Wednesday, June 30, 2004


More politics

I have spent, for me, an inordinate amount of time wrestling with the question of the Canadian political landscape and Monday's election. By all accounts, this country should be led by either a much smaller Liberal minority or a Conservative minority. How did we get to where we are today? Then I was reading comments left on Jason's blog and I think I got it.

Business Week has some articles that were part of a feature in an issue a few weeks ago. The feature was titled "Does Your Vote Matter?". It is a lengthy discourse on the ills of the American democratic system and how it can/should be fixed. While we don't use the American system here, there's a big problem with our system and it's the inordinate weighting of Ontario.

106 of 308 parliamentary seats are in Ontario (over 30%), meaning that, if you carry Ontario, you're going to Ottawa running the show. In Ontario, there is an unhealthy paranoia around health care. There is also a moral free-for-all in Toronto and the GTA. The Liberal machine pushed EXACTLY the right buttons to bring Ontario voters to heel and they were:

- You will get Alberta-style health care
- You will get more Mike Harris-style service cuts
- You will lose your freedom of choice on all moral issues (abortion debate will be reopened, buh-bye Gay Pride week, see ya same-sex benefits, etc.)

Ontarians will take lies, deceit, graft and other forms of corruption with a grain of salt. They will express outrage for a few days or weeks and then it will all go away. Martin's problems (Adscam, Mcguinty's budget, etc.) were fresh in the voters' minds at the start of the campaign, but eventually Ontarians relaxed. Then Martin and the village idiot went on the attack. Presto, watch Ontario go back to the left.

Now Harper's hosed. He had his chance, the right-wing wildmen within his own party torpedoed him, although I (and others) were saying "right on". Harper will now be associated with right-wing extremists and will never be given the opportunity to forma a government. Here in Canada, the moral right is slowly becoming minimalized and, I fear, we may have lost our last, best chance to vote in a government that could show average Canadians that morally sound leadership could be effective. I suspect that, once the minority crumbles, the Liberals will ride back to power in 2006. Either that, or the vote could become so polarized that we will endure minorities for the foreseeable future.

Depressing, no?

Tuesday, June 29, 2004


Um, OK.

So, I started this morning reading Austin's and Jason's laments about the surprising Liberal win in last night's election. For those not aware, here are the final seat counts (pending a number of recounts):

Liberals: 135 seats
Conservatives: 99 seats
Bloc Separatistes (oops, I mean Quebecois): 54 seats
NDP: 19 seats

and one independent, Chuck Cadman, who apparently campaigned from a cancer ward in the riding of Surrey North after losing the conservative nomination.

There is one very important number to consider: 154. That is the combined total of the Liberals and the NDP. It's also NOT ENOUGH to form a coalition. Duceppe has clearly stated that he would never work with Martin, so that means that the balance of power just might rest with CHUCK CADMAN, who would bring the Liberals/NDP coalition to 155, the number needed to form a majority.

I was pretty happy with the results around Hamilton. I was thrilled with the win by David Christopherson who, while he runs under the wrong banner, is a politician who genuinely cares about the community he serves and has a great history of working for Hamilton. Hopefully, if the NDP and Libs work together, maybe one of the requirements will be to give Christopherson a cabinet seat. Also, it was good to see Tony DePaulo and Chris Charlton throw a good scare into Tony Valeri and Beth Phinney. Hopefully, they will learn from this and do a better job of serving their communities. I feel really bad for David Sweet, the ex-CEO of Promise Keepers Canada, who lost a tough race to Liberal Russ Powers.

Now, here's the commentary.....

Paul Martin was held, to a degree, accountable for the Adscam issue. However, many people seemed to be willing to forgive Adscam in order to avoid what has been presented by Martin and the village idiot, Jack Layton, as a "scary" new Canada. Stephen Harper was, I believe, wrongfully accused of having a hidden agenda that would involve massive changes to the Charter of Rights and Alberta-style health care privatization. Anybody who could think it through would know that, in a minority position, Harper would be unable to push through any of these changes. Layton and Martin would ally against Harper and Duceppe would giddily stand off by himself. Harper would have to step very softly during the remainder of 2004, building trust and a relationship with the voters in preparation for the next election in early 2005, which would happen immediately after the first budgetary non-confidence vote.

