Sunday, December 27, 2009

A thought about "adult" things...

Just because something is "not for kids" does not mean it is "adult".

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Blog = The End - 2020

Hey guys!

You guys might have been seeing a lot of commercials for the new movie, 2012. You may have even seen websites like ThisIsTheEnd or WHo Will Survive 2012

Well, I have a new blog, called The End - 2020.

If you've read the Left Behind series, then you might be interested in it. The basic concept of a ficitonalized story of the biblical Apocalypse is the same, but theologically different. When it comes to the End Times, also known by some as the Tribulation, there seems to be 3 main thoughts: pre-Trib, post-Trib, and Chicago Trib.

  1. pre-Trib: There is this vague biblical idea of the Revelation. Pre-Trib people read the Bible to mean that Christians will be raptured up before the anti-Christ is revealed, and THEN there will be a Tribulation. People can still get saved, but it will be much harder.

  2. post Trib: These people An extremist might buy a cabin in the mountains & stock up on supplies (like the Y2K fears in 1999). "Normal" post-Tribbers will simply prepare for bad times, and preach the gospel in the midst of any persecution, and try really hard not to complain.

  3. Chicago Trib: OK, i made that term up. This philosophy says they don't know if either pre- por post-Trib will happen. They'll just go with the flow, and read the Chicago Tribune (or other news sources) and deal with events as they come.

However, one of the best thoughts i've heard on the above philosophies is summed up like this: "Pray, pray, pray for the Rapture, but prepare, prepare, prepare for the Tribulation."

I started this blog now, due to a couple of reasons:

  1. some extra free time

  2. The movie 2012 is coming out, and they too have a blogger, so i'd like to exploit that if i could

  3. The desire to challenge American popular Christianity, which made Left Behind kind of trendy, and the Church not as effective as it could in addressing social issues in the world

  4. i'd like to see if i have any potential as a professional writer.

Some peculiarities about The End - 2020:

  1. i found a glitch in the Matrix - er, Blogger's set up, where there is a way to essentially post blogs from the future. (check the date of this entry) How i did that is a trade secret for now. Should I get some kind of book or media deal, then perhaps you can find out.

  2. If this blog got any traction, it could open the door for a book. The blogs would serve as the openings for each chapter, and create the background for what was about to happen, plot-wise.

  3. If anyone really gets into it, i am very open to having other contributors,who can give the perspective of another type of believer, such as someone from China, who might already have been under persecution.

  4. i plan on linking to some real life blogs, as The End 2020 blogs might reference those as a way to talk about certain issues. If you wouldn't mind me doing so, let me know if i can link to your blog as well.

  5. Comments will be from real people. i'll moderate them so we don't get anything too crazy. But i think th eonly way people will want to come back, in addition to creative entries, will be to see that the blog really engages people.

i would like to see how it goes by the end of the year. Let me know if you think i should continue. If so, please spread the word. Also, if there are any ways you can boost traffic, i'd appreciate it. For example, I have a link to one of 2012's fictional blogs, e ThisIsTheEnd. I am wondering if you click it through my blog, it might somehow enhance my blog's visibility.

Also, try google searches (especially blog searches) that include key words: 2012, 2020, Charlie Frost

and see if you can find it. If so, there's an option for you to bump it up (in Google), so I would appreciate that a lot.

Look for more entries beginning Nov. 2 or so.

Thanks for your support!

EDIT: This blog entry originally had the post date of 12/21/12, but I changed it to make room for more relevent material.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Best boxes for Aldi

i am planning a post, "How to Shop at Aldi's", but there's one particular segment that will take quite a bit of room, so i thought i would elaborate on that aspect before writing the bigger blog. (i also note about Chicagoan's calling it Aldi's, despite the sign).

This sounds crazy, but to those inexperienced with Aldi, this can be helpful in helping you bring your groceries home.
At Aldi's, you have a couple of options to take your groceries. You can buy plastic bags for just a dime, or pay $1-$2 for reusable bags & insulated bags. But one other option is to use the boxes that the items were shipped in. These are free, and when you are done with them, you can simply toss them in your recycling bin if you don't use them for your own storage (or other purposes).

The best boxes to use are:

1. Orchard Gold 1 Gallon Punch (Citrus Punch & Fruit Punch): With the cardboard inside the big box, you have extra support on the handles as well as separation for different type of items.

2. Nature's Nectar Juice (Grape & Cranberry varieties; NOT Apple): These boxes don't have specific handles, but are made such that they have natural handles. I actually also use them to store different types of items at home. The different colors but standard size make them great for home use.

