Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ministers and their Parishes: On the Waterfront

The other day I watched an old movie: On the Waterfront. It was my second time watching it. It stars Marlon Brando and it is set during the depression era. Workers on the docks are taken advantage of by the mob. If the workers don't give kick-backs to the mob, they don't work. If they get up the courage to tesify against the mob, they find themselves in deep danger.
One thread of the movie follows a priest who decides to take up the cause of the workers after a good young man, Joey Doyle, is killed for agreeing to testify. The priest makes an agreement with another worked, K.O. Dugan, that they will work together to take down the mob. The next day, however, Dugan finds himself the victim of an "accident" while working on the docks. When the priest arrives at the scene, he makes a powerful speech to the others workers. I was so struck by it, I watched it again so that I could write it down. Tell me what you think of it:
I came down here to keep a promise. I gave K.O. my word that if he stood up to the mob, that I’d stand up with him. . .all the way. And now K.O. Dugan is dead. He was one of those fellas who had the gift of standing up, but this time they fixed him. Oh, they fixed him for good this time. Unless it was an accident, like Big Mack says.
Some people think the crucifixion only took place on Calvary. They better wise up. Taking Joey Doyle’s life to stop him from testifying is a crucifixion. And dropping the slean on K.O. Dugan because he was ready to spill his guts tomorrow, that’s a crucifixion. And every time the mob puts the crusher on a good man, tries to stop him from doing his duty as a citizen, it’s a crucifixion. And anyone who sits around and lets it happen, keeps silent about something he knows has happened, shares the guilt of it just as much as the Roman soldier who pierced the flesh of our Lord to see if He was dead.
(Here someone yells, "Go back to your church, father.")
Boys, this is my church. And if you don’t think Christ is down here on the waterfront, you have another guess coming. Every morning when the hiring boss blows his whistle, Jesus stands alongside you in the shipyard. He sees why some of you get picked and some of you get passed over. He sees the family men worried about getting their rent, getting food in the house for the wife and the kids. He sees you selling your souls to the mob for a day’s pay.

(Looking up at the mob bosses) Now, what does Christ think of the easy money boys who do none of the work and take all of the gravy? And how does He feel about the fellas who wear $150 dollar suits and diamond rings on your union dues and your kick-back money? And how does He, who spoke up without fear against every evil, feel about your silence?
Do you want to know what’s wrong with our waterfront? It’s the love of a lousy buck? It’s making the love of a buck, the cushy job, more important than the love of man. It’s forgetting that every fella down here is your brother in Christ. But remember, Christ is always with you. Christ is in the shape-up, He’s in the hatch, He’s kneeling right here beside Dugan. And He’s saying to all of you, if you do it to the least of Mine, you do it to Me. And what they did to Joey, and what they did the Dugan, they’re doing to you. And you. You. All of you! And only you, only you with God’s help have the power to knock them out for good.
(Looking down at the body) Okay, K.O.

I thought this brought up a great question about ministers being primarily in churches, or primarily in the community. It also made me think of positive depictions of ministers in movies. Here are my top five that I thought of. Feel free to suggest yours.
5. Father Bobby in Sleepers.
Played by Robert De Niro. Tough subject matter, but a very worldly priest who genuinely looks out for the best of the boys in his parish.
4. Judge Coglin in Amistad.
Played by Jeremy Northam. Maybe technically not a minister, but a devout Catholic who is brought in as a judge in the case of the African slaves who were illegally taken from their homes. He is brought in specifically because of the pressure that will be on him to find in favor of the slave traders, but, after being seen in the church praying the night before, makes the difficult decision (socially and politically) to find in favor of the Africans.
3. Father Barry in On the Waterfront.
Played by Karl Malden. Already spoken of above.
2. Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking.
Played by Susan Sarandon. A nun working with an unrepentant murderer on death row, while the families of the murderer's victims rage against her.
1. Father Grabriel in The Mission.
Played by Jeremy Irons. A priest goes to a dangerous tribe in South America and brings God's healing message to them. He then heroically stays with them while armies converge to force the native people out.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

At Long Last

For some reason, it just suddenly worked. Here is a sweet picture from Zac and Amy's wedding. Interestingly enough, the kiss came before they did the communion and unity candle (seriously). I was totally confused. Although I may be remembering it all wrong, since sweat was pouring into my eyes, and I couldn't tell if I was crying or passing out.
Zac and I have been friends for fourteen years, so it was awesome to see him marry someone who is so right for him, and someone who really knows him.


