I haven't written about spirituality or religion much lately. That's gonna change -- prepare yourselves! :) Here's a look at some things I'll be posting here over the next couple of weeks. The rest of this post will be lists of my favorite Christmas songs and movies.
1. The Golden Compass -- my take (I've actually read, and loved, the whole series that's now causing such a stir in the Christian community)
2. Ephesians 4 -- anger, and how English bible translations sometimes miss the boat
3. 2 Peter 1 -- character-building as systemic improvement, and Eastern vs. Western modes of thought
4. Rich man and Lazarus -- possible alternative meanings of the story often used as proof of hell
5. Hell -- an overview of four totally different Christian perspectives, each with biblical support
6. True North -- a proposed metaphor for world religions and the search for peace
My style in all the above articles will be my usual introspective stuff. I'm no good at hardcore theological treatises -- they always come off as defensive and bitter when I try to write them. So I'll just give my own opinion, and my own story, on each of the above topics and maybe we can grow closer as you find your own way to connect to it.
Favorite Christmas Songs
Not very many of the "classics" here:
1. O Holy Night by David Phelps (posted here by my sister-in-law) -- an incredible live performance of a great song. We have it on CD and on DVD and even my kids love it.
2. Joy to the World by Steve Morse (guitar instrumental on this CD) -- amazingly written and layered, this guitarist creates several new riffs that are still recognizable as the melody of the old song
3. The Chipmunk Song -- my brother and I listened to this record every Christmas at our grandparents' house. Listening to it today still brings back good memories:
4. Here Comes Santa Claus by Elvis Presley -- what a fun version
5. All I want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey -- go ahead, make fun of me. I can take it. I like the song.
6. Mele Kalikimaka by Bing Crosby -- fun song, and one of Samantha's favorites for three straight holiday seasons. Also appears in one of my favorite movies in the next list below.
Favorite Christmas Movies
1. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation -- undeniably genius.
2. Home Alone -- hilarious and original, it came out right before my teen years when I was old enough to know more about Christmas, but young enough to still enjoy the purity of magic unique to this time of year.
3. Scrooged -- are you sensing a comedic theme here?
4. Ghostbusters II -- perhaps not a great movie, but it brings back great memories. I watched this on video as a teenager at our house, with all four of my grandparents there along with my parents and brother. It was Christmas Eve. I laid on the floor in front of the TV (my favorite spot) and it was just the eight of us enjoying each other's company. A great moment for me, and seeing bits of the movie always take me back there.
5. A Christmas Story -- excellent picture of a generation before my time, with themes and scenes that transcend any generational gap.
6. Ernest Saves Christmas -- silly fun.
7. Die Hard -- sometimes guys just need to see stuff get blowed up real good.