Tag Archives: Family

The Fast and the Furious Series Review

This is going to be the first time for some of you to read one of my more “secular” posts, but as always I believe you can often find the sacred in the secular.  I admit it, I’m a Fast and Furious fan.  I fell in love with the first movie when it came out, and have followed it ever since.

If you find cussing, violence, and scantily clad women offensive, or if you’ve been led away from those things, avoid these movies.  So, why am I writing this review?  Because I believe most people are missing the main point and feature of the movies in this series.  I also believe that Vin Diesel is trying, in his own way, to get people to realize several key themes.

First, that the world is now connected in ways that it never has been in the past.  Culture is bleeding over political borders, and with it the good and the bad.  Crime, and crime bosses can now go global.  They can do so digitally or physically, and this is one lesson that we all need to learn in a very real way.  Two examples spring to mind; the recent reports of Chinese hackers invading US systems, and the violence on our Southern border.  We all now owe it to our society to start thinking more and more globally, and our news organizations will hopefully wake up and begin providing us with global coverage.

Of course, there are good things coming from this blending of cultures as well.  New styles, new food, new friends, new conversations to have.  And I think that this connects to Vin’s other main theme in these movies; faith and family.

The latest F&F installment, Fast and Furious 6 kinds slaps you upside the head with it, but apparently many reviewers are missing the point.  Faith and family.  Each installment in the main series always has a moment or two of Dom’s running rule; when you sit down to eat, whoever eats first (or tries to) has to say grace.  Some do it with more learning and style, and some try their best.  Dom’s cross also becomes a continuing plot device.

This lesson wasn’t something that was full-force in the first movie; Dom cared more for his own feeling of freedom than for his team, but that quickly changed as one-by-one his family was either hurt, or killed.  Over the course of the series we’ve seen Dom’s family grow, and with it, his loyalty.

Family.  This is where the “sacred” comes in.  This string of movies does a very good job of showing how those people that are not directly related to us can become our family.  In fact, each person that is a born again believer in Jesus is our family.  How often do we really truly see that in our church communities?  It’s rare.  If we truly wake up to what Jesus is telling us, we should help and protect our fellow believers, because they ARE our family.  They are not “like” family they are true family.

I believe this series does a superb job showing us this, in a secular sense of course… annnddd, you really do have to sit through a bunch of racing scenes to get there, but I do believe Vin Diesel is purposefully communicating that idea of family across all borders; language, culture, background, etc… And, yes, Vin isn’t technically a writer, but I hear him and Paul Walker have input into the series, especially when it comes to things the fans demand.

What else do I love about the series?  I love the cars.  I love the humor.  I love the way it self-deprecates.  I love the characters, and their interplay.  There is also ideas such as self-control and forgiveness taught throughout.  The series has become a huge blockbuster and the special effects are there to prove it, but at the heart of it, this series is still about family.  Sure, there are now over-the-top explosions, and cheesy physics defying crashes, but the film never takes itself to seriously on that score.

These movies are definitely not for everyone, but I can’t wait til the 7th installment!

Oh, and if you are interested, here’s the watch order if you’d like to see the whole series chronologically and, Han’s first appearance was not in the F&F series, but in a movie called “Better Luck Tomorrow” it would come before Los Bandoleros):

  • The Fast and the Furious
  • Turbo-Charged Prelude {short}
  • 2 Fast 2 Furious
  • Los Bandoleros {short}
  • Fast & Furious
  • Fast Five
  • Fast & Furious 6
  • The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Leave a comment

Filed under Musings, Of Interest, Reviews, Sacred Secular

Meet the Austins…

Dear reader, check out this link to know what the point of this “review” is about; Madeleine L’Engle.  This is one of her books I just read for the first time…I’d met the Austin family previously in books that come later in the Austin family series.  I really enjoyed this story, and it did serve as a good introduction to the Austins, which in turn, sets up the rest of the books in the series.  It is a very quick read, and “easy” reading.

What suppers did the Austins enjoy? Standing rib roast with roast potatoes and carrots, spaghetti with carrots and garlic bread, Spanish rice, Shepherd’s pie, strawberry mousse, pork roast with applesauce and carrots, pot roast with deep-dish apple pie, bread pudding with raisins, tapioca, jell-o, raisin bread, steaks with baked potatoes and salad, baked beans with hot dogs chopped up in them, and the ever present beverages of coffee and hot cocoa.

