Chris and the Dragon

Random thoughts, findings, & loose threads on faith, culture, & parenthood

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Aronofsky’s Arky Arky

Aronofksy wanted to make a film of Noah, Noah
Aronofsky wanted to make a film of Noah, Noah
Who should play him? Russell Crowe-uh, Crowe-uh!
Children of the Lord

We got Maximus and Hopkins, the girl from Beautiful Mind-y, Mind-y
Maximus and Hopkins, the girl from Beautiful Mind-y, Mind-y
And playing an in-law? Young Hermione, mione
Children of the Lord

The movie, it includes those crazy Nephilim-y, lim-y
The movie, it includes those crazy Nephilim-y, lim-y
Lookin’ like monsters from Lord o’ the Rings-y, Rings-y
Children of the Lord

Some liberties were taken and some folks are antsy, antsy
Some liberties were taken and some folks are antsy, ansty
Facebook, Twitter are all ranty, ranty
Children of the Lord

So Noah the movie is causing trepidation, dation
Noah the movie is causing trepidation, dation
Bible movies always have interpretation, tation
Children of the Lord

So see Noah, or do not. There’s no need to panic, panic
See Noah, or do not. There’s no need to panic, panic
But freaking out makes us all look manic, manic
Children of the Lord

So this is the end of, the end of my ditty, ditty
This is the end of, the end of my ditty, ditty
I’ll see Noah if someone would watch my kiddies, kiddies
Children of the Lord

Filed under Noah Darren Aronofksy Russell Crowe movies faith

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Rebuilding From the Inside

Yesterday afternoon, our oldest son asked me a question. Laying on the floor and putting his small hands over his chest, he said, “Daddy, why does Jesus live in our heart? What does he do in there?” Good question.

I can only imagine what that looks like in his preschool mind; plus I wonder what continuity exists for him between baby Jesus, grown up Jesus, and in-heart Jesus. I tried my best to explain how when someone says Jesus is in their heart it means that he is always with that person. He then said a girl in his class pretended to be a monster on the playground.

Obviously, a tiny Jesus is not literally inside one’s heart. It’s a metaphor grasping at something bigger and a bit more mysterious. In fact, using the heart in that way is a bit of a metaphor itself. Yet there is still something profound in that question. What does Jesus do in our hearts?

I don’t want to ditch my son’s imagination quite yet because I think it can help give a different perspective to this question. But first let me take a little detour and borrow an image from one of my favorite Superman stories to explain.

One of the best Superman stories of all time is All-Star Superman, a twelve issue series that tells the story of the Man of Steel’s final days. The story ends (spoiler alert for a comic that is six years old) with the sun dying thus putting all life on Earth in peril. Being irradiated with solar energy, Superman’s final act is to fly into the sun to save it and billions of people. The final image of this hero is of him building machinery in the sun’s core so that the sun can live again. I know it sounds all kinds of comic book goofy, but trust me, it is a phenomenal story.

That image is what I imagine when I think about Jesus being in one’s heart. Our hearts are dying and badly in need of repair. So when one comes to belief in Christ, Jesus stops our heart from dying and then begins the process of building the machinery that gets our heart running properly; running in a way that brings life to those around us. Yet we still have agency in this matter. Though Jesus is in a person, she or he can still exhibit the behaviors of a dying heart. One can still choose to mess up.

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Filed under faith world vision parenting Superman Jesus

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Keep Your Hope About You

I have been dealing with anxiety a lot during this season of my life. It is not constant, but regular enough that I’ll admit to it. I am not totally sure what to do with it; it’s an unfamiliar feeling for me. I don’t rattle easily. I am fairly even-keeled. Yet things have found ways to get to me recently: small things, less small things, cultural things. The fact of the matter is anxiety can suffocate hope. And I need hope. It is something that pulls me forward.

