The haka is an emotive subject, with South Africa coach Pieter de Villiers whipping up a storm in New Zealand last week when he claimed the ritual was losing its lustre. “People are becoming used to it,” he said. “It’s not a novelty anymore and they don’t respect it.”
Inevitably, the comments triggered articles in the Kiwi press featuring outraged Maori leaders, protective cultural figures and even a few disgruntled foreigners. But does De Villiers have a point?
For this week’s Radio 5 live rugby programme, I spoke to a number of different people about the haka and its place in Maori culture and All Black history.
There are many different kinds of haka and the Maori use them for a variety of purposes. They use them to welcome people, to bid farewell to their dead, to celebrate success and to express collective pride.
The one haka recognised globally is the All Black haka: Ka Mate. This particular haka dates back over 200 years. A warrior chief named Te Raupahara composed it, having just escaped capture by a tribal rival. It was reflective of his relief and excitement at survival.
The words, “ka mate, ka mate, ka ora, ka ora” literally means “I die, I die, I live, I live.” Te Raupahara became something of a heroic figure as a leader and a warrior and his haka was kept alive after his death.
The haka first became part of All Black operations in 1905 when it was adopted by “The Originals” - the first New Zealand side to tour overseas. It was performed not as a challenge in the sense we regard it now but more as pre-match entertainment.
When the All Blacks performed it in Cardiff in 1905, the Welsh responded by bursting into their anthem Land Of My Fathers.
The haka was only performed overseas until 1987. Before that it was a rather different visual experience to what we see before matches now.
Sir Wilson Whineray captained the All Blacks between 1957 and 1965. He told me it was very different then. He said: “It wasn’t done very well in my day. We only had a couple of Maori boys in our side. Looking at the old footage, we just stood in the same spot and stamped our feet.
"It has evolved quite a bit and is certainly a lot more vigorous now. I look at that and think I would be exhausted at the end of it. But, wherever we went, people loved the haka. We were always asked to perform it."
The turning point in the history of the All Black haka was in the mid-1980s. Under the captaincy of Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford, there was a drive to revitalise it and perform it on home soil.
Shelford said: “[All Black hooker] Hika Reid and I had a talk about it. We thought that, unless we had total buy-in from the players and management, we wouldn’t do it. We did, so we thought, ‘Right, let’s practise it’. That was fun.
"Those pakeha [non-Maori] boys [were] stiff with no rhythm. They had to learn how to hang loose. We wondered how they were going to do the haka properly.
"With time and effort they got better. By 1987 they were pretty good at it and had learned and understood the origin of it - plus the meaning behind it. I’m proud we had the opportunity to give something back. I think it’s great to advertise our culture before a game. I love to see the Kenyans doing a dance after their Sevens matches, for instance. The haka is real Kiwi, real New Zealand."
"Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering?" (Romans 2:4).
Paul’s rhetorical question is essentially asking, “Do you take the goodness of God lightly? Do you take it for granted? Do you assume that because God is good he will not judge?” That is the most pervasive religious myth in our culture today. God is viewed as a cosmic bellhop at our beck and call. He is a celestial Santa Claus. All we have to do is come and ask him for what we want, and he will provide it for us.
A judge who refuses to punish evil is not a good judge; he is an unjust judge. A corrupt judge is not good, but God in his goodness, the one who judges all and does what is right, promises judgment against evil.
Do we so despise his goodness that we assume that there is no room in his goodness for justice? That is insanity. If God is good, then he will judge, and he will judge according to truth. We ought not to despise the riches of his goodness and forbearance. In his patience God is forbearing. He puts up with our rebellion and sin. He knows every sin we have ever committed, but he has not exposed them all. He has not visited his wrath on us for all those sins, but we wipe our foreheads and say, “God is good that he will never deal with my sins.”
Do you despise the riches of his goodness, Paul asks, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (v. 4). God’s forbearance leads us not to repentance but to recalcitrance, to the hardened heart and the stiff neck.
”—Romans: St. Andrews Expositional Commentary (St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary) by R.C. Sproul
If you want a big swig of despair, listen to the people who know something about the global economy.
If you want a big swig of despair, listen to the people who know something about the global economy. Roger Altman, a former deputy Treasury secretary, is arguing that America and Europe are on the verge of a disastrous double-dip recession. Various economists say it will be at least another three years before we see serious job growth. Others say European banks are teetering — if not now, then early next year.
Walter Russell Mead, who teaches foreign policy at Bard College, recently laid out some worst-case scenarios on his blog: “It is about whether the international financial system will survive the next six months in the form we now know it. It is about whether the foundations of the postwar order are cracking in Europe. It is about whether a global financial crash will further destabilize the Middle East. … It is about whether the incipient signs of a bubble burst in China signal the start of an extended economic and perhaps even political crisis there. It is about whether the American middle class is about to be knocked off its feet once again.”
The prognosis for the next few years is bad with a chance of worse. And the economic conditions are not even the scary part. The scary part is the political class’s inability to think about the economy in a realistic way.
This crisis has many currents, which merge and feed off each other. There is the lack of consumer demand, the credit crunch, the continuing slide in housing prices, the freeze in business investment, the still hefty consumer debt levels and the skills mismatch — not to mention regulatory burdens, the business class’s utter lack of confidence in the White House, the looming explosion of entitlement costs, the public’s lack of confidence in institutions across the board.
No single one of these currents prolongs the crisis. It is the product of the complex interplay between them. To put it in fancy terms, the crisis is an emergent condition — even more terrible than the sum of its parts.
Yet the ideologues who dominate the political conversation are unable to think in holistic, emergent ways. They pick out the one factor that best conforms to their preformed prejudices and, like blind men grabbing a piece of the elephant, they persuade themselves they understand the whole thing.
Many Democrats are predisposed to want more government spending. So they pick up on the one current they think can be cured with more government spending: low consumer demand. Increase government spending and that will pump up consumer spending.
When President Obama’s stimulus package produced insufficient results, they didn’t concede that maybe there are other factors at play, which mitigated the effects. They just called for more government spending. To a man in love with his hammer, every problem requires a nail.
Many Republicans, meanwhile, are predisposed to want lower taxes and less regulation. So they pick up on the one current they think can be solved with tax and regulatory cuts: low business investment. Cut taxes. Reduce regulation. All will be well.
