The Magic of Stone Soup

Posted on 31 October 2019 by LeslieM

This is the time of year when many churches and other non-profits search for ideas to motivate their members to supply the resources they need to reach out and bring sustenance and comfort to the people they serve. My own search for ideas often leads to folk tales, such as one with the title Stone Soup. I’m sure you are wondering what a story with such a strange title can have to do with fund-raising – stick with me a few moments and I’ll try to make some sense of it for you.
The story concerns a weary traveler who sought food and comfort at a tiny village. He stopped at each of the homes along the main street, “Can you spare some food and lodging for a tired and hungry traveler?” Each of the villagers replied, “We are sorry, but we had a meager harvest and have barely enough food and blankets for our families. We don’t know how we will make it through the winter.” The traveler was discouraged and sat down under a tree in the village square. He felt his own hunger but also felt for the needs of the villagers.
Suddenly the traveler remembered the beautiful stone he had picked up along the way and put into his pocket. He gathered the villagers around him, “My friends, what you see in my hand is a beautiful stone that will feed you now and throughout the winter; with this stone you can make stone soup.” The villagers were unconvinced but banded together and brought a huge iron kettle to the traveler. They were astonished when he filled it with water and placed it over a roaring fire and gently immersed the stone into the boiling water.
The traveler sipped the brew, “Stone soup is better with a little bit of salt and pepper.” Several children ran and got salt and pepper. The traveler sipped again, “This stone makes a wonderful soup, but it would taste better if we had a few carrots.” One of the villagers spoke up, “I have some carrots I’m willing to share,” and his daughter ran and got them. “What about the cabbages I have in my pantry,” a woman asked, “would they help?” The traveler replied, “Yes, they would indeed!” The woman went home and quickly returned with the cabbages. The villagers spoke among themselves; they went to their homes and brought back potatoes, onions, barley, beef, and soon a wonderful aroma of stone soup hung over the village square.
The villagers set out tables in the square and brought large soup bowls, crusty bread and apple cider, enough for everyone. After they eat their fill, their talents for singing, dancing, and fiddle-playing was on display long into the evening. On the morrow, they gathered to bid good-bye to the traveler. A small child embraced him and whispered. “Don’t forget your magic stone.” The traveler replied, “I am leaving the stone with you. Why? because it not only fed you yesterday, and will feed you tomorrow, but it has shown you what is possible when you work together and share what you have.” With that he rode off and the villagers agreed the stone had accomplished everything the traveler had promised.
So . . what is the connection between making stone soup and having a successful stewardship drive? The answer is obvious. Both events only succeed when the participants are willing to pitch-in with their “treasure, time, and talents.” When that happens, the magic of the stone provides nourishment and comfort for all.
Rev. M. Tracy Smith, SSA, Rector is from the Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, 1416 SE 2 Terr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-695-0336. Wednesday: Holy Communion at 10 a.m., Sunday: Holy Communion at 10 a.m.

Comments Off on The Magic of Stone Soup

Tigers roar past Coconut Creek, 28-16

Posted on 24 October 2019 by LeslieM

Blanche Ely senior Jevon Williams ran for 135 yds. and three TDs in a 28-16 win over Coconut Creek last Friday night. Photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely senior quarterback Jevon Williams ran 11 times for a game-high 135 yds. and three scores as the Tigers rallied for a 28-16 win over visiting Coconut Creek on Friday night.

Blanche Ely (7-1) won for the fifth straight game and will face Atlantic on Friday at 7 p.m. for the District 13-7A championship.

“Speed is everything,” said Williams, a three-time state champion hurdler in track. “Football is speed, it is not just strength, and I go by speed…if they can’t stop me, they can’t stop me.

“Last year, we won one game and, this year, we won our seventh game,” added Williams, who also threw for 100 yds. in the game. “We are on a winning streak right now. It feels great to me, and I am proud of this team and proud of myself as well. We got Atlantic next week and we are going to win that game as well.”

Coconut Creek (4-4) got on the scoreboard first on a safety when Blanche Ely punter Schneider Etienne had his knee touch down in the end zone as he was attempting to punt the ball for a 2-0 Cougars’ lead. 

