Monday, April 28, 2008

Movie Star Personality Quiz!

Dr. Richard's Spiritual Life course at DTS features a personal inventory called Stars & Scars that's designed to help us understand where we are spiritually weak and strong. I learned a lot about myself in that class and have been a fan of personal "polls" ever since.

A friend forwarded the quiz below to me over the weekend. It's in the spirit of fun... but if you go a bit below the surface with your Hollywood "type," you might find some areas of personal strength and vulnerability. My star type (strengths/weaknesses) was surprisingly consistent with what surfaced in my DTS inventory. So... see what you can learn!

Ladies Only: Ever wonder which movie star you are most like?

A team of researchers has analyzed the personalities of movie stars and incorporated the data into this quiz. There are only 10 questions so it doesn't take long.

Number your paper from 1 to 10, then answer each question with the choice that most describes you at this point in your life, and then add up the points that correspond with your answers.
Don't look ahead or you will ruin the fun!

1. Which describes your perfect date?

a) Candlelight dinner for two
b) Amusement Park
c) Roller blading in the park
d) Rock Concert
e) Have dinner & see a movie
f) Dinner at home with a loved one

2. What is your favorite type of music?

a) Rock and Roll
b) Alternative
c) Soft Rock
d) Classical
e) Christian
f) Jazz

3. What is your favorite type of movie?

a) Comedy
b) Horror
c) Musical
d) Romance
e) Documentary
f) Mystery

4. Which of the following jobs would you choose if you were given only these choices?

a) Waiter/Waitress
b) Sports Player
c) Teacher
d) Policeman
e) Bartender
f) Business person

5. Which would you rather do if you had an hour to waste?

a) Work out
b) Make out
c) Watch TV
d) Listen to the radio
e) Sleep
f) Read

6. Of the following colors, which do you like best?
a) Yellow
b) White
c) Sky blue
d) Teal
e) Gold
f) Red

7. Which one of the following would you like to eat right now?
a) Ice cream
b) Pizza
c) Sushi
d) Pasta
e) Salad
f) Lobster Tail

8. Which is your favorite holiday?

a) Halloween
b) Christmas
c) New Year's
d) Valentine's Day
e) Thanksgiving
f) Fourth of July

9. If you could go to any of the following places, which would it be?
a) Reno
b) Spain
c) Las Vegas
d) Hawaii
e) Hollywood
f) British Columbia

10. Of the following, who would you rather spend time with?

a) Someone who is smart
b) Someone with good looks
c) Someone who is a party animal
d) Someone who has fun all the time
e) Someone who is very emotional
f) Someone who is fun to be with

Now total up your points on each question:

1 a-4 b-2 c-5 d-1 e-3 f-6
2. a-2 b-1 c-4 d-5 e-3 f-6
3. a-2 b-1 c-3 d-4 e-5 f-6
4. a-4 b-5 c-3 d-2 e-1 f-6
5. a-5 b-4 c-2 d-1 e-3 f-6
6. a-1 b-5 c-3 d-2 e-4 f-6
7. a-3 b-2 c-1 d-4 e-5 f-6
8. a-1 b-3 c-2 d-4 e-5 f-6
9. a-4 b-5 c-1 d-4 e-3 f-6
10. a-5 b-2 c-1 d-3 e-4 f-6

NOW take your total and find out which Movie Star you are:

(10-17 points) You are MADONNA:
You are wild and crazy and you know it. You know how to have fun, but you may take it to extremes. You know what you are doing though, and are much in control of your own life. People don't always see things your way, but that doesn't mean that you should do away with your beliefs. Try to remember that your wild spirit can lead to hurting yourself and others.

(18-26 points) You are DORIS DAY:
You are fun, friendly, and popular! You are a real crowd pleaser. You have probably been out on the town your share of times, yet you come home with the values that your mother taught you. Marriage and children are very important to you, but only after you have fun. Don't let the people you please influence
you to stray.

(27-34 points) You are DEBBIE REYNOLDS:
You are cute, and everyone loves you. You are a best friend that no one takes the chance of losing. You never hurt feelings and seldom have your own feelings hurt. Life is a breeze. You are witty, and calm most of the time. Just keep clear of back stabbers, and you are worry-free.

(35-42 points) You are GRACE KELLY:
You are a lover. Romance, flowers, and wine are all you need to enjoy yourself. You are serious about all commitments and are a family person. You call your Mom every Sunday, and never forget a Birthday. Don't let your passion for romance get confused with the real thing.

