Monthly Archives: October 2008

Letter from 2016 in Obama’s America

[Note: Last week Focus on the Family shared with us a sage and sobering letter from the future: 2012 to be exact. Perhaps because the news was too depressing to share, they neglected to also release the sequel–a letter from 2016 (after Obama’s second term as president), written by someone named Ryan Hamm ( I have that letter here. It’s your Christian and civic duty to read it… ]

October 29, 2016

Dear friends,

Remember the words of the classic American hymn, “The Angry American (Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue)?” Think on these lyrics:

And you’ll be sorry that you messed with
The U.S. of A.
‘Cause we’ll put a boot in your a**
It’s the American way.

While Christians have always rejected Brother Keith’s use of an expletive, the sentiments he expressed were certainly biblical. The USA was put on this earth by God to protect people and to be the New Covenant Nation. Well, brothers and sisters: I regret to say that this song may no longer be true. It is no longer the “American way” to defend freedom, liberty, and Jesus. No, in this, the eighth year of Chairman Obama’s administration (he took on the name “Chairman” in the “Mao-Rocks-My-Face-Off Act” of 2014), the American way is perversion, anti-family, anti-gun, environmentalist, pro-welfare, and pro-every-possible-sin-in-Leviticus-you-can-find.

Here is but a smattering of the many egregious measures Obama has taken as president over the past 8 years.

1. Family issues
Chairman Obama has begun the logical conclusion to his anti-life platform: Baby work camps. Yes, every child under the age of 2 is now taken from his or her mother, placed in an internment camp, and forced to crawl on a little hamster wheel to generate electrical power. Obama touts this plan as “clean energy”—in reality, it is an anti-family policy from the pits of Hell.

In the 7th year of the Obama adminstration, abortion doctors were given “attaboy” pensions—$6 million dollars in “wealthy-white-people” taxes—for performing abortions. Around the same time, Planned Parenthood (now a federally funded agency under the Department of Defense) began hosting “abortion parties” where every time an abortion is performed, there is a party with a taped greeting and congratulatory message from Chairman Obama.

2. Supreme Court
In 2014, Clarence Thomas stepped down after Ariana Huffington (now the Secretary of Blogs) accused him of “not being black enough.” Obama then nominated radical lesbian activist Rosie O’Donnell to replace him, and she was approved unanimously by the overwhelmingly Democratic Senate. The liberals now have a 8-1 advantage on the highest court in the land.

Because of this, the non-believing Democratic liberals have pushed through their radical agenda. In keeping with the destruction of the FCC (God’s way of keeping us from using bad words) and the War on ChristmasTM, the Supreme Court passed the “XMas Act of 2013”, outlawing the word “Christmas” and changing the official name to XMas—made worse one year later when, under incredible pressure from the Hefner family, they changed the holiday to “XXXMas” and made it a celebration officially sponsored by the adult film industry. Chairman Obama said “I didn’t know it would come to this, but I’m just upholding the law.”

3. Homosexuality and Sexual Perversion
In 2012, public pornography became rampant. Well, brothers and sisters, I’m grieved to report that, in 2016, matters are even worse. Public nudity became standard under the “Clothes? Who Needs ‘Em Act” of 2015 and people began to copulate in public. In early 2016, under the “Natural=Same Act,” public homosexual fornication became the law of the land, and heterosexual reproductive activity was officially confined to procreation centers. Again, Chairman Obama objected on a personal level, saying “Michelle and I have always thought that procreation was a natural part of marriage, but the Supreme court knows better. I trust Chief Justice O’Donnell’s judgment in this matter.”

Homosexuals are also sure to control the country for many years to come thanks to the new “Gay? You Can Vote Twice” law passed by congress in 2013.

In perhaps the most flagrant abuse of God’s law, Vice-Chairman Biden married a goat in a civil ceremony recognized by the ultra-leftist court. In the “Biden vs. Crazy-Right-Wing-Nuts-Who-Don’t-Recognize-Animal-Rights” decision, Justice Souter (now aged 106) wrote in the majority opinion, “I [expletive] totally support it if Joe [expletive] Biden wants to [expletive] marry a goat. If you don’t [expletive] like it, [expletive] [expletive] [expletive]. It is the decision of this court that all who oppose Biden’s [expletive] marriage will be sent to a [expletive] island and will be forced to wear scarlet M’s for ‘Meanie.’ [Expletive].” As you can see, language has also taken a sharp turn to the left.