What did they listen to while preparing all of this?  Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto, Rosenkavalier, Schonberg’s Verklarte Nacht, Handel’s the Cuckoo and the Nightingale, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, Handel’s Royal Fireworks, and John liked to listen to “The Gambler.”  The crew liked to sing; Cockles and Mussels, The Eddystone Light, You take the High Road, Oh, Susannah, Ash Grove, and Tallis’ Cannon.

What were the kids reading or the adults reading to them? The Jungle Book, Charlotte’s Web, The Secret Garden, The Sword in the Stone, and Doctor Dolittle.  Also, a book on Albert Einstein’s spiritual views was quoted and talked about, but no title was ever given.

Their furry companions that curled up at their feet?  Colette their french poodle, Mr. Rochester their Great Dane, and at least three cats; Prunewhip, Hamlet, and Creamy.

What was the fam up to in this story?  Skywatching as usual, including star gazing.

Good prayers and quotes included?

St. Francis’ Prayer:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

A quote from Hildevert of Lavardin;

God is over all things, under all things; outside all;
within, but not enclosed; without but not excluded;
above, but not raised up; below, but not depressed;
wholly above, presiding; wholly without, embracing;
wholly within, filling.

A poem from Thomas Browne;

If thou could`st empty all thyself of self,
Like to a shell dishabited,
Then might He find thee on the ocean shelf,
And say, `This is not dead`,
And fill thee with Himself instead.

But thou art all replete with very thou
And hast such shrewd activity,
That when He comes, He says, `This is enow
Unto itself – `twere better let it be,
It is so small and full, there is no room for me.`

Fun book to read, the themes of childhood, change and death were interesting.  This book, more than L’Engle’s others that I’ve read, seemed geared toward “younger” readers, but adults who like her style and characters will enjoy this book as well.  On to read the second in this series…

2 Comments

Filed under Humor, Musings, Of Interest, Prayer, Reviews, Sacred Secular, Uncategorized

Post-Thanksgiving Ramblings…

The day after Thanksgiving, or “Black Friday” for the shopping hordes has arrived.  For those of us who don’t enjoy the crowded Wal-Marts, Targets, and Malls, it is a good day to wind down, finish digesting all the food eaten, and perhaps to reflect a bit on what’s ahead.  Christmas.  Yes, Christmas will be upon us before we can blink twice.

It is easy at this point in time to start obsessing about Christmas gifts and Christmas plans.  It might even be time for those who have a grind against Christmas to gear up for protests. Christians protesting that it’s pagan, pagan’s protesting that it’s Christian…funny how that works, isn’t it?  What I would like to challenge my fellow believers to remember (even if you don’t celebrate Christmas) during this time is that it is the people that really matter.

Finding the right gift for someone is often a rush, you find something “just right” that you know they’ll love and it’s a good feeling.  The point I’m trying to make  amidst my rambling is to always focus on the person themselves, and not just the gift or the season.  We all need to take the time to appreciate the people in our lives, because we won’t have them on the Earth with us forever, and even though when death separates believers, we have hope to see then again, it is still hard to lose someone here on earth.

If there’s someone you want to see or talk to, don’t wait for a holiday gathering; see them now.  Send a card now, for no other reason than to say “hi” or to ask “how have you been?”  Holidays are great times to get together, but don’t take the opportunity that we have every day for granted.  During this time, we should be remembering one of the greatest facts of our faith; The Son of God became human, He came and dwelt amongst us.  The God of the universe came and made a real connection with mankind; He was a Son, and a Brother, a Friend, a Teacher…He ate with “us” and cried with us, and walked many roads with us, and celebrated Holidays with us.

We have daily chances to connect with family, friends, and loved ones.  Let’s not wait for a specific day, but rather view every day as a chance to interact with the people that mean something to us!  As we remember how Christ interacted with humanity, let’s use everyday to remember God’s grace and love and turn everyday that we can into Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc… We only have a limited number of days here on this earth, let’s not waste ‘em!

Leave a comment

Filed under Musings, Sacred Secular

Thanksgiving…

One of the very few holidays I don’t find to be inane.  The idea of thanksgiving is so fundamental to the Christian faith, the holiday makes me think on that idea, and hence, I like it.

Once we have met Christ, and have come to have faith in Him, that’s all the reason we will ever need to be thankful…it is perpetual thanksgiving!  Of course there are other things in life to be thankful for, but they pale in comparison with the thanks felt toward Christ.