When I got home from school tonight, the house was quiet. So I poured a bowl of cereal, sat on my couch, and took a deep breath. Then I remembered this verse:

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope

Lamentations is a bleak book of scripture, yet that verse is a pivot. It is the storm momentarily quieting down, it’s a crack of light in a dark room. My apprehension is nowhere near the level of heartache that the prophet experiences in Lamentations. Yet that verse called out to me as I sat in my living room tonight.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in Him."

Lamentations 3:21-24

I forget that reality sometimes. I shouldn’t, but I do. The love of God cannot be stopped. God’s mercy does not end nor does it take the day off. God is faithful.

So this I will try to remember and therefore have hope.

Filed under faith

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To Liam on His 1st Birthday

image

Liam,
I had a really surreal moment the night before you were born. Your mom, brother, and I had moved out of our old house and we were staying with your Grandma and Granddad. We knew you were coming the next day. So I went to bed that night in the bedroom in which I grew up, your mom beside me, and knowing that you were on your way. It was weird and it was kind of a full-circle moment. I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I just knew it would be wonderful.

And you are wonderful. I look at that picture on the left and can scarcely believe that it was one year ago that came into our world. Even though you have only been with us for twelve months and you’re our second child, it feels like you have been here from the start; a piece that we did not know was needed until you showed up.

You have an incredible older brother. I was never technically worried about whether you would measure up; I knew we would love you and be proud of you regardless. Yet there is that thought that lingers in your mind of whether you would be able to carve out your own niche. I didn’t even know if a baby could actually carve out a niche. Really it was a ridiculous thought, because every person is unique.

So it has been cool to watch you be you. You would not think that an infant that cannot talk and is just now taking his first steps would have much in the way of personality. But you are so beautifully and uniquely Liam; because of that reality, it has been a blast to watch you this last year.

You are not just a bundle of joy but a mountain of joy. When you started crawling, your Granddavid began calling you Bulldog. The description fits perfectly: your chubby cheeks puffing out as you breathe going through the room, the determined toughness in which you do not let any obstacle—even your big brother—get in the way.

You seem to always be smiling, always expressing awe at everything that you see. And that’s happy curiosity that you bear is contagious. Strangers get it when they catch your grin in restaurants. People’s voices get higher and more excited when they see you. Your brother sometimes talks in absolute gibberish which delights you no end. You are a bearer of joy and I hope that as you grow older you realize that you bring so much happiness to those that love you.

There is so much more about which I could write. Your lone two teeth on the bottom of your mouth. Your delighted squeal when you’re tickled. The way that you and I cackle at each other maniacally when I feed you. The way your whole body bounces with excitement when your mom comes homes from school. The way that you reach out to be held by your many loved ones. I could go on and on.

You are just awesome and your mom and I are so grateful for you. So as you enter into your second year here, this is my simple prayer for you. I pray that you know that you are loved—by God, by your mom, brother, and I, plus so many other people—more than you could ever imagine. I pray that curiosity will not be extinguished. And I pray that you will always be full of joy that overflows to those around you.

Happy Birthday Liam. I am so glad that you’re here.

Love,
Your Dad

P.S. If you ever actually come across this, you’ll probably have questions about the mascot bracket that proceeded this. Long story short: your dad is a nerd. But we’ll get through that together.

Filed under parenting

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2014 NCAA Tournament Mascot MadnessFilling out the tournament bracket based solely on the question of “Which team’s mascot would win in a one-on-one fight?”

2014 NCAA Tournament Mascot Madness
Filling out the tournament bracket based solely on the question of “Which team’s mascot would win in a one-on-one fight?”

Filed under NCAA Tournament

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A hallmark of a healthy creative culture is that its people feel free to share ideas, opinions, and criticisms.
Ed Catmull, President of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation

Filed under Pixar creativity

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Mirrors and Smoke

There’s part of me that wonders what happened in Oz after the Wizard was revealed to not be so great and powerful. Were they incredibly disillusioned? Did some just reject reality and hold on to the fantastical image that the middle aged man presented? I mean this was a guy that inspired people to burst out in song because of the wonderful things he did. To find out he was a fraud had to be crushing.

