Dr. Cook: We Will Meet, But We Will Miss Him.

Dr. Cook was a gentleman.

Think how rare such a simple description must be.

He was as gracious to the person serving the table as he was to the honored guest. Once I saw him, when he could not know I was watching, grow quietly mournful when he heard a student was suffering. Biola is a big place and such compassion in a leader of a major educational institution is perhaps more talking about than seen.

I saw it in Dr. Cook.

He was willing, perhaps too willing, to give others the credit for the major initiatives of his presidency, but he was the steady hand that made any initiative possible. He was not a self-promoter, but a Christ-honoring man.

If Moses was the meekest man who ever lived, then Dr. Cook as I knew him was surely of his kind. Mercy without weakness is rare, but he had both.

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Poetry Friday: Billy Collins

Today's poet is Billy Collins, New York City native, U.S. Poet Laureate since 2001 (aren't you glad, in spite of our country's general disregard for the arts in general and poetry in particular, that we have a poet laureate?), and recipient of most of the prestigious fellowships and awards that you can earn as a living American poet. Collins' poetry is simultaneously accessible and profound.

He has a website called Action Poetry, a collection of short films of his poetry, which I highly recommend - especially if you don't "like" or "get" poetry. The poem below is included on the website.

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Abnormal

In the months immediately following my heart surgery, my every waking moment was consumed with wondering if I'd live to take another breath.  I know some people will think that this is an exaggeration.  It isn't.   I could feel my heart beating and I was literally waiting for it to stop. 

Now, a few years later, my thinking is not usually dominated by my own mortality, but rather by my life.  I am blessed to be healthy enough that I spend most of my time wondering when I'll get to picking up the dry cleaning or perform some other task that needs attention ASAP.  I don't always look at the monotonous tasks of a wife and mother as a luxury, but in reality, they are. 

However, once in a while, something will occur that gets my mind swirling back to the precarious line I walk between life and death.  This week, that something was my Annual Physical. 

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BANG A DRUM for THE VISITOR

People always ask me, "Why does Hollywood turn out so many loud, abrasive, empty-headed movies?"  Do movies have to insult our intelligence?   Can't we find something life-affirming instead of soul-draining?    The studios suggest that they simply supply what audiences want.  If we supported smaller, independent films loaded with heart, we'd get more of them.   Here comes another golden opportunity.

The most timely and relevant film at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival was THE VISITOR.  It is smart, subtle and filled with sneaky humor.  It puts a human face on the immigration issue and causes us to consider the cost of our post 9/11 policies. The timeless biblical question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" emerges from the movie.   The performances are spot on, brimming with nuance and intelligence. Basically, The Visitor is a brilliant independent film that will likely by overlooked until Oscar time. You can read my complete review here.
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Tags | Film

The (Non)Culture of Romance: You Make the Rules

One of the things that amuses me about the Christian romantic scene is that a lot of people are caught up in discussing the 'right' way to find a spouse.

This is particularly true of a group of people for whom such a conversation is least relevant: high schoolers. Perhaps it's something in the water, but a lot of Christian high schoolers have very strong opinions on what's right and wrong in romance--I know I did.

The debate the last decade has centered around two styles of finding a spouse, neither of which anyone really seems to understand--dating and courting.

It's not really a debate that I'm interested in having, though. In fact, when I think about what I'm going to say to that group of high schoolers I will be speaking to, I'll try to avoid the issue altogether. Why?

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The Risk of Following Jesus

Last weekend I took a motorcycle training course. Random I know. Before last weekend my only experiences on a bike were as a passanger on a friends bike all around the New England area, a few years back. But here I was, in Anaheim, CA, learning to ride a motorcyle. If you know me, you know this is random and yet, you are not surprised I would do something random.

 

Every year, I send out a Carrie Nye update email to friends and family. In this email, I list my learning’s from the previous year and list my goals for the coming year. This year was no exception. I emailed out my Carrie Nye update and in the email I listed getting my motorcycle license as one of my 2008 goals.

 

I love the feeling of freedom that comes with riding a bike. There is nothing like it. Because I am a person who needs purpose and meaning behind action, it was more than wanting the feeling of freedom that gave me the guts to go to motorcycle training school. It was the individual risk of riding that drew me in.

 
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Tags | Global

My African Sisters

In the 3 seconds that it took to drive past you, I saw something bold and strong and good.

We were making our way down the steep side of the mountain. In our big car, seat belts on, music playing, security of love and provision all around, we were busy trying not to get pushed off the road by the manic drivers in the great hulking buses that seemed to hurl toward us from around every bend.

And we passed you there, just 5 of you, beside your produce stalls, holding life with the calm, fierce resilience that your mothers and grandmothers breathed into you.

Here where the ledge widens and there is room enough to set up, you press out a living from these small shops. This is where the money for your kerosene lamps is made. This is how you feed your babies and keep your older children in school.

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The Search for Online Truth

If there's one constant about technology that trumps all others, it's this: change. We can be sure that whatever technology is cool and useful and popular today will be replaced by something that's cooler, more useful, and more popular tomorrow. It's just the way it is.

With truth it's different. Unless you're a relativist, truth doesn't change. We need to know that what's true today will still be true tomorrow. We also need to know that the content we access, whether it's on a printed page or in some kind of electronic form, is trustworthy.

At ConversantLife.com, we are committed to both technology and truth. We are using the latest technology to present trustworthy content by a team of passionate and knowledgeable communicators, all the while inviting our users to comment and post content of their own in the form of news stories that have faith implications.

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YOUNG @ HEART rocks

From the opening strains of “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” through the rousing finale of “Yes We Can Can,” YOUNG @ HEART makes audience laugh, shout, and celebrate. This inspiring documentary follows the rehearsals of a geriatric choir (average age 80!) in Northampton, Massachusetts. Led with a punk rock ethos by Bob Cilman, the Young @ Heart chorus includes great, great grandparents. It is the most entertaining film I’ve seen in 2008.

Director Stephen George focuses upon the most lively characters in the choir, including 76 year-old, Stan Goldman and saucy 92 year-old Eileen Hall. At the beginning of the film, the camera seems to be laughing at them. Their shouts animate renditions of James Brown’s “I Feel Good” and Sonic Youth’s “Schizophrenia.” Producer Sally George also stages some hilarious music videos to The Ramones’ “I Want to be Sedated” and David Bowie’s “Golden Years.” But soon the satire turns into something far more moving.

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Tags | Film

Weather or Not

During most of the conversations that I have with my grandparents, eventually we'll get around to talking about the weather. This makes sense as my grandfather is a farmer. Although he has sold most of his land and his garden gets smaller every year, he grew up knowing that the elements would determine his family's wealth for that year. The proper amounts of rain and sunshine were required for their crops to flourish. This reliance on the weather was ingrained into him and so even now, all these years later, the outlook for the coming days is of utmost importance.
It seems to me that the same should be true for Christians. The One that we depend upon should be a regular part of our conversation because we know that our future is mediated on His grace. We tend to strive to be intentional about the sharing of our faith and as someone who is one of the world's most reluctant evangelists, I understand this focus.
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