The Five: Five Albums on Constant Rotation

It’s time for another edition of “The Five”.  This time I thought I would look at the five albums that I would have on constant rotation.  It is kind of a correlation to the TV shows question but if I could only listen to five albums for the rest of my life, what would they be?  Granted I have very eclectic musical tastes so to narrow down is tough but here’s my five (one caveat, no greatest hits albums…that would be kinda like cheating):

1.) Switchfoot Nothing is Sound

This was probably the easiest one to pick for “The Five”.  Switchfoot is right up there as far as favorite artists.  I got introduced to them in college at Union by my best friend and roommate and I’ve been a fan ever since.  This album released in 2005 while I was living and working in Seattle.  Pretty much every song on the album has resonated with me at some point in my life through the ups and downs of life and ministry.  I can listen to it beginning to end and it just flows from one song to the next.  For me, this album is a no brainer for the list.

2.) Coldplay X&Y

I don’t know why but 2005 was that kind of year for music and me.  This album by Coldplay just hit me right in the feels as the kids would say.  So many of the songs on this album just stick in my head and I feel the words as I sing along.  So many of the songs resonated with me at that time and place and in a lot of ways still do.  So I have to include it in my five.

3.) Third Day Offerings:  A Worship Album

I knew some Third Day songs at a teen but it really wasn’t until I got to college that I really heard their stuff.  This album released in 2000 is one that was in regular rotation when I was in college.  I got to know these songs by heart and were a part of my time growing in my faith in college.  Just as my faith is integral to who I am, I definitely think it’s important to have an album like this in The Five”.

4.) Garth Brooks No Fences

I feel like I need a country album given how I grew up listening to country.  So I went with Garth Brooks and his album No Fences from 1990.  There are a lot of iconic songs from this album and it’s one that I can go back to and listen to with fondness of my childhood.

5.) The Fray The Fray

I was having a hard time narrowing down the final entry here.  There are several albums from several artists that have a lot of meaning to me.  But I decided to go with The Fray and their self titled album that released in 2009 is one that still sticks with me.  I’m a fan of the band ever since their debut album so it was a toss up between that one and their follow up self titled album but the number of quality songs on The Fray pushed it over the top.  It was a go to album that I listened to frequently during my time in seminary.

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Updated 2018 Book List

It has been a long time since I updated the book list for this year.  I got bogged down over the summer and didn’t read much.  One book really bogged me down (haven’t finished it yet and had to switch to another).  But here’s the updated list:

Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Timothy Keller

Replant: How Did a Dying Church Can Grow Again by Mark DeVine & Darrin Patrick

Transformational Discipleship:  How People Really Grow by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelley & Philip Nation

Street Gang:  The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis

The Stark Truth:  The Most Overrated & Underrated Players in Baseball History by Jayson Stark

The Five: Five Films That Define Me

It has been awhile since I had a series of posts.  I like doing series but sometimes I either finish them or run out of inspiration.  I mentioned recently how I was in a writer’s block for a time but I feel like (at least at the moment) I’ve got some more inspiration to write more often again (which is good because it helps me express myself).

One of the big trends the last couple of months on Twitter are these questions that people ask that get trending where people ask about favorite films or books or TV shows and such.  And I’ve participated in some of that on there.  And I thought, “Hey, how about I do like a series on such things on my blog?”  Hence the creation of “The Five”.

What “The Five” will be is a series where I will take a topic and give a list of five that ties into that topic.  It’s not necessarily a ranking but just a list (so in no particular order).

For this edition of “The Five” I wanted to look at the films that define me.  As in, if I was meeting someone for the first time and they asked me what films should I watch to get a definition of me, these would be the five films I would recommend.  For people that know how much I love films this is a tall order.  I will add this caveat.  For a film series, I will only pick one film in that series.  Like instead of watching the entire Lord of the Rings I could say Return of the King (that’s not one in “The Five” but just an example)  So here’s “The Five Films that Define Me”:

1) Return of the Jedi

Of course there had to be a Star Wars film in the list.  I don’t think it would be even possible to have a list without one on there.  So why Return of the Jedi?  First, it was the first Star Wars film I ever saw in the theater.  Granted it was a year after it released and I was 4 and I barely remember it then but that’s the record.  Second, as a kid I loved the Ewoks (and to be honest I still do).  But really as I’ve gotten older I’ve really resonated with the maturation that Luke has in the film.  He’s not the young farm boy he was in A New Hope.  He’s not the impetuous Jedi student he was in The Return Strikes Back.  He is battle tested and carries scars with him.  He still struggles but he has grown.  Plus Jedi has the iconic scene in the Emperor’s Throne Room when Luke is hiding from Vader and the light catches his face in such a way that half his face is lighted and half is in darkness.  Such an iconic moment that sticks with me to this day.  If there is one Star Wars film that defines me, it’s Return of the Jedi

2) Short Circuit 2

I went back and forth between the first Short Circuit or the sequel.  Both are films that are a part of my life growing up.  But I think I would lean with Short Circuit 2 because of one particular scene (which I have blogged about before here).  That scene in and of itself merits watching (and being included in The Five) but the film as a whole is good as well.

3) The Holiday

I am a hopeless romantic.  So anytime there is a romantic film, I’m usually sucked into watching it.  Yes I’m a single guy who loves romantic films.  And out of all the romantic films, this one I connect with.  Particularly with the character of Iris (played by Kate Winslet).  Unrequited love is a dagger and it is one I have dealt with personally.  And yet, I still am hopeful that someday I will find the right one and get married.

4.) From Up on Poppy Hill

I figure to best include a film that is an anime in “The Five” because of my love of anime (especially of Studio Ghibli films).  So out of that list I would say From Up on Poppy Hill.  From the animation to the story to the music, it all comes together in a manner that just clicks.  And while in my ranking of Studio Ghibli films I had The Wind Rises ranked higher, in defining my story I would say From Up on Poppy Hill resonates more.

5.) I Can Only Imagine

My faith is a big part of my life.  I would not be who I am without Jesus Christ.  So I have to have a film that reflects my faith and to me that film is I Can Only Imagine.  Not only is it a good film that speaks on faith, love and forgiveness but that song released at a time in my life (college/grad school) when I say that I really took ownership of my faith.  So that song resonated with me then and still does and the film does the same as well.

So this is the first edition of “The Five”.  I hope to have more of these to come.  I would love to know what you would say are the films you would recommend someone to watch that define you?

Five Year Anniversary

Today marks the five year anniversary of this blog.  When I started this blog, I was in a real rough spot in my life.  And to be honest, that hasn’t changed that much.  These last five years have been some of the hardest, toughest, depressing years of my life.  This blog has helped in dealing with some of that but even still it has been a struggle.

Each time I reach this anniversary I hope that there will be some good news, something that will be a turning point.  But here I wait still.  God ultimately knows what the future will hold but in the meantime it has been tough in the waiting.

There have been seasons with this blog when there has been a lot of content and also times when there hasn’t been.  That has been a struggle as well.  When you don’t have the words to express the emotions and thoughts you feel.

If you have been with me all this time, thank you.  May this next year of blogging bring newfound hope and a turning of the corner in my life.

“Purpose in Pain”: Thoughts on Brian Dawkins

Everyone that knows me knows I’m a huge sports fan.  Among those is football.  I love playing football and I love watching football.  This weekend was the induction ceremony for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  And I was sitting in a hotel room in Arkansas and happened to turn the TV on and caught the majority of the event.  And at one point I tweeted that it felt like there was a church service going in in Canton given some of the speeches.

The one that really resonated with me with Brian Dawkins.  Dawkins was a defensive back who played mainly for the Philadelphia Eagles (also some time with the Denver Broncos).  His speech got into not just his career but more importantly his faith in Christ as well as the pain and struggles that he dealt with including dealing with depression.

What really stuck with me was when he said the following:

“See there’s a purpose for my pain.  There’s a purpose for my pain.”

