Friday, May 28, 2010

We who have seen war, will never stop seeing it. In the silence of the night, we will always hear the screams.

Last Memorial Day I got this in an email from my mom: "Memorial Day needs to be changed to War Movies Day."

They, particularly my dad, had been watching war movies all day.

So, I've been sitting on this post for about a year. Some suggestions for your viewing pleasure this weekend ...

Gunny's 10 Favorite War Movies:
  1. Sergeant York - Perhaps my favorite movie of all time because it moves you to think about issues of faith & war and "the using kind of religion."
  2. Patton - George C. Scott is outstanding and the opening speech for the 3rd Army is money. If nothing else, you must watch his opening monologue.
  3. Glory - It sends a powerful and thought-provoking message about the Civil War and war in general.
  4. Apocalypse Now - The first time I saw it I found it just bizarre, but I have grown to really appreciate the movie. Of course, the acting is top notch.
  5. We Were Soldiers - Perhaps I'm biased because my dad knows LTC Moore, but I thought this was one of the Vietnam movies that didn't come off as somewhat anti-soldier, as many anti-war Vietnam movies do. This is an inspiring story about facing insurmountable odds and the value of courageous leadership.
  6. Full Metal Jacket - The greatness of the movie actually happens prior to Private Joker actually arriving in Vietnam. You can't beat R. Lee Ermey as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, your senior drill instructor.
  7. Schindler's List - Though not laden with a lot of warfare, in the midst of war you learn about good & bad in humanity in this stirring film.
  8. Platoon - This was the first Vietnam War movie I remember seeing and the soundtrack was memorable as well.
  9. Braveheart - It's so quotable and stirring, particularly the motivating Mel Gibson. You'll never take away his freedom.
  10. Saving Private Ryan - Though I don't think it's the best World War II movie ever made, it would be hard to find one made better, particularly the battle scenes.
Honorable Mention: Das Boot, Guns of Navarone, Tora, Tora, Tora, Escape to Victory, and The Longest Day.

Miss any?
UPDATE: The following are some greatly appreciated suggestions received in the comments.
  • Hamburger Hill
  • Taking Chance
  • Band of Brothers (mini-series)
  • Seven Samurai (though not an American war)
  • Flags of Our Fathers
  • Letters from Iwo Jima
  • The Patriot
  • Tears of the Sun
  • The Bridge On the River Kwai
  • Paths of Glory
  • Gods and Generals
  • The Boys in Company C
  • The Lost Battalion
  • Bravo Two Zero
  • The Deer Hunter
  • The Great Escape
  • Midway
  • U-571
  • The Dirty Dozen
  • Hart's War
  • Basic
  • Memphis Belle
  • Bat*21

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I could care less about trigonometry.

Okay, we hear it quite often, but it should be "I couldn't care less," not "I could care less."

The former indicates an apathy than cannot be exceeded. The latter, however, expresses a certain level of caring by plainly stating that the one could care less than he or she does, but the person does indeed care.

So, on a scale of 0 to 10, their caring is somewhere above a 0 (zero). That person's caring may be at a 4 or 5 or a 2 or even a 1. But, the person still cares, unlike the person who couldn't care less. That person is at the lowest point possible on the caring meter.

In other words, the vast majority of people misuse the expression and wind up stating the opposite of what they'd like to communicate.

I know it's hip to be apathetic, but please don't be so apathetic that you're apathetic about the proper use of expressions of apathy.


Friday, May 21, 2010


Pursuant to a recent conversation I had with some fellow fathers ...

I think there is a significant difference between "Never discipline out of anger" and "Never discipline when you're angry."


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Some lady gave it to him. She even signed her name on it: Ruth, Baby Ruth.

Testing your baseball acumen ...

Without help (e.g., peeking at the Comments section or the baseball rulebook or asking Tony LaRussa et al) can you list the 7 ways a player can get to first base without getting a hit?

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Don't sell yourself short, judge. You're a trememdous slouch.

You may have heard about the nominee for Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, a Jewish woman. That would give you a bench 33% female. Personally, I like the idea of having a bench that somewhat reflects the diverse demographics of the nation, assuming the judges are qualified.