Some people are alone on the holiday, but that’s ok too; true thanksgiving is beyond family, or gathering together to eat large amounts of food…only to grumble about it (and each other) usually less than an hour later.  Being alone is sometimes something to be thankful for as well…though if one knows Christ, one is never truly alone at all.

I am thankful for everyone in my life, my family; those still living, and those gone on. I’m thankful for my friends, even (most of ;) ) my college students, even you dear reader, even if I don’t know your name.  I’m thankful that even through things like sickness, there are lessons to be learned.  I’m thankful that I’ve got a full belly…that I have a car to drive, a keyboard to type on, a good book to read, that my guitar instructor knows how to give a good pep talk, that I have a favorite pair of shoes, and on it goes…everything good in life I thank God for!!

Psalm 50:14 Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:

Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Revelation 7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Comment

Filed under Musings, Sacred Secular

Musings; Familial responsibility…

I believe in absolute freedom in Christ, but freedom with responsibility, as I feel Paul clearly teaches.  I was just thinking about sin and mulling it over from the POV of having that freedom in Christ (which I really must blog about more later).  A lot of people wonder at that freedom, and really they cannot believe it…but it’s true.

So, if it is true, and it is, then why should we contain ourselves when we are faced with a choice of whether or not to sin?  I’m not talking about those times when we really and truly slip and sin without thinking; I’m referring to the times when we are sitting there going, “Ok, wow, yeah, I really have a choice here.   If I do thus and so, that’s not going to be good for me, nor, apparently, my relationship with God…but I know that we have freedom and forgiveness.”

We have freedom, so what is the consideration here beyond “don’t sin willfully,” which I admit is a very big deal in and of itself, but not part of my musing right now.  I have been musing that it has a lot to do with familial responsibility.  Most people, esp. unbelievers would read that and think I was referring to blood family, but I’m not.   All of my brothers and sisters in Christ are included in the idea of “familial responsibility.”

There are innumerable sins that are not only going to affect you.  And there are many sins that must include another human being for them to be carried out…the ever popular fornication springs to mind.  So, in reality when we are contemplating certain sin, the question isn’t just about us, or our freedom, but also the question of how you’d treat family…would you really do something that would seriously harm your “real” family, your blood relation? Oftentimes we’ll do things that would harm ourselves, but never do those same things to our loved ones.

I think that Paul’s teachings back up this musing as one of the ways we should help to contain ourselves and keep yielding to righteousness; think about our family first…so much so that we are not ever to judge.  That’s right; we shouldn’t judge another believer’s salvation in any respect, but what does Paul watch out for?

Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. 14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.

And I think that is my very point…if we find ourselves struggling with something, it should help us to keep others in mind, not just ourselves.  If all of us brothers and sisters in Christ would watch out for one another by watching out for ourselves, we may be able to control ourselves a bit better (all with the help of the Spirit of course).

1 Comment

Filed under Musings

Uphold each other…

Exodus 17:11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

There’s no joking and no denying that a lot of us are going through rough patches right now…almost every believer I know is being “attacked” on one front or another; physically, mentally, spiritually, financially, emotionally, etc…  We are wrestling against ourselves, this world, and/or principalities and powers.

We must never forget that even the heroes of the Bible (save Christ) needed God, working through other humans to “lift them up” and support them from time to time.  In chapter 17 of Exodus, we have Moses overlooking a battle.  As he raises up his hands (being a visual representation of God’s intervention) the Israelites start winning, as he lowers his hands, they begin to lose.

God, of course, is the main focus here…and Moses is the prophet center stage.  But we see here a very human side of God’s chosen man in this case.  He literally cannot hold up his own arms…have you ever tried to raise and hold up your arms for any length of time?  It starts to ache, to cramp, to hurt fairly quickly.

Now, add to that the knowledge of the stress of the battle; he knows when he begins to put his arms down that his people start getting slaughtered.  Fortunately, Hur and Aaron are at hand (literally) and help Moses.

Folks, don’t forget to uphold each other, as we can, when we can, where we can.  Our spouses, our friends, our teachers, our students, our brothers and sisters, family, our preachers/teachers/pastors, our praise leaders, our music makers, etc….  Sometimes we all need it; even Moses needed it.  In the end all glory goes to God, of course, for His power and grace.

We are a family, we believers, and we should act like one.  (Yes, that also means we will bicker and fight…sometimes pull hair, and give the silent treatment ;) ).  But, the fact remains, we all need our hands held up every now and again; we are human.  Just a reminder in these times.

Leave a comment

Filed under Musings, Theology