Monday, December 31, 2007

Getting a Head Start

Hey, she asked to read it.
BTW, I think this book will be a significant element in the aforementioned storm. Here's an excerpt:
From these revelations of the Spirit of God to the saints have proceeded the Scriptures of Truth, which contain,

I. A faithful historical account of the actings of God's people in divers ages; with many singular and remarkable providences attending them.

II. A prophetical account of several things, whereof some are already past, and some yet to come.

III. A full and ample account of all the chief principles of the doctrine of Christ, held forth in divers precious declarations, exhortations and sentences, which, by the moving of God's Spirit, were at several times, and upon sundry occasions, spoken and written unto some churches and their pastors.

Nevertheless, because they are only a declaration of the fountain, and not the fountain itself, therefore they are not to be esteemed the principal ground of all Truth and knowledge, nor yet the adequate primary rule of faith and manners. Yet because they give a true and faithful testimony of the first foundation, they are and may be esteemed a secondary rule, subordinate to the Spirit, from which they have all their excellency and certainty: for as by the inward testimony of the Spirit we do alone truly know them, so they testify, that the Spirit is that Guide by which the saints are led into all Truth; therefore, according to the Scriptures, the Spirit is the first and principal leader.a Seeing then that we do therefore receive and believe the Scriptures because they proceeded from the Spirit, for the very same reason is the Spirit more originally and principally the rule, according to that received maxim in the schools, Propter quod unumquodque est tale, illud ipsum est magis tale: That for which a thing is such, that thing itself is more such.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Back in Houston

Well, we made it back from Louisville this afternoon -a day after expected. We had a good time, and I think we took some pictures that may be worth posting. If I find that they are, I will post them -after I get the camera out of the suitcase. It seems Kristina took most of the pictures from a car window, so...we'll see. Or at least I will.

Kristina and I were very impressed with City On A Hill Productions. Here's a promo for a video series they've done called H2O:

H2O Promo

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

More ambiguity

Well, tomorrow the family and I are headed to Louisville, KY to meet with Shane Sooter and other staff members of City On A Hill Productions. So...yeah. That's about all I can say at this point. Will try to post from the Bluegrass State.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Silent Night

Merry Christmas from the Ramsey Family and Friendswood Friends Church.

My wife and I made this video (very quickly) along with my brother Seth and his two friends, Randall and Jacob, for our church's Christmas Eve service.

Notes: My absolute favorite part occurs around 3 min 30 sec. Also, the soundtrack is, at least temporarily, by Sufjan Stevens. His Christmas album is absolutely fantastic! I highly recommend one purchase it, if one hasn't already.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Congratulations, Ivy!

Wow! You brought the house down! Amazing!!

Update:
Ivy was a [very] featured soloist in the song, "One Sweet Day," which starts around the three minute mark in the above clip.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ivy at 28 seconds


I found a commercial for "Clash of the Choirs," which as I mentioned yesterday features our dear friend, Ivy Rush. In the clip above, Ivy is the one who appears (laughing) in the blue sweater at the 28 second mark.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Card 2007

Merry Christmas from the Ramsey Family!

Ivy on Clash of the Choirs

Sorry for the late post, but our great friend Ivy Rush, (Santry's wife) will be on NBC's clash of the choirs tonight at 7:00pm Central Time. Ivy composed the music for our first film, "Washington's Cross."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Apolitical and Annoyed

Though I am becoming increasingly apolitical, I was quite irritated by this article by "Mother Jones" expressing so much alarm that Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee [like 55 percent of the nation he hopes to lead*] does not believe in Darwinian Evolution, but instead believes in the Genesis account of creation.

If "Mother Jones" is looking for a political figure who is not only a proven believer in Darwinian Evolution, but has a staggering record of integrating such beliefs with his foreign and domestic policies, they need look no further than here.

*I am not using the "appeal to the majority" logical fallacy. I'm simply pointing out that someone who is in agreement with 55% of the Nation can hardly be painted as an extremist.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Romans 2:23-24

"You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? For 'The Name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you,' just as it is written."


