Monday, May 28, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End Review

I've now seen Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End twice, and so am continuing with my promised set of movie reviews. Huzzah!

This third entry in the Pirates trilogy is by far the largest in scale, the broadest in scope, and the longest to watch (clocking in at about 2 hours and 40 minutes). The story sweeps the viewer along from the Far East locality of Singapore to the otherworldly Davy Jones' Locker to unnamed (but apparently Caribbean) locales. The film features returning stars Johnny Depp as the inimitable Captain Jack Sparrow, Orlando Bloom as Will Turner, Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swan, Geoffrey Rush as Captain (first name learned in the course of the movie) Barbossa, Bill Nighy as Captain Davy Jones, and Tom Hollander as Lord Cutler Beckett. Also along for the ride again were "Bootstrap" Bill Turner, Tia Dalma, and fan favorite pirates Pintel and Ragetti (and their bumbling Royal Navy counterparts from the first film). If that sounds like a lot of people to follow, it is... but it's not hard to keep track of them, thanks to their strong performances and vastly differing looks and personalities. I entered the movie expectant but prepared for it to be a failure, since so many critics had panned it - most noting the complexity of the plot.

As with Spiderman 3 before it, I was pleasantly surprised that, all the critics' comments notwithstanding, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. While I was very much a fan of the second film (as many of my friends were not), I found this one significantly more satisfying and more compelling. The plot is complex; there can be no doubt about that. At the same time, I had no difficulty following it. I'm not sure whether that's a function of my general appreciation for and enjoyment of complex scenarios and plots (for example, I had the end of Ocean's 11 figured out from about halfway through the movie), or whether it is simply not that difficult to follow. Of all those I've seen the movie with (9 people besides myself in total), only one person had difficulty following the plot, and he was tired and fighting not to fall asleep through the film. It seems to me that so long as one is already familiar with the characters and the background, following the movie isn't terribly difficult. (It should be noted that this sort of familiarity is necessary with almost any third movie in a tightly linked trilogy. Imagine, for example, trying to watch The Return of the King without first having watched The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers... it would be impossible to follow.)

The character development was satisfying if in some cases surprising. Having Barbossa as an active member of the plot again was thoroughly satisfying, and the fact that he served as a protagonist in most ways made for an interesting contrast with the first film, where he was primarily the villain. Will and Elizabeth's individual and mutual journeys were both excellent, and the resolution of the tension between them introduced in the second film is handled nicely (though I shan't say how). Jack is, of course, Jack, but he progresses nicely throughout the film while essentially remaining his narcissistic and thoroughly fey self. James Norrington's progression through the films is neatly tied up, as well, though he has a significantly smaller part here than in either The Curse of the Black Pearl or Dead Man's Chest. Tia Dalma, Davy Jones, and Cutler Beckett all also have their plots resolved in various ways - some expected, some less so. Of all the resolutions of character and plotlines, I found that for Tia Dalma the least satisfying: it was merely sufficient, rather than strongly compelling as with the others.

I feel compelled to actually take an entire paragraph to discuss the scoring for the film. Zimmer did a fantastic job concluding the trilogy with this score; in many ways this is already one of my favorite works of his (and that says something, when you consider that he has produced such massive and excellent scores as Gladiator and The Last Samurai in his career so far). He introduced two major new themes, one of which is essentially a love theme, though it functions otherwise throughout the movie at times; and the other of which is, in the context of the film, a pirate dirge, and outside the film, a compelling modal melody which makes a fitting backdrop for both melancholy moments and epic battle sequences. His use of both sweeping orchestrations and quieter moments (such as a striking use of the oboe as a solo instrument set against the orchestra as a whole) was stunning here. He skillfully brought back the main themes from each of the earlier films (specifically, "Will and Elizabeth" and "He's a Pirate" from The Curse of the Black Pearl and "Jack Sparrow," "Davy Jones," and "The Kracken" from Dead Man's Chest), integrating them mostly subtly into the sweeping and epic-feeling score for this third entry. The Cutler Beckett theme and the Jack Sparrow theme both return with some interesting changes and some interesting orchestrations. The final 45 minutes of music in the film includes some of my favorite moments in any piece of film music, and indeed some of my favorite musical moments. The soundtrack alone is worth buying.

