Monday, 29 June 2009

A relevant, thought-provoking movie for only $1

Last week, I went to the dollar theater, Carmike 10 (off of Lorna Road), and saw the movie, The Soloist. Now, this movie was actually in major theaters a while ago, so you may recall seeing trailers or hearing about it from that time. However, if you are anything like me, you can manage the delay of a few months for the $9 savings.

I was very impressed with this movie and the awkward, yet touching topic that it breaches. The basic synopsis is that Robert Downey Jr. is a Los Angeles journalist searching for another story to fill his weekly column. By following a random lead, he befriends a local homeless man (Jamie Foxx) who is an uniquely talented musician. While Downey's character has initial "success" in helping this needy man, he soon finds that it is much more complicated than than he had anticipated, bringing him to the brink of frustration, hopelessness, and apathy.

I was pleased that this movie took such an overlooked, but relevant topic head-on. I mean, every one of us has seen a homeless person on the side of the road or outside our window at a stoplight, and questioned what we should do. This movie tells a story in which these questions and potential problems are directly addressed, and I think just facing these thought-provoking issues is very productive. While it may not leave you with the emotionally satisfying, but false impression that you can go out and solve homelessness, I think that The Soloist presents an accurate and helpful depiction of a harsh reality and forces us, as Christians, to take seriously our role in reaching out to the least of these.

The Soloist is still at the dollar theater this week, and I would really encourage you to go check it out! Here is the IMDB page on it and here is a trailer.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Paint, rats, heat, and magic (city grill)

Thank you to all who were able to venture out to Fairfield through the blazing heat this past Saturday! We had another great day of helping a local resident, Miss Ada (see below), to do some much needed painting on her house (see below below).

We were able to finish priming her house, despite several factors that were pitted against our success, which I believe are best conveyed through picture:

(falling paint buckets)

(dead rats that almost made it out of the house)

(yes, that is the sun...97 degrees and 105 degree heat index. let's not talk about the humidity)

Anyways, it was a great day of serving in the community and spending some time lending a hand to our friends. After we were done working, we enjoyed some great home cookin, compliments of Fairfield's own Magic City Grill 2. We hope to finish painting Miss Ada's house with another day or two of work in the future, so don't fret if you couldn't make it to this one.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Workday Rescheduled-this Saturday!

As most of you know, due to the terrible weather this past Saturday, we had to postpone the workday. However, this coming Saturday, we are going to try again! I realize that while this change may keep some of you from coming due to prior arrangements, hopefully it will allow even more to come who could not have this past weekend. And hopefully we will get some great weather to finish painting Miss Ada's house. So here is all of the important info, I hope to see all of you on Saturday! Call or email me with any questions...

When: Saturday, June 20th, from 8am-12 noon
Where: 4517 Debardeleben Ave. Fairfield, AL 35064 (next to Christ Episcopal Church and Fairfield Park)- mapquest it
What to Bring: Nothing! We will provide all supplies and paint, so just bring a friend
What about lunch after?: Good question- After the work is done, we will head right next door to the local food joint- Magic City Grille 2 for some good home cookin!

This is how much fun we had last time:

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Art and Food

Ladies- I know that many of you have been seeking more ways to be active and involved in our community and these are two amazing ways for the women of our church (and women from outside our church, as well) to use a few specific talents and skills to build and grow relationships. Amanda Blake and I have been coordinating and planning these for a while, so she will be helping to organize and lead both:

Summer Art Classes at Restoration Academy in Fairfield
-will take place for the next three Wednesdays, June 10, 17, 24, from 10am-12noon
-each art lesson will revolve around a theme and consist of a Bible verse, prayer, and an art project
-the lessons for the three weeks are:
(1) painting portrait : paint brushes, paint, old shirts, 2 buckets, water cans, palettes or cartons (Made in the Image God)*
(2) drawing flowers : large paper, pencils,colored pencils, plastic flowers (God's Creation)*

(3) sculpture crosses : sticks, hemp rope, paint, paint brushes (God's Gift to Us)*

-we hope to display the artwork in school's or central locations in that community

-we need 2-3 volunteers for each Wednesday- you are welcome whether or not you are artistic!

Cooking "lessons" at the Family Homeless Shelter

-for several months now, the mothers and women at the shelter have been very interested in spending an evening learning to cook more meals, while spending quality time with RCC women, so one Friday a month (usually the 3rd or 4th Friday of the month), we will cook with these women

-We also sense an opportunity to teach some of the older youth to cook, so one Friday a month (two weeks offset from the women's cooking night, usually the 1st or 2nd Friday of the month), we will also spend quality time with the youth through cooking

-We need 2-4 volunteers for the each youth night and 2-4 for each women's night, so if you are specifically interested in one of these groups, or are comfortable with either, we would love to have you help!

-This Friday, June 12, from 5-6:15pm is the first youth cooking night

-Friday, June 26 from 5-6:15pm is the first women's cooking night

While art and cooking are great activities, we see both of these as opportunities to build relationships and would love for you to help as your schedule allows!

For more info or to let us know you want to help, contact Amanda Blake at or 266-6772.

Monday, 8 June 2009

"What then shall we do?"

This morning I was reflecting upon the passage from last night's sermon (Luke 3)- it was a very interesting passage about how John the Baptist was preparing the way for Jesus to come.  He preaches repentance, but when people came to hear him and to be baptized, he did not simply accept their lip service and their outward form of half-obedience.   Rather, he saw that they were only partially committed to what he spoke of: They liked the talk about a coming King, a Messiah.  They like the idea of being forgiven of their sins.  They even put up with John's abrasive manner and harsh moral guidelines in order to find this foretold "salvation of God" (vs. 6).  However, were they really willing to pay the price of giving up all for this new lifestyle?  Were they ready to give up themselves and their tradition and their culture and their expectations to receive true salvation from these entangling things?  

In 3:8-11, John exhorts the people to go deeper,  saying 
"Bear fruits in keeping with repentance.  And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you, God is able  from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.  Even now the axe is laid  to the root of the trees.  Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  An the crowds asked him, 'What then shall we do?'  And he answered them, 'Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.' "

As I read these words,  I am convicted of how similar I am to those in John the Baptist's audience.  I realize that I, too, so often want to be saved, want to be forgiven, and want to be a part of what Jesus is doing, but I don't want to have to give anything.  I don't want to change my way of living, or sacrifice my time or schedule or comforts.  And yet this is what we are called to do, if we consider ourselves to have any part with Jesus and what he did.  

Lord, help us to bear fruits in keeping with repentance and to continue to ask of you, "What then shall we do?"

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Local Church Fire

In case any of you have not heard, this past Sunday, there was a disastrous fire that burnt down a local church.  The church building, home to Woodlawn United Methodist Church, was 97 years old, though the church itself began over 120 years ago.  At one point in the 1950s, it was one of the largest Birmingham churches, with over 2500 members, though in the recent years it has dwindled to far smaller numbers.  For a full story on the fire, read this or to see an actual video of the fire, click here.  Here are some pictures of the fire taken by James and Steph Kling, RCC folks who live close to the church.