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Showing posts from 2007

Bittersweet Comedy Symphony

Last night’s episode of The Office ( 4.07: Survivor Man ) was one of my favorite episodes of the show’s existence. I can’t remember the last time I laughed that loud and hard watching television. Below are some highlights from the script. (Note: if you haven’t watched the episode yet, I’d advise skipping over these quotes. Some of them won’t make sense in and of themselves, and there are minor spoilers that will take away from the experience of watching the episode for the first time.) Dwight : It’s better to be hurt by someone you know accidentally than by a stranger on purpose. Dwight : Do I believe that Michael possesses the skills to survive in a hostile environment? Let’s put it this way: no, I do not. Dwight : I would remove your teeth and cut off your fingertips so you could not be identified. And they would call me the Overkill Killer. Creed : You tell her it’s for Creed. She’ll know what that means. Michael : The sun is in the two-thirds easterly quadrant, which would ma

Area Teen’s Pro-Reformation Stance Creates Confusion

KNOXVILLE, TN — No good deed goes unpunished. So Martin Erasmus Hinn believes, based on the events of the last couple weeks. The 14-year-old Knoxville native recently wrote a letter to the editor of the City Chronicle in an effort to make more people aware of the existence of Reformation Day , which happens to fall on the same day as that other little-known holiday, Halloween. “This day isn’t just about creepy, flying goblins and mounds of candy,” Martin told the Doxology Press. “That is, unless you consider the ancient Roman Catholic leaders as the creepy goblins and Luther’s 95 Theses as the tasty antidote. My dad once tried using that analogy, but it never made sense to me.” In the wake of the recent craze over the completion of the Harry Potter books, Martin decided to focus his letter on drawing parallels between the themes of the Reformation and the themes found in the Potter saga. “Some might consider that a bit of a stretch,” he conceded, “but I wanted to write something th

24/7

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View the trailer HERE .

A Lesson Learned at Jiffy Lube

I went to Jiffy Lube the other day to have my oil changed. The attendant who came out to help me was an extremely friendly guy. As we went through the process of getting checked in, he explained every minuscule detail of the process, which quickly started to irritate me. Did I really look like I had the word dumb written on my face? I had been coming to Jiffy Lube for quite some time; I knew how things worked, and this kid’s attitude was starting to annoy the heck out of me. Now, I’m the last person in the world who has a right to get angry about such things. You see, I know practically nothing about cars. I can fill my Camry with gas, make sure the tires have the right amount of air pressure, and on a good day I might even be able to change a flat. (Although the last time I tried, I broke one of the lug nuts, which ended up taking a bit of money to fix.) In spite of my vehicular ignorance, however, I still felt irritated by the way the attendant was treating me. My reaction got me t

Life is Beautiful

I never thought it would actually happen, but I got paid to go watch a movie. Along with a few other members from the media center, I had the privilege of attending an advance press screening of the movie Bella , which is set to be released in theaters on October 26. I had heard about the film several months ago and was interested in seeing it, since it is one of the first blatantly pro-life movies (if not the first) to garner serious attention in Hollywood. It has won several awards, including the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival. Anyway, watching an advance screening is really fun: you get in for free, it’s semi private (which means finding a good seat is less difficult), and there are usually special guests involved (in this case, one of the film’s producers and the main actor, who shared his testimony after the showing). My main concern with the film (which, admittedly, is a big one) is that the filmmakers don’t let the audience know where the story is headed. T

The Sovereign Source of Joy

One of my common tendencies is to believe that I will be happy only if my circumstances change. During my (pitifully short) devotion yesterday morning, I was reminded of God’s sufficiency in meeting all my needs and satisfying all my desires. The Lord graciously brought two verses to my attention, calling me to recognize that circumstances are not the source of my joy. Instead, God is the only sure foundation of the happiness of my soul. The first verse was Psalm 106:15: “And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.” The Israelites received the monetary blessing they had asked for (or “lusted exceedingly” after, as verse 14 says), but God kept them from enjoying it. The second verse was Psalm 4:7: “You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased”(Psalm 4:7). Here, the Psalmist’s heart rejoices—but not because of circumstances. On the contrary, he is not experiencing the increase that others have experienced. And yet

From College Classroom to…Cable?

