Annihilation review

I was looking forward to this film when it first came out. Then the reviews started coming in. Confusing. Bad ending. Slow. Unnecessary scenes. So I passed on watching it until last night I found it on Hulu. Why not? I can always try the first few minutes at least.

I ended up watching it all in one sitting and then thinking about it half the night.

Now I purposely didn’t read anyone’s thoughts on what the movie is all about. I didn’t want to be swayed. There was something about it that kept haunting me. It wasn’t until the morning after that I figured out what I thought about it. But before I go on there are two disclaimers I should make.

1. My review has spoilers which I will alert you to with bold letters.

2. The movie has some gore and disturbing images, harsh language, and a short sexual scene for those of you who might consider watching it.

To be fair to the haters, is IS a rather slow moving film. But there were enough moments of intrigue and excitement to enjoy it. I don’t mind slow movies when the acting can draw me into the story, which happened with this movie.

Firstly, it was visually pleasing to me. There was art in the cinematography and scenery.

Secondly, it felt real. It didn’t feel like a production. Just a thing that happened. It got to the point, which was exploring the phenomenon. It didn’t worry about blockbuster scenes.

Thirdly, it was difficult to comprehend in a good yet frustrating way. It wasn’t trying to be convoluted or make you guess at the plot. It was trying to depict what it would be like to encounter something so far beyond what we know that it makes no sense to the human mind. That can be hard for movie-goers, but I think it was necessary. It kept you anxious, wondering what ways it would stretch your understanding of reality next.

But ultimately the theme wasn’t that there are things beyond our understanding. That was just a catalyst for the main character to figure something out about herself.


One of the opening lines talks of God with one character saying God doesn’t make mistakes and the other, a biologist, correcting to explain that the human genome is wired for death, and that seems like a pretty big mistake.

There is a lot of interesting truth in this conversation. The world does seem wired for destruction, but according to the Bible this isn’t a fault in God’s design but a curse brought on by disobedience. Later, another character states that everybody seeks self-destruction. Another astute observation, for not only are we now wired for death due to sin, but we seek it out every chance we get. The movie, again and again, references this theme, dealing with people suffering, hurting themselves and others physically and emotionally, and finally self-destructing.


Only the heroine of the story survives this process. She fights it because she needs to. She fights herself in the end (almost literally) and appears to destroy the “curse” and allowing her to evolve passed the self-destructive way of living, in a sense. First she realized she hated herself for sinful choices she made against her husband, and that such choices were destructive to her husband as well as herself.

There is a redemptive quality to the movie in this way. And though the film ends with questions about what exactly she has become and what will happen next, it is generally a “gospel-type” story in which a person must understand the problem with themselves, that they are the cause, and then be transformed by an outside force after making a clear choice.

I don’t like “finding Jesus” in movies and I would not recommend this film as an outreach tool, but I saw a faint and blurry picture of something real that we find in Christ. It was rebuking for me, seeing how I am freed from the self-destructive chains of sin and yet I seek that way so often, hurting myself and others.

A New Gospel?

2 Cor. 11:1-4

… please put up with me! 2I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

There is a groundswell in popular Christian circles to look at the church as it relates to ethnic and socio-economic relations. I do not use the term “race” personally because it is simply unbiblical to do so. We are all one race. That is clear from the Bible.

It is good to be sure that all are treated equally before God in dignity and love, so I can appreciate the desire to ensure this is the case in churches. James writes that in a certain church the rich were given special places to sit and the poor were made to sit on the floor. This was labeled as dishonoring to the poor and as judging some people better than others.

But, in our haste to remedy the situation that may be present in our churches or communities, many are taking steps away from pure Biblical truth. I shy away from calling it “another gospel” but some of the proponents of the movement are calling it just that.

So what is the “gospel of justice” all about? Let’s run through the components from a Biblical standpoint.

1. The church universal must apologize for racism. This apology can include personal racism or negligence in understanding the seriousness of racism, the racism of “white evangelicals” of the past, or a more nebulous attitude of contriteness as “whites” in a world of racism.

