Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Proposed Outline for UU Theology for the 21st Century

One of the questions for my theology class was to propose and Outline for UU Theology for the 21st Century - this was how I answered it.....

Transformational Theology
Belief that due to our existence, existence can and should change for the better for
Our community
The larger community
The world itself.

Creation Theology
We can create a Heaven on this Earth by
Realization of divinity in all things
Creation of justice, equity, and compassion in all relations (not just human relations)
Accepting responsibility for our creative acts.

Revelation Theology
Remain open to new and different forms of wisdom
Remain in awe of the unfolding of existence.
Work towards the unfolding and development of our individual and communal potential

Covenantal Relational Theology
How we agree to act with one another both within and without our community:
Intentionally engage with the larger community with creative dialogue and action
Support for each other during the journey through life’s passages

Awareness Theology
Conscious and mindful living in everything we do during our life journey
How do our actions impact ourselves, others and the earth.
Becoming aware of our culture
Becoming aware of other cultures
Understanding the difference between cultures, and becoming aware of how
those difference impacts our thoughts and actions.

Avatar - A 7.5 out of 10 on the Jay Wolin Movie Rating Scale

This was a tough call…..I of course liked the message, but it was just a bit over the top….I give it such a high score due to its visual beauty….the mixing of live and digital is blending almost too easily, it makes it scary….Clearly a message of anti-western consumption culture, story on how we abuse indigenous cultures for their resources, demonize others as an excuse to destroy them (Sam Keel’s work comes to mind here), how we minimize others for having different ideas and beliefs and ways of life than we do….the juxtaposition of western technology vs eastern and New Age spirituality….I even felt it was trying to tell the story that if only the Native American tribes had been able to unite they could have defeated the European invaders….It made the environmental angle, about how all things are connected…..and impacted by each other….hit the circle of life issue also....sort of a star wars meets Dances with Wolves meets Lion King.….I say this not to sound mocking…I liked the movie, It made its point well, its just that it lacked any subtly….and of course, well the good beings won in the end which was nice....Although I think it cynically showed how we use science and good people as deception for merely winning the hearts and minds of those we would subjugate.....and of course as in any good movie it touches on redemption.....I'll see it again, and it made me think which in and of itself justifies this rating...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Some musings from theology class

What do we most trust?

This is a multi-faceted question. The first thing I have to do is to step back and check myself, and remember it is not what I trust, but what UU has to offer in response the question. And yet, I do not think we can help but interject our own context into this (these) questions. Having said that, I think we as Unitarian Universalists trust our experiences. The struggle with this concept is that individuals experiences can be limited. Therefore part of what we have to offer (and I am already thinking how this will weave into the last unit question) is the ability to expand individuals and our community’s intellectual, spiritual, and justice seeking experiences.

Who are we?

This is a tougher one. Who we want to be may not necessarily be who we are. And I think that is part of our strength and weakness. We are willing to look consciously at ourselves in our current context and are willing to change who we are. Yet constant change makes it difficult to define who we to those unfamiliar with our religion. Often people look towards religion to be a stable guiding force in their lives. We should realize and accept that our willingness to challenge our own and society’s status quo is an inhibitor to many people. We have to accept that we cannot be all things to all people, but we can and must be respectful and realize that different people in our congregations are at different places on their religious journey. I am proud that we are a religion which is willing to engage the wonders, ambiguities, and horrors that comprise life. We are a religion which is willing to examine with reason and creativity all that is existence. We are a religion that is willing to confront life with an open heart and an open mind. We are a religion who care for and nurtures all creation. We are a religion which seeks justice for all and not just for some and we see this as part of our spiritual and religious life. (OK, I see a good sermon forming here).

What will get us through the night?

