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Archive for June, 2005

Christian Carnival LXXVI

June 29th, 2005 No comments

This week I made my first addition to the Christian Carnival with my post on Worship Music.

This week ChristWeb has hosted Christian Carnival LXXVI. Head over there to see an assortment of posts from around the blogosphere.

Also, I have posted a Christian Carnival Archive if you want to check out other posts, past and present.

The July 6th Christian Carnival will be hosted by The Bible Archive.

Enjoy!
Shalom

Categories: Christian Carnival Tags:

“Go the distance”

June 26th, 2005 9 comments

Tonight I watched Field of Dreams. I had forgotten what a great movie it was with some classic lines. I really enjoy baseball quite a bit and memories of playing catch with my dad are some of my fondest, this movie is one that I will always come back to.

You know we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening.

This statement from “Moonlight” Graham (Burt Lancaster) can sometimes seem cliche, but coming from him, it seemed to have more impact (not sure why). And just because something is cliche, doesn’t mean it isn’t full of truth.

I’d wake up at night with the smell of the ball park in my nose, the cool of the grass on my feet… The thrill of the grass.

“Shoeless” Joe (Ray Liotta) really knows how to say it (If you like baseball of course)!

There are a lot of good lines in this movie. One of the funniest I think is when Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) is trying to kidnap Mann (James Earl Jones):

Mann: I’m going to beat your head in with a crowbar until leave.
Kinsella: You can’t do that.
Mann: There are rules here? No, there are no rules here. [Mann comes at Kinsella with a crowbar]
Kinsella: You’re a pacifist!
Mann [stops before he strikes and pauses]: Shit.

Come on now, that is funny (sorry if you are offended by profanity).

Go out and watch the movie again, really, you know you want to.
I will leave you with Mann’s final (and moving) monologue.
Shalom

Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.

Categories: Daily Life, Movies Tags:

Christian Carnival LXXV

June 25th, 2005 No comments

I have seen a few of the Christian Carnival posts floating around but hadn’t really been paying attention (not really sure why). I finally got off my butt and took notice. Please check out my Christian Carnival archive page if you want to see all the pervious postings and their hosts. There are lots of good posts to read up on.

The deal is Wittenberg Gate moderates (Patriot Paradox started it up) the carnival and various bloggers host each week. If you are interested in taking part, see the Wittenberg Gate instructions for participation in the Christian Carnival.

Also, In the Spirit of Grace posted Christian Carnival LXXV so head over there to take a gander (who says that?) at what Christians around the Blogosphere have been talking about this past week.

I suppose I will actually have to write something to be submitted!
Shalom

Categories: Blogging, Christian Carnival Tags:

Layout

June 24th, 2005 No comments

I have been at mattjonesblog.com and using WordPress for nearly two months now. I wanted to take a quick moment to do some housekeeping and get some feedback.

How is the layout working? Is it easy to find posts/links/archives/whatevers? Is it easy to navigate? How does it display? I generally use Firefox and I know that Internet Explorer has had some issues with the image alignment tags but I have no idea why, sorry! All I can say is Get Firefox!

I have decided to remove the Google Adsense ads between the posts because they really weren;t worth it. In their place I have made a few dividers and would like some feedback as to which one you think I should use.

divider
earth1.jpg


galaxy1.jpg


moon1.jpg


neb1.jpg


neb2.jpg


neb13.jpg

If you don’t like any of these, sorry! Offer a better suggestion!

Also, I have made the background a fixed image. Is it too much? Should I use a more subdued image or go back to the solid color?

Thanks for all your help! I really appreciate any comments and suggestions for making this blog a good place to be. Feel free to comment here or to eMail me at matt [at] mattjonesblog [dot] com.

Thanks again,
Shalom

Categories: Blogging Tags:

Worship Music

June 22nd, 2005 5 comments

Last night in Bible study we took a look at different worship songs that had made an impression on each of us for one reason or another. Here is a look at what we choose:

I chose On Distant Shores by Five Iron Frenzy. I chose this because I think it clearly and acurately depicts our Christian life and relationship with God. It shows we are broken and need to be freed from our sin. This is one of my favorite songs (if you have been reading my blog you will know I have quoted it before) because I think each verse is very potent and contains deep truth (which I find very interesting considering how silly and mindless FIF can be too!). I feel two verses are quite profound and should be meditated on:

And off of the blocks, I was headstrong and proud, at the front of the line for the card-carrying, highbrowed. With both eyes fastened tight, yet unscarred from the fight. Running at full tilt, my sword pulled from its hilt. It’s funny how these things can slip away, our frail deeds, the last will wave good-bye. It’s funny how the hope will bleed away, the citadels we build and fortify. Good-Bye.

Night came and I broke my stride, I swallowed hard, but never cried. When grace was easy to forget, I’d denounce the hypocrites, casting first stones, killing my own. You would unscale my blind eyes, and I stood battered, but more wise, fighting to accelerate, shaking free from crippling weight. With resilience unsurpassed, I clawed my way to You at last. And on my knees, I wept at Your feet, I finally believed, that You still loved me.

