- The Dark Knight. Possibly the best villain in the history of cinema (3:10 to Yuma is right up there – but not a superhero movie).
- Man of Steel. The origin story we were waiting for. We need to wait for the entire trilogy to be completed before this interpretation can truly be judged (especially in comparison to Nolan’s Batman).
- Batman Begins. The greatest story ever told about a superhero.
- Superman II. For the era there was none better.
- The Avengers. Until I saw the film for myself, I did not believe that it would be possible to juggle so many egos and actors. Well done. The most fun on the list.
- Captain America: The First Avenger. The most underrated superhero of them all.
- Spiderman 2. Transformed special effects for superhero movies. They should have stopped here.
- Batman There would probably have not been a Nolan-take on the Dark Knight had Burton not revived the Caped Crusader (and recaptured the darkness behind the mask).
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I wasn’t a fan of the idea of a reboot (so soon) – but the new Spidey is fun.
- Superman. Truly the beginning of the modern-day genre.
I would highly recommend Eric Metaxas’s Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Incredible account of a man discovering a loving and loyal God in the midst of such hideous trials and tribulations. What I appreciate about this book the most is the author’s ability to allow the tension and transparency to speak for themselves. A church, both in Germany and around the world, wrestled with the biblical and practical theology of their age. They failed to be good news too many times to count. But despite that, Christ refused to give up on the church – challenging her and changing her.
The author suggests, “Bonhoeffer examined and dismissed a number of approaches to dealing with evil. ‘Reasonable people,’ he said, think that ‘with a little reason, they can pull back together a structure that has come apart at the joints.’ Then there are the ethical ‘fanatics’ who ‘believe that they can face the power of evil with the purity of their will and their principles.’ Men of ‘conscience’ become overwhelmed because the ‘countless respectable and seductive disguises and masks in which evil approaches them make their conscience anxious and unsure until they finally content themselves with an assuaged conscience instead of a good conscience.’ They must ‘deceive their own conscience in order not to despair.’ Finally there are some who retreat to a ‘private virtuousness. Such people neither steal, nor murder,nor commit adultery, but do good according to their abilities. but… they must close their eyes and ears to the injustice around them. Only at the cost of self-deception can they keep their private blamelessness clean from the stains of responsible action in the world. In all that they do, what they fail to do will not let them rest'”.
That being considered, when do you suggest a Christ follower fight for what is right? Speak up and out on what is evil? Defend the defenseless? And when should he or she choose to refuse the path of retaliation? Lose their lives alongside those being oppressed?
The church needs Spirit-empowered discernment.
Allow me to be the first one to admit, that after last year’s predictions, I have little to no credibility left. That being said, here is how I see the 2014 NFL season playing out…
New England Patriots
Second best secondary in the league.
New York Jets
Michael Vick will save Geno’s bacon… until he gets hurt again.
No protection for Tannehill. Not yet.
Give them a few years. I think that is what fans say of this franchise every year.
The window is close to closing. But there is still an inch… not to mention they have one of the best coaches in the league.
The coaching staff is decimated. They won’t win a playoff game this year. Wait, they have not won a playoff game in years anyways.
The only reason Flacco is not the most overrated (and overpaid) quarterback in the leagues is because Tony Romo is still starting for the Big D.
Will Johnny Football be the starter by the end of the season? I believe so. But it will not matter much.
I like Luck.
What a shame that this type of defense is cursed with this sort of quarterback.
Better defensively. How can they get any worse?
Still the team to beat in the AFC (but they can be beat). Please. Somebody. Anybody?
San Diego Chargers
Will someone let Rivers know that the season does not start in November?
Kansas City Chiefs
Smith can go only so far. But Reid will take them further than they deserve.
Why do they even have any fans left?
One of the most talented teams on paper. And Kelly is growing on me. Not a team that I would want to face in the postseason.
I hope RGIII can bounce back. But he really could go either way. Thank goodness the coaching staff as changed. The mascot should be next.
Eli plays in the regular season like his big brother plays in the postseason.
I love this.
Green Bay Packers
One of the most talented arms in the league.
Cutler will disappoint.
Is there a better receiving core than this one?
Peterson is the new Barry Sanders. Wasted talent. But Dallas, really?
New Orleans Saints
Easiest schedule for any playoff team. One of the hardest places to play. Don’t sleep on the Saints.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Underrated coach. Class personified.
They simply cannot score enough points.
What happened to this team in twenty-four months?
Best team in football. The offense gets better and better. Pretty difficult schedule. Target on their backs. Won’t be easy. But they will have similar success as last year… at least in the regular season.
This team puzzles me. Honestly, the Niners are the one team in the NFL who could either win it all or miss the playoffs entirely. But do not forget that they were just six points away from going to the Super Bowl for a second straight year (the Saints were just eight away). My prediction: they get better and better as the year progresses (if their quarterback can stay healthy – and keep his shirt on).
I do not believe in them this year.
St. Louis Rams
Sam Bradford, again.
New England over Seattle. Brady will have a game. Unfortunately.
I have updated my rankings accordingly. Like I have mentioned several times before, the following list does not include the works that did not happen to make the list of award winners (but that we still enjoyed together) such as the seven books included in The Chronicles of Narnia, Hatchet (an honor recipient), and The Hobbit.
- The One and Only Ivan (2013)
- The Tale of Despereax (2004)
- Bridge to Terabithia (1978)
- Dead End in Norvelt (2012)
- Kira-Kira (2005)
- Shiloh (1992)
- Flora & Ulysses (2014)
- A Year Down Yonder (2001)
- Crispin: The Cross of Lead (2003)
- A Single Shard (2002)
- When You Reach Me (2010)
- Holes (1990)
- A Wrinkle in Time (1963)
- The Higher Power of Lucky (2007)
- Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! (2008)
- The Graveyard Book (2009)
- Moon Over Manifest (2011)
- Criss Cross (2006)
Honestly, I am not usually a fan of prequels. They lack the suspense that a continuation tends to bring. And yet, this one happened to be one of my favorites. Child becomes a better writer nearly with each book. I also enjoyed the fact that he chose the first person as the voice of the narrator (something he has not done since his original book). This prequel was intentional in subtly revealing the reasons why Reacher became who he was while still leaving the door open for a few more mysteries in this period of his life (which I don’t believe he has done so to-date).
Here is where I rank each installment thus far…
- Tripwire (#3): Vietnam and Wall-Street
- Killing Floor (#1): Currency and Counterfeiting
- Enemy (#8): Cold War and Cover-Ups
- Echo Burning (#5): Immigration and Domestic Violence
- Running Blind (#4): Sexual Harassment and Serial Killers
- Die Trying (#2): Extremists and Militias
This fantasy football season will be memorable indeed. A few friends from Blue Bridge Church have come together to start a Keeper League. Sixteen of us, to be exact. Should be a great challenge. My obvious strength lies in my running backs. But let’s see if they will be strong enough.
The good news is that this league might very well bring me closer to my wife. As many of you know, I am a Saints fan. This has obviously been a point of contention between my 12th Man of a wife and myself. However, I now have a legitimate reason to pull for the Hawks (when they are not facing Who Dat Nation, of course). I drafted Russell Wilson. I did so for two reasons. First, I thought he would bring me a diverse amount of points. Second, because I thought he would be a great quarterback for the future (as it pertains to the Keeper format).
So with that, go Bountygate!