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The Pastor Draft

What if churches chose pastors coming out of seminary the way the NFL draft works?


Announcer Guy: First Church from Somewhereville, California is on the clock now with their first round pick.

1st Analyst Guy: Somewhereville has two big needs in the off season. Easter really exposed some of those holes, too. They need a solid Bible exposition preacher, that is their obvious need but up from they are weak so the best pick would be a great discipleship pastor who can develop some solid formations.

2nd Analyst Guy: Thats Right. Everybody thinks they will go for a preacher, but I expect them to take Stan Standard from Asbury as a spiritual formations leader. He’s a solid three tool guy–Firm handling of curriculum, excellent people skills, and that degree plan of his includes Biblical languages, so he is no slouch in the study.

1st Analyst Guy: The problem with Stanley is Somewhereville needs to come in under their salary cap, and Stanley will have a big price tag. There is some speculation they may trade down.

Announcer Guy: The Deacon is coming to the podium.

Deacon: First Church Somewhereville has traded their pick to Mosaic Missionary of Downtown Elsewhere for two picks in the second round.

1st Analyst Guy: That is a great decision. Now they can get both of their holes filled, but for a cheaper price tag. Looks like they will talk Tommy Talks-A Lot out of Truett Seminary in Waco for their Bible peaching needs. He has two great tools–evangelism is one, but his secret weapon is the funeral service. No one does a funeral like Tommy. With the savings under the salary cap they can probably get someone like Sandy Small Group out of Fuller. Her Methodist background will really come in handy for all the relational small talk she’ll need to make.

2nd Analyst Guy: Doesn’t Sandy also have a certificate in baking from the Paul Dean School of Sugar Overload?

Announcer Guy: Sandy graduated first in class at the Paula Dean Academy. It was one of her summer pick up annexes last year. A lot of people advised her it was a waste of time, but she knew she’d need to up her stock to make it to the big leagues.

2nd Analyst Guy: She’s gonna nail the potluck and coffee klatch at First Somewhereville. This is such great pick for them. Give it a couple of years, and they will be in contention for solid mega-church numbers during Christmas and Easter.

1st Analyst Guy: You can bet there is a building campaign in that church’s future.


 

Of course, this system would be okay with me if there were a nice signing bonus and guaranteed contracts.

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Endgame–Five Things I Didn’t Like (Spoilers)

Be warned–This post has spoilers. Not many, and Greenbean isn’t trying to spoil things for anyone, but the movie made $1.2 billion, so chances are good you’ve already seen it.

Before I start, let me say I enjoyed the movie and found it satisfying for the most part. Big franchises are hard to wrap up, so I appreciate the struggle they had. Nevertheless, there are five things (at least) that irritated me, and I’m not including the bloated runtime, either. Good editing could have shaved 30 minutes off of the movie, and we’d had a better movie.

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  1. I didn’t like the earth-as-wasteland motif after five years. I don’t want to be too literal about a comic book movie, but there are about 7.5 to 8 billion people on the planet right now. When Thanos snapped his fingers, as I understand it, half of them turned to dust. That would leave somewhere between 3.5-4 billion people behind, which is almost exactly how many people were on earth WHEN I WAS BORN in 1971. Plenty of people would be left to fill the apparently vacated neighborhoods of San Francisco or to keep the derelict boats from running aground in New York City. Don’t get me wrong, it would be sad and it would be bad, but the earth would still feel pretty well inhabited.
  2. I didn’t like what they did to Thanos. In Infinity War we had the perfect design of a bad guy–one who is really evil but who thinks he is doing right. In this film, though, he is just the bad guy, reduced to petty bad-guyness and petty bad guy idioms. Something was lost in the writing for his character. I get it, I know why it was hard but watching the movie you could tell the writers didn’t know what to do with Thanos after the snap, and they really never did decide anything other than he’d have to fight a final battle and lose.
  3. I didn’t like the cursing. More than any other Avengers-era film this movie not only had harsher curse words, but more of them and used them as plot devices. Captain America doesn’t say these kinds of things, and I don’t think it’s funny when children say dirty words. You’re better than this Disney Marvel. Don’t be X-Men.
  4. Captain Marvel displayed the problem with Captain Marvel. She is too powerful, and they used her twice as a deus-ex-machina to solve an unsolvable problem. She is the only one in the franchise now to carry the banner, and it seems like they missed an opportunity for some development. Imagine her working with The Black Widow to do something—how cool would that have been, or maybe a great argument between her and Tony Stark. They missed an opportunity.
  5. The last thing I didn’t like was the absence of any bone–not a single good feeling or acknowledgment–to those of us who watched every episode of Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ¬†All those characters from the movies found a way in, but would it have killed Marvel to show a cameo of Agent Melinda May or Skye (or Daisy, Or Quake, Or whatever her name is today)? A reference to Fitz working on the time travel aspects in the Avengers would have been so appropriate. But nooooo!

