Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thoughts on the Oscars

I know that this is a few days late, but I'm only now getting my thoughts together on the Oscars.

So I sat through the entire show and here's what I think, for what it's worth:

1.  It is still WAY too long.  You have to get rid of the short films, documentary films, foreign films, and technical awards.  Do those on another night.  Also you need to limit your song/dance numbers to one at the beginning.  I thought the live Les Miserables was touching an beautiful.  But the other songs dragged it down.  And this was after that long Bond tribute.

2.  I actually like Seth MacFarland as a host.  He won't do it again, but he was witty and had real showmanship.  I noticed online that I was in the minority with this opinion, but I liked most of his jokes.  The jab at red staters was needless, but I wasn't offended.  It was simply a useless annoyance.  I had Whoopi Goldberg flashbacks.

3.  I think people misunderstood the point of the "boobs" song.  A lot of actresses think that they will be taken seriously if they do an "adult" role and appear naked.  Right after Twilight, Kristen Steward took off her clothes in On the Road.  Anne Hathaway broke from The Princess Diaries mold and took her top off for Havoc.  The point of the song was that even though even though these actresses think that this will cause them to be taken more seriously, the matter of fact is that all it does is further objectify them.  The average male viewer is not impressed with the "bravery" of an actress to be naked on film.  All they remember is that they fueled their lusts.  MacFarland was pointing out how silly it is for women to be naked on camera.  I particularly liked how Jennifer Lawrence pumped her first in the air when he mentioned that she hasn't done nudity.  She has class.

4.  I was surprised by how much love Life of Pi (or as I call it Boating Tiger, Hidden Shoreline) received.  I have not seen the movie, but it beat out Lincoln at most every turn where I thought Spielberg's movie would win.  Someone wrote that Hollywood secretly hates Spielberg.  I hope that's not the case.

5.  People seem almost sick of the fact that Anne Hathaway was a shoe-in.  But I think that diminishes her.  That performance as Fantine was harrowing and truly Oscar-worthy.

6.  I was happy Jennifer Lawrence won.  I love how she tripped, not because I liked seeing her look foolish, but it made her seem very human.  She is a fantastic actress and her performance in Silver Linings Playbook is the best thing in that movie.

7.  Though I think Les Miserables the best movie of the year, I am satisfied with Argo.  I thought Ben Affleck's speech was the best of the night.  I was glad I stayed up to see it.  It was a fantastic way to close the show.

8.  Any award show with Captain Kirk is better than a show without.

9.  Even though I said they should cut the shorts, I'm glad Paperman won.  It is one of the best movies I've seen in a while.  If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and look it up online.  It is less that 8 minutes.  And it has a fantastic little score.

10.  I was really excited that there was a tie.  Of course it was in a category that I have very little interest in, but still, I thought it was cool.

So those are my thoughts.  Yours?

Pope-ular Opinions

Today is Pope Benedict XVI's last day on the throne of Peter.  We now enter that time in Church history known as the sede vacante, when the office of the papacy is vacant.  The conclave will soon be called and our Cardinals will elect a new Holy Father by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I have been doing my level best to avoid all news stories about the conclave.  It is not because I wish to remain in ignorance, but no matter where I look, the journalists cannot help but put their two cents in regarding what we should have in a new Pontiff.  Admittedly, most of the hard news anchors don't come out and give their advice, but they stack the deck with those pundits who are free with their own opinions that they believe the new pope should adopt.

But the Church is not a democracy.  It never has been and it never will be.  Even the election of the pope is not so much a democratic exercise as it is a method by which the Holy Spirit works through his chosen cardinals.  If a cardinal campaigns for others to vote him in as pope, he will be automatically excommunicated   I think we are too jaded by our modern politics to understand that the papal vote is not political   And while history has shown that the cardinals have not always lived up to this ideal, it nevertheless remains a primarily spiritual affair.

And that doesn't stop anyone and everyone from sketching out their perfect pontiff that should be elected.  For example Chris Matthews spoke of Pope Paul VI's pontificate  "We got meat on Friday, we would rather have had birth control."  Notice his absolute failure to understand the Church's moral teachings, as if the Pope had a bag of goodies to give out to his flock and chose to hand out corn-dogs, not condoms.

But people like Matthews can't help it.  For them, the Church is not the Holy Body of Christ, but another international organization whose job it is to make people feel good.  But the Church is not interested in making people feel good.  We are interested in making them good.

From what I've been able to gather from our elites who know everything, the next pope should be from Africa because that would really stick it to the Europeans and prove that the Catholic Church isn't racist (to whom I don't know).  He should also apologize profusely for causing the priest abuse scandal.  And after that, he needs to give up the archaic prohibition on artificial contraception.  This of course would also logically remove any impediment to blessing same-sex unions.  He should also end sexism in the Church by reversing John Paul II's "infallible" decision on reserving priesthood for only men.  And with more women in positions of power, the Church will no longer be opposed to a woman's right to choose.  Once all of this occurs, we will finally get more people into the Church.

Of course this is the idol fashioned by those who do not want a pope.  They want something else.

I must admit I am very spoiled in terms of popes.  It was a great blessing to grow up under the pontificate of John Paul the Great.  When he died, I felt a great deal of uncertainty.  Not doubt, mind you, but trepidation that came with the unknown.  And then Benedict XVI was elected and I was elated.  He was one of the few cardinals with whom I was familiar.  I knew him by his writings and his reputation and I was relieved.  Here was a pope who was eminently wise, eminently caring, and eminently holy.  Few men come into the Office of Peter with as much practical experience as he.  When he announced his retirement, I was deeply saddened.

I began thinking of what I would like in a new pope.  I began to think of someone like Cardinal Dolan.  Here was someone from America who saw the world from that unique perspective of exceptionalism that is in very fabric of our nation.  He is someone bold and outspoken, not one to mince words.  I have always been attracted to people who "tell it like it is."  He stands strong on the issues I care about.  And he can relate to my every day life in a way that previous popes have not.