Biblical support has come mainly in the form of Old Testament Israel offering national apology for the national breaking of their covenant with God. However, contextually, it makes sense that if a nation made a group promise (see the people’s promise before Solomon at the dedication of the temple where conditions were placed on their being allowed to remain a nation) that there would be a need for national repentance. Contrast that with the church. The universal church has made no joint promise with God. His new covenant is in his son, Jesus, who has made all the promises toward us unconditionally. Add to this the letters to the churches in Revelation. Each church is called to repent, but only for their own local church’s sins. On top of that there is at least one instance when certain within the church who hold false teaching are told to repent but the other members are not. There is no “national” sense of repentance for some general attitude within all churches. Furthermore, repentance is a one time deal for each specific infraction. Continuing to call for “repentance” in “the church” without actually knowing who or what churches are at fault is dangerous and leads to a self-depreciating, defeatist mentality whereas God would have us victorious.

2. The gospel is one of justice. God sent his son to justify the ungodly. Therefore we must seek justice on the earth.

Support for this is also largely Old Testament, bringing out passages concerning oppression of the poor and alien. Here I see the biggest danger because the Justice Gospel teaching has important truths woven in. Taking care of those in need, standing up for those oppressed by corruption, seeing all people as equal before God. But in seeking a way to demand Christians adhere to these principles it misses the mark in a crucial area. I will take some time to explain.

What is the justice we are seeking? What sort of peace and fairness are we trying to implement? It would appear that the progression is as follows:

1. Humans are enemies of God because of sin.

2. God sent his son, Jesus, to reconcile us to himself so that we can have peace with God and so, a relationship with him even though we deserve death.

3. We then should seek to make peace with people and make sure people have justice on the earth.

There is an illogical move between two and three. The premise is that since God did it with us we should do it with others. In a limited sense that is true. Since God loves us we should love each other. As much as is possible we should live at peace with all men. But why does it say “as much as is possible”? Because while we have Christ’s love and peace to share through his power, unbelievers do not have this. They do not have the relationship/power/reconciliation with God in order to reciprocate. Is this the gospel of justice? To what end? To try to bring as much peace to the world as possible through social ministries and constructs?

What if, instead, part 3 was as follows:

3. We should then give testimony to the fallen world concerning the great salvation of God which rescued us from a just sentence of death for our crimes to become a child of God, knowing true peace with our creator, and thus able to live out a life of spiritual freedom to do God’s work no matter what earthly circumstances or oppression tries to stop us.

That is the Part 3 that MUST be proclaimed. Otherwise it is a gospel about what WE can do change society when it should be about what HE did to change people. It is subtle, but subtlety is the danger. If I can’t swim and a lifeguard saves me, I don’t go back out to do for another drowning person what the lifeguard did for me. I make sure the drowning person comes in direct contact with the lifeguard because I know that’s the only way to get them to safety.

Finally, a gospel of justice is disingenuous in that in conflates raise the idea of social justice to life changing salvation. It is also contrary to the message of the salvation gospel in that it says, “You deserve to be treated better and have a good, fair life.” Imagine this scenario. A young black woman has just been pulled over by the police and harassed. She tells you about it later and you say, “I have good news for you. God is just.” She asks what that means for her and you say, “Well, God loves justice and cares for the oppressed.” She wonders how that changes her situation and you say, “He wants me to comfort you and speak out against this sort of thing.”

That doesn’t have the same impact as the gospel of salvation by grace, does it? The gospel of social justice is sort of vague and good-feely but what else does it do? The person isn’t saved from her predicament. It would be more appropriate to describe this as a Christian passion. A desire to stand up for those in need. But it is not the good news that will change a life by showing the way to be personally reconciled to God and sealed until the day of redemption.


Let me give you a hypothetical. Let’s say I tell you, as a white man, as about the whitest man you’ll ever see, that my grandmother had big lips so I must have African American blood in me. Well, to make fun of me for saying such blatantly ridiculous, racist things, you start going around calling me Booker T. Washington.

This is what Elizabeth Warren did with American Indians, saying her grandmother had high cheek bones. She’s using this to give herself minority status for political reasons and to get her a job at Harvard.

The Gun Problem

Someone on twitter recently wrote

Who cares if Kim Jong-un gets a nuke? Nukes don’t kill people, PEOPLE kill people.