Both orthodoxies take a constricted, mechanistic view of the situation. If we’re stuck with these two mentalities, we will be forever presented with proposals that are incommensurate with the problem at hand. Look at the recent Obama stimulus proposal. You may like it or not, but it’s trivial. It’s simply not significant enough to make a difference, given the size of the global mess.
We need an approach that is both grander and more modest. When you are confronted by a complex, emergent problem, don’t try to pick out the one lever that is the key to the whole thing. There is no one lever. You wouldn’t be smart enough to find it even if there was.
WHICH sport is the world’s favourite? The answer, football, feels so self-evident that it is barely worth a post. But what about the world’s second favourite?
[Can we determine it using] attendance figures? By this measure Major League Baseball (MLB) storms it. In 2010 combined attendance was over 73m, although it has the advantage of a stupendous number of games in a season—2,424. The second-most attended sporting league in the world is also in baseball—Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, with over 22m spectators in 2009. In contrast, the English Premier League attracts just 13.2m to its stadia. Indeed, football’s six most attended leagues—England’s Premiere League (EPL), Germany’s Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga, England’s Championship, Italy’s Serie A and French Ligue 1—muster fewer specatators between them, with 64m, than MLB alone. Then again, most have a mere 300-400 games in a season, meaning that the average attendance per game is comparable (30,138 for MLB and 34,780 for the EPL, for example). The best average attendances are at NFL games (66,960) followed by the Bundesliga (42,673).
We might also consider revenue. According to Deloitte, the EPL’s revenue in the 2009-10 season was €2.3 billion ($3.1 billion), with football in the whole of Europe generating a combined €16.3 billion. This compares with NFL’s $9 billion, MLB’s $7.2 billion and the NBA’s $4.1 billion in 2011, according to Plunkett Research. Comparable revenue figures for the Indian Premier League, cricket’s big money-spinning event, are hard to come by. But Brand Finance, a British consultancy, estimated the IPL’s brand value to be $4.1 billion in 2010.
”—Opinion piece in The Economist, trying to determine the popularity of cricket in the world. Read the entire opinion piece HERE.
(Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O) looks set next week to unveil its much-awaited new iPhone, which analysts say will have a bigger screen and work better with remote computing services.
Apple on Tuesday invited media to a “special event” called “Let’s talk iPhone” on October 4 at its Cupertino, California headquarters, an unusual location for a company that typically introduces major products at larger venues in San Francisco.
The invitation did not have any other details, and an Apple spokesman would not provide further information.
"This is the iPhone 5," ThinkEquity analyst Mark McKechnie said of the event.
The new iPhone would be the first major product launch under Tim Cook, who took over full-time as chief executive after co-founder Steve Jobs resigned last month.
It was unclear if Jobs, who is now chairman, will take the stage at the event.
Though a good product, the current iPhone 4 could use some improvements, McKechnie said. “We talked about it having a bigger screen, a dual core processor, and probably integrates pretty well with the iCloud.”
The iPhone — introduced in 2007 with the touchscreen template now adopted by its rivals — remains the gold standard in the booming smartphone market.
The new model, which some have dubbed the iPhone 5, will have a bigger touch screen, better antenna and an 8-megapixel camera, one source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters in August.
“Jesus’ supernatural vision regarding people’s potential gave him irrepressible optimism as he engaged with vagrants, liars, cowards, and crooks. To them all, the promise was the same. The old can become new, Jesus said. The fallen can be restored. The prideful can be humbled. The wanderers can come home. The weak can become strong. Derelicts can become disciples. At its core, this is what it means to develop friendships with spiritual goals in mind. Jesus truly believed in the power of God to transform human lives — a belief that motivated his insatiable pursuit of all sorts of people at all points on the spiritual spectrum. He was fierce in his determination to look past ill-timed comments and inappropriate actions. He dreamed about what could happen in a person’s life if God’s power were released in them — and so he pushed through people’s fear and sin, and he kept including people, loving people, and lifting people up to their fullest potential.”—Just Walk Across the Room: Simple Steps Pointing People to Faith by Bill Hybels
Seeking to stake a claim in the tablet computer market alongside Apple and Samsung, Amazon.com on Wednesday revealed plans to begin selling a color touchscreen tablet.
Named the Kindle Fire, the device has a 7-inch touchscreen, weighs 14.6 ounces and is outfitted with a dual-core processor. But the most important feature may be the price. At $199 the Fire is less than half the price of the Apple iPad, which starts at $499. It is the first tablet from a major company to seriously undercut the iPad in price.
Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, who showed off the Fire on stage at a news conference in Manhattan, said it was meant to build on the popularity of the company’s e-readers and appeal to a broader audience that also wants to browse the Web and stream music, movies and video. The device has access to Amazon’s library of 18 million e-books, songs and movies and television shows, and can run Android applications that have been approved by Amazon.
There is also a newsstand for users who want to subscribe to magazines, with titles like Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Wired and Glamour.
“We’re building premium products at non-premium prices,” said Mr. Bezos. “We are determined to do that.”
Mr. Bezos also introduced a speedy custom-built mobile browser, called Amazon Silk, which he said was “cloud-accelerated,” combining Amazon’s computing cloud with the Kindle Fire device. “It’s truly a technical achievement,” he said.
In South Korea to reduce the country's addiction to private, after-hours tutoring academies (called hagwons), the authorities have begun enforcing a curfew — even paying citizens bounties to turn in violators.
On a wet Wednesday evening in Seoul, six government employees gather at the office to prepare for a late-night patrol. The mission is as simple as it is counterintuitive: to find children who are studying after 10 p.m. And stop them.
In South Korea, it has come to this. To reduce the country’s addiction to private, after-hours tutoring academies (called hagwons), the authorities have begun enforcing a curfew — even paying citizens bounties to turn in violators.
South Korea’s hagwon crackdown is one part of a larger quest to tame the country’s culture of educational masochism. At the national and local levels, politicians are changing school testing and university admissions policies to reduce student stress and reward softer qualities like creativity. “One-size-fits-all, government-led uniform curriculums and an education system that is locked only onto the college-entrance examination are not acceptable,” President Lee Myung-bak vowed at his inauguration in 2008.