Coconut Creek scored on its opening offensive series when Cedrick Bennett hit Damien Heller on a screen pass, and he went untouched from 23-yds. out for a 9-0 lead with 8:22 remaining in the first quarter.

Williams scored on a 6-yd. run to trim the lead to 9-7 before the Cougars’ John Blackmon hauled in an 8-yd. TD pass from Bennett to boost the lead to 16-7. 

The Tigers scored twice before the end of the first half to take the lead for good as Williams scored on a 6-yd. run and Shomari Lawrance scored on a 13-yd. run to cap a 9-play, 63-yd. drive with 3:22 left in the first half. Lawrance finished the game with 14 carries for 63 yds.

The Tigers capitalized on an interception by Antonio McBride, and Williams padded the lead when he scored on a 59-yd. run with 8:49 remaining in the third quarter for a 28-16 lead.

Blanche Ely’s lone defeat this season was a 42-0 loss to Deerfield Beach in the third game of the season. Since then, they have reeled off five wins in a row.

“Deerfield was a game where I felt we beat ourselves and I didn’t harp on that,” said Blanche Ely coach Clifford Wimberly after the Tigers finished 1-9 last year. “We jumped right back into action and put that game behind us. I told the kids we have a long season left to play and our goal was to ‘restore the roar,’ we would no longer be the step-child in Broward County and I think we are doing that.”

“I made the kids believe,” Wimberly said. “I gave them a vision…this is one of the heartbeats of the community. This is where my family is from and I am deeply rooted in Pompano. I knew how big the job was when I was taking it. We were 1-9 last year, but a lot of people don’t realize we probably played the toughest schedule in the state, and we have only lost one game since the spring.”

Blanche Ely is 10-5 against the Cougars dating back to 2004. Coconut Creek had won the last two meetings, and three of the last four entering the contest. The Tigers have outscored their opposition 244-126 this season.

Bucks fall 28-7 at St. Thomas Aquinas

Deerfield Beach fell on the road to St. Thomas Aquinas, 28-7 in a nationally-televised game that featured two of the top teams in the county.

The Bucks (5-3) had their five-game win streak come to a halt as the St. Thomas Aquinas team remained undefeated through seven games.

The Bucks’ Xavier Restrepo got the Bucks on the board first with a 54-yd. scoring toss from Michael Pratt with 7:19 remaining in the first half. From there, it was all Raiders who finished with eight sacks and scored 28 unanswered points.

Comments Off on Tigers roar past Coconut Creek, 28-16

MODS hosts FLIFF & Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Posted on 24 October 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

[After witnessing couples of all types shedding tears during climactic portions of the film], this jaded film columnist feels that Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a reminder about the power of movies to transform and inspire. The film opens with village people raiding the forest and abducting miniature mushroom men. As the forest fairies retaliate, one thug manages to sneak a mushroom man into the waiting hands of the mad scientist midget Lickspittle (Warwick Davis), who may be a distant relative of Jedi Master Yoda. The titles are announced and we see Sleeping Beauty, alias Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning), in the forest preparing to meet the village Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson). Despite their cultural differences, the prince proposes to the princess and the unification of the kingdoms is underway.

With marriages comes the conflicts with the in-laws, most notably Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Maleficent (Angelina Jolie), who have a bitter unsaid history with one another. Their first dinner party goes badly. A war breaks out between the village and the forest people. With spectacular battle scenes involving pink fairy bombs, it is the diva duel between Angelina Jolie and Michelle Pfeiffer that drives the emotional core of the film.

The gala opening of the 34th Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) will be held at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) on next Friday night, Nov.1. Actors Karen Allen and Peter Riegert [who were in Animal House together], are scheduled to walk the red carpet that night. The evening will include a screening of the movie Cuba. The Tito Puente Latin Jazz Ensemble will provide the musical ambiance (sponsored by local resident Cyndi Boyar in honor of her late father, Jerry, and mother, June). For tickets and membership information, contact 954-525-FILM.

