6/28/07

Is “Evan Almighty” worth my $8 and 2 hours?

No, I haven’t seen the movie, which was released last Friday. Lincoln Journal Star reviewer Kent Wolgamott panned it with a one-star rating. For him the humor just didn’t work. Only one out of four reviewers at http://www.rottentomatoes.com/ could recommend it, with the consensus that it’s “big on special effects but short on laughs.”

In this film God tells Evan to build an ark like Noah did, and Evan’s hair and beard start growing rapidly, ala Tim Allen in “The Santa Clause.” Apparently “Evan” lifts up an environment-friendly theme and promotes Acts of Random Kindness, or ARK.

Most Christian reviewers I checked tended to review “Evan Almighty” a little more kindly, because of its spiritual elements and because it’s not as offensive as most Hollywood movies. It has some value for “family” entertainment. However, a few theological objections were raised.

Though I sometimes enjoy Steve Carell as a comedic actor, this movie sounds like the kind of cheap-gag comedy I wouldn’t find that appealing, so I’m probably going to wait until it comes out on DVD, if I see it at all. But, hey, if you like it, make your case. You might talk me into it. Either way, if you see the movie, hit the comment button and let us know your take on it.

P.S. Go to ChristianityTodayMovies.com for a review with links to other Christian reviews. My favorite Christian reviewer, Jeffrey Overstreet, so far hasn’t posted anything for “Evan Almighty.”

6/6/07

what I look forward to and dread about this week

It's required. Every year I have to go, even though I'm not a big fan. From 10:30 this morning (Wednesday) until 1 p.m. Saturday, I'll be spending most of my waking hours at the Cornhusker Hotel and St. Paul United Methodist attending Annual Conference--or more specifically the session of the Nebraska Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Actually, I don't dread it as much as I used to, because I get to hang out with some of my colleage-buddies I don't get to see all year. I also like some of the changes being introduced the last couple of years, which raises my toleration level. Still, much of the proceedings are intensely mundane--but that's good for me; it builds character.

Over the last few conferences, more educational sessions have been added. Hopefully, I'll come away with a few more ideas and a little more inspiration. And over the years, some of the worship times have become dear to my heart, such as tonight's memorial service and Friday evening's ordination service.

Every four years we elect delegates to General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference, and this is one of those years. Nothing exposes our theological differences like these elections, and the dividing issue is the question of homosexuality.

Currently General Conference affirms that those with homosexual orientation, like everyone else, are of sacred worth. But it also has maintained an official UM policy that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, forbidding the ordination and appointment of self-avowed, practicing homosexual pastors, and forbidding homosexual union services be held on United Methodist premises or conducted by United Methodist clergy.

Some would like to be elected to General Conference in order to vote to change one or more of those policies. Obviously, others would vote to retain them.

In 1995 I was elected first alternate to the 1996 General Conference and delegate to Jurisdictional Conference (where the main business is electing bishops). Four years later I was elected an alternate to Jurisdictional Conference but ended up not going because I broke my leg the week before.

This year I'm not seeking election.

Some of you probably know where I come from on the question of homosexuality, but I'm not going to talk about it in this blog. Expect a sermon from me about it as part of a series on controversial issues, maybe in January.

However, if you would like to express your viewpoint, please hit the comment button. Thanks.