Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Ultimate LOTR Trivia Question

I found another, so now here is the full question and it's answer:
4/21/09 - I found another!

There are 10 actors/actresses in the LOTR Trilogy that have ties in 13 other "blockbusting" trilogies - who are they, what are the other trilogies (or more) and their roles?

Hugo Weaving (Elrond) LOTR & The Matrix (Mr. Smith)

Orlando Bloom (Legolas) LOTR & Pirates of the Carribean (Will Turner)

Ian McKellan (Gandalf) LOTR & X-Men (Eric Lehnsherr / Magneto)

John Rhys-Davies (Gimli and Treebeard) LOTR & Indiana Jones (Sallah)
** He didn't appear in "The Temple of Doom"

Christopher Lee (Saruman) LOTR & Star Wars (Count Duki / Darth Tyranus)
*** Star Wars II & III (I consider them 2 separate trilogies) - check LOTR:Return of the King EXTENDED version (to consider him in all 3)

Ian Holm (Bilbo) LOTR & the Alien Quadrilogy (Ash)
*** LOTR 1 & 3; Bilbo did not appear in "Two Towers" - He was only in "Alien", the first of the "Quadrilogy". Also interesting, is that Ian played in "Alien" with John Hurt who had just played Aragorn in the first "Lord of the Rings" movie in 1978.

Karl Urban (Eomer) LOTR & The Riddick Trilogy (Vaako) & The Bourne Trilogy (Kirill)
**** If we include Bilbo, we have to include Eomer. LOTR 2 & 3 (Eomer did not appear in "Fellowship of the Ring") - He was in "The Chronicles of Riddick" which is just barely a "trilogy" because there are 2 live action movies (including "Pitch Black") and a third amime movie that sits (chronologically) between the two.

***** He was also in "The Bourne Supremacy" which (at this point) is a trilogy. (thanks for the help on this one).

Cate Blanchett (Galadriel) LOTR & Indiana Jones (Agent Irina Spalko)
****** OK, this is gettin crazy - Cate is in all three LOTR movies and she is in the new Indiana Jones movie "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"

Brad Dourif (Grima Wormtounge) LOTR & Alien Quadrilogy (Dr. Jonathan Gediman) & Child's Play (Charles Lee Ray/Chucky) & The Exorcist (James Veranum)
******* OK, stay with me...
Brad is a busy guy... He is in the last two LOTR movies (extended versions), Alien Resurrection, All three "Child's Play" moves and The Exorcist

Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins) LOTR & Back to the Future Trilogy ("The Video Game Boy)
******* Ok, Obviously, Elijah is in all three LOTR movies, he is in Back to the Future II - even though it's a small part (actually, his first).

Monday, April 20, 2009

Incomplete Directions

Imagine with me...if you will...

I'm throwing a BIG BASH for everyone that I know...everyone is invited and the party is going to be awesome I want everyone to be there. This party is really important to me and it will be a uplifting and beneficial to everyone I know.

So...I send out the invitations - hundreds of them. The invitations tell about the party and how great it's gonna be, how much I want them to be there, how they will be glad that they came. It also tells them the date and time, the name of the hall and the directions to the hall...


Not exactly I tell them how to get within about half a mile from the hall, but the directions are missing the last bit - it gets them to the vicinity of the hall, but not all the way there. I figure that's good enough - I mean getting them close to the hall is better than them staying home and not going anywhere. Besides, I would confuse them with all those details - I don't want to scare them away!

Here's what happens:

1) Some of my friends read their invitation and realize the missing information, go to the phone book or better yet just hit the Internet and their favorite map site and find the specific directions themselves. They make the party without a hitch.

2) Some of my friends read their invitation and just know they'll figure it out once they get there and they do. They make the party.

3) Others take off for the party, get to the end of the directions and spend a while searching, stopping for directions, asking people on the street and just happen upon the hall by luck (maybe they just see all the cars parked around the hall and recognize my car) or the good-will of passers by. They make the party, but are confused why it was so hard to get there.

