May 19, 2010

The Movie that Spawned a Sub-Culture

This Friday is the 30th Anniversary of the greatest Star Wars movie of all time.  The Empire Strikes Back has been a fan favorite since it first opened in theaters in 1980.  I was only 7 months old at the time.  Its really crazy when I think about it.  How can someone become a fan of a movie that came out when they were that age and remain so into their thirties?

In 1984 my brother and I recieved Star Wars figures for Christmas.  He had a Gomorrean Guard and I had Lando Calrissian.  I was five at the time.  When I was seven we had The Empire Strikes Back curtains in our room.  I can still see them.  The images invoked adventure, and I loved to look at the different characters.  I became obsessed with Star Wars in the 1990s, when Lucas released the trilogy box set as well as new figures.  I soon had a room that was full of unopened figures.

I spent the night outside the theater for episode 1 and was so disappointed that I  sold almost all of my Star Wars items.  I did manage keep all of the vintage figures.  Episode 2 and 3 were great and somewhere between them and the Clone Wars cartoons, I actually began to like Episode 1.  A great deal of that is probably because of my children (Luke and Leia).

It all really began and hinged on The Empire Strikes Back.  If it had not been for Empire succeeding as a sequel, Star Wars would have only been a great special effects advancement.  It would not have the following or pop culture mainstay that it currently enjoys.  Empire gave us three new worlds, the realization of Vader as Luke's father, and no clear resolution with the freezing of Han Solo.  It also gave us the characters of Yoda, Boba Fett, and Lando Calrissian.  It was as near to perfect as a movie can get.  Empire had it all, action, drama, romance, and comedy.

My family will be going to Celebration V this summer for the 30th anniversary convention.  I cannot wait.  Star Wars fans form a close knit tribe.  I can meet a fan for the first time and we instantly have a common bond.  Sometimes I wish Christians were more like Star Wars fans.  I should be able to go into any church or meet any believer and feel totally welcome and linked in a spiritual way.  This is not always the case.  It is truly sad because what unites followers of Christ is real and powerful.  We could learn a lot from the fictional world of George Lucas and the community it has created.

May 5, 2010

My Prayer for America

Almighty God, I want to thank you for allowing me to live in a country where we have the right and privilege to seek you through prayer.  Please watch and guide all of the true believers who live in countries where worship of you is forbidden.  I admire their courage and ask for strength to approach you boldly if my country should ever adopt similar laws and attitudes.

Father, I ask that you would bless and guide our President, his family, and staff.  Surround him with people that will speak truth.  Help him to do what is best for our nation.  Please remind me of my duty to not only pray for my leaders on a daily basis, but to respect them as appointed by you to administer justice.

Lord, I lift up our congress to you and ask that you would give them wisdom.  Let those politicians that know you, be a light in the halls of the Capital building and to the states and districts that they represent.  Let our laws strengthen our land.  Help me to obey our laws to the extent that they do not contradict your Holy Law.

I pray for our Supreme Court as well as the judges on the lower courts.  I know that you are the Supreme Judge and will ultimately stand in judgment over every decision that they have rendered.  Please forgive our land for following the ruling that has caused the slaughter of innocent unborn children.  They were knit together in your image, yet regarded as inconvenient.  O God, forgive us.  Lord, I ask that you would call Christians to love the families and mothers affected by a decision to silence a preborn child.  Help them to find hope and forgiveness in your one and only son Jesus Christ.

God, please send your angels to protect and keep watch over our soldiers oversees.  I may not always agree with our methods, but I pray that you would grant safety nonetheless.  I pray that we would bring those who would mean us harm to justice, minimize civilian casualties, and bring an end to the fighting.

Thank you for your gift of marriage.  Forgive us where we have failed you in bringing your lifelong institution to a premature end through divorce.  I pray that your light would be seen through believers to alter the course of marriages through the transforming of our lives by your son.  God, we discuss whether the state can marry same sex couples, and many Christians are angry.  Turn our anger into compassion for those who are far from you.  Reach them with our love, that they may no longer be conformed to the pattern of this world.

