Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This Relationship Corner: "Will You Marry Me?"

Proposals are more an art than a science, but that doesn't mean that a little science wouldn't hurt. While there's no one way to propose, a successful proposal has several common factors that I want to address. There are also plenty of common factors present in unsuccessful proposals. It is my hope that today's installment will help your proposal be a memorable story you tell your grandchildren, and not an embarrassing Youtube video that will haunt you forever.

Let's start with the most important factor in a proposal. If you don't know 100%, that the answer is "yes," then don't propose. I realize that this isn't the most romantic advice, but I have news for you. We're talking about marriage, a lifelong commitment that requires a lot of work and sacrifice. Maintaining a successful marriage isn't easy, and if you don't have the right partner by your side, you're already starting with a huge handicap. Part of having the right partner is the both of you being on the same page, and that includes the both of you having the same opinion on marriage. If only one of you is going to be committed to your marriage, then that's a problem.

Monday, November 21, 2011

How I Met Your Mother: "The Rebound Girl"

Quick Review: An enjoyable episode that ends in a shocking reveal.

Episode Synopsis: Ted and Barney make a life-altering decision; and Robin tries to talk Lily and Marshall out of moving to Long Island. -tvguide

Spoilers ahead, so watch the episode before you proceed. Seriously, there are some great moments that you don't want ruined, and I'm not kidding about the reveal. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bible Questions and Answers

Whenever we enter the political season, politicians like to make hay (and other farm byproducts) by speaking about their desire to legislate out of the Bible. Naturally, this causes many in their audience to ask a lot of questions.

The Bible is not a simple document, and is has a long, proud history of not being a simple document. Not everyone understands what it really says and how it applies to modern life. After all, the context of the Bible is not a world that included the internet, refrigerators, and working knowledge of deoxyribonucleic acid. It can be tough to apply all those old rules and regulations to modern life.

This can lead to a lot of tricky questions. These are bound to come up in conversation, particularly if you happen to be using the Bible as your sole argument as to why everyone shouldn't be allowed to do things you don't approve of. The following is taken from from forwarded emails on the subject, a satirical series of questions about the Bible, aimed squarely at those who want to legislate Biblical rules.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This Review of 'The Muppets'

Quick Review: If you love the Muppets, you must see this movie.

Full Review: My original plan for this review was to simply compare this film to the past Muppet movies and see if it holds up. I was going to treat this like just another movie, but after watching The Muppets, I realized that such a perspective would miss the point entirely.

I could just tell you how great this film is, how it's very funny, witty, moving, and quite possibly second only to 1979's The Muppet Movie in terms of greatness. All of those statements are true, and if that's enough to make you go see it, by all means stop reading here, see it, and then come back to read the rest of this review. It'll still be here, and you'll understand why this isn't just another rehash, remake, or reboot. This is something we've never seen before from the Muppets, and ever since I walked out of that advance screening, I've been trying to wrap my head around why this film was great. I hope this following review does the film justice.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This Relationship Corner: Road Trips

As we begin to date our significant other, we look for clues and signs about the direction of our relationship. Is this just a short-term fling? Or is this the beginning of something long-term? We become little scientists, putting on mental and emotional lab coats and getting out clipboards and running the numbers. Testing is an important part of the relationship process, and I'll talk more about it in a later installment.

Today's topic concerns one test that I believe you must run before committing to this other person for the rest of your life: the road trip.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How I Met Your Mother: "Tick, Tick, Tick."

Quick Review: Not the most fun episode of the season. It wasn't bad, just very, very complicated.

Episode Synopsis: Robin and Barney keeps secrets from their respective significant others; and Marshall, Lily and Ted go to a concert. -tvguide

Spoilers ahead, so watch the episode before you proceed.

Friday, November 11, 2011

What’s my Line?

What’s my line?
By Charles B. French and badchristian

A Director is trying to give motivation to an Actor playing Peter in the pivotal scene when he confronts the Sanhedrin.
Reference Verses: Acts 4:1-22

The Actor’s missed lines are all famous movie, television, Shakespeare, or speech quotes. They should be done in the style of these famous lines.

The Seven Steps of the Savior

The Seven Steps of the Savior
Charles B. French

I wrote this reading for a Good Friday service. It follows the life of Jesus and ends with His arrest, crucifixion, and death.

To Carry A Mat

To Carry a Mat
By Charles B. French

The men who carried the paralytic to Jesus would stop at nothing, literally nothing, to see their friend healed. Still, such an act of faith could not have been easy for all of them, just as taking a step of faith isn’t always easy for us today.
Reference Verses: Luke 5:17-26

Characters: John is cynical about Jesus, and Paul has his doubts. Daniel has faith and Joshua is determined to get his friend to Jesus.

The Tempter's Trainee

The Tempter's Trainee
By Charles B. French

We all have free will. The devil can’t literally make us do anything. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t temptations out there that can trap and destroy us if we’re not careful, and even if we Christians can avoid the usual pitfalls, there are plenty of other temptations we can fall into. Sometimes what seems good is actually the worst thing in the world for us. The devil is a crafty one. He’s also a really big jerk.
Reference Verse: 1 Peter 5:8

Satan – a seeming paradox. He is very smooth and yet is a big bully. He is very full of himself and yet immature. To play him, all you need is a man in a really nice suit.
Demon – Satan’s new lieutenant. He sits back watching the master at work. He is also in a suit, but in a tweed one.
Martin – a young man just leaving college.
Nancy – a wife and mother who is devoted to everything she does
Billy – a firebrand who is out to destroy all he believes is evil

Sunday Morning Runway

Sunday Morning Runway
By Charles B. French

It’s so easy to forget what church is really supposed to be, and who we are supposed to be there to follow. 
Reference Verses: Luke 9:23-26

Characters: Jim is the announcer and Steve is the color commentator. The announcers sit at a table wearing headphones, talking into microphones. They look past the audience at the “runway.”

