From time to time I will pull a post from the old version of the blog that I felt spoke from my heart, had great points or that I thought were just fun. This is post was originally published on March 18, 2010.
So I have had this song rattling around in my mind for a little while now. Jars of Clay has been a favorite of mine since the first time I heard the the Gregorian chants of “Fluid” on their first CD. I distinctly remember sharing the CD with a friend of mine that who said he didn’t like the sound, only to have him tell me a few weeks later that he thought it was awesome (after “Flood” became a major hit). But I digress.
Listening to Jars over the years has been like a grab bag of musical styles. Each album is very distinct, and while I can tell that they are progressions from the previous work, it can be “jarring” to the casual listener to go from each of the different releases.
The Long Fall Back to Earth has a very ‘80’s synth-pop sound to it which is nice. I have looked at the song Closer as I began the review portion of my blogging journey. This song has taken on a special meaning to me as a father with one son and a second on the way. As I like to do, I found this in a review/interview from the band:
…even the sweetly elegiac “Boys (Lesson One),” a techno-acoustic lullaby of lessons passed from father to son over an insistent electronic drum pattern that suggests these lessons can’t be taught quickly enough – time marches on and childhood ends too soon.
“Adults aren’t calling children up into adulthood in a way where they can ask hard questions about what real life looks like,” Steve Mason says. “Questions about the things that come along and break hearts and move them into adulthood. ‘Boys’ captures the desire of a father to talk to his son in a way that doesn’t lie about how hard living is. And it does it with love and a radical trust in the belief that God isn’t afraid of our questions.”
It is a profoundly sad place that we find ourselves in as parents at this time. I constantly think about the number of boys growing up with out a father figure, let alone a godly father figure, in their life. How are boys suppose to know how to grow up in men if they are never shown what true manhood is? This is one of the reasons that I have been trying to keep up with the writings over at The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and Ransomed Heart Ministries. Both of these groups have a passion for reveling the larger story of our lives and roles that we play in them.
I have a few other points that I want to bring out that are addressed in the song, so please check back for parts two and thee (maybe four?), but I want to leave with this:
6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Take the care!!
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“I am Iron Man” proclaimed Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) at the finale of the first Iron Man movie. “I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one.” he tells a congressional panel near the start of Iron Man 2. Then in Marvel’s The Avengers when Captain America (Chris Evans) questions his heroic qualities without the armor, Tony quips “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.” That statement underlies the character arc across the three past movies and doesn’t change much in this installment.
Iron Man 3 kicks off Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and does it with a very large bang. Tony is wrestling with all that has occurred. Finding himself unable to sleep, he has begun obsessively creating new versions of armor. He is struggling to understand how to protect Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), his assistant/girlfriend. Old figures from Tony’s pre-Iron Man lifestyle appear to show that all of his actions have consequences. Tony’s arrogance and ego compromises Pepper and his safety and sends him to middle-of-nowhere-Tennessee with only a damaged suit. Here he begins his soul searching to learn what happens if the suit of armor is taken away. Can he still be the hero?
I have enjoyed the story of Tony Stark. He is a complex character in a very redemptive story. His journey to becoming a true hero and not just a “man in a can” has been bumpy. One of the things that I really enjoyed in this chapter is that there is a lot of Tony not in his armor, having to rely on just his mechanical genius and sheer determination to protect what is most important to him. I think this film was cinematically excellent. I thought the story, the action and character development was exceptionally done.
From a comic book stance however, there will be great controversy. I will not spoil the film but it takes several characters into vastly different directions. If you are a die hard comic fan and are looking for the movie universe to mirror the comic universe, you will be very disappointed. If you are not very knowledgeable about the characters vast history in the comics and are looking for a great summer action flick, then I think you will enjoy it.
On a side note, I would urge parents to seek out some trusted review sources (like pluggedin.com or movieguide.org) before deciding to take children. While the Marvel movies are normally pretty mild, Iron Man 3 dealt with some more mature themes, was extremely heavy on the carnage and surprisingly a bit heavier with language that I thought was needed.
Overall, I will give it 8 out of 10 magical rings.
Image Source: Marvel
From time to time I will pull a post from the old version of the blog that I felt spoke from my heart, had great points or that I thought were just fun. This is post was originally published on July 11, 2012.
