Sunday, December 31, 2006

December Blogger Awards

December was the BEST MONTH EVER in terms of total hits for The Matthew Never Knew. Over 6000 visits! Here are the posts that caught my eyes in December:

AP & the Ascension
AJ on Racism
Jo's Bizarre Gift Contest
Jo's 'ha ha' video
Kirk's Christmas Tree
Kristie & Crazy Science Kids
Missy the 'Special Speaker'
Sarah & Verizon Math
Steph P & Discussion
Steph I's Questions

Blog of the Month?
Random Wonderings
I'm going to give the December Award to Steph P. Good selection of updates and thought-provoking stuff. Well done Steph!

Monthly Award Archives
January: Elizabeth S
February: Paul T
March: Steph I
April: No Award Given
May: Andrew B
June: Aaron P
July: Heather D
August: Joanna H
September: Kayla H
October: Joanna H
November: Elliott I
December: Steph P

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Knew Awards 06

Best Book

I loved reading the Apostolic Fathers, edited by Michael Holmes. In fact, for me, 2006 was the year of church history. I really enjoyed reading Clement, Polycarp, Ignatius, the Didache, Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, the letter to Diognetus & Papias. I also read Eusebius & Josephus. I look forward to more church history reading in 2007.

Best TV Show

This is really tough. There are numerous candidates. The only ongoing shows that I watch every episode of are Lost & Gilmore Girls. But I am still undecided on how much I like Lost and this hasn't been a great (or even good) season of Gilmore Girls. As far as re-runs go, I've been watching Newsradio a bit. Some Andy Richter controls the Universe. Hmm. This really is tough. The award goes to... Seinfeld reruns.

Best Sport/Team

For me, it's always been a battle between football and hockey. But since the lockout ended, hockey has rocked (I'll admit, it may have something to do with the Sabres being awesome and the Bills being very average). But I absolutely love Hockey. Obviously, my favorite team for 2006 was the Buffalo Sabres. They were the best team in the NHL last season and only lost due to injuries. And this year they have a great shot to win the cup.

Most Influential Person

For the 2nd consecutive year, I give this award to Steve Gregg of I just resonate with his style and am edified by his teaching and testimony. Check him out.

Best Author

This is the first year I was able to really start digging in to NT Wright. I read 4 of his books over the last year or two and found all of them thought provoking.

Favorite Singer/Band

Who did I listen to the most this year? I'm going to have to say it was Iron & Wine. Just ask my sister how many times I was willing to listen to the same song(s) over and over! I don't try a lot of new stuff. Basically, the only people I listend to this year were The Waiting, Caedmon's Call, Derek Webb, Iron & Wine & Weird Al.

Favorite New Hobby

Alright, I really do enjoy riding the bike I bought this year. I'll admit, though, that I'm pretty lazy and didn't ride it as much as I should have. My absolute favorite new hobby is Wednesday Night Basketball. Each Wednesday after prayer meeting I play with 2 friends (teens from our church) and sometimes a 4th. Good exercise. Good fun.

Best BBC Blogger

I like to offend 115 people and give an award to the 1 BBC blog that shined the brightest in 2006. I sorta hate to give the award to the same person as last year, but I feel it is deserved (though I felt like there was greater competition this year!). The award for Best BBC Blog of 2006 goes to Joanna H and her "Taste of Vinegar"

Click HERE for 2005's Knew Awards

Friday, December 29, 2006

Year In Review

New to the Knew?
Catch up with this Review!
Best of The Matthew Never Knew 2006
January: The Binding of Satan
February: Worst Pic Ever
March: Dis-Hastening
April: Matthew (Away) or 'Counting'
May: Top 9 China Pics
June: The 'How To' Story
July: The Apostolic Fathers
August: Alphabet Match-Maker
September: Solomon's Pick-Up Lines
October: Kenosis Theory
November: Why 94?
December: Please Pray for Me

Click HERE for Best of 2005

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Top Right Corner

Blogroller still doesn't seem to be working, but notice a new link in the top right corner of my blog. At that link, you can type in your blog title and address, and get yourself some ***'s. I'll still do it myself if I noticed an updated blog, but I won't look as often. In other words, if you update, and you want stars, you can do it yourself instantly.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

All I Got for Christmas

I received way too much for Christmas. Kind of made me feel bad about giving only 4 gifts (Originally, I was only going to give 3, but I got talked into 1 more over the weekend). Just like last year, people ask me what I got. It's sorta hard to remember and annoying to have to type it so many times, so I'll blog the list and copy/paste for next time I'm asked.

I got an electric car starter, an iPod car-radio tuner for my nano, a bedside table for my room, a basketball, a few movies, a phone, some shirts, a hand-held soduku game, an electric toothbrush, toothpaste, deoderant, some monster cable, a book about the history of monopoly, cookies, 8 beef on weck sandwiches, candy, pencils, scratch-off lottery tickets, boxers, some things that keep your hands warm for 7 hours if you are stuck in the cold, a laser-pointer that was impossible to put batteries in so I threw it out, blank CD's, and cute lil crafts kids made me. I'll probably remember a couple more things later on.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Favorite Christmas Songs

Feel Free to Pick Multiple Answers

What Christmas Hymns do you LOVE?
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
Joy to the World!
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Angels, from the Realms of Glory
Angels we have Heard on High
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
While Shepherds Watched their Flocks
The First Noel
What Child is This?
Go, Tell it on the Mountain
O Little Town of Bethlehem
O Come, All Ye Faithful
Silent Night! Holy Night!
O Holy Night!
Good Christian Men, Rejoice
Away in a Manger
We Three Kings
Free polls from

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Movies

What's your favorite Christmas Movie?
Here's my top 5 list

It's a Wonderful Life
Home Alone
A Christmas Story
Christmas Vacation
Miracle on 34th Street

Saturday, December 23, 2006


I hope my mother doesn't read this post, but I really enjoy cleaning my room. It's not the kind of cleaning that mom's like anyway, because it involves NOT cleaning for an extended period. You see, I like to let things get really messy and THEN clean. I've always been like this. I wait till my room is a practical disaster and then I do a super awesome job of cleaning and re-arranging the furniture. Anyways, my room is really clean right now.

Also on the topic of cleaning. I love throwing stuff out. I am somewhat of a minimalist. I am good at knowing what things aren't really necessary to keep. I'm not anti-sentimental. I just have limited sentimentality, I dare say the sane amount. Face it, nobody needs more than a couple dozen outfits. Each person should be able to fit all their 'stuff' in 2-3 nice sized bins.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Trial and Error

Trial and Error, starring Jeff Daniels, Michael Richards, and Charlize Theron is what I'd call a 'good, clean comedy.' I've seen this movie about 5 times, the latest being 2 nights ago, and everytime I watch it I laugh.

To reduce the plot to a couple lines, it's your basic 'trading places' storyline. Richards plays a struggling actor that has to pretend to be a lawyer. Daniels plays a soon to be married lawyer forced to pretend he's an actor. The courtroom scenes are classic slapstick. I think this is one of those movies that just clicked with me. Most will probably think it's too goofy.

Rating: 8.3
Status: Must Own

For more Knew Movie Reviews Click HERE

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Legal Christianity

I am looking at a list of all the 'Christian' books that can be legally printed in China. There are about 36 of them by such authors as John Stott, Joni E. Tada, Josh McDowell, James Dobson, Gary Chapman, Hudson Taylor, and Tim LaHaye.

This got me to thinking. If the Chinese government would only allow me to print 11 Christian books (other than the Bible) in their country, what 11 books would I pick? Even better (for blog purposes), what 11 would WE pick. I'll pick the first one, and each commenter can pick ONE additional book. I'll leave my pick as a comment.

This is what we came up with

1. Disciple (Ortiz)
2. Challenge of Jesus (Wright)
3. Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (Burroughs)
4. What's so amazing about grace (Yancy)
5. Not my Will (Arnold)
6. Velvet Elvis (Rob Bell)
7. Run w/the Horses (Peterson)
8. Lion, Witch & Wardrobe (Lewis)
9. Mere Christianity (Lewis)
10. Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now (Seuss)
11. The Cross Centered Life (Mahaney)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Every year, I try to buy Christmas presents for less people. This year I only made 3 purchases! Can anyone bottom that?

Monday, December 18, 2006


No, I didn't swear. I'm just updating you that blogroller hasn't been working for about a week. I've been doing it somewhat manually if I noticed that you'd updated. But if you visit my blog and feel you deserve some ***'s, just leave me a comment and I'll give you some. In fact, if I give you ***'s it will also show you as updated on any other site that has you in their blogroller.

In other news, here's a rough outline of my sermon from yesterday for anyone who was interested in my 'kenosis' post from a while back.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Wise Men (Pt. 4)

What is their message?

I've been taking a fairly technical look at all the different components of the Wise Men's great journey, but now I want to ask, why should we care? Why did Mary (presumedly) share the account with Matthew? Why did Matthew desire to share the account with others?

