I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and it Gave Me Herpes

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broken-heartFor those of you too young to remember, back in 1997, there was something call a “courting movement” in the Evangelical Christian world. This was kicked off, more or less, by the release of a book called I Kissed Dating Goodbye, by one Joshua Harris. The gist of the book was that dating is bad because it can lead to premarital shenanigans, so as Christians we need to practice something called “courting”, which is totally not dating, but promotes wholesome relationships that will maybe one day lead to marriage. But, it’s not dating. Never could figure out the big difference, there. But, this lead to oodles and oodles of youth group kids suddenly jumping on the courting bandwagon, swearing that doing this would keep them from ultimately getting their hearts broken in the process.

I’m not writing this to give my thoughts on the whole Courting Vs. Dating debate. What I am going to attempt to explain is that, no matter how noble and pure your relationship is with whoever you’re dating/courting/giving your heart out to, you run the risk of having your heart broken.

You don’t have to have sex with someone to form a very strong bond. You don’t have to engage in physical pleasures to connect so closely to another person that, when the relationship ends, it can shatter the heart so badly that it feels like a significant part of yourself has been torn away, and you feel like Anakin Skywalker lying by the lava, his limbs sliced off and most of his skin burned away from the spontaneous combustion for being so close to molten lava.

I know this all too personally. I was engaged to the woman I was certain was to be my wife. During the time we were first dating, then engaged, we never engaged in anything more than a couple of smooches and hugging each other hello, goodbye, and just to say “I love you”. We were always fully clothed around each other, and I even went so far as putting a 9pm cut-off time of our nights together, just so there wasn’t any temptation presented. Mind you, I had a bit of an hour’s drive, otherwise I would have settled with 10pm, but that’s besides the point. There was no misbehavin’. We held hands, we put our arms around each other while watching movies or at church. That was the extent of our physical engagement. But, because we both prayed together, worshiped together, talked openly and honestly with each other, there was a bond that formed there on both the spiritual and mental levels that was solid and strong; and when it ended, my heart was shattered into a million pieces because of this. My motives were pure, we did everything right–you might say, “by the Book”–and yet I was still not spared the pain that I’m still recovering from a year after the fact.

Look, I’m not trying to say that you should give up trying to have integrity and have sex before it’s time; neither am I telling you that you should give up on any relationships that lead to something more than friendship. What I’m trying to put forth here, is that whether you’ve kissed dating goodbye, or have given dating a chance, understand that there is no perfect formula to emerge out of any outcome unscathed. The idea of the chance of your heart being broken is a scary one to face, I know. At this moment, I can’t really see myself in any kind of relationship beyond coffee time. But, rather than trying to find a way to keep your heart from being broken, sometimes I wonder if getting your heart broken isn’t a good thing. Sometimes you have to burn the forest to make it grow stronger.

Mind you, again I’m not advocating premarital sex; I’m all about the abstinence, and waiting for the wedding night to pretend to know what you’re doing. But, you don’t have to be sexually active to be vulnerable with someone.

All it takes, really, is to choose to love someone. No matter the outcome.

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25 Signs You Listened To Christian Music Growing Up

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From the Blimey Cow You Tube channel (if you haven’t checked them out, you really should):

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Movie Review: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014)

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014 movie posterParamount
2014
PG-13

Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles must work with their fearless reporter April O’Neil and her cameraman Vern Fenwick to save the city and unravel Shredder’s diabolical plan.

This was a movie I was looking forward to never watching, ever. It was the principle of the whole thing: Executive Producer Michael Bay–effectively this generation’s Ronald Emerich–when talking about this particular reboot of the beloved 80s pop culture icons, essentially boasted that “you may hate it, but you’ll go see it anyway.” That was the general gist of it. So, I decided then and there that I wasn’t going to watch this latest kick in the childhood, even for free. Ever. Screw you, Bay, this is $10 you’ll never see added to the several millions of dollars this movie has made you thus far! Feel the fluoride sting of my protest! GOONGALA!

Aaaaaaaand that lasted about a week before my 16-year-old nephew wanted to participate in some end-of-summer-break “bonding time”. Of course, this was the movie he wanted to see. Under protest, I agreed. I still didn’t have to pay for the movie (and no, I didn’t make the nephew pay for it all), and it was one of those posh movie theaters that had recliner seats. And retractable snack trays. And where the ushers come over to take your snack item orders. Listen, I went in not wanting to like this movie whatsoever, but the environment we were going to watch this in was not making this easy. It’s hard to brood in a Laz-E-Boy while college-aged employees bring you Milk Duds and popcorn, knowing you didn’t have to spend a dime for any of this. I still was daring the movie to entertain me, though.

First of all, I want to point out that I realize that Michael Bay was the Executive Producer on this movie, and not the director. I still hold him responsible, though. Now, with that aside, what did I think of the movie?