But cramming is deeply embedded in Asia, where top grades — and often nothing else — have long been prized as essential for professional success. Before toothbrushes or printing presses, there were civil service exams that could make or break you. Chinese families have been hiring test-prep tutors since the 7th century. Modern-day South Korea has taken this competition to new extremes. In 2010, 74% of all students engaged in some kind of private after-school instruction, sometimes called shadow education, at an average cost of $2,600 per student for the year. There are more private instructors in South Korea than there are schoolteachers, and the most popular of them make millions of dollars a year from online and in-person classes. When Singapore’s Education Minister was asked last year about his nation’s reliance on private tutoring, he found one reason for hope: “We’re not as bad as the Koreans.”
In Seoul, legions of students who fail to get into top universities spend the entire year after high school attending hagwons to improve their scores on university admissions exams. And they must compete even to do this. At the prestigious Daesung Institute, admission is based (diabolically enough) on students’ test scores. Only 14% of applicants are accepted. After a year of 14-hour days, about 70% gain entry to one of the nation’s top three universities.
Today, Sly Stone — one of the greatest figures in soul-music history — is homeless, his fortune stolen by a lethal combination of excess, substance abuse and financial mismanagement. He lays his head inside a white camper van ironically stamped with the words “Pleasure Way” on the side. The van is parked on a residential street in Crenshaw, the rough Los Angeles neighborhood where “Boyz n the Hood” was set. A retired couple makes sure he eats once a day, and Stone showers at their house. The couple’s son serves as his assistant and driver.
Billy Beane of ‘Moneyball’ Has Given Up on His Own Hollywood Ending
America is obsessed with winning. While I think we need to see ‘Moneyball’ simply because it is a great movie, and yes, a baseball movie, there is the problem that life doesn’t always imitate art. In other words, we don’t always have happy endings. Read the entire story below, from the New York Times HERE, on what is happening these days in the life of Billy Beane. It doesn’t change the movie or the reason to see it, but it does put life in perspective. Sometimes, most of the time, really, playing the game is really more important than winning.
If you were going to pitch this story as a movie, you would pitch it as David and Goliath meets “The Bad News Bears” meets “The Tipping Point” — a perfect confluence of sports-underdog drama and the allure of contrarian thinking. In fact, the only thing lacking in this Hollywood tale is a classic Hollywood ending. Because, as it turned out, those miraculous A’s never did manage to topple the bloated Goliaths of the league — their sling always came up one stone short. And when, after the 2002 season, Beane was courted to take over the storied Boston Red Sox (if you can’t beat ’em, etc.), he accepted — then abruptly declined. The jilted Sox instead promoted Theo Epstein, a 28-year-old wunderkind in the Beane mold. The Sox have since won the World Series twice.
The A’s, meanwhile, have tumbled back to mediocrity: the team is on its way to a losing season this year, after compiling a record of 231 wins and 254 losses over the previous three seasons. Most of the innovations introduced or popularized by Beane have been freely adopted by other organizations, thus eliminating whatever stealth advantages he once enjoyed. The Moneyball philosophy ultimately triumphed, but Billy Beane never quite did.
“Moneyball,” the movie, struggles with this inconvenient reality; certainly it’s odd to watch a sports movie that doesn’t — that can’t — end with that rousing ninth-inning game-winner, with Roy Hobbs launching his pennant-winning shot into the lights. (Of course, in the Bernard Malamud novel that “The Natural” was based on — spoiler alert — the aged Roy Hobbs strikes out.) As Pitt-as-Beane says in “Moneyball,” it ultimately doesn’t matter how many games you win if you lose the last game of the season. The film ends with a black title card, announcing elegiacally and somewhat euphemistically that Beane is still waiting to win that last game.
Back in real-life Oakland, the real-life Beane is still playing an unfair game, but he’s no longer winning.
Humbling Loss to Australia Shows How Far U.S. Has to Go
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — The 67-5 score may not have been flattering, but Colin Hawley of the United States Eagles would not trade the experience of playing Australia for anything.
The Eagles, a mix of professional and amateur players, entered the Rugby World Cup match Friday as firm underdogs, and the gulf between the teams was brutally exposed by the Australians, who ran in 11 tries.
Adam Ashley-Cooper scored three of them, all in a seven-minute span midway through the second half as Australia, the Southern Hemisphere’s Tri-Nations champion, ran rampant. The Australians were far too powerful and skillful for the United States and led, 22-5, at halftime, thanks to tries by Rob Horne, Rocky Elsom, Kurtley Beale and Anthony Fainga’a.
Drew Mitchell and Pat McCabe got the scoring under way after the break before Ashley-Cooper completed his hat trick.
Fainga’a, who was later taken from the field on a stretcher after being knocked out, grabbed his second try with nine minutes remaining, but there was still time for Radike Samo to add the finishing touches just before the end while American fullback Blaine Scully was in the penalty box for a deliberate foul.
Despite the lopsided score, the experience of playing against some of the world’s best players was invaluable, Hawley said.
“Exposure like this you just never get,” he said. “U.S.A. doesn’t really get the chance to play Tier 1 nations so often. That game tonight has taught me so much. What I need to do, the pace of the game and what I need to do to move forward. We definitely learned a lot from the experience.”
White Sox release Ozzie Guillen; Marlins likely next stop
In 2005, a lifetime dream came true. The White Sox won the world series with an improbable run through the Red Sox, Angels and Astros. A record of 11-1 in the playoffs with the best starting pitching in several decades. I was there. The timing was great given my life at the time, and my son Aaron, Brenda and a great friend and fan Jeff Fox got to games with me. An for the rest of my life, I’ll always be thankful for Ozzie. All good things come to an end, and that’s baseball. Sorry to see him go, but the Sox have been stuck in their division for too long. I’ll have more on Ozzie later, but for now, here’s the news.
The entertaining Ozzie Guillen managerial era that started with a World Series in his second season will end shortly with a third consecutive non-playoff season and a desire to gain more security and wealth.
The White Sox announced they have released Guillen from his contract after Monday night’s 4-3 win over the Blue Jays so he can pursue other managerial opportunities despite being signed through 2012. General manager Ken Williams said the Sox have agreed on compensation with an undisclosed team — believed to be the Marlins — but that Guillen is free to negotiate with any team.
Two scouting sources said Guillen, 47, who was 678-617 in eight seasons as Sox manager, is expected to be offered a four-year deal by Florida worth nearly $16 million.
"The toughest thing for me is over with," Guillen said after informing his players before the game that Monday would be his Sox finale.
Guillen revealed he wasn’t confident of landing a lucrative extension before meeting Monday morning with Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, sensing his wish wouldn’t be fulfilled during a previous chat with Reinsdorf.
