The Good Pharisees, Part 2

There are a lot of songs with the word “good” in the title. Off the top of your head, how many can you name? If you were on your game, you probably would have mentioned some of the following songs: “Good Vibrations” (The Beach Boys), “Only the Good Die Young” (Billy Joel), “Good Day Sunshine” or “Good Morning, Good Morning” (The Beatles), “You’re No Good” (Linda Ronstadt), “Good Riddance” – aka, “Time of Your Life” (Green Day), “Good Lovin’” (The Rascals),”Good Enough” (Evanescence), “Good Golly, Miss Molly” (Creedence Clearwater Revival), “Good Girl Gone Bad” (Rihanna) and of course, “Good King Wenceslas.” And if you got even four of those names, good for you! But of course, if you got less than three titles, let’s face it, “You’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good, baby you’re no good.” Now, if you named the theme from the movie, “The Good,

The Good Pharisees, Part 1

There are a lot of movies with the word “good” in the title. Off the top of your head, how many can you think of? If you were on your game, you probably mentioned several of the following: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), The Goodbye Girl (1977), Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014), Goodfellas (1990), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), A Few Good Men (1992), Good Will Hunting (1997), Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), The Good German (2006), The Good Lie (204), and As Good As It Gets (1997); and that is not to mention some TV series like The Good Place, Good Omens and Stranger Things (ok, I know, this one doesn’t have good in the title, but it’s still really good).  Based on all of these titles, here’s what I think: If you have the adjective “good” before

Matthew 23 (Again)

Okay, suppose you are a Wycliffe Bible translator and you’ve come to John 6:35 where Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.” But there is a problem: the culture for whom you are translating doesn’t have bread. In fact, they never have seen or tasted bread. As a translator, what do you do now? This was the question facing one translator in Papua New Guinea. The Dani people had no bread of any sort.  Now, if this was some verse tucked away in Nahum, no one would really care (I know, I just threw Nahum under the bus and for that I am sorry; but really, when was the last time you read Nahum?). But this was in John’s gospel, and Jesus’ words here were extremely important. Jesus was declaring that he was the true manna from heaven and that, by believing in him, the hungry souls of people

The Matthew 23 Pharisee, Part 2

True confession. I often root for the bad guy. I always pull for the monster in every Frankenstein movie (Isn’t it clear that if there is a bad guy here, it is the grave-robbing Doctor Frankenstein?). And in all the Jurassic Park movies, you will always find me pulling for the dinosaurs to have a good meal and the sooner into the movie, the better. I so wanted the Creature from the Black Lagoon to win; and any time The Mummy shows up, please know I will be in his corner. I feel that Loki is basically misunderstood; and while he is extremely mischievous (and definitely broken—childhood trauma, no doubt)), I can’t wish him harm.  And I cheered when Verbal walked out of the police station in The Usual Suspects. Even if he isn’t Keyser Soze, he is pretty cool. And to be perfectly honest and open, anytime I watch

The Matthew 23 Pharisee, Part 1

Quick, name three of the greatest speeches of all time.  I bet your three are included in the eight speeches listed below (if one of your speeches is not listed below, tell me so that I can make amends!) Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I have a dream” speech (“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”) Winston Churchill’s “We shall fight on the beaches” speech (“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. . .”) Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (“That government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”) John F.

The Good, the Bad and the Pharisees

To be sure, stealing is always wrong, except when the bad guys are the good guys (or if not good guys, at least lovable rogues); and then stealing is both good and fun (if you are reading this to your young children, maybe you should have skipped this first sentence). Here’s proof. Below are four movies. For each movie, please identify the bad guys (defined as who you want to fail): The Sting – Redford and Newman are con men trying to steal major money from crime boss, Doyle Lonnegan. Who are the bad guys: the thieves or the mark? The Italian Job – Sutherland and Wahlberg have a plan to steal $35 million in gold bars from a heavily guarded safe in Venice, Italy. After the heist, one of the gang betrays his friends and steals the gold for himself. The rest of the movie is about stealing the

In This Corner, the Bad Guys

Let’s start off this new series with a short quiz. Simply identify the bad guys in the following lists: At Thermopylae, was it (A) the 300 Spartans or (B) the Persians? In Star Wars, was it (A) Luke, Leah, Hans and Chewy or (B) Darth Vader and the Empire? At Atlanta, was it (A) Sherman and the Union forces or (B) Hood and his Confederate army? In Get Smart, was it (A) Max, 99 and the agents of Control or (B) Siegfried and the agents of KAOS? At Little Big Horn, was it (A) Custer and the US Calvary or (B) Crazy Horse and the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians? At Hastings, was it (A) William-soon-to-be-the-Conqueror and his Norman Army or (B) lying King Harold and his Saxon army? In the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, was it (A) Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and the beloved Boston Bruins or

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