What you may not know, however, is that John Paul Stevens was the lone Protestant on the bench. If Kagan is confirmed, you will have the following bench:
  • Samuel Alito - Roman Catholic
  • Anthony Kennedy - Roman Catholic
  • John Roberts - Roman Catholic
  • Antonin Scalia - Roman Catholic
  • Sonia Sotomayor - Roman Catholic
  • Clarence Thomas - Roman Catholic
  • Stephen Breyer - Jewish
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Jewish
  • Elena Kagan - Jewish

Two things come to mind:

FIRST ... I don't know how many Americans who profess faith in Christ would call themselves Protestant, or non-Roman Catholic,* but I'm willing to bet it's greater than 0% of the population. In other words, if you're looking for diversity, a very significant percentage of the American people have no representation on the Court.

SECOND ... And this is really more of a Roman Catholic question with regard to the abortion issue ... If, and I know it is, the Roman Catholic Church is unequivocally pro-life (i.e., anti-abortion), even to the point of threatening ex-communication and/or denial of the Eucharist to politicians who vote pro-choice, why aren't pro-choice advocates concerned about a 2/3 majority on the Court whose religion's litmus test is unabashedly pro-life?

Similarly, is there, will there be, or should there be, from a papal standpoint, significant repercussions for a Roman Catholic Court that did/does not exercise its God-ordained power to overturn Roe vs. Wade, 1973?
*I know for simplicity's sake many see professing believers in Jesus in a dichotomy of Roman Catholic or Protestant, but there is also the reality that many prefer to not trace their roots to/through Protestantism and there are those outside the realm of Christian orthodoxy (e.g., Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses) for whom the term certainly would not apply.

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Am I reading my diss-meter correctly here? 'Cause I could swear I'm being blown off!

In the midst of a Sunday school series on what it means to be Reformed, we've covered evangelism the past two weeks.

The following are 7 books I would highly recommend on evangelism:
  • D. A. Carson (general editor), Telling the Truth
  • Walter Chantry, Today's Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic?
  • Mark Dever, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism
  • Will Metzger, Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by Whole People
  • J. I. Packer, Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God
  • John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad!
  • Charles Spurgeon, The Soul Winner
Any others you'd suggest?

[Update: Thanks for the other suggestions in the comments.]

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Hey, Lou, don't you think we should have a prayer? We're all not savages like Cerrano.

One of the drawbacks of having any online activity is the propensity to run into random humans who want to engage you in conversations that can really beat you down.

A professing Christian took offense to a quote I shared regarding prayer. I share this because (1) it's a good quote for our National Day of Prayer and (2) so you can feel may pain of how strange people come across in cyberspace.

"Prayer is weakness leaning on omnipotence." -- W. S. Bowd

Gunny! Prayer is not weakness, have you ever tried it? God said to "prayer about everything" through prayer, we ask God to help and bless people in their situations and ourselves, and God works with those prayers for the people we pray for and for us too. Payer strengthens our faith in God, how can He help us if we don't ask in prayer?

I have tried it. What a peculiar question to ask, sir, and seemingly a rather unkind accusation.

The essence of prayer is a recognition of our weakness and God's strength. (cf. 1 Peter 5:5, 6-7).

We do not pray because we are strong, but because God is strong.

Truth be told, I really don't disagree with what you said in praise of prayer. Prayer strengthens our faith in God, but not our faith in ourselves. Proud people don't pray.

May we boast gladly in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9).

Soli Deo Gloria,

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Earn this.

What's wrong with this picture?Is this the right message to send to kids?

Of course, far too many adults have bought into the "God loves me when/because I'm worthy" tomfoolery as well.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
-Romans 5:6-8, ESV

Like the song says, "For He alone is worthy, Christ the Lord."

At Providence Church this morning we're going to be partaking of the Lord's Supper, which is specifically for a people who recognize their need for God's grace because of their sins. The Lord's Supper is for a penitent people, who repent of their failings as they cling to Christ.

Consequently, at Providence Church we humbly pray together:
"We do not presume to come to this, Your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in Your manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under Your table."
The Lord's Supper, like Christianity in general, is not for those who are worthy, but for those who realize they are not, but He is. The proud and/or worthy need not apply.

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