The film itself concludes both itself and the trilogy satisfyingly in my opinion, rounding off all significant plot and character points. A short denouement follows the epic climax of the film, in a sort of falling action sequence rare for summer action movies but essential for any sense of completeness for a trilogy of this scale. And a gift of a short clip after the credits awaits those hardy enough to last through them - a list as epic as the creation of the film. That moment, too, was extremely satisfying in my opinion. (It should be noted that there's a certain amount of dissent on that point among those with whom I've seen it: my sisters were disgruntled at one particular aspect of the ending.) In any case, the movie ends "believably" - this being fantasy - in the sense that all of the characters continue on with their own journeys afterwards. The filmmakers left enough room that they could make another film if they chose to (though I hope they do not), but it is in no way required by the ending; to the contrary, the slight openness of the ending seemed more a necessary indicator that these characters keep on with their lives than a call for another sequel.

In terms of objectionable content, I recall little or no swearing. The violence quotient was of course extremely high, from the hangings that open the movie (including that of a young boy, which goes unseen) to the epic battles that fill it. Scary creatures propagate the film, of course, in typical Pirates of the Caribbean fashion; and one scene shows the crew of the Black Pearl passing by people who died at sea - some of whom are palely (and somewhat creepily) floating by under the surface of the ocean. A heathen god is discussed throughout the film and appears near the end, uttering unintelligible phrases. One character is shown in his own personal hell, complete with multiple copies of himself. Several main figures from the films die. In the course of the film (and the final moments of the previous entry), 3 people return from the dead by mystical means. None of these were a problem for me, as in context these are all simply a part of the fantastic setting in which the characters roam. Nevertheless, this is not a movie for small children.

Though less compelling at a thematic level than Spiderman 3, I thought Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End was a fantastic film, well worth seeing if you get the opportunity.

God bless!

- Chris

Friday, May 25, 2007


Several miscellaneous points that didn't really belong with that last post:

Thanks for your prayers regarding computer situation mentioned above (below!). I am now in possession of a MacBook Pro, which I love. God's provision is awesome.

On a related note, I still need provision for this summer - for Focus on the Family Institute, and for my bills in general. I don't know what that looks like, but I do know that God is more than capable.

I'll be writing up a review of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End sometime in the next several days. In short, I liked it a lot.

Tomorrow my younger sister graduates from high school. I'm incredibly excited for her. We're all incredibly busy. (That's one reason the review is going to be a few days.)

I'm increasingly a fan of Daniel Kirkley. (Thanks to Lesley for mentioning him to me.) Check out his website and give his music a listen!

God bless you all, and good night.

- Chris

Pursuing Godliness

It's funny how the pursuit of Godliness can fade so easily when our circumstances change. Summers, it seems, are the worst for people. They are for me. I have to work constantly to keep pursuing God during the summer. Quiet times can so easily fade away - and I have a good pattern of having them already. Disciplined times of prayer can vanish in a heartbeat, though I have long since come to enjoy them regularly. The pursuit of God is not something that we can let up in. It is an ongoing process, a quest that never ends. If we do not feed our faith, it will wither, and eventually shrivel up to the point of death.

As Beven Unrau noted to us at Glorieta in March - we're always only one choice away from backsliding, be that into sin or out of discipline. We can be having fantastic victory in a given area in our lives, yet to slip back into those old, dangerous habits, is very, very easy.

I've noticed that it's particularly easy to slip back into old patterns when we go home for the summer - when we are in an environment that is different than that we're used to, and one that harkens back to a time when we were different. Too, we have to deal with the general relaxation of sorts that comes with summertime - and the temptation to relax spiritually as well as in other ways. That's a dangerous temptation. It's one that is difficult to counter, too, because it's a function of the circumstances surrounding you, rather than simply of your own heart. The two combine to make for a challenging battle.