And the rest of the selection:

Meghan picked The Hammer Holds by Bebo Norman. I had never heard this song before but thought it was pretty good. It talks about our brokenness and being shaped by Christ. There is one verse that really stood out to me:

The hammer pounds again, but flames I do not feel
This force that drives me, helplessly, through flesh, and wood reveals
A burn that burns much deeper, it’s more than I can stand
The reason for my life was to take the life of a guiltless man

I think this verse suggests that the flames or struggle of life can be dealt with by the sacrifice of Christ and through those strugles we can really learn what it means to live - the deeper burn. I like the last line because it gives us meaning for life. We often get so concerned about what God wants us to do in our lives, but, as the line sugests, our lives are here in place of Christ’s so we should just live them fully.

K.C. choose Brighten my Heart by Sixpence None the Richer. This is a great prayer song (by the way, most of their songs are better than their Kiss Me that got so much air time).

My heart is as dark as the soil sodden with winter rains. (Lord, brighten my heart)
My soul is as heavy as the peat freshly dug from the bog. (Lord, lighten my soul)
My thoughts swirl like willow branches caught in autumn winds. (Lord, still my thoughts)
My body as tense as a cat’s as it stalks its prey.(Lord relax my body)

I know I can relate to those thoughts and could (and should) pray each of those requests.

Leann picked The Valley Song by Jars of Clay. This is a wonderful song off their Furthermore album that I highly recommend. When dealing with sorrow (or any time really) this song can really speak to you.

Though the pain is an ocean
Tossing us around, around, around
You have calmed greater waters
Higher mountains have come down

You should definitely check out the rest of the lyrics, they are quite moving. One great thing about this song is it doesn’t try and cover the pain it just suggests that God will carry us through them and is bigger than those problems (while not minimizing their importance to us).

Laurel also picked a song off Jars of Clay’s Furthermore album: Worlds Apart. This song also speaks to our brokenness, our need for God, and the grace that has been given to us.

All said and done I stand alone
Amongst remains of a life I should not own
It takes all I am to believe
In the mercy that covers me

Did you really have to die for me?
All I am for all you are
Because what I need and what I believe are worlds apart

Quite profound I think. In our worship we should reflect on what God has given to us and how our lives don’t always stack up to what he would have for us. “Did you really have to die for me?” Is always a tough question to ask - the obvious answer is “yes” but we wish it didn’t have to be that way. We need His sacrifice and His grace and He should be thanked and worshipped for those gifts that He has freely given.

And finally, Chad (fittingly) chose I Wish We’d All Been Ready by Larry Norman. DC Talk also does a pretty good rendition of this Norman classic. While I disagree with some of this song theoloically (I don’t think the “rapture” will happen like is suggested in the song), I think the message is very good: We have a responsibility in the here and now to share the Good News with those around us before it is too late. As Chad suggested, we should look at it from God’s perspective and recognize how sad it makes him that people reject him. Our call is to live for Christ.

There’s no time to change your mind.
How could you have been so blind?
The Father spoke, the demons dined,
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind.
You’ve been left behind

Pretty harsh stuff, sometimes it is hard to sugarcoat some of the important things in life I suppose.

So what do you think of those songs? What are your favorite?
Shalom

Categories: Meaningful Song, Religion Tags:

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

June 22nd, 2005 9 comments

I believe that if a writer is writing out of his own truth, then the reader is going to learn from that truth; it need not and should not be didactic, but it is nevertheless teaching, and I am greatful for it… the best way for me to learn has always been in coming across a writer’s shared truth in story. (Madeleine L’Engle in the foreword to Paul Ford’s Companion to Narnia)

The Lion, the Witch, and the WardrobeI finished Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe late last night and now I am even more ready for the film to come out. I am really glad I read The Magician’s Nephew first as it sets a good foundation for Narnia as well as Aslan. (See the bottom of this post for links to my blog posts for all the books of the series.)

I recommend that everyone go out right now and pick these books up. They are a quick read but filled with lovely imagery and pure truth.

Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.

Looks like the setup for a pretty intense story. There is also talk by the children about Aslan that I think I have often expressed about following Jesus.

“Is he - quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” [said Susan about Aslan]

“…if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else justsilly..” [said Mrs. Beaver]

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Walking with Jesus is not safe. He is not safe. His call on us is large. But He is good. He is King.

After the tear jerking moment of the sacrifice of Aslan on the Stone Table we are left with Lucy and Susan looking down on Cair Paravel:

At that moment they heard from behind them a loud noise - a great cracking, deafening noise as if a giant had broken a giant’s plate.

The rising of the sun has made everything look so different - all colors and shadows were changed - that for a moment they didn’t see the important thing. Then they did. The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and there was no Aslan

And Aslan was back. This passage makes me think of Mark:

And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. (Mark 15.37-38)

How is that for authority?

And lastly, one of my favorite passages again comes from Aslan before he rescues the statues and charges into battle:

“And now,” said Aslan presently, “to business. I feel I am going to roar. You had better put your fingers in your ears.”

And they did. And Aslan stood up and when he opened his mouth to roar he face became so terrible that they did not dare look at it. And they saw all the trees in front of him bend before the blast of his roaring as grass bends in a meadow before the wind.

Now come on, how intense is that? (I really look forward to seeing that on the big screen - my imagination isn’t always as good and big and loud as Cinerama ;))

I really want to contine the series (next up is The Horse and His Boy) but I think I should probably get reading for the Family book and Cd/Dvd exchange! This month I am reading A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean. Time to get reading!

Shalom

My blog posts on The Chronicles of Narnia series:

  • The Magician’s Nephew
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • The Horse and His Boy
  • Prince Caspian
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  • The Silver Chair
  • The Last Battle
  • Categories: Literature Tags: