New Beginnings

Alright this is the welcome message that many of the imaginary people checking out this blog will read and chuckle at. Here is the way this will work.

I want to use this blog to post:

1) Random thoughts I have throughout my daily life

2) Post up things that I want to possibly remember for future reference

3) Amazing news stories

4) New dealings of society that I find interesting

5) Reviews of Movies, Music, Video Games, Concerts, Seminars, Classes that I take, or anything else that comes to mind

5) Scriptures and spiritual truths that I feel need to written somewhere

6) Also rando (yes that is a new word that was made up by myself and a friend) tidbits that stand out to me as being of some semblance of importance or at least interest to the general public.

In conclusion, the general public may end up only consisting of me, myself, and I, but that is not the point of a blog, but rather for normal everyday people to write about their seemingly normal lives hoping that someone will read their ramblings.

Speaking of ramblings, that is exactly what I am doing so I shall stop talking for now until something of importance pops up.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Emotional Moment

I am a terribly unemotional person. It's not that I don't have emotions, but rather I choose not to show them. So that said, this post is about the power of a good story.
I have read many books, watched many many movies and TV shows, and have played a ton of video games. Most of these are story driven narratives and if they aren't there is a problem. Video games being the exception in the sense that you don't necessarily have to have a story in order to have a playable game, just look at how many people play Temple Run, Angry Birds, Candy Crush, and Farmville. But that said, I don't like games with no story. If a game doesn't have a story, I play it for a short time then get bored and move on. (Note I played Minecraft for a grand total of two hours and then got too bored). The rule carries for books and movies as well. I can read a book with no story if it is a book I knew going in wasn't going to be a story, such as a self help or instructional book or as in the case of a religious book about beliefs. Movies are normally a story only unless a documentary which I can watch but if given the choice, I will find a story based movie.
Now all that said, it has to be a good story that draws the audience in. I can sit through most stories that may have terrible narrative or story line or plot but if it gets too unbelievable I put it down and don't pick it up ever again. But apart from the media that is just beyond a doubt awful, most will still hold my attention. I like to see how the story ends, even if a bad story. But most stories even though good, will draw the response from me of, "Meh that was good. Moving on with my life as if nothing happened."
The problem being that most stories don't do anything. They don't invoke a reaction that sticks with you. Think back to one of the most memorable books, movies, or video games you have viewed. Now think about what impressed you. You probably may have several answers such as characters, plot, narrative, action or adventure, but it all comes down to how those elements emotionally touched you. It may not be a strong emotion such as wailing tears and sobbing depression but it could be a sad feeling or a joyous feeling when you see the end of the characters' stories. Now this is the point to speak of.
Humans are emotional beings, despite how much some of us may deny it (myself). We are driven by emotions whether we know it or not. Anger can produce a response while sorrow might produce a nonresponse or inaction. These emotions have started wars, caused romance, and even forced advancement in society such as a bitter conflict pushing for ingenuity in invention. But emotions also can be caused by hearing about things. We hear about the lonely girl who was taken by sex traffickers, the little boy starving in some third world country, and even the abandoned dog on the street. We all respond to these emotionally because in part of how they are presented to us. Media has the power to warp the human emotions to a response. It could be a passing emotion that comes and by lunch is forgotten or it could be a strong emotion that takes over and controls your very actions to the point of going out from there and doing something, such as working to fix the three situations presented. Either way presentation is a huge part of that.
Now this isn't a social justice post even though that is important. This is an emotional driven narrative in media post. Media has a lot of power over us when it comes to emotions. And in that light we can all think of stories in movies, books, and video games that have struck us in the emotions. A character we became so attached to that when they die we are saddened or angry. A finale to a story where the characters don't live happily ever after drives a hurt into our hearts as we watch the worlds fall apart around these people.
So all this said, emotions are important to story. If you as a entertainment writer can drive out certain emotions in your audience, you're accomplishing something beyond just a good paycheck. You are producing investment. People become invested in something they emotionally are touched by. So whether that is a story in a movie, TV show, book, video game or the message of a social justice article, clip, or magazine the end result is investment in the emotions.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Comfortable with Fan Base