But while thinking about this, it occurred to me: am I not doing the exact same thing Chris Matthews is doing?  To be sure, I am not looking for the next pope contradict basic Catholic moral teaching like Matthews is, but I sure as heck began shaping a perfect pope in my mind that conformed to my personal hopes and dreams.

And when I do that, I am fashioning an idol.  I do not want a pope.  I want something else.

What does it mean to have a pope?  Why did Christ give Peter (of all people) the keys to the Kingdom of God?  I say this with all respect and love.  St. Peter is my all time favorite saint, not because of how powerful he was, but because he was the biggest screw up in the Bible.  He always misunderstands Jesus, he loses faith on the waters and sinks, he tries to derail Christ from his mission (and is called "Satan" because of it), he cuts off someone's ear at the Mount of Olives, and he promises never to abandon Jesus but denies 3 times even knowing him.

This was our first pope.

If I were to choose a pope for Jesus, I would have chosen John.  Sure he wanted Jesus to burn down a city because they were mean to him, but John was the Disciple whom Jesus loved.  He was with Him from the beginning of His ministry, he laid his head against Christ's heart at the Last Supper, he was the only one of the 12 at the foot of the cross, and he took Mary into his care.

But Christ did not choose John.  He chose Peter.

But notice what John does at the resurrection.  When he and Peter run to the tomb, John gets there first, but he lets Peter be the first to enter.  He defers to Peter.  He follows Peter.  He obeys Peter.  That is why we have a pope.

I think most of us don't want a pope because we don't want to obey.  We want the pope to be a reflection of our own idiosyncratic take on Catholicism.  But we must bend.

I do not know who the next pope will be.  I do not know if he will have a personality I like or don't like.  I don't know if he will behave like John Paul and Benedict or like Sixtus IV and Clement V.  I don't know if he will be American or African or European of Chinese.

But I know that I will obey him.

Obedience is key to our salvation.  Obedience is the virtue of humility lived out.  Christ made Himself obedient to St. Joseph, even though He was wiser, holier, and better in every way.  But he obeyed and gave us a model of humility.

Christ calls us to be humble and obey.  If we do not want to obey, they we do not want a pope.  But we have to have a pope.  Because we have to obey.

And we should not be worried about Chris Matthews and his like and their desires for a complete reversal of  Catholic morality.  Because it isn't going to happen.  The Holy Spirit will choose our next pontiff.  And he will be empowered by Him to safeguard to truths of the faith.  Our next pope will not be John Paul the Great.  Our next pope will not be Benedict the Wise.  He will be his own man.

And he will be my pope.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Adopt a Cardinal

Over at, they have set out a unique spiritual ministry.

The conclave to elect a new pope will be underway soon.  I recently read the words of St. Alfonsus Ligouri regarding papal elections and he made clear that the most important thing that was needed was prayer.

We need to firmly pray for our Church and the outpouring of God's grace.  The website have made this prayer personal.  If you sign up, it will randomly pick a cardinal for you who will be voting in the upcoming conclave.  You will then spiritually adopt this cardinal and pray for him throughout.

I did it today and I was assigned Cardinal Daniel Dinardo of Galvaston-Houston.

So now he will be part of my daily prayer intentions.

If you get a chance, this is a wonderfully creative way to participate in the support of our Church as she elects a new Holy Father.

Wednesday Comics: Throne of Atlantis

If you're like me, you were very excited when it was announced that Geoff Johns was going to be writting the Justice League comic, but you felt that it had not yet lived up to its potential.  The stories were large in scope but lacked a certain depth that had been found in most of Johns' other books.  And while characters like Chetah are interesting, they don't warrant an entire JL story arc.

Well all that can finally be put behind us with Throne of Atlantis.

This is a crossover with John's other book, Aquaman.  The story is very straightforward:  Someone from the surface world hits Atlantis with nukes.  Atlantis retaliates with a full on invasion of the surface world.  They are led by Orm, the brother of the rightful king, Aquaman.  And Aquaman is the only one who can thwart the invasion plans... because he designed them.  But does he want to?

This story puts Aquaman front and center while making this a full Justice League story.  All of the League members have their moments.  Cyborg, for example, has to give up his last remaining shreds of his human body if he wants to be able to breath underwater and save his allies.  That story line was both sad and moving.

But the action was fast and furious.  Artists Ivan Reis and Joe Prado provide art worthy of a Justice League story.  Their A-Game can be seen not only in giant, chaotic splash pages, but tender moments of humanity as human beings cower before the power of the ocean.

As crossover stories go, I felt a harmonious blend between the two books.  This is natural since they have the same writer.  But the Aquaman issues felt like his story, not a JL story inside of his book.  But the action in JL was so large that the League had to open up their roster.  I loved watching 2nd tier heroes react to being draft by the JL.  Some are over the moon excited.  Others are too overwhelmed by the crisis at hand.  Johns' shows us the great diversity of heroes and their skill and experience levels.  There is an old writing adage: show, don't tell.  If the question was ever why the Justice League doesn't have more members, showing the bumbling nature of some heroes is the answer.  It reminds us that the Justice League is an elite not because they are snobs, but because they are the best of the best.

I also love John's version of Orm, also known as Ocean Master.  He is not a petty, bloodthirsty tyrant.  He is someone who genuinely loves Atlantis.  And saddest of all, he genuinely loves his brother Aquaman.  This makes the lead up to the final confrontation not only dramatic in terms of action, but emotionally compelling as well.  The end of the story left me incredibly sad, which I'm sure was Johns' intention.

But my favorite part of the book is the fact that it actually changed things in both Justice League and Aquaman.  Too often a big event occurs and there is a lot of hype and a lot of action, but in the end, everything is back to status quo  (I'm looking at you "Batman: Death of the Family").  But with Throne of Atlantis, I felt a noticebal shift in the Aquaman's world and in the Justice League itself.  Aquaman's choices change everything, maybe for the entire DC Universe.  The Justice League also has to shake up their roster and figure out how to respond to these threats.  And this attack leads directly into the formation of the new team: The Justice League OF AMERICA.