Well, I have given up. After days of futility, trying to upload a pciture from Zac and Amy's wedding, I have given up and decided to just blog. The wedding was great (even though we were standing in tuxes while it was 114 degrees out). It was great to meet Zac's now-wife, and it was great to be a part of the ceremony.
Next week is a family vacation, so that should be fun.
Saw The Lady in the Water yesterday. I wrote a review of it, so you can click on the link if you want to know my thoughts (don't worry, there are no spoilers).
Well, since I couldn't get the pic of the wedding up yet, you can enjoy this one of Matthew. When we ask who he is, he still normally says, "Elmo," but he will point to pictures of himself and say, "Ma-ttttttttttttt." Good stuff.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

No News Is. . .

Well, no posts for the last couple days because we have been enjoying having Karina home. She got in safely on Monday night. Matthew had been playing on the airport play structure, and when I pointed Karina out to him, he stopped, ran full speed toward her, and then, when we got within arms-length, turned and headed back to the play structure. It was pretty comical. This kid performs for no man (or woman). He and I are both really excited, though. Karina had a great trip, and even brought me back an awesome chess set for Burundi. Some of you know that I also have chess sets from Romania, Russia, and Lithuania. Cool.
Well, tomorrow I head to SoCal for Zac's wedding. Can't believe it's happening. More than that, I can't believe I'm leaving after only 2.5 days of us all being together as a family. It will be a short trip, though.
Just as a note, I added a new feature to the blog. I now will be doing some occasional movie reviews if you are interested. I've written something up on five so far. They will not all be from movies in the theaters. It will be just be as I see them in the theater or on video. Just click on the movie on the sidebar and you can here my thoughts, good and bad, on the movies I'm seeing. Fun times.

Monday, July 17, 2006

End of an Era

Okay, so it's not really the end of an era, but tonight Karina's flight is scheduled to get in at 8:00. It is funny because today is the first day in a while that Matthew has really been talking A LOT about Mama. It's as if he knows that it's time.
I am so amazed at how good he has been these past two weeks. We have had a lot of fun.
On Thursday I head to California for my friend Zac's wedding. It will be a bummer to have to leave so soon after Karina gets back, but I am excited to be with Zac. Also, as a bonus, I get to go to a Dodger game with my Dad and brother. That will be another highlight.
Anyway, last night I had a party to celebrate the fact that Karina is coming home. Okay, so that is not exactly true. We had a college group bbq here, and had a lot of fun. Here are some pictures. They are of students in the college group, but take special note of the last one. While he was not too impressed at the time, I think if Matthew sees this picture 15 years from now he'll have a different opinion.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Shocking Thoughts from Romans

I read through Romans 1-8 the other night. It was a great time and really enriching. Something about Paul's message, something about the Gospel, struck me as very shocking. In chapter 4 he is talking about Abraham's faith, and the fact that he received the promise by faith and not his works. He then says in verses 4-5:
Now to the one who works, his wage is not cedited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.

