Sunday, December 25, 2005

the best CHRISTmas ever

pam and my house today was full of baptists, catholics, hindus, no-churchers, grandparents, middle agers, college students, and kids for CHRISTmas lunch. basically it was families and friends eating lunch with us. i loved it.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

the root of jesse

the root of jesse
Originally uploaded by ratterrell.
last night at the view we held a jesse tree ceremony as a means of dealing with the CHRISTmas story. the "jesse tree" is similar to a chrismon tree except using old testament stories instead of early church CHRISTian symbols. it's fun to watch a bunch of baptist-influenced kids connect with tradition.

it's funny to me that it quite often seems that those raised in a faith practice that is high in symbos often forget it's meaning and therefore long for a connection with CHRIST that is free from symbols while those who have been raised in a "free" tradition often find that they long for symbols and find immense meaning and connection with CHRIST through those symbols when they find them.

it's funny how that works.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

thank you donny

i never would have thought that i would have been thankful for something i heard form donny swaggart on sonlife radio (i've confessed before that listening to the swaggart's is a shameful pleasure for me). today donny swaggart was tearing into eugene peterson and he said that peterson's writing should be dismissed because of the following quote:
Well, why do people spend so much time studying the Bible? How much do you need to know? We invest all this time in understanding the text which has a separate life of it's own and we think we're being more pious and spiritual when we're doing it. But it's all to be lived. It was given to us so we could live it. But most Christians know far more of the Bible than they're living. They should be studying it less, not more. You just need enough to pay attention to God.

the quote sounded interesting to me so i tracked down the interview that it came from. in that interview eugene peterson makes the point that in the name of being more pious some CHRISTians spend three nights a week in bible study (in addition to church) - actually being taken away from making the strong relationships with their families and friends that bible says is a true sign that the love of CHRIST is within your life. another quote form the interview goes like this:
I think I would want to say it a different way. We treat the text as if it is in a separate world of its own, apart from our lives. This text reveals God lovingly at work in the world. And the intent of the text is to draw us into that world of God's action. Study is normally an over intellectualized process. It takes us out of relationships. And so I guess I'm just not at all pleased with all the emphasis on Bible study as if it's some kind of special thing that Christians do, and the more they do the better. It needs to be integrated into something more whole.

how many people do you know that have the guts to tell their congregations to go study the bible less and spend more time living it out?

i love eugene peterson. thanks donny swaggart for reminding me of that.

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spying on the catholic workers

liberalism is a mental disorder
i voted for bush. i have typically supported bush (though allot of that has been waning over the best year). yet spying on the catholic workers movement seems a little out there. i don't believe any group is out of bounds of investigation for cause but spying on a group simply because they help the needed and protests against the war sounds McCarthyistic. if the movement had done something wrong and was connected with groups who poised real terrorist threats then i could support it. i can't however support spying on a group just because they protest against administration's political positions.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

alt.worship & film questions

i've had a passion for alt.worship for a couple of years now. awhile back i started meeting with a friend of mine (j.t.) in hopes of setting up something in baton rouge on a monthly basis. j.t. was the perfect person for this because he knows tons of people. unfortunately for me j.t. moved to houston. i still have the desire to begin an alt.worship experience but i no longer have the person who has all the contacts. so i have to start from ground zero. i'm not real good at starting from ground zero. i'm still going to work on this thing but right now i have to do research just to figure out what my first few steps should be. if anyone has any experience with this type of stuff i would be very thankful for your help.

do any of you have any experience with film discussion groups? i would love to find a group in my area that deals with faith and film. the questions that films are bringing up amazing. i would love to find a group of people interested in where faith and film connect.

Friday, December 09, 2005

the results are in

okay i just finished watching "the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe" and i feel i am ready to make a few statements regarding it. first, i don't feel like i have to go and kill anybody for doing a terrible job with one of my favorite books of all times (except for maybe liam neeson and whoever wrote the ASLAN parts). second;y, i need to admit that i had incredibly high expectations. i love this book. i first read it when i was a freshman in college and trying to keep from studying for my first series of finals. i read it as a 19 year old and i balled like a baby. i have read the book probably close to fifteen times since then and i still ball like a baby when i read it. so i'm probably not the best critic of the movie. if i had my way they would never change a thing about it. still i'll try to express some of my feelings in regards to the movie.

i thought the movie did an excellent job of convey the character of the kids. they were great. lucy was awesome and the change in edmund was great. i felt like you really had a good idea who each of them were. i also believe that the movie did a very good job of conveying the circumstances of narnia. you could tell the changes that were happening. i loved the scene where they killed ASLAN. i'll take that scene over all of mel gibson's "passion of the CHRIST." it was tremendous in conveying the sacrifice, the violence, the controlled strength, the sadness, and the pain. it was great.

i was very let down by the overall character of ASLAN. in the books you know why the kids love, and yet still fear, ASLAN. as you read you begin to understand the mixed emotions of desperately desiring to touch ASLAN's mane but never ever actually being willing to do it without permission. HE is the lion that all the righteous love and yet stand in awe of. HE is simply not a safe lion. so much of what i understand CHRIST to be like has come from understanding a little concerning ASLAN. i don't feel like the movie conveyed that sense. ASLAN was almost chummy. it was very disappointing to me.

still i was very pleased by the movie. i am even more pleased that my kids are playing a video game right now and randomly shouting out "for narnia" and my family is interested in reading the book again. if those two things are the only good to come out of the movie then it was worth it.

walmart boycott

to my knowledge there are presently two different faith groups that are boycotting wal-mart during CHRISTmas. one group, jerry falwell's church, is boycotting walmart because they said "happy holidays instead of "merry CHRISTmas" in their advertising. the other group,, is boycotting walmart during the holidays because of unfair employment practices (you can view the group's walmart ad here). i haven't personally researched all of's claims so i can't personally speak on whether i want to support it yet or not but i do believe their call for a boycott has more reason than fallwell's call for a boycott because of advertising that says "happy holidays."

which do you think JESUS would be more concerned with? personally i am not against boycotting businesses based on faith based concerns. i think there are definite times for doing. it's just that allot of believers pick really stupid things to boycott over. we believers look stupid when some of our fellow CHRISTians boycott over semantics rather than standing up for justice. i believe JESUS would stand up for justice and not worry too much about non-believing corporations with obvious loyalty to mammon saying "happy holidays."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

please get it right

i am so ready for tomorrow. if they mess up the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe i will probably be blogging next from prison or on the run because i will start shooting everyone i can locate that was associated with the movie. they better not mess this one up.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

i'm a bible guy!

i'm a bible guy!
Originally uploaded by ratterrell.
this is one of my kids during our church's annual CHRISTmas choir program. these costumes always make me laugh. i love the fact that apparently everyone in the ancient neat east wore bathrobes and sashes.