Throne of Atlantis is the Johns' Justice League we've been waiting for.  I have a feeling it will only get better from here (fingers crossed!)

Monday, February 25, 2013

UPDATED Monday Poetry: The Donkey

Sorry, an observant reader noticed that I left off the last line of the poem.  What a donkey move!

Keeping with the donkey theme, one of my good friends sent me this wonderfully humorous poem by GK Chesterton.  Enjoy!

 G.K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears, 

And palms before my feet. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tweets on Oscar

Here are my tweets on the Oscars (and some of my favorite retweets).  I'll have a more cogent reflection on the Oscars later.

CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Affleck is awesome. Best speech of the night #benjaminaffleck #Oscars2013

15 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Argo earns best picture. Go Ben! #benjaminaffleck #Oscars2013

15 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
I think I just saw Michelle obama's first campaign speech for president #Oscars2013

15 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
I thought Nicholson was supposed to present. Instead Woody Allen showed up #Oscars2013

15 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
I think that I'm going to try win a best actor Oscar by staring in a movie called "There Will Be My Left Lincoln" #Oscars2013

15 hrs Joel McHale ‏@joelmchale
Okay, I grudgingly admit Daniel Day-Lewis made the right decision to star in “Lincoln” instead of “Piranha 3DD”. #OscarsWithJoel
 Retweeted by CatholicSkywalker

15 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Katniss has just won the Hollywood hunger games #OSCARS2013

16 hrs Joel McHale ‏@joelmchale
Spielberg probably lost for completely glossing over all of Lincoln’s vampire hunting. #OscarsWithJoel
 Retweeted by CatholicSkywalker

16 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Oscar goes to director of Boating Tiger, Hidden Shoreline #OSCARS2013

16 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
I found it cool that Tarantino wouldn't let himself get played off #OSCARS2013

16 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
I like that Chris terrio thanked tony Mendez, but CIA agents are non violent? #OSCARS2013

16 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
You know, it's been nearly an hour since we've had an award that the public cares about #OSCARS2013

16 hrs Joel McHale ‏@joelmchale
They should throw @tomhanks into the "In Memoriam" montage, just to see everybody freak out. #OscarsWithJoel
 Retweeted by CatholicSkywalker

16 hrs Joel McHale ‏@joelmchale
This is about artistry, NOT a popularity contest. Now let's see who gets the most applause during the In Memoriam montage! #OscarsWithJoel
 Retweeted by CatholicSkywalker

16 hrs Andy Levy ‏@andylevy
“Who are you wearing, Kristen Stewart?” “Xanax I think?”
 Retweeted by CatholicSkywalker

16 hrs Joel McHale ‏@joelmchale
I just wish there were more scenes in "Silver Linings Playbook" where Jennifer Lawrence shoots an arrow into a dude’s neck. #OscarsWithJoel
 Retweeted by CatholicSkywalker

16 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
You know, I thought it was about time Adele got an award for something #OSCARS2013

16 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Needless dig at half the country. It wouldn't be a Hollywood award show without it #OSCARS2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Just rewatched Argo and it earned the editing award #OSCARS2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
They got menbouzie! How did they snag him? #OSCARS2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Hathaway's speech was sweet #OSCARS2013

17 hrs Joel McHale ‏@joelmchale
This Anne Hathaway win is simply the Academy’s “make good” for snubbing her performance in BRIDE WARS. #OscarsWithJoel
 Retweeted by CatholicSkywalker

17 hrs Joel McHale ‏@joelmchale
"Les Mis" was confusing. Why didn't Hugh Jackman just use his adamantium claws to overthrow the French government? #OscarsWithJoel
 Retweeted by CatholicSkywalker

17 hrs Joel McHale ‏@joelmchale
Even the nominees for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing can't explain the differences between their categories. #OscarsWithJoel
 Retweeted by CatholicSkywalker

17 hrs Joel McHale ‏@joelmchale
A tie! Good lord, all that extra smelting time in the Oscar factory must have racked up some serious overtime! #OscarsWithJoel
 Retweeted by CatholicSkywalker

17 hrs S.E. Cupp ‏@secupp
Jeez, were all these sound winners the bad guy in the painting from Ghost Busters II?
 Retweeted by CatholicSkywalker

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Whoa! I am shocked, shocked I tell you that Anne Hathaway won #OSCARS2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
That sound of music gag was fantastic #OSCARS2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
I have never seen a tie in the oscars before. Cool! #OSCARS2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Ted! #OSCARS2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
The Les Miserables number was beautiful, but... The show is already to long. The whole thing should have been cut #OSCARS2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
I don't care what anyone says, the Gladiator can sing #OSCARS2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
He'll always be Daredevil to me #benjaminaffleck #oscars2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
They really need to cut the shorts from the telecast #oscars2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Ah, Goldfinger... But I'd rather have sheena Easton singing "For Your Eyes Only" #oscars2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Once again Hollywood snubs fantasy in costumes and makeup #oscars2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
I haven't seen life of Pi, but it is cleaning up #oscars2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
The Avengers Assembled #oscars2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Brave's win is fine with me, but wreck it Ralph was better #OSCARS2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Paperman wins! Awesome film. Be sure to check it out! #OSCARS2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Why did they cut to Nicholson when taking about Tarantino? #OSCARS2013

17 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Did not think Waltz would win. But he is an excellent actor.

