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Personal Posts

“I Heart You” Day

My wife and I aren’t romantic types. I’m not sure if I’m just bad at the planning and execution or if it’s not all that important to her.  Nevertheless, I do put forth a futile effort from time to time.

Years ago, it all started a couple of weeks before that, she asked for a new printer. Teasingly, I suggested it could be a Valentines’ Day present. She readily agreed—seriously, she did—with the stipulation that it includes spare ink cartridges. So, a plan begins to emerge—a good plan!

Step 1: I ordered the printer and hooked it up the last week; it was an arduous task, but that’s a story for a different time.

Step 2: Then I presented her with a box of her favorite chocolates-Trinidads from Fannie May. Unfortunately, she still had some left from her birthday; maybe she didn’t like them all that well after all.

Step 3: And then, I made a special dinner—chicken stir-fry with sweet and sour sauce. (I wonder, if I always make dinner on Thursdays, do I get bonus points for Valentines Day if I was going to make it anyway?)

My plan was for a candlelight dinner, but it wasn’t really dark enough for candles and she opted for the more convenient invention, called electric lights. The meal was topped off with Valentine’s cupcakes that she made that morning.

Step 4: Waiting at her plate was her ink cartridges. She was pleased—at least I think so. Or perhaps she was just amused.

Step 5: To conclude the evening we went and saw the romantic comedy, “PS I Love You.”  I’m okay with chick flicks, but I’ll only give it three stars (out of five). I think my wife was less impressed.

It's the effort that counts. Happy Valentines! Click To Tweet

So, wrapping up. I think it was a good Valentine’s Day—I think.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Personal Posts

Black and White in a Technicolor World

I dream in black and white. I’ve always assumed this was because I grew up watching black and white TV. Occasionally my black and white dream contains one item in color—a more recent cinematic effect that my dreaming has likely emulated. 

A couple of times an entire dream scene is blasted with vibrant, blinding color. It comes as such a surprise that I instantly wake-up.

Since I dream in black and white and grew up watching television in black and white, it shouldn’t be surprising that I enjoy black and white movies. 

(And for the record, I’m not a purest and I don’t object to the colorization of black and white films. A good movie is a good movie, regardless.)

In selecting older movies, I first consider those that are heralded as classics. I also give consideration to the classic films that Netflix suggests, based on my ratings that I’ve given to other films. A third reason why I will opt to partake in cinematic nostalgia is the people associated with a picture.

Since I dream in black and white and grew up watching television in black and white, it shouldn't be surprising that I enjoy black and white movies.  Click To Tweet

As far as directors, I opt for Alfred Hitchcock: North by Northwest, Vertigo, To Catch a Thief, and Rear Window are particular favorites.  Not surprisingly, the main actors in these films also capture my attention. For the males, it is Jimmy Stewart and Carey Grant.

On the female side, it is Grace Kelly, along with Myrna Loy, Barbara Stanwyck, and Audrey Hepburn.  Often I gravitate to anything that includes one of these four ladies.

Several years ago, I was again watching “To Catch a Thief” (a triple bonus: directed by Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly). There is a scene with Grace Kelly wearing a stunning white gown and adorned by a sparkling array of diamonds encircling her neck. 

Just then, my son walked into the room.  “What are you watching?” he inquired. I provided more information about this classic tale than he wanted to hear or needed to know. 

I then gushed about Grace Kelly and concluded by saying, “Isn’t she incredible?”

He stood silently for several moments, shook his head, and said, “I just don’t get it.”

How could he get a black and white movie? He probably dreams in color.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Personal Posts

Seeing Life Like a Child

Lessons From a Kid’s Matinée

I’m a bit of a movie buff and most any genre will do. I still remember when my wife and I went to our local theater to watch the children’s movie, The Smurfs 2. It was a matinée no less; we were by far the oldest people there.

I enjoyed the sequel, perhaps even more so than the first one. As a bonus, both stayed true to the original cartoon series, protecting the theme and characters, while smartly extending the storyline. Overall The Smurfs 2 provided us with some charming entertainment.

As we grow older, we risk becoming jaded, cynical, and hard to impress. Click To Tweet

The movie, however, also had some over-the-top, slapstick scenes. The first time this happened, my wife and I snorted a bit and shook our heads with incredulity. “I can’t believe it,” she whispered. She groaned and rolled her eyes in disdain.

Had we been alone, I’d have surely done the same back to her, but before I could, the kid’s laugher overwhelmed me. Theirs wasn’t a pleasant chuckle or even a spontaneous giggle but a deep, unrestrained belly laugh that permeated the theater. Perhaps, it was the most hilarious thing they’d ever seen.

I couldn’t help myself. I laughed, too. Yes, the scene was stupid (by my standards), but the kids delighted in its excessive, exaggerated buffoonery. They we tended to hold back emotion and restrain ourselves, but I delighted in them.

Similar scenes followed. I laughed aloud. Not that it was funny, but I enjoyed it simply because they enjoyed it. Their laughter became my laughter; their glee produced my glee.

As we grow older, we risk becoming jaded, cynical, and hard to impress. We tend to hold back emotion and restrain ourselves. These kids reminded me just how foolish that is.

May that part of me never grow up. May I always delight in seeing life through the eyes of a child.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

The Book of Job

The Book of Job

A few weeks ago, I mused that the Song of Songs might be best understood as a screenplay of sorts. Reading and meditating on it as such gave me new insights and a deeper appreciation of this often-overlooked book.