My friend used to tell me there are no atheists in foxholes and hospital beds. In truth, most people don’t deal with the ultimate questions of life until they are faced with such stark life and death situations. UUs constantly engage life and how we live our lives. We engage those ultimate questions about the meaning of life, not with easy platitudes of some otherworldly paradise, but with a serious examination in the present moment. Easy platitudes fall by the wayside in times of crises, because deep down I think people know there is more, and then it is too late, and they know there is no magical redemption for a life poorly lived. A life well lived with principle and integrity gets us through the day. Yet “in the dark night of the soul” the only hope we have is relationships. Relationships we have built over time, through shared experiences, shared joys and tragedies. Knowing that there are people who care, and specifically care about you. Recently I was rushed to the emergency room (it ended up being vertigo, but I didn’t know that at the time), and I have to admit my first thought went to some foreign otherworldly being to help me, and then I saw my wife, and I just asked her to hold me. My personal experience, and my experience in CPE is that in our moment of need, we just need somebody to hold us, to be with us so we know we are not alone.

What holds us together in religious community?
This to me is the easiest of the questions. It is something that Dr. Parker’s article spoke of quite eloquently. What holds us together is our covenant with each other including how we act with each other. Acceptance of and inclusion of others does not always mean we will agree with everyone else. So it is important to live our first principle which is “the inherent worth and dignity of each person”. I think it is important for missions and covenants to be constantly reviewed and renewed. As our community grows, each new person changes it and is changed by it. Therefore we must always keep that in the forefront and current. Yet this is not enough. Words are just words, and by themselves cannot hold things together. Taking actions together is critical to hold us together and to build relationships. Such actions include fellowship, worship and justice work.

Where are we going?
We are building the beloved community. That is our work, that is our vision. As Martin Luther King said “Although man’s moral pilgrimage may never reach a destination point on earth, his never-ceasing strivings may bring him ever closer to the city of righteousness. And though the Kingdom of God may remain not yet as universal reality in history, in the present it may exist in such isolated forms as in judgment, in personal devotion, and in some group life” [Struggle to Love (Harper & Row, 1961). p. 64]. Thinking about this in light of Rasor’s article, it is interesting to see the foreshadowing of post-modern theology of local actions but still with the hope of in the future as if a beacon from a far away lighthouse, the modernist thought of universal reality. I think humanity has this innate need for the modernist thought of a universal ideal. We define post modernity in terms of people shifting away from a universal. I wonder if our ongoing fragmenting and slide as a society towards consumer and personal narcissism is accelerated by such a post modern theology of life.

As we continue to expand our community we change others and are changed by others. As we experience other cultures we realize that we are interconnected with them. The question will be whether we act on such realization with fear or with love and compassion. With endless hope I believe we are moving towards the latter, but I am not blind to reality of the former. I often think that the path is long and hard (how is that for Protestant work ethic context), but in reality, it doesn’t have to be. I am left thinking though of the hymn WOYAYA and its lyrics

We are going,
Heaven knows were we are going,
But we know within.
And we will get there,
Heaven knows how we will get there,
But we know we will.
It will be hard, we know,
And the road will be muddy and rough,
But we will get there,
Heaven knows how we will get there,
But we know we will.

It speaks to the uncertainty and hope of humanity and our willingness to engage both on our journey of life. I admit freely, I am stuck in the context of my experiences that hard work leads to positive solutions. It is something I will continue to explore (but should I work hard at exploring it J?)

Meanderings Sept 25th - thoughts on 50 and my plant

Thoughts on 50. Its interesting….i didn’t really think about it being that much different from 49 or 51, but everyone else seems to think so. If anything it focuses me more on the importance of the amount of time I have on this earth and how I choose to spend that time. How I choose to act as a human being and how choose to interact with others humans. My former boss took me out to lunch today and as he has for every year for my birthday, bought me the scotch of my choice, price not withstanding….so tonight I dwell on Macallan 18 yr old scotch….

My plant – I have not written about vertigo in awhile. I have learned many things from vertigo. First, if you care for something and focus on it and what it needs, it grows, and if you don’t it will become sick. At one point its petals all died, and I thought I had done something wrong….but within another day they sprouted again…..so it brought up the concept of death and rebirth…..and resilience……but the most moving awareness I gained was one night….I was debating in my mind whether to go out and water the plant….i was tired, and had gotten home late…..but I was thinking of this just as I was pouring water for my dog….and I thought…well how I can I give water to the dog and not the plant….and then the connection was made….my plant is just as much a living thing as my dog and deserves my attention. I intentionally purchased it with the goal to care for it…..how could I consider not taking care of it any more or less than I would my dog.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Mowing the Lawn

One of the many down sides of my sons leaving the house is the redistribution of Household chores. The one I received the pleasure of doing today was mowing the lawn. This is one I happily gave up many years ago to my industrious son Kyle. It had been a month since it was mowed…The grass was very tall. Now I tried for a while to rationalize that even grass is a living thing (it grows) and part of God’s creation, and thus what right do I have to destroy it. In fact shouldn’t I nurture it to its fullness…Then I saw the neighborhood association watchdog driving around and realized that the freedom of a couple of weeds and grass don’t amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of the homeowners association. So I got out the mower…..