18 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
"Except Entertainment Weekly" awesome #OSCARS2013

18 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Harry potter and batman jr look classy #OSCARS2013

18 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Theron and tatum can dance! I like the classic feel #OSCARS2013

18 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Song was crude but pointed at how actresses get "taken seriously" but are really just objectified #OSCARS2013

18 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Captain Kirk! This Oscars just got awesome! #OSCARS2013

18 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Awesome dig at Chris Brown #OSCARS2013

18 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Great opening joke #OSCARS2013

18 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Begin "live" Oscar tweeting in a few minutes. Will start from beginning of the show and catch up by skipping commercials #OSCARS2013

19 hrs CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Will begin my "live" tweet of oscars in about 30 mins. Should catch up about an hour into the show

Feb 24 CatholicSkywalker ‏@CatholicSkywalk
Sunday Best: Live Tweeting the Oscars …

Sunday Best: Live Tweeting the Oscars

photo by Alan Light

Tonight is the Superbowl of movies.  I love the Oscars, though I imagine many people do not.  I had one friend tell me that he would rather shave the unpresentable parts of Rob Reiner than watch the show.

I understand.  The award show can be long, boring, and upsetting when the people you want don't win.  But I cannot help myself.

I may not be home in time for the beginning of the show, but as with the Golden Globes, I will TIVO them and begin my "Live" tweeting when I get home.  I should hopefully catch up before the end of the show (probably sometime around 2:59am)

You can follow my tweets @CatholicSkywalk

For those playing the Oscar Game that I posted a few weeks ago, I will be keeping score.

Here, again, is my ballot.


BEST DIRECTORSteven Spielberg - LINCOLNSteven Spielberg - LINCOLN
Quentin Tarantino – DJANGO UNCHAINED

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pope Fiction

With the awesome Pope Benedict XVI stepping down as the Holy Father of the Roman Catholic Church, it got me to thinking who should be the next pope.  But then I got to thinking about the much more frivolous: who from popular fiction would make a great pope?

I figured you would want someone older and wiser so I assembled a list of mentors from some of our best stories.  Here are the results:


Obi-Wan Kenobi

He is wise with a strong gift for preaching to the uninitiated.  See how much Luke learns about the Force in just a few short days!  He also has a self-sacrificing spirit, when he lays down his life in a Christ like way for the heroes aboard the Death Star.

He does not seem to believe that everyone can be redeemed, as evidenced by the fact that he keeps getting Luke to kill his dad.


At 900 years old, he has accumulated a lot of wisdom.  He embraces simplicity and poverty on Dagobah.  He is a man of faith.  When Luke says, "I don't believe it," Yoda responds: "That is why you fail."

He lacks practical insight.  I mean, he sat right across from the frickin' Dark Lord of the Sith and couldn't figure out it was him?  Also, he is a little too Gnostic, denying the importance of the body when he says "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."


He has the elements of a good teacher.  He acts according to his conscience.  He also has the humility to know his vices.  He never took the job as Minister of Magic because he wanted it.  He also willingly laid down his life to save Draco Malfoy.

Some might point to the fact that he is gay, but since he never acts on his desires during the story, it is a non-issue.  No, the real problem is that he forces Snape into helping him commit suicide.  Snape murders Dumbledore on Dumbledore's orders, caring little for Snape's soul.  And his sacrifice only happens after he learns that his death is inevitable.


He is a man driven by faith.  It is all that motivates him, even when he has lost most of the will to believe.  And his faith is contagious.  He helps Neo believe in himself.  He helps Niobi believe in Neo. And he helps the people of Zion to overcome their fears to face the future (right before their prayer service/orgy)

He seems oddly okay with murder.  Innocent humans in the matrix are killed because of their potential to turn into agents.  But Catholic theology is clear that you can kill in self defense, but not of the innocent.


He is an incarnate angel sent by God to fight the forces of evil.  He is wise and giving and he trusts in the goodness of others.  He also is humble enough to see the value of those like Hobbits.

Since he is technically not human I don't know if he could be ordained a priest.  (the same applies to Yoda).


I was thinking about adding Aslan, but seeing as how:
1. He is a cat and
2. He is Jesus

I didn't think he would take the demotion to pope

Why don't you vote in my poll or suggest another candidate?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

God's Donkey Goes to Pasture

What a humble animal is the donkey.  It isn't majestic like a horse or cute like a pony.  It is not an animal domesticated for show.  It is beast of burden, used for what labor it can perform.

I sometimes think about the donkey that carried the pregnant Virgin Mary on the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  I'm sure it was just an average, labor-trained donkey that could be afforded on a peasant carpenter's salary.

But imagine if the donkey could somehow know who he was and who he was carrying.  This donkey was plucked from all the other donkeys for this task.  Was he the strongest and most sturdy?  Probably not.  But despite that, he took upon himself the most precious cargo ever.  He had to the unborn God of the Universe and His pregnant mother safely to journey's end.  If that donkey could know this, imagine the pressure.  One misstep and you change the course of cosmic history.  And as we know, God has very dangerous tastes.  He lets our choices matter.  What we do has consequence, for good or ill.  It would be either this donkey's supreme victory to bring them to the City of David or it would his ultimate horror to fail in his mission.  What donkey would want the yoke of that burden?  And yet he did.  He humbly took the burden given to him.  That is what a donkey does.

That is why it is not surprising that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger referred to himself as God's donkey when he was elected to the Papacy as Pope Benedict XVI.  It is widely known that Ratzinger had tried to retire several times from his position as head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, but Pope John Paul II refused to let him.  And being God's donkey, Ratzinger served at the pleasure of the pope.

But his heart was back in Germany.  He never imagined he would be placed so high up in Church government.  As a child he dreamed of being a priest.  In fact, when he was forced into the German army, his superior asked all the recruits what they wanted to be when the grew up.  Most gave answers that would ingratiate themselves with their leaders, usually something about a career in the military.  But when asked, young Joseph said, "I want to be a parish priest."

Notice the that he didn't just say a priest, but a parish priest.  Ratzinger had no ambitions beyond his parish.  When he was chosen to be a bishop, he thought it was a mistake and only accepted the elevation out of obedience to his spiritual director.

So in April of 2005, the conclave of cardinals took its first vote for the successor to John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger received the most votes.  Twice.

