About Me

My photo
Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
Broadcaster, musician, song writer, tea drinker and curry lover.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Blind Side

This is a movie I have wanted to see for a long time, and having heard so many positive things about it, expectations were high. The movie is based on the true story of Michael Oher (the real one pictured above) who was without a family, a home or any real hope when adopted in Memphis by the Tuohy family. They gave him a home -- and a family, helped him through school, and stuck by him as he developed a career as a formidable left tackle. Oher went on to play for Ole Miss and then was drafted in 2009 by the Baltimore Ravens, for whom he can regularly be seen playing, although at Right Tackle.

The movie itself opens with an explanation of the significance of the Left Tackle (which, remember, is Oher's position). It traces the growth in importance back to the infamous Joe Theismann injury in 1985, when the Redskins QB received a career-ending hit from Giants Outside Linebacker Lawrence Taylor. This led to the Left tackle being given a more prominent role in protecting the blind side of right-handed Quarterbacks.

The injury itself is shown on numerous occasions in slow-mo, and since it is generally considered to be the most gruesome injury in Primetime NFL TV history, it's best to avert the eyes for the first few minutes. I'm not sure that this is necessarily gratuitous to show because it does very effectively explain the importance of a left tackle, but to someone squeamish like me - not good!!
The rest of the movie shows the Tuohy family getting to know, and love Michael. Sandra Bullock is fantastic as mother Leigh Anne, who is a whirlwind of energy with a faith that motivates her to strive to do the right thing.

Bullock has since commented:
"I’ve had the blessing of having my -- not a restored faith, but I now have faith in those who say they represent a faith, whereas before I was like, “Do not give me a lecture on how to live my life when I know I’m a pretty decent human being. I might not go to church every day but I know I do the right thing or try to. You’re going to church and you’re still sleeping around on your wife and spending everyone’s money. How are you better than I am?” So I’ve finally met people that walk the walk and it’s made me happy, really happy."

There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, lots of emotion, but mainly a sense of well-being and restored faith in the good in people as a result of seeing the movie.  There are great performances from Tim McGraw as Leigh Anne's husband, the 2 siblings in the family, and of course the previously-unknown Quinton Aaron as Michael. There are even some cameos from then-college Head Coaches such as Lou Holtz (now a TV pundit) and the newly triumphant Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban, who was then with LSU.

Reaction from Michael Oher himself has been virtually non-existent, but he was thought to be displeased at the film's portrayal of him arriving at high school as a passive, unskilled big guy who was only barely acquainted with football. In truth, Oher was an aggressive, fairly experienced football player when he enrolled, and he then developed into a premier left tackle who was (as depicted) heavily recruited by the top schools in the Southeastern Conference. I suspect the way the movie depicts Michael is to provide some light relief, as that whole section -- and it's resolution -- is  really funny.

This is definitely a movie to see, not least because it provides some hope in a world where hope in the movies is so rarely seen. To see the good in people gives us all hope of our potential to do the same, and to follow God's prompting in Isaiah 58 verse 7  to "..share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Brit Hume Takes A Risk To Proclaim The Gospel

I wanted to elaborate a bit on what I said yesterday about Brit Hume because this story clearly will not go away, and as Christians, all of us in the faith know that ANY mention of Jesus Christ and the Gospel in the mainstream media leads to a torrent of reaction, mostly negative.

Fortunately, Hume himself was more than prepared for the backlash that came. Christianity is, after all, probably the only faith which divides, since it is the only one that claims exclusivity. This claim comes from God himself, and since God's detractors seem unable to get through to God himself, it is only to be expected that they take out their frustration on the next best thing - God's representatives on Earth.

The Bible makes it clear that opposition is to be expected from those who do not understand or accept our faith.

1 Corinthians 1:18 says: "The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God." (NLT)
Matthew 10:22 -- "And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved." (NLT)
And in John 14:6 -- "Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."" (NLT)

So we know that opposition will come, and mainly from those who cannot or will not understand the good news.