Prominent "New Atheist" Richard Dawkins with former New Life Church Pastor and former National Association of Evangelicals President, Ted Haggard.

Posted online by Matthew Murray before he went and opened fire at New Life Church:

"You Christians brought this on yourselves. All I want to do is kill and injure as many of you...as I can, especially Christians who are to blame for most of the problems in the world."
Jacques Ellul on the nature of Anti-Christian propaganda:

"Rabshakeh's speech (2 Kings 18:17-37) rests on accurate data. His propaganda is aimed at a people which has experienced all this. This is why his argument is so strong. This is also why what I have written does not mean that the church is right and good and that the world is attacking it unjustly. The world's propaganda against Christians and the church states things which are incontestably true. Like all good propaganda, the attack on the church is well supported. But like all propaganda, it is radically false. It is untrue on two counts: first as regards the promises of Rabshakeh, and then as regards his honesty. For, although he claims that the church lies and he does not, Rabshakeh also lies, for his promises are false and merely a trap.

When he says the church is on the side of the oppressors and he comes bringing happiness he is lying, for he is a far worse oppressor than any before him.

...When the world attacks the church in this way...silence alone is legitimate."

-The Politics of God and the Politics of Man

Friday, December 7, 2007

Won't

I'm sorry, but if you're a member of a religion that believes that all people have souls that preexisted and lived with God before they were sent to earth in human form, and yet you, while holding these beliefs, were ever a "pro-choice" politician, I just can't bring myself to vote for you.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Celebrating "Adversity"

John and I are continually amazed at the "adversity" of the audiences for "How the South Was Lost" and "Whiteman College Admissions Video." For two antithetical examples click here and here.

"No matter what the differences there are between the believers of the world, we can all agree that there will be burning...questions."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tired

I'm so tired of being tired
Sure as night will follow day.
Most things I worry about
Never happen anyway.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Anniversary and Christmas Sale

It was a year ago today that Aletheia Stage & Film premiered and released, "The Oath of Desormeau."

To commemorate the anniversary and this year's Christmas season, we are temporarily selling this award winning film at a reduced rate. Visit our online store at www.aletheiastageandfilm.com or www.theoathfilm.com to purchase the DVD and support the work of Aletheia Stage & Film Co..


Winner!

"Most Dramatic Film"
2006 What You See is What You Get Festival:


"Audience Choice Award"

"Jubilee Award: Best of Festival"
2006 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sufjan Stevens and Psalm 88


This is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. And I don't normally say things like that. This song hits me in the heart and makes me feel like I'm grieving in advance because loss is inevitable.

My understanding is that Sufjan Stevens is a singer/songwriter who is a Christian, yet he doesn't necessarily sing and write "Christian Music." Instead, he sings songs that are interwoven with his faith and deal with experiences that have shaped it. This frees him up to sing about reality.

So, instead of being Christian in the marketing sense of the word. He can be Christian in the actual sense of the word.

My love for his song, "Casimir Pulaski Day," underscores why I detest the vast majority of Contemporary "Praise" music. And yes, the word detest is intentionally used. But, if I'm going to reiterate my detestation, I should probably clarify my definition. When I say "Contemporary Praise Music," I do not mean songs that say good things about God. I do mean the type of music so perfectly described by journalist Jeff Sharlet in his May 2005 Harper's Magazine article called "Soldiers of Christ: Inside America's Most Powerful Mega-Church*:"
The [worship team] was young and pretty, dressed in the kind of quality-cotton-punk clothing one buys at the Gap. ‘Lift up your hands, open the door,’ crooned the lead singer, an inoffensive tenor. Male singers at [this] and other megachurches are almost always tenors, their voices clean and indistinguishable, R&B-inflected one moment, New Country the next, with a little bit of early ’90s grunge at the beginning and the end.”