I know, it's been a long time. And this first post back won't be very big so hang on and settle in. Over the past few weeks with new video game consoles coming out and big games being dropped into the mix from Assassins Creed 4 to Zelda: A Link Between Worlds to Bungie's Destiny. But a noticeable comfort-ability has developed with some new modern games coming out. What do I mean? I mean how they are advertised.
Take a look on Youtube at some of the original trailers for games such as Uncharted: Drakes Fortune and Halo: Combat Evolved. They are detailed, show inside info on the game, and get you interested in playing. Now look up the new trailer for Halo 5. All that is there is Master Chief looking sad and alone then turning all BA (Bad Apple) on everyone and getting ready to kill whatever enemy comes his way. Reality of the trailer is that the only thing there is Chief. Microsoft could have simply put a camera panning past Master Chief standing on a cliff looking at enemies and Halo would have been promoted so well that everyone would buy it. You see the problem? It's not the fact that these are technically teasers, but more the fact that they are extremely vague and don't really tell us anything about the game.
The new Uncharted trailer shows a map appearing as a dark, mysterious voice talks of revenge. It really only shows Madagascar. We can make a thousand guesses but we literally know next to nothing about the new Uncharted game other than it's Uncharted so we must play it no matter the quality of the game or whether the plot actually is interesting...
The worst offender for this is in fact Star Wars Battlefront 3. Yes, I realize they are making the game now and put the teaser out before the game was being made. Yes, I realize that the point of a teaser is to only give you a little snippet of what's to come and to get you excited that the game is happening and not really show you anything about the game...But. All the teaser shows is Hoth, a snow speeder crashes, and a AT-AT leg. If it's not for the title telling us it's Battlefront, we could assume it was Generic Star Wars game 1138. (And only two of you will catch that before Googling it). So Star Wars Battlefront is coming and we know nothing about it. Awesome!
Now, what is my point? Here it is, sweet simple: It doesn't matter. I know I just went on a rant about teasers for games that don't tell us anything about the game...which is what a teaser is supposed to do... I get that and realize the most important fact here: No matter how little the teaser shows, most of us will play the game purely on fan base support. The developers do this on purpose knowing that their other games have met huge success so who wouldn't want to play one of their games. "Look your favorite character is back and looking really awesome! Come play! And even if the game is awful, you will still stand in line at midnight to play it." And yes, in case you're wondering, I do plan to play all three of the games I mentioned...well all six if you include the three up at the top.
So regardless of trailer/teaser/guy dressed in costume jumping up and down on stage screaming to play his game, most of us will play these games because we are fans and that's what we do. Now to go get caught up on The Walking Dead.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

To Pre-Order Or Not To Pre-Order

I know it's been a while but hey life is busy and I had alot to do lately. This is a random post I was thinking about recently and figured hey I'll try blogging again.
In the past this has been a common problem for me and for many like me, especially right after E3 and all the games are announced and shown off. It's the to pre-order or not to pre-order question. Now this may seem simple enough; if you want the game just pre-order it already. But there is so much more to this question. With many games, timing is everything. Last year I pre-ordered the new Assassins Creed 3 game and was not disappointed by what I got. But there was a problem. The game came out in October and about a month and a half later, Black Friday hit us and the game was only $30. I paid $60 full price plus another $25 for a season pass to get all the extra content as it came out. Now not saying the game wasn't worth that because it was, but it was rather frustrating to see this drastic of a price drop mere weeks after I got it. Now this is only one problem. Pre-order now at full price, wait for a holiday special price drop, or wait for the normal inevitable price drop of all games as time goes on. If you are only partially interested in a game you can wait for a deal. But if this is a game you have followed whole heartedly it's not so simple.
Then the other problem. Stores right now are bringing out extra content if you pre-order the game from them. Gamestop is known and renown for this but other stores are catching on. The next installment in the Assassin Creed series has a different pre-order option for every store it's sold at, so now not only do you have to decide if you should pre-order, when you do you have to figure out which store to get it from. This is ridiculous and crazy. All that means is that I need to force myself to make more than one decision if I have any glimpse of playing this game on release...sigh.
But then again...all the content will probably be released later as a bonus download pack...that costs money of course but still...sigh. It really comes down to are you willing to satisfy your lust for immediacy in life or are you willing to be more patient and wait it out.
And insert first world problems meme here:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Theological Current Movements