Ratzinger asked his brothers not to vote for him.  With John Paul II's death, Joseph was free to return to a small life in Germany to read, write, play the piano, and spend time in quiet prayer.  But one of the cardinals pulled him aside and asked, "If God chooses you to be pope, will you say no to him?"

Of course not.  God's donkey serves.

And so the Church was blessed with the papacy of Benedict XVI.  He was not as naturally outgoing as his predecessor, but he was every inch as wise, as loving, and as holy.  He continued John Paul II's tradition of traveling all over the world, recognizing that the papacy is a missionary office in the 21st century.  Like the ancient donkey, the pope must bring Christ and His mother to the world.

He brought his gifts as a scholar and teacher to the office.  Reading his books and encyclicals always felt like taking an advance course in history and theology.  But his writings did not have the cold calculus of academia.  They were love letters that bled with hot desire for the face of Jesus Christ.  And you could not help but be caught up in this man's personal love affair with God.

He reached out his hand to reconcile different traditions that had separated from the Church.  He took time to oversee reforms in the liturgy, the great prayer of the Church.  He sought dialogue between people of different faiths while never surrounding to the relativism of this age.

He has been an object of ridicule.  He has been physically attacked in the Vatican.  Mobs of angry Islamists have called for his death.  His words of kindness and compassion have been twisted and manipulated by the media to sound like hate and indifference.

But through it all, he has done the job of God's donkey: he has carried Christ in the world.  That is the only reason he serves.  And he never ceases to remind us that Christ is the only One who can ever make us truly happy.

Imagine the donkey from Nazareth rests in Bethlehem exhausted.  But then the coming persecution of the murderous Herod approaches.  Imagine that donkey knows that its worn out frame cannot make the journey to Egypt.  Imagine for the good of the Holy Family, this donkey lets another, stronger donkey take the mission.

Pope Benedict XVI has done more than most men of his age could dream.  I've read about his schedule and at my age I could never keep up.  Yes, it is true that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, but Benedict reminds us that it is Christ who does it all.

The papacy is not the unique platform of Joseph Ratzinger.  It is the place where God's donkey sits.  Those who look at the clergy only in terms of power can never understand what Benedict has done.  He has given us a model to follow.  John Paul II gave us a model of life's value, even when suffering.  Benedict XVI shows us that the key to serving God is humility.

Humility like a donkey.

I know that Joseph Ratzinger will not cease to be a servant.  He will quietly go to live a life a reflection and prayer for the Church he has so lovingly served.  Even if we do not see him, he will continue to be there for us.

Thank you, Papa.

We will never forget you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday Comics: Batman Death of the the Family

The Joker returned to turn Batman's world upside down.

That was the theme of the Bat-Family crossover "Death of the Family."  The title is a not-so-subtle nod to the shocking "Death in the Family" where the Joker murdered Robin II, Jason Todd.

In the new DC 52, the Joker has been mostly absent.  In the first issue of Detective Comics, he had his face cut off and then he disappeared.  But when he finally did resurface in the pages of Batman, he has his old face sewn onto his body as he wreaks horrific havoc on those Batman loves.

In the first issue of the crossover, the lights go off in Gotham Central and the Joker kills the cops there one by one as Jim Gordon listens powerless to stop him.  While this is creepy and effective, it turns the Joker almost into a supernatural boogeyman than the psychotic killer that he is.  Both are scary, but the Joker is one and not the other.  The Joker then targets all of the members of Batman's inner circle.

This of course leads to a crossover in Batman, Detective Comics, Batman and Robin, Nightwing, Teen Titans, Catwoman, Batgirl, Suicide Squad, and Red Hood and the Outlaws.  And this is the series main problem.  It has a bad case of cross-over-itis.  This would have been a much better and more effective story if it had been half as long.  But the incessant need to pull in the other books weighs down the narrative and makes it drag.  By the time I got to the end, I was simply waiting for it to be over.

Scott Snyder has been the mastermind behind this story and he does a decent job in the stories he writes, but he and the editorial staff were unable to deliver on the story's potential.

And the build-up promised an epic finally, which it did not deliver.  Again, the story was not bad, but it felt bled out of its potential by including too many story elements in different books.  With the Joker's absence for the past year, his return should have brought with it more consequence.  But the Bat-world feels like it will keep on turning pretty much the same now than when it started.

3 out of 5 stars.

New Evangelizers Post: Sinners in the Church

I have a new article up at

Often people attack the Church because of its sinful members.  And while we should do all that we can to purge sin from our community, it should not shock us that the Church, including her leadership, is populated by sinners.

You can read the whole article here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Film Review: Zero Dark Thirty

In preparation for the Oscars, I went to go see the controversial Zero Dark Thirty.  I remember seeing the previews and not being very interested, since the ending was known.  So I went into the theater with no strong expectations.  And I have to say that I was very much impressed.

The story mainly follows CIA operative Maya (Jessica Chastain), recruited out of high school and tasked to the Bin Laden search team in Pakistan.  She is immediately introduced to the world of what some would call "enhanced interrogation" and others label "torture."  The greatest achievement of this movie is its ability to present the unflinching and brutal treatment of suspected terrorists without manipulating you to judge one way or the other.  The morality of the act is left completely in the heart of the viewer who merely presents the data and makes you decide if those who perpetrate it are patriots or monsters.

I would go so far as to say that the movie is a-political, a remarkable feat in our hyper-partisan climate.  Bush and Obama are neither praised nor blamed, but are mere players in the larger context.  And the context is the incredible minutiae that was needed to pick up every bread crumb clue that led to Bin Laden's compound.  The movie plays like one long, fascinating Law and Order episode.

But that is also its biggest drawback.  The movie is too impersonal.  I never really get deeply into Maya's head or heart.  And if you asked me, I could not tell you offhand the names of any of the other main characters.  Because this story is an important story for the whole country, I understand the filmmakers not wanting to make it about the personal vendetta of one woman.  But the problem is that even though the story is global, it must also be personal.

