Monday, July 30, 2007

What I am Learning from My Daughter

She's only five days old and already I am learning a great deal from my little girl. My chief lesson so far has been a fresh reminder to trust the Lord, for He is the sovereing one.

I never knew that fatherhood would make me so nervous. I am usually a pretty laid back guy, but during the nights I find myself constantly having to check and double check on my baby girl to see if she is awake, alive, uncomfortable, and breathing. It makes me nervous for her to sleep without us in the room. But these occassions have pointed out to me my lack of faith in the sovereign God. He is good and trustworthy God and, furthermore, He loves His children and wants the best for them. I need to trust Him to take care of Mia and believe that He watches over Her, and that whatever happens to her is for my good. There's nothing like a five day old Theologian!

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

A New Addition

There has been a new addition to the Dunham family this week. I can hardly beleive it. The new addition, of course, is the addition of a Okay, well actually the addition is a baby girl (a beautiful one at that) and that has changed my role.

After 36 hours of labor my wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on Wed. She was 7 pounds and 2 ounces. You can give us a call and learn more. In the meantime, please pray for us as we adjust to new life with a newborn.

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New Podcast is Up

Is Harry Potter the next great Christian classic? It's the question that Rich Clark asks me in the latest Christ & Pop-Culture episode.

We have some good discussion about the new movie, and Rich predicts what the ending of the new book is (this was recording prior to the release of the new book). Check it out and give us some feedback at

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Monday, July 23, 2007

A Passion for the Pastorate

It's easy to get side-tracked, to redirect your life from time to time. It has particularly been easy for me as of late. I have been called to the pastorate, but because I am still a Seminary student waiting for the time when I will be faithfully serving in some eldership role week in and out, it can become easy for me to get excited about other things. I was challenged and encouraged yesterday to re-direct my life to the pastorate.

My pastor Aaron Menikof preached Sunday morning from the book of Titus and taught us about the great and important duty of pastor. He concluded his sermon by reminding us that those who aspire to the office of elder desire to do something good! How encouraging that God has granted me a desire to do something good with my life by glorifying and serving Him and His church in the pastorate! I pray he keeps my heart excited about future ministry in that role.

Then Aaron said something else I wasn't ready for, "We all need pastors." He urged the church to remember that they were not created to go about the Christian life alone or without leadership. And he pointed out that any good pastor "worth his salt" will point his people to the chief shepherd: Jesus Christ. He asked us to pray for our elders and remember their great responsibility.

It was a morning in which God called me to remember the dut he has called me to: the pastorate! A passion for hte pastorate was given afresh to me yesterday and I am thankful to my pastor for it!

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Pop-Culture Recommendations for the Week

Here are my pop-culture recommendations for the week of July 16th.

Movies: Ratatouille This is one of the best Pixar movies, and it is not only doing new things with characters and shadowing in CGI, but its a great story with endearing characters.

DVDs: Lost in Translation It's one of the better Sofia Coppola films, and it is a Bill Murray to remember. The story is intriguing. Beware,however, there's some material not suitable for everyone.

Books: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Of course I would recommend this book, which comes out on Saturday. It's the final of the Harry Potter collection and its going to be worth reading to be sure.

Other: The iphone. It's worth checking out because it is flashy and cool looking. But look at someone else's phone and don't buy your own. Most of us already have an ipod, cell phone, digital camera, and personal computer. Read Rich Clark's article on the iphone if you need some more persuassion.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Top 100 Movies: 51-60

51) Jurassic Park

52) Phantom of the Opera (2004)

53) The Usual Suspects

54) Wait Until Dark

55) The Departed

56) Apocalypse Now

57) Luther

58) Wit

59) Chariots of Fire

60) O Brother Where Art Thou?

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Monday, July 16, 2007

A Toy Story Pixar Wouldn't Have Done!

Everybody who is really honest loves their childhood toys. There's a deep affection we carry with us throughout life, no matter how old we get. As I am about to have my first child I think of what toys she will grow up with. If we ever have a boy, I ponder ways that I could secretly convince my son to love my own childhood toys (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, My Pet Monster, etc.). Perhaps it is this affection for toys that has driven some movie producers to make films about them (though some less about affection than fear): Chuckie, Pinnochio, The Toy, and of course Pixar's Toy Story. With the exception of perhaps Richard Pryor's The Toy, Disney/Pixar's Toy Story is in a class of its own, and that is largely because of its storytelling. The guys at Pixar know well how to craft a good story. But in recent days there has been another major toy movie that is being hailed as the biggest summer blockbuster of 07, but you'll never see the Pixar name attached to this movie.

