Two great Chicago Bulls clips. The first is all Michael Jordan. The second is the trio of Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman.
I saw “Mystic River” for the first time this weekend and have been thinking about it all week. If you haven’t seen it, I’m going to spoil it completely here. I’d really encourage you to see it though, maybe this weekend, then come back and read. I think you’ll be pleased.
If you haven’t seen it, here’s a link to the synopsis at IMDb.com. To summarize quickly, the movie revolves around three men, Dave Boyle, Sean Divine, and Jimmy Markum, who grew up together as boys in Boston. The boys’ lives were changed when Boyle was abducted by two pedophiles one day when the three boys were outside playing. It is an event that haunts them throughout the movie.
As adults, they are all brought back together by the murder of Jimmy’s daughter. Sean is one of the homicide detectives on the case. Jimmy is enraged and uses his criminal connections to begin searching for the killer. The same night of the murder, unbeknown to any other characters except his wife, Dave returns home with a stab wound and blood all over his body and car. He maintains that he beat, and possibly killed, a mugger. His wife is at first convinced, but later grows suspicious when Dave begins to act out.
Finally, Celeste, Dave’s wife, opens up to Jimmy and admits she suspects Dave. Jimmy gets Dave liquored up and takes him behind a bar to kill him. At first Dave tells Jimmy that, in a rage, he actually killed a pedophile he came across that night of the murder. Jimmy can’t accept his answer and promises Dave his life if he’ll just admit to the murder of Jimmy’s daughter. Dave admits it, and Jimmy kills him; at approximately the same time Sean and the audience learn the identity of the true killer and Dave’s innocence.
The film brought up a number of spiritual questions. It seemed so hopeless and dark. In fact, that’s one resounding theme in most of the reviews I’ve read. Yet that can’t be all, can it? A deeper examination tells us no.
I have seen other movies that present the idea of the Gospel, the central theme in Christianity or ultimate redemption through Christ’s death, but few have made me really feel it like “Mystic River”. As I watched and searched for the Christ-figure I though it surely couldn’t be Jimmy, despite his stumbling down the street with arms outstretched at the end of the film. Unexpectedly, it was brought to my attention that it was Dave.
Throughout the film, we see Dave as an innocent victim. It was he who, arbitrarily was pulled into the car and raped. The other two remark on the regretfulness of that event throughout the movie. It is Dave who, in the end, is killed for a crime he didn’t commit. In fact, there would be no reason to suspect him if it wasn’t for the pedophile that we learn he actually did kill that night to save a boy from his old fate. In the end, though, it is Dave’s death that brings redemption. As he pulls the knife out of Dave’s stomach, Jimmy remarks, “We bury our sins here, Dave. We wash them clean.” To illustrate this symbolic statement, Sean’s relationship with his estranged wife is restored through the resolution of the case (abbreviated, I know). Dave was not only an innocent man, murdered because of the actions he took against evil, he was a man who brought about redemption through his death.
Annabeth, Jimmy’s wife, has a puzzling monologue at the end of the movie. As if consoling him for wrongly killing Dave, she says to Jimmy (referring to their daughters), “Their daddy’s a king. And a king knows what to do and does it. Even when it’s hard. And their daddy will do whatever he has to for those he loves. And that’s all that matters. Because everyone is weak, Jimmy. Everyone but us. We will never be weak. And you, you could rule this town.” By this point in the film, the viewer has great feelings of compassion for Dave and a mixture of anger and understanding for Jimmy. These lines, however, are unsettling. They come off as heartlessly arrogant. They speak the truth, though, of God’s unquenchable love for us. While Christ, like Dave, was innocent of his charges yet still died for our redemption, his executioner was not an estranged friend, scorned and enraged at the loss of his daughter, but his very own father. Annabeth’s speech revealed why the father was willing to do it; the love he has for us, his children.
As the movie closes, a band plays a song I vaguely remembered. It wasn’t until I was reading the trivia at IMDb that it all made sense. The piece was Semper Fidelis.
This is a movie that has to be experienced. It has to be felt emotionally. While the feelings will be stimulated by fiction, they point to the greatest truth, and greatest love, ever expressed.