In the last half of the movie, we are introduced to the SEAL team that makes the incursion   But we don't get to spend enough prep time with them to care about them except for two played by Joel Edgerton and the scene-stealing Chris Pratt.  The actual operation on the compound is very long.  This is something you would expect in a movie that has been building to the strike on Bin Laden.  But since we don't know most of the team, a lot of the tension is removed.

Director Kathryn Bigelow takes this long movie and makes it flow quickly.  She draws you into this underground world of spies and terrorists.  And she draws out some great performances by Chastain, Pratt, and others like Mark Strong and Jason Clarke.

It is a very good movie that is also too good at its impartiality.  It tries to show the action impersonally, but because of that it lacks a personal connection.

4 out of 5 stars.


The meaning of the title, "Zero Dark Thirty" never comes up in the movie.  It is a military term for 12:30 am, one of the darkest times of night.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Poetry: Lent


Welcome deare feast of Lent: who loves not thee, 
He loves not Temperance,1 or Authoritie,
But is compos’d of passion. 
The Scriptures bid us fast;
 the Church sayes, now:
Give to thy Mother, what thou wouldst allow
To ev’ry Corporation.

... It’s true, we cannot reach Christ’s fortieth day; 
Yet to go part of that religious way,
Is better than to rest: 
We cannot reach our Savior’s purity;
Yet are bid, Be holy ev’n as he.
In both let’s do our best.

Who goeth in the way which Christ hath gone,
 Is much more sure to meet with him, than one
That travelleth by-ways:
 Perhaps my God, though he be far before,
May turn, and take me by the hand, and more
May strengthen my decays.

Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast 
By starving sin and taking such repast
As may our faults control: 
That ev’ry man may revel at his door,
Not in his parlor; banqueting the poor,
And among those his soul. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013


If you did not see Brave this past summer, then you may have missed one of the nicest movies to come out this year: Paperman.

It is a short, silent, animated film that was featured before Brave.  It is nominated for Best Animated Short at the Academy Awards and I think it is well deserved.  Not only does it effectively tell an entire story in under 7 minutes without any dialogue, it also has one of the nicest scores I've heard all year.

Check it out below

Revised Oscar Prediction

I posted my Oscar predictions a few weeks ago and I stand by them all, with one small revision.

I now think that Argo is going to win the Oscar for Best Picture.  While Lincoln might have the most nominations, Argo has been cleaning up the other awards including the Producer's Guild, Director's Guild, Writer's Guild, and Actor's Guild.  And since members of these guilds also make up the voting population of the Academy, I think that things have definetly taken a turn in Argo's favor.

I think this is partly as a backlash against the directors who failed to nominate Affleck for an Oscar.  If Argo wins it will be the first movie since Driving Miss Daisy (1987) to win a Best Picture Oscar without the director being nominated.

I still think Les Miserables is the best movie of 2012 and should win the Oscar.  But I predict that Argo will come out on top.

If you haven't seen it yet, it comes to DVD and BLURAY this Tuesday.

Trailer Time: The Internship

I love me some Vince Vaughn.  I think that he is without a doubt one of the funniest men working in Hollywood right now.  Even when he stars in a bad movie, he is usually the best thing in it.

I was a big fan of Wedding Crashers (a little too long, but big on laughs), so I'm glad to see that he's working again with Owen Wilson, someone with whom he has excellent chemistry.

I'll be there to see this opening night.


Sunday Best: Directors of All Time #10 - John Carpenter

photo by Nathan Hartley Maas

-Assault on Precinct 13
-Big Trouble in Little China
-The Thing

-Escape from New York
-They Live
-The Fog
-Prince of Darkness
-Memoirs of an Invisible Man

-Village of the Damned
-In the Mouth of Madness
-Escape from LA
-Ghosts of Mars

Quentin Tarantino said that he plans to retire from directing soon because older directors tend to become bad.  In the case of John Carpenter, he is right on the money.  His later movies are not only bad, but they are horrible knock-offs of his earlier, better films.

However, just because is later movies are awful, it does not take away from the genius of his earlier work.  His movies tend to be raw and unpolished.  But what makes John Carpenter an expert at his craft and worthy of the #10 spot is that he is a director like no other in the mastery of tone and setting.

Assault on Precinct 13 does a great job of making LA, one of the most populated cities in all of America, feel desolate and isolated.  Despite being located smack in the middle of an urban jungle, Precinct 13 has an overwhelming sense of isolation.  No help is coming for our heroes who fight the endless onslaught of killers.  He also gets just the right tone for his hero/murderer Napoleon Wilson.  His character is tragic, comic, and dangerous all at the same time.

Carpenter is best known for creating an atmosphere of terror in his horror movies like Halloween, The Fog, Prince of Darkness, and The Thing.  In each of his horror films, the setting surrounding the action plays a key role.  In Halloween, the characters are constantly being framed by other objects in the room, creating the terrifying effect of never know where Michael Myers was going to show up.  And the safe suburban setting was turned on its head by making each house a little island unto itself, far away from help.  This isolation that we saw also in Assault on Precinct 13 was felt completely in The Thing, where the characters could not be further removed from civilization than the Arctic wastes.  And notice how deftly he tells a story with the visual aftermath of the Norwegian research base, with its destruction and frozen suicide bodies.

And it is this sense of terror that makes his most critically acclaimed film Starman work so well.  The alien who visits earth is someone with real power and is really dangerous.  And yet it is the shadowy government agency that is tracking him that bears all the signs of monstrosity.  He turns the alien invader story of The Thing (an extraterrestrial life form with mysterious powers including the ability to grow a body like a human) and tells it from the creature's perspective.

But to my mind, his best film is now and will forever be Big Trouble in Little China.  I have never seen a movie like it.  And it once again shows Carpenter's mastery of tone.  The elements in it could be taken as completely silly, thus making a screwball comedy.  Or he could have taken the direct action route and made an American Kung Fu film.  Or he could have focused on the mystical side and made an exotic fantasy adventure.  Instead, he made all three in one and astonishingly, it all works.  The character of Jack Burton adds an element of absurdity to everything that happens.  And yet he is an honest-to-goodness action hero.