Finally figuring out that I needed to prime it…This is just not intuitive without instructions. And since I had delegated this chore many years ago, I have happily not revisited it until today. Finally figuring that out….I come to realize there is no gas in the mower…..duh….ok so the weeds get a reprieve….for 15 minutes. I am undaunted. I go to the gas station (my car happened to be low on gas as well – I love the synchronicity of it all.) and fill up. Back to the house, I fill up the mower without spilling too much gas on myself…(note to self, do not grill food tonight with these clothes before washing).

Anyway, I finally figured out all the particulars of how the machine worked….and away we went. My god the power in my hands….mowing down, destroying grass that came in my wake. Then I say one little sunflower among the weeds, but it was too late, it had fallen victim to the killing machine known as lawn mower. I am living with the circle of life concept now.

I made my away around the back yard heading to the front yard. The gate door could not open because the dirt had built up around it so high that it could not swing open more than an inch. Good to thwart fat burglars, and keep the dogs in, but bad for use as a fire exit or to get the mower through….This meant I had two choices…..walk the machine around the back to the other fence door, or get a shovel and shovel out the dirt….I decided, since I was communing with nature today, ,I would shovel….so I shoveled the dirt to a point I could open the door…..I worked up a good sweat…in fact I was sweating so much I kept sweating even after I showered off later…..(of course maybe I just didn’t dry myself well).

Anyway, right now..I am thinking that instead of a game Farmville on Facebook, there should be a game called cityville, where you vie for tickets to the US Open, theatre, and Opera. One really good thing about this event is that I don’t feel the need to go the gym today. This was a healthy workout!!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Meanderings August 8th

Plant – Vertigo is growing and yet appears to be dying at the same time. Some of its purple petals are falling off, yet the plant itself seems to growing, even outgrowing the plastic pot it came in. Perhaps it is time to give it room to grow. I had thought about planting it in the ground. However I would have to plant it out front, for out back the dogs would likely destroy it as they race around the yard. If it were out front, I would have less time to contemplate with it. So I will have to get a larger plant to keep it on the back porch. Interesting analogy. I have to let it grow, yet still want to protect it. Sort of like my children.

Animals – I am helping a neighbor out watching their dog while they are away….it is an old dog who is not well. It is sad to see it in so much pain, yet he still responds positively to human compassion. Cats get into the funniest places. One of our cats got into a dresser today, slipped into just a slight opening and had trouble getting itself out. I heard it crying. Of course I am assuming she got herself into the dresser by herself. Maybe it was open, she went in and somebody closed it not realizing she was there. Interesting analogy how we sometimes unwittingly get ourselves into predicaments that we don’t even intend or plan and need the help of others to get us out of…..I must remember that as a reminder to help others out of their dressers so to speak.

Movie Review - Julie and Julia - A 7 on the JWorld Scale

Very entertaining and funny movie. I was never a Julia Child fan, but really Meryl Streep is just a great great actress of our time. Upon rejection of her book, she asks her husband, Have I spent the last eight years just keeping myself occupied” (paraphrase here)…then answering her own question she says “Oh Well” and moves on. Maybe it was that simple in real life…..but even so, it is a good message to take our “failures” in stride. This is a lesson the Julie in the story had to learn as well. The inter-splicing of the two stories into the movie of Julie following Julia Child’s recipes and Julia Child learning how to cook French. This was not necessarily a deep movie (although it did have some deep moments) but it was fun. One thing I noticed though….I was one of the youngest people in the movie. Probably the avg age of attendees was age 60.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mindful meanderings July 30th

My plant. I wonder if I should name my plant. I thought about it today. I thought about how much do I need to water it..i hadn’t watered it yet. I wondered whether I should plant it in the ground or plant it in a pot….now it is in a plastic bowl it came in from the store. I wonder what (if) the plant feels about being in a plastic bowl versus a ceramic pot, versus in the ground. Would one help it grow more. I wonder if it can sense that sort of thing….anyway when I came home…it was raining….i decided to just put the plant out in the rain….what more natural water could it get….i wonder if plants like rain water more than tap water…..