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Who would have known that a measly school project would get so much attention? No one is more surprised than my co-producer and I that God has shown us so much favor. In the last couple years, our documentary has garnered the attention of the Knoxville News Sentinel (including a favorable article by Betsy Pickle!), Carmike Wynnsong 16, Avid Technology Inc., and now cable television. A few months ago, the 700 Club gave me a call from out of the blue and requested permission to use some footage from our film in an upcoming feature on the Moeller Family . After navigating through the legalities, we were able to work out an agreement. The segment, “Little Miracle Morgan,” aired on CBN yesterday. Both the transcript and the video are now available online . The producers of the show ended up using a lot of our B-roll footage and Brendan Anderson’s original score . Personally, I like our film better—but what would you expect? Any parent thinks his child is the cutest thing in the world, eve

Deadline the Movie?

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From the blog of author Randy Alcorn : Part of [my] time away...will be spent going over the screenplay for my novel Deadline , which, if all goes as planned, will be made into a movie. I’ve not yet had a book made into a movie, though I’ve had many years of discussing various projects with interested parties. I’ve learned this about moviemaking: everything takes longer than expected and there are countless obstacles along the way. That’s okay, because I could die content without any of my books being made into movies. But my biggest concern has always been that if a movie is made it will glorify God, and not in any way displease Him. The people I’m working with on Deadline love Jesus and have integrity (two commodities less common than you’d hope), but prayers for all of us would be much appreciated. Deadline is one of the best fiction stories I’ve ever read. My copy of the novel has been borrowed more times than any other book in my collection. That’s how good it is. One thing I’m co

Potter Mania (a.k.a., a retrospective short story)

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Last Friday night, I accompanied some friends to Barnes & Noble for the release of the final Harry Potter book. Having not pre-purchased a copy myself, I didn’t stay until midnight like the rest of them. (I’m more a fan of the movies than I am of the books. Surprise, surprise.) However, the highlight for me was an announcement made over the loudspeakers somewhere around nine o’ clock. What made it so funny was the fact that the bookstore employee was being dead serious. He stated the following: This is a public service announcement. There will be no broom flying in the store. Those caught flying in the store will have their brooms impounded. I couldn’t help but burst into a laughing fit. Evidently, I was the only one who found the announcement humorous because no one else laughed with me (although there were a couple people who giggled and/or stared at me). So concluded my first—and last—experience at a Harry Potter publishing event extravaganza. [Note: I neither took the above pic

The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 10) – Conclusion

If we realize our joy in God is lackluster, we must seek to discern what our hearts are prizing more than God. This is the pursuit of a saint determined to eradicate all idols from his heart, by the grace of God. This is the pursuit of the Psalmists. This, I believe, is the ultimate aim of the book of Psalms—to show us how normal believers in times past fought for joy in the living God. The only thing that can destroy a superficial joy in superficial gods (i.e., idols) is the life-altering and soul-sustaining joy found in the one true God. And it is this God that the Psalms offer to us as the remedy to all our idolatrous pursuits. More than any other book in the Bible, the Psalms persistently and passionately call us to prize the Lord above all else. And this, I believe, is the goal of the Christian hedonist. Truth be told, if I had to point to one factor that has most encouraged my Christian growth in the last year, it would be the power of God’s grace made effective in my life throu

The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 9)

Last time, we looked at how the book of Psalms can powerfully change our prayer life. Now, let’s examine one specific example. You might be familiar with John Piper’s prayer acronym IOUS. What you might not realize is that this extremely helpful model—which can be found in his book When I Don’t Desire God (pages 57-59)—is based on the Psalms. Let’s look at the acrostic. “I” stands for Incline , and is based on Psalm 119:36: “Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness.” Piper writes, “The first thing my soul needs is an inclination toward God and his Word.” “O” stands for Open . This comes from Psalm 119:18: “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” Piper says, “I need to have the eyes of my heart opened so that when my inclination leads me to the Word, I see what is really there, and not just my own ideas.” “U” stands for Unite . The supporting verse here is Psalm 86:11: “Unite my heart to fear Your name.” Piper puts it like this: “I am con

So Easy, A Caveman Could Do It

You’ve probably seen several (if not all) of the GEICO caveman commercials. They’re priceless. Well, you might not be aware that these persecuted primates have their own interactive website: www.iheartcavemen.com . It’s hilarious. There’s lots of stuff to view and participate in on the site. And just when you think you’ve gone through all the material, you find new stuff. My favorite part of the website is helping the cavemen decide what clothes to wear for the party. Their responses to some of the suggestions you make are ingeniously funny. If you need a refresher, here are the links to all the commercials (minus the “party scene” one that makes absolutely no sense): Airport Home Complaint (“Four feet by five feet”? What kind of screen ratio fiasco is that?) Apology CNN Interview Boom Operator Therapist (featuring none other than Talia Shire—i.e., Adrian from the Rocky movies) And don’t forget that little feature about playing golf .