Understand the tightrope that Carpenter had to walk with this character.  If you make him too comical, none of the danger would feel real.  If you make him too serious, you lose all of the absurd humor that he generates.  And miraculously Carpenter got him perfectly.  Look at how absurd Jack looks with Gracie's lipstick smeared on him as he talks to Lo Pan.  And yet you feel his sincerity of his threat as he stares at  Miou Yin's kidnappers and says, "Son of a $*@! must pay!"  You can write a character like Jack, but only a director who knows exactly the elements needed to create tone in a movie could possibly bring him to life.

And even in his truly bad films, Carpenter envelops you in the feelings he wants you to feel so that even if you don't like the movie, you can't help but be affected by him.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Delay of Updates

I apologize to all my regular readers for the lack of updates.  I'm having some small complications related to last month's medical issues.

It is nothing serious or life-threatening in any way.  But the last few days have consisted of no break times at work followed coming home and trying to manage some physical pain.  It has left little time to collect and write my thoughts to a level of quality that you, dear reader, deserve.

This will hopefully change in the next few days.  Any small prayers you can throw my way would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Monday Poetry (on Tuesday): God Alone is Enough

photo by rvin88

Sorry for the delay.

But with the annoucement of Pope Benedict XVI's retirement, I thought it appropriate to share one of his poems that is not only beautiful, but insightful.  Below is the text in German and in English.

Hat tip to Alex Vitus at Vitus Speaks

Gott allein genügt:
Was das Herz auch sonst noch liebt,
Was es sehnend will umfangen,
Was es dränget zu erlangen,
Ist von ihm ein Schimmer nur,
Der uns weist auf seine Spur-
Er ist´s, der Dies alles gibt:
Gott allein genügt.

Es führet uns auf allen Wege
Auf mühsalreichen und auf frohen
Geheimnisvoll doch einen Weg nur unser Leben:
Es führt uns aufwärts zu der hohen
verborgenen Welt des ewigen Gottes hin
Und dies ist alles unseres Wanderns Sinn

God alone is enough:
What the heart would otherwise love,
What it would otherwise embrace,
What it is driven to long for –
Are all but a glimmer of Him.
They are but His traces –
It is Him who gives everything:
God alone is enough.

He leads us along all ways
Through troubles and through joys
Mysteriously – for life is but a way:
He leads us upwards to the heights,
The hidden world of eternal God -
The sense behind all our wanderings.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Geoff Johns Leaving Green Lantern

photo by besighyawn
Okay, this is nowhere nearly as important as the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, but my goodness does this make me sad.

Geoff Johns, as faithful readers know, is my all time favorite comic book writer.  And his run on Green Lantern is legendary.  It might be the greatest run on any series ever.  I have enjoyed everything about what he has done.  And he has announced today that he is stepping down from writing the series with issue #20.

Even if they get a great writer to take his place, no one will be able to hold a candle to him.

He is not only a master of plot, dialogue, character, and spectacle, his themes are powerful.  In short, he is a master storyteller and he has made me care very deeply about Green Lantern and his universe.

Geoff Johns has given me countless hours of entertainment and wonder and for that I am truly thankful.

The Humility of Benedict

Pope Benedict has announced his resignation form the Chair of Peter as of the end of the month.

He is the first pope to resign the office since the Great Western Papal Schism in 1415.

There is much I can say and will say later.  But my initial reaction, besides sadness at losing such a holy and wise Holy Father, is awe at his humility.

What a witness to the world of humbling yourself and setting aside your "power" for the good of the Church. I am always quite annoyed at those who describe Church leadership purely in terms of power because they miss the point.  The only authority in the Church is the authority of service.

Pope Benedict has discerned that he cannot serve as effectively as he should.  And in humility, he is giving his office to another chosen by God.

The papacy is not about Benedict XVI.  It is God's papacy.

Bless him.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Best: Directors of All Time #11 - Richard Donner

photo by Tostle14

-Superman II
-The Goonies
-The Omen
-Lethal Weapon

-Lethal Weapon 2
-Lethal Weapon 3
-Lethal Weapon 4
-Conspiracy Theory


Richard Donner made his bones doing a lot of television work.  He spent years working in serialized storytelling until he was given his first major feature: The Omen.  Now I do not like The Omen.  It is not a movie that I enjoy.  But it is so horribly effective.  In the beginning when he juxtaposes the idyllic children's party with the insane suicide, it not only creates a sense of fear, but you are very much unnerved.  You feel as though the moorings of experience are thrown off.  He knew exactly when to use and not use the music to create maximum fright.  And that last shot, to this day, creeps me out.

And while his great action opera, the Lethal Weapon series, has its flaws, its impact on the genre was huge.  Pierce Brosnon once cited Gibson's performance as Martin Riggs as a revolution in action heroes because he was so tortured and vulnerable while at the same time being stoic and ruthless.  Donner was smart enough to know that the key to the series success was in cultivating the fantastic chemistry between Gibson and Glover.  And as the series progressed, he made others like Joe Pesci and Rene Russo feel like additions to a family.  All the while he fills he shots with iconic moments.  Who else got excited when Glover did his neck role after the villain cited diplomatic immunity in Lethal Weapon 2?

And that points to one of Donner's key gifts.  He picks actors he can trust to carry the story.  Take his holiday classic Scrooged.  The original Dickens tale has been done to death.  And yet Donner built his movie around the comedic genius of Bill Murray and then trusted the actor to carry the final monologue.  That last speech by Murray is essential to making that movie work and if it feels at all forced or faked, the film collapses.  Donner instead gets one of my favorite Bill Murray performances because it is funny and moving and sincere while keeping in rhythm with his manic energy.