Animals in the wild…..other than squirrels….I usually try to avoid them. I usually avoid squirrels to, but they are fun to watch running around and around the tree…..I listen for the birds chirping or the frogs croaking (cant miss those at night). Animals in the wild have always been a curiosity to me, not having grown up with them…..they were things you went to see at the zoo. So of course wild animals being behind cages and barriers of course leads one to fear them….and of course there is good reason to fear some of them….although I imagine they have a lot more to fear of humans than humans from them….

Thoughts – I was eerily mellow and at peace all day….I don’t know why I would say eerily….but it was…almost surreally peaceful…..still trying to balance time with commitments and desires….have to make sure I have time to do the things I need to do….but what do I really need. I worked mostly today….that really doesn’t take too much thought….had to deal with someone who made a veiled racist remark….I didn’t find myself getting angry….just contemplative…almost looking at it the situation from a detached point of view..i said to myself…these are not my people…but I realized everyone is my people, even this person with all their fears…and how do I reach them…not in this current position I am in……..even this morning when I went to Duncan Donuts and I asked them for a toasted bagel with butter and I specifically said not too much butter. When it came of course it was slopped with butter….I say of course, because even though I always ask this rarely do people listen….I think that is a lesson….listen to what people are asking you…but even more remarkably….going with the eerily peaceful thing….anger did not rise up in me at the bagel buttering person. I do not think it is resignation that it will not change…I just came to the realization that I was not going to allow anything to upset my mood…I didn’t not consciously think this…I was just in the moment….I find myself just going through the motions at work….although my going through the motions is still better than most….and I find not being so intense about things….allows things to go more smoothly….how and why do I feel this way some days…It is not a conscious thing….but I will not worry about it today….

Mindful meanderings

July 29th

One of the readings from my class suggested journaling as a spiritual practice and gave a framework within which to write and think about it. I will attempt this for a time and see how it goes. I will try to set aside at least 30 minutes each day for this and 30 minutes each day for meditation as a way to be intentional about a spiritual discipline.

Plants – think about your plant…so I bought a plant for this project. I went in and asked the store person for a plant that would be very hard to kill. That is a sad statement….but true…I just have not worked with plants a lot. I wanted something that would be outside. So I know plants need water. So I guess this points to the issue of paying attention to the plant and becoming aware of what it will need. Plants are such good metaphors for life. If you care for it it will grow. Water it, as you would water your soul. Pay attention to it and care for it, as you should pay attention and care for your soul. I think my plant needs water….I think I need some water…..

Animals – I have 2 dogs and four cats. Technically some of the pets are the children’s but I end up taking care of them. They are apart of my family. The cats name in order of age oldest to youngest are Cloud, Sally, Zelda, and Cory. The dogs are Linus and Fox. Really technically only Linus is mine. He is an Australian Shepard. He is about 9 ½ years old. He is starting to slow down. He is my protector, sitting by my feet, getting between me and others whenever he senses anything wrong. I am glad to see that he has taken up doing the same for my granddaughter Scarlett. He is a noble dog with a deep soul. He is quite gentle, and prefers to love others versus receiveing love. Yet he does love a good stomach rub. I have always been a dog person.

Thoughts – I have been quite mellow today, oddly enough…..I really cant explain it, although I have been meditating longer and longer each morning (when I do meditate in the morning). I meditated for 30 minutes this morning. It puts me in such a good frame of mind and I would say makes me more productive and aware….so of course I wonder why I don’t do it more often. I have been really missing Will more than I expected. I really have to finalize my plans for class in the fall.

I went to pick up kyle from his friends and we went out to lunch together. We had a good time and as always shared about everything and nothing….and on the ride home we shared listening to each others music, although we have veto power over particular songs if they are too raunchy for me or too mellow for him….he says I have a lot of weird music I listen to (Little Feat)….its so interesting to hear others perspectives….

