The World According to kcillini77

February 27, 2007

A Few of My Favorite Things

Filed under: Uncategorized — kcillini77 @ 9:23 pm

We’re headed into my favorite time of year. Spring, when hope springs eternal. I could wax philosophical about the wonder of Easter and the new life that sprouts up in the natural world, but right now my thoughts turn to sports. March Madness is right around the corner, and though there are probably only six or so teams that could legitimately win it all, I’m sure I will fill out a bracket where Illinois wins it all. I always do. This team is nowhere near the talent of the 2005 team that made it to the championship game, but as March approaches, it’s all about the chance. If we make the field, who knows what could happen.

March Madness may be my favorite sporting event, but more than that, I cannot wait for baseball season. We have our Opening Day tickets for the Royals and on April 1, everyone will be even in the standings. I know the Royals aren’t going to make the playoffs this year, but Dayton Moore is changing the way business is done in Kansas City, and the future looks bright. Regardless of the standings, I just love driving around town or mowing the lawn listening to a game. The fact that the game is played almost every day for six months is what makes it magical to me. You lose one day and get another chance the next. Play Ball!

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Goodbye, Church.

Filed under: Christianity,Sarcasm — kcillini77 @ 9:08 pm

    I’m trying to figure out what to do with my Sundays, now that James Cameron has discovered the body of Jesus.  If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

Funny Stuff

Filed under: Christianity,Evolution/I.D. — kcillini77 @ 9:00 pm

The other day I was flipping channels and came across a Discovery Channel documentary called “The Anatomy of Sex”. I only watched for about a minute, but I had to write down this quote because it had me laughing. “…but the parts you like are no accident. They’re the product of four million years of evolution.”

The entire premise of evolution is that we came from nothing by random chance. I understand what they are getting at is that per the theory, trial and error determined that the organs that we currently sport were the best method of propogation of the species. But it points to the major flaw in the theory.  Since when does random chance lead from chaos to order?  Nothing in our universe works that way.  When’s the last time you saw a load of two by fours dumped onto the ground formed into a house without an architect and construction?  How about, “…but the parts you like are no accident. God had a purpose in mind when he designed the human body and it was GOOD.” That makes a whole lot more sense to me. What do you think?

February 24, 2007

It’s True, But Will It Sell?

Filed under: America,Christianity — kcillini77 @ 10:04 am

don’t want the song i want a jingle
i love you Lord but don’t hear a single
and the truth is nearly impossible to rhyme

but i know the songs with all the hooks
and i know some lies that will sell some books
so grab ‘em fast, i’m running outta time

just keep selling truth in candy bars
on billboards and backs of cars
truth without context, my favorite of all my crimes

Derek Webb, Ballad in Plain Red

On my last trip to Mardel, a Christian bookstore in our area, I found a great bargain on the clearance shelf. The book was Unspeakable: Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror, by Os Guinness. Published less than two years ago, this hardcover was offered for the bottom basement price of $6.97 in order to clear space on the shelves. I’m only to page 38 so I’m not ready to give a review, but I can tell you that Guinness is a profound author who wrestles mightily with truth and does not shy from it. The book is not fun, it doesn’t promise ten steps to happiness, but it is leading me to examine the human condition and my life.

Before I searched the bargain bins and found this gem, I was welcomed by a huge display of the latest bestsellers. To be sure, there are wonderful authors up there that have a lot to teach us: Max Lucado, Rick Warren, John Eldredge, Beth Moore, for example. But mixed in are the works of self-help “experts” who relay the latest trends in pop psychology peppered with Christianese (think Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, TD Jakes). Also there are doomsday prophets who point to the next technology as the mark of the beast and lead millions of Christians down the road of speculation based on esoteric readings of scripture alongside current events (John Hagee, Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins).

I never want to pay more than I have to for books, but this trip reminded me why I prefer to buy my books from an outlet like Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Don’t they sell all of those same books, along with obscene material and pornography? Yes, but they don’t sell under the pretense of being a Christian store. They ARE the world, what they sell represents the world. I am happy that they even sell books that represent truth in their mix.