There is no denying that Halloween is in the air in our neighborhood, with the City of Deerfield Halloween festivities at Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex this Friday night and the Halloween Hoe-Down at the Villages of Hillsboro Park on Saturday night. Not to be left out of the fun, Deerfield Beach Percy White Library will be contributing with a special screening of a Frankenstein movie at 2 p.m. on Saturday. (The movie title cannot be announced due to licensing agreement.) Lacking the special effects of Maleficent, this black & white 1943 classic is currently being honored at Universal Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando. The screening is free and will include comic book giveaways while supplies last. 

Stop by the library, check out a scary book for the scary season and enjoy the display created by Andrea Rubin, Latasha Garrett and Joy Smith.

Comments Off on MODS hosts FLIFF & Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Thank you, Pastor!

Posted on 24 October 2019 by LeslieM

In a recent session of the 116th Congress, Congressman Ted Deutch offered a public commendation in honor of the ministers, pastors and priests in his district. It was done in acknowledgement of Clergy Appreciation Day (also known as National Pastor Day) which annually falls on the second Sunday of each October. October is also nationally recognized as Clergy Appreciation Month, and congregations hold special services, events or activities to honor their ministers for the spiritual guidance and leadership that they give. Many of them provide valuable influence and service to the larger communities in which they minister as well. We are blessed to live in a nation that recognizes the significance of the faith community to the overall well-being of society. The work and influence of ministers, in general, should not be discounted because of the negative reports of some that occasionally make news headlines.

The Bible provides numerous descriptions of the qualifications and work of ministers. One of my favorites is Jeremiah 3:15,And I will give you pastors according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” In Jeremiah’s day, God was unhappy with His people’s rejection of the covenant relationship He had established with them, in favor of worship and allegiances with foreign deities. Much of their unfaithfulness was caused by leaders who led the people astray (see 2:8). After calling them to account, God promised to provide shepherds (leaders and pastors) who would give proper guidance to the people. In a recent pastor’s installation service, I shared three considerations from God’s description of pastors in Jeremiah 3:15. True pastors will fit and model this description.

Pastors are assigned by God. The clear revelation of Scripture is that pastors are called and assigned by God to proclaim His word, minister to His people, and lead His church. As Moses and Joshua were called by God to lead Israel in the Old Testament, and the disciples and Paul were chosen by Jesus in the New Testament, so, too, God still calls men and women to serve today. No one can call and confirm himself to any function or ministry of the pastorate. Evidence of God’s call must be recognized by others and confirmed by the church. God says, “I will give you.” Though the function of pastors may appear to be a job, and some may make it a career, the truth is that the pastor is fulfilling a divinely ordained assignment. He functions in response to an undeniable calling upon his life. He goes where he goes and does what he does because he is assigned by God.

Pastors have God’s heart. They serve according to God’s will and function in a manner to His liking. Since they are called by God, they are duty bound to serve according to His word and His way. Though they may serve the people, they serve in the interests of God. They must, therefore, be God-pleasers not men-pleasers. Pastors after the people’s heart will tickle their ears but pastor’s after God’s heart will touch their souls. Pastors after the people’s heart will give them what they want, but pastors after God’s heart will give them what they need. Pastors after the people’s heart will change their messages to fit the times, but pastors after God’s heart will proclaim the timeless truths of an unchanging God. Pastors will one day give account to God for their service. They must, therefore, faithfully proclaim God’s word, promote God’s interests and represent God’s heart.

Pastors feed God’s people. Like a shepherd who provides green pastures for the nourishment of his flock, so the pastor feeds God’s people with the milk, bread and meat of God’s word – the Scriptures. His sensitivity to the heart of God will enable him to communicate spiritual truth to the human condition. Faithfully preaching and teaching God’s word will turn converts into disciples and believers into mature saints. Jeremiah 3:15 notes that pastors will feed God’s people with knowledge and understanding. This enables them to become like the sons of Issachar (1 Chron. 12:32) who understood the times and knew what to do. Don’t underestimate the value of your pastor to your life. Appreciate his spiritual guidance. Take time to give honor and thanks for his service.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

Comments Off on Thank you, Pastor!

Local football teams on win streaks

Posted on 16 October 2019 by LeslieM

Jaylan Knighton is hopeful of helping Deerfield Beach to a win over host St. Thomas Aquinas on Friday. Photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri

Both the Deerfield Beach and Blanche Ely football teams are on a roll.

