Posted on : 12-21-2005 | By : Andy | In : work
This year, online shopping was huge. The most obvious advice for future online gift purchasers that became evident this last month is this: order early. eTailers (that’s e-retailers) everywhere have problems keeping a super-accurate inventory this time of year, and what is available in abundance today may be found to be in short or no supply tomorrow. Also, shipping companies are not perfect. Packages get lost or delayed every once in a while, especially around this time of year when temporary help may be employed.
The second big lesson is that eBay does not always mean cheapest. At Step2 we sell factory-direct from www.step2direct.com. This year we had a Free Shipping Special on our most popular kitchen, which sells for $199.99. eBay sellers have been peddling them for $220-230 each, ording from our website and having them shipped to their bidders. That’s 28 people who could be buying their children a play food set or a couple of Disney DVDs. Not only did it cost them more, but it is now looking as if the extra delay required to go through an eBay sale might mean some of them don’t receive their kitchen by Christmas.
The next time you buy something online, do your homework. Sometimes typing in www.(brandnamehere).com or checking with major retailers such as Target.com or JCPenney.com will land you a much sweeter deal than Mr. ISitAtHomeAllDay from eBay.
Posted on : 12-18-2005 | By : Andy | In : pop culture, religion
I must say, I was disappointed with Disney’s movie version of “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.”
If you read the book (and I recommend that you do), you soon realize that the most important, most central character is Aslan. Sure, we share in the adventure through the eyes of the Pevensies, but Aslan is what matters. When the Beavers first speak his name, you get this idea of an incredible feeling of awe. We are told “of course He’s not safe! But He’s good.” From there you can see him as He really is, the image of Christ. He is huge, all-powerful and all-knowing, yet restraining himself to come alongside those He came to save, and eventually surrendering even to death.
Unfortunately, Disney made Aslan just a big cat. They don’t create the sense of awe that Lewis wanted to portray: as if one were in the presence of God Almighty, in a position where you have no defence, and you know His anger can be the most fearsome thing, but your knowledge of his love and goodness somehow keeps you from running away as fast as you can.
Other than that, I felt they were pretty faithful to the book. But missing the whole underlying moral and getting the rest dead-on is still a failure in my book. It’s too bad we can’t have the BBC’s faithfulness to the original text married with Disney’s masterful cinematography and CG.
Posted on : 12-10-2005 | By : Andy | In : religion
My wife is reading Elisabeth Elliot’s book “Through Gates of Splendor,” a true story of some of the most remarkable displays of faith and the personification of God’s love and forgiveness. She tells me it’s good, and I think I’ll end up reading it myself. They also released a movie of the same story this year, “Beyond the Gates of Splendor,” and reviews make it out to be quite moving.
I’m afraid my faith is a bit lacking at times.
Really, I’m in awe of those who give up everything to live out their faith, and I’d lie if I said I shared that same devotion. I wish I did, I pray that someday I may, but it excites and terrifies me to see that same kind of complete surrender in my own life. It would have to be all God, because I know myself pretty well, and that includes a desire for comfort and security that just wouldn’t mesh well with the kind of service the Elliots gave themselves up to.
God, would you give me the strength to surrender to you today?
Posted on : 12-09-2005 | By : Andy | In : pop culture, religion
Ah yes, our favorite atheistic nation is back at it again. Or at least, the Guardian, a UK Newspaper is. Check out these comments by Martin Kettle:
“But organisers of the museum’s terrific new exhibition on the life and work of Charles Darwin acknowledge that theirs is an explicit gesture of defiance towards an anti-scientific Christian fundamentalism that is again running fast and deep in contemporary America.”
“They (Americans) believe, incredibly, that the earth is only a few thousand years old.”
“‘intelligent design’ – the conceit that the complexity of the natural world can only be explained by the intercession of a supreme being”
Ah yes, we Americans are morons for believing that the earth is younger than the astro-physical limits of its age. (Our planet’s decline in rotational speed, the orbit of the moon, and the rate of the sun’s consumption of its elemental fuel all laugh at a “billions-of-years-old” earth) Christians who believe in creationism over Darwinism are not anti-scientific in their skepticism over missing links and the complete lack of evidence for beneficial macro-evolution.
I’ve been over this before.
Posted on : 12-05-2005 | By : Andy | In : pop culture, religion
It’s sad that Great Britain has forgotten God. In this misguided review of “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”, Polly Toynbee rails on God in a British newspaper “The Guardian.” Worse though, she misrepresents Christ’s sacrifice:
Of all the elements of Christianity, the most repugnant is the notion of the Christ who took our sins upon himself and sacrificed his body in agony to save our souls. Did we ask him to? Poor child Edmund, to blame for everything, must bear the full weight of a guilt only Christians know how to inflict, with a twisted knife to the heart.
Apparently, Ms. Toynbee isn’t familiar with the whole concept behind salvation. It wasn’t done so we would feel guilty for Christ’s death, but so we could be redeemed from the sin that would condemn us for eternity. If she would rather suffer eternity in hell rather than bear the thought that someone else willingly suffered for her sins, I would call her sorrily mistaken.
I’m just sorry that she’s had to hear this misguided guilt trip:
Every one of those thorns, the nuns used to tell my mother, is hammered into Jesus’s holy head every day that you don’t eat your greens or say your prayers when you are told.
I’m sorry, but those nuns were wrong. Just plain wrong.
Edmund doesn’t wallow in this guilt, and Aslan doesn’t lord his sacrifice over him. Instead, Aslan offers forgiveness and redemption–and not just to Edmund, but to the whole of Narnia (the breaking of the winter spell). God is about love, not guilt trips. And He promises us that once we repent, our sins are removed from us as far as the east is from the west. If you haven’t yet, please accept that gift. And if you know Polly, talk to her, or send her a link to this post!