Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Who Killed the Love Story?

Stumbled across this curious article in Time on the disappearance of love stories from the movies. . . . most interesting to me was some of the cynical, but probably correct, musings on modern love. What a sad and stark contrast to the Bible's teaching on love and relationships!

Who Killed the Love Story? - TIME

Here's a couple of paragraphs that really popped out at me . . .

But it's not just familiarity that breeds contempt for love stories. It may be actually getting harder to get people to believe in them, acknowledges Richard Curtis, writer of such indelible romances as Four Weddings and Notting Hill, because our expectations have changed. "If you write a story about a soldier going AWOL and kidnapping a pregnant woman and finally shooting her in the head, it's called searingly realistic, even though it's never happened in the history of mankind," he notes. "Whereas if you write about two people falling in love, which happens about a million times a day all over the world, for some reason or another, you're accused of writing something unrealistic and sentimental."

More than anything, this is because what we see onscreen in those can-we-connect romances does not seem to have any relevance to what's happening around us. What now, for example, are the differences a man and a woman have to overcome to get together? Their lives look pretty alike. They worry about what they do, about whether they're maximizing their talents, about what others think of them, about the way they look, about if they will be able to make the money they need. A love interest is no longer an alternative to or solace from the rat race; she's another rat. As such, it's perhaps understandable that a suitor expects to be able to pull her over for a quick mating session and then get back on track. Where is romance in all that?

And it's not just happily-ever-after that has changed. The global nature of dating--the access to a limitless pool of mates just a click away--means that people feel they hardly need to overcome difficulties in relationships. If the whole getting-together thing proves too hard, they can just move on. Juliet's a Capulet? Bummer. Back to Facebook. Finding a soul mate is no longer a determined steeplechase over every obstacle. It's a numbers game--about as fraught with epic drama and desperation as recruiting a new middle manager for the nonperishables division. Perhaps it's not surprising that the romantic movie that most touched a nerve in viewers last year was The Break-Up.

Monday, December 10, 2007

cultivating a taste for truth and beauty

Great post about parenting over at World on the Web about the challenge of cultivating a taste for truth and beauty in our children. It sure is a lot more work than just protecting them from dangerous and filthy media. Most of the time we aim too low .

Here's a snippet . . .

While many consider scrutiny of children’s media, rightly, a matter of protecting them from filth, I think there’s a deeper imperative, which is the importance of cultivating their taste. I know families who do this well; their children are literate and literary, and they play musical instruments. These parents could give their children credit cards and uninhibited access to, and remain highly confident that the resulting purchases would violate neither their high standards of decency nor intelligence. They don’t do so, however, because young minds still need guidance. But those young minds are being trained in the right direction, toward thinking lives. They are being equipped to seek truth and beauty, and therefore to abhor falsehood and ugliness, whether guised as pornography, or bad philosophy.

If we think our job is simply to vet media for sex, drugs, and profanity, we are not building anything. At best, we are keeping a clean slate, at least until our children have left us. Absent an ability to appreciate truth and beauty, however, they are consigned to battling flesh without the pleasure — created, I believe, by the ultimate author of truth and beauty — of art. The soft-porn magazine Maxim, in other words, becomes less interesting when one is capable of enjoying The Atlantic. Handel (for you classical buffs) or Sufjan Stevens (for indie fans) probably hold more appeal, likewise, for the musically-trained than does BeyoncĂ©. Those who can appreciate Chekhov can’t help but laugh out loud when they consider Danielle Steele.

Monday Morning

  • 4:45 AM the alarm goes off
  • 5:00 AM Chad pulls up and loads the bike, hot coffee ready next to the seat, leg warmers on the seat.
  • 5:15 AM pick up Mark Ernstrom, Ben Collins and we wait for Sean Cheney (What's he doing in there anyway? Chad is antsy and saying we should have picked up everyone at 5:00 AM!)
  • 5:45 AM just above Spooners Cove, Montana De Oro, 32 degrees and windy, still dark, none of us wants to get out of the car except Chad. We do anyway. The lights are on and the climb is immediate and steep from the get go.
  • 6:05 AM on top of East Ridge panting and sweating, Chad and Sean have been waiting for 5 minutes
  • 8:10 AM back at the car after 3 brutal climbs and fun, fun downhills, no injuries to report, Chad went down only once, no equipment failures, no flats, we all wheeze all the way the home
  • freezing, sweating, painful, healthy, exhausted, Good Times!
Why in the world do we do this? It's the only time to squeeze it in for four of us busy dads. (Who knows why Ben does it?) Stress relief, turning 40 this year, I want to be able when the kids are ready to go! Peer pressure has a lot to do with it. Those other 4 are training for the Sea Otter Classic in April, good fellowship.

Here's a couple of pics that Sean took . . .thanks Sean!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Getting Inside

Someone requested I post the C.S. Lewis quote from last Sunday's message from Hebrews 12. It was from a famous Lewis 1942 sermon entitled "The Weight of Glory". Here it is. . .

We can be left utterly and absolutely OUTSIDE—repelled, exiled, estranged, finally and unspeakably ignored. On the other hand, we can be called IN, welcomed, received, acknowledged. We walk every day on the razor edge between these two incredible possibilities.

Apparently, then, our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the INSIDE of some door which we have always seen from the OUTSIDE, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned INSIDE would be both glory and honour beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Andree Seu

Longtime readers know that I'm pretty fond of World Magazine. One of Susie and my favorite writers is Andree Seu. (I'm not sure I know how to pronounce her first or last name!) If I don't have time to read a given week's World from cover to cover, I am always sure to at least read Andree's column, usually at the back. She's published two little collections of her essays that I gave to Susie for Mother's Day last year.

(I think that Andree would be a great Women's Conference speaker, if anyone is listening!)

I have posted a few things here, but World Mag is a bit stingy (Give It Away is one of our family mottos!) and only makes their mag content available online for subscribers. I have tried to discover their policy on blog posting and even emailed the company once, but haven't received a response. To be on the safe side, I've opted not to post World stuff here.

But to be my great delight, I just discovered World on the Web, a web resource completely separate from World Mag, where Andree writes almost daily.

(Of course, they won't let me subscribe to just her stuff. If I try to subscribe to the feed, I get the whole World on the Web feed and even then they only give me snippets, so that I have to click to the go to the website. I totally get why they do this. . . to drive traffic to the site . . . but it's almost as lame as charging for content. Does this bother anybody else as much as it bothers me? . . . I'm ranting . . . it must be a Monday!)

Anyway, today's post is great, as usual, about getting lost and pulling over and accidentally noticing a tree off the road.