Maybe it should not seem so dramatic to me, but it seems much for scandalous to think of God justifying the ungodly, rather than just the sinful. I read on into chapter 5, and I can live with 5:8, which says, "But God demonstrates His own loves word us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." That is amazing and life-giving. I am more shocked by the language in 5:6 when he says,
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

I am not offended at being called a sinner. I know I am a sinner, and I can live with being identified as one. But I normally think of myself as someone who is generally a good guy, who tires to do what is right, but who messes up and needs a Savior. I have a good heart, but I just can't make myself right before God. After all, his standards are so high! Are they? Was it so unreasonable for God to think that Adam and Eve could simply enjoy paradise and not partake in the one thing he forbade? I don't think it was.
The point is this: I am not just some good-natured sinner who needed a little help. I am amongst the ranks of the ungodly. I am at odds with God. I am his enemy.
Thankfully, not anymore. Why not? Because Christ died for the ungodly. It is so humbling. It reminded me of the shocking and amazing nature of the gospel and of grace.
And it reminded me that no one is out of range of the grace God gives. If someone is ungodly. . .well, that's who Jesus died for.

Let me tell you about some more of my summer fun as Dad distracts me from the fact that Mama is not around. Wait a second. . .something fishy 'bout that. Posted by Picasa

To start off the day we went out to Multnomah Falls. Posted by Picasa

I climbed all the way up to the bridge without holding Dad's hand. Some older ladies thought this was a bad idea and gave Dad some not-so-subtle hints, but he knew I could handle it. He also resisted saying sarcastic things back to them. I think he has grown a lot. Posted by Picasa

This is after we got back down. Posted by Picasa

I got to ride with Ernie while Dad was out buying some new shoes. This helped me not to have too much of a meltdown. Posted by Picasa

After my nap, I got in the pool. Posted by Picasa

I love pool time! Posted by Picasa

I got to run around naked for a few seconds after my time in the pool Posted by Picasa

For dinner, I ate spaghetti. Posted by Picasa

What's so interesting, huh?! Posted by Picasa

Surprisingly enough, Dad took me straight from dinner into the bath. Posted by Picasa

My Dad loves me Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Baseball Memories

Well, I am just enjoying the final moments of the 77th All-Star Game. Some of my favorite players, including Jim Edmonds (mediocre first half) and Mike Mussina (snubbed!), were left off the team, but it has still been a lot of fun to watch. It reminded me of when the All-Star game was in Anaheim in 1989 and I got to go with my Dad. That was back when Anaheim was the home of the California Angels. Not the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim near Whittier outside of Laguna. Back then the All-Star game had the likes of Ozzie Smith, Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, and, most importantly, Bo Jackson. If you're a big bsaeball fan, you'll remember Bo leading of the game with that monster shot to center field. Later in the game he stole a base and scored another run. It was a great game, and I will never forget that game. Fun stuff.
Well, I look forward to getting to take Matthew to his first baseball game someday, and you can bet that it will be a Dodger game and not a Mariner game!

Monday, July 10, 2006

In Appreciation of Homemakers

Wow! I thought that I appreciated Karina and all that she does for our home and our child. I have a new and growing appreciation, though. Karina has been gone for 9 days now, and she gets back one week from right now. Needless to say, I'm ready for her to get back. I love my kid a lot, but wow! I now understand why she likes to clean when she has downtime. And now I get why she feels such a sense of accomplishment over the things that she gets done around the house. Last week Matthew hung out a lot with his Gramms and Papa, but this week it is just him and me (don't get me wrong, I will be getting some help at different times. So, thank you to all housewives and homemakers. You work much harder than you ever, ever get credit for.
Anyway, here's a fun pic of Matthew from our trip to the mall. He loves playing on the cars (even if they aren't turned on).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Hi, I'm Matthew. Here are some pictures from my fun 4th of July with Dad. I'll tell you about them as we go. Posted by Picasa

In the morning I spent some quality time in my new pool in my backyard. I had soooo much fun! Posted by Picasa

Then we went to the park, and I endlessly went up and down the slides. Dad told me I could do it without his help, and he ended up being right! Posted by Picasa

After the park, we visited my Gramms and Papa. Most importantly, though, I got to see Moses, the dog. We snuggled a bit. Posted by Picasa

Then Dad and I went to hanve dinner with our friends, the Staffords. Here I am with Richie, Sully, and Avilyn. They have cool toys, but that is not the main reason that I like them. Posted by Picasa