Sunday, July 05, 2009

My rating and comments on the AFI 100 greatest movies

This is the American Film Institute's list of the 100 Greatest Movies, selected by AFI's blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community.

AFI rating/Name of Movie
Jay's Rating
Jay's Comment
1. CITIZEN KANE (1941)
Amazing for its time and who will ever forget rosebud, but never really moved me
2. CASABLANCA (1942)
Always a classic over and over again…Bogart at his best
3. GODFATHER, THE (1972)
On my top 5 list - nuff said
Never really understood the hype about this movie -
Too long and slow for me - ranks with Ghandi
6. WIZARD OF OZ, THE (1939)
Maybe if you were on drugs this would be meaningful
7. GRADUATE, THE (1967)
Plastics, think Plastics young man
If this wasn’t a political movie by Elia Kazan to support his testifying in front of the house anti american committee, this might have been a 10 - The classic Brando - "I could have been somebody, I could have been a contender"
I am waiting for Ted Turner to colorize this…Significant movie only because it was a popular movie that showed the randomness of the Nazi genocide - Check out Shoah for the reality of the holocaust
10. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952)
A wonderful fun movie
Again, just a wonderful feel good movie, that still puts a tear in my eye each time I watch it.
You know, I never saw this one
Again, shockingly I was surprised to realize I had never seen this one either
14. SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959)
Fun, but not really more than that
15. STAR WARS (1977)
Own it, watch it, love it, but if only someone could act
16. ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)
Two of my favorites Hepburn and Bogart - Great acting - interesting story
18. PSYCHO (1960)
This did nothing for me
19. CHINATOWN (1974)
Jack Nicholson again with a great performance
A movie that can move you - once again Jack Nicholson
A little slow, but Henry Fonda at his best, and a very poignant movie
22. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)
Groundbreaking movie special effects and concepts,
Great Bogart, great supporting cast - a standard private eye genre movie
24. RAGING BULL (1980)
Just great acting and a great story, and he lived in the Bronx where I grew up. A great portrait of fallen integrity, and its affects on a person
OK, who didn’t get choked up when you realized ET was still alive…Go on admit it.
26. DR. STRANGELOVE (1964)
A bizarre commentary on the cold war
27. BONNIE & CLYDE (1967)
Looks kind of cheesy in retrospect to me, just a shoot em up gangster movie
A moving bizarre movie about the Vietnam War
Have to love the story of political idealism in todays jaded society
Again, a great Bogart movie
31. ANNIE HALL (1977)
The quintessiential Woody Allen relationship movie
Again, on my top 5 - It doesn’t get much better than this.
33. HIGH NOON (1952)
A classic
A strong drama that is captivating
Great Great acting, - absorbing story about the underbelly of society. Dustin Hoffman at his best as Ratso
I guess I loved this because it was not your typical war hero story. - Deer Hunter for WWII
I havnt seen this in so long, I remember I liked it, but obviously, it didn’t have that much of an impression on me
41. WEST SIDE STORY (1961)
OK, so gangs who dance go a little too far, but a great update of Romeo and Juliet for the modern person without having to learn olde English. And great great music.
42. REAR WINDOW (1954)
I just never got into Hitchcock
43. KING KONG (1933)
Ok, I guess it was special for its time, but maybe I am just getting old.
Brando was great
Brutal, moving, bizarre, weird, enough to make you think about what the point of it all was.
47. TAXI DRIVER (1976)
Deniro was great, Jodie Foster before she was great, and a solid movie.
48. JAWS (1975)
Who can forget "I think we need a bigger boat" - Shaw, Dreyfuss and Schneider superb, suspenseful, if only it didn’t spawn all those awful sequels
They have to be kidding - fun for Sat with the kids, but top 100 ever - where is lion king
That Redford/Newman pairing was special….
Its been a while since Ive seen this one also, but somewhere in the recesses of my brain, I remember I liked it a lot, and Lancasters performance is as always great
53. AMADEUS (1984)
Really interesting enjoyable, movie
55. SOUND OF MUSIC, THE (1965)
One of the truly great musicals of all time (with South Pacific and West Side Story)
56. M*A*S*H (1970)
My first R rated movie I legally saw - so I am partial to this…really funny stuff
57. THIRD MAN, THE (1949)
Missed this one
58. FANTASIA (1940)
Groudbreaking, very serene, love the music.
Everybody loves James Dean - I don’t get it here
Excitement at every turn
61. VERTIGO (1958)
Never really got into the Hitchcock thing
62. TOOTSIE (1982)
A classic funny poignant movie
63. STAGECOACH (1939)
There are a lot better westerns than this
A tough one. I really enjoyed this movie, Dreyfuss was great, it was a thinking persons ET, but it just didn’t move me. Cant forget that music sequence though.
Great acting, suspenseful, but really not much of a story
66. NETWORK (1976)
A funny poignant story on the state of television
A good spy thriller
69. SHANE (1953)
A classic western
Wow what a chase scene, I still remember it!! As always a great Hackman
71. FORREST GUMP (1994)
What a meaningless stupid movie - how did this become popular - basically honoring stupidity - Although the acting by Gary Sinese was superb