I am, of course, talking about Transformers. This nostalgic 80s cartoon has blasted its way on to the big screen with lots of promotion and lots of potential, but at the hands of director Michael Bay the autobots have autobottomed out! Sure there's lots of action, lots of explosions, lots of cool CGI...but its missing that one thing that any movie must have to be a success: story!

Bay had in his hands a movie that had the potential to be brilliant, culturally challenging, and surely fun. But he took that film, and with clunky dialogue, bad acting, and ridiculously fast plot development he has shoved an "all-spark" right into the heart of this story and blown it to pieces.

If it's not as bad as the 1986 Transformers' movie where Optimus Prime is killed off, then it is a close second in destroying a childhood favorite. Michael Bay has repeatedly been given good oppurtunities (Armagadeon, Pearl Harbor, Independance Day, etc.) and repeatedly dropped the ball. Perhas he could sit in on a few Pixar story board sessions and learn a thing or two. Until he does, though, I'll be avoiding his films like they're evil Decepticons!

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New Podcast Up

The New Podcast of Christ & Pop-Culture (episode 2) is uploaded on the website. This second episode deals with a number of summer blockbusters: Spiderman 3, Shrek the Third, Pirates of the Caribean: At World's End, etc.

We've made some changes to the show, and you can hear some of the other updates we are going to be making. So check out the show and let us know your thoughts by e-mailing us at

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Monday, July 09, 2007

The Southern Ohio Theological Society Against Atheism

The Southern Ohio Theological Society released a statement today saying that a special issue of The Southern Ohio Journal of Theology would be released this November dealing with the so called "New Atheism" of Christopher Hitchens and his buddies.

This is exciting news. The topic is an important one now, particularly as their books are gaining a great deal of popularity, which is allowing them to speak on a number of talking head shows. Hitchens' own book god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything is number five on The New York Times' Bestsellers List.

What else is exciting is that they have acquired gifted pastor and Biblical scholar Dr. Mark Roberts for this issue. He is writing on Hitchens'book, something he has had ample time to consider since he debated Hitchens on The Hugh Hewitt Show just a month or two ago. Be sure and look for this issue and check out their website which is up and running now:

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A Christian Message Without a Christ

What does God want for you? He wants you to be happy, maybe even wealthy, but definitely happy. He wants you to let go of the past, believe in yourself, and essentially to have your "best life now!" So that is what God wants for you friends, or at least that's what Joel Osteen wants for you.

Osteen's message is one that isn't new. It's been popular since the days of Vincent Peale. He's calls himself a "messenger of hope," and a Christian. But one has to wonder, where is Christ in this whole message? The Bible not only doesn't teach that we will have our best life now (assigning to Christians a life of suffering here), but it also never tells us simply to believe in ourselves and forget the past. The Bible calls all men sinners, as the psychologists at The University of Portsmouth recently found out (see article below, "Babies Aren't Innocent"). It says that man is a rebel and is under God's just condemnation. It teaches us that what man most needs is to confess his sin, repent of it, and believe upon Christ Jesus as savior. Furthermore the apostle Paul is an example of a terrible sinner turned Christian missionary who never forgot his past. Paul repeatedly tells of how sinful he was in order that God might be glorified in his current ministry.

If one wonders whether or not Osteen preaches from this same Bible I can assure you that he says he does. But if you listen to his "sermons" you'll find merely a motivational lecture sprinkled with Bible passages taken wholly out of context.

In an interview with Christian Today Osteen clarified specifically what he thinks both of the criticism he's been getting and of the actual message he shares everywhere he goes.

Of Criticism Osteen says:

When it’s valid, it can be helpful and I listen to it and take advice and try to become better. A lot of it is based on doctrinal issues that we just don’t see eye to eye on. Most of the criticism I get is that I am too positive and too hopeful… in my words, I don’t beat people down enough.

Which essentially means he doesn't preach sin.