More importantly, Martin likely would have been ousted as Liberal leader had Harper delivered a Conservative minority. THAT's the fate he truly deserves, for the events of the past year. He does have to face a leadership review, but that should be a formality. However, a Martin-Layton alliance is not yet assured. i am not so quick to assume that those two can peacefully co-exist for long, and I expect that we're heading back to the polls in 2006.

I hope Martin comes through with a few things: renew the child pornography bill, go back to work on fixing health care, bring closure to Adscam. I also fully expect that, within a year, same-sex marriage will be legislated into reality, which should be a fun one to deal with, from the church's perspective.

Oh, well. I guess we certainly won't be bored watching the formation of the political landscape over the next few months.

More later.

Monday, June 28, 2004


Go. Vote. TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't miss out on your opportunity to make your voice heard. Vote.

Saturday, June 26, 2004


Ooooh, YEAH!

Check out the links in the title, all you Star Wars freaks. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, June 25, 2004


So Much To Say, So Much To Say....... up my head and let me out. Special award to the person who is first to identify song and artist where I took the (abridged) opening line from.

Wow, do I have a lot of ground to cover. Sorry I've been away for a while. I had slo-pitch baseball games last Friday, Monday and yesterday. Lots going on at home, too. And, to top it off, I picked up a really annoying virus last week that rendered me voiceless for the better part of three days. Oh, did I mention I've been on course the last five work days and had to support an implementation over the weekend?

Nope, haven't been too busy.

So, where to start. OK, last Friday:

I'm walking into work and pick up the paper, which has the despicable Michael Briere all over the front page. Now, please understand, nothing makes me angrier than those who would dare to hurt/exploit children, the most precious gift God gives us on this earth. I am pro-life, anti-cloning, find stem-cell research abhorrrent to a degree and think that partial-birth abortion is criminal. So, you can imagine my ire as I read his feeble attempts to apologize for and justify his horrific acts committed against Holly Jones. However, as I sat on the train home, I was struck by the most amazing revelation, which I will share at the end of this post.

Fast forward to Saturday:

I see the show put on by Stephen Harper as he calls out Paul Martin on child pornography, which Briere identified as the key motivator in his decision to do what he did. Instead of standing up and saying he abhors this stuff, he demands that Harper apologize for stating that Martin is soft on child porn.

Then Jack Layton supports Martin.

Am I living in an alternate bizarro world? I read an article, I don't recall where, in which Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe actually commented that a crackdown on child porn would make it illegal to have naked cherubs on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.


Martin, in Saturday's National Post, accused Harper of politicizing the child pornography issue, then quickly announced the following:

"I can tell you that that legislation will be the first thing introduced [after the election] and it will be introduced so fast that your eyes will blink," Mr. Martin said. "I feel so strongly about this issue.... There just is no equivocation on this at all."

Who's politicizing things now? There was a bill removing the "artistic merit defense" that died in Senate when Parliament was dissolved. Was it really so necessary to have an election now, rather than waiting for passage of this bill? After all, Mr. Martin claims to have "no equivocation" on this issue, so I imagine this would be a priority.

Funny how everybody's taking this so seriously once Harper cast a harsh light on it.

Y'know, if I wasn't so concerned about what the Conservatives might do to health care if they assume power Monday, they would have my vote right now.

So, what was my revelation?

At any point in time, Michael Briere could turn his face to God and ask His forgiveness and accept Christ as his Saviour. And God would immediately forgive him. In God's eyes, Briere's sin is no worse than mine and He would forgive him as quickly as He forgave me (or anyone else).