This is the final theology blog that will cover mostly newer movements and theologies. So grab onto your seat belts and buckle down for one more race course of theology.
The New Perspective on Paul is looking at Paul's epistles from more of a Judaism view rather than using Martin Luther's interpretation. It's good because it does point out how this was supposed to be compared to Judaism and not just a new writing. But I think it can be problem because we are trying to change perspective of theology and the Bible based on more current discoveries. Theology is pretty set in stone and doesn't need a whole lot of help from modern histories to be better.
The Emergent Church is a movement that desires to make church more relevant to current times and culture. It puts church in the times of post modernism and post christian context. It's a good movement in my opinion. I think the idea of bring church to the culture is good because we can't reach people by practicing the same church we had a hundred years ago. Church has changed every century even several times during a century to meet different cultures. But theology doesn't and shouldn't ever change. Some emerging members get to loose or change theology to be more tolerant or simply just be more nice about it. This is wrong.
Vatican II is where the popes addressed the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It lasted from 1962-1965. During the sessions they discussed the churches nature, bishops roles, the idea of renewing the church, restoring balance to Christianity, reaching the outside world, and reaffirming the importance of scripture and the study of it. It is important because the RCC started to reach out to other Christians, they redefined the church as being important but that other avenues of sanctification and truth could be sought, and it attempts to reach out to the world. The whole thing moved the church closer to the world but also allowed a more lax approach to church.
Pannenberg's eschatological idea of resurrection is essentially that when Jesus came and died and then was resurrected it was a foretelling of an apocalyptic time when many more would be resurrected into the Kingdom of God. It wasn't the key part but a prophetic/anticipatory resurrection to every one's resurrection from death. Not just the idea of being resurrected at the end of time when we all go to heaven but before the earth is dead. So people will start being resurrected soon which will be a sign of the end.
Open Theism says that God is personal and open to our influence through prayers, decisions, actions, and bargaining with God. In this style God knows the future but it is open to changes that he knows will happen. I don't like this at all. Personally I believe that God is unchanging in his nature and that our actions don't change him or his mind. This means God doesn't just change his whole future plans because someone wanted a daughter instead of a son. I believe God knows it will happen before, hence Jeremiah 29:11 which speaks of knowing the plans he has for the future.
When it comes to egalitarian versus complementarian views of women I am more down the middle. I am okay with women being youth pastors, children's pastors, women's pastors and worship pastors but I can't Biblically see senior pastor. I am open to women teaching occasionally but don't see it regularly and don't believe they should be the main teacher. I do believe that men should hold the most positions especially ones that are over both men and women but women should be over women as well. So I'm okay with the idea of women in more ministry positions but not completely open to them in every spot.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Rejecting Schleiermacher/Neo-Orthodoxy

Here is the next part of Theological fire hose.
Barth was an interesting fellow. He is definitely one who's theology can be described as 'Theology of the Word" since all he believed had to be and could only be derived from Scripture itself. He overemphasized the sovereignty of God and was all about what came from Scriptures. I think he was right in most of what he said. His theology is strictly from the Word of God and although a bit extreme some times with his interpretations of scriptures such as with election, he was right in claiming all theology should and does come from Scriptures. At times he seemed to reject the church though which I think is a false way to go about it since we need the community of the church.
The Barmen Confession is a doctrine written by Barth in opposition really to the Nazi movement. The document rejected the Nazi church as a real movement that should be followed. It rejected nationalism and antisemitism which were both parts of the Nazi controlled German Church. It declared the Word of God as the only authority and the Nazi church should hold no power over interpretation of God's word.