3. Carlini Oil (Vegetable, Canola, Corn): A little smaller than the juice boxes, but same basic concept. Solid and easy to handle

IMPORTANT: Now, it's OK to shift 1 or 2 lone bottles in a box over to another box that has some space. But please do NOT empty an entire box of items (and especially do NOT stack them on full boxes). It's rude, it makes the store look bad, and it may cause the management to take drastic measures, and ruin shopping for the rest of us. In fact, the Aldi at 7342 S. State Street at one point actually tore a whole stack of juice boxes, rendering them completely useless to customers.

Coming soon, "How to Shop at Aldi's"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The "real" name of Aldi & Jewel grocery stores

i don't care what the sign says on the outside.

In the city of Chicago, it's Aldi's and Jewel's, just like Dominick's and Walgreen's.

(And before you start getting smart...No, it's not "Wal Mart's". That just doesn't sound right!)

Coming soon... "How to shop at Aldi's" guide (the abridged version).

Friday, September 4, 2009

How a Glenn Beck statement affected me

Out of all the things I could blog about…I decided to use this space to respond to a Facebook status & comments made. Facebook isn’t good for elaborate discussions, so I thought I would post it on a blog.

Why focus on this? Well, I made a promise to respond, and I am trying to really fulfill what I promise. There’s a new season of my life blossoming, but I need to work on some things first.

Anyway…This was prompted by a relative who was in town form Holland & watching Fox News’ Glenn Beck show.

He was ranting & raving like a right wing extremist, but it caught my ears when he said something like “Social Justice is just a code word for…” and I think it was communism or something anti-American. Why did it spark such a hot response form me? “Social justice” is a phrase that CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICALS use to talk about issues that Christians need to address in our society. It’s a phrase used very often by students, graduates and faculty of MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE. It’s a college, but certainly NOT one that a right winger could claim has been co-opted by Liberals. Social Justice is also talked about by the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). Several CCDA members have ties to Moody Bible Institute, as many of CCDA’s members are MBI graduates.

So when Beck attacked “social justice’, I felt he was attacking Christianity (probably without knowing it), and really reveals a heart of NON-Christians on the Political Right. Because of the Political Right/Republican Party’s verbal stance n issues like abortion, sex, etc., many Born again Christians have assumed that all of the republican platform is OK (or at least, “not that sinful”). And that will lead to moral compromise among Christians involved. (And I know that’s not everyone…see some of the responses from Facebook to get examples of those who may have a political orientation, but yet still aware of the sin around them)

I think there are far more Born again Christians on the Left who are aware of the the “sins” of that side, and still represent Christ in those areas, and vote/work accordingly. (Some examples of Christian’s who may seem on the “Left”: the work of the Marin Foundation, or Soong Chan Rah’s book The Next Evangelicalism). I think far more born again Christians on the Political right may not even be aware of the sins on their side and thus don’t speak on them.

Here’s the Facebook status conversation that was started:

JP John Paulus
A visitor was watching Glenn Beck and called "Social Justice"
a code word for socialism (or somehting like that). Can someone set up a viral
message/video that calls him an anti-Christian deceiver. Note how he is against
the CCDA & its... principles (which use capitalism as a tool for SOCIAL
August 28 at 4:18pm • Comment • Like / Unlike • View Feedback
(6) Hide Feedback (6)

Geoffrey D. Wessel
Why stop at "anti-Christian deceiver," he's been masquerading as a respectable journalist for years now...
August 28 at 8:24pm • Delete

Suzanne Alexis
Wouldn't it be better to do a more thorough investigation into what he really believes before calling him names? (It's possible your visitor misunderstood him or took his
words out of context). Is he allowed to have a different opinion than others?
August 28 at 11:06pm • Delete

David Pensgard
Let me be a little provocative here. Biblical communism (all things in common) is biblical and therefore Christian only when voluntary, communism that's forced is
robbery... which is unchristian. Beck's just a boiling chip for what most
Christians already know, which is that stealing isn't an acceptable
justification for giving to the poor. Giving is beautiful. Giving other people's
money against their will is ugly. I'm not defending Beck, I don't care for him
much. I'm just stating the evils of governmental communism. Capitalism (in
practice) isn't moral either, but it could be participated in by moral people
who work hard for the right reasons, take care of their needs, provide for their
families, and donate voluntarily to the needy and to the Church. I.e., charity
is the place for the sorts of activities that left- and right-wing ideologues
try to squeeze into government and corporations respectively. How's that for
August 29 at 1:20pm • Delete

Suzanne Alexis
Good provocation, very good!!

I will continue provoking . . .