If you ever needed more proof of the breadth and depth of God's grace, there you go. It also clearly illustrated (to me) how far I have to go in my walk with God.

Well, gotta go. Sorry it's kind of a downer topic, but I really needed to get this off my chest and at least I ended on an up note. Later, all.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


My first try at a DVD review

Michael W. Smith
Live In Concert - A 20-Year Celebration

It is not very often that a concert video can move a person to the edge of tears with the sheer triumph of the music. Michael W. Smith did that with this concert.

Recorded in Columbus, Ohio on October 26, 2003, this concert is a celebration of Smith's 20-year career. He covers his entire repertoire, ranging from "First Decade" songs like Rocketown, Wired For Sound and Friends, all the way up to his phenomenally popular "Worship" albums. Those albums are particularly well-represented, with 4 great worship tunes (Above All, Agnus Dei (my wife's favorite), Rich Mullins' Awesome God and You Are Holy (Prince of Peace)). There is also a new song, Signs, written for his "Second Decade" greatest hits collection. The concert is 19 songs in length, although Love Crusade, For You, Place In This World and I Will Be Here For You are performed as a medley.

The band is extremely tight, and the backup singers are outstanding. The quality of the performance is excellent and the picture and sound quality of the DVD is excellent. THIS is why DVD's were made. Smith is pitch-perfect all through the show, and the older songs hold up well, especially Rocketown, Secret Ambition and Wired For Sound. I did not know that Wired For Sound was created in 1986. The song sounds modern to me and must have sounded ahead of its time when it first hit the airwaves. However, as good as these songs are, the real chills start halfway through.

After a brief introduction, Smith gives way to the opening strains of "Lead Me On", which leads to the appearance of Amy Grant. Grant performs the song, one of her signature pieces, and follows it with El Shaddai and Thy Word. This leads into the worship section, where the show really takes off.

If you have listened to the albums "Worship" and/or "Worship Again", or watched the "Worship" concert DVD, you know the level of love Smith has for these songs. That is evidenced yet again in the 4-song worship package that closes out the show proper. Best of all, for me, is You Are Holy. The whole band is right into the song, and the backup singers carry the song. It's an exuberant, uplifting 4 minutes that leads into the final, most emotional, number.

The song This Is Your Time is a powerful song, shaped by the events surrounding the Columbine High School tragedy of a few years ago. The lyric, combined with the music and the bagpipes that soar over the ending, create a moving and powerful tribute to a young girl killed by the two boys who perpetrated the shooting at Columbine. She was given a chance to live if she renounced her faith in Christ. She remained true to her faith and was martyred. It is the only song that, on first listen, brought tears to my eyes. Smith and the band deliver a powerful, moving performance of the song that finishes the show on exactly the right note, as the keening bagpipes continue to play until the stage goes completely dark.

There are a few pretty cool extras on the disc as well. The Signs music video is included, and some songs are given a multi-angle treatment, allowing the viewer to watch what is playing behind the band on the video wall. Songs for which this option is available include Secret Ambition (which I think is showing excerpts from the "Jesus" video) and This Is Your Time (which is showing the video created for the song. There is also a documentary on the making of the Signs video and a short-form "Behind the Scenes" documentary showing backstage footage set to the instrumental tune Hibernia.


Concert: 10/10
Sound Quality: 5/5
Picture Quality: 4/5
Extras: 4/5

Overall: 23/25 (92%)

This is a truly great disc, uplifting and powerful from start to finish. Smith's music is very easy to listen to, he is a congenial frontman interacting well with the audience and you really get a "you are here" sense. It is available at all Christian bookstores and at

I am curious to know what you think of the review. All feedback is welcome.