Accepting Schleiermacher/Liberalism

This post will also cover a number of topics. So deep breath number two...shake out the cobwebs...and take the plunge.
Classical Liberalism is a study of scriptures that came right around the time of the Enlightenment. The view was that Scriptures were writing from the perspective of the authors and their view of God at that time for that time. They don't necessarily apply the same way to the theology of later eras. This has led to the idea of reevaluating all of scriptures for the truth of today as opposed and differing from past theologies. So every generation has to re study scripture and re define theology. And with re defining all theology they add in the current world views for a collaboration of theology and worldviews from the day.
The Jesus Seminar basically removed all miraculous works of Christ and all things he said that were confusing, more miraculous, and claims to the divine from Scriptures. This left a social justice Jesus who wasn't divine and was really just a good guy. I think this is an huge error and misinterpretation of scripture. To take the divine out of Jesus is to destroy every reason to belief in him. In my opinion, you can't pick and choose scriptures you have to take all of it or none of it will be true.
Higher criticism is the study of a document to discover its authorship, date written, and location. This also uses other documents to study the source and see if it fits the times and accuracy. To a certain extent this shows the Bible was written by the people it claims. But it has also been used to denounce all reason from the Bible. In my opinion it is good and can show the true authorship of scriptures as the apostles and all the prophets. But it can also be used to grossly remove all divine from scripture because it looks for reason in a document.
The basic idea behind Process Theology is that God is immutable (unchanging), eternal, and unaffected by the world, but in other areas is changing, temporal, and affected by the world. It comes across as God is changed by the world and isn't completely divine in all areas. He can't be over everything but is over somethings. This idea is that man can affect and change God as time goes on and God changes with time.

Theology-From Beginning to Schleiermacher

This blog post will contain many different topics, which may seem random and possibly overwhelming with theological stew. But bare with me, this is for a class that asks specific questions all requiring more concise answers than the ones I have given to this point. So deep breath....and here we go.
The most important church fathers would have to be Ignatius who wrote many letters about ecclesiology, the sacraments, and the Sabbath; another is Origen who despite being a major heretic, he did translate the Hebrew Old Testament into a Greek copy called the Septuagint; Maximus the Confessor was a big supporter of the fully God and fully man view of Jesus which is the proper view of Jesus; the next is Tertullian who coined the Trinity idea and was the original supporter for three persons, one substance when viewing Jesus, the Father, and Holy Spirit; and Augustine who wrote on original sin, the holy war, and the church being God's city. He also wrote about much of daily christian living.
There several eras of the church and each deals with faith differently. The Early Church making faith normative; the medieval church making faith reasonable; the reformation making faith personal; the enlightenment making reason faithful.
The early ecumenical councils are important because they are where the Christian faith was essentially defined. In the councils things such as God's nature and the Trinity were defined in more specific terms and actually defined as beliefs.
The Medieval Church is important because during this time, despite a high amount of distancing between the every day person and the clergy of the church, there was spiritual movement. The clergy was able to come down on some important theological ideas such as scholasticism, which is about dogma and tradition, and then how Anselm showed we needed both God and man to die for our sins, and also a proof for God's existence through Aquinas. There was also a movement to spiritual practices and disciplines through the Catholic Church.
The Reformation moved Christianity along because up until that point the every day christian wasn't involved in the faith. They had faith but also did whatever the clergy told them. None of them could see scripture themselves. So when Luther changed it up and pulled the Church out of the picture and printed a German Bible, it started a revolution where the every day christian could read scriptures.
Lessing was important because he couldn't prove miracles. His claim to history was that it was just that history. And History being something of the past can't be proved for today unless he saw it himself. So with miracles, he couldn't claim them to be real, including Jesus' resurrection, because he hadn't seen them happen nor did he see them happen in that time.This started doubts about God's and the miraculous.
Kant talked of categories of the mind and how things occur or are perceived in our minds but other things can't be experienced only appearances of things. By this we can't experience God because he is outside our perception but we can see that his existence is meaningful because of morality which is in actions not mind. So in summary, Kant saw a difference between phenomena and noumena where phenomena is things we can experience and noumena are things we can't but other things can. God is a noumena but we can see his affects on morality.
 Hegel saw all parts of society, which are art, philosophy, religion, and science, as coming from history. If one doesn't understand ones history, you can't understand any of the other fields of study. He also said philosophy is the history of philosophy meaning that our thoughts are about the history of thought. Confusing right? It means that all history builds upon itself and reacts to history.
And Finally, Kierkegaard is important because he is considered the first existentialist philosopher. He believed in a leap of faith which is literally, not knowing everything about God before believing in him. His ideas of existentialism were mainly the individual had control of their beliefs by their experiences. All belief is that of self reflection and introspection. And by this all truth is subjective to the individual. One doesn't need to know all to belief in what they feel is true.
I have already discussed Schleiermacher in another blog, but suffice to say this, he was important because he believed our faith was mainly about our feelings.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Theological Study