Seeing it as a battle helps, though - immensely. It helps because it focuses the situation. It makes it clear that it's not just a matter of dealing with a little change in circumstances, but rather part of the grander struggle against our flesh and against the spiritual powers of darkness that seek our destruction.

It's interesting... I've been reading in Job the last month or so. There is so much truth about God's character buried in the midst of the arguments and debates - so much affirmation that yes, He is good and righteous and holy and just: that He is without parallel, without any comparison. That we cannot understand all His ways and purposes is a good thing. As I noted recently, if He were comprehensible, He would not be God.

It is that - the knowledge of Him - that gives me hunger to press on, to continue drawing near to Him regardless of what hindrances might try to raise themselves up around me. Laziness is not an option. Pursuing Godliness requires that we sacrifice. And the sacrifice is more than worth it.

For what compares in any way to knowing God?

May His blessings and peace be with you all.

- Chris

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Scattered thoughts and updates

So here we are, a week after school ended. Life is crazy, in so many ways.

I drove home last Sunday. Made the trip faster than I ever have before: 10 hours 27 minutes, and that with at least half an hour's worth of construction delays. I got back in time to celebrate Mothers' Day with extended family, which was immensely fun - and it was a blessing to be able to spend time with family that day. God definitely blessed the trip, right down to the gas mileage. The trip gave me plenty of time to think and pray, too, which is always a huge blessing. In fact, I've spent a lot of time both thinking and praying this week, and I'm excited about the rest of the summer: God has a lot in store for me and for many of my friends. The things I'm seeing Him do even now are amazing, and I'm sure there is much I haven't heard about from friends overseas that will also be a blessing and a testimony.

I spent a good deal of the week simply reading, trying to relax and recover some of my strength after the hectic end to the semester. I've read well over 2000 pages this week, probably close to 2500 in fact. That's a blessing and a good deal of fun. I haven't had time to read for relaxation since early in the semester. It's been a necessary counterbalance to the frustrations I've had with my computer, which is again giving me headaches. I'm at the point where I'm strongly considering making a long term investment by purchasing a macBook Pro. Though the cost is substantial, it may be worth it. I'm praying about it, and God will guide me in that decision, as He does in all.

I've also been able to help out around the house a bit, and that's been good. I'm still trying to learn how to best serve my family, how to best communicate with and interact with my parents and sisters. There's a lot going on, since one sister is graduating a week from today (and it is going to be one busy week!). That means that trying to fit back in - especially since I'm only living here with my family for three weeks total before I move in with my roommates at Focus on the Family Institute - is an interesting thing. God's grace is abundantly clear; and it's giving me a picture of things to work on both in my own heart right now and for my future when I will (hopefully!) have a family of my own. I am still so terribly insufficient, still so very far from communicating well. I have learned some in the last several months, but I have so very far to go. I find myself knowing that and yet unaware of what exactly I need to be working at, sometimes, and that of course prompts me to pursue God harder, to seek His face more, so that my own imperfections will be more clearly revealed in the light of His presence.