Sunday, June 13, 2004


Couple of small things

I figure I had better publicly respond to Austin's points here:

Austin rightly questioned my "soft touch" on Paul Martin who, as finance minister, has to assume some culpability in the Adscam issue. The point I was trying to make is that the party leader is the public face. Given that Adscam was going to break sooner or later, the Liberals were going to take a massive public hit. Compounding that was the mishandling of McGuinty's first Ontario budget. Chretien clearly saw the writing on the wall and opted to leave ahead of the avalanche. He received a glorious sendoff and Martin is going to be pointed at as the leader that was at the wheel when the Liberals were tossed from the seat of power. Chretien's legacy will suffer, but nowhere near the degree it would have had he stayed for one more election.

I agree with Austin that Martin was either incompetent or lying with regards to his role in Adscam. Either way, he's not who I want in the PM's chair. Sadly, can't say I hold too tightly with Harper either. I will be riveted to Tuesday's debate, as I expect to make up my mind then.

Finally, in a followup to my movie ratings post earlier, I noticed that Shrek 2 is rated G here in Canada, as opposed to PG in the U.S. More reason not to trust the rating, but instead do some research.

Oh, yeah......Praise God for the safe arrival of Grace Alma Jane Silver. By the sound of things, Mommy and baby are doing fine.


Saturday, June 12, 2004


And the losers of the 2004 Federal Election are................

.......the Canadian people, Paul Martin and Stephen Harper. Wanna know why? Read on.

Boy, you have to be impressed with Paul Martin. This is the man who was the brains behind one of the most successful fiscal policy runs in recent history. 6 years ago, people had him pegged as Chretien's successor and the next great Liberal leader. Now, he's fighting for his political life, using every dirty trick in the book to try to obfuscate the real issues of the election.

Sadly, nobody knew Chretien was going to exit in classic CEO fashion: everybody thinks everything's great, the old leader gets an awesome send-off into the sunset, the new leader comes in and gets to find all the crap under the front porch. Said crap is also discovered by the media and the opposition and, suddenly, the new leader is left with a bad choice: spit on the legacy of the man before or take the heat himself. Either way, he takes the hit.

Of course, Martin hasn't helped himself by taking the low road against Harper. I have yet to see this tactic work, yet it's always been used by parties who start out in the lead, only to see it evaporate the closer we get to election day.

Onto loser #2, Stephen Harper.

Remember the last minority government? The Joe Clark Tories of the early '80s. They accomplished exactly nothing in their time in office, due to Ed Broadbent's unwillingness to form a coalition. End result? Clark gave way to Brian Mulroney and the rest, as they say, is history. Hopefully, Harper can use the minority as a springboard to a majority in the next election in 6 months, which nicely leads us to....

Loser #3, the Canadian people.

Anybody who thinks the minority government we're going to get will be able to accomplish anything has, to quote Han Solo, "delusions of grandeur". Whether it's Martin or Harper, Jack Layton will NEVER buddy up with either of them. Bet your boots Gilles Duceppe won't, either. So, the new government will float along in stasis, getting in some photo ops, naming a cabinet to dress up a few folks' resumes, and acting like they're running things until.....

The first budget.

The party in power will bring down their budget, the opposition will demand a no-confidence vote, which will go against the party in power. The Speaker will immediately dissovle the House and back to the polls we will go again. I would also expect that we'll have at least one more leadership convention, too. It will be to replace the party leader who lost on June 28. All of this paid for by your sponsors, the humble Canadian taxpayer.

Yes, you.

So, go vote on the 28th. Just be prepared to do it again in November. Frustrating, yes, but it won't be boring.


Friday, June 11, 2004


Here you go, Steve

Steve left me a nice comment, but expressed disappointment that I did not link to his blog. Steve, your request is granted. I even added you to the blog roll on the left.

More later.

Thursday, June 10, 2004


New Link and more on movie ratings

I was checking Al Baker's blog this morning and noticed there had been a lot of great discussion around his Shrek 2 comments. I noticed Steve's comments around the meaning of the PG rating. I wanted to point everyone to some good information on film ratings guidelines as well as some direction on content.

First, Film Ratings. This site outlines the guidelines followed in the U.S. to rate films. This is an important site since most of the really big films come from the U.S.