… see how BLEEP stupid that sounds? #GunControl

After thinking about it a moment I realized that yes, it did sound stupid. But not for the reason the Tweeter thinks. His tweet actually emphasizes the opposite point. It is the PERSON, Kim Jong-Un, that is the problem. He’s insane. He shouldn’t be allowed nukes. Now the US, Israel, or other sane democracies? I’m okay with them having nukes because they use them as a deterrent.

The good guys have them so the bad guys won’t use them. So the weapons are dangerous, yes. They have to be. But they only become a problem in the wrong hands.

So let’s transfer this to guns in America. You might say, “Well, the right people to have guns are the police. The government is there to protect us.”

One problem is that the same people saying that are the ones who say the police are corrupt and that Trump is too stupid or evil to be able to lead the country.

So in that train of thought, we are putting the only weapons into the hands of those we don’t trust and who are in the process of oppressing us.

Which gets us back to the reason behind the second amendment. I’ll give you a hint. It isn’t for hunting purposes. It’s because the founding fathers were all about checks and balances. Deterrents from extremism. They didn’t want to get into another situation like England where the people were oppressed with little to no recourse.

So we have a government in place that isn’t made to have a monopoly on guns. Does that come with caveats? Yep. It isn’t perfect. Nothing is. Because we humans aren’t. That’s why we believe in balance and responsibility. That’s why we depend on law abiding citizens like the usher at that church recently who held a shooter at gunpoint until police arrived.

Be careful about what freedoms you’re willing to give up. Protection, speech, income … Because those are the ones that will surely be taken away.

Trumpocalypse Now


 The following journal entries are an account of the first 100 days after President Trump’s election. They are now on display at the Trumpsonian Institute.

Day 1:

Madness. I thought it had all been a dream. A nightmare. But no. The election had taken place. My newsfeed confirmed my most desperate fears. I tore off the covers and looked out the window. All was eerily quiet. My suburban street was obviously catatonic with the news just as I was. Should I go to work today? Would there be work? Businesses may have given up and are just waiting for the market to implode. Better just stay home. Well, go to Starbucks, then stay home.

Day 2:

Things are still strangely normal. Too normal. In the real world at least. Facebook is full of memes trying to cope with what happened. But I barely have the will to scroll and “like” anymore. Nothing much happened today. But as the sun went down I saw two actors flee north. They looked harried and afraid.

Day 3:

Sick. I came down with some sort of flu bug. My stomach is torn up. Have to wonder if they’re releasing germs in the air. Just in case I’m removing myself to the basement for the duration. My wife sent down black beans and rice. Can’t help but think that’s a little racist. Maybe the germ warfare is more than just a stomach bug. Would only make sense. Checked my skin to see if it was turning orange. Hard to tell.

Day 4:

Can’t hear the racial slurs from my basement but I know they are out there, reverberating in the redneck KKK air. It’s all been clearly documented in the memes. Just because I can’t hear the deplorable shouts doesn’t mean it’s not happening. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there it still screams in agony. Poor trees. They’re all goners now. Is it getting hot down here? The basement is usually so cool. But … climate change is on the move. It knows this is its time.

Day 5:

Work’s been calling, wondering why I haven’t been showing up. They sound … overly concerned. I don’t quite understand their expectations under the circumstances. Most likely the place has been over-run by capitalists trying to make money and grow wealth. But I’ll show them. I’ll write a biting review on their web page … anonymously, of course.

Day 6:

This is the end. I’ve had enough. Maybe I should join the riots and let them kill me. There’s no where to go. It doesn’t matter where we go. HE will be everywhere. But … there is one hope that I’ve heard about on Vox. An underground society seeking to set off the San Andreas fault. There’s a chance it could crack off California and turn it into an island. The glorious Isla Cali! Of course, there’s also a chance it could sink. It’s worth the risk.

Day 7:

This will be my last entry. I’m heading to California and I’m leaving this behind for posterity. I don’t even know if anyone’s left out there. Starbucks is most likely shut down. If I’m caught, think of me rotting away in a dungeon somewhere with no coffee and consider it a warning to you. Never go outside again.