(43-50 points) You are KATHERINE HEPBURN:
You are smart, a real thinker. Every situation is approached with a plan. You are very healthy in mind and body. You won't be taken advantage of. You have only a couple of individuals that you consider 'real friends'. You teach strong family values. Keep your feet planted in them, but don't overlook a bad situation when it does happen.

(51-60 points) You are ELIZABETH TAYLOR:
Everyone is in awe of you. You know what you want and how to get it. You have more friends than you know what to do with. Your word is your bond. Everyone knows when you say something it is money in the bank. You attract the opposite sex. Your intelligence overwhelms most. Your memory is the next thing to photographic. Everyone admires you because you are so considerate and lovable. You know how to enjoy life and treat people right.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Joyful Photography

Check out this link: to see some breathtaking photography and an example of someone using his gifts to glorify God.

Photo by Kirk Jordan... please contact him via link above for permission to use.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Chipper about Chores? (Yeah, right...)

Researchers at University College London have come up with a novel way to battle the blues. According to a recent study involving some 20,000 people from Scotland, those who pushed around a broom or ran a vacuum just 20 minutes a week reduced the risk of depression by 20 percent.

And to think that all these years, I thought housework was the source of my depression...

Photo by Geekgirly; see for restrictions:

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sonrise Update

A reminder, friends... we won't be meeting as a group for the next two weeks (April 22/29). But we'll pick up where we left off on the subject of cultural context on May 6. (Can you believe it's almost May?) Please e-mail me or call with any prayer requests and I'll forward to the group. Praying that the next couple of weeks go smoothly for everyone and that you find rest in God's unfailing love!

Love, Sarah

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dylan and Colin (l, r) getting one last rehearsal in before Sunday's Barnes & Noble "gig."

Recently read and watched... The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini... a misery-soaked saga of one man's torturous quest to redeem himself... chased with a viewing this weekend of the Afghan film Osama (10 squared on the old dreary meter, albeit masterfully woven and delivered). EA... we will laugh at the comedy club, yes?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Pharisee Within

Most every seminary course I've taken has affected my outlook and heart in a significant way. Some have evoked awe over our great God. Some have kindled compassion. Others have prompted a piercing, surgical exploration within.

My current course falls into this latter category as a sweeping literary study of the gospels has peeled back the layers of the heart of a Pharisee and demanded, really, a "heart check" of my own Pharisaical tendencies.

Prior to this course, if you said "Pharisee," I would think "legalist." Certainly, that's part of the problem. But, as the professor continues to drive home, the problem with the Pharisee's heart warrants a more thoughtful and probing diagnosis. What is the basis for the legalism? What is the root of the hatred for the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ? What is at the core of the missing compassion for those outside the "club"?

It is simply this: love and prioritization of one's self.

The tough question: What are my motives?

So, I've been working on new facial creases for the past few weeks (and feeling bad that I notice that I'm doing this) as I question my motives behind just about everything. Why do I do what I do? For the glory of God? Or, for the glory of Sarah?

My instructor says our efforts on behalf of God are aimed at a "top line" where we are to be imitators of Christ, our actions obediently reflecting the desire of God. Anything that we do that is not inspired by God, but tethered, instead, to selfish gain, resides on the "bottom line." What motivates our acts of service to others? Is it all about God and His will? Or is something internal driving us? Though they may be essentially indistinguishable in their works and actions, will or should a believer and a non-believer who volunteer have different heart motivations?

Which begs the question in my own mind: Why do I write? Why do I teach? The answer, friends, better be because I love God and I love you. End of story. Not because writing makes me feel good (ouch). Or I like to hear myself talk when something halfway intelligible eventually comes out of my mouth (ouch). Or, I think it's kind of cool to have a blog (ouch). But because I love God... and I love you.

Question for today: Why do you do what you do?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Sonrise Session #8: Historical Context

Historical Context: Setting, Setting… Setting!

The Bible details real events and situations involving real people physically engaged at a specific point in time. It differs from other works of non-divinely-inspired literature in that the “editor-in-chief” is a living God through whom revelation is as alive today as it was when it was first captured and conveyed by the human “reporters” on the scene long ago. (My newspaper analogy doesn’t quite cut it, friends… but it was the best I could muster this morning.)

Who was talking to whom… when, where and why?

