Thursday, October 28, 2010

What? This? Oh that's just my billion dollar house named Antilia

This is a house. It's worth 1 billion dollars. It's in downtown Mumbai. It has 27 stories. You can read about it here.

The owner is married and with family, which I completely missed the first time I read the story, because in my mind, I was imagining what it would be like to be the owner of the house trying to impress a date. First you would hang out in scaggly jeans and a t-shirt at a local bistro. Nothing impressive. You want the girl to like you for you and not your money. You would purposefully let her pay for her half of the meal. And you are very open about your weird dark sense of humor that most get confused by. If the girl is still not turned off or repulsed by you, you go for a walk with her after dinner. And coincidentally enough, you come to this oddly shaped 27 story building. Now she may or may not know about this house (she probably does as long as she hasn't been living underneath a rock all her life). Act like a mischievous rascal who wants to break in with her to the world's most expensive house. She will giggle and be awed by your lack of ability to be intimidated. You take her through a secret passage to the top of the building (that you just happened to find), and when you walk in, watch her eyes as all 600 of your servants worship you and serve you, and then the girl in her confusion will totally be in love with you. And she'll be like "you mean....the owner....of this place... is you?...why didn't you tell me?"

At this moment of revelation, you tell her how you did all of this because you wanted her to understand the love of Christ. Christ wants us to see how much he loves us and who he really is without the shiny mansion and streets of gold and stuff. And then she will completely be infatuated with you because of your analogous brilliance.

While she has her mouth open totally using this real life experience as a motive for a future Sunday School lesson,  you'll smile with this smug grin. And then probably ask security to escort her immediately out of the building.

Yeah, I completely see this as the only reason to ever build a 27 story building in this day and age. But the owner is completely not single. So then why? For what purpose? So people can walk by and talk about it and they know that man is in there telling the world through his gigantic home "just remember folks, that until you have a 1 billion dollar home that is 27 stories tall, you have yet to make it. So keep shooting for the stars. And don't get too comfortable where you are at. Because you are not here. You are down there on the street."

That's all I can really gather for an explanation of the house. It's one thing to have this giant building in the middle of nowhere, but it's a whole other thing to put it in a downtown metropolis in India to let people know that you know that they know that you are ridiculously wealthy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Time, Time, Time

Here's an arresting quote from an article in this month's Atlantic. "Members of the college class of 2014 are so unfamiliar with the wristwatch that 'they’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.'"

Ouch. I'm getting old. Oh wait. I already am old.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Think on These Things: Art & Salvation

"Art will not save your soul, but Art will make your soul worth saving." -taken from the Image Journal enewsletter.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Football Lovers Rejoice!

Yep, lots of college football & NFL analysis over at Momo's Musing Sports!

Plus, we share a great article on amazing sports calls & why football coaches aren't football players. In fact - oddly - the less experience a person has the more likely they'll be great!

Give us your thoughts!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

There is still hope...

I don't know what it was. Maybe it was the black coffee in front of me. Maybe it was how i caught myself reading Marcel last night a lot longer than I had originally intended. Whatever it was, I couldn't get Marcel's philosophy out of my head when I was reading about two similarly related stories that were sent to me.

One story, talked about (and had an interview with) these girls in Texas who have started a campaign called "Redefining Beautiful" and in short, they don't wear make up at school. They won't do it, and they think beauty need not be defined by make up. And People are listening, and other girls across the country are picking up the message and instituting it in their own lives.

 Watch the interview here

Perhaps it was selfish of me to really welcome these girls into having a place in my heart. I, like many Apostolic guys I have talked to, for some reason don't find make up attractive. I see it more as a distraction when girls cake that stuff on. Thus I am all for the Redefining Beautiful campaign. Yet, there I was, kind of surprised that these girls were without make up on national television, and their facial blemishes and zits were there in the open, saying "HELLO WORLD! THIS IS BEAUTY! AU NATURAL!" And in spite of my love for the natural look, I had become so automatic about how perfect girls should like on TV, that I was taken back by how proud these girls were to be "imperfect."

Then there was this story  about a high school cheerleading team protesting against their uniforms and how if worn, would bare their midriffs. And they kind of won the complaint.

You kinda take a step back like, wow. it's not all lost is it? There are still very uplifting stories out there that can be told in youth services everywhere about girls fighting for modesty.

That's where Gabriel Marcel comes in. I would include a quote of his, but it was difficult finding a single sentence that summarized his argument about technology so I will use someone else's summary of him, "The impact of technology leads too often to a loss of the sense of the mystery of being and self, authenticity and integrity..." 

So what does this have to do with girl's not wearing make up and other girl's not wanting you to see their stomach at Friday's football game? Well, according to Marcel, technology makes objects out of humans. Technology just uses the humans to perform functions. Facebook for instance is worth billions of dollars. It's 21st century technology for sure. And what does it do? It makes these two dimensional pages of anyone who has a profile on there. The existence of the individual within a Facebook profile is relegated to being an object for the observer wherein identity is to be found by pictures, non-engaging comments, and lists of favorite movies, books, etc....And we, as Facebook participants are left to play the game and make ourselves out to be the best object we can (only showing the best pictures of ourselves, only listing the most impressive things about ourselves, etc...). 

After all, it is Facebook that I see Apostolic girl's continually posting pictures of themselves at a sleepover with make up on their face (but they would never actually walk out into public like that). I'm not criticizing this act at all. Lord knows how self-conscious these girls are within their world of thinking themselves ugly because they don't look like the girls on TV or the cool kids at school. But the horror is they are submitting to make themselves impersonal objects who all wear the same thing (Red lipstick, blush, mascara) that kind of levels your face to looking less like you and more like a mannequin (once again, I'm not preaching here, and hate it when someone judges a girl because she had a little mascara on). 

Yet, here, in these two stories. Somehow, in this technologically dependent world, there are these girls, cheerleaders and regular students, who are rejecting it all. Rejecting the objectification. Rejecting what the TV tells them they have to look like. And they are saying, I don't need it. I need to recapture something else...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Megachurch Declares Bankruptcy

The prolonged economic downturn continues to reveal certain realities are not as sturdy as once thought.

The Crystal Cathedral, one of America's first megachurches, declares bankruptcy after being $43+m in debt. Frankly, it's surprising we haven't heard of more megachurches doing this.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Marriage Rate Down, Food Stamps Up

The U.S. Census has some fascinating insights into our countrymen and the habits they keep. If we want to win our society, we must understand what that society is doing. This is a great quick synopsis of where America is at.

For instance:

The never-married included 46.3 percent of young adults 25-34, with sharp increases in single people in cities in the Midwest and Southwest, including Cleveland, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Albuquerque, N.M. It was the first time the share of unmarried young adults exceeded those who were married.

Read it all.

Dora the Explorer Sues Nickelodeon

I realize this is only Pentecostal news if you attended the North American Youth Congress in Charlotte, NC three years ago, but . . . the new/old Dora is suing Nickelodeon over money lost due to her contract. Apparently, her voice changed after 3 years and she has been released from her duties.

If you recall, the original voice work on Dora was done by Pentecostal Kathleen Herles for many years before they rebooted the character.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

We Knew Her When

Special shout-out to former 90&9 staffer for Cara Davis. She's got a guest column on Beliefnet! How cool is that.

It doesn't hurt that her essay on doubt is absolutely fabulous either. Go read it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fighting It out In "The End Zone

Sister blog Momo's Musings has begun a new "The End Zone" feature where I butt heads with him over pressing NFL questions each week. It's fun and - if you like football - great fodder to argue over. (Plus, it's amazing how often he's wrong and I'm right!)

He also offers great insight into both college & pro football in his "5th Quarter" weekly features.

So if you're inclined toward winter sports, don't miss them!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Trend Watch: Reading is Alive & Well

Last night, the fabulous St. Louis County Library presented YA author Rick Riordan (The Lightning Thief series), to a crowd of 2,000 people. Yes, 18(!) groups of people wanted their books signed. (Sorry, only 1 book per person and no photos due to time limitations.) Doors opened at 5 for the 7 p.m. presentation. By 5:45, when we arrived, we were in Group 8. I brought 5 boys (all big fans, save 1; all 6-8th graders, all supposed to not be interested in reading due to their age and Y chromosome).

Yes, I realize Harry Potter has made the YA market the ultimate sweet spot for authors today (as the multiple parents of all nationalities attested), but this wasn’t that. This was 2,000 people on a Thursday night celebrating books by celebrating an author. Plus, I can almost guarantee most of those kids had bought most of his titles.

I wonder how many music acts could pull in 2,000 people on a week night? (As way of comparison, in February Nita & I attended a local Switchfoot concert and it had a slightly smaller crowd. Switchfoot!) I wonder how many other media projects could pull in 2,000 people on a week night in the Midwest?

So please stop with the “Print is Dead” and “Children Don’t Read” mindlessness. Open your eyes! Reading print books will go on for many, many more decades because it creates the ultimate one-on-one experience and warm communal events.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An Apostolic in the U.S. Congress?


Exciting times! Joel Demos is running for Congress. Most of you probably know that. Most of you have probably already contributed to the cause. It would be nice to have an Apostolic in Congress. Good luck, Joel!

Here’s some recent press from a Washington Post blog.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Praying for Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens is dying of esophageal cancer, which was the disease that took his father. Or as Hitchens says it, "Well, I'm dying... but so are you. I'm only doing it more rapidly." Hitchens, a devout "New Atheist," and author of God is Not Great and more recently, a memoir, Hitch 22, has now found himself as the subject of "Everyone Pray for Hitchens Day" which was held by several ministers last month. The event was sincere and promoted by several Christians who have come to develop quite an admiration for the man who so vehemently opposes faith-based religions. The admiration and relationships to Hitchens were nurtured by people who consistently debated him, and found themselves respecting the man.

About the people praying for his recovery Hitchens says, "I say it's fine by me, I think of it as a nice gesture. And it may well make them feel better, which is a good thing in itself ." However, he says knowing about the prayers does nothing for himself. 

I would add that when/if Hitchens goes, I will be at a loss. It is Hitchens whose voice I believe is the only one worth listening to amongst the New Atheists (Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett). The rest are so mired in their own presuppositions, that they defile the logic which they claim as their support. Dawkins won't even engage in public debate. It is Hitchens whose arguments make me tense, because they demand a confrontation of sorts if I am being honest. The way Hitchens talks about the various religious beliefs is fascinating, and although he talks about religion with a great amount of cynical humor, I never get the sense that he is making a straw man out of religious systems, but rather is taking the claims of the various religions quite seriously.It is Dawkins, whose understanding of religion seems to be that of one who has gotten no further in their theological understanding than that of a 13 year old in Sunday School. 

Read the article about the prayer day for Hitchens and his thoughts on his looming death here.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Is this life?

I don't know if this photo is real or not, but my skepticism tells me it's fake. I don't really care though. I just thought it was an all too accurate representation of life when we shoot for human achievements. The moment you conquer one goal, lurking somewhere in the nearby woods, is something ready to make a prize out of you.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Happy 50th Mom & Dad!

Congratulations to my parents, Marvin & Shirley Curry, on their 50th anniversary!

(Bro. Haney's not congratulating my parents on 50 golden years. This picture is from Dad's retirement in 2005.)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

True Immortality: Nobel Prize Winners

I love this time of year because for 2 weeks the Nobel Prize Committee celebrates people on Earth who actually matter. The American press actually interviews people who aren’t citizens, aren’t (necessarily) beautiful, and can’t talk in sound bites. The Nobel is kind of a lifetime achievement award instead of recognition for one hot film or a great album.

Oh sometimes the choices are clunkers - and of course there's a certain amount of politics involved - but for most of the categories (medicine, chemistry, economics, literature) you get to learn about very dedicated, tireless people who are inventing the change in today’s world. Not celebrities, not the beautiful, but the dedicated and the good.

I can hardly wait until the first Pentecostal accepts their Nobel!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

So the whole parting of the Red Sea story in the bible? Yeah, Aliens!

In short, there is this Presbyterian Minister, Barry Downing who went to Seminary and found that no one was believing the Bible literally true because that entailed miracles which are in contradiction to the naturalism that was so popular at the time, Downing's answer is to start bringing Aliens as an explanation to miracles in the Bible.

Yes, the ascension of Jesus Christ? A UFO came and beamed Jesus right up in their ship.

The Red Sea parting? A giant UFO alien tube came and parted the waters. 

Seriously, please click that link above. There is a slideshow of illustrations Downing has made showing how he perceives aliens interacting with various Bible narratives.

And on second thought, the kids are going to love this. This would be great Sunday School material. Tell them the stories, and whenever the miracle happens we say "And there were aliens doing all of it!" The kid's eyes will get big. And they will be hooting and hollering. Suddenly the Bible is not an obligation to the kids. 

I think I like Downing. 

Monday, October 04, 2010

Let's play the game, "Revolution." I'll be Mao and you be Lenin!....(then let's tweet about it)

Last week, I decided it was a good idea to start reading things that only old people read. I have always considered myself a 63 year old trapped in a twenty something's body, but I am always looking for ways to project this image to others more accurately. Vests. Blazers with elbow pads. I am also currently playing with the idea of purchasing a corncob pipe and walking around with it unlit, at opportune times.

In the same spirit, I started reading the New Yorker online. Some of the articles are good. Others make you giggle. But the recent article I have found is from Malcolm Gladwell (pictured) who is also the author of those Outliers, Tipping Point, and Blink books you always see at Barnes & Nobles and are hesitant to purchase because you just think they are some motivational backwash (the descriptions on the book don't do justice to it's content). The article, "SMALL CHANGE: Why the revolution will not be tweeted," was a fantastic read that highlights something eerily relevant that I think most of us would like to forget. It gets at the concept that Twitter and Facebook are great humanitarian vehicles to initiate world change. Two most popular examples being how organization of the Iranian protests from last year were organized from Twitter, or the same argument goes to a protest of the communist Moldavian government last year which was dubbed the "Twitter Revolution." Both examples are very misleading, and most likely wrong. 

Gladwell points out that the revolutions of our past (such as the sit-ins and marches that happened in the late 50's and early 60's in the South protesting segregation) were begun by close social ties (a sermon at your church or a conversation with a close friend) with a high-risk, high reward  action that is operated within the framework of a hierarchical structure (most people say the efficiency of groups such as SNCC and SCLC was because they were organized like a military operation). In contrast, revolutions via social networks, Gladwell argues are impossible because they do the opposite. Revolutions are defined by close nit-social ties. The very fabric of a social network is a way to maintain or generate loose connections. I have over 1,000 friends on facebook. But how many am I really "friends" with? 

Secondly, social networks provide social change through low-risk proposals that will inspire no one to act. Rather, social networks tell people they are acting or helping out (e.g. giving money to a charity for Darfur), but the reality is it gave them a position to feel more justified in their laziness. 

Last point is that social networks are networks without a hierarchy. Nothing gets done in terms of action (Al Qaeda for instance is now a network and not an organized top-down entity and their effectiveness is almost zero now.)

You should read the article. It's good.