The Bucks (5-2) have won five straight games after starting the season 0-2, while the Tigers are 6-1 after winning their fourth consecutive game. Blanche Ely’s only loss this season was a 42-0 setback to Deerfield Beach in the third game of the season. Since then, they have reeled off four wins in a row, including a 48-7 win over Olympic Heights.

“The discipline has definitely improved, and we have a great senior class,” said Blanche Ely coach Clifford Wimberly after the Tigers finished 1-9 last year. “We’re taking one game at a time and finding the little things to help us improve.”

When they defeated Stranahan 26-24 two weeks ago, it marked their first win over a team with a winning record in 13 games, dating back to a 13-7 overtime win over Dillard in the Soul Bowl on Nov. 5, 2016. 

Tigers’ senior running back Shomari Lawrence scored on a 28-yd. run midway through the fourth quarter in the Stranahan game for the difference. He wound up with 20 carries for 94 yds.

Coming off a 64-0 manhandling of Spanish River, Deerfield Beach will face a still test this weekend when they face the nation’s 12th ranked team at St. Thomas Aquinas.

The Bucks will be led by senior quarterback Michael Pratt and senior running back Jaylan Knighton, in addition to a stellar receiving corps.

Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association results

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held an individual play (Low Gross and Low Net in Classes) on the Pines Course on Oct. 9.

Gary Gill won the Low Gross for Class A with a 75. Winning the Low Net competition was Chuck Brown, who carded a 64, while Bill O’Brien shot a 75 to take second.   

The Class B Low Gross winner was Lance Naiman, who shot an 86 and won a tiebreaker. Jack Permenter and Charles Schaefer each shot 67s, but Permenter won in a tiebreaker to take Low Net in the Class B competition.                                                                                                   

In the Class C competition, Oscar Aleman won the Low Gross with an 88, while Jerry DeSapio won the Low Net with a 68 and Jim Blake was second with a 71.   

Bob Mascatello won the Class D Low Gross honors with a 92. Al DiBenedetto won the Low Net in the Class D with a 65, while Dennis Rooy was second with a 68.

The closest to the pin winner on hole (No. 7) was Charles Schaefer, whose tee shot came to rest 8ft., 10in. from the hole. He stepped up and made the putt.

Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association results

The Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association recently held a Cat Fight in Classes tournament on Oct. 15. The winner of the A/B Class was Janet Stuart with a +1, while Lynn Goodman won the tiebreaker over Deborah Brown. They both carded a -3 in the competition. Lori Tarmey won the C/D Class with an Even score, while Dianne Levanti at -3 was second.

Comments Off on Local football teams on win streaks

Oct. 11 was El Camino day!

Posted on 16 October 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave
http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

As late as Monday morning, Oct. 7, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was supposed to open exclusively in Miami. Perhaps some studio executive read this column a few weeks ago because last Friday night, the film also opened locally, as close as the IPIC Boca Raton theater in Mizner Park. The first screening was packed and the ticket buyers were intimately aware of every nuance of this Breaking Bad history, while embracing some of the characters from Better Call Saul, a spin off.  This is noteworthy because El Camino also debuted on Netflix the same day — Friday, Oct. 11.

Like Rob Zombie’s 3 from Hell, Vince Gilligan’s El Camino is redefining the business model for a motion picture release. Neither film rivals the box office revenue of a Joker or The Addams Family, but both 3 from Hell and El Camino are relatively low budget productions, so the return of investment can be substantially larger, whereas a successful big budgeted studio production with many movie stars may never see a profit for many years after release.  Kudos to the independent streaks of Rob Zombie and Vince Gilligan for lighting the way for the creative part of the motion picture industry.

Despite being part of the Breaking Bad universe, El Camino is a standalone movie. One does not need to see the previous 62 episodes of the television series, but one will likely want to watch them now. The El Camino Jessie Pinkman (Aaron Paul) character is the gestalt of television version of Breaking Bad. Jessie, the boy, has become a man and is the whole of the sum of his 62 parts.    

El Camino opens  moments after the grand “Felina” of Breaking Bad. Jessie has escaped his captivity and is on the run from the police and sadistic criminal scumbags. After reuniting with his old buddies Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) and Badger (Matt Jones), Jessie seeks the services of Ed (the late Robert Forster), a man who runs his own private industry witness protection program.  

Given writer/director Vince Gilligan’s love of words, El Camino is a double entendre. While there is a Chevrolet car in the movie and the locations are set in New Mexico, El Camino is a Spanish word for “a path, a road or a journey.”

How Jessie goes from “Point A” to “Point B” is an entertaining story, yet this is a meditative story about potential redemption.  Throughout the film, various Breaking Bad characters appear in flashbacks. Each provide kernels of wisdom for Jessie’s journey to enlightenment.  

Sadly, the Oct. 11 release also marks the passing of Robert Forster. An actor with 50 years of motion picture experience, Forster provides a fine swan song performance as “Ed the Disappearer.” Suffering from Brain Cancer at the time of filming, Forster’s performance rings sincere and true. 

There are some great violent visuals to El Camino, but the quiet moments with Aaron Paul and Robert Forster will be the cinematic moments to savor. 

Comments Off on Oct. 11 was El Camino day!

Things promised and present

Posted on 16 October 2019 by LeslieM

All things are yours, whether . . . the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ and Christ is of God. (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)

Sometimes, we shrink the truths of the Gospel down to things promised. To be sure, we have been promised an eternity with our Lord, and this eternity will be a place where there will be no more sorrow or sin, pain or persecution, fear or unfaithfulness, disease or death. In a word, it will be the paradise that was lost in the Garden of Eden by the sin of Adam and Eve. The apostle Paul describes this as the beatific vision of God: “Now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

But what about now? What does the Gospel promise us in this present life? What blessings can we expect before we cross the Jordan and enter into our eternal rest?

This article would indeed have no end if I were to try and set before you all that we have been given, for “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Here are just a few things, which I pray will be both a comfort and an encouragement to you. We are . . .

Unconditionally loved

Completely forgiven

Perfectly accepted

Totally empowered

Supernaturally strengthened

Utterly united to God in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit

We must always remember that the Gospel is not only a promise of eternal life. It also impacts our everyday life as well. As the apostle Paul wrote in the passage that opens this article, Whether things present or things to come, ALL THINGS ARE OURS!” And what was Paul doing, but simply advancing a truth that God had already set before His people.

The upright shall have good things in possession. (Proverbs 28:10 KJV)

Christian, it is important to remember that even a life full of “good things” does not mean we will not experience difficulties. Jesus promised that we will experience troubles in this life (John 16:33). The unbelieving world will present problems for the Christian, from intense pressure to intentional persecution.

And if that was not trouble enough, the believing world will present its problems too. Why? Because we are still sinners in moment-by-moment need of a Savior. We say things we ought not say; do things we ought not do; and think things we ought not think, making life difficult on ourselves and those around us. But remember this too: After the promise of problems, Jesus assures us, “But be of good cheer! I have overcome the world.” Because Jesus was an overcomer, we, too, are to be overcomers, regardless of the challenges and difficulties we face on this side of the grave.

In closing, as a child of the Most High God, you currently have good things in your possession. To live out this truth is to live a life marked by joy and thanksgiving to the One who has so graciously given it to you. And above all that you have been promised, you have the presence of your Lord Jesus everywhere you go. When Jesus walked with His disciples, they had Him with them physically, but not every moment of every day. But when Jesus left this earth, He sent His Holy Spirit and promised that His Spirit would dwell within us every moment in this life . . . and in the next. “Surely I am with you always,” He assures us, “to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

May this truth set us free to love our God and to proclaim His incredible promise to a world that desperately needs to hear it.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. Never forget that . . . Amen!

Tommy Boland is the pastor for Cross Community Church located at 841 SE 2 Ct. in Deerfield Beach. For more information, call 954-427-3045 or visit www.thecrosscc.org.

Comments Off on Things promised and present

First Tee program kicks off at Pompano Golf Course

Posted on 10 October 2019 by LeslieM

The Crockett Foundation Pompano kicked off its fall 2019 First Tee program recently at the Pompano Beach Golf Course.

By Gary Curreri

The Crockett Foundation Pompano kicked off its fall 2019 First Tee program recently at the Pompano Beach Golf Course.

The nine week program, which has been in partnership with The First Tee of Broward County for three years, focuses on the nine core values that are connected with the game of golf and carries over to home life. Those values are courage, determination, teamwork, persistence, integrity, citizenship, justice, commitment, and excellence. 

The coaches for the program are TJ Ziol and Darrell Welker, and they are helped by volunteers Alan Freedman, Valerie Bertuccelli and Ashton Mahfood.

The Crockett Foundation, a Broward County-based non-profit organization, has positively impacted the lives of thousands of children since its inception in 2002. Its after-school programs focus on math, reading, health and technology for middle-school students.

“The Crockett Foundation has helped more than 1,000 students in our local community graduate from high school with better grades and a more positive outlook on life,” said Jack Bloomfield, Director of Operations for the First Tee of Broward.  

The First Tee is an international youth development organization introducing the game of golf and its inherent values to kids and teens. Through after-school and in-school programs, it helps shape the lives of young people from all walks of life by reinforcing values like integrity, respect, and perseverance through the game of golf.

Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association results

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held several events recently. Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held a One Best Ball of Threesome and Two Best Balls on Holes No. 1 and No. 18 on Oct. 2 at the Pines Course.

The winning team was composed of Neil Lang, Dennis Sejda and Pete Strychowskyj, who shot a 60. The team of Dave Dowling, Jim Muschany and Tom Pawelczyk finished second with a 63 and won on a match of cards.

Finishing in third was the team of Chuck Brown, Lance Naiman and Willie Smith, who also shot a 63, while the team of Bill Delaney, Al Holcomb and Kevin Narus was fourth with a 64 and also won on a match of cards. Winning the closest to the pin contest was Charles Schaeffer.

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held a Two Best Balls of a Threesome event on Sept. 25 on the Palms Course.

Al DiBenedetto, Jim Greeley and Tom Pawelczyk shot a 122 to take top honors, while Dave Dowling, Gary Gill and Joe Patchen shot a 125 to finish second. Taking third was the team of Jorge Duarte, Lance Naiman and Willie Smith with a 128.

Dennis Sejda won the Closest to the Pin on Hole No. 11.

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held a One Best Ball of a Threesome and Two Best Balls in the Middle, No. 9 and 10 event on Sept. 18 on the Palms Course.

Taking top honors was Jim Blake, Tom Breur and Gary Ruderman, who carded a 63, while Dave Dowling, Jim Muschany and Dennis Sejda shot a 64 to finish second. Gary Gill, Joe Patchen and Willie Smith shot a 65 and won on a match of cards to finish third.

The winner of the closest to the pin competition on hole No. 7 was Gary Gill.

Comments Off on First Tee program kicks off at Pompano Golf Course

“Sympathy for the devil” begins with Joker

Posted on 10 October 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Joker is probably the most ambiguous movie to open with such strong box office revenue. It helps to have a comic book character with almost 80 years of villainy. Mix that with almost 50 years of movies featuring urban alienation, and it is little wonder why Joker became a box office monster last weekend.  

“Sympathy for the devil” begins with an unreliable narrator. Understanding this concept will enhance your viewing pleasure of this film if being seated next to a madman on a roller coaster ride is your idea of pleasure.

The film opens with Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) putting on his clown make-up and preparing for his temp job as a sign carrier for a failed business.  After being mugged on the street by a bunch of callow boys, Arthur loses his job because his sign is destroyed.

Defeated, Arthur returns to his one room apartment that he shares with his delusional mother.  The two find pleasure in watching Murray Franklin’s (Robert DeNiro) celebrity night time television show. Beyond that, many things happen and Arthur is right in the middle of these wild situations. Sometimes, Arthur is the agent of chaos; sometimes, he is the victim of chaos. Regardless of the circumstance, Arthur laughs at jokes that only he understands.  

Through the cloak of ambiguity, this film manages to raise social messages.  From a subway shooting that echoes Bernard Goetz’s 1984 headlines, Arthur inspires a mass protest to “Kill the Rich” by people wearing clown make-up, which echoes the 2014 Ferguson Missouri riots. 

