Monday, February 11, 2013

It's finally ready!

I am so grateful for your patience ... all four of you! ;-)

I've revamped my primary website, and rehashed the blog too, and slowly I am moving the better posts from this blog over to that one, while adding fresh content at the same time.

This one will be up for a while longer, at least a month, but I hope you'll bookmark my other site and join me there! I'm really pleased with what I've been able to accomplish, mostly 'cause I had to do it myself and I ain't no web genius.

Come on over!

Monday, October 17, 2011

My visit to Dasonii Korean Bistro

(On Facebook I've been reporting on my restaurant visits recently, and figured I should probably put them here where I can make them a bit neater. Well, after these two anyway, 'cause I'm just cutting and pasting. Yeah I know, but I'll make up for it later. ;-)  )

From October 6 - I had lunch today with brother Ho Kim, and we ate at the Dasonii Korean Bistro in Robinson twp. I had my first taste of authentic Korean cooking with the Dolsot Bibimbap, and it was delicious! So good in fact, that this picture of it was the only foodie picture I took. After that it was munch, munch, munch. The Bean sprout side dish was a richly flavored surprise as well. Friendly Christian owners, great atmosphere, good prices and top notch cuisine. I WILL be back!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fried chicken, watermelon, and yes a glass of Red Kool-Aid

I thought it was bad enough that I have to fight the occasional paranoia surrounding enjoying a slice of watermelon around people of other ethnic groups, but now also people of my own group?
Facebook can be the most interesting place. In back to back days I experienced something that seemed quite the reverse of what I’ve become accustomed to in the world. On one day I was simply and clearly presenting a defense of the faith when the person who started the whole debate, a black person, told me that I should watch how I present myself because black men are already viewed as being so aggressive. The next day (literally!) a different writer, also black, complained of a co-worker eating hot wings at 9:30 am, lamenting the belief that all this person needed was to add watermelon and a 40 ounce bottle of beer in order to complete the black stereotype.
In life, we will have people of all types who will ground partially or fully, their identification of themselves and of you within amazingly superficial terms. At the same time you’ll have one person saying that if you do a thing, that proves you are a genuine member of the group. At the same time you may have another person of the very same group saying that if you do that thing you bring shame upon yourself and the group. Among the signposts of belonging/not belonging/shaming are:

Food, clothing, speech, music, walk, sport, friends and so on.

No matter what I eat or drink, or how I speak or dress, the KKK will hurt me just as quickly as a black person who does things completely opposite my pattern. No matter what I choose in these areas, that choice won’t decide my eternal destiny, Heaven or Hell.
How can that young scientist concentrate on curing cancer if his family nags him over being too black or not black enough?

No matter who you are, there is one question which must be answered, and applies to every life on the planet: are you a sheep or a goat in regards to the Kingdom of God? See Matthew 25:32-46

 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne." And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 'And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'

 "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;  for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;
I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' "Then they themselves also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' "Then He will answer them, saying, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

All this time we spend putting each other into cages based on the superficial stuff, when in the end, the only groups that matter are the sheep and the goats, or as J. Vernon McGee so memorably phrased it, “the saints and the ain’ts”! Oh, don’t misunderstand the portion of Matthew I shared. Doing good things isn’t what saves you, but a renewed (saved) spirit will show itself in doing good things, and loving others.

Freedom in Jesus Christ is an incredible thing, and it allows you to be yourself and achieve amazing heights, because Christ doesn’t judge you by the color of your skin. You are either His, inheriting every good thing, or you are not His, and Hell awaits. Let’s set our priorities according to the priorities of God, not of this life, because this life is temporary.

So, lets’ be bold for Christ and eat chicken wings for breakfast, and sometimes Chow Mein, lasagna, empanadas or pierogies. Let’s watch tv together and learn each others dances, and while all this is going on, let’s remember that our neighbor’s may have no idea Who Jesus Christ really is, and we may be the only witness they have.

