Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Astonishing Humility

I've just begun reading the book of Luke, & a have been turning over a couple thoughts...

-"And they [Joseph & Mary] did not understand the saying he [Jesus] spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them.And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart" (Luke 3:50-51). What a unique parenting situation Joseph and Mary found themselves in. They were parenting the perfect child...literally, THE KID NEVER SINNED! For some reason, that truth doesn't seem so astonishing when you think of Jesus as an adult...but then picture a toddler NOT SINNING. A four year old who ALWAYS listened to and obeyed mom and dad, the FIRST TIME. Part of me thinks it must have been a piece of cake to parent him...the other part of me thinks it must have been the most bizarre, complex, humbling situation in the world! What would it be like to have a child who knew infinitely more than you ever could? Who knew every thought you were thinking, and every word you spoke before it was on your tongue? Who you didn't make, but who made YOU?

Then think about what it was like for Jesus...he understood infinitely more than his mom or dad - he made his mom & dad - he was LORD of his mom and dad - but the Bible says "he was submissive to them". He obeyed them, he respected them. How humiliating that must have been! Yet he did it for the joy set before him...for US...


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Down to the Top 20...

OK, here's the deal. I like American Idol. Now that the 5th season is well undwerway and down to the top 20, I'd like to update you all on my picks for the top 5.

(Drumroll, please....)

#1. Elliot Yamin - So far he is my top pick. This guy can SING.

#2. Taylor Hicks (aka "Gray Haired Guy") - This guy runs a very close second, in my book. He's got talent, qwirkiness, and an obvious passion for music. Time will tell how musically versatile he is...but I really do hope he goes far. He's just fun to watch.

#3. Chris Daughtry (a.k.a. "Bald Guy") - Close third. This year's rocker. He's got that gritty, soulful voice.

#4. Ace Young (a.k.a. "Pretty Boy") - This guy's just got the "it" factor down - the talent and the image. He's got a bit of a tendancy to give sultry looks to the camera like Constantine did, but at least he's not greasy and he can actually sing.

#5. Katharine McPhee - I don't know that I like her a ton, but out of all the girls, at this point she's the best of the bunch. I do see hope for Melissa McGhee or Paris Bennett, though. We'll see.

As you can see, I predict that this year one of the guys will win. They're just too good, and most of this year's girls are just...well, annoying (did anyone else see that "kitty pound" thing? What was THAT?). I could type some more of my opinions here, right now, but that would only really reveal that perhaps I am a little TOO into this show. So I will now end this post, and then I will go read a book or take a walk or something. :)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Pleasantly Surprised

I just got back from seeing "The Second Chance" with my mom. For those who may not know, this is the new movie starring Michael W. Smith and directed by Steve Taylor. I'll admit that I went into the theater pretty skeptical...after all, it is: a) a movie starring Michael W. Smith ('nuff said), and b). a Christian movie - and let's face it, Christian movies don't exactly have the greatest track record (think "Left Behind"). However, I must say I was quite pleasantly surprised! It was actually rather well done. Not that it's an academy award winner. It's not. :) However, what it has is an edge to it that sets it apart from any Christian film I've seen, an interesting storyline, an spot-on portrayal of some aspects of the Christian subculture these days (a little painful to watch!), and even some humor. The acting wasn't too bad either! Even Michael W. Smith did alright.

I'd recommend that you all go see this little film. It's been open a week already, and right now it's playing at the Southdale Theater, as well as the Eden Prairie theater. It's not really one of those "evangelism tool" type films...it's definitely not aimed at non-Christians (Although, ironically, I wouldn't be embarrassed to show this movie to a non Christian, like I would with certain others!). It seems like something that the Church as a whole could benefit from seeing right now. It's worth checking out, at least! :)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I Think This Picture Captures Why My Husband Doesn't Think Figure Skating Should Be in the Olympics.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Random, Pointless Notes...

