Don’t Push The Button(!)

I’m a sucker for a movie with an intriguing science fiction premiss. Even if, almost without fail, the premiss is better than the movie itself. Because a good sci-fi premiss is more than a plot device, it’s a moral question.

the_box4

One premiss I sometimes come back to is the set-up for the Box. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil the ending [1], but the movie asks a simple question: Would you cause a stranger’s death if it meant you would be richly rewarded?

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10 Alternative Christian Movies

GHOZT WRITER

Are you ready for some hyper-earnest biblical renditions? Russell Crowe packing the world’s most complete zoo on a boat. Diogo Morgado squinting his dreamy eyes of Christ, oozing with compassion and loving kindness. Yep. No shortage of that kind of Christian movie.

But, what about a Christian film for the restavus? Something a little less uber-preachy and painfully-predicatable. An alternative Christian movie. [1]

1. The Apostle (1997)

Robert Duvall as a Holy Ghost powered preaching and killing machine. Serious. Not a campy horror movie, but an earnest portrayal of deeply flawed man and his enduring heart for God. Sound familiar?

2.. Higher Ground (2011)

Higher_Ground_farmiga-praying

Finding and losing and then maybe finding your faith again can be a journey akin to Ulysses’ voyage home. Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut is heartfelt and sexy in ways that, I’m guessing, a lot of true believers can relate to.

3. The Last Temptation of Christ…

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A JARGON-LESS PRAYER

praying squirel

Every group uses jargon, words that people in the group understand but people outside the group don’t.

Prayer [1] is, of course, no exception. We use phrases like, “hedge of protection” to describe when we’re worried about someone and we hope nothing bad happens to them. And we say “burdens” to refer to important things things that we can’t stop thinking about, or “fellowship” to mean hanging out with other Christians, or “testimony” to mean the story of why we converted to Christianity.

I’m not saying this is wrong. Actually, it’s normal. People in any group develop their own language. Professionals do it. Families do it. Jargon, at it’s best, makes communicating faster and easier. And it also makes us feel closer to the people that share our jargon, like we’re all in the same club.

But, the downside is that people on the outside don’t really understand it.

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JPjuly'12.001Juan Zung is a secular Christian, practicing Christianity but remaining atheistic in his beliefs. If this seems completely contradictory, welcome to his world! He writes freelance copy “for a living” and he blogs at Ghozt Writer. His posts on Christianity are found HERE.

A Theology of Fun (!): Reflections on Albert Hung’s Sermon “Vision Sunday”

By Juan Zung

Last Sunday, Pastor Albert preached about “Vision Sunday!” A vision where church is a party. Where church is fun!

But what exactly is a fun church?

And how does one make a church fun?

Big questions. I don’t have the answers. But I googled it. And found some interesting stuff.

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Diffusion of Responsibility: Reflections on Christine Hung’s Sermon “Heart to Heart”

By Juan Zung

Part One: What I Did

One night, not so long ago, I heard a woman scream. I’m pretty sure she said “Help Me!” By the way her voice tailed off, it seems like she was in a fasting moving car. If she was in trouble, it would have been important for me to get outside asap if I’d have any chance of identifying the vehicle.

I hesitated.

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Small Unit Cohesion: Reflections on Albert Hung’s Sermon “Shoulder to Shoulder”

by Juan Zung

In the (almost) beginning, a farmer named Cain killed his brother, a shepherd named Abel. [1] Joseph Campbell says we’ve never been the same since. [2] In short, we kinda used to be communists, but then we kinda all became capitalists.

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A Drink with Jesus: Reflections on Albert Hung’s Sermon “Everyone Matters to God”

by Juan Zung

Hey, so, here’s an interesting thought. What if the Samaritan woman at the well is the new Jacob? [1]

Let me explain.

Here’s the story: Jesus is at Jacob’s Well. That same classic pick-up place where Jacob first met the love of his life, Rachel. And it’s at that same well where Jesus meets the Samaritan woman.

Wilhelm Wachtel - Rachel And Jacob At The Well

Wilhelm Wachtel – Rachel And Jacob At The Well

And, just like Jacob, our heroine is a master manipulator, the trickiest of tricksters.

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3 Biblical Reasons to Trust Your Conscience

by Juan Zung

My Position: Your conscience matters!

My 3 Biblical Reasons to Trust Your Conscience:

1) We are made in the image and likeness of God

In the first biblical creation account, God made us in His image and likeness. I believe this means more than that we look like God, but that we are made to act like God.

“Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” [1]

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What is Christmas? 8 Stories From Trinity Church

What does Christmas mean to you?

What does Christmas mean to you?

With Christmas only a couple days away, it brings back a lot of memories for some people. For others, it’s a time during the year where we reflect on the great gift God gave us with the birth of Jesus.

For everyone, there’s a different story about Christmas. Not everyone grew up with the same celebrations and for some, the story of Christmas is ever changing. Some have great family memories. Others have surprise presents.

We asked several people of our church to share their Christmas story. What was their favorite memory? What do they look forward to every year? What does Jesus’ birth mean to them?

Here are our stories:

Pastor Albert

What I love most about Christmas is that for one quiet morning, I feel as if God and my family have my full attention.  The distractions of work and the world seem to fade away and I am fully present in the moment.  I am truly content and blessed and at peace.

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Come All Ye Faithless?

By Juan Zung

When I was a kid, there were several bands I was afraid of. Bands like AC/DC and Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. I thought that if I liked those bands, God would be angry with me and I wouldn’t go to Heaven. Little did I know that Ozzie Osbourne was (and is) a praciticing Christian. And that AC/DC, despite common loadie speculation, does not stand for “Anti-Christ/Devil’s Child.” And, to my surprise, Judas Priest was not a Satanic cult, but actually got their name from a Bob Dylan song (which incidentally is about the value of Commandments 7 & 10).

So, over time, I let go of my superstitious fear of listening to “Devil” music. But it still subconsciously bothered at me. Even during my most agnostic times, I avoided overtly anti-Christian bands. Take Bad Religion for example. After all, can a band be more anti-religion than to be called Bad Religion?

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