I am reminded regularly of the magnitude of all that Christ has done for us, and of the Holy Spirit's work in our lives. Too often we lose sight of that in the day to day grind of existence - even when that's a relaxing grind. The humdrum calls out to us so strongly, and mediocrity is never far from our outstretched fingertips. Gladly, by the grace of God, we can learn to see mediocrity for what it is: a pale reflection of that to which we have been called, a fogged mirror through which no one could be blamed for missing Christ. How much, I wonder, would it change the way we lived every day, the way we communicated why we do the things we do, if we really grasped the magnitude of the gospel? A conversation with my parents early this week spurred me on to really ponder how relational evangelism ought to be carried out. I certainly don't have the answers. But that, combined with other conversations, other thoughts, other sources, has lead me to conclude that it's incredibly important to live our lives as a testimony - and then to explain to people why we live our lives that way. We may find ourselves compelled to apologize to someone for a rude word or an inconsistency in our lives - and that is a good thing, a testimony of the work of Christ in our lives! Yet if we do not take the step further - that small but oh-so-important step further - to explain why our lives our different (a simple, "You know, I did this, and that just wasn't Christlike. I'm sorry," not only establishes the testimony but the reason why) then how will they know? How will they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? At the same time, to proclaim, full of windy knowledge of the gospel, absent an active and vibrant testimony in people's lives, runs the risk of leaving people with intellectual understanding and still-dead hearts. It is not either/or - as it so often is not in this life. Rather, it is a case of both/and. We must actively proclaim the truth, and be bold in our sharing of the gospel. Yet we must do as people who, as Young Life often reminds its ministers, have earned the right to be heard, to be listened to - by loving, by living with a passion and a caring for people that is simply not known outside the redeeming love of Christ. It is the active transformation of our own lives as our knowledge of Christ deepens that validates the words we speak, that confirms to people in stark and irrefutable evidence, that the gospel is true, that it really is the power of salvation to those who are lost.

As God told me when I first starting writing on this blog:

Seek God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Be unified in purpose, in thought, and in deed. Live completely for Jesus Christ.

Only in that path can we truly be effective ministers of the gospel. Run the race with endurance!

God bless.

- Chris

Friday, May 11, 2007

Two years, and counting...

This is a rather strange feeling. I've finished my second year of college - which means I'm halfway done. It doesn't feel even slightly odd to think I've gone through two years; in many ways it feels much longer than that (more like four or five in terms of how much I've been forced to grow compared to my ordinary rate of growth before that). Yet to realize I'm halfway done with my college years (for if I go to grad school, that will be a very different environment, no doubt) - that is an odd feeling. I find myself rejoicing at all that has come before, and excited at all that is to come. Yet it is a bittersweet moment, because as we come to this juncture... well, it is a juncture.

As different as this year was from last year, I know the changes next year will be far greater. I have several good friends who are going to be studying abroad the whole year. I have a good friend getting married in December. I have many friends graduating next spring. I'll be a Safewalk RA next year. I'll be a junior. The freshman guys I've been meeting with for discipleship time with be sophomores, and at least one of them will turn around and be discipling other guys. I'll be on an ministry team through the BSU that will have some of the same people and leadership, yet will have a completely different flavor than it has this year. I'll be living in a different part of campus than I have before. I won't have a roommate at all. I may be writing a book.

My world is going to be different. And that's amazingly exciting. Yet it is hard at times to let go of a good thing when its time has ended - and there are many good things whose time is ending now. Yet, as Solomon understood, there is a time and a season for everything under the sun. This time, this season, is drawing to a close. And that is a good thing! Bittersweet... but mostly sweet.

God bless, all of you.

- Chris

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Spiderman 3 review

I saw Spiderman 3 with friends tonight, and so I'm reviving a pattern I barely ever started, but one I long ago promised: a movie review. I've a feeling this summer may have a number of these, seeing as it promises to be filled with several blockbusters, from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End to Ocean's 13 to The Bourne Ultimatum to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. (That last I probably shan't be seeing, as I've yet to see any of the other movies or indeed to read past the first novel, which I confess I had far fewer problems with spiritually than I did from a literary standpoint. It was, well... rather "blah," for lack of a better description. But that is another post for another time.)

Again starring Tobey Maguire in the title role, with Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane, James Franco as Harry Osborn, and with Sam Raimi returning for a third time as a director, Spiderman 3 is both the first of the summer blockbusters and the first conclusion to a major motion picture trilogy since the premier of Revenge of the Sith two years ago; and it is the first of four such movies premiering this summer. I went in with fairly high hopes, having heard good things from those who had seen it (though it received mixed reviews from professional critics). In general, I make a point of entering a theater with as few preconceptions as possible, so as to be able to better evaluate it on its own merits, rather than on the hype (or lack thereof) surrounding it. There's a reason my favorite films range from blockbusters of the Lord of the Rings sort to the far more esoteric Stranger than Fiction. In this case, however, I needn't have worried: the movie more than surpassed my expectations on all number of levels.