This was my list. I talked to another expert on the Avengers, my youngest sprout. She wasn’t happy about Thor’s final situation–he’s lost everything, his girlfriend, his home, his parents, his brothers, and his body! She also felt the production felt rushed and that some of the costuming/hair choices weren’t brilliant.

Keep in mind, though, this film made $1.2 billion in the opening weekend alone, so, they probably know what they are doing. Although, if they need ideas going forward, Disney should feel free to hit me up.

 

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Tacos and Jesus

I don’t know whether I should file this one under food, preaching, or Bible? Probably it is a little of all.

Let’s start with tacos. There are few things in this world better than a taco. When I say taco most people think about the crunchy things you get at Taco Bell. That hardly qualifies, but it does indeed qualify. I prefer soft tacos–flour for most of mine but if it is a fish taco I prefer a corn tortilla. I also love breakfast tacos made with sausage, bacon, chorizo, or egg and potato. It’s all delicious.

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Most food can be described as a taco. This is really true of what we label as Mexican food. An enchilada is a soggy taco. A chalupa is a flat taco. Quesadillas are panini tacos. Nachos are de-constructed tacos. Chimichangas are deep fried tacos.

And for the record, there is no such things as a burrito. A burrito is just a pretentious taco.

But so many other foods are really tacos too. A sandwich is a taco with puffy bread. Think about it, Subway sells things called ‘wraps’ to substitute the fluffy bread, and a wrap is just a taco with different filler. The same is true of a burger–just a taco without the spices, but still a taco.

A hot dog is really a taco, too.

A gyro is a Greek taco.

A calzone is an Italian taco.

An egg roll is an Asian taco.

A kolache is a Czech taco.

I mean, if you get right down to it, a Twinkie is a Mid-Century American taco.

Eventually this gets me to Jesus. Jesus made seven of the apostles fish tacos for breakfast after his resurrection.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “bring some of the fish that you have caught . . . Come and have breakfast.” John 21:9-10, 12a

Tacos are resurrection food! I wonder if Thomas brought along some guacamole or queso? I doubt it.

Tacos are the universal food. One way or another people from just about every culture can relate to a piece of bread wrapped around something. Jesus offers this universal food to his apostles as he leads them to consider the universal neediness we all have to dine with him.

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The Highwaymen: A Review

Mrs. Greenbean was gone this weekend, so I was left home unsupervised and in complete control of the remote control.

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I watched the new Netflix movie The Highwaymen starring Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson, and Kathy Bates. The movie was enjoyable for me on so many levels. Let’s start with viewpoint. This is the first I’ve ever seen, and perhaps only film about Bonnie and Clyde that is told from the law’s perspective. It tells it the way it was, cold blooded criminals who were as violent and mean as any terrorist today. I appreciated that view of things.

A second enjoyable part was the view of Texas in the 1930s. My home state has changed a lot, and this was a look at the Texas my father grew up in. I don’t know where they actually filmed the movie, but the drive to Lubbock from Austin looked pretty realistic to me, as did The North Texas plains.

The third enjoyable aspect was the acting of Costner and Harrelson. I was suspicious going in, but they were perfect. There were a couple of shots of Costner that reminded me of what my father looked like when he was in his 60s–a rugged and strong man who has gained a few pounds but refuses to buy a larger shirt, and thinks he can do what he used to. In fact, the best scene is where he tries to shoot bottles flung into the air, and this is when he realizes he is an old man. Harrelson has the best lines, though. Of particular interest is his reaction to wiretap and how he doesn’t really know what it is, but he uses it several times, and each time not quite in the correct way. Reminded me of George Bush saying interwebs. Bates was good as Ma Ferguson, but I think this is one area where the screenplay may have taken liberties. My reading of history (and I could be wrong here) is she was a proxy for her husband, Jim.

There are some drawbacks in the film. The language can be a little harsh, and I doubt that was historically accurate. The movie also dragged on a bit. Solid editing could have trimmed ten or fifteen minutes. There is some gore, but, in the opinion of this historian, the gore is important here, for what we are dealing with are murderers and the Texas Rangers who caught and killed them. One more flaw, and it goes back to wiretaps. Portraying Texas Rangers as technology averse or ignorant is not accurate. In fact, my understanding is the Rangers were always ready to employ new technology to get the job done.

And now for analysis. One of the themes of the movie is the historically accurate perspective that the masses of people loved Bonnie and Clyde. This is true. A careful viewer will pick up on why–America was in the midst of terrible economic problems, and the bankers and lawmen who protect them were viewed as the enemy. Make no mistake, Bonnie and Clyde were awful human beings. However, to people living in migrant squatter camps, living from day to day, and starving to death bank robbers and cop killers can look like heroes. It also shows us that tension between under-represented communities and police officers is not a new phenomenon.