their own lingo. Words and phrases that we use that are particular to us. And there’s usually nothing wrong with those words. But sometimes we forget to explain what they mean to the new guys. Or even worse, we use them ourselves without ever learning what they actually mean. Every now and again I stop myself and ask “What does this actually mean?”
I can’t hear the word “holy” without thinking about the old Batman TV show from the 60s. Each week, Batman and his youthful side-kick Robin would fight the colourful criminals of Gotham City. And each week Robin would exclaim some variation of his catch phrase – Holy Fate Worse Than Death – Holy Mechanical Marvel, Holy Diversionary Tactics. It just wouldn’t be Robin if he didn’t use the word “holy” so often you’d think he was getting a commission. But what does the word actually mean?
X-Men: First Class
Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, January Jones
There’s something about the 1960s which just strikes me as being sexy and cool. I remember as a kid being exposed to a lot of Get Smart, Rat Pack movies, the old school Batman TV show and of course Sean Connery as James Bond. The music, clothes, style and attitude will always be associated with a certain kind of cool. The Beatles were rocking the chart, London was the fashion capital of the world and JFK was in the White House. And in America, a small comic book company called Marvel Comics was beginning to make it’s mark. They already had hits with characters such as the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor and Spider-Man. And then came the X-Men.
The X-Men was a book truly ahead of it’s time. The X-Men was about a group of outcasts who were hated and ostracized just because they were born different. They stood up to protect a world that hated and feared them. This is what made them special. This is what made them unique. And the new movie X-Men: First Class takes us back to the beginning of the X-Men. Super powered mutant vs super powered mutant with a 1960s backdrop.
And the results are groovy.
Internet and Evangelism Part 1: The Internet is a Mission Field
I want you to picture the internet not as a place where you go to watch Youtube clips and play Farmville. I want you to picture the internet not as a place where you check the football scores, book airplane tickets or Google the answers to pub trivia questions. I want you to forget about how you use the internet as a tool in your day to day life.
Instead, I want you to think of the internet as a country. A country with billions of citizens who have their own culture, language, customs and currency. A country where people spend their waking hours interacting with each other, sometimes in strange and unusual ways. If you think of the internet as a country, the next logical step is to think of the internet as a mission field – a place where the opportunities to reach previously unreached people with the gospel of Jesus are rampant.
The internet is a mission field. And if you’re reading this, it’s a mission field that you already have access to. There are some countries in the world that won’t let you through the door because you want to tell people about Jesus. There are some countries you can’t get to because the expense of getting there and living there is beyond you. But the internet is a country where you already live. You know the culture and you know the language. So how are you going to approach your mission field?
Football and Adultery
If a football player appears in the news outside of the sports section, chances are it’s not because they’ve been behaving themselves. It seems there’s always one scandal or another rocking the football community, regardless of which code you follow. Players cheating with each others wives, engaging in group sex, accused of rape, having photos of them naked and/or molesting animals leaded on the internet, getting drunk and assaulting people in night clubs… really it’s not that hard to think of examples of footballers misbehaving.
Starring Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber
The premise of Salt alone is enough to sell tickets: A CIA agent is interviewing a Russian man who wants to defect to America. The Russian knows the identity of a Russian spy, planted in the CIA, who is going to kill the Russian Prime Minister. The spy’s name is Evelyn Salt. The CIA agent replies “But that’s my name.” “Then you must be a Russian spy.” Now that’s a great way to start a movie. Salt (played by Angelina Jolie) goes on the run. Is she trying to clear her name or is she really a Russian spy? Unfortunately, the movie never manages to equal or better these opening moments.
Starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan
Take a walk through the aisles of your local bookstore. When you get to the autobiography section, stop for a moment. There’s a lot of books there, right? Books written by rock stars, cricket players, movie stars, and politicians. People who have led amazing lives. Chances are the subject didn’t actually write the book, even though it has their name on the cover. Chances are a ghost writer did all the heavy lifting.
Now before you think I’m getting all spooky on you, I’m not talking about a literal ghost like Casper. I’m talking about an author who takes the words and the stories of the autobiography subject and makes them readable. And when they finish, they disappear into the background. They never get the credit. You never know who they are or how hard they worked to get the autobiography into your hands.
In Ghost Writer, Ewan McGregor’s character is hired to fix up the autobiography of the former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan). However, there’s a catch: McGregor is not the first man to take on the job. The previous ghost writer was found dead under suspicious circumstances. The former Prime Minster has secrets locked deep away and uncovering them may prove fatal.
At this point in time, I am not a parent. I don’t know first hand what it’s like to be a parent. But I do know lots of people who are parents. I’ve talked to them about their kids. I’ve shared meals with them where their kids would sit and eat with us. I’ve been there when times are good and when times are bad. The moments where the parent couldn’t possibly be prouder of their youngen. And times where the parent is literally pulling out their hair in frustrating and wondering about the process of adopting out their child. Parenting can be tough. But imagine how much tougher it would be if the child was a human/animal hybrid that you created in your lab and she was growing at an incredible rate.
I know some parents think that their children aren’t exactly human. In Splice, this is not an exaggeration but the situation a young couple find themselves after playing God with test tubes.
Thank God You’re Here
You’re standing in front of a blue door. In just a moment you will step through this door into an unknown situation. It could be anywhere from ancient Egypt to the local pub. Someone will say “Thank God You’re Here” and it will be up to you to keep up. You’ll need to stay alert and always have an answer ready. Are you ready to step through that door?
What makes a hero? Is it just enough to put on a costume and declare yourself to be one of the good guys? Or do you have to possess a certain moral fortitude? Watchmen is a work that asks that question. What is the difference between a costumed vigilante who fights crime and a one that commits crime? Where is the line between Batman and villainy? In Watchmen #8, our “heroes” have to make some tough decisions. And their actions will have consequences.
Alice Cooper: Gimme
It may surprise you that I’m a huge Alice Cooper fan. A fan of a 60 year old rocker wearing black leather and makeup with some Top 40 hits in the 70s and 80s who did a cover version of one of his own songs with British pop band The A-Teens. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like me at all. But strangely enough, I really enjoy his music as well as his presence as a performer. One of these days I hope I have enough money to justify seeing one of his concerts. If he’s still breathing… not that being dead would stop him I guess.
The thing that really gets me going about Alice, the thing that gets me excited, is that he is a Christian.