Our testimony will speak loudest through our actions.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Build on a lasting foundation

Port Royal, Jamaica, founded in 1518, was a hub for shipping trade and a playground for pirates. It was possibly the most important city of its time in the Caribbean. A commercial center thriving under the Spanish until taken by the English in 1655, the city grew steadily. Much like many port cities today, and larger cities worldwide, Port Royal bandied about great wealth, compromised morality, and people of political and social might delighted in its pleasures. This is the city where the legendary Blackbeard the pirate gained much of his fame, true or not.

This powerful city thrived for quite some time until hit by an earthquake around 11:43 am on June 7th, 1692. The earthquake caused over half of the city to sink, swallowed by the surrounding ocean. The devastation was similar to this century's might earthquake in Haiti, unleashing a wave of poverty and disease which took many of the lives of those who'd survived the earthquake and resultant tsunami. How could this thriving island metropolis simply sink into the ocean, to be memorialized only as a source of fading memory and waterlogged artifacts?

Port Royal was a city built on sand.

The earthquake caused the sand on which Port Royal was built to liquefy and flow out into Kingston Harbour. The water table was generally only two feet down before the impact. “Modern scientists have determined that much of the ground on which the town stands comprises little more than water-saturated sand for about sixty-five feet, at which point sand and gravel mix with coral reef.” This type of area did not provide a solid foundation on which to build an entire town. Unlike the Spanish before them, the English decided to settle and develop the small area of land, even while acknowledging that the area was nothing but “hot loose sand”. -source

There is much to be learned from the tragedy of mighty Port Royal. Tragedy of which men were warned long, long before.

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall."

Matt 7:24-27 (NASB)

On what foundation does your life rest?

image courtesy of Jamaica-Gleaner

Thursday, July 28, 2011

the NASCAR pastor and prayer

He gave the invocation at last Saturday night’s Nascar race, and it’s already being called the “first sponsored prayer”, the “smokin’ hot wife” prayer, and a few other things that wouldn’t be conducive for our time now. Pastor Joe Nelms of Family Baptist Church said he did not want to do what he called “cookie cutter prayers” and so, borrowing from the movie “Talladega Nights” he went to town on a prayer so awful that a CNN commenter who was self-described “certainly not a religious man” wrote that “I’m pretty sure product placement in a prayer=a straight ticket to hell.” Coming on the tail of a post on on self-indulgent preaching inspired by an email of exasperation from a congregant

"In this context I find Pastor X, for example, a real turn-off as a preacher because in order to hear him speak about Jesus for ten minutes, you have to put up with (at least) thirty minutes of shameless self-promotion, stories about himself and his personal history, and talk of his "beautiful wife and amazing kids". Yawn. He simply imitates, rather than challenges, his idolatrous, celeb-mad generation."

... it’s ironic this preacher made sure to mention his “hot wife”. You can watch the report and hear the “prayer” and fallout yourself at this link if you wish, but this very controversial moment provides a good opportunity to discuss how a pastor can take full advantage of public prayer.


Focus on yourself (Humility - Luke 18:11)

Joke with something so valuable and important (You're talking to the King; have some respect)

Make it a show (Matt 6:5)


Focus on the good news of Christ (Matt 6:33)

Speak with the gravity of one speaking to almighty God, because you are

Remember that for the next minute or two or three, you are the voice of God to these people

When pastors lose track of the “do’s” you tend to get jokey sermons, insulting prayers, praise of the world, little teaching of Jesus, and words so devoid of power that the unsaved see nothing holy in them, nothing worthy of respecting as higher than what they already know, and God is demeaned. When you remember the “do’s” and honor God with reverence and respect, the people who hear are shown that God is holy. Holiness is your call too, because God is holy and you are His representative. If you are invited to pray before such a large mixed group, don’t make a joke of holiness, but you also don’t want to be unnaturally stiff and using only the big words in an attempt to look super holy.