Well…it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. And considering the original idea for this movie–where they were space aliens and not turtles (nerd rage rising, RISING)–that’s saying a lot. Still, this is very much Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; which means it’s a big, dub and serviceable action flick that’s just interesting enough where you can almost look past the glaringly obvious fact that the script was written by a room full of dude-bros. Beyond the obvious utilization of on-screen eye candy non-actor Megan Fox as April O’Neal, just the designs of the Turtles themselves makes me morbidly curious as to the thought process behind the writers of this thing: “Hey, Donatello is a smart inventor genius type? Let’s give him a pair of thick-lensed nerd glasses and an awkward Poindexter type mannerisms! Raphael is a hothead, so…gruff, brooding and always talking like Batman! Michelangelo is so totally a stoner dude! Conch shell neclace, hoverboard and creepy surfer persona! Shredder needs a big honkin’ Mecha battlesuit! And can we try and shoehorn Will Arnett in there, somewhere? I totes loved him in Arrested Development, brah.”

Sorry. I’m afraid my sarcasm ran away with me, there. What I’m trying to say is they decided it was easier to go for exaggerated stereotypes rather than actual character development.

Mind you, I understand that this is a movie about human-sized mutated turtles that learned martial arts from an equally human-sized mutated rat and fight crime as ninjas on the streets of New York. And that it’s based on a comic book. That still doesn’t mean that you can half-arse it. One of the first things you hear the turtles say when April first runs into them on a rooftop was “I feel my shell tightening.” Yeah. Classy, there. And speaking of April…gads. She had to be the actress? We couldn’t find anyone competent? Someone less vapid eye candy, someone more…I don’t know, better?

Look, I’m going to try and wrap this up before it becomes yet another in a long line of whiny rants from a 40-something pseudo-journalist critic. The bottom line is, this reboot of a long running franchise that started life as a satire of violent comic books of the time to begin with…isn’t that bad. Yes, it’s a really slick, effects-laden action wank-fest big on ‘splosions and whatnot, with some canon tweaks that made me go “wha?” a few times, and a rather thin script as far as character development is concerned. But then, let’s realize what it’s supposed to be, here: a summer blockbuster popcorn movie that’s big on effects and ‘splosions while thin on plot and character development. Not the best Turtles movie, but then again, it’s not Turtles In Time either. It hovers somewhere between TMNT and that third live-action atrocity, methinks.

And hey, at least Bay managed to take enough Ritalin to realize that the whole “Turtles are Space Aliens” idea was probably not a good one.

Sex and Purity (Some Thoughts On A Sticky Subject)

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purity-ringThis week, the notion lighted upon me to talk about sex and relationships, as I see it from my twisted viewpoint of a Christian freak. I mean, that is the name I gave the blog, right? Sex and relationships are such complex subjects in and of themselves, even more so when we’re homing in from a Christian world view, that I felt there was no one better to talk about it than a 40-something pseudo-journalist with two failed engagements under his belt. Lesser qualified people have thrown in their two cents on the matter, so why not?

The first topic in this line of thinking, which I was (for some strange reason) mentally chewing on the way back from work, was the so-called “Purity Movement” that was (probably still is) big in the Evangelical community. Keep yourself pure for marriage, it says. Sign right here to make a promise to not lose your purity until your wedding night, when you can then engage in whatever it is that married couples do on their wedding night, I really wouldn’t know. Backgammon, I think?

The notion to remain pure until marriage is a fallacy, not because I somehow believe that it’s impossible to save yourself until marriage. Far from it. No, the reason why I think that phrase is a bit misleading is due to the fact that purity as we know it doesn’t exist. It goes back to everyone having fallen short of the glory of God, meaning that we begin life with a very shoddy notion of “purity” to begin with. Our idea of purity and maintaining it differs greatly than what God’s idea of purity is.

What we all tend to forget is that purity is not something that we have and can lose at the drop of the pants (see what I did there?). Instead, to those of us who have placed our trust and faith in Christ Jesus, purity is something that we never really had to begin with, but was then given to us freely because of Christ’s righteousness. Our own purity is referred to in the Bible as “filthy rags”, something that God finds unacceptable due to His Holiness. But the moment that you put your trust and faith in what His Son Jesus did in our place on the cross, Jesus’ holiness, His righteousness and purity are given to us in place of our filthy rags. We now are acceptable to God, because we have Jesus’ purity covering us, and not our self-righteousness.

This means that purity–this righteousness–that was given to us freely, cannot be taken away by us. It is the Giver that has given it, and the Giver that can take away. But, He has made a promise that nothing–not what other humans, angels or otherwise will do to you–will take away that gift He has given to you.

Bottom line: Having sex before marriage is not what makes you impure. Having sex, period, is not what makes you impure, if you really want to get to the point. Sex itself is a beautiful gift that God has created for us, and it should be respected and revered within the bonds of marriage. But, remember this: whether you’ve waited for your wedding night to have sex, or have a bit more, shall we say, lenient viewpoint on sex, none of that matters in the long run, so long as you’re not trusting in Jesus as your source of purity.

That’s it for this time. If you have any questions, comments and rebukes, fill ’em in on the comments down below, there. Until next time, cheers, my wonderful freaks…

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Movie Review: SURVIVING THE GAME

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Surviving The Game movie posterNew Line Cinema
1994
R

You are missing the best part, Mister Mason. When you’re eating the flesh of the pig…look into his beady eyes. That way you will be devouring his soul.”