There are three topics that I will cover in this blog: What is my opinion on Fundamentalism; why is the Charismatic movement important; and am I an inerrantist or not. It makes the most sense to start with the first one and work my way down. I will attempt to be brief on each topic in order to make this easy to read.
Fundamentalism is a response that came in the 1920s to the overwhelming development of humanism, secularism, critics of the Bible, and mostly Darwinism/evolution. The movement (because it was a movement not a theology) was to return people to the basics of orthodoxy in the Bible and it's truths. The point was to bring people back to God and His word and not give into the lies of the world. In my opinion, I think the idea of fundamentalism is good but it was the wrong move at the time and for us today. The movement created a fierce debate force and offensive/defensive for Christianity to fight all these evil men and women. It created huge debates and fights that climaxed in the Scopes Monkey Trials in 1925, where it seemed fundamentalism had lost. This didn't stop the defensive of Christianity which continued to other trials throughout history, and my first thought is, "To what end?" The movement has taught Christians to be defensive, but that's the problem as well. We shouldn't have to defend the Bible, it should be able to stand on it's own. The good side of that is Apologetics which means we don't take Truth sitting down but analyze to better explain it. But fundamentalism I feel has also brought about this whole negative concept of Christians who desperately and naively defend their mythical and fantastical beliefs.
The Charismatic movement began in 1960 with a group of Protestants that believed that an individual had to be baptized in the Holy Spirit apart from salvation where the Holy Spirit will manifest itself. This manifestation is in the form of tongues,interpretation of tongues, prophecy, healing, miracles, and discernment of spirits all called sign gifts. For most Christians, this has been a weird movement that has freaked people out and caused mass-controversy. Some people have embraced it as a good thing, while others criticize it as being a mass hallucination or made up concept. Others see it as the Holy Spirit at work in unique ways while others speak of how sign gifts have passed and are no longer necessary. But the importance has been in bringing a general awareness to the forgotten part of the Trinity to use Francis Chan's words. The Holy Spirit is kind of the forgotten child of the Trinity and in the Charismatic movement, awareness has been brought to the Spirit as a viable part of the Trinity. People have searched Scriptures for the purpose and role of the Holy Spirit to discover His true purpose (and I say His to remain true to the other parts of the Trinity).
Inerrancy is the theological concept that the Bible in its original manuscripts, is both accurate and error free of any kind and it is also not contradictory in any of its pages. Basically, The Bible is the word of God and isn't wrong. There is much debate about this in the Christian circles which is unfortunate that we would question the Word of God. I believe the Bible is inerrant and accurate for truth today. Why? Because if the Bible isn't true in its entirety, which includes grammar, facts, and truth, then it is worthless to us and our faith. A book with errors cannot be trusted because one error that blatantly changes the truth of the gospel will turn all our beliefs into false hopes and faith in a God that doesn't exist. I know that through translating, the grammar and interpretation hasn't always been accurate but in truth it remains the same as many of the original manuscripts that we have collected. And as far as errors in grammar now, most are so unimportant that they don't change the message. I believe the Bible is accurate and true.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Theology 4- Bon-Who?

One of my most favorite theologians is Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Why? Well for one say that out loud and tell me that isn't a fun name to say. And two, he was such a man of God who didn't allow things of this world to hinder him. This man lived one of the toughest lives by choice and eventually died for it. This man is a legend of theology. But why is he important?
Dietrich was a pastor in Germany during the era of World War II. He is famous in this era for standing up against the Nazi take over of Germany. At first, when the Nazi government took over the country he stood against them, but many of his fellow churches joined the Nazi band wagon. Disheartened he left for England for a few years. But he felt a sense of guilt and by the pressing of Karl Barth decided the best place for him to be is in Germany with his sheep (people in his church). He returned to Germany, was later arrested, and was placed in a concentration camp. He was executed by hanging on April 9, 1945 about two weeks before the U.S. troops reached the camp. His legacy as a martyr has inspired many, but is also a part of his theology that cannot be ignored.
In his theology is this idea of not separating the two kingdoms of earth and heaven. In other words, he goes against Lutheran theology to say that when Christ came to earth, the kingdom of heaven and earth's division was breached to allow the kingdom of God to come to earth. This feeds into two of Bonhoeffer's biggest theological concepts which are social justice and suffering.
He views Christians as agents of God to the social injustices of this world. We are to be in the middle of injustices and build upon those whether that leads to a change in the system or to the other side which was martyrdom. With martyrdom, he believed that we are to share in divine suffering. Bonhoeffer said at one point, "Whenever God calls us, His call leads us to death." In other words, to die is gain, to live is Christ. Bonhoeffer held this idea that being a martyr for Christ would be one of the highest honors, but also in life, we are to live in such a way that we are persecuted and we are in a place where we can possibly be martyred for our faith.
So why is he important? He took the focus off of religion and the systems of our churches and pointed to fulfilling Christ's kingdom here. That meant to be fully dedicated to Christ in order to change the world for Christ or die trying. His point wasn't to create a faith that ignores all else but is mainly focused on the mission to the world of disciple making and to the purpose of dying for Christ.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Theology 3- Let My People Go