4) Others take off for the party and never make it. They wander around aimlessly, some give up - others (really wanting to make the party) spend the entire duration of the party searching... They don't make the party.

5) Others read the instructions and see something fishy and never even leave their house. They don't make the party.

My attempt to keep my potential guests from being confused or bogged down with details means that some never make it, some are smart enough to figure it out for themselves and others just eventually fall into place. Why not just give them the complete directions to start with!

Obviously, this fictional story has a real life connection... Enter the "Sinner's Prayer" (A.K.A. "A Simple Prayer", "Prayer of Repentance").

By itself, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the versions of this prayer I have read. It IS a simple prayer that recognizes Jesus as Savior, asks for forgiveness and repentance. These are all great things and a great start (just like my instructions above), but the prayer itself does not get us all the way. Some who commit themselves to Christ in such a way will read God's book (the Bible) and immediately see the missing piece, others will be shown the piece, others will eventually stumble on to it, others will never get there.

My question is this - why give a lost soul an incomplete road map to salvation when the complete directions are so easy to follow?

This is NOT about EXACTLY when we are "saved" - I realize that my belief on the subject of the exact point a person is saved is extreme to some and I don't force that understanding on others. However, even if you take the whole, "at what point are we really saved", discussion off the table "The Sinner's Prayer" is STILL incomplete. You don't have to look very hard to figure it out, start with the last instructions Christ told his disciples.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Matthew 28:19,20
Otherwise known as "The Great Commission", it was the last set of instructions Christ left with his disciples. Kind of like "don't forget to turn left on Main street and look for the big building with the statue in front of it!".

Another quick message from Jesus himself:

"Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned..."
Mark 16:15,16
So I just have to know - why give out incomplete directions?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I learned something new today...

While cruising the Internet I ran across something that caught my eye and I felt a need to see what it was... It was link to Scum of the Earth Church in Denver, CO. Considering that for almost the first 4 decades of my life I thought the only "scriptural name" for a body of believers was "The Church of Christ (Romans 16:16)", seeing a name like this was at the very least...intriguing.

I mean by what mandate can they call themselves "scum of the earth" - that's not even biblical!

So, I followed the link and read about them - a group of believers that are reaching out to those that are broken - just like Christ did. They obviously have some new ideas about what Church is about and how to spread the Gospel. Almost immediately, I saw - at the very top of the web page - the scripture. The very kind of thing I have done myself - a scripture that describes their personal mission and drive...below it quoted the previously mentioned scripture. As I read I was CERTAIN that they were using some strange pseudo-translation (commentary) and I was also CERTAIN that they had used creative licence on the "scum of the earth" reference. So I pulled out my trusty NIV and here's what I read...

1 Corinthians 4:11-14

To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.

I had to read it twice, then I went back and read the whole chapter. I remembered the chapter, but the part that we always focus on when studying this passage is Paul chastising Apollos and his followers. It really says scum of the earth!?!? (yeah, KJV says "filth of the earth", but I still don't do the "King's English" very well).

Reading back through the passage the part that really calls to me is this - "when we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly". I have been called to endure much in the last few years and the way that I have responded to much of it has been a topic of debate and dismay for my friends and family. They want me to rise up and stand up for myself - to get what I am entitled, to play dirty like those around stoop to their level.

Paul got it - he was (and IS) trying to tell us that you can't stoop down farther than you already are! How do you stoop down to someone else's level when you are already at the bottom - already the "scum of the earth"? Answer - you don't. You answer kindly...

Earlier in the chapter Paul says that we have no business judging others - that's God's job and God will take care of it. "It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God." 1 Cor. 4:4-5 He goes on to say "For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" 1 Cor. 4:7 God provides - he provides everything we need including judgement for those around us...leave that to Him.

I learned something new today - don't judge a book by it's cover or a Church by it's name.
"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18