The Sky is Falling

Of course the sky is falling! It has been falling piece by piece ever since Adam and Eve ate what they weren't supposed to! But of course, that never really mattered to us until pieces started falling in our neck of the woods!

In case you haven't figured it out, this will be a small rant on America, the recent financial brouhaha, the morons on Capital Hill, and the UGA v. AL game. Ok well I'm not going to talk about the game....too painful!!

Without going into all the details, it is obvious that all is not well in the American economy. I realize that houses are being foreclosed on, some jobs are being lost, companies are being bought out and the price of gas continues to skyrocket (at least in places that are still able sell gas)! But seriously, let's not act all surprised. Houses are being foreclosed on because some idiots decided it was a good idea to give another idiot a loan for a house to a person who couldn't afford the house to begin with. Companies are being bought out because the idiot giving the loan now doesn't get his money back because the idiot who couldn't afford this house in the first place certainly can't afford it with a jacked-up interest rate. Gas prices continue to go up because we continue to use gas, driving anywhere and everywhere we please in our 10-to-the-gallon monster vehicles (yes I realize I drive a truck with a 350 V8).

All I'm saying is that this was completely bound to happen when we as Americans suffer from the debilitating diseases known as entitlement, materialism, and greed. We think we all deserve life's luxuries no matter how extravagant. We think we all deserve tons of stuff, no matter how insignificant. Meanwhile 2/3 of the world live on $2 a week, die from starvation and curable disease, and live in a 10' X 10' hut with 10 other families. I'm the first to say that America is a great country, I love my freedom, and I love my stuff. But we can't seriously continue to turn a blind eye to the rest of the world and indulge ourselves in our never-ending greed and think that everything will be perfectly fine.

So how do we react. We start pointing fingers, and then we beg the government to bail us raising our taxes. After all we deserve it! We're entitled not to suffer! Meanwhile to problem compounds until we are all left standing in bread lines blaming God for such terrible injustice!

I don't wish for America to plummet into utter oblivion! I don't like the thought that families will suffer because of this. I don't like the thought that our children's future is now being compromised. But we knew it was coming right? I'm not saying God is punishing us, but I do think He is right. If we were to compare biblical values, principles, and truth with America we would see great disparity...nay we would see that we are on polar opposite sides. And because of that God doesn't have to punish us. We are punishing ourselves, gorging ourselves on what we want with no price too great, all the while rejecting the very life that will fulfill us completely!

However, there is hope! I for one am confident that the sky will completely crumble on this world one day, America included! Yet, there is hope! Of course my hope doesn't rest in a governmental system or a $700 billion economic bail-out! It doesn't rest on how well I can pick myself up by my boot straps. It doesn't rest on the hope of a better tomorrow (perhaps there will be one, but I'm not inclined to say we deserve one). Our hope can only be in the fact that for those in Christ Jesus, this world is going to give way to another, one that is perfect, complete, whole, and without flaw. From the beginning of time, from the very first bite of the forbidden fruit, Jesus Christ was the only Hope of the world. He wasn't a part of the solution. He was and is THE ANSWER! And I don't mean that he will return your money to you 10 fold if you'll just tithe this coming Sunday. I don't mean that he will miraculously refinance your mortgage so that you can retain that over sized house. And I don't mean that he will continually replenish the gas inside your tank without you ever entering another gas station. I mean that he, through his grace and love shown completely by his death on the cross and his victory in his Resurrection will rescue us from the underlying cause of not only all of the world's pain, suffering, and injustice, but also from the eternal separation that we had from God because of our utter rebellion!

God is victorious over all through Christ Jesus and thus we can overcome! However, it requires complete rejection of the "American Way."

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

"For whoever wants to save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:25-26

Big Game, Big Game

Just like last year, I have had someone give me FREE tickets to the UGA v. AL game in Athens on Saturday. I am pretty excited despite of the fact that it is a night game and I will probably arrive home mere hours before I have to lead worship at church (I'm guessing 4:30...we'll see), and despite the fact that Karen can't go with me. This is a really huge game that could define a great part of the season for both teams, and I am grateful that I didn't have to pay for the tickets, which are going for $400-$500 on ebay. It'll be a really fun time. And I'll make a memory or two. Then I will come back, another week will pass by, and the outcome of that game will no more effect the course of my life for the next 10 years than the man on the moon.

What is it about sporting events that gets us so excited? I suppose that is understating it for a vast majority of the people that will be there. I mean, folks will be crazy at the game, will have spent an insane amount of money on the tickets, souvenirs, pregame beer and other tailgating necessities, and then will spend 3 hours screaming their lungs out at a game over which they have no control and which will bring them nothing more than perhaps a good feeling and something to brag about at work on Monday. Meanwhile, people who care enough to watch at home will have the comfort of their living room and the luxury of a gazillion different camera angles from which to watch not only live play, but also replays of anything worth seeing a second time (or a third or tenth time, depending on the magnitude of said play). And for those of you in the upper-crust of society will perhaps have the game on DVR, which you can conveniently pause live television. I myself will be in section 604, row 6 seat 11. You may see me if they show footage of the blimp....I'll be just below it, or any low hovering clouds I suppose. Methinks I should probably bring some oxygen just in case.