Liberation Theology or the premise of every revolutionary movie or book. Nothing like Mel Gibson shouting freedom to inspire good theology...or theology of a type. But liberation theology is more than just setting oneself free from the bondage of a higher up or sticking it to the man. The whole premise is that the suffering are oppressed and true salvation is Christ setting them free from the bondage of the world. Some big points are the focus on the poor, oppressed, broken, enslaved, and weak; the concept of being set free from sin and suffering; and the idea that the kingdom of God will be made manifest here on the earth rather than a new earth and heaven. The interesting part of the whole theology is how it is more about orthopraxis as opposed to orthodoxy. My evaluation is that it is a wrong theology based on a good theology.
The whole liberation theology is based on the idea that too many theologians spend all their time talking big and wrestling with lofty topics such as the aspects of the Trinity and the inner workings of salvation. The problem is this isn't practical so liberation theology was born to make faith and theology more practical to the everyday poor suffering person who doesn't care about those things. This is a good thing. We as Christians are really good at debating things all across the board but never doing anything about it. It is important that we don't just be believers of debate but believers of action. 
But we shouldn't take it to the extreme of making all wealth evil, all business evil, all things corporate or higher social status than the homeless guy on the street evil. Matthew 6:19-20 does speak to laying up treasures in heaven and the idea of worldly possessions being a wrong focus but it doesn't say that you can't have possessions. And if everyone in the world was poor and suffering then there would be no one to create the jobs, money, or government. There wouldn't be anyone to help support those doing things. 
The other big problem is the Marxist ideals that come with liberation theology. The system of destroying all hierarchy, institutions, and organizations seems to permeate throughout liberation theology. The theology is more of a political movement masking itself as a theology. They take Marx ideas and add God in order to maintain their faith. This is bad because it removes the church, christian organizations, and even God as authority. They may claim God as a viable source but their actions point to a down play of His power.  
They also remove the authority of scripture by picking and choosing what parts of the scriptures tailor to their own views. To create a theology and then pick out the scriptures that fit is to take away part of scripture for your own selfish purposes and then ignore the rest of it as not being as relevant. Scripture is relevant and should be the bases of all theology but we should acquire our theology from scripture not the other way around. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Theology 2-Once More With Feeling

This is my evaluation of Schleiermacher.
One of the funnest names to say in theology is Friedrich Schleiermacher (just think of Arnold Schwarzenegger trying to say it). But he was also possibly one of the biggest game changers to the Christian Faith and not because he had an awesome name. He was the 'Father of Modern Liberal Theology' because he basically started the modern liberal movement back in the late 1700s to early 1800s. He went head to head with theologies of people like Karl Barth, Kant, and Fichte.But despite the awesome name to go with Immanuel Kant, Soren Kierkegaard, and Friedrich Nietzsche he also had some interesting ideas of the faith that changed modern Christianity.
Schleiermacher had this belief about religion that was different to current time. He says this in his book Addresses on Relgion (1799):
"Religion is the outcome neither of the fear of death, nor of the fear of God. It answers a deep need in man. It is neither a metaphysic, nor a morality, but above all and essentially an intuition and a feeling. ... Dogmas are not, properly speaking, part of religion: rather it is that they are derived from it. Religion is the miracle of direct relationship with the infinite; and dogmas are the reflection of this miracle. Similarly belief in God, and in personal immortality, are not necessarily a part of religion; one can conceive of a religion without God, and it would be pure contemplation of the universe; the desire for personal immortality seems rather to show a lack of religion, since religion assumes a desire to lose oneself in the infinite, rather than to preserve one's own finite self."
Essentially, religion became more of a feeling than a logical or practical thing. He even said else where that 'The essence of religion consists in the feeling of an absolute dependence'. While most believers would probably agree with the idea that yes we are absolutely dependent on God, we don't just rely on the 'feeling' of dependence. There are more practicality and substance to our faith then just feelings tossed to out there.
He overemphasized the relationship with God as opposed to the logic, doctrine, and even practical faith. This has led to believers who base their faith on their emotions. Have you ever watched a roller coaster that dips, turns, spins, climbs to the top only to plummet at sickening speeds (I really do love roller coasters!) but Christians go through life like that where one day God is great and everything is great but then the next day it's the end of the world and God is gone and life is horrible. They rely on worship services and concerts and sermons to get a God fix until that runs out where they go to the next.
I don't disagree that there does need to be feelings, intuition, and emotions in faith, I just think Schleiermacher encouraged a movement that puts the real home cooked faith on the back burner for the emotions of take out.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tattoo Thoughts