The effects were superb - far better than in the previous installments, where computer generated elements were often easily distinguished as such. Here, even the prototypically comic book-ish character Venom was somehow believable, though by all rights he ought not to have been. Massive computerized set-pieces ranging from cranes smashing through buildings to immense sand structures were all realized at a level of quality far higher than that in Spiderman 2; indeed, I only found myself thinking, "Well, that's definitely CG" twice in the course of the film - and neither of those instances were character-driven, which is a pleasant change.

The movie is a superhero movie; there is no question of that. Superhuman feats populate the movie - and the fight scenes here are more intense (and more believable) than those in previous iterations of the Spiderman saga have been. However, unlike all but a few of the films in this genre, they do not dominate the movie: to the contrary, they are the icing on a very rich and very dense cake of rich characterization and plotting. The film tracks multiple plotlines, which ultimately converge in what has to be the single most satisfying finale to a superhero film I've seen. Raimi skillfully wove together the threads of Peter Parker's life, both as nerdy boyfriend and as acclaimed superhero; of Mary Jane's insecurities and her career struggles; of Flint Marko's passionate quest to do something for his daughter; of Harry Osborn's ongoing struggle with his father's death and his blaming Peter for it; of Eddie Brock, an antagonist for Peter in almost every way; of Peter's past and the way it continues to drive - and haunt - him; and of Aunt May and her gentle love for and belief in Peter. The number of ongoing plots in the movie sounds dizzying; yet Raimi skillfully integrated them and brought them successfully to resolution. There was a period of about ten minutes in the middle of the movie where I wondered if it was going to end up slowing down too much and dragging on, but Raimi successfully kept the plot moving forward; and it never plodded. The pacing was one of my primary concerns going in, having read other reviews, and I was pleasantly surprised that I only questioned once, and that only briefly, about the pacing of the film.

The acting was compelling, and from a variety of characters in a variety of ways. The inimitable J. Jonah Jameson was of course in good form as the humor character; and both Maguire and Dunst turned in fairly compelling performances that made the evolution of their characters believable. The supporting cast matched them well, particularly James Franco as Harry Osborn, who made for the film's most interesting character and development in many ways. The final "character," oft-forgotten but never unimportant, the score, was nicely handled by relative newcomer to the series Christopher Young, who took over from Danny Elfman. I actually found this score to be more emotionally compelling and richer thematically than those for Spiderman or Spiderman 2: enough so that I may invest in the soundtrack at some point (something I've not done for either of the first two Spiderman movies).

The movie impressed me on a number of levels. It's thematic development was top-notch, and though it flirted with heavy-handedness, it never actually got to that line. Unlike too many explicitly Christian movies I've seen, it never attempted to beat people over the head with its message - and this is, I think, why it succeeds so well in communicating some extremely important truths about vengeance, love, and forgiveness. Again, as in the previous movies in the trilogy, the notion of choice was emphasized, and strongly: that every day, we have the choice to do go or to do evil; and that choice has consequences... often significant consequences. By using these larger than life setpieces and superheroes/villains, the movie played out the reality of good and evil in a stark way that I believe our culture needs more and stronger doses of. When Peter Parker struggles with forces of external darkness that would control him, the film makes it very clear that he does so only because he is vulnerable because of his own decision to hold on to his anger and vengefulness. He experiences significant loss and suffering because of his choices, and we see played out in the extreme the consequences of embracing our sin nature. The power of forgiveness - and the need to not only repent but forgive ourselves - is clearly enunciated by Aunt May, who remains both Peter and the film's spiritual center, though she plays a relatively small part in the film. The motive of liberating truth makes a strong appearance, as well, in one of the most consequential scenes to appear in the series - which I'll not spoil for you here. The final moments of the film reinforce the power of love and forgiveness, as well as acknowledgment of our mistakes. That these themes were often woven into the context of explicitly spiritual settings (such as the church that is the setting for an important moment of choice, and even a nasty - but ultimately true - quip that Peter throws at an adversary) only emphasizes the underlying reality that this movie is hinting at - the metanarrative that we all recongize because it is the story of our existence: the story of the ultimate battle of good and evil.