Anticipation that Guillen would depart swelled 3½ hours before the game as his office door remained closed for an extended period, and he met with reporters later than normal for his pregame briefing.
Guillen’s imminent departure surfaced hours after Marlins manager Jack McKeon announced he was retiring.
"I’m not surprised this happened," veteran slugger Paul Konerko said. “I’m surprised it happened today.”
This marks a return to South Florida for Guillen, who was the third-base coach on Florida’s 2003 World Series champion team, as well as the end of an eight-year managerial era that brought the Sox the 2005 Series title — their first title in 88 years — as well as plenty of controversy that kept the Sox in the national and local spotlight.
Guillen, known for his candidness, thanked everyone associated with the Sox.
"I have no regrets," he said. "Disappointed? Yes, because of the way we played this season."
Read the rest of the story from the Chicago Tribune HERE.
I’m a baseball fan. The game is pure and it’s cerebral. Sorry; for those who think it’s slow and dull, you just don’t understand the game. And you’d probably never play chess. An excerpt from Peter Travers review of Moneyball from the Rolling Stone is below he stats picture; read the entire review HERE. Roger Ebert review is HERE and Richard Corliss of TIME Magazine is HERE. Go see this movie.
WARNING: This time tomorrow I’ll post a follow up story on the life of Billy Beane today; it needs to be appreciated after you’ve thought about and seen the movie.
Also, some great insight into baseball statistics and why they are so valuable to the game are HERE from James Fegan, who writes a wonderful blog about my favorite team, the Chicago White Sox, HERE.
For me, the only thing duller than watching baseball is listening to fantasy-baseball freaks drone on about stats. So I yawned at the idea of Hollywood taking on Moneyball, Michael Lewis’ exhaustive 2003 bestseller about how the Oakland Athletics learned to stop worrying about star salaries and love the bottom line.
My bad. Moneyball is one of the best and most viscerally exciting films of the year. Yes, director Bennett Miller dials down the on-field action and goes stats to the max. But he laces his investigative fervor with emotional punch. Moneyball is a baseball movie like The Social Network is a Facebook movie, meaning it isn’t. Both are about how we play the game of our lives, and the excuses we make in the name of winning.
First up is Brad Pitt, at the top of his live-wire game as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s. Beane takes a major step in 2001 when the A’s lose first baseman Jason Giambi because they can’t compete with the cash-rich Yankees. Instead of wallowing in low-rent despair, Beane gets his geek on and tries being cost-effective.
As Beane’s geek of choice, enter comedy wonderboy Jonah Hill, who scores a no-joke knockout as numbers cruncher Peter Brand. Don’t look up Brand on Wiki. He’s not there. Brand is a composite character, a young disciple of Bill James, a pioneer of sabermetrics. SABR, for Society for American Baseball Research, attracts rebels who think outside the box, measuring a player’s performance beyond batting average and popularity, putting value on solid performance and getting on base.
Timeout here for a movie-geek analogy: Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig cash in with Cowboys & Alienswhile the movie strikes out. Less well-known actors topline The Help and steal home. That’s some delicious irony, seeing $20 million man Pitt (reportedly working cheaper here) repping a movie about dumping overpaid stars.
Pitt more than earns his keep. He stuck by Moneyball through two directors before Miller, who hadn’t worked since 2005’s acclaimed Capote (what’s up with that?). David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) dropped out. And Steven Soderbergh – Pitt’s director in the Ocean's trilogy – had the plug pulled by Sony just before shooting. Ouch! No doubt Moneyball's sabermetrics lack the tear-jerking pow of Lewis' page-to-screen crowd-pleaser, The Blind Side, but Pitt felt Moneyball was a story that needed telling. Despite narrative bumps, the finished film impressively bears him out.
The children of baby boomers have inherited an expectation of early independence that in today’s economy is hard to sustain, and many of them are moving back home
Gregory Warner is a reporter at Marketplace, the public radio show about business and economics. Read the entire story HERE.
A FRIEND of mine named Eugene who is 28 and an investment banker lives at home in Connecticut with his parents. He can afford to live on his own, but he doesn’t see the point. He’s putting the money he would have spent on rent toward co-ownership of a pizza restaurant. And when he wants to stretch his limbs, he drives to his girlfriend’s apartment.
Prolonged adolescence? Extended dependency? Neither. My friend, who was born in Russia and moved here as a child, is more future-focused than most American-born people his age. Chalk it up to culture. Ex-Soviets know how to survive in stagnant times. My Russian wife, after graduating from Cornell, moved in with her grandfather in Brooklyn; in this way she stretched the salary she made in one year as a paralegal for the three years it took her to write her first book.
I, on the other hand, celebrated my first job after graduation by promptly signing away half my take-home pay on a $1,250-a-month rental. I grew up with an unspoken assumption, just as my parents had, that I would live on my own after college. My parents shared that assumption; they sold their large house for a smaller apartment that was big enough only for the children to visit. I couldn’t have moved back even if I’d wanted to.
In some ways our parents see “success” and “independence” as synonyms, though no such conflation exists for many immigrants.
The children of baby boomers have inherited an expectation of early independence that in today’s economy is hard to sustain, and many of them are moving back home — if, of course, their parents live in a place that holds the potential for jobs. Census figures show that adults between the ages of 25 and 34 are living in multigenerational households at a rate not seen since 1950.
I suspect that many young American adults who have to move in with their parents feel crummy about it. Most Russian immigrants I know do not. They don’t see it as a sign of failure but as a means to achieve their financial goals more quickly.
Are Americans really all that desperate to break free of their parents? Or does the push toward independence originate from the top? Are baby boomers sending the not-so-subtle message to their children that they prefer an empty nest?
Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.
God is a Person, and in the deep of His mighty nature He thinks, wills, enjoys, feels, loves, desires and suffers as any other person may. In making Himself known to us He stays by the familiar pattern of personality. He communicates with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.
[Old hymns are] sweet with the longing after God, the God whom, while the singer seeks, he knows he has already found. “His track I see and I’ll pursue,” sang our fathers only a short generation ago, but that song is heard no more in the great congregation. How tragic that we in this dark day have had our seeking done for us by our teachers. Everything is made to center upon the initial act of “accepting” Christ (a term, incidentally, which is not found in the Bible) and we are not expected thereafter to crave any further revelation of God to our souls.