Call Christians out of a partisan and denominational mindset.  I ask that we would vote our conscience rather than falling in line with what a political party tells us to believe.  Help us to see that those who trust in you are first and foremost followers of Jesus and not Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, or any other denomination.  Thank you for the work you have done through these churches, but forgive our division. Make us ONE!

God, help our nation's Christian parents to take seriously our responsibility to raise our children to honor you.  May we no longer rely on the church to do our job.  Let us make them a priority in our families second only to our marriages.

Lord, thank you for the millions that you have called to prayer this day, and I thank you for hearing us.  Thank you for your unending love, your holiness, and your forgiveness that cleanses from all sin.  Thank you for your grace and mercy that never ends.  Thank you for the right we receive through Jesus to be called your children.  I love you.  Thank you for listening to my prayer that I pray all these things in the name of the risen son of God who is Jesus Christ my Lord and my Redeemer.  Amen.

May 1, 2010

Confessions of a Sodaholic

I have had a passionate love affair with soda for years.  When I worked in construction I enjoyed close to 5 liters of Mountain Dew a day.  I have cut back drastically since then and at times (health kicks) I have even stopped completely.  These time I am usually tired and plagued by headaches that drive me back to the sugary substance.

When my readers chose healthy eating as their subject of discussion I decided to do 2 blogs.  The first "What Would Jesus Eat", looked at eating from an almost spiritual perspective.  This allowed me to not only to study the Bible, but also the newest scientific data on healthy eating.  I was almost surprised to see that  red meat and sodas were on the same playing field at the top of the food pyramid.  I decided to quit drinking sodas for one week and inadvertently I also took a hiatus from red meat as well.

What is wrong with sodas?  Where do I begin?  Well, there is nothing wrong with their taste.  They are delicious beyond compare.  The problem lies with how they get that way.  The fizzy goodness of carbonation robs the blood of the oxygen needed to perform any strenuous task.  The sugar content provided by high fructose corn syrup is almost unrecognizable to our digestive system and stored mainly as fat.  The sodium  content guarantees that we will stay thirsty for more.  The caffeine included is essentially an addictive drug, the likes of which have americans lined up at Starbucks every morning.  Some sodas also contain phosphoric acid.  This is the same acid used by dentists to remove tooth enamel before drilling.

The sad thing is I have known all of this for a long time.  It is you the reader who has compelled me to step back and take a second look.  I chose to take one week to test the waters of soda free living.  I decided to chronicle my journey.  Below is a journal of my soda (and red meat) free week.

Sunday:  Today I had a small cup of coffee and two Advil to relieve the headaches that I was getting.  I drank 2 liters of water within 2 hours time.  Why doesn't water relieve my thirst?  My body must be craving the sugar.  I am beginning to doubt that I can do this.

Monday:  No soda and less headaches, only one Advil today.  The downside of today was that I had 5 doughnuts.  I think that my body is craving the sugar it is used to getting.  I couldn't stay awake past 11:30pm (I am normally up until around 1:00am).

Tuesday:  No headaches today!  I cut out the sweets but I feel famished.  I can't seem to eat enough to make up for the calories I'm used to.  I had 3 and a half sandwiches  for lunch (usually 1).

Wednesday:  I am starting to look at food differently.  I ask why I want something and whether I should eat it.  I went to a steakhouse today and had fish, a sweet potato and water.  I didn't even want a steak.

Thursday:  I still find myself avoiding junk food.  I usually eat chips or a frozen pizza at night.  I have been eating almonds or fruit with water all week so far.  I still cannot seem to stay awake at night.

Friday:  My energy level was up today and I am loving the water. I can't wait to have a soda on Sunday! We went to CiCi's and I had two salads with olive oil (what's wrong with me?).

Saturday:  Plain yogurt and blueberries for breakfast, went to the park, and stopped by Krispy Kreme in Salibury.  Hey, it was "HOT NOW" so don't judge me!  I am feeling great, and I honestly do not know if I even want a soda tomorrow.