1). Last week I discovered a new restaurant that I really like: "Ole Store" (www.olestore.com). Too bad it's in Northfield! We went down there to celebrate my cousin-in-law Laura's birthday. From the outside, the restaurant looks like your typical, small town, run-down-schoolhouse-turned-restaurant cafe. But the inside is gorgeous! Super funky. Look at the pictures online. If I had a restaurant, that's how I'd decorate it. And the food was some of the best...I had the Asiago Chicken Fettucine. It was heavenly. Yummmmm.

2). Saturday night we went to see "Little Women" at the Orpheum. (It was Mark's Christmas present to me). We had incredible seats right above the orchestra pit, which was extra cool because when we got there we realized that someone we know was a musician in the pit! As for the show itself...the singing was very good. However, the guy who played the professor looked and sounded just like Will Ferrell doing the "Goulet" impression. We got the giggles in the middle of his song. Have you ever gotten the giggles in a snooty setting? At one point he even said "You always do...".

3). Yesterday we visited a church (which I shall leave nameless) featuring a choir of 100+ people (each wearing a different, brightly colored shirt), a horn section, and a worship leader wearing a suit/bright green tie and sporting a Crest-whitening kind of smile and telling everyone to sway along to the music. The sermon itself was pretty good, but the music portion of the service was so loud, big and cheesy/sacchariney that it overshadowed the rest, to the point where it was almost hard to focus on the sermon. I never thought I'd say that the music would turn me off to a church! Even music that doesn't sound that great is better than the most excellently done music in the world, if it's genuine. Does that make sense?

That is all. Happy Monday. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Where in the World Is Jennifer Knapp?

Today I picked up the brand new "Jennifer Knapp" Live CD. She has created some of my all-time favorite music in the Christian genre. With her gritty sound and hard hitting, scripture driven lyrics, she made quite a splash in the Christian music scene when she first emerged 6 or 7 years ago, and had a part of changing the face of "Christian music" as we knew it at the time. Her music was powerful, her fans were many, she influenced countless future musicians, and she acheived a good measure of success in the music business.

Two or three years ago, though, something happened. Very suddenly, she disappeared from the scene. She hadn't even toured to support her third album (as I can recall, at least). At first I assumed she was on some sort of hiatus...but here it is, years later, and barely a word (let alone a note) has been uttered from her publically.

What's even more odd is that no one seems to want to admit it. Her record company has released two albums over the last year and a half: one greatest hits CD, (featuring no new music, save a few previously un-released demos) and now the live CD, comprised of recordings that her band leader, at that time an aspiring producer, happened to record at various show dates in 2001. The only word from JKnapp herself is a brief, dateless note included in the CD jacket of the greatest hits CD. The new Live CD has nothing. All of the notes in it (including the thank you's) were written solely by her band leader, with an cryptic, past-tense tone, as if she was a thing of the past.

What gets me is that the companies advertising these projects say things like "Finally, a long awaited release from Jennifer Knapp"! and "Jennifer Knapp is back with more music!", nevermind the fact that all of the recordings contained on those CDs are 3+ years old, and not a peep is to be heard from her. It's as if the companies think the general public is stupid or something...there is a proverbial giant elephant in the middle of the room, and everyone is ignoring it!

What gets me even more is that you try to google "Where is Jennifer Knapp", and you generally find one of two things: sites with people perpetuating extreme, baseless rumors about her whereabouts and lifestyle, or sites with people seemingly condemning anyone who even wonders where she is, accusing them of putting her on a pedestal, and exhorting them to mind their own business and stop the hate.

Now...I have no interest in starting rumors about her lifestyle, and I understand the value of not speculating. I get it. However...call me crazy, but I'm not seeing anything wrong with wondering where she is, and feeling rather short-changed that no one will say or even admit that she's off the scene. Actually, it kind of ticks me off. It seems so fake, like "let's just cover up the problem and pretend it's not here". I know I don't idolize her, and I really don't think I'm putting her on a pedestal...but she was one of my favorite artists, who's music I always looked forward to hearing. Is it wrong for me to wonder where she's at? I guess a big part of me believes that while people shouldn't put artists on pedestals, by being an artist you are PUTTING yourself on a pedestal, in a way. You are setting yourself up to be a role model.