Those words stuck with me.  They stuck with me when I immediately heard it.  And they have stuck with me these several days later.  These last five years or so I’ve dealt with pain.  Emotional pain, mental pain, spiritual pain.  It has been a season of my life that has been a tremendous struggle.  There have been more rough days than calm days in these last five years or so.

And so when I heard Dawkins’ speech and he was mentioning those words, they resonated with me.  I need to be reminded that there is a purpose for it.  I may not fully understand the reason for this pain, ultimately the purpose is for me to get closer to Jesus and to point people to Him.  If there’s anyone that knows purpose in pain, it’s Jesus.

If you have not seen his speech, take some time and watch.  It is worth it:

MoviePass Adventures: Month 6

I’m into my 6th month of MoviePass and should get more interesting given it’s starting to get into a more film heavy season.  Here’s what I saw in this month:

1.) Tomb Raider

Based on the popular video game franchise, Tomb Raider tells the origin story of sorts of Lara Croft, adventurer who is seeking the truth about the whereabouts of her father while having to deal with the mysterious organization Trinity.  I thought it was better than the Angelina Joile versions.  As a whole I thought it was a decent film.  The villain was not as good as he could’ve been and thought that kinda dragged the film down.  Otherwise I liked the film.

2.) Pacific Rim: Uprising

The sequel to the 2013 film, this film takes place 10 years later after the end of the Kaiju war.  Jake Pentecost (son of the character that Idris Elba played in the original) and a new group of cadets and pilots have to stop a new kaiju threat.  As a standalone film, I really enjoyed it.  As a sequel to the first film it fell flat in a few spots.  The main one being it never addressed what happened to the main character Raleigh.  But as a whole I really enjoyed it.

3.) Midnight Sun

A remake of a 2006 Japanese film, Midnight Sun tells the story of Katie Price, a girl with a rare disease that prevents her from ever being out in sunlight.  She falls in love with the boy down the street, who doesn’t even know she exists.  A chance meeting one night a train station leads to both of them meeting and falling in love.  I liked the film.  I really enjoyed the cast especially Rob Riggle was great as Katie’s dad.  It is kinda a sad film so be prepared for that.

4.) Paul Apostle of Christ

The film is based on the life of Paul of Tarsus, who helped spread the gospel of Christ to Asia Minor and into Europe.  The main focus of the film is the later years of Paul’s life, during his second imprisonment in Rome just before his death.  There are a few flashbacks but for the most part sticks to these later years that aren’t really covered in the Bible.  Overall, it’s a pretty decent film.  I liked it and was for the most part faithful to how scripture portrays Paul.

5.) Ready Player One

The film, based on the novel of the same name, takes place in Columbus, Ohio in 2045.  A tech genius created a virtual world called the Oasis and left keys within it that if collected would unlock a secret Easter egg & control of that entire virtual world.  Wade Watts is among those seeking those keys and at the same times keep control of the Oasis away from those who want it only for greed.  I really enjoyed the film.  It’s a lot of fun and a lot of 80s/90s references abound.

6.) The Miracle Season

The film, based on the true story of the 2011 West High School Girls’ Volleyball team, tells the story of the Women of Troy and their run to the state championship after losing their star player Caroline “Line” Found to a tragic accident at the beginning of the year.  The team must overcome the tragedy and go ona miracle run to qualify for state and try to defend their state championship.  They have a great cast that includes Helen Hunt and William Hurt and it’s a compelling film.  I would add it to my list of favorite sports films of all time.

7.) The Miracle Season (second viewing)

8.) Rampage

Based on the video game, Rampage deals with some evil corporate scientists, the military and The Rock.  It’s a pretty fun escape film.  It’s the kind of film you just go and have 2 hours or so of escape.  I had a fun time with it.

9.) Sgt. Stubby:  An American Hero

Based on a true story, this animated film tells the story of a stray dog named Stubby who is adopted by an American regimen and goes off to World War I and helps save lives of American and French troops.  He was even awarded the rank of sergeant and is the highest decorated war dog in American history.  The animation was pretty cool and the overall it’s a very entertaining and underrated film.  Definitely worth checking out

Total films seen overall with MoviePass: 37

(Number of unique films seen overall:  35)