Plus 2

Plus 2
By Charles B. French

Church is more than just sitting through a weekly service, and to truly get something out of the experience, one also needs fellowship with fellow Believers and service in the church and/or community. (The Worship +2 concept)
Reference Verse: Hebrews 10:25

Characters: Three people are all giving their own testimonies about being a part of a church. Aaron only attends worship services. Billy only attends worship and Sunday-school, while Cathy attends worship, Sunday-school, and participates in ministry.

Parental Priorities

Parental Priorities
By Charles B. French

It can be so easy in our marriages to be overwhelmed by life, be it from our careers or our children. Sometimes parents need to take time for just themselves, recharge, and take a break from it all. A strong marriage leads to better child-rearing and a better life for everyone involved.
Reference Verses: 1 Corinthians 7:3-5

Characters: The Narrator, tells the story of  Barry and Susan, who meet, marry, have children, and become exhausted. Susan’s sister Janet is eventually forced to intervene.


By Charles B. French
Sometimes we Christians speak another language altogether, and it can be hard to translate to outsiders wondering just what we’re up to.

Characters: Mary is someone who read a flyer advertising a Christian club. When she arrives she meets Rick and Ruth, who are no help whatsoever, and Paul, who finally helps her get to the bottom of things.

Five Advent Readings

Five Advent Readings
By Charles B. French

If you are looking for something to read as you light the candles for Advent, I offer you five passages, one for each Sunday. Each week follows the traditional Advent schedule, talking about the different people who played a role in the Christmas story: the prophet Isaiah, the Shepherds, Mary, the Three Wise Men, and Simeon. 

Note: The final reading has two versions, for either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. They are the same passages otherwise.

Extreme Makeover – Heart Edition

Extreme Makeover – Heart Edition
By Charles B. French

In our zeal to celebrate Christmas, it’s easy to forget the real reason for the season and instead focus on everything that doesn’t matter. We make ourselves and everyone else miserable during a time of year when we should be celebrating and contemplating God’s great love for us.
Reference Verse: Luke 2:8-20

Characters: Gary is the type of person who makes everyone miserable by trying to make Christmas perfect. He should be dressed somewhat Christmassy and will have a cell phone.  Ty is the host of the show who wants to change Gary’s heart.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This Relationship Corner: Birthdays

My wife and I have a tradition for her birthday. We have a lot of recipe books lying around, including the three volume set of tomes from Alton Brown. Every year, she gets to pick several recipes from one of those books for a fantastic meal, and I make it for her. It's something she always looks forward to because I'm not too shabby in the kitchen, and when paired with these advanced recipes, I produce some of my best output.

This leads me to today's topic: birthdays. Birthdays are important for a lot of us, and if they're important to your significant other, then they better be important to you. You better make a big deal about it, and above all else, you better remember when it is. In this digital age, there is no reason why someone's birthday should sneak up on you. If you can't remember it, you know there's an app for that. To forget a birthday is an act of willful ignorance. (Or a sign of severe head trauma, but men, if you're going to use that excuse, get a doctor's note.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Land Wars and Peer Pressure

Growing up, we all succumbed to peer pressure. Whether it was to smoke, drink, or get a stupid haircut forever memorialized in our high school yearbook, we did it because all our friends thought it was a good idea. I, too, fell into peer pressure growing up, and it's something that many of us did because we thought it made us look cool. I got involved in a land war in Asia.

Monday, November 7, 2011

How I Met Your Mother: 'Disaster Averted'

Quick Review: Easily the best episode of the season so far.

Episode Synopsis: The friends recall their memories of Hurricane Irene; and Barney tries to get out of wearing the ducky tie. -tvguide

Spoilers ahead, so watch the episode before you proceed.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Finding God in Goodfellas

Christians aren't supposed to like movies like Goodfellas. We're especially not supposed to buy the movie on DVD because we can't stand the TV version and want all the cursing intact. As you can probably tell, I disagree with both of those notions. Goodfellas is one of my favorite movies, and not because I only watch movies about crooks with filthy mouths. For me, it's the story that matters most, which is why Goodfellas is right next to my giant Pixar collection. (The scene where Woody asks Buzz "How am I funny?" is classic.)

Goodfellas is an amazing story for several reasons. The first is that it is a true story, based on the book Wiseguy. In a rarity for Hollywood, the movie stays pretty faithful to the real-life events, because when you read about what the real-life Henry Hill was up to, you'll see why they didn't need to embellish. The other reason the movie is amazing is that it's a perfect morality tale.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This Relationship Corner: Territory

Did you ever have to share a room growing up? Perhaps you shared a dorm room in college. Or you were forced to share a backseat with one or more siblings on a long family road trip. (Even worse, you had to share it back when cars didn't come equipped with DVD players...the horror!) If you've ever had to share space with another person, you've dealt with the issue of territory. You also know how it feels when someone violates your territory, and that feeling is the opposite of a pleasant surprise.

Let's go back to that shared room. The Interpersonal Communication Book (11th edition) by Joseph A. Devito refers to our room as one of our primary territories. And a primary territory, be it your room, house, or car, is your most sacred space. You don't want just anybody coming in a violating it. Now, if you already have someone in that room, your side of the room becomes that primary territory, with your bed being the most important spot, the inner sanctum.