We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him we need no more seek Him. Faith may now be exercised without a jar to the moral life and without embarrassment to the Adamic ego. Christ may be “received” without creating any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver. The man is “saved,” but he is not hungry nor thirsty after God.
”—The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer (1948). Amazon book link HERE.
'Person Of Interest' Review: We're All Being Watched
New show from J.J. Abrams for the Lost fans out there; with “Ben” and Jim Caviezel. it looks a bit dark, but most of Abrams’ work (like Fringe) has been worth the time to watch. Read the rest of the review HERE.
What if a machine could predict murder?
"Person of Interest," a new drama on CBS written and conceived by Jonathan Nolan (brother of Christopher) and produced by J.J. Abrams, is based on that idea. John Reese (Jim Caviezel) plays the ex-government agent recruited to help Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson), a mysterious rich man, use just such a machine to prevent violent deaths.
We meet Reese when he’s a bum on the subway (he looks a little like another character Caviezel has played — Jesus). Some street punks try to take his booze, and Reese explodes into action, neatly beating the shit out of all of them.
This is the first time we see Reese at work, but it’s not the last. If you enjoy watching highly brutal, seamlessly effective violence, this is definitely a show for you. Reese, in minutes, completes such feats as taking out a room of armed men by shooting them all in the knees, launching a baby missile at a speeding car, and basically being a bigger bad ass than anyone else in the room.
With a soft, beautiful voice that is always carefully modulated, Caviezel’s Reese resembles nothing so much as an angel of death.
"I don’t particularly like killing," he tells some criminals later. "But I’m very good at it."
Of course, it takes a little something for Caviezel to go from bum to grand high payback wizard. He’s lifted from jail by the elusive Mr. Finch, a wealthy man who designed an intelligence system for the government in the wake of 9/11 to help predict future terrorist attacks. He now accesses that system to get a list of social security numbers of people who are somehow tied to violent murders — either as victims, or as perps. Reese is Finch’s way to stop these murders before they happen.
Luther expressed concern about the gospel. He had warned people on prior occasions that any time the gospel is preached accurately and passionately, it will bring conflict, and since people flee from conflict, every generation will tend to water down or hide the gospel, allowing it to be eclipsed by darkness as it had been for centuries before the Reformation. At the time of Luther’s death such an eclipse was already occurring in Germany.
Luther said that in times past, people would run to the ends of the world had they known of a place where they could hear God speak. Now that we hear and read God’s Word every day, this does not happen. We hear the gospel in our homes, where father, mother, and children sing and speak of it. The preacher speaks of it in the parish church. We ought to lift up our hands and rejoice that we have been given the honor of hearing God speak to us through his Word. People say, “There is preaching every day, often many times every day, so that we soon grow weary of it. What do we get out of it? I go to church, but I don’t get much out of it.” The people who teach us how to grow churches tell us we have to be sensitive to what people want. We have to scratch people where they itch, or they will not come back.
We are told that we have to cast our sermons and messages not on the basis of what the Word of God declares but on the felt needs of the people. That is not what people need. God’s priority is that people understand his holy character. People may not feel their need of that, but there is nothing they need more than to have their minds exploded in their understanding of who God is.
”—Romans: St. Andrews Expositional Commentary (St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary) by R.C. Sproul
From NPR; link HERE for the full story and to listen to three tracks from Hank 3: “Trooper’s Holler,” “Ghost to a Ghost” and “Camouflage.”
Hank Williams III, also known as Hank 3, is the son of Hank Williams Jr., as well as the grandson of Hank Williams, considered to be one of the greatest country music performers of all time. Hank 3 got his start in music playing punk and metal, then went on to form bands with members of Pantera and The Jesus Lizard. Hank 3 made country albums, too, but had little use for mainstream Nashville’s restrictive culture.
He’s always cast off the expectations connected with his iconic bloodline, challenging the music industry, the press and even his fans. In concert, Williams will often go from a set of straight-up country to “hell-billy” to punk rock and metal, with only the most broad-minded audience members sticking it out for the whole show. And he’s just released three albums — spread out over four CDs — on which he pushes boundaries farther than he ever has before.
"Trooper’s Holler," from Ghost to a Ghost, is a perfect example of Williams’ originality, as his dog Trooper’s vocals are featured here. Ghost to a Ghost is, for the most part, unambiguously country, with some requisite dirty words and a small shot of klezmer. The second CD, Gutter Town, plays more like the soundtrack to a horror film: a demented Cajun campfire on the outskirts of a creepy, deserted village.
Hank 3 has used ambient sounds and bleeps and blips on recordings in the past. But it’s the third CD, Cattle Callin’, on which he truly innovates. In his never-ending, genre-bending quest, Williams creates what he calls “cattle-core,” setting the rapid-fire calls of cattle auctioneers to super-speed-metal double kick drum, guitar shreddery and diabolical vocal squall.
As if that isn’t enough, there’s a fourth disc, titled Hank 3’s Attention Deficit Domination. This is Williams’ foray into doom rock. It’s a bottom-heavy slow dirge that shows off what got Williams into music in the first place: his considerable bass and drum playing.
Who's Weighing Tax On Rich? Congress' Millionaires
President Obama continued laying what may be more groundwork for his re-election campaign Monday, including a new tax proposal. He calls it the “Buffett rule”: a new tax on people making more than $1million a year, who currently pay a much lower rate than an average middle-class American. The president, in fact, proposed this rule to a group of people with a lot of millionaires in it.
The number of Americans who are millionaires is pretty low — about 1 percent of the population. Members of Congress who are millionaires? Nearly 50 percent.
That’s according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks money in politics.
Of the 435 members of the House, “244 current members of Congress are millionaires — that’s about 46 percent and that includes 138 Republicans and 106 Democrats,” says Center for Responsive Politics spokesman Michael Beckel.
Beckel is talking about net worth, the total amount of money and assets lawmakers have, according to their own financial disclosure forms. In fact, there are probably many more millionaires in Congress, since lawmakers don’t have to include the value of their family home and other details.
Beckel says this wealth already makes life pretty different for lawmakers than it is for the constituents they represent. A member of Congress is more likely to be hit by the tax hike they’re considering.
Read more of the article on the tax fight and millionaires HERE.
PETA Plans to Launch Porn Website to Promote Message
Another sign that the world is about over.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is planning to launch a pornographic website to promote its animal rights and vegan diet message, a move that critics say will backfire and ostracize them from mainstream society.