4. Social issues
In keeping with his radical weapons policy, Chairman Obama signed into law the “Sharp Pointy Objects Act of 2013,” outlawing all sharp sticks, knives, and razor blades.

After years of murmurings from the Treasury Department that bar code forehead implants would replace all cash, it finally happened in 2015. Now, all citizens are required to have a unique bar code installed beneath the skin of their forehead, used for all payment and identification purposes.

Illegal immigrants are given a special place of honor in the new America. There are now 7 official languages in the United States besides English (none of them Hebrew or biblical Greek, so they aren’t really “languages” so much as “garbled American-English”).

New environmental initiatives have made the water cleaner, the air cleaner, and corporations responsible for their spills, thanks to market-driven efforts headed by consumer advocacy groups. The North Pole has been mostly restored and the hole in the ozone is mostly gone. We know as believers that this is NOT God’s best—his plan is to slowly destroy the earth via our pollution and then take all of us away to meet him in the sky before the really bad stuff happens.

5. Foreign Policy
Just last month, Chairman Obama rode a pig into the temple in Jerusalem because of the Supreme Court’s recent “Executive Pork-Riding Legislation” saying “I’m just supporting their law, not my own convictions. I don’t even eat meat.” This backs up the reputable claim that Obama is, in fact, the Beast out of the Earth.

In 2014, the EU outlawed any mention of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or Michael W. Smith. The remaining Christians in the United States put up a fuss, but Chairman Obama said “As the United States, we cannot put pressure on any place that would seek to explore their individual spirituality in whatever way they would choose.”

The Department of Homeland Security was abolished in 2013 and replaced by “The Department of Inclusive Peacemaking.” Michelle Obama heads this new department, which includes mandatory terrorist appreciation and training courses in all public schools. Chairman Obama has taken on a second wife, sister of Osama Bin Laden, in order to “cement the bond between our two communities.”


It came as no surprise, then, when in 2012 the Obamas converted from “Christianity” to Baal Worship, and created new “pagan holidays” wherein Americans are required to take off work to fornicate and drink “blood martinis,” a drink invented in the West Hollywood gay goth community circa 2010.

Brothers and sisters, you can see how bad it has gotten. And yet, we have the Christians of 2008 to thank for these events. Some Christians thoughtfully voted for McCain, realizing that his policies most closely matched their own convictions. We don’t care why they voted for McCain, of course, just that they did. Other Christians prayerfully cast their vote for Chairman Obama, sure that his policies were closer to their Christian convictions, unaware that he was so clearly the pawn of Satan. I would never say that those Christians lost their salvation for Democrats—but I would think it.

Now I’m just holding out hope that the Rapture will happen before too long. According to the pre-trib, pre-millennial chart I have on my wall, Gabriel’s mouth is close to the horn. Take heart my brothers and sisters. And remember: Enjoy America’s dominance and, in the words of Prophet Toby Keith, embrace “the American Way.”

Reclaiming America for Jesus (and for James Dobson),

-A Christian from 2016

P.S. Confused? Don’t be.

Biola criticized for “apostate Roman Catholic mystical spiritual formation”

This is the subject of my latest post over at Conversantlife. Check it out.

In related news, the L.A. Times reported this weekend that Biola is becoming more Democrat-friendly.

In still more signs of encroaching liberalism, Biola Magazine put out an environmentalism-themed cover story.

What is the world coming to?

(p.s. This is all said with irony, of course. Biola is still impressively conservative and doctrinally sound, even while it admirably seeks to re-evaluate old assumptions about certain issues and practices).


One of the hardest things for a film to do, or a book (or any art, really), is to portray a truly good character who is also believable and human. It is a lot easier to portray truly wicked, depraved characters who are believable (i.e. The Joker, or anyone in The Departed). It is totally refreshing, then, to see a film like Happy-Go-Lucky, which is basically a study of one person’s commitment to living a happy, upbeat, glass-half-full life in contemporary London.

British director Mike Leigh makes social-realist films that focus on urban and social problems. Unsurprisingly, his films (Naked, Secrets & Lies, Vera Drake, among many others) have a tendency to be rather dour. Not so with Happy-Go-Lucky, however. This film also focuses on the lower-middle classes in urban Britain, but it is not concerned as much with political or bureaucratic problems as with interpersonal choices to either make the best or worst of the life we’ve been dealt.

The film follows “Poppy” (Sally Hawkins), a 30-year-old schoolteacher who lives in a modest flat in North London and rarely has a frown on her face. She’s exuberant about everything and takes a child-like joy in the most mundane event (a dog walking by, a boat ride in the park, etc). To her, there isn’t much in the world that isn’t absolutely “luff-lay.”

Perhaps Leigh has realized that, ultimately, it takes people like Poppy to effect change in this problem-riddled world—people who choose to approach the gritty meanness of the world with hope, grace, and patience. Whether it is a violent student who Poppy takes the time to work with after school, or a homeless man she dares to seek out and show love, Poppy’s aggressive kind-heartedness is what sows the seeds of progress, one person at a time, Leigh seems to be saying. Not that Poppy is successful in every endeavor she undertakes to make someone happier. Some people, like her angry, racist driving instructor (Eddie Marsan), are helpless cases. Poppy can do her best to help him out of his anger, but ultimately it is his choice to choose to be happy.

The strength of this film is that it does not make Poppy out to be a saint. Nor does it suggest that all in life is roses if you only look at it with rose-colored glasses. Poppy recognizes the inherent sadnesses of life; she just chooses to focus on the other side of things. Her happiness is but one—the most glaring—of her personality traits. It is a credit to Sally Hawkins’ remarkable performance that we can see glimpses of instability, doubt, and sadness beneath the surface of Poppy’s ever-smiling face. But her joy is not a cover or veneer; it is real. This is not to say it is the only aspect of her psychology.

In the end, Happy-Go-Lucky poses a challenge to the viewer—a challenge that I definitely felt as a conviction in my heart. As a Christian, I should be as joyful as Poppy, right? I should be as aggressive as she is in seeking people out, loving them unconditionally (the scene with her and the homeless man will stay with me for a while), recognizing that they are not “mere mortals,” as C.S. Lewis would say. It is rare that a film leaves me with an image of Christ so much as Happy-Go-Lucky did with Poppy. She is not a “Christ figure” by any means, and doesn’t even appear to be a Christian, but her love and selflessness are totally Christ-like. Props to Mike Leigh and Sally Hawkins for gifting us with a character like that.

Why I Cannot Vote for Obama

I really want to vote for Obama. There are a myriad of reasons why it would thrill me to cast my vote for him on November 4. He is such an attractive and inspiring figure, and I’m not just saying that because it’s the standard line about Obama. It’s true.

It would be so nice to have a president who is smart, articulate, even-keeled, poised, intellectual, and (it seems) genuinely passionate about helping downtrodden people.

I’ve been impressed with the way he’s handled himself on the campaign trail (certainly moreso than I have been with McCain), and I’ve more than once considered the possibility of voting for him.

At the end of the day, though, we have to look past all the promises and rhetoric of a presidential candidate and look at their record. In Obama’s case, it’s not all that extensive or especially committal (it’s clear that Obama was planning for the presidency from his very first days in the Illinois legislature). But there are things about his record that really frighten me, and chief among them is his far-left stances on abortion.

Based on his record, Obama is the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in history. If you don’t believe that, read this article.

In it, Robert George, Princeton professor and renowned ethicist, summarizes Obama’s abortion record, and it is ugly. He begins by stating:

“Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress…”

The full article is truly eye-opening and disturbing, and I urge all of you to read it. If there is any part of you that is convicted about abortion and would like to see it lessened in America, you must consider Obama’s record carefully before you consider voting him into office.

I know, I know, people will retort that George W. Bush—possibly the most pro-life president in history—didn’t really do much to advance the pro-life cause. So why should I expect any different from McCain?