72. BEN-HUR (1959)
Stick to Moses on the mountain
And it rightfully beat Gone with the Wind for the Oscar - but I still didn’t think it was that great
74. GOLD RUSH, THE (1925)
A moving story about Native Americans and our treatment of them, that we constantly try to ignore
76. CITY LIGHTS (1931)
Fun, and it defined a generation, although what does that say about that generation
78. ROCKY (1976)
Gives hope to every underdog in the world - although it really got old after the third one
79. DEER HUNTER, THE (1978)
Very moving depiction of dealing with the horror of war -
80. WILD BUNCH, THE (1969)
A western action film - plenty of violence
81. MODERN TIMES (1936)
82. GIANT (1956)
Now this was James Dean at his best
83. PLATOON (1986)
One of many good movies depicting the vietnam war
84. FARGO (1996)
Clever, Quirky, good acting, but really - top 100 - we are sinking pretty low here.
85. DUCK SOUP (1933)
How can you not roll over laughing while watching this.
Read the book in high school and dreaded it, so I have a predisposition to avoid the various versions of this movie
Again, like King Kong, probably, unique for its time, but doesn’t do anything for me
88. EASY RIDER (1969)
Oh, that sixties rebelliousness - classic diner scene makes this one to always remember
89. PATTON (1970)
This was the double feature with Mash as my first legal R rated movie. Great acting. - George should have accepted the Oscar
90. JAZZ SINGER, THE (1927)
Saw the remake with Neil Diamond - what can I say
91. MY FAIR LADY (1964)
Audrey Hepburn and Harrison were great - great music great story also about society and how we classify people based on how they talk and act
92. PLACE IN THE SUN, A (1951)
Just a great drama about life and the tradegy of poor choices.
93. APARTMENT, THE (1960)
94. GOODFELLAS (1990)
Good acting, - standard mafia movie
95. PULP FICTION (1994)
Unique, interesting style - interesting story
96. SEARCHERS, THE (1956)
I know everyone loves this, and John Wayne, but seems so plastic to me.
98. UNFORGIVEN (1992)
A great movie with great acting with the ultimate quesiton, of what is good and what is evil.
What great acting - Tracy, Hepburn, Poitier, and what a great story about race in America
Only seen bits of this…no comment
Other Jay Wolin picks that I think should have been on this list:
Kirk Douglass, Kat Hepburn in an unbelievably moving story of dreams and reality and what is true in life
She had to take a test on football to marry into the family - now that is reality
The Razors Edge
A Bill Murray, serious movie, so therefore it received poor reviews, but I think one of the greatest movies of all time, that asks the quesiton why are we here.
The Magnificient Seven
OK, it is just a remake of RAN, but I saw it first and it was a western, and I loved it and can watch it again and again
Not for everyone, a 9 hour documentry of the Holocaust - you will never be the same after seeing it though.
Inherit the Wind
Whatever you believe about the issue of evolution vs creationism, this asks all the quesitons. Spencer Tracy at his best
OK, it’s a movie about a drunken poet, and drunks, but I found it moving, in its pain and realization that even in pain there is beauty
I don’t like scary suspenseful movies in general (life is scary enough), but this movie was so disturbing it should be on the list just for that reason. I do not think I could stomach it again, but to me emoting such a strong response is the sign of a good movie
A Lion in Winter
Some of the greatest acting in moviedom - Kate Hepburn (yet again) a young Anthony Hopkins, Peter Otoole, (and much more) with a great story.
Boys n the Hood
A moving story of life in the inner city and the struggle to overcome one's environment. This stuff is made for me.
Again another story about a drunk - is there a pattern to movies I like?
no rating
OK, so this was a TV miniseries, but I have the video - could not have been told in a two hour movie - a great story if you have the time to watch it
Tender Mercies
A nice simple movie about life and faith - Robert Duvall at his best
High Plains Drifter
One of my favorite Clint Eastwood Western - again that what is good and evil thing
The Man from Snowy River
A man and his horse, love, poor vs rich, heroism, has all the elements, just a movie I keep going back to and watching again and again, so that is why I have it on the list
An Officer and a Gentleman
Again this is one I have watched multiple times - a perfect role for Richard Gere - an unlikable hard edged misunderstood pained character who comes to understand himself and accept love
Robin Hood
Classic Good vs Evil, helping the oppressed overcome tyranny.
The Hustler
Truly Newman at his best, with and great job by Jackie Gleason, a superb character study of drive and passion and self destruction.
Crimes and Misdeanors
A serious Woody Allen movie that asks many of the deep questions about life
Field of Dreams
How does one resist the question of whether one should follow their dreams and instincts vs what society tells them is correct. Even if you don’t like baseball, this is one of the greatest movies of all time
A Raisin in the Sun
A great drama about the struggles of life
25th Hour
Edward Norton's last day before going to prison. Refleciton on life and how he got to where he was. Picture of how as a society, we have turned to greed and lust. There is a five minute rant about the things he hates about NYC…this rant in and of itself makes this a great great movie.