Here's a video to promote some thought. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Step 1 to Theology

When people began to think of theology, probably there are two main thoughts that come to mind: either a group of priests, pastors, and clerics debating doctrine and things that no one can understand; or if you're like me, a group of older guys sitting in the back of a smokey bar enjoying a couple of pints and smoking pipes while discussing what is the best analogy to use for the Trinity, an egg or the states of water. Unfortunately, while in part very true to how theology is discussed, this is not theology.
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influence and the nature of religious truths. More simply it is literally the study of God which includes his person, his ways, and his nature. But I think a more important question than "what is theology" is "Why do we study Theology?" What could we as believers or even non-believers possibly gain by delving into the study of theology?
C. S. Lewis likened theology to a map. Maps are great resources to find locations all around the globe and have been drawn up by people who knew what they were doing. But simply having a map is not enough, you need to use the map to reach a goal or a destination. Yes, theology is all about doctrines and it's important to learn and think about them, but it can't stop there. Theology is meant to be used by believers in order to reach a goal. C. S. Lewis even calls the "science of God" meaning something that has to be observed and can be applied.
When we study theology we do it for a couple of reasons: We do it to gain a greater understanding of the faith we follow and the God we believe in. If we don't understand our faith or who God is, we can develop some severally wrong ideologies of God and in turn, make our faith wrong...that's how cults and sects are usually formed. Also, knowing what we believe is important when it comes to witnessing to others. In an age filled with post-moderns it's important to know what is truth and be able to defend truth.
But when we study theology,  the most important reason why, is for our own use. The goal of theology is worship. There is no greater purpose in life than to worship God and worship Him with our full heart, soul, mind, and strength. When we do theology, we learn and think about it in order to reach a goal of worshiping God more fully and completely. Theology isn't just doctrine, knowledge, and ancient books, it is the map to finding out who God is to the best of our human knowledge.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


So over the next few months you may notice some more theological minded blogs. Currently at school I am taking a Contemporary Theology class and as part of our grade we get to blog about theological topics that we chose from a list provided by the professor. This should be interesting, possibly encouraging, hopefully thought provoking, and in the least just some good table conversation.
So be on the lookout for those, and stay classy....or some other type of catchy sign off phrase...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Batty for Bats