Day 14:

Plans changed. I decided to keep the journal. Something told me I would stay alive a while longer and that something was my passion for justice. I figured I might be the only one left who knew what justice was. Turns out, though, there are others like me out there. I happened to meet up with some in the last Starbucks left standing after the election. It became our bastion against injustice. Surprisingly, the workers still made us pay for coffee. That means I’m a little low on funds. But we think together we still have enough to make it to the west coast and meet up with the secessionists. We’ve decided in the spirit of riotism that we will take what’s left of the coffee here for the cause. It’s a small price for them to pay for such a good cause.

Day 28:

We finally made it west. It’s been a long and difficult journey. Mostly because of the barista in the trunk. We have to let him out to pee, feed him, listen to his yells … Very stressful. But worth it, I guess, since none of the rest of us know how to make coffee on the go. We are a little worried though. He doesn’t appear satisfied with his living conditions during the trip. Some of us started to wonder if we should have given him one of our gas masks. He may be … turning. Into a capitalist. Some of us want to put him out of his misery. Others think we should try to detox whatever’s in his system. Whatever’s in the air.

Day 30:

I can’t believe it’s been a whole month. There are no overt signs of change around, which makes me very wary. And it turns out there are still Starbucks here. Thank Mother Earth for California! We don’t need the barista anymore so we decided to lock him up in the Starbucks closet. The coffee beans should be able to cleanse him of his strange tendencies, like thinking his own needs are more important than the cause.

Day 31:

The secessionists are so cool! Finally we found others who realize apocalyptic things really are happening. Most people are completely ignorant, just going about life like mind-numbed robots drinking the cool-aid and shorting their circuits. Okay, maybe that’s too many mixed analogies. In any case, we had to get our skin tested for orange hue before the secessionists would open up to us. Even now we’re in some sort of probation period. Our first initiation task is to loot drug stores to stockpile contraceptives. We are told this is imperative, as even condoms will soon be outlawed. But contraceptives isn’t the only thing being stored. It turns out they’ve been stockpiling explosives since before the election.

Day 33:

Some of the explosives are actually being buried as I log this. Some of the lucky souls who came with me from the east coast got to give their lives for the cause. Billy tripped as he was making a delivery. Tom was being lowered down into the holes along the San Andreas Fault when his rope broke and he plummeted one of the deeper sections. But we were able to fulfill his dying request, tweeting out his last words in real time. I can’t repeat them here. Curse words will surely be outlawed by the time this is recovered.

Day 40:

Today was … wild. There must be a double agent in our midst because at the last explosive site we were confronted by some cops. We all know what that means. Now that Obama’s gone and probably assassinated orange is the new black. They were talking about us trespassing on government property which is totally bogus because if this is government property then it’s run by taxes and this one guy Dan totally pays his taxes so its sort of like his property really. We tried to reason with the cops but they just weren’t reasonable. Then things got sticky. They found some of the explosives. There was a lot of shouting. Gunfire went off and I dove behind a rock. I heard some more shouts and then BOOM! Followed by BA-BA-BA-DOOM! The ground shook. My insides shook. I couldn’t hear after that. I just lay there stunned for a long long time.

Day 41:

I must have dozed off. When I woke up it was pitch dark. I felt like I was moving. Slowly moving. Felt like a dream. Still couldn’t hear anything. Couldn’t really feel anything either, except my head was massively pounding. Tried to reach for my phone but couldn’t even do that, so you know this was serious. No phone. No coffee in hours. I passed out again off and on.

Day 44:

Today I witnessed a miracle. Or science. I guess I should say science. Rain. The patter of rain woke me up from my daze the last few days. I licked it off my parched lips. Might have well been coffee beans from heaven. Finally was able to pick up my head. Then what I saw made my head swim again. But better my head than my whole body. I found myself on a huge cliff. My head hanging just at the edge. Way down below was the ocean lapping. Where was I? This wasn’t right. But it was so beautiful. Then it hit me. The fault line. The explosions. We had done it! California had slid out into the Pacific.

Day 45:

Some other Californians found me today. They took me back to civilization, or what was left of it. The move had caused massive damage to the cities. No power. So much destroyed. But so worth it to be away from tyranny and racism. Everyone was dying their skin any color but white. It turns out no white people are allowed in New California. Makes sense to me. There weren’t any white people left anyway. Only orange. Blood orange.