Second, I lifted this from, since I don't know the location of the Canadian ratings site (if one exists):

Movie ratings in Canada are mostly a provincial responsibility.

The Ontario Film Review Board uses the following system:

Family. Film appropriate for viewing by a person of any age.
Parental Guidance. Parents should exercise discretion in permitting a child to view the film.
14A. Persons younger than 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
18A. Persons younger than 18 years of age must be accompanies by an adult.
Restricted. Film restricted to persons 18 years of age or older.

The Canadian Home Video Rating System uses the following system for television:

G. Suitable for viewing by all ages.
PG. Parental guidance advised. Theme or content may not be suitable for all children.
14A. Suitable for people 14 years of age or older. Those under 14 should view with an adult. No rental or purchase by those under 14. Parents cautioned. May contain violence, coarse language and/or sexually suggestive scenes.
18A. Suitable for people 18 years of age or older. Persons under 18 should view with an adult. No rental or purchase by those under 18. Parents strongly cautioned. Will likely contain explicit violence, frequent coarse language, sexual activity and/or horror.
R. Restricted to 18 years and older. No rental or purchase by those under 18. Contents not suitable for minors. Contains frequent sexual activity, brutality/graphic violence, intense horror, and/or other disturbing content.
E. Exempt. Contains material not subject to classification, such as documentaries, nature, travel, music, arts and culture, sports and leisure, educational and instructional information.

I found a considerably more detailed breakdown at this site.

Finally, I have a site I swear by for reviews. Screen It is a fantastic site, with a comprehensive library of reviews. They give a complete thematic breakdown, stating whether the presence of the content (e.g. violence, nudity, language, scary moments) is mild, moderate, heavy or extreme. Each thematic element also has a listing of occurrences within the film and there is also a standard review of the film. Using Shrek 2 as an example (Here is the link), Screen It states the following:

The following is a brief summary of the content found in this animated comedy that's been rated PG. Some non-explicit, sexually related humor and material is present (that will go over most younger kids' heads but may nevertheless seem a bit inappropriate by some parents). The word "ass" is used in a double meaning, while some colorful phrases and other potentially imitative behavior are present
Some action style violence occurs (with characters being hit, knocked around or briefly put in harm's way) that may be unsettling or suspenseful to very young viewers. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (most played for comedy), some possibly drink and a cat is busted for possession of catnip (a drug joke).

Some crude humor is present, as are some brief tense family scenes, while the film pushes the positive message of tolerating and accepting others for the way they are. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

Long story short, movie distributors and the entertainment industry in general are only interested in one thing: getting your money. The best way to do that is to target your kids. It is our responsibility as parents (God-fearing or not) to be as educated as possible about what our kids are interested in.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004


THIS is what I'm talking about

Picked up this article at For those who want the short form, it basically states that the 6th Circuit Court in Tennessee has ruled that an optional weekly 30-minute Bible classes held in Rhea County elementary schools are unconstitutional. Why?

Because they violate the First Amendment's clause separating church and state.

I hate this.

I am always amazed at how church and state is invoked whenever convenient. Why didn't someone invoke Church and State (which sounds like a street corner but, since they NEVER meet, it isn't) when the state tied benefits to a definition of marriage that was suspiciously similar to the one written in Scripture?

Maybe I just don't understand the meaning of the separation of the two.

To my little mind, separation of Church and State means the state can set laws according to the will of the people, but the Church can choose to be exempt. For example, if my (or anybody's) Pastor chooses to claim that "alternative" lifestyles are unacceptable in God's eyes according to the Scripture, then they should be allowed to do that. If they wish to host a youth Bible study in a church hall during the scheduled lunch hour, no problem. I wonder what would have happened if the Rhea County school board was teaching Koran classes. Can't see the Court striking those down.

Can't wait till somebody tries to make a court case that murderers shouldn't be charged because "Thou Shalt Not Kill" is taken from the Bible.

