2/09/2010

CIU Alumni In Student Ministries Retreat 2...

For the second year in a row, my university is offering an all expenses paid retreat for graduates who are working in student ministries.

Last year, I was so blessed to be able to go and reconnect with old friends I hadn't seen in so long, laugh, relax, and be blessed by being refreshed. To be with people with the same passion as you is a wonderful thing. When those people happen to be the same as those you shared four years and many many adventures with, it's almost too good to bear. But thank God for it.

So here I am, in the hotel, after the first night of the retreat this year. Some of the same faces returned, some didn't, and some new faces came in their place. I can't wait to see what tomorrow holds.

I'll let you guys know how it goes...

2/04/2010

Five Fast Film Feelings...

This past week and a half, I've seen a few movies.

Editor's Note: What can I say? I have some gift cards to the theater and coupons to Blockbuster.

And even though I've been writing some itty bitty reviews on facebook, I knew my faithful blog readers were thirsting for my views on today's top cinema. Editor's Note: Yeah. That's right. I used "itty bitty". SO I wanted to record some of my thoughts here too.

So here's some quick reviews of the last five movies I've seen...

  • Legion- Here's the deal: I knew, going into this movie, that it was going to contain some of the worst theology imaginable. (God "loses faith" in humanity so he sends angels to kill everyone and one of them decides he knows better?! There are so many things wrong with just that sentence...) But I hoped that it would be so entertaining that I'd be able to muster up some mighty suspension of disbelief and enjoy it. Too bad it wasn't. And I couldn't. This movie is a mess of cliches, barely passable visual effects, and sub-par acting. If you're looking for a really great apocalyptic/awesome fighting movie, go see The Book of Eli. I'm still thinking about it weeks later and will probably see it again this weekend...

  • The Hurt Locker- This, by a far margin (fargin?), is the most intense movie that I've ever seen. It's all about a bomb squad in Iraq (which I have decided is a job that I'd definitely never like to have) and, because of all of the suspense that comes from waiting for someone to diffuse a roadside explosive, I almost had a heart attack. I mean, I had to take two breaks while watching it! It contains some of the best writing, direction, and acting performances I've seen in a while. In other words, it's a must see. It's also probably one that I'll never see again. After all, I love my heart and would like to see it keep working well into my... well... my next decade of life...

  • (500) Days of Summer- My friend Shannon, who is a guy, said this about it, "Anyone who's been dumped will hate this movie." So, having had my share of dumps (Wait... that might mean more than one thing... Hmm...), I went in expecting to detest it. But at the end, I didn't think it was that bad. I loved it's narrative structure. I thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt was fantastic. (He didn't do that weird eyebrow thing he did all over his SNL episode.) And I thought it was a very accurate depiction of a very bad breakup that stemmed from a very unhealthy relationship. But (hold on for controversy) I really didn't like Zooey. Never have. I think she's a terrible actress that only has one facial expression. All that to say, it wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be. But it wasn't my fave...

  • The Invention of Lying- Here's the deal: I love Ricky Gervais. Love him. I think he's hilarious. Ghost Town was one of my faves of 2008. And this movie doesn't disappoint... much. It's a little distracting having so many famous people constantly popping up in cameos. And the concept, while still funny, was already done in Liar, Liar. But, it's a solid comedy with some truly great moments, including some surprising dramatic turns by Gervais. If you love Ricky as much as I do, or love to see random actors pop up in tiny parts, grab this one soon...

  • Wonder Woman- After seeing a few of DC's other animated movies, putting this one in the viewing queue was a no-brainer. And it... was... awesome. Wonder Woman is a hero who's always just kind of been around. But not much of her origin has been told. No huge change with that here. (The origin is kept fairly short.) But the story it tells, as well as the character development, is great. If you love comics/superheroes, or just quality animation in general, this is a great rental...
  • 2/01/2010

    A Piece of My Childhood Died...

    Right now, in The Capital City, we have somewhere around four or five malls. But when I was growing up (or at least for the purposes of this post), we only had two. Out of those two, the mall that was closest to me was Dutch Square Mall.

    Dutch Square was the coolest mall ever for a kid. Sure, it had your stores that your mom drug you into: Belk, Hallmark, and Burlington Coat Factory (which I was totally disappointed to find out was not, in fact, an actual factory with conveyor belts that made coats). But it also had the greatest stores in the history of awesome: The Barrel of Fun and Cromer's Peanuts. Now, to put this in perspective, The Barrel of Fun was an arcade that you entered through a giant barrel!!! And Cromer's was a store in which you could buy everything from popcorn to snow cones to party supplies to magic tricks. But that wasn't even the best part. In the back of the store, THEY HAD MONKEYS!!! Real, honest to goodness monkeys. Every time I was forced to go try on clothes, which I hated, I was rewarded with a trip to see the monkeys. Well, a trip to see the monkeys and to Chick-Fil-A.

    For as along as I can remember, Dutch Square has had a Chick-Fil-A. I mean to say, I don't ever remember living, and Chick-Fil-A not being there.

    And now it's gone...

    About a month and a half ago, I went to a Saturday morning movie (as is my custom when I'm not working) and stopped by when it was over. There was a sign up that said "due to our imminent closure we won't be able to offer some products". So I asked, and sure enough, their closure was imminent. But I had no idea how imminent...

    When I returned a week later, this is what I found...

    Empty...

    And I know it may sound a little crazy, but I was actually and genuinely sad! Not necessarily at the loss of delicious chicken (because they built a free-standing Chick-Fil-A just outside of the mall), but at the loss of something I remembered loving as a kid.

    As a kid, I remember going there with my family. As a teen, I remember going with my friends. And as an adult, I've gone with my brother. But I won't be going anymore. Mega frown.

    I'm not sure who first said the old saying "you can't go home". But I if the "home" they're referring to was the Chick-Fil-A in Dutch Square, then I guess they were right.

    Now, who wants to go eat...