I recognize that there are numerous strains of theology and eschatology in Christendom. I may have offended you by calling out an author you respect as being one I don’t agree with. But here’s the point. As Christians, we should care deeply about truth, wisdom, and discernment. If I ran a Christian bookstore, I would not refuse to carry any authors. In fact I would probably stock authors like Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins for the purpose of comparative study. But my feature shelf would not be based on what has sold the most copies. It would be full of books that speak truth most powerfully. If I didn’t, I think I would be held accountable for knowingly steering people to junk theology.

My bookstore would probably go bankrupt in six months.

February 21, 2007

Standing at the Gate

Filed under: Christianity — kcillini77 @ 12:16 am

When we bought our house, my wife and I didn’t put much thought into how it would be navigated by a ten month old child. We have come to believe that an architect must have set out to design the “Home Least Likely to be Effectively Child-proofed.” The award is most likely proudly displayed in an office somewhere. This oversight has led to the addition of this monstrosity at the top of the stairs leading to our basement.The gate

As a father, it amazes me to observe how Brinton’s natural tendencies seem to be directed toward things that were not meant for him. He ignores his toys and opts instead to play with the dog’s toys or with the remote control. He passes up his bottle of delicious formula and tries to grab a soda or a beer left on the coffee table. Some of these actions are relatively harmless and lead merely to a cute photo-op.

Brinton with Champ’s ball

But when it comes to Brinton’s physical and mental safety, we have to step in. We set boundaries. I resort to becoming a very amateur carpenter and spend a Sunday ruining the home decor in order to keep him from breaking his neck. But in the real world there will not always be a gate and, soon enough, we will need to bring it down. In its place will be rules that we set and, hopefully, common sense that develops over time as he follows his natural tendency to break those rules. If we continue to enforce these rules and allow for natural consequences to occur when he breaks them, he should start to understand that the rules are there for a reason. They are not there to spoil his fun or to keep him from being “true to himself” by following his inclination to danger. They are established to protect him and enable him to be around long enough to live the life he is ultimately intended to live.

Through Brinton, I think I am starting to grasp how God sees me. He loves me unconditionally. He can’t wait to see me in the morning and all day long because it delights him to see me experience the life I was created for. But, like Brinton, I have a natural tendency to reach for things not meant for me. I grow discontent with my possessions and want what my neighbors and co-workers have. I prefer comfort on the couch to serving others. Just seeing a picture of an attractive woman can cause me to lust after her despite the beautiful wife God has provided for me. I would rather fill my body and mind with nacho cheese and reruns than with nutritious food and God’s Word. He set the gates up by teaching me his laws through the Bible. But if He forced me to obey and left the gates closed, I would just be a robot doing His bidding. In order for me have the capacity to show Him love, he had to open the gate and allow me to make choices.

Similarly, as Brinton grows, we will remove the gates, cabinet locks, flotation devices, car seats, and infinite other contraptions our life savings are currently going towards. We will forgive him when he fails to follow the rules, but more than likely he will experience his share of pain and suffering along the way that could have been avoided had he listened to his parents.

This is exactly why God established rules for us and spelled them out in the Bible. He is not trying to keep us from wealth or sexual satisfaction or a comfortable lifestyle. He wants nothing but the best for us because he loves us so deeply. He will forgive our sins if we want to be forgiven and accept forgiveness through Christ, but we will still remember the pain and scars we experience as a consequence of our actions.

Brinton sees that ugly gate as a barrier to some place that must be more fun.

Brinton at the gate

I know better, just as God knows better than I.

As I am tempted to indulge in one of my favorite sins, I picture myself as a young child approaching an open gate.

Brinton at the edge

I have a choice. But I can see that there is a gate on both sides of me and I know Who constructed it. Do I listen to my Father, or do I forge ahead and accept the consequences?

