Friday, February 29, 2008

The Edge is my real father

Saw U2 3D the other night down at Newport. Definitely a must see for anyone with any interest in U2. The 3D aspect was kinda cheesy at times but overall it added a pretty interesting dimension (no pun intended) to the experience. The movie follows the set list of a performance in Buenos Aires. There had to be tens of thousands of people at this concert. The 3D aspect of the movie did an excellent job of conveying the shear size and excitement of the crowd. The only thing I could have done without was the occasional text that rushed at you. At certain points, lyrics would appear in vibrant text and fly at you...coulda done without that. I can hear just fine, I don't need subtitles that I feel like I'm going to have to dodge at some point. However, this annoyance was more than offset by the music. The band was in rare form. There's no question why they picked this concert. The Edge is unbelievable. The stage for the event was absolutely ginormous and the dude never moves more than 30ft in either direction. He rarely looks up at the audience and never once attempts draw attention to himself. He kinda reminds me of Jimmy Paige in that respect. He lets his talent speak for itself. Of course, Bono was all over the place. Taking his jacket off, putting it back on, getting new sunglasses every five or ten seconds, changing outfits and lighting fires but what are you gonna's Bono. The movie wasn't as glorifying of U2 as I thought it was going turn out though. There was a healthy focus on the band's message of peace and love and the general atmosphere of the venue. I didn't come away feeling like I had just been "re-educated" by Bono.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Gary Busse '08

Whoops. Dec. 5th= last post. It's alright though because 1/3 of the people that read this blog, live with me, and know what's going on in my life. I'm beginning to see the flaws, inherent in the whole church/parachurch organization. I've always been aware of the obvious discrepancies between church doctrine and the gospel but now I'm really getting a feel for why Christ was not going around planting megachurches. One thing God has revealed to me (through several important people in my life) is that a large community is a good place for unsaved people to go to feel like they're saved. We go to church, Navs...whatever to feel like we're doin' it right. We can sit down in a seat and blend into the crowd. No one will ask what we're doing to live out our faith or anything spiritual for that matter. At the center of our churches, we have some key people who run things (usually with the best of intentions). These individuals will often pull people into the group who are similar to themselves. I'm not assigning blame, I'm simply saying that it's a natural tendency to gravitate toward someone that has a similar personality. As a consequence, it becomes harder to break into this crowd and easier to become a spiritual spectator. In the end, the corporate church setting fosters the spiritual growth of a small group of individuals in a sea of struggling souls. In this way, we lost our ability to carry out some of Christ's most essential commands. We lose our concern for the least and lost. They don't fit into the crowd so they are continually pushed to the fringe until they fall off the map again.

I want to like churchs like crossroads, where I can tell that good and pure intentions are all around. However, I don't like walking into Crossroads only to find that the crowd consists of a very homogenous mixuture. If I didn't know that it was a church, I'd swear that I just stumbled into a Starbucks. How does this happen in a neighborhood like Norwood? We don't see the people who walk in once and instantly slip through the cracks because no one knew they were there in the first place. When are we gonna start reading the gospel? I certainly don't want anyone to think that I've got this all figured out. If anyone is too blame than I'm definetely among that's a rant.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


People are ridiculous. All the local media has to do is throw the words "inch" and "accumulation" together and suddenly you have mass hysteria and chaos. The snow wasn't even covering the grass this morning and yet people are crawling along the roads this morning like they're caught in a blizzard. The snow had completely melted off the streets by 8 but for some reason everyone had switched to "survival" mode. I'm convinced that Cincinnati drivers are the most panicked people on earth. Out by Em's house, outside of Columbus, they don't even talk about snow being a problem until it's at least 3 or 4 inches worth.

Ems and I watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer last night. Nothing like a good ol' fashioned dose of '60's social commentary disguised to look like a kid's movie.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A great movie

I'm gonna break from blogger tradition and title this post according to its contents instead of the usual enigmatic song lyric that no one really recognizes or finds relevant to the post.

I saw Into the Wild on Tuesday night with Ems. What a powerful movie. For those who don't know, the movie details the life of Chris McCandless. McCandless was a college graduate who became disillusioned with the prospect of joining the work force and pursuing the American Dream. As a result, immediately after graduating he set out on the road to live off the grid and be free to pursue any goal. Chris burned all of his identification and money and eventually abandoned his car. He successfully severed all ties to his past life so well, in fact, that a private investigator (hired to find him) was never able to track him down.

The reason that this movie struck a chord with me is that I have been wrestling with the same issues of society's expectation and standards for a "successful" life. It seem that what society wants for me is to throw myself at a career so that everything else becomes secondary. Even my faith takes a backseat. I'll state publicly that God comes first but in reality I'll only pursue God in a manner that respects my career choices and personal ambitions. Never mind the fact that Jesus was a homeless man who wandered the countryside healing and teaching amongst the outcasts of society.