Before I begin, I still need to wipe the drool off of my chin. I have to say that I never thought that this movie would be pulled off. I remember talking to my friends back in college about them doing exactly this. Well maybe not exactly, but the idea of having several movies as introductions to the characters and then bringing them into one epic movie. As I think about it, I believe it was how we thought they could pull off the Secret War storyline.
Back to The Avengers, if you have not seen it, please stop now, go to movietickets.com, find the next available showing nearest to you and for the love of Pete go see this movie. It is still in theaters… I checked. It is that good. I am not just saying that because I am a comic book geek. It is not because I love the mythology of the super hero. Okay those things may be part of the reason, but the movie is a phenomenal action adventure movie. Even if you did not see the five movies (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Incredible Hulk, Thor and The First Avenger: Captain America) that built up to, I think that anyone could go into it and enjoy it for the story and action that is presented.
So who are The Avengers? You have the genius, billionaire (Tony Stark/Iron Man) played by Robert Downey, Jr. The super soldier that has been “asleep” for 70 years (Steve Rodgers/Captain America) played by Chris Evans. A Norwegian mythological god with a big hammer (Thor) played by Chris Hemsworth. A brilliant gamma scientist with anger issues (Bruce Banner/Hulk) played by Mark Ruffalo. The beautiful and deadly former Russian spy/assassin (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow) played by Scarlett Johansson. Round it out with an eagle-eyed archer (Clint Barton/Hawkeye) played by Jeremy Renner. Add a team of elite government agents led by the mysterious Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and the amazing flying battleship, the helicarrier, and you have a team that just can’t lose.
Unless of course they don’t destroy each other first. Between the massive egos, the family quarreling, and the general mistrust of each other and the reason they have been brought together; you get great dynamic fights and some very humorous moments.
I try to keep my reviews spoiler free so I won’t go into any real detail. The basic story is that Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) wants to rule Earth and makes a deal with an alien army to help him in his conquest. Nick Fury sees the need to activate the Avenger Initiative (first mentioned back in the first Iron Man movie) and bring together the mightiest heroes to save the Earth, that is if they can put aside their own egos and work together.
The story is basic and a stereotypical action movie, what’s so special about this one? Well… it’s the Avengers!!! You get Captain America vs. Loki, Iron Man vs. Loki, Thor vs. Iron Man, Captain America vs. Thor, Hulk vs. Thor, Hulk vs. Loki, Thor vs. Loki and… well that’s just the individuals. The real geek moment was the team fighting side by side.
There has been a lot that I wanted to say about The Avengers (which is why it has taken me so long to post this). Much of what I wanted to say has already been written (probably better than I could) in a post from the Gospel Coalition.
As we tell stories that make sense of our world, we can’t help but reveal that for which our hearts ultimately hunger. Our heroes are weaved with weakness and flaws, and this measure of humanity is the source of their strength. In The Avengers, it’s only as the heroes see themselves reflected in the power-hungry and insecure eyes of Loki that they find the strength to win their battles. We discover that his plan of destruction is a catalyst for his own defeat.
Inevitably, a satisfying hero story will always involve a great, gospel-like reversal, where the odds seem insurmountable and the heroes seem overcome. But the tide turns, the heroes rebound, and evil retreats a universe away. Somehow, that story never gets old.
Read the rest here: The Avengers: Very Human Superheroes via The Gospel Coalition Blog
I highly recommend reading the whole review. In addition to that I also enjoyed Tony Reinke’s thought provoking post.
We are attracted to this team of superheroes because they are a response team called on to suppress evil. But when we walk out of the movie theater, we are faced with questions. Why don’t we see God destroying evil with sword and hammer and fists? Where is God when it hurts? Where is God when the helpless are abused? Where is God when evil dictators are followed? Where is God when orphans are trafficked? Why does God not break into history and push back the dark forces?
Read the rest here: The Avenger via Desiring God
I don’t think I could add much more to either of these, so I won’t even try. Go see the movie. I mean it.
That’s all for now.
Take the care!
Image Source: Free iPad HD Wallpaper
Yesterday I got the great privilege of chaperoning JJ’s first grade field trip. We spent the day at the McWane Center learning about science, the human body, sea life, “grossology“, and animals of all kinds. I got to hang out with one of JJ’s friends and had a great time. While some may think a field trip with first graders is not the best way to spend a day, I couldn’t think of anything I would have rather done.