Be a person who was once dead, has been given life, has the chance to point other dead people to the life-giver, and is deeply grateful for the under-served love you’ve been given. In response to questioning about his thanking God for several different brand name companies during his prayer (by the way; at no time during the recording does he pray for the safety of the drivers or the pit crews), which sparked the comment about this being a “sponsored” prayer and the above mentioned comment about “product placement”, Joe Nelms said

“I can assure you that there were no endorsement deals, but I am not against them”. “Any of them want to send some money to our church we’ll be happy to use it.”

His prayer is being headlined as “inspired by Talladega Nights”.

When you speak of God, when you speak to God, let your love, respect and appreciation of Him leave no doubt in the minds of your hearer that the source of your inspiration is the lord God and His word. Then, instead of being inspired to rent a movie, maybe they’ll be inspired to come find God.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Anna Torv is a treat to watch

You can add me to the growing list of fans following the show which began as the X-Files of the new millennium but quickly carved itself a niche of its own in the television landscape; yes, I’m talking about that Friday night sci-fi delight, Fringe.

Where the X-Files garnered its fan base largely by offering tantalizing glimpses into maybe (Was that actually a creature? Was that a UFO or an experimental government aircraft?), and long-teased romantic tension (too-long teased eventually) between the show’s lead actor and actress, Fringe pulls back the curtain on the supernatural, adding the requisite covert government agency, the mega-corporation which holds the military contracts while funding and developing nigh-unbelievable technology, and fulfilled the primary romantic tension, albeit with a wrenching twist. Regular views know about that twist; if you don’t know, I won’t ruin it for you.

What I’m going to do as the heart of this note is express my admiration for the performance of one of the central cast members. While John Noble who plays the intentionally, though perhaps temporarily, addled scientific genius "Dr. Walter Bishop" gets the lion’s share of accolades regarding his acting ability, and rightfully so; the man is a master thespian, I’d like to say just how very much I’ve been enjoying the performances of Anna Torv. The charming Mrs. Torv (She married season one recurring actor Mark Valley in the year the show started; 2008) plays “Olivia Dunham +”, and the “+” is what drove me to write this piece.

When the series started it became quickly apparent that the “Olivia Dunham” character was unique, however, you could detect the slightest unusual vocal inflection in the American character’s accent maybe once or twice per episode. It actually became something I’d wait to hear in an effort to identify it. Perhaps midway through the second season I tuned into David Letterman one night because Anna Torv was a scheduled guest, and much to my surprise discovered that her natural accent is Australian! I had no idea that she is Australian! With that, I realized that what was happening was that her natural accent was pushing through on some words. Mystery aside, with later episodes I became enthralled at her ability to play a second character in the sci-fi thriller while still doing the first. This new character is an alternate universe version of herself, but with different mannerisms, walk, patterns of speech and facial expressions.

Now, to make it even more exciting, she's added a third persona, and is doing simply the best Leonard Nimoy impression I've ever heard a woman perform! Yes, I am well aware that not many women attempt to imitate the former "Mr. Spock" (Nimoy has a recurring character on Fringe, “William Bell”, who now inhabits the body of “Olivia Dunham, much to the chagrin of Dunham's boyfriend. Don't ask, just watch; it's easier that way), but Torv's work is simply delightful. She has clearly done her homework, as her impression includes not only “Bell's” walk, posture and periodically raised eyebrow, which by the way she does as Nimoy does; not the Spock-like raise and stare, but only the occasional quick raise while talking, barely enough to notice but superb when you recognize it, but she is even doing his voice with a great degree of accuracy!

I know that other actors can and have played multiple roles in the same piece of work, Eddie Murphy practically made a career of it (Saturday Night Live, The Nutty Professor, Coming to America), but for an actress whose accent used to break through her character at the start of the series to now so convincingly playing 3 different characters without slipping into the realm of farce, I am very impressed.

Well done Anna Torv! I look forward to seeing your performances every week not to nitpick, but in appreciation for the living, breathing characters you've created, and interest in what will happen to them next.