There is something bittersweet about seeing the end of a trilogy that you have enjoyed to dive into. We all felt this way when we watched the Death Star blow up at the end of the true Star Wars series (Well until George brought them back for prequels.) We all felt the sweet victory as Frodo sailed off into the sunset with the Elves leaving Middle Earth forever. We all wanted to be awesome spy/assassins at the end of the Bourne trilogy...well at least I did. And then came the new Batman series, done by Christopher Nolan to win our hearts and carry them through to the end of the series with the grace and intrigue of LOTR and the action and violence of the Bourne series mixed with the mystery and suspense of any good Ted Dekker trilogy. So to finish up the series came "The Dark Knight Rises."
First off, it brings me great sorrow to hear of the victims in Colorado who at the premiere for this film were forced into a terrifying situation leaving 58 wounded and 12 dead. My prayers go out to the victims of this terrible injustice that happened. May God Bless them.
Now, Review of the movie.
The cast and crew was amazing! Being a huge fan of the Batman Arkham games, most of the characters I knew from a different perspective. But it was cool to see how the characters related and differed to create such unique characters and especially since Nolan didn't want to have any "supernatural" orgins to characters as the comics and video games suggest. There was nothing but simplistic reality here to show off these characters. Bane (Tom Hardy) pretty much stole the show! His calm, calculating, precise, and methodological style of terrorism was such a contrast to the chaotic and anarchist style of the Joker. Anne Hathaway definitely went to impress as Cat woman/Selina Kyle. She took all my doubts and smashed to pieces with her first 5 minutes on screen. John Blake(Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was the most impressive rookie cop I have seen and definitely earned his place in this series, including a name drop at the end that was a shocker. Marion Cotillard (Miranda Tate) wasn't impressive until the end when you start to see her true character come out. As for the rest, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Gary Oldman coming through with impressive roles that match if not top their previous roles. The only disappointing role was Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The gruff Batman voice almost felt over done this movie and most of the movie seemed very force...but there wasn't enough to take away from the whole movie. He still pulled through, but it's good this is his last one.
The plot. (SO MANY SPOILERS ITS NOT EVEN FUNNY!!!!!) The three movies have each had a type of theme to them. Batman Begins was fear, The Dark Knight was chaos, and The Dark Knight Rises is pain. The movie takes place 8 years after Batman takes the blame for murdering Harvey Dent and other innocents. In other words, there has been no Batman for 8 years essentially. The movie finds crime almost all gone, but all because Harvey Dent is a hero not the villain Two-Face. WayneEnterprise is bankrupt and Bruce Wayne is hidden in his mansion. That's when Bane steps in and turns the world upside down. First, forcing Batman back into the action, then removing him to a prison somewhere remote. Cat woman brings Batman to Bane but in the end feels guilty for her actions. The whole first part of the movie shows Batman being beating up and having his soul destroyed as Gotham is torn down by Bane. The cops are imprisoned underground, the Wayne Enterprise is taking over by Bane, a nuclear weapon is put into play to go off in five months, and the whole city is thrown into darkness. A sense of chaos comes that still has power houses but the rich are stricken down by the poor. Batman in prison discovers what it means to be a true hero. He welcomes death, but discovers that he needs to fear death and embrace life. Finally breaking out of prison, Batman gains the help of Gordon, Fox, Selina, and Blake to take the city back before the bomb goes off. He discovers the importance of allies. He also discovers that Miranda is Talia al Ghul or Raz al Ghul's daughter and her and Bane lead the League of Shadows from movie one. The end has Batman flying off with the bomb to have it blow up with him.
What I see here is the police force learns that they can take their city under control. They discover they don't need Batman they can do it themselves. Blake is called by the name Robin and discovers the Bat cave, almost a hint to another movie or simply a call out to say there is someone to carry on Batman's legacy. Alfred retires and allows the Wayne mansion to become a orphanage. Bane and Talia are dead. But Bruce Wayen and Selina Kyle are seen by Alfred in Florence, Italy having a nice date together. Bruce no longer needs Batman who is supposedly dead and Selina has whipped her history clean to start anew. Best ending you could ask for in a series that is set so dark. I loved the story development and the end was amazing. This one definitely wraps up the whole trilogy effectively and well. 
The graphics were outstanding. Equaling that of the rest of the series. And the camera angles are so well done that one can actually see all the action happening and not just a Bourne series seizure camera. The movie received a PG-13 rating which is very appropriate. There is almost no cussing, the violence is non gory and almost comic book like, the whole dark story line is actually not as bad as the Dark Knight, and there are only a few small scenes that are closer to sexual.
In Summary, this is an amazing movie. I don't think it tops the Dark Knight but it comes so close it's scary. The movie is so well done that it pushes the envelope for story telling to the very edge. My biggest problems were Christian Bale's performance seemed like it could have been better, Bane and Talia al Ghul both have terrible and anti-climatic deaths, and some points felt as if the action was a distraction from the actually story and some points felt like the story could have been slowed down while others needed to speed up. And one note that is both a good thing and a bad thing, this movie was long! 164 minutes or 2 hours and 44 minutes! That is a long movie. But I still loved it because it brought the series to an amazing conclusion with a very well played villain who really captured the movie's heart. This one gets 4 batarangs out of 5. Now quick, to the Bat-mobile.