February 17, 2007

Farewell, Chief

Filed under: America,Sports — kcillini77 @ 10:49 am

Chief

The University of Illinois yesterday announced that Chief Illiniwek will no longer grace the basketball court or the football field as of next Wednesday. It was an inevitable step after relentless pressure by some outspoken critics for years. The death knell was sounded when the NCAA injected itself by issuing an edict banning “offensive” mascots. Somehow performing an authentic dance in authentic dress is considered offensive and demeaning by the NCAA office, so if Illinois wants to host any more postseason events, the Chief has to go. Next I think the NCAA should start attending ethnic festivals – Irish, Italian, African, Russian, German, etc. and demand that anyone who is not actually Irish stop dressing Irish and dancing Irish dances and that only Germans can dress in lederhosen and do traditional German dances. Somehow actually trying to experience another culture (the goal of such festivals) is interpreted in the case of Chief Illiniwek as a caricature, a la the Cleveland Indians Chief Wahoo. But Chief Wahoo survives, and Illiniwek is dead. Rest in peace, Illiniwek. We will remember.

February 15, 2007

Defining Homophobia

Filed under: Uncategorized — kcillini77 @ 8:14 pm

From former NBA star Tim Hardaway:

“You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don’t like gay people and I don’t like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States.”

Now, let’s get this clear. These comments are intolerant and homophobic. Having thoughtful, pursuasive moral reasons for opposing the practice of homosexuality and the political agenda of the gay-rights movement, while affirming the value and dignity of all people created by God (including homosexuals) is NOT homophobic, and is, by definition, decidedly tolerant.

Get it? Got it? Good!

February 11, 2007

Mocking religion

Filed under: Arts — kcillini77 @ 7:52 pm

    This has been on my mind for a while, but I haven’t taken the time to sit down and type it out until today.  The same day my last article was published in the KC Star there was a blurb in the Faith section that stated “Two Fox network shows, ‘The Family Guy’ and ‘House’ consistently mock religion and people of faith, a study by the Parents Television Council says.”  My wife and I have become regular viewers of “House”, a drama about an abrasive doctor (Dr. House), who diagnoses and treats all kinds of mysterious illnesses.  I was somewhat taken aback at the statement, but resolved to pay attention as we watched both new episodes and some old ones we are catching up on via DVD.  I have done that, and I would like to rebut the statement made by the Parents Television Council.

Let me preface my comments by stating that, to be sure, there is content in the show that is certainly worth keeping children away from, and certain episodes require discretion by adults.  So I will allow that an organization for parents is well within its role to caution parents about the show in general.  But stating that it mocks religion and people of faith smacks of hypersensitivity by people who cannot tolerate opposing viewpoints on any issue.  The main character, to be sure, is a self avowed atheist.  He makes all kinds of snide comments about just about anyone who doesn’t believe as he does.  But he is presented as an extremely flawed character – as someone incapable of love or compassion.  Other characters, both patients and other doctors, are presented in neutral or favorable lights as they offer other viewpoints and show caring for people.   Some episodes present a contrast between his character and people who manage to care and love someone as unlovable as Dr. House.  The contrast between Dr. House and “real people” is the show’s crowning achievement.  Most of the time, I can see some of myself in both Dr. House and in the people he is compared to.  This is a very real presentation of the human condition.  We are all deeply flawed people, but (through Christ – here is where I must extrapolate what the show does not present) we are able to overcome our flaws and love.   The statement by the Parents Television Council seems to imply that we should not be a party to a show where disparaging comments are made about our faith.  But we live in a real world, and people disparage our faith every day.  If we turn off a television show when someone makes a comment we don’t agree with, we can feel self-righteous about our decision and think we are doing what Jesus would have done.  However, if we turn away from the people around us who are hostile to our faith, we are being decidedly un-Christlike.  Maybe instead of flipping to a more innocuous program when a question of faith is addressed, we could use the opportunity to think about how we would respond in our workplace to such a situation so that we can be prepared with an answer.

“House” is a show that prompts discussion between my wife and I about varied topics often including our beliefs and how we might better love other people.  I can’t think of more you could ask for in a television show.  It is certainly not mindless entertainment.  I think it is important as consumers of television and movies to make choices that teach us.  “House” does just that, if you will let it.

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