Well, it’s not about what McCain will or will not achieve on abortion. It’s about what an Obama administration would do to scale back abortion restriction laws and undo years of pro-life advances. If the democrats win a super majority in congress and Obama is elected president, we could be in for the biggest step back for the pro-life movement in history.

This may make me a “single-issue” voter, but so be it. I agree that “pro-life” goes beyond abortion—encompassing issues of poverty, the death penalty, even the environment… But abortion is a huge and important part of what it means to affirm the sanctity of life, and Obama’s cavalier legislative approach to it truly disturbs me.

I will not be crushed if Obama becomes the president; in some ways I’ll be very happy. But I’ll be praying that his tenure as president does not even go near abortion issues. It is that fear—that Obama will in his presidency be the pro-abortion extremist he has been as an Illinois legislator and U.S. Senator—that prevents me from voting for him.

My Autumn Playlist

Because “Autumn” in L.A. is negligible at best, I have to live my seasons vicariously through media. I tend to make music playlists, for example, to play in my car or iPod whenever I want to feel like I’m living in some crisp, fall-like place. I do this for other seasons as well. It works fairly well, I think.

Anyway, the following is my “Autumn 2008” playlist. These songs alternate between a sort of shiftless urban malaise and a midwestern harvest-time sturdiness. It will make more sense if you hear the songs (which are mostly available for mp3 purchase, wherever you purchase your tunes!).

“Cold Wind” – Arcade Fire: Songs about cold winds always strike me as quintessentially autumnal.

“Memorial” – Explosions in the Sky: Explosions in the Sky makes music that I will always associate with fall, maybe because I’ll always associate them with Friday Night Lights.

“Victoria’s Secret” – Quiet Village: The schmaltzy, early-80s-nighttime soap vibe of this track has a strangely nostalgic, haunting effect.

“Sonho Dourado” – Daniel Lanois: Truly one of the great instrumental treasures from Daniel “I produced The Joshua Tree” Lanois.

“Guilty Cubicles” – Broken Social Scene: Aptly used in the film Half Nelson, this song has one of the most curiously appropriate titles ever.

“Closing Scene” – The Radio Dept: A fall mix would not be complete without some neo-shoegazer lamentation from The Radio Dept!

“UK” – Burial: My second favorite song for turning up in my car when I’m driving in L.A. late at night.

“Lemon Tree” – Herb Alpert & Thievery Corporation: A truly gorgeous song I recently discovered featuring Thievery Corporation’s treatment of jazz trumpeter Herb Alpert.

“Trials” – Damien Jurado: From his brand new album, this Damien Jurado track finds him sounding remarkably like Nick Drake

“Constants Are Changing” – Boards of Canada: The title says it all.

“Torn Blue Foam Couch” – Grand Archives: I highly suggest this new Sub Pop band. Very easy-listening with a touch of nostalgia.

“Rollercoaster” – M. Ward: My new favorite song from quiet alt-country folkster M. Ward.

“Too Late” – M83: My third favorite song for turning up in my car when I’m driving in L.A. late at night.

“Yardwork in November” – The Actual Tigers: I haven’t heard anything from this obscure band since this song, but I really like it. Sounds kinda like Paul Simon-esque folk.

“Long Nights” – Eddie Vedder: One of many great songs from Vedder’s spectacular Into the Wild soundtrack.

“Family Tree” – TV on the Radio: From their new album; a brilliant, subtle ballad from an increasingly impressive band.

“Peace of Mind” – Mindy Smith: What I listen to on stressful days.

“Ponytails” – Panda Bear: My favorite song for turning up in my car when I’m driving in L.A. late at night.

“Fljótavík” – Sigur Ros: Simple but devastating.

“Meadowlarks” – Fleet Foxes: Can’t get enough of Fleet Foxes’ beautiful Appalachian-inspired tunes, which are thoroughly autumnal.

“Auntie’s Lock/Infinitum” – Flying Lotus: A solemn beaut from hip hop producer Steve Ellison (aka Flying Lotus).

Notes on The New World Extended Director’s Cut

People who frequent this blog know very well that Terrence Malick’s The New World is high on my list of the happiest things on earth. It’s a film that I’ve probably watched 20 times over the past three years, each time relishing anew the truth, beauty, and catharsis it offers. Imagine my utter glee, then, when it was announced that a new director’s extended cut of the film was to be released this fall on DVD. I was beside myself.