Regardless, I am still pumped that I'll be at this game, realizing that at the end of it, I will have had a good time, been distracted from the toils of everyday life (even though mine are small and largely insignificant). So, having said that


The Name Game

So I got this from Josh over at The Smoak House...I laughed so much I had to do my own!

Your real name: Matthew

Gangsta name (1st three letters of your real name plus izzle, favorite ice cream & fav type of shoe): Matizzle Moosetracks Deizel

Native American name (fav color, fav animal): Red Dog

NASCAR name (1st names of grandfathers): Harold Clifford (gosh that's a good one!)

Dancer Name (fav perfume/scent, fav candy): Strawberry Twix

Soap Opera name (middle name, street you live on): Crawford Gethsemane (I do a lot of smell-the-fart's from know!)

Star Wars name (1st 3 letters of middle name, 1st 2 letters of first name): Crama (Talk in weird sentences I do.)

TV Weather/Anchor name (5th grade teacher’s last name, major city that starts with same letter): Wiggins Washington (I can hear the announcer saying my name now!)

Spy name (fav season, fav flower): Summer Tulip (gee, am I am spy disguised as a girl?)

Cartoon name (fav fruit, article of clothing you are wearing now): Peach Pants

Hippie name (what you ate for breakfast, fav tree): Muffins Dogwood

Super Hero name (2nd fav color, fav drink): Blue Creamslush

Witness protection name (parents’ middle names): Clyde Lynn

Goth name (black, name of one of your pets): Black Howard

Movie Star name (1st pet’s name, 1st street name):Muffin Browning

Iraqi name (2nd letter of first name, 3rd letter of mom’s maiden name, 3rd letter of dad’s name, 1st letter of a sibling’s first name, last letter of mom’s first name): Aaysn (I suppose that is short for something?)

Rock Star name (1st pet, current car): Dog Silverado (Thank You Cleveland)

Wow....Josh's were much funnier than most of mine. I think I'm gonna keep the NASCAR name...that's classic for sure!! Now you should do yours!!

Since summer is officially coming to an end, I thought that I needed to stand by my word and give my final summer movie review of the movies that I viewed this summer that I said I would review after viewing.....them....this summer.... Yes I did go to the school of redundancy school. As a reminder, I will be giving a numerical rating based on the entertainment value, my recommendation value (10 being a must-see and 1 being SNOOZER), along with of course various information that I feel necessary or important.

The Dark Knight - I'll start with my favorite first. Oh man this movie was really great that I saw it twice in the theater (add that up and it was like $50 worth of ticket) and intend to see it again when it comes out on home video! I've read tons of reviews from the Christian and non-Christian perspective...Christians trying to cram the movie into a Christian and theological box, comparing the Joker to the depravity inside us all, and Batman as a not-so-accurate portrayal of Christ (not that all that is a bad thing) and non-Christians raving about how amazing the special effects were, how scary the Joker was, and how a sequel will never compare given Heath Ledger's untimely death.

For my review, I'll say this movie was just amazing.....I'll even go so far as to say that it is in my top 3 movie's of all time (I said that to a group of seminary friends, to which one replied "Mary Poppins was a better movie." I wanted to Mary Pop-him in the face...but I refrained). It was dark, and a bit creepy at times, but it was a great show.

Entertainment Rating - 9.5

Recommendation Rating - 9

21 - I couldn't tell you any of the other actors in this movie besides Kevin Spacey, but that didn't matter. Though the movie got pretty bad reviews overall, and went rather quickly to the movie stores, it wasn't that bad. There was an unexpected twist at the end that didn't necessarily drop my jaw, but made the ending more interesting. The plot was a bit of a stretch, but overall it was entertaining. It's a good rainy-day-nothing-else-on-TV-let's-go-rent-a-movie type movie!

Entertainment Rating - 7

Recommendation Rating - 6

August Rush - I wasn't really thrilled with the prospect of watching this movie, but I am really glad I did. The movie kinda had a post-modern Annie feel to it. The acting was only OK (I love Irish accents and cute kid a non-creepy way) and the plot rather strange. But what made this movie stand out was the soundtrack. I'm not sure what it was, but this was the best musical soundtrack since....well come to think of it that is one of the only movies that I've ever thought "what a great soundtrack!" I don't know who did the arrangement, but it was great. The plot of the movie has a mystic, new age, post-modern slant that actually made me feel a bit uncomfortable, but overall it is worth seeing.