Exegesis: Let’s let the text speak for itself.
Eisegesis (a “no-no”): Let me force myself into the text to suit my purposes.

From a sound exegetical hermeneutic, we can then determine:

a. Situation specific?
b. Timeless truth?


Role of History:

Eyewitness accounts recount the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ affirmed by secular historical records. It happened… and history affirms it!

Q. How can something so old be relevant today?

A. All of Scripture—since God inspired it—is profitable for teaching (2 Timothy 3:16). But not all words contained in Scripture have direct application to me or to you. For example, in the book of Romans, Paul is thankful for “all of you” whose faith “is being reported all over the world.” He’s not talking to me here. I wasn’t even born then (though some days I feel like I’m about that old.) Paul is writing a letter to Christians in Rome in or around 57 A.D. We need to bear this in mind as we set out to interpret and ultimately apply what follows in the text.

Q. So, was the Bible written for someone other than us?

A. Scripture has preserved the gracious revelation of a living God. Its truth is as valid and alive today as it was when it was originally inspired by God and conveyed by men. When we talk about the importance of “historical context,” we don’t suggest that we are dealing in leftovers or “yesterday’s news.” Instead, we urge a careful study and understanding of what it meant then… so that we might accurately understand—as best we humanly can—and apply it today.

Q. Who was the Bible originally written for?

A. There were many human authors who took God’s revelation and put it to pen, so to speak. In order to answer that question, we need to examine each book of the Bible and try to determine 1) who wrote it… 2) to whom… 3) when… and, to the extent that we can know, why? If we can answer these questions (and in some cases, we simply don't know), we will have a basic grasp of the setting. From there, then, we can situate the text and begin to wrestle with other aspects of interpretation, including the application of what it means to those of us living today.

Q. Did God have me in mind at all when He wrote Scripture?

A. I can't grasp the mind of God. But I believe that God knew you before you were born. And though you were not the original audience for Scripture, He has graciously overseen the preservation of these accounts for the benefit of all of mankind (if only all of mankind would listen...). God's revelation has powerful relevance to our lives today. We are, as someone has said, “looking over the shoulder” of the players of the original theater and benefiting from eyewitness and other accounts, giving us, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, precious insights into the nature and will of God.

Q. What is the role of the Holy Spirit, then?

A. I believe the Holy Spirit is our ultimate “guide.” When I was undergoing cancer treatments several years ago, Psalm 91 seemed to "follow" me, surfacing four or five times from independent sources (personal study, friends, strangers) at particularly challenging points along the journey. I believe the Holy Spirit led me to this Psalm (and inspired others to lead me to it) to encourage me. Its message of hope under the protective wing of God is one of those “timeless truths” that speaks to the trustworthiness and protective oversight of God. (Interestingly, we don't know for sure who wrote this Psalm, but it appears that God is addressing Jesus when he speaks of granting a "long life" in verse 16. And Satan quotes, as well, from Psalm 91 as he tempts Christ, obviously envisioning that this Psalm is about Jesus. So, from a personal standpoint, I can draw tremendous comfort from this Psalm, as it describes an utterly loving, trustworthy and protective God. But it would be errant for me--I believe--to lock onto verse 16, for example, and imagine that God is telling me that he I will live to be someone's great-great grandmother on the basis of a verse about Jesus. Make sense?).

Where we need to be careful, I think, is when we take Scripture and “make it our own” without any regard for what it originally meant. If I use “those who are first will be last, and those who are last will be first” in some sort of funky numerology deal to try and ensure that I win something… I’ve just gone wildly afoul of this verse’s original intent and I'm thinking that's probably not the way the Holy Spirit works.

Q. How do you tell whether or not something is directly applicable to us today or not?

A. Sometimes it’s fairly easy to discern. Like I said, I know that Paul is thankful for someone other than me as he begins his letter to the Romans. In 2008, I won’t be kicked out of my seat on Sunday morning for wearing my hair in braids (though the Pippi Longstocking routine would probably send most of my family to another row) or pearls around my neck (I’m wondering what mother of three boys has the time to accessorize, anyway?) (1 Timothy 2: 9-10). But there is an underlying fundamental—a timeless truth based upon the humble, selfless decorum of a Christ follower described elsewhere in Scripture—that suggests to me today that I should refrain from dressing to show off at church. In 50-something A.D., that was evidently braids and pearls. Today, it might be low-riders and a tube top or an October birthstone lip ring (or whatever might prove a distraction to others in church).

