Movie Review- Slumdog Millionaire

One question away from becoming the first winner of the Hindi version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” Jamal Malik is about to become a celebrity. But as we are taken to the police station, they have a question for him: how did this tea server make it this far? With a name like “Slumdog Millionaire” you’d think it was a rap album. Turns out, it’s not just a movie, but one of the best I’ve seen this year or last year , keeping in mind that '09 just started. Danny Boyle (28 Days Later, Trainspotting) has done it again. This time, Boyle takes us from the slums of India to the hot seat at the Hindi version of “Who Wants to be A Millionaire?”
The story centers on Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), a young Muslim boy from the slums of India. In a series of flashbacks, while he’s being grilled by the cops, we hear his tale. Every question takes him back to his past as we learn the answers. From being homeless, to living on a train and running into shady characters, this story makes you feel his pain. Jamal’s love interest in his childhood friend spans the entire story, as he finds her, loses her, and finally takes one last chance to be with her. It’s almost heroic. But it’s also a tale of two brothers struggling to survive the harsh Indian streets, finding cleaver (and funny) ways to make a buck (The Taj Mahal scene is brilliant!), and try to be a family through it all. Boyle makes the slums and the high rises of modern Mumbai come alive, while making the harsh environment real.
What I also found interesting was the beginning. The audience gets asked a question: how did he get this far? The answers run from “he cheated” to “he’s a genious” to “it is written”. It is a line that gets said only once by the unsympathetic game show host (who was well played by Anil Kapoor) but it makes you wonder: are some things just supposed to happen? Jamal seems to think so. I don’t believe in luck or fate, but as a Christian I believe in Providence. Writing on this Adam Parker of Bring the Books writes:
The film is upfront about what it has to show from the very beginning. From the earliest parts of the movie, you know that Jamal Malik gets all the questions up to the last one right. You know that he survives all of the events in the flashbacks that bring him to this point in his life; you just want to see how it all happens. The interesting thing is, that's sort of what predestination is like. Detractors of predestination argue that our actions have no meaning if they are already decided beforehand; Jamal, however, seems to believe otherwise. Though God knows everything that will happen (He has determined it already, after all), we still must do what He has planned, and sometimes it's as interesting to see things unfold as it is to know the ending ahead of time.

Go see this movie and try to follow along. It’s a long but fascinating ride.

Death to Barbie! or, God for Postmoderns

Greg Johnson put up some articles a few years ago on reaching the new generation of younger people. Surprisingly enough, it's called: Why God is Selfish- a.k.a. theology slays barbie religion. Read it and think. Here's the intro:
"Greg, I understand everything you're saying, except that your God is a self-centered and egotistical God on a cosmic ego trip who uses people." I've heard that question many times. When you teach Christian truth to challenge postmodernism's stranglehold on our churches and culture, you'll hear the question stated in one form or another. Why is God selfish?

I'm also frequently asked another question. It goes like this: "Greg, why wouldn't God want me to have ________?" Fill in the blank. The perfect house. The perfect job. The perfect kids. The perfect husband. The perfect wife. The perfect car. The perfect health. It's a common question in our culture. I call it Barbie Religion.

Questions to ask while meditating on God's Word

Between Two Worlds: Meditating on God's Word
For those of you, like me, who are going to be reading God's word for an entire year, Between two worlds has posted some great questions to ask while reading your bible. These are questions you really should ask whenever you study most any book, but these apply specifically to the Bible. To ask the Philippians 4:8 questions (what is lovely, praiseworthy, true etc.. about this is passage? It's very eye opening). Read well and if you want to read with me, just get a normal one year Bible and follow along. If you are an on-line reader,
HERE are a few places to find a one year Bible on-line. (including the one I'm reading) Happy Reading.


Book Review- "The Power of Less"

As the new year starts,  Tim Challies (Uber christian book blogger) has this to say
I am going to continue on a trajectory I began several months ago—a trajectory leading toward control and simplicity. In a wired, digital world, I’ve too often felt like technology owns me and drives me instead of the other way around. I’ve started to try to regain that sense of control, sometimes scaling back, sometimes changing the way I do things. I hope to continue that through 2009 and beyond.
I find this interesting because I've seen a rise in blogs, websites andbooks (as my title suggests) on the idea of simplicity. I've also been reading through "The New Media Frontier" (review forthcoming) and have been wondering about our life in the digital smorgasborg. As someone described it, it is like trying to drink water froma fire hydrant. So what are we to do? Blogger Leo Babauta of Zen Habits has written a book on just that.

"The Power of Less" is a short read on a big subject: simplicity. Who knew we were so cluttered we needed to be taught be simple again? From multiple e-mail accounts, to extra appointments, to lots of work projects, we are dying in a culture of paper and digital clutter.Taking the paper and digital beats is what Babauta does. The two essential steps he begins with are quite "simple": find the essential and get rid of the rest. If you can do that, the rest of the book is pretty easy. Steps like focusing on what is at hand, starting small, focusing on a few things to do per day.
As an example he cties going to the gym and eating  as things that need to be simplified. He suggests you start going to the gym for 10 minutes at a time and staying longer every week. As for food, he suggests you chew slowly and not do anything else. I'm guilty of trying to read, watch tv and listen to music while I eat. You would think that doing less might be counter intuitive, but doing exactly that Leo has trained for a few marathons, started a business and quit smoking. Pretty impressive for a guy who was working more than 40 hours per week and only ate junk food.

So is simplicity the new "going green"? Possibly. Zen habits is a very popular blog, as is The Slacker Method and Life Hacker. Getting control of clutter in an easy way is going to become more of a need as we become a more cluttered culture. The main culprit however is the internet. So try a no-media hour today. Take an hour where you won't be on-line, on a computer, or with a cell phone. If you can't  do that, you should pick up this book.