PETA spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles on Tuesday that the group has applied with ICM Registry to launch the website peta.xxx.
Rajt says the site will feature “tantalizing” videos and photographs, which will lead viewers into animal rights messages. She noted that Norfolk-based PETA has used porn stars and nudity to get its message across in the past, including an annual speech online in which a PETA representative undresses. That video later shares a message about slaughterhouses.
She says a pornographic site will allow PETA to reach a broader audience and that publicity about the site is just as important.
"I think the bottom line is we live a in a 24-hour news cycle where over the years we’ve found our racier actions are kind of a fast track way to get people to stand up and pay attention about the plight of animals," she said.
Rajt says November is the earliest that PETA could receive approval for the site. Critics say that by resorting to pornography, PETA is alienating itself from a large swath of the population that might otherwise be sympathetic to its cause.
Manchester United put on hold its $1 billion Singapore stock market offering because of volatile global markets, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.
The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because the club is not discussing its financial plans publicly, said United’s American owners are waiting for market conditions to improve before going ahead with the listing. Approval for the initial public offering already had been approved by Singapore’s stock exchange.
The Glazer family, which also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, plans to remain in control of United by making only 25 percent to 30 percent of the club available. The family wants to raise $1 billion to help to cut debts, which were $747 million on June 30.
If the Premier League champions do not list by the end of the year they will have to seek an extension. United’s planned listing values the club at far more than the $1.9 billion valuation by Forbes magazine, which has ranked it as soccer’s most valuable team the last seven years. The club was bought by the Glazers for $1.4 billion in 2005.
The wider economic instability has made the Glazers wary. Markets have been shaken by the possibility of Greece’s debt default, Italy’s debt downgrade and the International Monetary Fund’s warning that the global economy is growing far slower than anticipated.
Like many N.F.L. fans, Mike Tanenbaum grew up watching games each Sunday with his father. They gathered around their television and cheered on their team, the Jets, in an act of shared familial devotion — to sport, franchise and the standard network broadcast.
That tradition — with his father and in front of the television — died a few years ago. These days, Tanenbaum, 30, gathers with his friends on Sundays in Manhattan to monitor games on NFL Network’s NFL RedZone channel, a popular new way of televising football that is changing how fans consume the sport.
For seven consecutive commercial-free hours each Sunday, on cable and on DirecTV, millions of fans are transported at breakneck pace from city to city and game to game, for what is essentially a live nonstop highlight show. Any time a team threatens to score, it is on your screen.
The concept is simple: NFL RedZone, as well as DirecTV’s NFL Red Zone, switches viewers to a game whenever an offense has advanced inside its opponent’s 20-yard line — an area identified in football parlance as the red zone — or, at times, when a team is driving and crosses an opponent’s 50-yard line. If more than one game has a potential score, the channels split the screen, occasionally even into thirds or fourths.
A steady stream of statistics and headlines from around the league supplements the nonstop scoring.
“I hope I’m not overdramatizing, but it’s almost like every 30 seconds there’s breaking news,” Kent Camera, coordinating producer at NFL Network, said. “You could have a play that sets a record, a play that decides a game.”
Introduced on satellite by DirecTV in 2005, then added to cable via NFL Network in 2009, the red zone concept has built an army of fanatical viewers.
RedZone, reacting to a new kind of demand, seems a kind of naked acknowledgment that a viewer’s interest in his or her fantasy leagues may actually trump loyalty to a single team. Pro football is, as well, a magnet for gamblers, and no one much pretends they are not among the most avid fans of RedZone.
Simply put, if you are a Christ-follower, then you are called, equipped, and expected to share the gospel. No exceptions! Somehow, though, despite the noble desire to get lost people found, many have abdicated their role in the process altogether. As I have traveled around the world visiting pastors and volunteer leaders, I’ve developed a deep concern for a dangerous trend that is alive and well in many evangelical churches. The longer a person attends church, the fewer evangelistic discussions they engage in with family members and friends. Fewer presentations of the life-changing plan of salvation are given, and fewer invitations to events that attractively present the message of Christ are offered, mostly because Christ-followers have fewer friends outside the faith.
If you genuinely think that evangelism should be a critical function in the life of a Christ-follower, but you also fully believe that you are unfit to evangelize, at some point don’t you have to reconcile the two? I’m just curious how you live inside of that reality without the pressure to share your faith weighing you down and without guilt utterly overtaking you.
The issue used to really stump me, but over the years I’ve seen something play out that begins to address how many people salve their consciences: they make horse trades with God — little side bargains with the King of the universe. Sure, they’d never admit this in front of civilized people, but privately they come to God and say, “I’m really not cut out to take walks across rooms (to talk to people bout Jesus). I’m terribly uncomfortable with risk, edge, and adventure.” They continue to chatter away to God, secretly hoping he’ll momentarily withhold his response while they hurriedly get to the best part of the arrangement. “But here’s my deal, God. I will get all over spiritual development. I will be a Bible knowledge hound! If you want, I’ll throw myself into building Habitat for Humanity homes — every summer, in fact. I will climb all over volunteerism — I’ll show up at church five nights a week if you ask me to. You let me off the evangelism hook, and I’ll prove my love for you in half a dozen other ways if it kills me. That’s my deal.”
Friends, I’ve watched these horse-trades happen all over the kingdom, in churches large and small. Just little evangelism exchanges — seemingly innocent deals that if struck are really win-win, wouldn’t you say? I mean, the Christ-follower gets off the hook, and God gets freed up to go chase down someone who has a stronger evangelism gift. My blood pressure rises just writing about it.
This just in from the wacky world news; read the entire story by Laura Donovan of the Daily Caller HERE.
President Barack Obama may have released his birth certificate this spring to debunk rumors that he was born outside the United States, but old school crooner Pat Boone maintains that our nation’s leader originated in Africa and has shown the world “a photo-shopped fraud.”
Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Beverly Hills tea party member said he interacted with Kenyans a while back who claim Obama was born in Kenya.
“I was in Kenya a year and a half ago and everybody said, ‘You know, he was born here,”’ Boone told the northern California-based publication at a California GOP event last week.
The singer argued that the president is putting millions towards “hiding all of his records” and that esteemed “experts” have dubbed the certificate a fake.