Day 60:

Today it came to my attention that New California is getting smaller. That’s okay. There aren’t much of us left alive. Turns out living on a newly made island is kind of tough. And most everyone refuses to work at re-establishing generators and such. Turns out generators run on fossil fuels, which is disgusting. So we figure we’ll live on solar and wind power. But again, no one’s willing to get that set up. I certainly can’t do it. I’m way too busy writing these journal entries.

Day 62:

Well, it looks like it’s okay that everyone’s too busy to work on restoring civilization. The island is sinking. Must be the ice caps already melting away. I know how the polar bears feel now. I guess we always knew there wasn’t much hope in this little adventure. But it was fun while it lasted. There are helicopters circling to take us back to the mainland. Yeah right. Take us to prison is what that means. Some of the less determined of us have accepted their offers for “help.” But not me. The only government assistance I’ll ever accept is welfare check. One day no one will work. Everyone will just go around feeling love for each other. I think that’s a quote I saw once on a Chipotle bag. So good.

Day 63:

California is pretty small now. I can walk across it in about an hour. Kind of cool actually. To be able to walk across the whole state in an hour. Probably will be even shorter tomorrow. That will be fun. Just wish my phone still worked to share it. See how many likes I could get. See who would click the last “like” before I went underwater. Then I’d know who my real friends are. My “like” friends. Made me think of the days when we really DID something in America. When we posted all the best memes. When we shouted out all the injustice and forced people to listen and take action by “sharing” our posts if they truly believe in … in … what was it we believed in again? It’s all getting fuzzy now at the end of all things. I can see a helicopter above me. So loud. People shouting at me. Why do they have to be like that. Always telling people what to do. Well too late for anything now. Going to be Waterworld. Water up to my chin now. Having trouble keeping the phone out of

[end transmission]

Day 80:

Some are calling our plan to break California off at the seams with explosives in order to create a socialist island foolhardy and ridiculous. Others have even gone so far as to consider it insane. But I ask you, is blowing up a state in order to get away from Trump really idiotic?

We tried. And just because we failed doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate our attempt and our emotional fervor. It’s not about the do or do not, but the try. Didn’t Yoda say that once?

Anyway, there’s a new plan underway. #resistance. It’s mainly a Twitter hashtag campaign designed to … resist. We mainly use the power of the meme and short sentences describing the horror of Trump. It gets people angry. A lot of likes. Likes=progress against hate. That’s our motto. We’re going to put the social media world in turmoil until we get our way and the world realizes Trump must go. Otherwise the world will end. What people don’t understand is the world is blowing up!

That’s all for now. I think there’s an espresso machine downstairs. Going to check it out.

Day 81:

You’re probably wondering where I am and how I’m not drowned. It seems the Trumpians were not finished with me. They rescued me, if you can call it that, only to throw me into a monstrous tomb. Some sort of torture chamber, I think. It must be. The wifi signal is terrible! And the fridge is only half stocked. And on top of that there are all these Ts embossed on everything. Those Trumpian Ts are seared into my dreams like a brand on a poor, innocent cow. Maybe I’m just cattle now. They make my room just plush enough to placate me until they are ready to harvest my rights forever!

Oh, and according to the menu, the meat for the filet mignon is NOT grass fed.


Day 89:

One of Trump’s surrogates tried to talk to me today. “See how I was doing,” he said. “If I needed anything,” he said. Ha! I refused to listen to the rest. I plugged my ears and sang Beyoncé songs. He tried to offer be a “bottled” water. Yeah right. I know what he put in that. I’m m surprised it wasn’t orange.

Day 93:

I’m wasting away to nothing. All the food is poisoned. I hate it here. They can’t keep me. And the racquetball courts always have a waiting list. So I told them to release me. They had the gall to say I could leave whenever I wanted. That I was simply being put up at a “Hotel.” These people must think I’m a idiot if they think I believe that. I know what really happens. Every night they brainwash me. I know it happens because each morning I wake up and think “This is a nice comfy place.” I feel so relaxed and happy. But then I fully wake up and force myself to remember that it’s all a way to play with my psyche.