Well, that release day came this past Tuesday, and I happily purchased the DVD for $15.99 on Amazon. I urge all Malick fans to do the same. If you liked The New World as it was seen in theaters in 2006, you will love the extended version, which has about 40 minutes of added footage.

There are now three versions of the film that I’ve seen. There was a cut screened for critics in December of 2005 (approximately 150 minutes), the cut released in theaters (135 minutes), and now the new cut (172 minutes). Each is beautiful and complete, but I have to say that this latest, longest version is to me the definitive, canonical version.

It is clear that this cut was indeed fashioned by Malick himself. It isn’t simply a re-insertion of deleted scenes or a series of elongated scenes that had been previously snipped for length. No, there are many noticeable changes to the flow and texture of the film, all for the better. Here are a few things that the new cut includes:

  • Intertitles. This is the most striking addition, and one that I loved. About 7 or 8 times throughout the film, Malick inserts intertitles that segment the film in new and interesting ways. The effect is occasionally informative for the narrative’s chronology (i.e. “London, 1614”), but frequently it is more poetic (“A Secret Crop,” “The Return of the Floating Islands,” etc). The insertion of these chapter breakdowns lends more credence to the theory that Malick is over-the-moon in love with silent cinema. His films, after all, are way more about image than dialogue, and certainly in The New World this is the case. The intertitles here feel very silent-film esque—framing the action and giving a “what’s next” sense and flow to an otherwise free-flowing film. In any case, I really liked this addition.
  • Added Wagner sequence. In the two previous versions, there are 3 immensely epic sequences set to Wagner’s monstrous Das Rheingold prologue. In this latest cut, there is a fourth! This one takes place at around the 1 hour 19 minute mark, and lasts a little over a minute. It introduces a new segment of Das Rheingold that we haven’t heard in any other version of the movie, as well as images of Pocahontas by a roaring river that are beautiful, new, and totally appropriate.
  • Lots more voiceover fragments. Voiceovers have been crucial in all of Malick’s films, but in The New World they take on a whole new feel—more fragmentary, more poetic, fluidly incoherent. They are seemingly random assemblages of thoughts and words, but reflective of how we actually think (i.e. not in complete or sensical sentences). This is only amplified in the extended cut, with many more layered whisperings and ponderous murmurs uttered in voiceover, which, combined with the other cinematic rhythms of sounds and image, make for a truly breathtaking and unique viewing experience.

Is “Green” Christianity Here to Stay?

It’s not news that the environment is in trouble, that our natural resources are not infinite. But it may be news to some that Christians are increasingly on board with ecological concerns. Indeed, it seems that evangelicals are finally warming to a concern that has for way too long been considered solely a political (i.e. liberal) issue. It’s not a political issue. It’s a real-world issue. And for Christians, it’s a religious concern.

This is the thesis of the cover story I just wrote for Biola magazine.

It was a daring article, I think, for an evangelical university alumni magazine to put on its cover. But I’m extremely proud to have written it, and I think that more people will be encouraged than distressed by it.

The “greening of evangelicals” is a happy thing, but part of me wonders what the motivation for Christians is in joining the environmental cause. Is it truly because we care for the environment and want to steward the creation God’s given us? Or is it about “being relevant” in a culture that increasingly revolves around “being green”?

Also, what about the money that can be made by jumping into the “green industry”? There are entire industries now that are taking advantage of consumers’ green guilt, from hybrid cars to sustainable fashion lines. And, perhaps unexpectedly, Christian booksellers are taking advantage.

Behold: the “Green-letter Bible.” Is it a step forward for Christianity? Or a shameless attempt to cash in on a white hot commercial trend?

I don’t know. But I don’t want to get too cynical about this, because I’d much rather be excited by it. My hope is that we can all come together and work hard to address environmental concerns, not because it’s trendy, but because it’s responsible. It’s even biblical.

On the Experience of Seeing “W”

I went to a press screening of W, Oliver Stone’s new George W. Bush biopic, last night in L.A. I do not want to say too much about the film itself or my assessment of it yet, but you can read my review on Christianity Today‘s movies website on Friday.