“Why else would he be hiding all of his records? He’s spending millions of dollars so that we do not have his records,” Boone said. “And experts have already looked at and been able to verify that this long-form document is a fraud… But the media ignores it… A total fraud. A photo-shopped fraud.”
Republicans support jobs creation and even tax increases, too
From Greg Sargent of the Washington Post; full article HERE.
Okay, this is just crazy.
As I’ve been noting here regularly, there’s a striking disconnect in public opinion: While disapproval of Obama is running strong on the economy, and while pessimism is running high that he’ll turn it around, solid majorities support the actual fiscal policies Obama has been championing.
Did you know that this dynamic also applies to Republican voters? Well, that’s what Gallup finds today.
Needless to say, many polls have already shown that Republicans overwhelmingly disapprove of Obama on the economy and overwhelmingly oppose the American Jobs Act.
But when Gallup asked about the provisions within the jobs bill, Republicans and Republican leaners supported them — even though the question mentioned Obama’s name:
* Fifty-six percent of of Republicans and GOP leaners support providing additional funds to hire public employees.
* Fifty-three percent of Republicans and GOP-leaners support increasing taxes on corporations by eliminating some deductions (which GOP leaders have derided as “class warfare”).
* Fifty percent of Republicans and GOP leaners support providing additional funds for public works projects, including school repair.
* Eighty four percent of Republicans and GOP leaners support providing tax cuts for small businesses, including hiring incentives.
Reupblicans do oppose extending unemployment insurance and raising taxes on wealthy individuals. Unsurprisingly, the proposal that gets far and away the most Republican support are the tax cuts. But the spending proposals, and the elimination of corporate loopholes, have Republican support, too. As Gallup put it: “at least half of Republicans favor four of the six proposals tested.”
“To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.” R.E.M.”—
Disney and filmmaker James Cameron announced plans Tuesday to bring the world of the Oscar-winning movie “Avatar” to the entertainment giant’s theme parks. The first “Avatar” land will open at the Walt Disney World in Florida, with construction due to begin by 2013, said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide, Cameron and Fox Filmed Entertainment.
"James Cameron is a groundbreaking filmmaker and gifted storyteller who shares our passion for creativity, technological innovation and delivering the best experience possible," said Disney president and chief executive Robert Iger. Cameron added: "I’m chomping at the bit to start work with Disney’s legendary Imagineers to bring our ‘Avatar’ universe to life. "Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park goers the chance to see, hear and touch the world of ‘Avatar’ with an unprecedented sense of reality."
The deal gives Disney exclusive theme park rights to the “Avatar” franchise, which it hopes to bring to other locations in due course. “We’ll have even more locations, characters and stories to explore,” said Cameron, who plans two more sequels to “Avatar,” the 2009 movie seen as a landmark in the use of 3-D movie-making techniques.
“SIR – I must object in the strongest terms to the use of the oxymoronic neologism, “bottomless shallows”, in a Banyan column. Please inform your Mr Banyan that oxymorons must be stamped out wherever found, and are particularly galling in a newspaper of your standing and heritage. I am certain that Messrs Samuel Johnson, Walter Bagehot and Henry Watson Fowler are all spinning in their respective graves at this slight, albeit at different speeds. You know well how lapses like this affect school truancy, foment social disorder and encourage a preference for margarine on one’s scones. Sin not again.”—An Economist reader reminds us of our responsibilities. And rightly so. (via theeconomist)
President Barack Obama says he wants to make sure millionaires are taxed at higher rates than their secretaries. The data say they already are. “Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. There is no justification for it,” Obama said as he announced his deficit-reduction plan this week. “It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million.”
On average, the wealthiest people in America pay a lot more taxes than the middle class or the poor, according to private and government data. They pay at a higher rate, and as a group, they contribute a much larger share of the overall taxes collected by the federal government.
The 10 percent of households with the highest incomes pay more than half of all federal taxes. They pay more than 70 percent of federal income taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
In his White House address on Monday, Obama called on Congress to increase taxes by $1.5 trillion as part of a 10-year deficit reduction package totaling more than $3 trillion. He proposed that Congress overhaul the tax code and impose what he called the “Buffett rule,” named for the billionaire investor.
The rule says, “People making more than $1 million a year should not pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than middle-class families pay.” Buffett wrote in a recent piece for The New York Times that the tax rate he paid last year was lower than that paid by any of the other 20 people in his office.
"Middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires," Obama said. "That’s pretty straightforward. It’s hard to argue against that." There may be individual millionaires who pay taxes at rates lower than middle-income workers. In 2009, 1,470 households filed tax returns with incomes above $1 million yet paid no federal income tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service. But that’s less than 1 percent of the nearly 237,000 returns with incomes above $1 million.
This year, households making more than $1 million will pay an average of 29.1 percent of their income in federal taxes, including income taxes, payroll taxes and other taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank. Households making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay an average of 15 percent of their income in federal taxes.
Lower-income households will pay less. For example, households making between $40,000 and $50,000 will pay an average of 12.5 percent of their income in federal taxes. Households making between $20,000 and $30,000 will pay 5.7 percent.
“I feel like a filing clerk in Berlin in 1945. The work of government goes on, even as the war approaches.”
THERE is surreal calm in Brussels, amid the greatest crisis to befall the European project in its history. The euro is besieged, several members lie gravely wounded or exposed to heavy fire and the defenders are running out of ammunition. The weakest outpost, Greece, could fall any day. Many fear this might lead to a collapse on all fronts. Yet European institutions churn along, producing myriad meetings, consultations and regulations. “I feel like a filing clerk in Berlin in 1945. The work of government goes on, even as the war approaches,” says one ambassador.
This week, for instance, ministers of European affairs argued ardently over the seven-year EU budget to 2020, even though nobody knows who will be left standing or what currencies they will use, in seven months’ or even weeks’ time. In the corridors the talk is of looming disaster. Without the next tranche of loans Greece will be unable to pay its bills in October. Even if it can get over this test, what of the next quarterly assessment?
Eurocrats talk apocalyptically of the consequences of a euro break-up (Poland’s finance minister has suggested that a real war could erupt within a decade). But now that markets are pricing in the near-certainty of a Greek default, nobody is thinking about how to manage it. One senior diplomat speaks of Brussels gripped by paralysis. Perhaps officials simply do not believe that Germany will act on its public threats to cut the Greeks loose—Chancellor Angela Merkel has made reassuring noises. Or maybe they fear that even a hint of defeatism will increase the panic.
