Posts

This is Us: Tears are not the point

Image
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

Image
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…

The Real Reason Racism is Wrong

Image
Racism has never not been a hot topic of discussion in our nation. Disputes over racial matters have resulted in:

1. A compromise that slaves should count as 3/5 of a person. This was written into our Constitution.

Really. I wish I were making this up.  
2. A civil war.
3. Decades of post-Civil War mistreatment of non-whites during Reconstruction, to include lynchings, voter suppression, and multiple forms of discrimination, most of which went unprosecuted. 
4. Supreme Court rulings, boycotts, sit-ins, Civil Rights marches, formation of various groups to promote the advancement of various races, as well as groups like the KKK.
5. Concerns, lawsuits, and protests about police treatment of nonwhites.
6. Expressions of varying opinions about confederate flags, statues of slave-owning presidents and schools named for former Civil War generals.
etc.
Some well-meaning Christians offer reasons to take a stand against racism, but do so with a man-centered approach. That is, we are told that …

It's all about the (R)

Image
For those who are not aware, I am very politically conservative. Small government, strong defense, pro-life, etc. I have also been very vocal that I do not think Donald Trump was a wise choice to be president. It's led to a lot of good conversations with my pro-Trump friends and those who are not. One very good friend, who I admire greatly and who has been an excellent example to me in many ways, is a Trump defender and asked me to read the text of Dr Robert Jeffress' inaugural address. Here is my email to my friend. 


I read the Robert Jeffress inaugural message you sent me at http://www.firstdallas.org/blog/when-god-chooses-a-leader-dr-jeffress-inauguration-day-message , and I have these thoughts. 

1. The Wall
Dr. Jeffress points point that God enabled Nehemiah to build a wall to protect His people from their enemies. Although many of Trump's critics have opposed the idea of a wall, I have not commented on this myself, because in truth, I am torn. I agree that it's the …

Evangelical Sacred Cows

Image
For the record, I am an evangelical Christian. I am a conservative, both politically and theologically. I fit most of the stereotypes most people associate with words like "evangelical" and "conservative".

Bible inerrancy? Check.

White male? Check.

Small government? Check.

Pro-life? Check.

Bothered by changes in what is considered acceptable, particularly in the area of sexual morals, in my country in recent years? Check.

So trust me when I tell you that the words which follow do not come from some left-leaning, Slate-reading, tree-hugger with an anti-Evangelical agenda. No, this criticism of modern evangelical culture comes from the inside.

With my insider status established, let's go forward:

We on the political and theological Right have a habit of conveying dissatisfaction over Political Correctness in academia, the press, and in our entertainment, with the main gripe being that PC is a way of preventing the expression of certain ideas. And if PC doesn'…

What not to ask an unemployed person

Image
[Note: the following explanation is not rooted in bitterness, and not an attempt to make anyone feel bad. It's simply an explanation of what happens when I get asked about my job search.] 
In November of 2015, the president of my company walked into my office. After 6 1/2 years, during which I was hired as a database administrator/programmer, promoted to manager, and then to Director, I was being let go. I didn't do anything wrong; the owner simply felt we had too many people in IT, and my position was eliminated. As I write this in March 2016, I'm in my 5th month of searching for work. 

The worst thing about being unemployed
The list of reasons that unemployment is undesirable is a long one. Surprisingly, "lack of revenue" isn't on top of the list.  No, the hardest part of my life as an unemployed person right now is having to deal with the all things said by concerned, well-intentioned people who see me regularly, particularly at church. 

Sundays are the harde…

In The Heart of the Dark Wood, by Billy Coffey: A Book Review

Image
"In the Heart of the Dark Wood", Billy Coffey's 5th book, is, like the others, set in the fictional town of Mattingly, Virginia, using many of the same characters as in the previous books. The new novel is not a sequel in the strictest sense, but certainly is built on the stories already told, particularly "When Mockingbirds Sing". That heartbreaking, yet hopeful story included a tragedy which caused tremendous damage (emotional as well as physical) to the entire community. 
In "Mockingbirds", we were introduced to Allie, a young girl whose mother was taken away by the tornado, her body never found. The new story focuses on Allie's search for her lost mother. Allie believes her mom is the focus of her search, but it becomes apparent that she's actually looking for closure, for healing, for her dad's freedom from addiction, and for the restoration of her faith. Along the way, Allie's friend Zach discovers, at the age of 12, that he is m…