Is it Christianity-driven control? Is it the ease of complaining when you are not in power? Is it the blame game? I don’t fully know.
One bone I will dig into is Obama’s policies not being in accordance with the publics wishes. I see Obama (and every president, leader, etc.) as a leader, meaning he is to lead us. If you really dig into all of Obama’s views and decisions on a multitude of areas, he really is not that far from the public pulse.
The current GOP leadership is absolutely not serious about it, will have no mandate to do anything serious if they win the House this fall, and no-one, Democrat, Republican or Independent, should be under any illusions about that. That includes those well-meaning members of the tea-party movement who somehow think that electing the same Republican party will help us. Remember who told us: “deficits don’t matter.”
That was Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. Rove and Mary Cheney are helping to organize and fund the GOP campaigns.
This all makes me disillusioned towards politics but somewhat removes me from its tentacles. I don’t have to feel loyal to one side or standard, and that is nice because both have dropped the ball with the deficit, almost equally in my eyes.
Andrew Sullivan annihilates Bill O’Reilly’s sermon claiming Barack Obama has gone to the far left since being elected:
He says first that in foreign policy, progressives believe that America is a “bully” and “too aggressive.” Obama, however, has retained most of Bush’s executive powers against al Qaeda (except, critically, torture), has poured more troops into Afghanistan than was ever the case under Bush, has ramped up the drone campaign in Pakistan, retained Bush’s defense secretary, stuck to Bush’s withdrawal timetable in Iraq, and embraced targeted killings of al Qaeda operatives, even US citizens. On Iran, Obama has managed to get a far more comprehensive and global set of economic sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards, and has refused to take military force off the table. Obama, moreover, went to Oslo to defend the necessity of war while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. For this record, O’Reilly says Obama represents the pursuit of “peace at pretty much any price.” There is no other description of this than a travesty of the truth.
Also, check out the Rolling Stone interview with Barack himself.
Assistant Attorney General of Michigan Andrew Shirvell has been harassing the University of Michigan student president (who happens to be the first openly gay president in UM history). Shirvell claims not be a bigot, not to have an ounce of hate in his body, and he and his boss find it OK to be hidden behind the 1st amendment. I feel that this is Christianism gone very sour and under a deceptive guise of “playing politics”.
Natural leaf carving is actual manual cutting and removal of a leaf’s surface to produce an art work on a leaf. The process of carving is performed by artists using tools to carefully remove the surface without cutting or removing the veins.
There’s even a step-by-step leaf carving tutorial [pdf] if you are so inclined.
Jack Johnson – At Or With Me
A handbook was created for the Islamic nation whose leader not only denies the Holocaust ever happening but believes 9/11 was an inside job. PBS tracked Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s pernicious lies while recently in NYC for a UN General Assembly:
“Iran is the freest country in the world”:
This is while there are at least 800 political prisoners in Iran whose sole “offense” has been protesting the terrible state of the nation, at least 110 people have been killed since last year during demonstrations and in detention centers, at least two prominent supporters of the Green Movement have been assassinated, and at least eight people have been executed.
Obama reacts here.
Confusing, isn’t it? The somewhat recent Citizens United Supreme Court case allows this to be legal but then allows for groups to hypocritically make adds against other “mysterious” politicians, campaigns, or groups. Enter Americans for Prosperity:
Weigel has more:
Americans for Prosperity, is funded by billionaire oil men, David and Charles Koch, to promote Republican candidates who support their right-wing agenda and corporate interests. The group has gone to great lengths to conceal information about its donors and their motives, but the New Yorker magazine recently revealed that this group has been quietly guiding the organizing efforts of the Tea Party — in other words, billionaire oilmen secretly underwriting what the public has been told is a grass-roots movement for change in Washington.
Josh Ritter – Right Moves
This is a fun song and comes with a neat time lapse video!
Lovett H. Weems Jr. has some ideas why church attendance over the past few decades has dropped:
Worshipers attend less frequently. In addition to tracking weekly attendance numbers, some churches are tracking who actually worships during a month. Many pastors sense that the same individuals are worshiping throughout the year, but that they worship less often.
