Freely given

Am I the only one that starts to pray for something and then stops to mentally weigh my good actions versus sins over the last week or so? Why do we do that? I know in my heart that God’s love is freely given. Whether he answers my particular requests or not is based on what is best for me. And yet I still, to this day, keep a mental tally in the back of my head as though it will somehow influence the outcome of my prayers.

When will I finally understand that even my “good deeds” are nothing to a completely Holy God? Even those deeds would not have happened if he hadn’t willed them to and helped my sinful soul do something right. So even those good actions are credited to him and do not speak of my own worth.

This is a problem for me even after so many years of knowing God. I hope one day this knowledge will make its way from by brain into my soul so I will really live in the fact that God’s grace and mercy are freely given. Freely given means it can’t be bought. But I still try.

The end of the world and baseball in Heaven

By now, most people have heard that the world is going to end on Saturday. The Bible guarantees it! Or so this guy* would have us believe.

My thoughts? Meh. If it ends, I’m quite comfortable with the state of my soul. The things that are bothering me today would no longer bother me, which would be a nice change of pace. My aging body would be replaced by a perfect eternal one. Having a body that doesn’t huff and puff after chasing one fly ball, I would finally be fit enough to play as a starter in Heaven’s pro baseball league. Not getting to see the Captain America movie I’ve dreamed of since childhood is a bit of a bummer, but I figure Heaven would make up for that as well. The prospect of seeing Heaven on Saturday without that bothersome death part would be very cool, but I’m not exactly holding my breath.

If it doesn’t end, well, I’m happy with the current state of life and I’ll enjoy living it out for the foreseeable future. I suspect the fruits of this particular ministry will dwindle a bit without the threat of imminent destruction hovering over new converts. I’m honestly curious where you go from there. You’re terrified of the end of the world, so you do whatever is being taught to accept Christ. Then the world doesn’t end as expected. Is that connection that was created strong enough to sustain a relationship? I’d hope so, but our society has lulled us into forgetting everything about fifteen minutes after it happens, so I guess we’ll see. I really don’t know what they are teaching beyond the end of the world bit.

I just hope they paid for those billboards up front.

*It seems he also predicted the end of the world in 1994. An 0-1 average isn’t good but you have to give him credit for getting back up on that particular horse so quickly. You’d think this would be a one-strike-and-you’re-out situation. I guess not.

3D needs to go the way of the dodo

I’ve about had it with this resurgence of 3D movies.

Have I actually watched a 3D movie at the theater?

Well, no, and yet it manages to annoy me all the same. This last weekend’s release, Thor, is a prime example. First of all, about half the showings of the film were in 3D. I’m taking at least four people. That would be an extra $20 to experience the joy of the third dimension which, if all the reviews I read are to be believed, added little to the film. This means it severely limited the times available for us to go see the movie. That led to us seeing it later in the week rather than opening weekend. Not a big deal, I know, but in a world where opening weekend grosses make or break a film, I’m sure they would have rather had my cash on Saturday instead of Wednesday.

The real reason for my deep hatred of the format, however, is how much it stinks up a traditional showing of the film. Thor was originally shot for 3D, and it shows. Multiple times, while thoroughly enjoying the film, I was ripped out of it when a shot would come up that was so obviously made for 3D but doesn’t work as well in 2D. “This is a really cool sequence,” I’m thinking to myself, “Oh, wait, look at that crappy shot there. I bet if I were wearing those vaunted 3D glasses that fake looking guy falling through the air would feel like he was going to land on me.”

3D is expensive, doesn’t seem to add a lot to most films* and looks really bad when viewed traditionally. 3D needs to go the way of the dodo.

*I suppose I should add a disclaimer excluding James Cameron from this blanket statement. Judging by the number of people that lost their minds over Avatar**, he did something right with 3D.

**I am not one of said people who lost their minds over Avatar. I gave it a review of “meh,” and continue to wonder why people go nuts over it.