Day 100:

I did a brave thing today. I left the building. The poor saps that have to live in a Trump- run government. All these people slaving away at work, putting on fake smile’s in case the cameras are watching. I now know my favorite quote will never come true. “I hope for a day when no one has to work. When everyone can just lay around feeling good about everything.” I think I am going to find a lonely hill with a little shade where I can live out the rest of my depressing days looking over the poor peons as they live out the American dream turned nightmare, where everyone works hard and has to pay for their own healthcare and goes to a government appointed bathrooms and fight wars against the peaceful terrorists and where homosexuals can never have a cake at their wedding again. They are brave souls having to deal with being triggered by insensitivities every day and every moment of every day. I alas am not so brave. Give me your triggered, your illegal, your unemployment receiving masses. We will find a Starbucks together and suckle at the drip of burnt coffee until the end of our days.

The Vagabond of Sidonia: an allegory

You … are … Rather Dashing, servant of the King of Sidonia. For a time you have been sent on business in a somewhat uncouth place known as the Strait of Dire. It is not a fun job but you willingly endure because you have the best King by far of any around.

Even so, you end up living there longer than expected and there comes a time when someone asks you to play Scabbers and you say “No, Sidonians don’t play Scabbers because our laws don’t allow us to pick at scabs and because, really, they just can’t heal that way.” Well, that unfortunately sets off a firestorm of accusations, not the least of which being “Scabaphobe!” and eventually you become imprisoned and let me tell you they have rough sentencing for Sidonians in Dire. You could possibly get the death sentence!

Now you know that ultimately it will be up to your king whether you live or die, but there’s also a crazy law in Dire where you are allowed to have a say in who the arbiter is for your case.

Now for your particular trial there are only two viable options. There are conflicting opinions on them but generally speaking, by Sidonians standards, they both stink out the wazoo. In fact, their reputations are such that you kind of hate to pick either of them. However, you’ve learned that one seems to be the more calculating and evil of the two. With her you’re almost sure to get the hung from your email server until dead penalty. And then she might string up your friends by Ethernet cable if she’s feeling particularly nasty. The other arbiter is less consistent. Some like him, some hate him. It sort of depends on his temperament of the day. You might get off with a huge warning or maybe, quite possibly, the death sentence but whatever it is it’s going to be big deal. Ask anybody.

As an added stress, some people are telling you that as soon as you pick one, there are those who will say you’re pals with the arbiter you pick. Of course, you don’t have to pick one. It could be picked for you.

So, Rather Dashing, the choice is yours. What do you do?

The Biggest Problem this Election is that We are Acting as Bad as the Candidates

Current social media political attitudes among Christians:

Hopeless Christian: my candidate is gone and everyone left is horrible so I’m going to stay at the compound and watch reruns of The Andy Griffith Show on Election Day and pretend this isn’t happening.

Begrudged Christian: I’ve finally resigned myself to voting for a candidate but you can’t make me like it and I’m not going to tell you for fear of being told I’ve lost my salvation. Now I feel like taking a shower.

Outraged Christian: depravity! Hillary is Satan incarnate and Trump is a wolf in an ass’s clothing, and anyone who dares vote for either is headed toward HELLFIRE!! Ayieeee!!

Impractical Christian: vote for (insert unknown moral person here) who wasn’t in the primaries and won’t win but at least we will show the world we failed with dignity and didn’t play their game and we aren’t really a part of this world anyway so even so come Lord Jesus.

Trump Christian: GO TRUMP!

Hillary Christian: (whispered) go hillary.

I make some fun of each camp only because I can’t help but find humor in things and to illustrate that, in short, it’s messy. And I hate to say it, but we’re making it messier. I’m getting uncomfortable. Not by the depravity of candidates but by the degradation of Christians by other Christians either through blatant attacks or subtle hints. We’re putting cracks in our unity because we’re promoting a worldly election above its proper place. We don’t need to unify behind a candidate. In some ways we need to have the attitude “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” Put things in perspective. Let your unity be in the Spirit of God, not the banner of our favorite cutting meme.

Don’t get me wrong. Speak your mind! But separate your mind from God’s will when you do it. And by all means speak God’s word! But not as a means to promote your will.

