Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thoughts About Phil Robinson and the Duck Dynasty

I'm just a little frustrated by the whole situation because I get to be caught in the middle of a highly charged debate. Long story short, Phil Robinson is asked by GQ Magazine about this position on Homosexuality. It's a obvious trap by GQ. The writer knows full well how the Bible-believing patriarch will answer the question and he got the response that he hoped for. The result...a lot of publicity for GQ magazine.

Phil plays it smart by quoting the Bible. He offers to commentary past that. But he does quote the most damning verse there is. He plays the "God said it, I believe it" defense.

The conservative Christian side of me stands by Mr Robinson only for the reason that he is standing up for his beliefs. Having only a little exposure to him. He spoke at my church, I know that he is a devout Christian. He doesn't hate anybody. He wishes no ill-will on anyone and hopes that all come to Christ. He also believes that God condemns homosexuality. I believe he would just in front of a moving bus to save the life of a homosexual.

He is a good man who believes that homosexuality is a sin. Logically speaking, is a man's position on homosexuality the litmus test of whether he is righteous or evil in the grand scheme of things.

At the same time, yes, the verse he quoted and the steadfastness of his voice, it appears he condemns the LGBT community in the eyes of God. Yes, I can see how you can in a round about way say that he likens homosexuality to bestiality. I don't believe that was the point he was making.

I doubt Mr. Robinson has many gay friends. I doubt he understands the problem gays face everyday with their identity and the acceptance of their identity. I doubt he truly understands the struggle that gays, Christian or not, face with their faith and their sexuality.

This is what I believe about Phil Robinson.

He loves God.
He believes the Bible and his interpretation of the Bible
He loves the lost, including gays.

He believes homosexuality is a sin.
He has no regular contact with gays.
He doesn't understand the heart of gays, Christian or not.

He is a good man and his stance on homosexuality will not change that.
He can be educated as I hope more and more Christians can be in the days and years to come.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Is Homosexuality A Sin?

In my quest to ask Christians to rethink the way we view Gays and homosexuality and for my gay friends to not give up on God just yet, I've been asked the same question from both sides, "Is Homosexuality A Sin?" In the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar, "It's a trap."

I've made a concerted effort to not answer this question. Not because I don't have an opinion. I've avoided it for two reasons: One, the answer is irrelevant to my goal, which is ending the "war" between Christians and Gays. Jesus walked amongst all people, and believe me, they/we were all sinners. No one was ever even close to being holy and sinless in the eyes of God and yet, God still chose to walk with sinners. He talked to them, served them and died for them. Yes, Gays too. Being sinless was never and will never be a requirement for fellowship with God.

The second reason is that the question is a trap to undermine the overall goal. By answer the question, one way or the other, I immediately alienate myself from both sides of the battle. I'm starting to sound like a mediator and to some degree...I am. 

Look, if I answer the questions, "Yes, homosexuality is a sin." Christ's message is lost. Go through the gospels and you'll notice something interesting. Christ dealt with the lost with love and the issue of sin was the conversation. The woman at the well, who slept with numerous men, Christ address the emptiness she felt by taking men into her bedroom. Jesus told her that God could satisfy that thirst and she believed Him. Go and sin no more. To the hated tax collector, Matthew, Jesus says, "Follow me." Jesus didn't ask for repentance from greed and for taking advantage of the poor. "Follow me."

On the other hand, every moment that Jesus judged a person about their sin, it was always in the direction of religious leaders. Often their complaints dealt with why Jesus would associate with sinners. After all, they are icky. Does this sound familiar? When It comes to the war between Christians and Gays, we are the religious leaders that Jesus is condemning.

Conversely, if I answer the question, "No, homosexuality is not a sin." Christ's mission is lost. One thing that I'll say about my fellow Christians, is that we love the God of the Bible deeply. We've all received God's love and forgiveness and we want you to experience the same love. It's amazing and it brings freedom. If I say that homosexuality is not a sin, I will be pointed to about 6 passages and verses in the Bible that deal directly with homosexuality and then I'm standing in Christian court defending whether or not I believe in the Bible.

At the same time, to God it doesn't matter whether I believe homosexuality is a sin. What does matter is that God made you and he knows the struggle you've had all you life trying to come to grips  with your sexuality. He doesn't judge you, because He knows why you feel the way you do. So who cares what I think. I have no authority to judge you and I don't claim to have it.

So, I choose to not answer the questions. Is it the coward's way out? Maybe it is, but as I said before sin or not a sin, it's irrelevant. Look, do I believe divorce is a sin? We've somehow managed with either ignore that sin or we've somehow managed to love those who go through divorce and restore them into the good graces of the church.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The Hobbit and the High Frame Rate Experience

This post is more about the High Frame Rate 3D experience than it is about a review of the Hobbit. I really like the Hobbit and I definitely have opinions about it as compared to the Lord of Rings Trilogy, but I want to talk about the new technology applied to it.

So, unlike the original Lord of the Rings trilogy the Hobbit was shot in 3D and in certain theaters you could view it in 48 frames a second, which is twice the frame rate of all movies you've probably ever seen in your lifetime. That's certainly true for me.

The Not-So-Good.
Watching the Hobbit at the high frame rate was incredibly bothersome to me, especially in the beginning of the movie. As you may know just like the Lord of the Rings the first half of the movie is a lot of talking and exposition. What was so bothersome?

Unnatural movements
At the high frame rate, it looked like everyone was movie twice as fast, even though everyone was moving at a normal pace. If you didn't see it for yourself, trust me it just looked weird.

Unnatural clarity
I just saw the Hobbit yesterday on film (not digital) and although the clarity was not very good, I didn't care. I think partly because I'm accustomed to seeing movies like this. Now that I'm watching most of my movies at digital projection theaters, movies still look like they are movies and that you're watching a pristine print of the movie.

The high frame rate looked too clear. Almost as if you're on the sound stage with them. And that's my point, it feels like you're on a sound stage and not in the actual Shire, which is what I hoped they wanted your experience to be. I remember watching old Dr. Who shows and they were shot on a nice clean sound stage. The problem is that it just looks unnatural.

Here's what I liked. After the 90 minute mark, I got used to the new format. The scenes in the underground caves and caverns, where freaking amazing. The clarity worked so well in these dark environments as opposed to the bright locations of the Shire and Rivendale. It's definitely worth seeing the second half of the movie in this format.

Should you go out and see it at 48 frames a second? If you want to try something new, yes do it. If you want a traditional movie going experience, definitely not. My complaint about 3-D movies today is that after 10 minutes, I don't care if I'm watching 3-D. With HFR, you notice problems right from the beginning and these imperfections become noticeable all throughout the movie. It's not bad, but it's different and noticeably different.

Let me also make a final important point. This is the first movie to incorporate the high frame rate technology. I would not say that this was a failure. I can definitely see that the technology can improve over time. I'm hoping that my complaints will be address in the second movie.