Forever Young - Wednesday at GA

Forever Young – no not the Bob Dylan song…or the way I am feeling right now….I shouldn’t be so exhausted after just one day…finally catching up with the time change….but this was a workshop on youth. They gave us a copy of the Youth Ministry working Group – Recommendations for youth ministry…..

I will call the session “So what happened with YRUU” Seriously there was discussions about did they change the name or not…..I haven’t read the entire report….but the consensus is, on a national level they are not using that name, but what is used on a local or district level is up to the participants. There seemed to be a very strong feeling about maintaining the connection of the name. YRUU clearly had a very positive strong impact on many participants….

Of course the workshop had much more depth to it…..most of it was brainstorming….here are some notes from that brainstorming…..

Review the Mosaic Youth Report project – it is online at uua.org

Youth and Young Adult offices at UUA have merged

There should be youth leadership at different aspects of congregational life….on board…re committee….other committees…

Use technology to reach youth

Have older youth teach younger grades…

Importance of Continuity – share stories and history of church and youth. Pastoral care for youth

Youth involvement in worship more than once a year

Having youth get away from congregation once in a while –
Youth camps
10 day habitat pilgrimage.
UUSC civil rights journey
UUSC summer camps
Boston trip

Importance of young adults voice in youth ministry

Dedicated space for youth

Keep parents informed – on board

Grant programs to help hire youth minister

Having bridging ceremony each year….

Coming of Age Program

Saturday, July 04, 2009


I give it a 7 out of 10 on the JWo scale. I freely admit I like historical stuff particularly about this time period for it was when I came of age politically. If you dont like historical docudramas this would be a snore. Great acting by all parties. A little slow moving at times. It reinforced my original feelings about the interviews which were that in general they were favorable to Nixon (with the one major exception. This is historical stuff, so I am not giving anything away here). It reinforced an image of Nixon as a brilliant but paranoid, lonely, bitter, petty man. It really showed David Frost though to be a bit of a glory hound and a buffoon. I was surprised by that. Whenever there are historical movies, I always try to remember that it is not real history, just someones depiction of history. I felt the movie created caricatures of the individuals and didn’t really show the depth of who they were. Of course it was focusing one set of events but I was left wondering if this was what they were really like.