This impression gets some confirmation from the General Social Survey 2008 conducted by the National Opinion Center. It traced according to frequency the percentage of the adult population who attend worship. While the percentage of people who report attending church more than once a week has stayed steady over the years, the percentage saying they attend once a week has steadily gone down. Some pastors have observed that many members of their congregation identify themselves as regular church goers even though they may attend only twice a month or less. In earlier times, being a regular churchgoer meant coming to worship almost every Sunday.
Aging constituencies. Mainline churches have a disproportionate number of mem bers age 65 and older. This proportion will only grow more pronounced as the first of the baby boomers reach 65 in 2011. While it does not appear that death rates are changing dramatically in the mainline churches from year to year, many older members may not be attending as often—for health or other reasons.
The other side of this dilemma is the failure of churches to reach younger persons. This is particularly true for the smaller churches that constitute a large part of mainline denominations.
This seems to be a new age for church and it could benefit everyone if a multi-generational approach is adopted to revamping church. The retirees and baby boomers could be a possible connecting piece to this generations teens and young adults, for it seems that at one point both in one way or another doubted authority and organized religion.
Nicole Greenfield describes the scary aspects of Sarah Palin’s theocratic politics:
Drawing inspiration from a well-known passage in the first chapter of Genesis in which God grants humans dominion over all living things, dominion theology involves an anthropocentric outlook, which, among other things, favors the interests of humans over animals and the environment. The benefit of drilling for oil in ANWR, from this point of view, outweighs the loss of wildlife and the destruction of their habitat. But dominionism is also part a broader nationalist movement of the Christian Right, one that aspires to influence secular institutions so that the country is ultimately governed by a conservative Christian interpretation of Biblical law—to build a Christian nation. And if Glenn Beck’s “Restore Honor” rally at the end of August was any indication, Sarah Palin certainly subscribes to—or is, at least, willing to publicly and prominently invoke—such an ideology.
Closely related to dominionism, and another possible basis for the anti-environment stances of many conservative Christians, is a dispensationalist eschatology informed by a literal interpretation of the Bible. In this view, prominent within the churches to which Sarah Palin has belonged, biblical prophecies are read from an “end times” perspective, effectively eliminating the need to consider the consequences major environmental decisions, like oil drilling for example, will have on future generations. “There is a way that dispensationalist eschatology feeds into environmental irresponsibility,” says Brian McLaren, a prominent evangelical pastor and author. “But it doesn’t have to be that way.”
That helped make sense in my head a few bits of Palin’s approach to theology, her desire to drill in ANWR (which she claims is uninhabited by animals), and her American Exceptionalism. She brings to the tentative 2012 election scene a short sighted and nationalist view of religion and politics. I hope those who are not literalists do not get tricked into buying into her scheme.
Ezra Klein has an idea:
With more labor – particularly more labor of different kinds – the economy grows larger. It produces more stuff. There are more workers buying things, creating demand. That increases the total number of jobs. We understand perfectly well that Europe is in trouble because its low birth rates mean fewer workers – and that means less economic growth. We ourselves worry that we’re not graduating enough scientists and engineers. But the economy doesn’t care if it gets workers through birth rates or green cards.
In fact, there’s a sense in which green cards are superior. Economists separate new workers into two categories: Those who “substitute” for existing labor – we’re both construction workers, and the boss can easily swap you out for me – and those who “complement” existing labor – you’re a construction engineer, and I’m a construction worker. Immigrants, more so than U.S.-born workers, tend to be in the second category, as the jobs you want to give to someone who doesn’t speak English very well and doesn’t have many skills are different from the jobs you give to people who are fluent and have more skills.
That means firms can expand more rapidly because they have more labor of different types and that native workers can do jobs where they’re more productive. If you have lots of immigrant laborers willing to build roads, a firm can build more roads and has more need for native workers who can supervise the crews or do the technical work. The effect of all this – which has been demonstrated in multiple studies – is that immigrants raise wages for the average American.