The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 8)

“The Psalms are prayers for those who are engaged in an ongoing, spiritual conflict. No one else need bother even opening the book.” (Patrick Henry Reardon) One thing we learn from the Psalms is that prayer is an essential weapon in the Christian Hedonist’s arsenal. The Psalmists don’t merely apprehend truth about God in a stoic manner, they use those truths as catalysts for prayer. And these prayers—i.e., the Psalms—are fervent. These men recognize how desperate they are for God. They know that apart from the life-sustaining grace found in God alone, they can do nothing (see John 15:5). Martin Luther is quoted as saying that praying the Psalms brings us “into joyful harmony” with God’s Word and God’s will. He continues: Whoever begins to pray the Psalms earnestly and regularly will soon take leave of those other light and personal little devotional prayers and say, “Ah, there is not the juice, the strength, the passion, the fire which you find in the Psalms. Anything else tastes

The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 7)

I am reminded of a phrase in the English language: “damn with faint praise.” If we commend something with little enthusiasm, we are showing that our praise is not heartfelt. It is fake, superficial—even hypocritical. Words of praise only ring true when flowing from a heart full of praise. The true state of our heart is revealed when we praise something. For example, my coworkers don’t doubt my love of the Copper Cellar hamburger. Why? Because I continually praise it as a great lunch—the best, in fact—and because I partake of that meal every single Wednesday (except in cases of conflicting business appointments, inhibiting sicknesses, or when the restaurant closes and locks its doors). It is obvious that I enjoy the food because I so heartily commend it. Similarly, our praise of God reveals how much we prize God. Do I see my need for God? Do I recognize that I am desperate for His aid? Do I value God’s presence in my life so much that I would rather stop living than have Him leave me?

Bauer Power

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Last night’s episode of 24 was excellent. No surprise there, really. I mean, a bad episode of 24 is like a hamburger without beef. Jack Bauer has to be one of the most amazing TV characters of all time. His prowess never fails to bring a smile to my face. He is an absolute thrill to watch. In the spirit of Jack Bauer Appreciation Day (which is a recurring holiday—every Tuesday, in fact), below are some entertaining Jack Bauer sayings I recently discovered. Enjoy! Jack Bauer never retreats, he just attacks in the opposite direction. On Jack Bauer’s Tax Returns, he has to claim the entire world as his dependents. Some people see the glass as half full. Others see it as half empty. Jack Bauer sees the glass as a deadly weapon. When bad things happen to good people, it’s probably fate. When bad things happen to bad people, it’s probably Jack Bauer. When a convicted terrorist was sentenced to face Jack Bauer, he appealed to have the sentence reduced to death. Jack Bauer once ar

The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 6)

It’s been a while since we visited this series on the book of Psalms. I didn’t mean to take such a long break. Here’s the next installment… Much of the content of the Psalms is praise, whether the writers are praising God themselves or calling others to praise Him. In fact, the word “praise” appears more in Psalms than in any other book in the Bible—a total of 152 times to be exact (in the NJKV). This is amazing when considered with the word’s use in the rest of Scripture. “Praise” appears only 28 times in the rest of the Old Testament, and only 23 times in the New Testament. So, the word “praise” appears 152 times in the book of Psalms alone, and only 51 times in the rest of the Bible! Claiming that Psalms is THE book of praise is no exaggeration. Therefore, Psalms is an indispensable tool in helping us know what it means to be a Christian hedonist. After all, at its root the oft-repeated call to praise the Lord is really a call to prize the Lord—to consider Him as the ultimate tr

And the Cue Goes To…

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Once again, the Oscars have come and gone. Also coming to a close are the 2006 Cue Awards , where members of the Tracksounds team (including yours truly) honor various achievements in film scoring. Awards include Best Score Missed by Oscar , Best Score for Television , and Best Score as Heard in Film . Kudos to Christopher Coleman for creating a great layout for this year’s awards, with each category getting its own visually appealing web page.

Parody Motivator Generator

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Create your own motivational posters here !

Amazing Grace

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This Friday, Bristol Bay Productions (which also produced Ray and Sahara ) will bring the life of antislavery pioneer William Wilberforce to the big screen. The film Amazing Grace is directed by Michael Apted from an original screenplay written by Academy Award nominee Steven Knight. The cast includes Ioan Gruffudd ( Black Hawk Down ), Albert Finney ( Erin Brockovich ), Michael Gambon ( Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ), and Rufus Sewell ( Legend of Zorro ). As the movie website explains : The legacy of William Wilberforce is tied to his relationship with John Newton. John Newton, an ex-slave trader turned minister and abolitionist, wrote the lyrics for the hymn Amazing Grace and became Wilberforce’s spiritual counselor. He set his young protégé on the path of service to humanity. It was only after Wilberforce underwent what he later described as his “great change” or embrace of Christianity, that he became a reformer. Newton knew this to be true, and invoking the deliveran