There was little objectionable content, though several things are worth mentioning here. I recall only two uses of profanity, and those relatively mild. There was some light sexual innuendo, and some relatively sexualized dancing (though, it is worth noting, far less egregious in this sense than one might run into in most other films of this sort; it's also worth pointing out that this behavior is both mocked and condemned). If you find violence objectionable, you'll find this film objectionable: because there's a lot - though it is almost all bloodless. One moment that stood out to me was when, under the influence of a dark entity, Peter strikes Mary Jane in anger while in the midst of a larger brawl: it was hard to stomach (and I found myself angry when some wise guy in the theater thought it funny to clap at that moment: a sad commentary on the state of our culture that his rudeness got so many laughs in the theater). The film earned a PG-13 rating for all of the above, and it's not undeserved: the combat is intense and people do die, though far less than might be expected, thanks to Spiderman's heroics.

I have to recommend this film. It is one of my favorites. I'm not sure, but I honestly think it tops Spiderman 2 as my favorite in this series, and my first feeling is that it probably ties Batman Begins as my favorite superhero movie. It had a nearly perfect blend of drama, action, suspense, and character moments - not to mention an ending that made me want to literally cheer out loud at times. The development of Biblical themes throughout, combined with good acting, top-notch action and effects, and a score that I found significantly more compelling than previous musical entries, makes me add this not only to my list of favorite superhero movies, but indeed to my list of favorite movies.

In short: go see it! God bless, and good night.

- Chris

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Beauty in the Sky, pt. 2

I took these pictures two nights ago... I love the beauty here. Context: these pictures were taken at sunset on an evening when we were in between two major bands of storms. Unfortunately, I have the posts backwards, so enjoy the second post first.

Glory to God!

- Chris

Beauty in the Sky, pt. 1

Monday, May 7, 2007

In Awe

God is incomprehensible.

I don't mean that in the sense that we cannot come to know Him, nor in the sense that He is too foreign for our minds to comprehend - quite the contrary, He is more familiar than anyone or anything else is or could be; and He created us for the purpose of knowing Him deeply and intimately. I mean it in the sense that, for all our efforts, we simply cannot comprehend Him - not His magnitude, nor His eternality, nor His transcendence, nor His role as ultimate cause, with no causality behind Him. We cannot grasp those notions; we cannot wrap our minds around them.

And frankly, that's a good thing, because - as I told a friend recently - He would not really be God if we, in our finite state, in our ultimate confinement to the bounds of immanence, could grasp Him, could focus our minds sufficiently as to come to a true knowledge of Him. Divinity, at some level, cannot be disentangled from transcendence. Anselm's proof, however debated, rings true in our hearts at some level. If a notion greater than God could be imagined, that would be god, not the God we serve. If, however, He is truly the greatest thing the mind could imagine, then is He even God then - if capable of being imagined? No, He must, in order to be God, be greater than any imagining or attempt at understanding, be forever out of reach, forever eluding for our finite minds' grasp.

Pause for a moment and try to think through the Trinity - three persons, united in a single essence, perfectly distinct from each other and yet without even the slightest hint of division between them, a singular and unitary God who is simultaneously Himself as Three Persons in perfect relationship with Himself. Try, now, to understand what happened when, in anguish on the cross, Jesus Christ called out, "My God, my God, why what you forsaken me?" Try to understand the notion of the Trinity - broken, separated from itself. Then try to grasp the fact that this was for you and for me. That we caused it, we necessitated it - that without your sin and my sin, the Trinity would never have suffered that terrible moment. And understand (or rather, do not, though you may strive eternity to do so): God was not broken in that moment. He remained Himself, wholly and completely.