On the content of his message Osteen said:

My core message is that God has got a good plan for your lives, and we must trust Him, and let go of the past. That’s my main message… to believe in God’s favour and to believe in good things. Trying to get people to see God and lead a good life, knowing that He has a good plan for them. I believe when we do that, it allows God to work in our lives.

The core of his message, then, is theistic, but not Christian! If the "CORE" of your "Christian" message has no word about "Christ" and his "cross" then you do not have a Christian message.

Osteen admits that where criticism is good he takes it, but not where it is doctrinal. Friends, I am sad to say that the massively popular Joel Osteen needs to be criticized doctrinally. For, a man professing to teach the truths of the Christian faith, and leaving out Christ, teaches falsehood! That's a criticism worth making and one Mr. Osteen should take to heart!


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Children Aren't Innocent

Well the research is in and the reality is, according to the Telegraph, "babies aren't as innocent as they pretend." Here's what they say:

Whether lying about raiding the biscuit tin or denying they broke a toy, all children try to mislead their parents at some time. Yet it now appears that babies learn to deceive from a far younger age than anyone previously suspected.

Behavioural experts have found that infants begin to lie from as young as six months. Simple fibs help to train them for more complex deceptions in later life.

This really is shocking news friends. I suppose somewhere deep inside me I knew it to be true. I had even heard about it from others, but not until now do I believe it: a real newspaper is reporting old news like its brand new.

I read this and could not help but laugh, and I mean really laugh. Not that kind of smirk that runs across your face when you find a simpleton commical. Not even that kind of giggle that you get when you watch a moron ski off the top of his roof in the middle of summer. No I mean, I laughed with such a loud outburst that my wife peeked her head into the room to see what was so funny.

I have a newsflash for The Telegraph: Christianity has been teaching this truth for years. All men are sinful, even "innocent" little babies. We are born in sin, original sin, and no man is exempt from this reality no matter how old, how beautiful, how sweet, or how small. No brain size can escape the inherent bent towards disobeying God that we all have.

It's great that these individuals at The University of Portsmouth have "uncovered" the secret of lying babies! But I am afraid your discovery is at least 6,000 years too late to really be novel. It is amazing, however, that babies with such little minds figured out they could lie before their doctors ever came close.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

We're On Top of It

Well Rich and I have gotten some great feedback on the first Podcast and we're on top of making some major changes to the show. For anyone who has listened to it know that we have every intention of making it much shorter and much more focused. Look for our new and improved episode on Mon. July 16th. Until then, give us some helpful feedback and check out the website:


Top 100 Movies: 41-50

Here's more:

41) Lawrence of Arabia

42) North by Northwest

43) Taxi Driver

44) Field of Dreams

45) The Godfather Trilogy

46) Toy Story

47) A Perfect World

48) Chocolate

49) Jason and the Argonauts

50) Pride & Prejudice (BBC Version)

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

You've Read the Blog Now Hear the Podcast

So I was recently invited to be part of a Christian podcast project called "Christ and Pop-Culture." It's essentially alot of what I do alone here, only its in audio format and its a dialogue between myself and the ever so clever Rich Clark, a pop-culture fanatic. So our first show is up and available for listening, it takes awhile to load but check it out if you've got time.

Here's the web address:

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Remember Your History

I wish I would have posted this yesterday, but its always acceptable to remember the sacrifice and history that brought us our in honor of yesterday's Fourth of July Celebration check out this video.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Hey Ladies

So I don't do the shopping in my home, thankfully my wife spares me of that annoying responsibility. She rather enjoys it and is good at finding bargains and getting what we need without draining our budget. What can I say, I have a good wife!

But I can only imagine how frustrating shopping gets week in and week out, and furthermore, how hard it can be at times. Thankfully there is someone who not only knows this to be true, but has some helpful advice. Actually it's four ladies, the wife and daughters of theologian C.J. Mahaney. In their latest book Shopping for Time they have some suggestions of how women can get done all that they need to to have orderly homes. Discerning Readers has posted a reveiw of the book, check it out and then see the book for yourself.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Top 100 Movies: 31-40

Here's some more:

31) The Princess Bride

32) Good Will Hunting

33) The Sting

34) Good Morning Vietnam

35) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

36) This is Spinal Tap

37) Raising Arizona

38) Gods & Generals

39) Breakfast at Tiffany's

40) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington