Ever seen a cop dance like this?

If you need a pen, Matt has recommended a good one.

thanks Mike.



Originally published at:

Evan/August Rush learns to play the guitar for the first timeWhen our lives are rhythmically in tune with God, the music of our lives is played out to anyone around us who cares to listen. Maxwell “Wizard” Wallace (Robin Williams) says to young August Rush (Freddie Highmore), “[Music] is God’s reminder that there’s something bigger than all of us.”

August Rush grew up in a boys home, known as Evan Taylor. Separated from his mother, Lyla Novacek (Keri Russell), at birth by her over-protective father, both desperately wanted to know the other existed. Living a life of feigned existence and separation, neither pursued their shared passion for music. But an innate sense brought them back to music.

Evan begins the movie in a field, swaying in rhythm with the music of the wind saying, “I believe in music, the way that some people believe in fairy tales. What I hear came from my mother and father, once upon a time.” The movie also follows his father, Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), working as a West Coast businessman, also avoiding his former life as lead singer of a band.

After Richard Jeffries (Terrence Howard) from the Department of Child Services checks in with Evan and the boys at the home, Evan decides that now is the time to find his mother. He sets off for New York City with nothing but the music of his soul.

When Evan first meets “Wizard,” he picks up a guitar for the first time and instantly shows off his musical prowess. “Wizard” wants to give Evan a new name, August Rush, and give him a platform to share his music. Sounds a bit like the Saul-to-Paul transformation in the New Testament.

August Rush and his father play dueling guitarsAfter police raid “Wizard’s” hangout, August is left wandering the streets of New York. He hears music coming from a church and wanders in to find a gospel choir in the midst of their practice. He finds Hope (Jamia Simone Nash), a young girl in the choir, who gives him a place to sleep, teaches him about music and introduces August to the minister.

Up to this point, Evan’s music came from the heart. He didn’t have a process or a structure or rules. His music came out of a childlike innocence, innocent and pure. Sitting at a piano in the church, Hope asks him, “Do you know your notes?” August is caught off guard: “I’ve never seen them like that before.” A childlike faith can be caught off guard in the same way when introduced to rules and regulations of religion.

August’s musical prowess took the minister’s breath away, and the minister found a way for August to attend Julliard. Learning how to write music, he composes a full-scale rhapsody which his professor discovers. The professor passes the rhapsody onto the Dean (Marian Seldes). She called August into a board meeting, where they informed August that they wanted the New York Philharmonic to play his rhapsody:

August: How many people will hear it?
The Dean: It will be performed in Central Park, on the Great Lawn.
August: A hundred?
The Dean: Much more. Thousands.
August: OK, I need to play it to a lot of people. Lots and lots.

Even with this newfound knowledge about music, August has not lost his passion and excitement. He wants nothing more than to share the music of his life with as many people as he can. What if people of faith lived with that same eagerness to share their passion?

August and the Wizard in the park“Wizard” constantly reminds August of the importance of his music, its connection to his heart and the world around him: “You gotta love music more than you love food, more than your life and more than yourself...You know what music is? A harmonic connection between all human beings.” Our spirituality longs to be number one and that “music” in our lives will connect us to the world around us.

August asks “Wizard” where the music comes from: “I think it comes from all around you, really. It comes through us, some of us. It’s invisible, but you feel it.” August asks, “So only some of us can hear it?” and “Wizard” responds: “Only some of us are listening.”

Are you listening to the music this Christmas season? August found the music, lived the music and shared the music.

The music is all around us. All you have to do is listen.” - August



1. Wrapping paper or gift bag?
For the last-minute wrapper (like myself), the gift bag is so easy. But then again, it looks like, "Hey, I didn't want to spend the time wrapping so I just threw it in a bag." Final answer: wrapping paper.

2. Real tree or artificial?
Artificial. It's not sticky.

3. When do you put up your tree?
Growing up, it always (almost) went up the day after Thanksgiving, or sometime that weekend. It's gotta be after Thanksgiving though.

4. When do you take down your tree?
Again, growing up it was down sometime around or on New Year's Day. Any longer seems tacky.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Egg what? Nope, of course I've never had it. But still, not interested.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Tie: The one I remember most is the LEGO train. It took a while and a trip back to Toys 'R Us to get it working correctly, but it was a lot of fun once it did work! The one I recall from pictures was the LEGO Christmas after the fire. A lot of the LEGO's I had played with (Dad's from the 60's and 70's) were gone, and Santa brought new ones.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
There are a couple around the house (apparently three), but I don't have one.