The story of Chris McCandless is inspiring to me because he resisted what we all want to resist. The stagnant lifestyle of the American Dream and living for your eventual retirement when you can finally live as you want, just in time to die. I mean, what the crap are we doing? During the movie, Chris reads a passage from Tolstoy. I can't remember the exact wording but it was to this effect: True happiness is only found when performing good deeds amongst those who are not accustomed to having them performed. I'm not sure what Tolstoy's spirtual beliefs were but holy crap that sounds a lot like what Christ did every day. Chris eventually came to realize this truth. Unfortunately, it was too late to avoid his tragic fate. However, he may have lived more in his two-ish years on the road than I have in my entire life up to this point.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tune in Tokyo

So, the Red Sox won the World Series. Now that I have roommates that really care about professional baseball, I've had the opportunity to watch some of the games. I didn't watch too much of the world series but I did catch a couple games of the Tribe and Sox series. Even with an Ohio team in the running, I still can't manage to put together some kind of interest in professional baseball. It's fun to attend a Red's game once in awhile (when its free) but beyond that I've nothing but apathy for the sport.

The Creepy Campout was this past weekend. A good time was had by all. This was Emily's second appearance at the annual event. She carved a "C-Paw" pumpkin for the pumkin carving contest. She wasn't feeling too good when it came time to enter so I ran the pumpkin up there and entered it for her. I barely entered it in time for the judging to start. The pumpkin quickly gained momentum with the crown and easily beat out the majority of the field. The final round pitted Emily's pumpkin against a kid who look like his pumpkin probably took him the better part of a year to carve. To top off his design he installled a strobe light in place of the conventional candle. He also had a posse of about 30 screaming six year olds to back him up. However, they proved to be no match for our group of obnoxious college kids who have no respect for hard work or the family atmosphere. My favorite part was when Jen P. started the UC chant during the time alloted for cheering for the opposing pumpkin. The crowd was momentarily silenced. Emily took home first prize which includes a nice trophy and a pumpkin pie...owned.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I need an adamantium skeleton

The small group came over last night to watch X-Men III and eat pizza. The movie was pretty good although they had some situations that didn't logistically make any sense. For example, at the beginning of the final battle, Magneto sends in his "pawns". I'm going to assume that these are the less powerful mutants. So, these guys run toward the waiting line of troops and about 15 of them jump 100 ft. into the air to pounce on the soldiers. you're telling me that there are fifteen mutants that all have the power to jump really high. Once they land, they begin to fight the soldiers who end up mowing them down with the "cure". However, after the sweet jump, none of these "mutants" use any other sort of power or ability. Seems like lazy filmaking.

Just before that, Magneto uses his metal moving skills to transport his army to Alcatraz island via the Golden Gate Bridge. While this is visually very cool, one can't help but point out that buses, planes and boats are also made of metal. Why can't Magneto just get on a boat and ride across the bay with his army? Lots of small stuff like that makes this movie pretty mediocre. And what the crap is going on with Archangel? You can't just dramatically introduce a character and then completely exclude him from the plot...terrible.

On a completely unrelated note...the Jesse Hartmann and I were discussing the justification of violence in the Bible this morning. We're reading through Shane Claiborne's Irrisistible Revolution together and the author seems to be of the mind that Christians should be completely anti-war, anti-violence and anti-military. While I would like to live in a world where this is possible I don't think I quite buy all that. I'd like to hear some thoughts. Does anyone still read my blog? If so, comment. Also, does anyone know what the Just War Theory is?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

All of Which are American Dreams

Readin' through Shane Clairborne's Irresistible Revolution. I don't think I've ever encountered an author that could write with such passion yet can state everything so simply and nearly void of over-emphasizing language. I read through a chapter last night that described his journey to work with Mother Theresa in Calcutta. He prefaces this story with a great description of the state of westernized Christianity. Clairborne exposes that fact that American "Christians" spend a great deal of their time trying to explain away the tenants of the Bible. We make the Bible much more complicated than it really is in order to ensure that we'll never have to act on its simple yet radical (to our standards of radical) truths. This statement is undeniably true. I've been to countless studies and heard countless sermons during which a passage of scripture was adjusted to fit our lifestyles. I'm sure I've even led studies that are guilty of this.However, I really can't blame anyone for this. How else are we supposed to take the New Testament from the pages of the Bible and put it into practical usage and still maintain our middle-class American lifestyle? If we had to take every passage of New Testament scripture literally it would destroy our lifestyles' completely.

Anyway, Clairborne goes on to say that he and a friend decided to search for a real Christian of their summer break. Eventually, they contacted Mother Theresa and were invited out her ministry in Calcutta, India. In Calcutta, these two average college students nursed the dying poor of the destitute city and lived with the habitants of a leper colony. I found it very intriguing that these two guys where almost instantly thrown into a very Bible-esque scenario as soon as they accepted the fact that our precious "American Dream" and the John 10:10 life offered by Christ cannot co-exist. Crazy stuff and more food for spiritual thought than I'm comfortable with but I'm getting the very persistent feeling that God is not interested in/tired of my shallow level of American spiritual comfort.