Brit Hume talked about the differences between Buddhism and Christianity. Generally Buddhism does not believe in a personal God or a divine being, it does not have worship, praying to, or praising of a divine being (although some sects do.) It offers no form of redemption, forgiveness, no heavenly hope, or a final judgment to those practicing its system. Buddhism is a moral philosophy, an ethical way to live for the here and now of this world to gain the ultimate state. It has more in common with humanism and atheism than its original religion Hinduism it separated from. But Buddhism is not atheism just because they don’t believe in a personal God. It is more like pantheism, there is a impersonal force the void which is the ultimate.

Against this background, Brit Hume was correct when he offered Christianity as one of the few hopes Tiger Woods has. From the above description it is clear that Buddhism does NOT offer hope to Woods, and to say so is not anti-Buddhist rhetoric, it is FACT.

Brit Hume has widely been accused of proselytizing over the past few days. Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary defines proselytism as:
"to induce someone to convert to one's faith" or
" to recruit or convert especially to a new faith, institution, or cause"

Now I think it is pretty clear that Brit Hume cannot convert anyone to the Christian Faith. He can encourage, but only God can convert someone, and of course, the decision to convert is up to the individual concerned. There was no "inducing", no "recruiting" and no "converting" on the part of Hume, so that accusation holds no water.

What Brit Hume DID do was risk his career and reputation. Why did he do that? Because after the suicide of his son some years ago, God proved Himself to be real to Brit, and Brit felt that what he said was worth the risk.

Elizabeth Elliot said "There is nothing worth living for, unless it is worth dying for. ”. I challenge you today -- do you have anything, any values in your life that you consider worth dying for, worth sacrificing your reputation and credibility for? I ask myself the same question, and if the answer is no, maybe it's worth all of us re-examining our lives...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


And while I'm about it, may I just say a heartfelt "Well Done" to Brit Hume for having the courage to face up to the inevitable bigoted anti-Christian knee-jerk backlash, which is all too predictable these days, and offer the ONLY shred of hope that Tiger Woods has received in recent days. I wish I had the courage to do the same as he did, and I salute him.

Change Of Plan

Happy 2010 - however you wish to pronounce that!

With a new year comes a new plan for this blog, which has been a little...sparse of late, and now with my home laptop being seemingly permanently on the fritz until I can afford to get a new one, things may not change markedly!

Anyway, new plan for 2010 is to concentrate much more on the things that rock my world, namely movies and music (with maybe a few books thrown in for good measure).

But first I think it's time to fill in some gaps. The last blog mentioned the U2 concert I was going to. Good grief! That was way back in October!! It was my first official outdoor American stadium show and I really hope it isn't the last. The Rose Bowl is the COOLEST place. Holds nearly 100,000 people and as it is old it doesn't have the usual plethora of glass-fronted executive boxes that most stadiums have. This place is just for the fans!

We got there mid-afternoon and got the cooler and lawn chairs set up, which is a really civilized way of doing a concert.

This was the first U2 show I had seen since summer 1997 when I saw them at Roundhay Park in Leeds on the Popmart tour. I'd had opportunities to go to both the last 2 tours but had declined citing financial problems, and then instantly regretted my decision, so this WAS going to happen, come what may!

The 360 stage set-up is, as most people now know, stunning, and the show was every bit as good as I'd hoped it could be. What made it better was that my seat was upgraded as the old one was occupied by a spotlight. The new one was closer to the stage and lower down, so I was happy.

The show was web cast live on YouTube and if you didn't see that you'll be able to judge the experience for yourself when a DVD of it comes out in a few months' time.

Christmas 09 was a fun experience, although it still doesn't FEEL like Christmas as all my memories of that are associated with being in England with family, but despite that it was fun to hang out with the Kuceras, and Grandma Lovie's turkey dinner was once again spectacular. New Year's Eve was spent playing Wii in 2 separate places, and it was nice to end the year as a pro bowler!

So coming next we'll dissect some of my favourite movies of the past year. Always bound to be controversial....!