I may be overreacting.

End Times better get here soon. God's gotta come straighten this mess out.


Couple of things

A few small points for this morning:

We're about to have a small baby boom at Philpott. Jason and Joanne Silver are likely in the process of either having child #3 or are currently enjoying time with their new arrival. Matt and Lisa Collins are about 5 days away from the arrival of child #3 and Heidi and Robin Evans are expecting #2 somewhere around July.

On top of that, my brother Mike and his wife Karlene are expecting child #2 next week. Mike, this one will learn to love the Leafs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Makes me even more excited about Christine and I having our baby this fall.

Second, if you haven't visited Austin's site recently, you should. He has set the gold standard for prodigious output with 7, count 'em 7, new entries on his blog. Hope it didn't come at the expense of a workout (grin).

Some things I want to post on in the not-too-distant future:

My prediction for the next 12 months of federal politics
A review of Seasons 1 and 2 of The West Wing on DVD
How Wal-Mart is destroying the middle class
The battle over same-sex marriage laws

Sound interesting? Hope to have them up soon for your edification. Until then, enjoy the awesome summery weather.

Monday, June 07, 2004


Time to wrap this up

I've spent a couple of posts over the last few weeks talking about G.W. Bush. I have one final statement to make in summary. There has always been a strong argument among my friends and family that Bush is a great President because he walks strongly in faith with God and makes solid moral decisions. I wholeheartedly agree.

Let me stipulate my own positions here.....I oppose abortion, same-sex marriage and human cloning outright. I admit to being a bit wishy-washy on capital punishment, as I believe that any offense involving the death of a child should result in the death penalty, but I'm not so sure about some other cases. Personally, I think we should find a remote island somewhere and turn it into a prison facility for capital offenders. Once sentenced to the island, the only way off the island is in a box.

However, these are MY positions and there are numerous others who feel differently. My position on all moral issues are based on my upbringing and my personal faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Our nations (Canada and the U.S.) have open borders, which welcome people of all races, creeds and beliefs. Given that, I believe that the Government has to listen to all sides when making moral decisions.

Hence, the separation of Church and State. The Church should be the one to make the decisions on moral issues, I believe. The State should step in to protect the rights of the people. So, if the rights of gays are being limited by laws, the State has to step in. If the rights of the unborn are at risk, the State should step in. The State blew it on marriage by tying benefits to married couples based on the Bible's interpretation of marriage (one man and one woman united under God). They started down the slippery slope by allowing common-law couples to apply for benefits once they met certain standards (number of years together, etc.). Common-law marriage does NOT meet God's standards for marriage, hence the State should not have allowed it.

Now, how can they NOT allow same-sex couples to apply for benefits? They've already created the precedent and, I guarantee it, if it goes to the Supreme Court, it'll pass. The Court knows it's role, and that is to interpret the law, morality be damned. Bush can scream and argue all he wants, but if the Court says yea, it'll stand up just like Roe v. Wade.

I applaud Bush for his stands against partial-birth abortion (a particularly heinous bit of medical science that is always a sure way to get me upset) and human cloning. I also commend him for his willingness to be fearless in expressing his faith and beliefs. One thing, though. If Bush is so determined to run things in a faith-based fashion, why isn't he trying to strike down Roe v. Wade? That is clearly an item not on God's agenda. The answer: It's a political powder keg that would clearly turn off a key demographic that delivered Bush to the White House: middle-aged women. As is always the case, Bush, like others before him, has carefully chosen his battlegrounds so he can protect his rock-solid right wing support without damaging his larger block of centrist swing voters that he'll really need in November.

I believe that, first and foremost, Bush is responsible for three things: Keeping the country running (economically and in other ways), defending the country, and managing foreign relations. I give him high marks for defending the country, middling-to-low marks for foreign relations (I think he set a new standard for dashing global goodwill) and low marks for managing (mangling?) the economy. I also only award him middling marks for morality (nailed the gimmes, didn't effect change on past misdeeds).