8. Hardest person to buy for:
It's all about the same.

9. Easiest person to buy for?
See above.

10. Worst Christmas gift you've ever received?
No comment.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards?

12. Favorite Christmas movie?

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
December. It often has to wait until after classes and exams are over.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
No, but some of those "Worst Christmas gift you've ever received" are still around. Hmmm.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Frosted sugar cookies and chocolate covered cherry cookies. I hope I'm not missing any... I think those two are my absolute favorite.

16. White or colored lights?
Depends on where you're putting them

17. Favorite Christmas song?
"This Christmas/Joy to the World" by TobyMac and "Little Drummer Boy," Jars of Clay version.

18. Travel for Christmas or stay home?
That depends on what you mean by travel. One of my favorite Christmases was the year we woke up in Richmond, spent most of the day in Northern Virginia and drove to my grandparents' that night. I think as long as we get some time at home, it's good.
Then there's the year we had a miserable Christmas on a cruise ship. We weren't home. We puked. All of us. There wasn't much to do on the ship. Our stop in St. Martin/St. Maarten was on Christmas Day, and naturally everything was closed. And people were beating each other over the head with glass bottles. An all-around great Christmas. Not.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers?
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. And Rudolph.

20. Angel or Star on top of tree?
At home we have an angel. When I have my own tree? I'll leave that decision to Kim...

21. Open presents?
It was probably near the end of high school or beginning of college, I think my parents finally got tired of us always asking on Christmas Eve to open a present. We started having a Christmas Eve book, and the tradition lived on. It's a good one.
As for the rest of the presents, it's usually (unless we're on a cruise ship...) Christmas morning. A couple years ago, I was on staff at a church when Christmas was on Sunday. We had the Christmas Eve service there, and then I went with my family to their church. Then Sunday morning we all went to my church, and then drove out to Charlottesville to be with family for the day. I was exhausted at the end of that day, but we came back home and opened Santa's presents and our family presents that night.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Everyone and their mother is out driving around and shopping all the time, and it takes an eternity to get anywhere. Runner up: exams.

23. What I love most about Christmas?
When it's a quiet, peaceful night and you drive/walk around and see a Christmas display (lights, nativity, etc.). Last night, I was at UR for the annual Christmas Candlelight Service and caught a glimpse of the library tower with the lighted wreaths hanging high above the University. I guess that's the kind of feeling the shepherds had when they saw the star. Except Jesus isn't underneath my "star."



I don't normally listen to Christian radio. For whatever reason, though, I had the new local station on during my drive to class. After the morning's Scripture reading from the Book of Psalms, the anchor said, "And remember, Merry Christmas. With a capital 'C.'"

Sunday morning in worship, during the epically-long greeting, the welcomer said, "Now we'll do something that you probably haven't done very much. And forget being politically correct. Say this after me, 'Merry Christmas.'"

This morning I received an e-mail, purportedly shared by Ben Stein on CNN (although it did resemble a lot of SPAM/urban legend-type e-mails: SNOPES says a variation is true). The message was from Ben Stein:

I am a Jew and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish, and it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautifully lit-up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are -- Christmas trees.

I'm trying really hard to be "merry" this Christmas season. For the past half-decade (maybe longer), I have been bombarded with academic work in the days leading up to Christmas. It's been a struggle to find joy in that kind of a season! I still have class this year, professors are still assigning papers and exams, but I am trying hard. Then I realized that maybe my trouble finding joy is more about the "church" than about me.

Every time we turn around, someone else is fighting for "Christmas." Fighting? For Christmas? We can worship in our churches and celebrate with our families any way we want. Ben Stein said he's not offended. A quick history lesson:

In 1492, King Franz Ferdinand and Isabella finally "cleansed" the Spanish countryside of the last Muslims and the nation become solely Christian. What came after that? [Yes, fourth grade history wizards, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.] The Protestant Reformation came next right on its heels. The voice of a new kind of Christian that was not concerned with everyone worshipping the same way. This voice wanted to give everyone freedom of worship, and a separation of the Church and the state.

If the Church keeps fighting about Christmas, there will likely be a new Protestant Reformation. According to Phyllis Tickle, it will happen, if it's not happening already. Then maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to celebrate Christmas without hearing about a fight.