I will say that it was one of the most interesting movie-going experiences I’ve had in a long time. The theater was completely full, both with press and average filmgoers. Leonard Maltin was sitting a few rows ahead of me, which was cool. Typical of a West L.A. arthouse movie audience, the crowd was largely partisan towards the left. The first time Dubya (Josh Brolin) showed up on screen, the crowd roared with laughter.

It was a strange atmosphere, though, because I got the sense that this crowd expected Oliver Stone to really destroy George W. Bush–to offer the definitive demonizing portrayal that so many Bush-haters have longed for. They didn’t get that, and yet they got a really amazing, complicated film. The crowd didn’t know what to do with it. It reminded me of films where the audience forces itself to laugh–and laughs overly loud at the truly funny moments because that’s what they thought they signed up for.

In any case, there were a few notable reactions from audience members when the final credits rolled. A few people booed, Leonard Maltin sat mesmerized, and the guy behind me said “I never thought I’d say this, but I was actually charmed by George W. Bush.”

For me, it was a strangely therapeutic experience. But I’ll go in to that in my full review on Friday.

In the meantime, check out my new commentary on election year films, published yesterday on CT.

Burn After Reading

The Coen Brothers new film, Burn After Reading, suffers from the fact that it followed No Country for Old Men, last year’s best picture Oscar winner. By comparison, Reading looks a tad lightweight—a goofy black comedy without the obvious “prestige” elegance of No Country. But I think that Reading is a very good, concise, underrated film. And perhaps the Coen’s most timely movie ever.

On a filmmaking level, you have to appreciate the razor-sharp economy with which the Coens make films. In No Country, they showed just how evocative a film can be when its most crucial, waited-for moments are only implied (as in, the moment when Javier Bardem lifts up his shoe at the end of the film). In Reading, they do the same thing. The Coens use an effective narrative device—C.I.A. officials being “briefed”—to comically tell us how the most horrendously violent scenes unfold. It is often said that good filmmakers “show” rather than “tell” a scene, but in the case of violence, I think that the Coens have found a way to effectively render it in our minds without always showing it. Certainly the endings of Reading and No Country are effective in this way.

But I also appreciated Reading for other things: its great cast (Brad Pitt and Richard Jenkins are especially fun), for one thing, but also its strange, quirky ability to capture the zeitgeist of America (well, Washington) in 2008.

The film has a resigned feeling to it—an almost nihilistic sense that everyone is stupid, selfish, and self-destructive. It’s a dark, cynical film, but it captures a familiar weariness that I think rings more true than ever today—in these days when Washington seems more inept than ever, more self-serving, and more prone to make a problem worse by trying to “solve” it in a quick and easy manner.

Burn After Reading never directly addresses one political party or another, and certainly it may be interpreted as a critique of the 8-year-long train wreck that has been the Bush years, but I see it more as a commentary on Washington D.C. in general, on bureaucracy, on the failed systems of power and secrecy and cover-ups that have made this generation of young Americans the most cynical ever about politics.

No Country felt timely as well, but not in a way that felt particularly American. Reading feels completely and utterly about America—about big, dumb, angry, short-tempered Americans who are scared about the future, paranoid about the present, dubious about anyone or anything “official,” and perpetually engaged in a downward spiral/comedy of errors.

At a time like this—when faith in America is dropping with the stocks, when many of us are losing all interest in the election and just wish it would end—perhaps Burn After Reading is not the best film for us. But then again, maybe it’s exactly the film we need.

Apocalypse Watch: Iceland Nearly Bankrupt

They’ve produced some truly exquisite music (Sigur Ros, Bjork) and offered us one of the great villains of modern cinema (team Iceland in Mighty Ducks 2), but now, sadly, they are on the verge of bankruptcy.

That’s right, the country of Iceland has all but gone bankrupt.

Evidently while its residents have busied themselves making mind-blowingly whimsical music videos, the government and banking industry in Iceland were recklessly setting the country up for economic collapse.

Maybe now that their currency has lost 50% of its value, I should take my long sought trip to Reykjavik. But then again… what would be open when I got there?

Just a sign of the times, I guess. Like this… and this.