The situations are not quite as dramatic, but the last couple of weeks have been marked by reports that two hugely influential megachurches have been pulling levers to present a not-totally truthful image.

First there was a news story about a document on Elevation Church’s website about how to conduct mass “spontaneous baptisms.” This included planting 15 people to come forward when the invitation was extended and having them walk through the most visible places. This and other parts of the report are troubling for a variety of reasons that many other have covered.

Then yesterday there was the report that Mars Hill Church in Seattle paid a firm over $200,000 to get pastor Mark Driscoll’s book on the New York Times Bestseller List. This is not just a marketing firm, but the organization also buys thousands and thousands of books in select locations. While not illegal, the practice is frowned upon by the companies that publish bestseller lists.

Both of these Oz-ian methods were successful. Elevation’s spontaneous baptisms are known for their tidal wave of converts. Driscoll’s book spent a week on the New York Times Bestseller List which means “New York Times Bestselling Author” can proceed his name for whatever books he writes henceforth (or until print dies).

But the fact of the matter is both of these scenarios involve some sleight of hand, some misdirection. The fifteen people at the spontaneous baptisms are not responding to a decision to change their life by following Jesus. They’re part of a show to get things rolling. Driscoll may not have actually sold enough to get on a bestseller’s list. They just dropped two hundred grand on a company that has figured out how to work the system. Let’s be direct here: this is deception.

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Filed under faith

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Phoenix

I am finite

I am sinful

I am frail

I am fallen

"Remember you are dust

And to dust that you will return”

"The Kingdom of God is near

Repent and believe the good news”

Sobering reminders

Going back to square one

Dying, preparing, making room

To remember Christ: alive, dead, and again alive

I am finite

I am sinful

Yet because of that resurrected God-man

Out of the ash comes life

Filed under Lent Ash Wednesday

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The Dirt Volcano & the Three Year Old Sage

Jim and I were in the back corner of the yard playing this afternoon. One tree was his house. The tree next to it was his Uncle Matt’s house, but I was the new owner since Matt returned home to Nashville. Jim and I went fishing with sticks, went to a school located at another tree, and “ate” cereal that were actually leaves from the magnolia tree. Give a three and a half year old a backyard and the possibilities are endless.

I was there with Jim, but I wasn’t quite there. I interacted with my son but I was internally stewing. That morning I led a session of worship education with the kindergartners through third graders at our church. The lesson was about Lent. Never mind that the 40 day period which we are about to enter is a tough one to teach adults, I had talked myself into the fact that this lesson needed to be awesome.

Awesome it was not. It wasn’t bad. It just was. When you teach children, you need to be ready to make adjustments so I had to call a few audibles. Things did not go entirely to plan. Yet all things considered, the session probably went pretty well. Still, I could not stop overanalyzing the thing. This is what I do. It’s not healthy. I just get lost in my own head and…

"Daddy, let’s make a fountain."

Jim started to dig in the dirt. So I sat down on the ground beside him and watched him for a second as he scooped it into a mound. Thinking he was confused, I asked, “Are we making a mountain, buddy?”

"Nope, a fountain. A volcano."

I nodded; mainly to myself. Fountains and volcanoes actually are the same type of thing. I scooped up some soil and let it sift through my fingers onto our fountain. We sat there under the magnolia digging through the earth, finding snail shells, and chatting.

Scoop up dirt. Pour the dirt on the pile. Repeat. For about a hour. You would think that it would drive a person crazy. But in fact it was just the opposite. It was calming. My mind was not longer trying to go back and change things.

Jim stopped and admired the volcano.

"We’ve made a really big volcano. Didn’t we, buddy?"

"Uh-huh," he said with a smile.

Then he started kicking the whole thing over.

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