Another aspect to Donner's movies is that they tend to be a great deal of fun.  Maverick is a movie I've watched over and over again.  It is a little too long, but the parts that are good are so enjoyable that you forget the length.  Ladyhawke is an exciting medieval adventure with synthesizer soundtrack.  And of course The Goonies is a perfect kid adventure movie.  There just enough danger to keep you on the edge of your seat but not too much violence as to be repulsive.  All the while he fills you with a sense of child-like wonder.

It is that wonder that marks his greatest film: Superman.  There were many ways Donner could have played the Man of Steel.  The latest incarnation had been the cheesy television series staring George Reeves.  Instead, he cast Christopher Reeve as the Last Son of Krypton.  People may not remember that not only was Reeve was a relative unknown, but he was scrawny.  Donner said he could have chosen someone who looked like Superman and hoped he could act or chosen a great actor and train them to bulk up.  He chose a great actor in Christopher Reeve.

And he approached Superman as if he were telling the mythic story of an ancient god.  You felt the history and power of Krypton before it exploded, you experienced the beauty of the Kansas farmlands that shaped the contours of Clark's soul.  And he almost everything about his journey seriously.  The tag line to the film is important: "You will believe a man can fly."  While the special effects are dated, Donner and Reeve made you believe that he was flying.  They committed to making you feel it.  The movie is pure magic.  And having watched the "Donner Cut" of Superman II, and can see more of the same in the sequel.

Very simply, Richard Donner makes great movies.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Film Flash: Zero Dark Thirty

15 words or less film review (full review to follow soon)

Fascinating, exciting, smart thriller, but a little distant.  A movie about procedure, not character.

4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Cape and the Cross

As most of you know I love superheroes.  They were a big part of my childhood and still take up a significant portion of my adult life.

So you can imagine being the movie addict that I am, how much I truly love watching superhero movies.  I've seen good (The Dark Knight), the bad (The Punisher) and the Ugly (Swamp Thing).  But I have to say that I love most of them.  I even defend the ones that others detest.  I still think Ben Affleck's Daredevil is way underrated and Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern was a great deal of fun.

But I have noticed a shift in the superhero films that I did not realize had become pervasive until recently: the Jesus factor.

I am not saying that superhero movies are religious in nature or have a secret religious message.  But once you look for it, you can see it very clearly.  And this is a fairly recent trend in comic book movies.  Yes, there are Christ-like similarities to the original Superman (the Only Son comes from on high to save us).  But the key is how the hero engages in their own version of the Paschal Mystery.

The Paschal Mystery is the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  It is the central event in the life of Christ and reveals His true nature to us all.  Jesus takes up the cross despite His anxieties and fears and He willingly lays down His life for us.

(Apologies in advance, but I cannot continue the discussion without MAJOR SPOILERS to many super hero stories).

And this is what I have seen in many comic book films of the last decade or so.  And it is something that is fairly new.  In the original Superman, he does sacrifice, but never to the point of giving up his life.  And even when he lose the woman he loves, he miraculously brings her back from the dead.  Yet in the character's last outing, the flawed but earnest Superman Returns, he caries the weight of evil on his back and takes it away from the world.  The process nearly kills him.  He even falls to earth, arms spread like a cross.  That exact same pose is also found in Spider-Man 2, where our hero is "crucified" to the runaway train and resists to the point of near dying.

 Tim Burton's Batman never goes to a place where can sacrificing his life.  He is a killer.  He seeks vengeance against he one who killed his parents.  Notice the difference between Burton's Batman and Nolan's Batman regarding their last moment with the Joker.  Burton's Batman uses his grapple to latch onto the Joker's leg so that he can kill him.  Nolan's Batman uses his grapple to latch onto the Joker's leg to save him.  Even in his darkest moment, Nolan's Batman has compassion for his enemies, just as Jesus did on the cross.

And Nolan's Batman offers himself to become a scapegoat.  Look to the words of Isaiah's suffering servant passage:

Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

This is one of the great foreshadowings of Jesus.  But it also aptly describes what Batman does at the end of The Dark Knight.  He takes upon the sins of Harvey Dent in order to heal his city.  The analogy is not perfect, since this burden he takes is predicated on a lie.  This is why the truth has to come out in The Dark Knight Rises and everyone suffers for that lie.  But Bruce continues to fight.  Selena begs him to leave with her in safety.  "You don't owe these people.  You've already given them everything," she says.

He responds: "Not everything.  Not yet."

Batman is willing to die so that others may live.

Over in the Marvel Movie Universe, the trend is the same.  Thor only becomes worthy of his godhood when he offers his life to his brother for the sake of the innocent people in the town.  He can only become a true hero after he dies.

Captain America has that heroic instinct from the beginning  throwing himself on a grenade he thinks is live.  But in the end, he has to make that choice for real as he says goodbye to the love of his life while crashing his plane into the icy wastes.  

Iron Man is confronted with this when Cap says to him, "Your not the guy to make the sacrifice play, to lay down on a wire for another."  But when the time came, Iron Man took up the one way trip to save the city from death.

These acts of sacrifice aren't just another part of the heroes journey.  It's what makes them heroes.

And while I don't think this is a conscious effort on the part of the screenwriters to infuse Christian theology into their movies, I do think there is a reason for this trend.  We live in a world starving for heroes.  We want people we can look up to.  To many of our real life heroes let us down.  When we found out that Lance Armstrong was doping, many of us asked "How could he?"  What we were really asking was "How could he be so selfish?"  Selfishness is not what makes a hero.

And this world tries to compartmentalize and segregate our religious faith from our every day life.  It tries to ban religion from the public forum and polite conversation.  But when we take out the model of manhood that is Jesus, it leaves a vacuum.  We try to fill that vacuum with other types of idols: pleasure, money, technology, but they don't fit.  

But when these new hero movies come along, it resonates.  It is like the faded music of dream from our childhood.  It strikes that deep chord of truth because beneath the capes and costumes is the echoing memory of Christ.