Dad and I hung for the whole day. We were buds. Posted by Picasa

At the end of the day, I crashed. Hope your Fourth of July was as fun (and exhausting) as mine. Posted by Picasa

4th of July

To celebrate our Independence Day, here is a passage from G.K. Chesterton on true patriotism. It's a little long, but it is worth it. Just for context, Chesterton wrote this in 1908 and he is English.
We say there must be a primal loyalty to life: the only question is, shall it be a natural or a upernatural loyalty? If you like to put it so, shall it be a reasonable or an unreasonable loyalty? Now, the extraordinary thing is that the bad optimism (the whitewashing, the weak defence of everything) comes in with the reasonable optimism. Rational optimism leads to stagnation: it is irrational optimism that leads to reform. Let me explain by using once more the parallel of patriotism. The man who is most likely to ruin the place he loves is exactly the man who lives it with a reason. The man who will improve the place is the man who loves it without a reason. If a man loves some feature of Pimlico (which seems unlikely), he may find himself defending that feature against Pimlico itself. But if he simply loves Pimlico itself, he may lay it waste and turn it into the New Jerusalem. I do not deny that reform may be excessive; I only say that it is the mustic patriot who reforms. Mere jingo self-contentment is
commonest among those who have some pedantic reason for their patriotism. The worst ingoes do not love England, but a theory of England. If we loves England for being an empire, we may overrate the success with which we rule the Hindoos. But if we loves it only for being a nation, we can face all events; for it would be a nation even if the Hindoos ruled us. Thus also only those will permit their patriotism to falsify history whose patriotism depends on history. A man who loves England for being English will not mind how she arose. But a man who loves England for being Anglo-Saxon may go against all facts for his fancy. He may end (like Carlyle and Freeman) by maintaining that the Norman Conquest wa a Saxon Conquest. He may end in utter unreason--because he has a reason. A man who loves France for being military will palliate the army of 1870. But a man who loves France for being France will improve the army of 1870. This is exactly what the French have done, and France is a good instance of the working paradox. Nowhere else is patriotism more purely abstract and arbitrary; and nowhere else is reform more drastic and sweeping. The more transcendental is our patriotism, the more practical are your politics. . . .

No one doubts that an ordinary man can get on with this world: but we demand not strength enough to get on with it, but strength enough to get it on. Can he hate it enough to change it, and yet love it enough to think it worth changing. Can he look up at its colossal good without once feeling acquiescence? Can he look up at its colossal evil without once feeling despair? Can he, in short, be at once not only a pessimist and an optimist, but a fantical pessimist and a fanatical optimist? Is he enough of a pagan to die for the world, and enough of a Christian to die for it? In this combination, I maintain, it is the rational optimist who fails, the irrational optimist who succeeds. He is ready to smash the whole universe for the sake of itself.

Monday, July 03, 2006

A New Phase for the Franklins

The last two summers, I (Dan) got to spend time overseas, while Karina stayed home alone with Matthew (in utero the first year, outside last year). This year, as many of you know, we planned for her to go on a mission trip while I hung at home with the guy. Well . . . we are now in the midst of that experience. Karina left Sunday morning for Burundi, Africa for a relief trip. She will be gone for two weeks. If you want updates, you can click on the link to their blog site under my links.
All in all, this will be a good and stretching experience for both of us. It is fun partnering. Please pray for her and the team, that they would be effective in ministering to kids, teaching biblical principles about stewardship, and standing with brothers and sisters in Christ when they are in tough circumstances.
Oh yeah, and pray for me also if you think of it. It is quite an adventure being the only parent around. Thank God for family and friends helping out.
I leave you with a pic of Karina's Burundi team.

Left to Right: Karina, Patty Loder, Sarah McCluskey, Jan Johnson, Kevin Johnson (not the former NBA player for the Suns), Shelly Gillmore, Bonny Gardner, John Gillmore.

Summer Fun with the Kid

Some pool time with Cousin Jake.

I am soooo funny.

I love having my shirt off. I can show off my

I'm not so sure about this sprinkler thing. Posted by Picasa