Read the rest of the assesssment of the mess in the Euro zone from The Economist HERE.
I watched the end of The Blues Brothers the other night—the movie is 31 years old—and started to remeber how wild this film was (warning; the language is a bit salty). Not just the movie, but in terms of on location shooting and how many cars, real cars, were wrecked to make it. No computer graphics needed. And all because of two guys who love my home town, Chicago, and a wacky mayor (Jane Byrne) who was elected because her predecessor couldn’t get snow removed fast enough. She brought us this movie and Taste of Chicago. For those two things alone, she’ll always be fondly remembered. Here’s a reflection from the Chicago Tribune on the decision to make this film in the first place.
John Belushi walked into Jane Byrne’s office, sweat beading on his forehead. Dan Aykroyd waited outside the door. He gave Belushi, a Wheaton native, the breathing room to appeal to the mayor, hat in hand, local boy to local girl. Belushi was nervous. Byrne expected him to be. She sat at her desk stone-faced and silent, she recalled, offering no relief
Belushi and Aykroyd wanted to shoot a movie in Chicago, but, as everyone knew, Chicago government wasn’t exactly amenable to movie production. There wasn’t an official policy or anything. Movies did shoot here. Brian DePalma shot "The Fury" here a year earlier. A lot of commercials were shot here. There was even a cottage porn industry in River North. But the cooperation needed for a large-scale Hollywood production — the kind Belushi, Aykroyd and director John Landis had in mind, only bigger — was out of the question. It had been for years.
It was 1979, and Byrne had just started her term. Mayor Richard J. Daley, the reason movie studios usually didn’t consider Chicago a viable location, had died three years earlier. Byrne, now 76, remembered that Belushi “looked kind of fat, a sweaty guy already, but he wore a suit jacket and I thought he looked sick, to be honest. To the point that his hair was getting wet. I was a fan of his. But, of course, I wasn’t going to say this right away.”
So, for a laugh, she let him drown. She thought it would be funnier if she “acted like the first Daley, nodding like Buddha.”
"I know how Chicago feels about movies," the comedian said to the mayor. Byrne nodded. Belushi said the studio would like to donate some money to Chicago orphanages in lieu of throwing a big, expensive premiere. "How much money?" she asked. He said, "$200,000." She nodded again.
"And so he kept talking," Byrne recalled. "Finally, I just said, ‘Fine.’ But he kept going. So again I said, ‘Look, I said fine.’ He said, ‘Wait. We also want to drive a car through the lobby of Daley Plaza. Right though the window.’ I remember what was in my mind as he said it. I had the whole 11th Ward against me anyway, and most of Daley’s people against me. They owned this city for years, so when Belushi asked me to drive a car through Daley Plaza, the only thing I could say was, ‘Be my guest!’ He said, ‘We’ll have it like new by the morning.’ I said, ‘Look, I told you yes.’ And that’s how they got my blessing."
And that, more or less, is how Chicago became a regular location for movie production. There was no parade to mark the 25th or 30th anniversary of the film, but there should have been. Not just because, as film critic Gene Siskel wrote in his four-star review in the Tribune, it is “the best movie ever made in Chicago,” etching iconic images in the imagination (Daley Plaza surrounded by hundreds of police and soldiers, a car chase in a shopping mall); not because it serves as a reminder of a city long gone, with nods to everything from the Illinois Nazi party to Maxwell Street to the swanky, now-defunct restaurant Chez Paul; not even because, as Aykroyd said by phone earlier this week, “it changed the way Chicago looked on film, and probably turned a lot of people on to Chicago in the first place.”
But because without “The Blues Brothers” — “which we conceived as a love letter to the city,” Landis said — Chicago might not have had much of a film industry. Or rather, it might have taken longer to develop. We might not have had the 900 film and TV productions that have shot in Illinois since 1980, spending an estimated $1 billion, mostly in Chicago, according to the Chicago Film Office. Comparatively, before 1980 (not including Chicago’s healthy silent film industry in the 1910s and ’20s), fewer than 100 features were shot here, and usually only for a scene or two. Indeed, if you have ever worked on a film here, recognized your office in “The Dark Knight” or pondered the havoc “Transformers 3” could wreak on July traffic, thank “The Blues Brothers.”
"I still hear from people who say they were 9 but they were in the background of this or that scene," Aykroyd said. "And you know what I tell people? You know the four stars on the Chicago flag? I tell them the stars represent the Chicago fire, the city’s founding, the first Daley and ‘The Blues Brothers.’”
Meanwhile it is to be noted that the whole Scripture of God is divided into two parts: precepts and promises. The precepts certainly teach us what is good, but what they teach is not forthwith done. For they show us what we ought to do, but do not give us the power to do it. They were ordained, however, for the purpose of showing man to himself, that through them he may learn his own impotence for good and may despair of his own strength. For this reason they are called the Old Testament, and are so.
Then comes in that other part of Scripture, the promises of God, which declare the glory of God, and say, “If you wish to fulfill the law, and, as the law requires, not to covet, lo! believe in Christ, in whom are promised to you grace, justification, peace, and liberty.” All these things you shall have, if you believe, and shall be without them if you do not believe. For what is impossible for you by all the works of the law, which are many and yet useless, you shall fulfill in an easy and summary way through faith, because God the Father has made everything to depend on faith, so that whosoever has it has all things, and he who has it not has nothing.
Now, since these promises of God are words of holiness, truth, righteousness, liberty, and peace, and are full of universal goodness, the soul, which cleaves to them with a firm faith, is so united to them, nay, thoroughly absorbed by them, that it not only partakes in, but is penetrated and saturated by, all their virtues. For if the touch of Christ was healing, how much more does that most tender spiritual touch, nay, absorption of the word, communicate to the soul all that belongs to the word! In this way therefore the soul, through faith alone, without works, is from the word of God justified, sanctified, endued with truth, peace, and liberty, and filled full with every good thing, and is truly made the child of God, as it is said, “To them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).
This is that Christian liberty, our faith, the effect of which is, not that we should be careless or lead a bad life, but that no one should need the law or works for justification and salvation.
”—Concerning Christian Liberty, Martin Luther, a treatise from 1520 confirming that Scripture teaches we are justified by faith (not works; hence the idea of liberty) and that sanctification alone produces us in us the power and motive to do good works.