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Both Things Can't Be True--Or Can They?

Choose one:
Is Donald Trump terribly unqualified for the office of President,
or
Is much of the mainstream press, including CNN, the Washington Post, and New York Times unfairly biased against him?

Of course,  third possibility could be entertained:

Both are true.

In fact, it might be fun to list a few other pairs of possible truths:

It's possible that one can be compassionate toward the poor
and not agree with your list of solutions for how to help the poor.
Both are possible.

Our nation has come a long way when it comes to racism
and
We still have a lot more to do.
Both things are true, and both truths should be acknowledged by all interested parties.

The political party that you belong to is made up of people who love their country and want to make it a better place,
and
The political party that you do not belong to is made up of people who love their country and want to make it a better place. 

Recent posts

Lost in Space: Say it Isn't So

In a couple of days, we'll be treated to the new Netflix reboot of the late-60's TV series "Lost in Space". I grew up watching this show in reruns. I found it enjoyable, and took it somewhat seriously, because I was a kid.

However, the older I got, and the more I realized how ridiculous it was, I did the unexpected: I embraced the silliness. The greatest thing about the original Lost in Space was (pick one):



-over-the-top acting
-bad dialogue
-low-budget sets
-six-foot-tall carrots with human faces
-pointy-ear monkeys
-an inexplicable bus-vehicle thing that couldn't possibly have fit in the Jupiter 2.
-The Robot. That glorious robot.


This new series apparently has removed all of that.


It's cheapness was its greatest asset. Whoever decided to make this new Lost in Space series has completely missed the point. I hate to be a contrarian, but this trailer tells me this is something I don't want to see.

About Those Super Bowl Commercials

The number of viewers who say they watch the Super Bowl as much for the commercials as for the game has grown large enough that we can classify "I watch mainly for the ads" as a cliche.  Personally, I use the event as an excuse to invite friends over so we can eat unhealthy foods, catch up on life, and play some ping-pong.  But I do pay attention to the commercials. 

Like most, I like Super Bowl commercials because they tend to be funny, innovative, or entertaining.  But when it comes to the crop of ads for Super Bowl LII (for reference, they're all here, in order), we were bombarded with something else: preaching.

Don't get me wrong: as a Christian who spends every Sunday morning at church, I know that preaching has value. I voluntarily go to a building on a weekly basis to be preached to, and I'm better off for it.  But when I watch Super Bowl ads, I want to be dazzled, or to laugh.  I have no interest in being guilt-tripped, inspired, or lectured. It's ju…

A powerful, seldom-used weapon in our arsenal

Our church's current sermon series is designed to steer members towards those practices which will help us focus on devotion to God. The topic of the most recent sermon is fasting, a rarely-discussed  practice for many American Christians.

For the first 40 years of my life, I regarded fasting as strange, practiced only by people we read about from thousands of years ago but not in the 21st century. It was something you'd read that people did back then, like churning butter, or taking sacrifices to the temple.  But around a decade ago, I heard a teacher make a point that stuck with me:

In Matthew 6:16, Jesus says "when you fast."

Not "if you fast."

Trust me; I checked all the translations. They all say "when", not "if". And because this verse is part of a teaching which includes currently-accepted verses such as the Lord's prayer, the importance of giving to the poor, and not serving two masters, we can't chalk up His words about…

Pushing Reset

I had been looking forward to 2016.  My oldest kids were turning 15 then, and I had been anticipating that this was to be the first presidential election that they would be likely to follow through the party-specific campaigns as well as the general election. But what they witnessed, particularly during the debates, was a train wreck. Yes, Donald Trump was embarrassing, but he wasn't the only one. Other candidates, as well as party leaders and even pundits, expressed their views in the worst possible ways. It was as if Jerry Springer took over. It seemed everyone who had anything to say said it as loudly and divisively as possible. And as I write this a year after the election, issue-driven conversations between office-holders as well as between regular people have only gotten worse.

Since the late 80's, when I first became politically aware, discussions about politics have devolved; this is not news to anyone. But the discussions of why the current state of political discour…

This is Us: Tears are not the point

Like many Americans, I was a fan of NBC's "This is Us" from the beginning, and I'm one of millions who are looking forward to the onset of the new season tonight.

Why do I like this show? Well, I'm not normally a fan of trying to explain why I like something. Ask me why I like mustard and not mayonnaise, or why I like strawberries but not peaches, and I'm going to give you a blank stare.  There is no verbal explanation why I like something. I just do.


That said, I find it easy to name the many reasons why this show resonates with me. Sadly, NBC people responsible for marketing this show have missed all my reasons, and are putting a lot of undue focus on one thing: the show will make you cry. See here. And then there's this. Good grief.

I have to say: the "grab a box of Kleenex" stuff is a bit of a turnoff.

I'm not interested in watching a show because the marketers have convinced me that the scriptwriters can successfully manipulate me into…

Book Review: The Day the Angels Fell

A few years ago, I encountered Shawn Smucker's writing via the late, great Burnside Writers Collective website. In addition to Burnside, his work has been featured as part of several different projects, but "The Day the Angels Fell" is his first novel. It tells the story of 12-year-old friends Sam and Abra, who react to Sam's mother's tragic death by embarking on a quest to bring her back to life by any means necessary. Unbelievably, the means to do so present themselves in short order, and the quest is on. These two friends make deals with angels, figure out a mystery or two, and fight heroically, all while battling grief and fear, and coming to some hard but necessary conclusions about the important role that death plays in our world.

This book contains all the elements I love in a work of fiction:
(1) an original story that not only holds my interest but grips me;
(2) multiple distinct characters with understandable and realistic motivations;
(3) just enou…