They sound like they’re singing in beer commercials, and perhaps this is not coincidental. The worship style is a kind of musical correlate to (their pastor’s) free market theology: designed for total accessibility, with the illusion of choice between strikingly similar brands. (He prefers the term flavors, and often uses Baskin-Robbins as a metaphor when explaining his views.) The drummers all stick to soft cymbals and beats anyone can handle; the guitarists deploy effects like artillery but condense them, so the highs and lows never stretch too wide. Lyrics tend to be rhythmic and pronunciation perfect, the better to sing along with when the words are projected onto movie screens. Breathy or wailing, vocalists drench their lines with emotion, but only within strict confines. There are no sad songs in a megachurch, and there are no angry songs. There are songs about desperation, but none about despair; songs convey longing only if it has already been fulfilled.”
If rebellion is an inherent trait of Rock 'n' Roll, then I would have to say that Contemporary Praise Music, as a genre, has its own inherent quality: dishonesty. There are no sad songs, angry songs, songs of despair, or songs of genuine longing. This is dishonest. Even the style is inauthentic. It's not quite rock. It's not quite country. It's not quite hymnody. It's all of those scaled back so as not to offend. Again, dishonest.

I am not saying that it is dishonest to say that God is great, or that God provides, or that God heals, or that God loves. But it is dishonest to sing about only those things. If the compilers of the Psalms had removed Psalm 88 and all the Psalms like it, that would not make psalms like 121 a lie. However, it would make the Book of Psalms, as a whole, dishonest and one big half-truth. Likewise, I do not consider each individual Praise song to be dishonest. But, when they are compiled for cds or for seeker-friendly, marketing-driven church services, they are one big half-truth.

All truth and all realities, not matter how unpleasant, are under the jurisdiction of Christ. It is dishonest and destructive to downplay the problem of pain in order to make Him more marketable.

*"The church referred to in the article was Ted Haggard's.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Enjoying the Holiday

It's so nice to go to bed when you're actually tired, and wake up when you're actually not.

BTW, I added more pictures to yesterday's post, since my computer battery went out before I could upload them all.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What Makes an Extraordinary Film

One of the highlight's for Kristina and I at this year's SAICFF was seeing a trailer made by our filmmaking friends, Jordan Niednagel and Nathan Daher. Based on the attendees' enthusiastic response, it was clear that if the SAICFF judges gave an "Audience Choice Award" for trailers, this would have won it.

What Makes an Extraordinary Film


Last year, Jordan and Nathan produced a allegorical film (very much in the style of John Bunyan) called The Book of Being. I recently had the privilege of seeing it, and enjoyed it very much. I look forward to seeing their future work.

Also, our three year old daughter loved the trailer too. She calls it "The Alamo Movie."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Interview


From Austin's "That Other Paper":
Before he won the Funniest Person in Austin Competition in Spring 2005, John Todd Ramsey had done stand-up comedy only one time in his life. How then, you might ask, did a third-year law student with little stand-up experience go on to not only win the Funniest Person in Austin competition but also go on to perform on season two of Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham and at HBO’s US Comedy Arts Festival? The answer lies in what his MySpace page describes as his “clean and quasi-intellectual comedy that has made him a favorite with high school, college, church, corporate, and club audiences.”

Headlining The Velveeta Room November 16 and 17, John Todd Ramsey sat down with budding comedian and That Other Paper writer Bradley Jackson to talk about his thoughts on the Austin comedy scene, Dane Cook, and why he doesn’t tell dirty jokes.
Click here to read the entire interview .

Monday, November 12, 2007

Recommended Reading

  1. Extremely negative film reviews.
  2. Monday's Sports sections of newspapers from cities that have terrible football teams.

They're just so much fun.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Featured

"Whiteman College Admission's Video" has landed my brother, John, as a featured comedian on the myspace comedy page, where our video is also featured for the second week in a row!

If you have not done so, please take time (3 min, 42 sec to be exact) to watch it and, if you like it, rate it favorably.

Helene Jr.

Kristina took our daughter to the library today. Our daughter walked up to an unknown boy of comparable age and in a raised voice said, "You will fight for her...all...her...life!"

To see why we find this humorous, see The Oath of Desormeau Trailer.