So some people want to vote for the lesser of two evils. Okay. So others say voting for anyone is against their conscience. Alright. Some say even Hillary is better than letting Trump win. Ok then.

At the risk of sounding sappy, I’m going to love you whatever type of Christian you are this election. And if I disagree with you, that’s okay. Because, like I said, this is messy and this is hard.

Let me just end by giving you some bad news and some good news. Bad: somebody much less than ideal is going to be elected as president. Good: Somebody greater than all is on His throne.

Habakkuk asked God “How could you use such a vile heathen nation to attack and punish your chosen people!?” to which God said “The just shall live by faith.”

So how can God let these be our candidates!? The just shall live by faith.

Personality Test

You can find a whole host of personality tests out there. Some silly, like which Disney princess you would be. Others are a little more involved and give you a combination of letters that label you in a similar way that an astrological sign might. “Oh, you’re a Leo?” Someone said to me once, then began staring suspiciously. “I never would have guessed.” Or “Oh you’re an IFSP? I would have pegged you as an IFGQ for sure. But that’s just like an SP to come across as a GQ, right?”

To which I smile and nod with true SP subtlety.

Not that I know what any of these things mean. But it feels good to be labeled and generalized according to letter codes and star shapes. It gives one a sense of confidence to have your uniqueness reduced to one of five love languages.

There are thousands of personality tests because there are thousands of miniscule differences to personality. That’s what makes everyone unique. But its also what makes us confusing. So to add to that confusion I give you the following:

There’s another aspect to personality that doesn’t seem to be talked about as much as some others. We discuss how people “charge” and say that introverts charge by being alone and extroverts charge by being with others. But what about the other end of things? How do we USE that energy? It’s more complicated than just “likes to be with people” versus “likes to hide in caves.” What do we put our energies into? Are you a slow burn or a quick explosion? Do you like to use your charge on yourself or others? In small groups or large? I am an introvert. Buy if I’m fully charged, I enjoy spending all that energy at once with large crowds. Even being the center of attention if there is the need for one. So I keep my energy in eco mode until one of these opportunities arise. Then bam, I let it out.

So lets call this the Benjamin’s Battery Test of Personalities. I wanted to call it Benjamin’s Battery Battery (BBB) but the Better Business Bureau beat me to it.

Answer the following important questions.

1. How do you charge? Do you feed off people like a piranha (P) or do you hide yourself away from the world like a rock badger (RB), living off abundant fat storage?
2. Next, how do you store the energy? Do you store it nervously like an oft beaten hunting dog (OBHD) raring to show his stuff? Otherwise you may keep your energy on ice like a slumbering manta (SM) ray at the bottom of the sea, ready for action only if some stupid kid comes snorkeling and messes with you.
3. How do you expend that energy? Like a cheetah (C) on the hunt, bursting forth but tiring quickly? Or more like the komodo dragon (KD), taking your time, infecting a target with your poisonous teeth and then waiting to see how it goes before trying another bite?
4. Finally, how well do you expend your energy? Awkwardly like a T-Rex (T) doing pushups? Or as smoothly as a Michael Jackson (MJ) doing the moonwalk?

Personally, I’m an RBSMCT and proud of it. But if anyone can think of another aspect involving cooler animals I would probably be those too.

The Force Looks at Its Alarm Clock

Generally speaking I would say I loved the new Star Wars movie. I watched it twice so far and will watch it again. But while my heart is still buzzing with happiness over a Star Wars movie that captures what Star Wars is, let’s dig into some of the particulars about the movie and then the direction of the Star Wars universe in general.

P.S. there will be spoilers.

1. The general absence of green screen production made my heart soar. I don’t care how good digital animation gets, it doesn’t compare to the physicality of … the physical. Having a body in a suit is much better than a stand in sporting a green leotard while you say your lines to a face on a stick. Even a puppet can at least be seen and touched. This movie largely brought things back to the Jim Henson way of doing things. For that I am very grateful. However, there were at least two digital characters which stood out to me as being unnecessarily cartoonified. The little woman with glasses can almost be forgiven because she was made so well. But if you’re going to make a digital creature, don’t make one that could just as easily been played by a small woman. The other is Big Pappa Leader Man, which is just about as ridiculous a name as he was actually given, aka, Supreme Leader Snoke. Hold a moment while I gag. This character also did not need to be digitally animated. It could have very easily been played by an actual person, though I personally would have done away with the character altogether. The third digitally animated character is one I’m giving a pass because surprisingly I didn’t mind BB-8 all that much and I didn’t think of him as computer animated, though I understand why he had to be so.