It seems that the book of Job is not dissimilar in this regard. It, too, could have been an early version of today’s screenplay.

In the book of Job, there are eight characters:

  • Job, the protagonist
  • God, Job’s protector and overseer
  • Satan, Job’s antagonist
  • Job’s unsupportive wife, a bit part, albeit a painful one
  • Job’s three “friends:” Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, (with friends like these, who needs enemies?)
  • Job’s fourth friend, the initially quiet and then verbose, Elihu.

The book of Job opens with a prologue (chapters 1 and 2) that establishes the setting of the story and concludes with an epilogue (chapter 42) that provides for a satisfying ending. In betwixt is all dialogue between Job and his four increasingly critical friends.

Aside from a brief ending summation by Job in the epilogue, the last oration is from God. It is fitting that God has the final word—and that Job listens.

Discover more in Peter’s new book Dear Theophilus Job: 40 Insights About Moving from Despair to Deliverance. In it, we compare the text of Job to a modern screenplay.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Reviews of Books & Movies

Knight and Day

I recently watched the movie Knight and Day, starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.

Given that it looked like an over-the-top action flick, I had low expectations for it.

I was pleasantly surprised.

I thoroughly enjoyed Knight and Day. The subtle humor, often delivered with deadpan seriousness, delighted and amused me. I found myself laughing frequently throughout their wild and implausible romp. At times I laughed harder than for any movie I’ve seen in quite some time.

There is just one thing that perplexes me: I’m not sure if Knight and Day was supposed to be a comedy.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Reviews of Books & Movies

“Bandslam” Rocks

Netflix suggested that I would like the movie Bandslam; they were right.

Bandslam centers around a high school battle of the bands, offering credible musical performances in an interesting story line: misfit Will is recruited by popular Charlotte to “manage” her fledgling band. 

This is what he is uniquely skilled to do, quickly assembling an eclectic group of musicians to round out the sound and smooth their rough edges.  In the process he turns a wannabe rock group into a convincing and competitive act.

The movie stars Alyson Michalka (from the group Aly and AJ) as Charlotte Banks and Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) as Sa5m (“the five is silent”) in convincing performances.  Although Sa5m’s connection with Will is expected, Charlotte’s interest in him is perplexing. 

Additionally, Lisa Kudrow (Friends) plays Will’s mom in a small, but interesting supporting role; David Bowie makes a cameo appearance.

Notably, all the actors in this movie do their own singing; there is no lip-syncing or dubbing, allowing viewers to enjoy the performances without the typically constant reminder that the performance is staged. 

Of significance is the band’s impromptu cover of the 70’s mellow pop ballad “Everything I Own,” turning it into a memorable, upbeat rock/ska performance .

If you like good music, or simply enjoy an interesting plot with compelling characters, check out Bandslam.

As for me, I’ll check out the next movie Netflix recommends.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Reviews of Books & Movies

Movie Review: Race to Witch Mountain

Jack Bruno (Dwayne Johnson) is a Vegas cabbie who just wants to do his job and stay out of trouble, but when two teens flash a wad of cash and give a cryptic destination, he reluctantly obliges. 

The teens are actually aliens, sent by their parents to retrieve an experiment to determine earth’s suitability for their race’s inhabitation. 

The results of the test, however, show how their own dying world can be revived, but an opposing faction seeks to suppress this truth and is planning an imminent invasion anyway.

The trio enlists the help of Dr. Alex Friedman (Carla Gugino), a discredited UFO expert.  Together they race to the top-secret government installation on Witch Mountain to retrieve their spacecraft so that the “kids” can fly home with the evidence to stave off the attack. 

In addition to US military and government opposition, they face a killer robot, sent from their home world, to hunt them down.

Fans of the 1975 Escape to Witch Mountain will enjoy some pleasing and subtle tie-ins, including cameo appearances of the original stars.

This is an action packed movie, with something for everyone, that is sure to please.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Personal Posts

My Favorite Comedy Movies

Here are my favorite comedies. Sometimes the humor is subtle; other times I smile; and occasionally I laugh till there are tears in my eyes and my stomach hurts.

  • Big
  • Cheaper by the Dozen
  • Clueless
  • Coneheads
  • Girls Just Want to Have Fun
  • Jack
  • Kindergarten Cop
  • Legally Blonde
  • Miss Congeniality
  • Monster-in-Law
  • Mrs. Doubtfire
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  • She’s All That
  • She’s the Man
  • Sister Act
  • Sydney White
  • The Kid
  • The Parent Trap (1998)
  • The Trouble with Harry
  • The Waterboy
  • The Whole Nine Yards
  • Tommy Boy
  • Tootsie
  • Uncle Buck

How many of these would make your list?

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Reviews of Books & Movies

Movie Review: Bolt

Movies about pets striving to be reunited with their owners are not new, but the movie Bolt one adds a unique twist: the dog Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) thinks his movie-set existence as a super dog is real.  Did I mention that he is cute, too?

Then when accidentally thrown into the unsheltered real world, Bolt struggles to be reunited with his beloved Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus).

He knows that her love for him is real and refuses to consider that she was just acting.

This comedy-drama provides many great laughs, but has truly touching moments, too.

It is filled with interesting animal characters and voiced by talented actors; plus it has great scenes, creative elements, and a well-conceived plot.  In addition, the 3D effects are not gratuitously inserted, but wisely apportioned throughout the show.

Bolt is a must-see movie—for children of all ages.

Read more reviews by Peter DeHaan.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.