Thursday, January 22, 2015

Requiem: Marcus Borg

Marcus Borg has died at the age of 72.  His theological literature has helped me continue to identify myself as a Christian in a world were that word, at the very least, is unwelcome in much of the LGBTQ community.

"Thin places" is part of Borg's approach to spirituality that I often quote.  We find these in the times, places and experiences that are a "porous" encounter with the Divine.  An emotional moment, a musical event, a transcendent work of art and for me beautiful liturgy and the sacrament of the Eucharist.

These thin places can also be the times that we encounter the "other." It can be when we engage and radically welcome those that are not like us.

Borg's book "The Heart of Christianity" explores this. I found this study guide very helpful:

Read more about Borg:


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oscar Nominations

Here's the list!
√=have seen +=must see ?=might see
As of now: MF=My Favorite, MP=My Prediction
I'll be sharing changes and details as I see all films.
Best picture
+American Sniper
√Boyhood MP
√The Grand Budapest Hotel
√The Imitation Game
√The Theory of Everything MF

Actor in a leading role
√Steve Carell — Foxcatcher
√Bradley Cooper — American Sniper
√Benedict Cumberbatch — The Imitation Game
√Michael Keaton — Birdman MP
√Eddie Redmayne — The Theory of Everything MF

Actress in a leading role
?Marion Cotillard — Two Days, One Night
√Felicity Jones — The Theory of Everything
+Julianne Moore — Still Alice MP
√Rosamund Pike — Gone Girl MF
?Reese Witherspoon — Wild

Actor in a supporting role
?Robert Duvall — The Judge
√Ethan Hawke — Boyhood
√Edward Norton — Birdman
√Mark Ruffalo — Foxcatcher MF
+J.K. Simmons — Whiplash

Actress in a supporting role
√Patricia Arquette — Boyhood MP
?Laura Dern — Wild
√Keira Knightley — The Imitation Game
√Emma Stone — Birdman
√Meryl Streep — Into the Woods MF

Animated feature film
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2 MP
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

√Birdman — Emmanuel Lubezki MF MP
√The Grand Budapest Hotel — Robert Yeoman
?Ida — Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
+Mr. Turner — Dick Pope
+Unbroken — Roger Deakins

Costume Design
√The Grand Budapest Hotel MP
?Inherent Vice
√Into the Woods MF
+Mr. Turner

√Birdman — Alejandro G. Iñárritu MF
√Boyhood — Richard Linklater MP
√Foxcatcher — Bennett Miller
√The Grand Budapest Hotel — Wes Anderson
√The Imitation Game — Morten Tyldum

Documentary feature
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth

Documentary short subject
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Our Curse
The Reaper (La Parka)
White Earth

Film editing
+American Sniper
√Boyhood MF MP
√The Grand Budapest Hotel
√The Imitation Game

Foreign language film
Ida — Poland
Leviathan — Russia
Tangerines — Estonia
Timbuktu — Mauritania
Wild Tales — Argentina

Makeup and hairstyle
√Foxcatcher MF MP
√The Grand Budapest Hotel
√Guardians of the Galaxy

Music original score
√The Grand Budapest Hotel — Alexandre Desplat
√The Imitation Game — Alexandre Desplat
√Interstellar — Hans Zimmer
+Mr. Turner — Gary Yershon
√The Theory of Everything — Jóhann Jóhannsson

Music original song
"Everything is Awesome" — The Lego Movie
√"Glory" — Selma MP MF
"Grateful" — Beyond the Lights
"I'm Not Gonna Miss You" — Glen Campbell... I'll Be Me
"Lost Stars" — Begin Again

Production design
√The Grand Budapest Hotel
√The Imitation Game
√Interstellar MP
√Into the Woods MF
+Mr. Turner

Short film animated
The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

Short film live action
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)
The Phone Call

Sound editing
√American Sniper
√The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Sound mixing
√American Sniper

Visual effects
√Captain America: The Winter Soldier
√Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
√Guardians of the Galaxy
√Interstellar MP
√X-Men: Days of Future Past MF (for Hugh Jackman's bum)