2. The basic story line is, well, basic. The characters and their back stories are interesting. The acting was great. But the formulaic structure of the script left a lot to be desired. I will even give a pass for the light side dark side conflict because that is just largely what the star wars universe is about. But a third death star? And no, making it look different and calling it something different doesn’t count. It’s a death star and it is destroyed the same way the others were, which is dumb. And while I’m talking about the death star thingy, which this time actually destroys stars, how do you have enough stars to drain? Does the death star planet move from star to star? The movie could have spent more time on something different. Something new. A twist. A focus on the people a bit more and large moon-sized weapons less.

3. Deviation from the previous cannon is disappointing. I can understand the desire to start fresh, especially considering the hundreds of star wars books previously approved by the hand of Lucas. At least in the original “aftermath” of episode 6 there were no death planets. And those books came out like fan fiction, well written, to fill in the gaps after the movies had run their course. Now we have books and comics written so you will buy them in anticipation of the next movie and help you fill in the gaps and make sense of the movies. The same tactic seems to be employed with the Marvel universe … to the point that a friend of mine has simply stopped trying to keep up. Disney understands the money that can be had from the Star Wars universe. But I implore them not to make it into something built for cash flow instead of build for imagination flow. Because the cash flow will run dry as the heart of the mission deadens. Keep the energy of J.J. Abrams and trash the books like Star Wars: Aftermath which read like they were by a 16-year-old on summer break.

In conclusion, I want a true Star Wars universe, sure. But I also want something that continues the saga, not that just rehashes it. And I want a world built on delving into the fantasy not just one that takes in the cash with forced (no pun intended), formulaic storylines and comic books you have to read if you want the story to make sense, and then find out that it really makes no sense anyway and they just teased you into buying worthless stories.

So has the force awakened? Maybe. But right now it’s checking the time and trying to decide if it wants to sleep through the next movie or come alive.

Full Circle: Bizzaro Edition

In many ways society has come full circle. But in its newest variants, I am forced to wonder whether we have entered a Bizarro alternate universe.

First consider the doomsayers of the twentieth century. Old ragged men in New York City sporting cardboard clothing and housing flea colonies. In a raspy voice they proclaim the end of the world is coming. These characters were considered comical, written off as loony right-wing religious nuts. Contrast that with today and consider the new face in end of the world extremism. Clean cut, left-wing pseudoscientists along with Igore-like henchmen (also known as celebrities) proclaim the impending doom of mankind brought about by global warming. We are all going to die unless we repent of our carbon emissions and plant ten thousand priuses in recycled coffee grounds. It’s all just as ridiculous as the crazy-eyed old codgers. But this time it’s the norm. It’s like millions of those old guys laughing at the few sane people left.

Now let’s think back to segregation. To separate water fountains and schools. To blatant inequality based on skin color. Blood, sweat and tears were poured into change, so that color could not stop you from achieving. Fast forward to college campuses today where a previously segregated shade of people are now demanding that other color groups protest inequality in separate areas. Where instead of blending and uniting, minorities are calling for their own spaces free of white-skinned people. It is only a matter of time before they decide they want their own water fountains.

Now lets think about Ronald Reagan. He was a fighter and a great president. He did what needed to be done. Yet he started out as an actor. Many made fun of him for speaking too simplistically. Many said he would never get enough votes to be president. Yet he did and in many ways he accomplished more than many other presidents before him. Fast forward to Donald Trump. Another who is labeled as stupid and unable to win an election. Another outsider from the establishment in Washington. Only this time around we have someone who doesn’t state things simply. He states outrageous things braggadociosly. He reminds me of the character from Napoleon Dynamite who said “I bet you I could throw this football over that mountain!” He makes over the top statements to get air time then slowly brings it down a few notches. He is Ronald on crack. Or perhaps, Ronald cracked. And he may be the best option for president we have in this ….

Bizzaro world!