Batman’s Father, Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen) is a self-made billionaire, who commits to the political ambition to become Mayor of Gotham City, which echoes Donald F. Trump’s Presidency.

Much like Renee Zellweger’s performance in Judy, Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as Joker is likely to be Oscar-nominated. The actor runs the gamut of human emotions.  One feels sorry for Arthur, but the seduction of evil is real and an unsuspecting individual could easily become the Joker’s prey.

Though clowns have been part of the entertainment industry since the Roman Circus, recently clowns have been front and center during recent Halloweens. Sid Haig’s Captain Spaulding and Pennywise the Dancing Clown from Stephen King’s It books and movies have been trick or treat favorites and horror movie convention winners.  Like Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker fits right into this Rogues Gallery Circus.

For those who want to don greasepaint beyond Halloween, the Kazoo and Drum Corps for the “Day of the Dead” is seeking volunteers for the parade in Downtown Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday, Nov. 2.  (Visit the website at www.dayofthedeadflorida.com.)

Comments Off on “Sympathy for the devil” begins with Joker

October is clergy appreciation month

Posted on 10 October 2019 by LeslieM

The following quote was found in the 1996 Sept./Oct. issue of the Saturday Evening Post, “In 1992, layperson Jerry Frear, Jr., was brainstorming with church colleagues about how they might be of help to their minister when he glanced at a calendar and noticed that it was almost Groundhog Day. ‘I thought, if they have a day for groundhogs, there ought to be a day for the 375,000 clergy people in America,’ Frear says. So…for the last seven years the second Sunday in October has been set aside to show appreciation for our clergy.”

Focus on the Family is credited with building on, expanding, and popularizing pastor appreciation week, by calling October “Clergy Appreciation Month.” Hallmark saw a market and wanted in on the action and the first “Pastor Appreciation” greeting cards were sold in 2002.

Those who only observe a minister from a distance may feel his job is an easy one. Too often, people misconstrue that a pastor works one day per week, studies only one Book and mooches off generous people who host him occasionally for supper. That may be true for a few “so-called” ministers, but that is far from the truth for those pastors who are serving the Lord with their whole heart.

Pastors who truly love people will invest themselves into the lives of their congregation. They will weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. They sympathize and empathize with those God has entrusted to them. In doing this, many pastors struggle to separate work from personal life. They cannot just leave the office and forget the events of the day. They take the needs of others with them, agonize over them in prayer and wrestle with them through many sleepless nights.

Pastors and their families live in fish bowls and get observed and scrutinized from every angle. Pastors attempt to lead those who are frequently resistant to change. They listen to those who have strong opinions, and love those who announce how they would have done things differently. Serving others can at times be overwhelming.

The data reveals that 95 percent of those who enter vocational ministry will NOT retire from it. Hundreds of pastors are leaving the ministry every month; many pastors say that the ministry has negatively affected their marriage and family; and many pastors admit they would quit, if they had some other career option. The majority of pastors admit to walking a very lonely road that lacks deep friendships and the suicide rate among pastors is rising rapidly.

Whether you think your pastor needs it or not, let me encourage you to do something special to encourage them during the month of October. A simple note, a word of encouragement, an affirmation of support goes a long way toward inspiring your pastor. Show your appreciation by praying, encouraging, attending, supporting, participating, and protecting him when others speak evil. Throughout the year, give him a gift card to take his wife to dinner. Offer free childcare, wash his car, give him a gas card, bake his favorite cookies/pie, etc. The little things say a lot and are even more appreciated, when they are unexpected.

So, during October, be a blessing to your pastor, as well as, in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, November and December. Your simple prayer or word of encouragement may be the thing that keeps him from being part of 95 percent that leave the ministry. I close with a special shout out to all of my pastor friends… thank you for your faithfulness and keep your eye on the Prize (Phil. 3:14).

Dr. Gary A. Colboch is Senior Pastor at Grace Church located at 501 NE 48 St. in Pompano Beach. For more information, call 954-421-0190 or pastor@gbcfl.org.

Comments Off on October is clergy appreciation month

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

front page

COVER