Anyway, I don't really know what my point is. I'm just ranting and raising a question. It does seem like a tricky situation...after all, what are those in the industry who are close to her supposed to do or say? Anyway, I'm wondering what anyone else's thoughts are on this situation. What would be the right way to handle it?

(p.s. The Live CD is really good. Some of the cuts from her 2nd & especially 3rd CD are better than what ended up on the actual CDs themselves)

Friday, February 03, 2006

I admit it...I'm a Disney Park nerd

Yesterday my brother introduced me to a fascinating podcast that has brought us both entertainment and enlightenment as we listen to it at work. "What could it be" you wonder? "A series of sermons? Profound thoughts from a great theologian; a Biblical scholar?". Well...no.

We've been listening to a Disneyworld fan podcast.

That's right. A podcast created by a very dedicated Disneyworld coneisseure named Ricky Something-or-other. (www.distantcreations.com/insidethemagic). Ricky lives in Orlando and holds an annual pass to the DisneyWorld parks. He uses his podcast to announce the latest happenings at the Disney Parks and to discuss various rumors of plans for the park with other Disney park fans. According to his website, he visits Disneyworld "almost every week".

Isn't that cool?! -ahem- err...I mean, how crazy is that?! :)

I should clarify that much of our time spent listening to this show is spent snickering in fascination at the obsession with Disney parks that these people have. Seriously, these are fans of Trekkie proportions. (Case in point: recently, "breaking news" on the show was that a fan had spotted steam once again emerging from the newspaper machine in the town-square scene on the Spaceship Earth ride). We laugh, but deep down, I think we both know that we're one of them...

The truth is, I think Disney parks are pretty darn cool. I've been to the Disney parks 10 times and haven't had enough. I love hearing about the renovations on Pirates of the Caribbean, I am sad about the closure of the Bear Country Jamboree, and I eagerly hope to someday ride the new Expedition Everest ride. That yetti looks pretty freaky. If I lived in Orlando, I'd probably have an annual pass (they're cheap) and I'd probably spend a fair amount of time in the parks. I'm not ashamed to say it.

So...am I a Disney nerd? Um, yes. Yes I am. I think though, that maybe we all have our own things that we're a little nerdy about. Some would call them quirks; some would call them guilty pleasures. It's something that makes us unique.

Of course, I could be wrong. I could just be a freak.

What are you nerdy about? What's YOUR "Disneyworld"? Come on, share...

...because if you don't, then I'll know that I'm wrong and I really am just a freak! :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Viva La Revolution!

We just got back from seeing "Les Miserables" at the Ordway. (Mark & I went for his birthday). What a stunning production! I loved it!!! Everything about it was done beautifully...the music, the visuals, the acting. And even though it's not a Christian story, per say (although the main character, Jean Valjean, had a very strong faith in God), there were many powerful Christian themes woven throughout the storyline...tons of little "analogies" that could be made in various scenes. Forgiveness, unconditional love, mercy...and revolution. Even though the story itself dealt with an attempted revolution in 19th century France, as they marched and sang about pressing on in spite of opposition, I couldn't help but think of the revolution that we as Christians are a part of every day. It was very moving! I love it when God uses unexpected things to remind me of the truths in His Word.

Anyway, I can't really do it justice by my description here, but I would highly recommend checking out this play. I'll close this blog with this line that was printed in the program. I'm not really sure what it's supposed to be about...(it's by Victor Hugo, so I'm assuming it's from the book Les Mis)...but read it and see if it doesn't remind you of the Hope we have in Christ:

'Will the future ever arrive?...Should we continue to look upwards? Is the light we can see in the sky one of those which will presently be extinguished? The ideal is terrifying to behold, lost as it is in the depths, small, isolated, a pin-point, brilliant but threatened on all sides by the dark forces that surround it; nevertheless, no more in danger than a star in the jaws of the clouds."
-Victor Hugo