So, you would think I'm a Kerry supporter, right?


If I had a vote in the coming election, it would still go to Bush. I think that there is a real light at the end of the tunnel economically (although it could be the front of an oncoming train) and Bush has already made a smart move in bringing back Greenspan for four more years, although it may only be two. I am slowly becoming impressed with the way the Iraq denouement is playing out and it looks like we just might have a clean handoff June 30. I am also impressed with Bush's willingness to try to mend fences with nations (i.e. France) who opposed the Iraq invasion.

I have yet to see anything from Kerry that sounds like a solid policy statement. I fear he is good hair and little else. You see, I think Kerry is a four-year guy only, because Hurricane Hillary is coming and you had better believe she'll be on the ticket in 2008. Kerry is nothing more than a placeholder and I think that having him in the White House could lead to a degree of stasis that could be hugely damaging to the U.S.

I say give G.W. four more years and hopefully he will step out of the comfort zone and challenge some real hidebound things (the U.N., abortion, etc.) since he will no longer need to worry about re-election.

God bless you, George W. Bush. May you go forward into four more successful years.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004


Modern Entertainment

My buddy, Al Baker, wrote a great post on his blog about Shrek 2. Long story short, he identified a few scenes that are questionable and why is there a need for this stuff.

Short answer, there isn't.

The bar for what is acceptable and what isn't has been sliding ever lower for years. I'll give you some cases in point for "kid's movies":

1. Lion King - try explaining Mufasa's death to a 3- or 4-year old. This is a very dark, violent movie. Then again, so was Bambi, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.
2. Finding Nemo - Dory's line "Yes, I'm a natural blue" is a double entendre that most kids would miss but adults won't. Does it really need to be in a kids' movie?
3. Shrek - take your pick (pro wrestling, torture, the scene where Farquaad is looking under the covers of his bed and then blushes)

My point (and I do have one) is this.....once kids start graduating out of Treehouse, they will begin watching "kids" movies that are darker in tone with more "adult" references. Believe it or not, this is intentional.

You see, there was an implicit decision made back around the time of the first Toy Story that it was possible to make kids' movies that had enough subtle jokes to make adults smile. The logic was that, if there were jokes and storylines that adults got, then they would be more inclined to bring their kids to the movies. The problem is that filmmakers are packing in more "jokes" designed for the adults than for the kids.

So how do parents deal with this? Unfortunately, you cannot simply say "no" anymore, because it's a good bet the kid up the street has the movie on DVD at home and will invite your child over to watch it. Kids have a natural curiosity, especially when it comes to the things parents say no to. I defy any parent out there to tell me that they never watched, read or did something their parents said they shouldn't watch, read or do. The proliferation of easier access to all things good and evil in the world places a much greater burden on parents to be ever more vigilant in teaching our children. Compounding this problem is the fact that the Christian morality is not interpreted the same family-to-family and our kids could wind up watching/reading that which we find morally questionable.

With my kids, I hope to do what Al has done here and take them to see movies myself, listen to their music, guide them through the Internet and talk with them about what they are reading/watching/learning/doing at school and elsewhere. I will try to put things in the context of what I believe God would have us do. I am not perfect, but if my kids are willing to be open with my wife and I, I believe that we can have an influence on their spare-time activities and give them a comfort level that they can come to us whenever they have questions about something they have seen, read or otherwise been exposed to. I personally grew up watching movies and appreciated them as pure escapism and magic. I hope to share my love of movies and music and books with my kids, but I also know that I will probably struggle with the same things my Dad did, as I watched movies and read books and listened to music he thought was questionable.

There is, I believe, no greater missions field than the one under your own roof. A family is the greatest earthly blessing we can receive from God and I, for one, am committed to doing my level best for them. I trust that many (if not all) of you readers are with me and will hold me accountable to that standard. As I said before, I am not perfect, but I'm trying my best.