Writing adapted screenplay
+American Sniper — Jason Hall
√The Imitation Game — Graham Moore MF
?Inherent Vice — Paul Thomas Anderson
√The Theory of Everything — Anthony McCarten MP
+Whiplash — Damien Chazelle

Writing original screenplay
√Birdman — Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., and Armando Bo MF  MP
√Boyhood — Richard Linklater
√Foxcatcher — E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
√The Grand Budapest Hotel — screenplay by Wes Anderson, story by Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness
?Nightcrawler — Dan Gilroy

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mohammed, Jesus Christ and The New Cover of Charlie Hebdo

There is reluctance on the part of many news outlets to share this cover lest they become the next victims of radical Muslims.  I cannot speak for the Muslims, but as a Christian, if my faith was used to inflict violence, which it has been repeatedly over the past 2,000 years, I know how I would feel.  A picture of Jesus Christ crying and holding this sign with "All is forgiven" over his head would be seen as an extremely generous response.

The era of forcing people to hold sacred the beliefs of oppressors is over.  Followers of Christ, Mohammed, Vishnu, Zoroaster, Buddha, God and any other deity/spiritual leader must take responsibility for hate exercised in their name.   They must stand up to those who degrade a message of love for all humanity.  If they can't do that they are worshiping a false god.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The New Jim Crow

Hobby Lobby is not a slippery slope, it's greased wall that will now have to be climbed before laws like Mississippi's new "Jim Crow" can be challenged.

The Supreme Court, well the 5 Roman Catholic Men on the Bench, have started to dissect according to particular beliefs of particular denominations.  If people are worried about Sharia law, perhaps the should broaden that to any law that is based on a particular set of religious sectarian beliefs.  That's the real issue in Iraq. America was not established as a theocracy. Separation of Church and State was particularly meant to avoid a theocracy.  It has struggled to hold it's own amidst many challenges. It has been eroded by "In God We Trust" and the addition in the 1950's of "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.  Prayers, specifically Christian, are now allowed in public meetings thanks to those 5 Roman Catholic men.

This stuff scares me...

Mississippi's Religious Freedom Restoration Act now allows businessowners to turn away LGBT customers if they claim their existence conflicts with their religion.
The law passed in April and was quickly signed by Republican governor Phil Bryant; it went into effect July 1. Several cities in Mississippi, including Jackson and Hattiesburg, are challenging the insidious law by passing resolutions affirming all patrons are welcome. Equality Mississippi is distributing stickers that proclaim, "We don't discriminate: If you're buying, we're selling."
The American Family Association has found a way to take umbrage with the stickers.“It’s not really a buying campaign, but it’s a bully campaign, and it’s being carried out by radical homosexual activists who intend to trample the freedom of Christians to live according to the dictates of scripture," AFA's Buddy Smith stated, according to Pink News.
Local merchants and professionals like chef John Currence bristle at the law's effect on the state's already inhospitable reputation. “We are not going to sit idly by and watch Jim Crow get revived in our state," he said, vowing to fight the law. Similar legislation is wending its way through Kansas.

From The Advocate July 6, 2014

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Where's the Beef? In the PROUD Whopper!

It's been a while since I have tended this blog. Here's a great reason to get back into the swing of things!


Monday, April 28, 2014

Rating the Cosmos

Being in a household without kids, I rarely think about the rating code.  This evening I was watching Cosmos, the reboot of Carl Sagan's series with Neil DeGrasse Tyson: pure science and presented with the latest digital graphics.  It is awesome in the true sense of the word.

So why is it given the TV rating of PG?  The sub ratings tell the story.  "V" for violence and "D" for suggestive dialogue.  I suppose nothing is more violent than a super nova (except a hyper nova), but that rather distorts the intent of protecting the innocents from Game of Thrones type brutality.  But "challenging dialogue," usually reserved for talk about sex?

Of course you know the reason this is challenging dialogue.  It challenges the Biblical literalists. Evolution and an earth 4.5 billions years old rather than 6,000 is too much to discuss with the kids.  I wonder how old a child must be before PG does not apply?  Ratings are applied by the network.  How must you be before Fox thinks you must be before you "question everything?"