Ice-T is Mason, a homeless man recruited by a band of wealthy hunters to lead an expedition into the Pacific Northwest. But on the first day of the hunt, he discovers a lethal surprise…he’s the prey. It’s gut-wrenching action from start to finish as the game begins and the hunters learn a deadly lesson: Never underestimate a man who’s got nothing to lose.

I remember, somewhat vaguely, watching this particular take on the classic tale “The Most Dangerous Game” in its initial theatrical run back in 1994. I can’t really recall why I decided to watch this particular one. I’m not really that big of a fan of Ice-T, who was still early on flexing his acting skizzels, and the only other actor that I recognized by name on the roster was Gary Busey. It wasn’t until much later when I came to notice the existence of Rutger Hauer as an actor, so at this point I only recognized the Rapper and the Guy Who Was In Point Break. Doesn’t matter much, as my biggest impression I got as I was taking in this afternoon flick was, “oooooh, another Most Dangerous Game adaptation.” Yeah, there are plenty of those floating around. I wonder sometimes if Richard Connell knew what kind of a trope he was unleashing back in 1924. But, I digress.

In Surviving The Game, Ice-T plays Ice-T playing a homeless man who is having a particularly bad day, losing both his human and canine best friends in the course of the morning. He’s about to end it all himself, until someone points him in the direction of a businessman, who then offers him a gig to lead a hunting party in the Pacific Northwest the next day. Did I mention this takes place in Seattle? I should have pointed that out first. Or at least taken the time to edit this out. But I didn’t. Eh, whatever. He flies out, meets the party of hunters–mostly wealthy types who payed a big price to be on this hunting expedition–and then finds out the morning of the hunt that it is he, the homeless man, who is being hunted! Shock, surprise, I didn’t see that one coming in a million years. Turns out, these guys have been doing this kind of thing for a while. Only, this time they didn’t realize they were dealing with the Original Gangsta himself. And thus, Ice-T takes them out methodically, leaving only him and the Replicant of the group standing at the end…until the very last frame, when the Replicant blows up. And if you’re scratching your head at that last part, go watch Blade Runner. You’ll be watching a better movie, trust me.

Yeah, I’m not really all that impressed with Surviving The Game. It’s your generic mid-1990s action flick that takes a familiar premise, injects a then still-relevant rapper into the mix, and bakes it to its logical conclusion. It’s neither bad nor great, just kinda “meh”. It’s watchable, yes, and I understand there’s a bit of a cult following since this one made it to VHS and later DVD rentals. For me, I probably won’t go out of my way to rent and watch Surviving The Game another time, but if it’s a slow weekend afternoon and it’s the only thing on the telly, then I’m not complaining either.

Movie Review: SPECIAL DEAD

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Special Dead DVD CoverLazy Ghost Films
2006
NR

“Ya ever ride a zombie horse, boy? I have, and it ain’t no fun.”

When a zombie plague infects Camp Special Dude, a dude ranch for the mentally handicapped, a ragtag band of campers and counselors struggles to survive the night. Led by the indifferent, nunchuck-wielding head counselor, Mae Stone, and his wheelchair-bound sister Dale, the unlikely heroes fight their way off the mountain as, one by one, they’re picked off and join the ranks of the walking dead. It’s a campy stampede of blood, boobs and gore as some “very special” people show that they can kick some serious undead ass.

You know, I may not be going to Hell when I die, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll be receiving some pretty stern looks when this thing comes up in my Afterlife Performance Review. Special Dead is just…wrong. On so many levels. Never mind the fact this this is another in a glut of shoddily made no-budget horror movies. I’ve seen plenty of those, and I’m sure I’ll be seeing plenty more in the future, on account of I hate myself. No, this one not only hits all of the halmarks–the bad makeup jobs, the horrible acting, the cheesecloth-thin story, the gratuitous exploitation–but the biggest thing that I’m pretty sure gets massive frowny points is the mentally handicapped angle. It’s more of an uncomfortable because bad actors are pretending to be mentally handicapped than anything else. So, basically, you have your standard pain from watching a bad no-budget zombie flick, but then as an added bonus you throw in an angle that even Lloyd Kaufman would think was crossing the line.

So basically, I just took a bullet of shame for everyone by watching this, so you don’t have to. Pass this one up. Just by the title alone, you should know this, but just in case you need some reinforcement of the notion, here it is. Pass.

Top 10 Signs Your Amish Teenager Is In Trouble

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10. Sometimes stays in bed until after 5 a.m.

9. In his sock drawer, you find pictures of women without bonnets

8. Shows up at barn raisings in full KISS makeup

7. When you criticize him, he yells “Thou sucketh!”

6. His name is Jebediah, but he goes by “Jeb Daddy”

5. Defiantly says, “If I had a radio, I’d listen to rap.”

4. You come upon his secret stash of colored socks

3. He uses the expression “Talk to the hand, ’cause the beard ain’t listening.”

2. Was recently pulled over for driving under the influence of cottage cheese

1. He’s wearing his big black hat backwards

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