Consider: the uncaused cause. Try, for as long as you are able, to come to grips with the notion of a causal chain that ends. Of a being that never started; that has always been - who is completely outside of time and space, for whom time is an interesting creation, not a condition. Wrestle, if you will, with the idea, fantastic in its simplicity yet incredibly difficult to grasp, that this being has never not been, that He has always been just exactly as he is - that eternity is the habitat of this divinity. Asking "Who else could God have been? Why is God the one that He is instead of some other?" is asking a wrong question: it is a question that by definition is not even sensible, is not logical, is not coherent. God could not have been other, He is. He always is, and always has been and always will be... and not for any reason. He is. That question is meaningless; and it is incomparable. No other question like it can be asked, and there is truth in its lack of meaning. Had it meaning, God would not be God. If a cause for God - a reason for His being who He is - could be understood, God would not be God: that cause would be God.

This is transcendence. This is divinity. If He could be understood, He would not be God. If it did not cause mental pain - a searing anguish of the understanding - to try to grasp these truths, then we would indeed have reason to doubt His existence. Yet no notion so profound, so noble, so meaningful, so utterly incomprehensible in its sheer immensity, could be the product of human reason or imagination. Mankind conjures of the gods of Rome and Greece, so finite, so human. Never has the human imagination leapt to the notion of a God so unlike us, so beyond our ability to comprehend.

How then, did we come to hold this notion?

Because Almighty God, in His infinite greatness, revealed Himself to us.

We are so limited in our understanding of that action and its significance; we are so lacking in our understanding of God -

If we were not, we would be always in awe. Instead, we live our lives as if there is no transcendence, as if there is no purpose, as if every day was not imbued withe a underlying coloring of the incredible. If we understood, even just a hint...

We would worship.

- Chris

Sunday, May 6, 2007

life UPdate

I owe you all an update, I think....

Your prayers have been answered! My migraine broke last Wednesday, after seven days. I stayed home from church last Sunday because I felt led to simply take the time to rest instead of attempting to get up and go - which was definitely for the best, though I always hate missing service. I've had headaches Wednesday, but low-key ones of the sort I'm used to. I'd still appreciate your prayers on that count: I'm now on day 113 consecutive of headaches in general, and continued grace and strength are needed to press on. Also, we don't know what the actual underlying cause of the headaches, or of the migraines in particular, is. (I know what conditions are favorable for onset, but we can't identify any particular trigger. Suffice it to say that high stress and low sleep set me up for migraines, and I was already under both conditions when certain events Wednesday punched the emotional stress component significantly higher and the sleep quotient significantly lower, all of which probably helped trigger this set of migraines. Yet God was faithful through all of it!)

I saw my doctor on Thursday, and all my blood-work is normal and the CT scan showed no abnormalities (praise God!). Thus, it's mostly a guessing game at this point: try one medication for a few months (as many as three of four), varying the dosages, and if it doesn't work, move on to try a new one. It could be the first medication I try helps; it could be it takes years to resolve this problem (I'm hopeful for the former but quite content to wait however long God has decreed). The first medication I've started taking isn't showing any immediate results, but that's expected. It is making me drowsy, though, so that's something I'm having to work through (since it's the week before finals). I've no doubt that God will supply grace above and beyond, as He has all semester. His grace has been a constant testimony to me, and I am in awe of how marvelously He has worked. I know He will continue to display His glory through me.

In the meantime, there are many, many things burdening my heart and springing about in my mind, but those will have to wait for another time (and perhaps even another venue... I'm not sure). God bless you all, and good night!

- Chris

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


This is totally random, but also really cool: a 93-year-old woman is auctioning off half the town she and her husband started building over 50 years ago. Yes, a town they started building together. Here's the link: enjoy the read. (I hope I'm half that cool when I'm 93!)

- Chris