I strongly disagree with this administration's economic and social
policies, but would not join a group that calls the president names. I'm a lot
more interested in articles, groups, etc. that point out what is wrong with the
policies and why. That is freedom of expression. It's true that Jesus called the
Pharisees "white-walled sepulchres", but He could do so because He knew what was
really in their hearts. Since the rest of us don't have that kind of knowledge,
we should discuss our differences with civility, even if the other side isn't
being civil.
August 29 at 4:08pm • Delete

JP John Paulus

I wanted to write something before the status expires...won't be able to
today...but check my blog tomorrow. I wanted to respnd to what you had to say,
Suzanne & David. It's good stuff, but wanted to throw some other ideas out.
The blog address is
Hope to have it by 1pm tomorrow (Friday, CST)
Yesterday at 4:48pm • Delete

Suzanne Alexis

I didn't know our status could expire!!?! I'll be away for the weekend but hope to
read it when I get back.
2 hours ago • Delete

As far as health care… one thing no one has mentioned is that private industry has HAD their chance, for decades to help build something to help people.

And f you need to think economically…how does it help society if your kids get sick because a family couldn’t afford to go to the doctor or wait hours at a clinic? When a person drops dead or goes to the emergency room for a situation that a doctor visit could have prevented…doesn’t it cost you and me time and money?

On the bigger picture, if those on the political right really do want to help, not just cause division (especially to stroke their own ego), then they need to do a couple of things;

Repent of the sins on “their side”…the evil parts of capitalism that David Pensgard mentioned. Bernie Madoff and the whole “Mortgage derivative” mess…that wasn’t due to big government: that was sin from the private world

Communicate to build up rather than speak to destroy - People like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, etc. could be using their media influence to do things like get people to volunteer more, give more money to worth charities, network communities so the giving can be more efficient (i.e. one church in a neighborhood might provide nightly dinners to the homeless, another gives clothes. But without communication, these services can’t be maximized, nor can they catch abusers of “the system”),.We can cgo all over scripture.

The attitude and vicious talk is what especially galls me about the non-Christian conservatives, who can poison Christians’ thinking as well

A sharp contrast to Glenn Beck is Mike Huckabee. While I don’t agree with everything Huckabee says politically, he is a model Christians (and non-Christians) can respect and follow. In addition to having stances on some issues that are not typically considered Conservative/Politcal Right (i.e. support for the Arts in public schools, immigration reform that has some compassion on the immigrants), he actually DIALOGUES with people. He’s done so on the daily Show with Jon Stewart, talking about issues like abortion. Again, Huckabee wasn’t perfect on there, but I think he definitely opened doors in terms of dialogue and was a peacemaker.

We as Christians, wherever we’ve been called, need to be peacemakers and bridgebuilders, not just between people, but ultimately pointing to Jesus.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A personal update

I should've wrote something on March 21, my daughter's 4th birthday.

But since i procrastinated too much, how about a re-cap of the past four years....or at least enough stuff to let you know that i have a lot to be thankful to God about:

4 years & 1 month ago:

2 years & 5 months ago:

2 years ago this week: we closed on a beautiful bungalow in a good & vibrant yet working class (those qualities seem contradictory on the North side, at least in some people's minds)

1 year & 2 months ago: I was unemployed. Even the temp agency, where i got "Temp of the Year" in 1998 couldn't get me a temp job!

Sorry if it sounds like bragging...but ultimately, these things happened, not because of some amzing thing *i* did, but that God had done.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My wife and i recently saw a film on DVD -- "Boy in the Striped Pajamas". It's a (presumably) fictional take on the Holocaust, seen through the eyes of the 8 year old son of the Auschwitz death camp director in 1942, and his friendship with the title character, an 8 year old Jewish boy who lives on the other side of the fence.

It's a very well done The two children, especially, are amazing.

Asa Butterfield portrays Bruno, the lead character. Physically, he looked to me like Hitler would have as a child. But his character is in fact a true human being, and while not at all perfect, definitely a protagonist.

Jack Scanlon, who portrays Shmuel, is so amazingly sad (as one would expect in real life), yet still has childlike hope.

Its a must-see movie.

While i loved Slumdog Millionaire & was glad to see it win so many awards, i am surprised this wasn't nominated for as many Oscars. Jack Scanlon, hands down, should've won Best Supporting actor.

Please note -- this movie is based on a book by author John Boyne. While in some ways different from the book, both the author & many readers were very pleased by the result.

The official site of the movie is here.

Just a rough thought here...but if you were to show movies about the Holocaust to students, I would do it in this order:

  • Boy in the Striped Pajamas - great "entry level" Holocaust film, which shows some of the horror, but enough for a child (i.e. grade school) to take in. Certainly lots of issues for people of all ages to discuss, however.

  • Life Is Beautiful - For middle schoolers...lots of humor, but again, getting into issues to discuss

  • Schindler's List - For high schoolers and above...some intense stuff, that certainly requires discussion. A great film...

This blog entry should probably sound deeper & more thoughtful than it is...i encourage you to check out this movie (we just saw it at our local RedBox DVD rental)...but you should actually buy it, especially if you're a teacher, or in some way work with youth.