Other times, it’s not so easy. People have built entire systems of worship around isolated phrases or sentences in Scripture. Then, someone will come along and say, "You have taken that out of context!" At which point blood pressure starts to rise, fur starts to fly... (and you will find me looking for the nearest exit.)

OK... are we now officially off topic?

So, what about the new poll! I voted once... so that means only 8 of you made your opinion known to our vast worldwide audience (OK... that may be a bit of a stretch... we're hardly vast... but so far this week my little meter shows we've had visitors from Canada, Turkey, New Zealand, Australia, Germany and Japan... as well as folks from Delaware, Kansas, Iowa, Virginia, Chicago and Texas. Thanks for stopping by!)

So... do we like the poll? Do we like the music?

p.s. And don't let me scare you away... my meter doesn't tell me who you are... mainly just where you come from geographically... and how you found the site (from "google images," one of the blog rings, etc.) It's not "big brother"... just a helpful little analytic that lets me know whether or not the blog has a pulse...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Perception Vs. Reality (again)

On the heels of a controversial IMF report, a popular newspaper in the United Kingdom has run an inflammatory piece on the state of the U.S. economy speculating we are on the brink of a depression. To illustrate the article, editors dug up a file photo that depicts a long, hopeless ribbon of poor folks standing in line. The bleak picture looks like a contemporary dust off of the soup kitchen lines of the Great Depression.

Commentators quoting economists here say the problem with the article is that its analysis of our economic situation is alarmist and simply wrong. Problem with the photo is that it goes back a number of years and was taken at the scene of a free coat exchange in New York City presided over by the mayor, himself. Uh, hence the long lines?

So, we have a situation--shocking, I know--where what we see in the world's press is not exactly as it really is. Reality redacted.

I heard a psychologist on the news talking about the harm that could leak out of this type of news story. He said that what we take "harvest" from the media--even if we rightly doubt it--can penetrate our psyche and begin to influence our perceptions and even our behaviors.

I have loved ones who are going through "stuff," and I'll leave it at that. Though their stuff isn't my stuff, I can't help but run a parallel track with them in my heart and my mind and absorb some of what they are experiencing even though it is not directly applicable to my own life. When this transference begins to affect my perceptions, my attitude, and, ultimately, even my behavior, I enter into kind of a "shadow land" where someone else's reality almost becomes my own. (Is this my weirdest post since the dark days of pondering Pascal?)

All to say: seek to understand the truth. And when reality starts to look like a fogged up bathroom mirror, recall this:

Finally bretheren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Phil. 4:8)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sonrise Meeting Session 7: Literary Context

Another good meeting, friends. I apologize for letting the time run out before we could get to your "homework" assignment from last week. Good news is... those of you, ahem, whose dogs ate the assignment have another week to reconstruct it!

If you missed us this morning, see the notes below:

The Bible uses words or literature to communicate God's truth. It is revelation from God captured and conveyed through human beings whose unique backgrounds, experiences and personalities have influenced the style and structure with which they wrote and taught.

Genre (broad literary categories):
historical narrative, law, wisdom, poetry, prophecy/apocalyptic, gospel, epistle (letter), etc.

Common Descriptors:

Metaphors (symbolism):
Vine (Jesus) and branches (disciples) John 15:5; God symbolized by fire (Hebrews 12:29), Lamb of God (John 1:29), Bread of Life (John 6:35)

(Note: context always determines meaning. Is "shepherd" always Jesus? Is "fruit" always actions/deliverables?)

Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed (Matthew 13:31), Pharisees… are like whitewashed tombs (Matthew 23:27)

Point of View: A "lens" through which a given story is situated and told. Who is communicating? What is his/her perspective (which has been shaped by both the knowledge at hand and personal values)?

David (rejoicing or under siege)… Solomon (reflections on the other
side of prosperity)… Matthew (tax collector)... Luke (physician)...
John (fisherman)... Paul (tent maker/Jewish scholar)

Literary Interpretation: The "flow" of a narrative

  • Characters: protagonists, antagonists, agents (active or neutral)
  • Setting:
  • Tension:
  • Climax:
  • Response:
  • Resolution:

    Next Session: Historical Context

    On my iPod... Obvious by Anthony Callea... kind of a sweet song that reminds me of the five years it took Todd and me to go out on a first date. We still debate whose "fault" that was...

    Oh... one other thing... my cell phone won't re-charge... so please call the house or e-mail me if you need to get in touch.