Friday, January 23, 2015

He Said, She Said, He Said: American Sniper Review

My sister Rita, and brother Mark (both by another set of parents) and I felt we should do a joint review of American Sniper.

Rita's is here, and Mark's is here.

In writing a review of this movie, it occurs to me that I might write about:
  1. The story,
  2. How the story was told
I'll shoot for both.

So, the Story is good.
It's inspirational.
It's about an American youth raised with American values who at a young age is taught and encouraged to stand up for others. The Sheepdog.
He then meets adulthood with his career choice being "cowboy".
After a while of that he realizes he has a higher calling.
The Sheepdog.
He joins the Navy with the intention of being a SEAL.
And does so.
He marries.
He serves.
He tries to find a balance between the two.
He doesn't do well at that and struggles, obviously drawn to battle as most combat vets separated from their battle buddies become.
He completes his combat role and returns home safe.
He finds a way of continuing to serve while at home and out of harm's way.
His marriage flourishes.
He dies serving a fellow veteran.

How the story is told is a different story.
This is a story that probably needed more screen time.
The childhood formative narrative is rushed.
The cowboy narrative is rushed and to me, confusing.
It mainly presents a man who is lost, not knowing his true calling yet, but does not show him conflicted over that. Perhaps that is true to life in Kyle's case. I don't know.
It just comes off to me as disjointed.
Once Kyle hits BUDS, everything comes together story telling wise and story wise.
Kyle has found himself. He is who he is meant to be.
After this, the storytelling seems to smooth out also, so perhaps this was Clint's technique.
The movie ends somewhat abruptly.
We see no indication of the writing of the book or it's impact on his life.
We see him leave his wife and children to help another vet but (especially since the trial is ongoing), we see none of the events directly leading to his death.

So, in summary, I liked the movie.
A lot.
I loved the story.
I wonder how much of the editing was done by Clint or to him, but the movie felt rushed.

I'd like to know whether you agree or not.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A New Years Observation

I appreciate the good wishes for a New Year from my friends in the previous post.
Thank you,

I'm a bit of a jerk when it comes to observing days and seasons.

I stopped observing Christmas once when I read a pamphlet on the pagan trappings of the celebration.
I did not want to be associated with those non-Christian elements.
Then my four year old came home and asked if we were Jehovah Witnesses.
I said no and asked why.
He said the neighbors thought we were because we didn't have a tree.
I ran right out and got a tree and lights.
I had to choose my pagan associations wisely.

I remember coming to the conclusion a while back that all the days run together, the only thing separating them being a good nights sleep.
And when circumstances forbade a good nights sleep or two, I realized that someone else's new day or new year was just a continuation of my previous one.

Yet there is something to be said for new beginnings.
In 1979, I experienced a new beginning.
My world was turned up side down and though the road since has not been "easier" than the road before, there is comfort in knowing the destination is better and that I have a guide who has truly been there and done that.

My wish for you and your new year is not that you would be rich and prosper, or that you would share my "religion" or that you would be anything like me.

My wish is that you would be all that God can help you to be and all that entails.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Speaking of Aircraft

Scherie and I went to breakfast today at the Bomber Restaurant
in Ypsilanti this morning.
Like the owner says, it's more a museum than a diner.

 Scherie and a friend of ours who happened to be there.
That's our friend's younger brother (in town for a visit) in the pic above.

 The Yankee Air Force "Yankee Lady" B-17

Monday, December 29, 2014

Preparing to Paint My Boat

I have a lot of layers of paint on the roof of my boat, including enamel and urethane.
There's some cracking and chipping on the roof where the shelter it was under beat against it in a violent storm.
I hope to paint it before next summer.
I live in hope.
I used to paint cars but haven't done so in a few years.
I was told that the best product to get the paint off the roof of my boat before painting is:
Aircraft Paint Stripper.
I wonder if they use Boat Stripper on Aircraft.

I showed it to the guy behind the counter.
No one had ever pointed it out before.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Merry Christmas

When people question the miracle of Christmas, when they challenge the veracity of the Biblical account, there are a number of prophecies I ask them to consider, many of which they are unfamiliar with.
The Prophecy of Daniel regarding the 70 weeks of years (490) until Messiah comes is one of the least known yet most powerful. I was able to share it with a local radio personality last Friday and provoked an on air conversation regarding it that was quite fruitful.
There was a reason the Jews were expecting an imminent Messiah at the time of Jesus and Daniel's prophecy was it. The prophecy came in two parts. The first proclaimed that the Temple in Jerusalem would be restored in 49 years. Well how could that be? The Jewish people were still captive in Babylon and Jerusalem occupied by gentiles. Yet it happened, exactly as foretold. Miraculously.
Did that not indicate that the second part, Messiah's arrival would also come on schedule?

After that, they talked about the science behind the Christmas Star.

Then there is:
Isaiah 9
2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Oh my friend, if you have not given yourself the greatest gift God has offered man, if you have not recognized the King and taken His side, please do so now. If you have questions, e-mail me.

We all have memories of Christmases past, some better than others. Some perhaps never to be equaled due to loss. Mine are mostly of being a spoiled brat who was more concerned with what I was getting than what I was giving.

May you have a wonderful Christmas this year and enjoy what you've been given.

I leave you with a picture of my grandson and Santa and the story behind it as I told Bill Bennett yesterday.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mark 8:11-25 Some insight we got in class Wednesday.

In our Bible Study last Wednesday, I wasn't happy with our understanding of this chapter the previous week and I thought we were missing something. It seemed odd that Jesus spoke of a leaven out of context with no explanation. That a healing of a blind man was inserted randomly. So we revisited this and as a group we saw something we thought remarkable.

11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.

By "generation" Jesus is using the word to mean "type" just like we'd say "the new generation Lincoln is better than the previous", etc.
Their type, having unbelief, will not recognize the signs in front of them, healings, earthquakes and resurrections! They are Blind!
13 And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.
14 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.
15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.
16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. They are focused on the things of this world, not the world Jesus is trying to get them to see. What is the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod?
Leaven is representative of sin. In this case, the sin is unbelief that Jesus is the Messiah, or even more, the Son of God. 
17 And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?
18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? 19 When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. 20 And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. 21 And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?
He's asking if they are blind!
22 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.
Now in the middle of this chapter on belief we have a blind man as an example. Coincidence? I think not.
23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. 24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
Could Jesus not heal him completely the first time?
Are you kidding me?
25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.
My best friend, years ago, shared with me an article his daughter had shown him. It was the medical record of a man whose sight had been given to him by surgery.  Link here
The man, upon seeing for the first time, saw men as trees.
The fact was that he could see, but could not interpret what he saw.
This was also true of the blind man Jesus healed. 
It's not enough to see. He needed a touch from Jesus to have understanding.
We as humans can see, but our spiritual understanding is not clear until we get a touch from Jesus.
In the rest of the chapter, Peter shows some understanding as to who Jesus is ("You are the Christ") and then quickly demonstrates he has no understanding as he rebukes Jesus for foretelling His death and resurrection.
Peter will understand later.
After he meets Jesus at the cross and gets his touch at Pentecost.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Movies

I have many favorite Christmas Movies.
My lovely wife Scherie has a list that we must watch between Thanksgiving and New Years.
Miracle on 34th Street.
A Christmas Carol
Ben Hur (trust me, a Christmas story. Starts and ends with a visit from the magi.)
It's a Wonderful Life
White Christmas
Holiday Inn which is arguably the greatest holiday movie ever someone thinks.
A Christmas Story
Christmas with a Capital "C"  which is inspired by a song, (A Really Great Song! with Brad Stine!)

We've added a new one:
The Nativity Story
I am loving the detail in this movie. It gets it across.