Entertainment Rating - 5

Recommendation Rating - 8.5 (for the music alone)

300 - So you won't hear me say this often, but this was the worst movie I think I've ever seen. It was all the rave for it's shot-all-in-a-studio-in-Hollywood approach and special effects, but honestly I wasn't impressed. Actually the effects, constant sepia-esq film color, and other such unusuals really just got on my nerves. Add that with the plot that could have been really cool but was used strictly to show a bunch of ridiculously ripped guys slicing and dicing each other in slow-motion and you've got yourself one pretty bad movie. It kinda reminded me of a bad Gladiator. Don't waste your time!

Entertainment Rating - 2

Recommendation Rating - 1

Tombstone - Yes this is an older movie. I think it came out in the early 90's, but I had not seen it in many years. It was on TV the other night so I decided to watch it. It is a good movie, really entertaining, and good story line. What did catch me off guard is how much special effects have evolved over the last 10-15 years, especially when Wyatt Earp pistol whipped some of the looked bad fake. Doc Holiday makes this movie with his humor and one-liners that everybody quotes to this day....they are a daisy because they do.

Entertainment Rating - 7

Recommendation Rating - 7

I feel confident I probably saw a couple of other movies that were so memorable I forgot to review them. These were the stand-outs in both good and bad ways! All in all, I'd say I like movies.....but if I were being really honest, they are probably a supreme waste of what is otherwise perfectly good time. Got any recommendations for some good time-wasters?

It's Not Fair!

Most of you who read this blog know that I am thankful that Karen and I live in Alabama. We live in a beautiful place where the cost of living is the close to the lowest in the country. Most everyone around here is nice enough, we feel safe, we have a wonderful home, nice yard, and we both have great jobs.

However, you also know that being from the great state of Georgia leaves me somewhat critical of Alabama. Sometimes it is without cause. But for the most part, my cynicism is legitimate. Need a case-in-point....of course you do...else what would be the point of this blog?

So a friend of Karen's told her that Huntsville was having the annual Northeast Alabama State Fair. Karen and I really love the fair, specifically the Perry Fair, also known as the Georgia National Fair. Living in middle Georgia, the Perry fair is a yearly tradition. So when we found out there was a fair in Huntsville, we were excited and decided on Sunday evening to make the 45 minute trip to check it out. As we drove closer to the fair grounds, we began looking for the rides. I'm not a big fair-ride rider (have you seen the people running those rides? Have you seen those rides? Have you seen the people throwing up after getting off of those rides?Yeah!)So we scanned the horizon looking for the pinnacle fair ride...the Ferris wheel. That would be the only ride I would ride.....although I had already decided in my mind I might would venture on one of the more tame rides if Karen wanted to.

Well, as it turns out, all of that decision making was deemed completely we neared the "fair" we realized that there was, in fact, no Ferris wheel. NO FERRIS WHEEL!! Any other time this would lead me to the conclusion that this event was not a fair at all. However, that was merely the first sign!

Despite the fact that there wasn't a Ferris wheel, we parked the car, paid our combined $12 entrance fee, and walked into the fair grounds. Since I do not like rides, I typically spend a good amount of time looking at exhibits, livestock, arts and crafts, sideshows, etc. I also spend a large amount of time deciding what I want to eat, and then eating it. The exhibits at this "fair" consisted of 3 churches with tents set up for sharing Jesus, and 1 psychic palm reader. Yes that is it! After the 4 steps through the exhibits we arrived at the "midway". Oh boy!

We walked around looking at the "rides" and then decided our first move should be to acquire some fair food. Mmmmmm....I love fair food. Sure it's fatty, greasy, and completely unhealthy....but man it tastes good....usually. Karen and I order a corn dog a piece and shared a coke. 2 bites into it, Karen's corn dog began to drip batter. Unfried batter. To top it off, the corn dog didn't even taste good.....HOW CAN YOU MESS UP A CORN DOG???? So 2 bites a piece in, and they were trash. After re-evaluating the overpriced, under-safe rides and in our better judgement deciding not to ride anything, we decided to get a funnel cake. I'm convinced you can't mess up a funnel this was the highlight of our "fair" experience!

We finished the funnel cake and walked out the gate, back to the car, and went to Target. We spent maybe a grand total of 20-25 minutes at this event they in Alabama call a fair, but what we Georgians would call a "waste-of-time"! What a disaster. It was awful. To top it off, and I say this humbly, but I am pretty sure we were one of the very few people there who weren't living right around the poverty level. I'm really not trying to be mean but everyone there (and surprisingly, there were tons of folks there) seemed to be spending their months check on the rides and carny games. It was rather sad.

So at the end of the day, Karen and I were left still wanting a high-quality fair experience. The good news is that my 10 year high school reunion is on Oct. 11, which is right about Perry Fair season, so perhaps we'll be able to go to it this year and experience the glorious fall seasaon goodness that is the Perry Fair! And for all you Georgia folks, perhaps we'll see you there!!

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