A Lovely Loser

Recently, a new artist named Jason Gray visited Love 89 to meet with the staff, sing/play a few of his songs, and promote his debut album. For some reason I decided to join this meeting (I usually don’t participate in them)—and am I glad I did! I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of most Christian artists. So many aspects of the Christian music industry are controlled by secular values, shaky theology, and fame-entranced pride. Jason Gray definitely breaks this horrendous mold. He’s like a blast of cool, fresh air in a scorching desert wasteland. (If that’s hyperbole, it’s understated hyperbole.) Jason Gray’s music impresses me. His songs are excellent, with lyrics that are both simple and profound, revealing a theological depth not readily found in Christian music. One song in particular dealt with the amazing nature of God’s grace to undeserving sinners. He approaches the topic through the eyes of a man who finds himself being loved by a girl named Grace who has no re

Why I Love My Job

Reason #62: I just pelted Bob Bell with a snowball. Inside the radio station. While he was on the air. Talking about the weather. With Matt Hinkin . BOO-YA!

Lyrical Meditation, Yo!

I have found a unique way to meditate on gospel truths. It’s engaging, affecting, and—dare I say it?—even entertaining. What I am referring to is Scripturally-informed rap music. Yes, you heard me right. Ol’ Capper is now a hip-hopper. Just call me Capdog. Granted, I’m no rap connoisseur. I’ve never really liked rap music, except maybe one or two songs from one particular artist whose name I will not divulge (although it sounds like a kind of candy.) Things started changing when I was exposed to Christian rap artist Curtis Allen, a.k.a. Voice. His music piqued my interest in “Reformed rap.” Well, a couple weeks ago a friend from church introduced me to an album by rapper Timothy Brindle, entitled Killing Sin . What John Owen did for literature, Brindle has done for hip-hop. The CD is absolutely amazing. In fact, it may be my favorite Christian album EVER! No, I am not exaggerating. With all due respect to Voice, Brindle’s work is far superior. Killing Sin is marked by slick producti

The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 5)

“Whoever would be wise should read the Proverbs; whoever would be holy should read the Psalms.” (Richard Steele) Psalm 86:8-13 (which I am currently trying to memorize) basks in how the glory of God trumps the superficial glory of all lesser things. Verses 8-10 explain it like this: Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; Nor are there any works like Your works. All nations whom You have made Shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And shall glorify Your name. For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God. Imagine a soldier who treats his enemies better than his allies. He continually seeks to build relationships with those who are out to destroy the army to which he belongs. You would think the enemy would appreciate his traitorous acts and treat him like a prince as further incentive for his allegiance. You would also think this traitor’s commanding officer would have him executed the moment he finds out what is going on. That’s not how it works in the sp

Not Exactly the MPAA

I’ve been told that my movie rating system needs an explanation. So, here it is… My number rating system is pretty straightforward. A rating of 1 (or sometimes 0) means “horrible” and 10 means “a masterpiece.” What’s not as clear is that there are usually two areas in which I give a number rating. First is the Artistic Merit rating. This number represents a consideration of the film as a work of art. It reflects the cumulative effect of all aspects of a film: scriptwriting, acting, production design, cinematography, musical score, and so on. If I believe it is a well made film, it will receive a high Artistic Merit rating. The second rating is the Personal Marks score. (Yes, my two ratings are initialed AM and PM. Ain’t I clever?) This represents how much I liked the film, regardless of its artistic merit. Sometimes I may enjoy a movie that isn’t the greatest piece of filmmaking (or vice versa) and I like to make a distinction between the two. “Fun to watch” doesn’t always equal “goo

THR3E (2007) – Film Review

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Hi, this is Cap the Filmmaker. I’ve been following the progress of the movie Thr3e ever since the project was greenlighted by Namesake Entertainment . The film is based on the Ted Dekker novel of the same name. You can check out the trailer here . The following is the official plot synopsis : “When a young seminary student is targeted by a psychopathic killer, he joins forces with a criminal psychologist whose brother was murdered by the same madman. Together they must unravel the killer's riddles and catch him before he strikes again, but the closer they get, the more twisted the path becomes. This heart-pounding thriller will keep you guessing up until the final shocking scene!” Though the film doesn’t open until Friday, I was privileged enough to receive an advanced-copy DVD (yes, legally). The first thing that stood out to me was the exceptional cinematography and desaturated colors. This looks like a slick Hollywood product, not a cheap, cutesy Christian film. Furthermore