First, I think the story of the Magi shows the worldwide scope of this event. This wasn't just for the glory of Israel, but was also a light to the gentiles. It was the kind of story that impacted shepherds a few miles away AND wise men many miles away. Second, I think their visit was prophetic via their gifts. The gold, incense and myrrh predict the baby's kingship, priesthood & suffering. A third application I've made this year comes from our churches 'Chidlren's Christmas Play'. The main song ended with the line, 'Wise men still follow Him today' and made me think of what kind of wisdom I want to possess most. Do I want the wisdom of the world or the wisdom of the Kingdom? Do I want to follow the crowd or journey for Jesus?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Wise Men (Pt. 3)

What was the Star?

The simplest answer to the mystery of the Christmas 'star' is that it was simply the miraculous placement and movement of a glowing orb. In other words, this view says that God didn't use any existing or natural phenomena to get the attention of the wise men. Certain parts of the story make this explanation appealing. For instance, Matthew records that the star "went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was." That seems far from natural to many.

Others, however, argue that God probably used some natural phenomena providentially to accomplish His purpose to bring the wise men to the baby and his mother. There are a few possibilities: First, it could have been a unique planetary alignment. According to Paul Maier, every 805 years Jupiter and Saturn come into extraordinary repeated conjunction. This occured for 10 months in 7BC. Even more interesting, though, is what this conjunction represented to many eastern minds. The giant planet Jupitar was symbolic for great kings and the ringed planet Saturn represented a shield of Palestine. In other words, it's possible the star-watching wise men could have interpreted this event as predicting a King to be born in Palestine.

A Second speculation is that the 'star' was actually a comet (since the greek word for star is broad enough to include any heavenly body). The appeal to this theory is, obviously, the movement of a comment and how that fits with Matthew 2:9. Comet #52 from the Chinese celestial anals appeared for about 70 days in 5BC. Could it have been the Christmas Star?

Some suggest a third theory, namely, a supernova (exploding star). Comet #53 from the Chinese anals was such an explosion (they didn't have a seperate name for supernovas) and occured in 4BC. Perhaps a bit late for the event we're looking for.

So which was it? I don't know. Maybe a combination of any 2 of the above? Whatever the case, more and more people are becoming interested in the Christmas star, as indicated by recent books (1) (2) and articles (1) (2).

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Wise Men (Pt. 2)

How did they know so much?

I've seen some sweet looking stuff in the sky, but nothing that ever convinced me that a worship-deserving baby was being born or that I should set out for Israel. How did this celestial event prompt such a well-informed response? There are, at least, a few possible answers to that question.

First, there's always the possibility that God simply and specially revealed this information to them (in addition to the star), rewarding them for their quest for truth. But it seems more likely to me that they had also figured out this information by some means (they were 'wise men' after all).

A second possibility seems quite reasonable to me and that is that they had access to some ancient Jewish literature. This is far from far fetched (in other words, its likely) since the wise men were either Persian or Babylonians who had formerly possessed Daniel and his friends. Perhaps they knew and studied passages like Numbers 24:17, Isaiah 60:3+14, or Daniel's own 9:24-27. Whatever the case, their gifts suggest they knew quite about about the baby Jesus.

A third option places more emphasis on the Christmas 'star' itself. Ancient wise men were, after all, students of the stars. Is it possible that more details can be learned from the stars than modern evangelicals would like to believe? In their explanation of their arrival, the 'star' is all they mention. We'll save that question/topic for tomorrow.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Wise Men (Pt. 1)

We Three Kings of Orient Are...

We all know that familiar Christmas carol, but we often don't know much about the wise men themselves or the perplexing part they played in the Christmas narrative. For example, according to historian Paul Maier, by the time we've finished the 1st line of the song, we've probably already made 3 mistakes! First, Scripture never says there were 3 of them. We simply guess that there were three because that's how many gifts are mentioned. Some traditions hold that there were 12 in the entourage. We simply can't be sure. Second, they almost certainly weren't kings, but wise men (much like the wise men King Neb turned to in the book of Daniel). Third, they weren't from the Orient, which usually refers to Eastern Asia, but were almost certainly Persian (or perhaps Babylonian). But the rest of the song is great!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Favorite Character

I'm currently teaching through the Christmas Story from various perspectives. Just for fun, I thought it'd be interesting to know who everyone's favorite character is from Scriptures story of the birth of Jesus. Whose role resonates with or fascinates you the most?

Mary? Joseph? The Shepherds? The Wise Men? Zechariah or Elizabeth? Simeon or Anna? Herod? The Angels? The Trinity? Other?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Gilmore Girls 11

So far in Gilmore Girls Survivor you have voted Logan & Dean off the island, so to speak. But this week it's Lorelei's lovers and friends that are in danger. I randomly selected the following Characters. Be sure to vote FOR (+1) a character and AGAINST (-1) a character.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Vote for Rory

No, this isn't another Gilmore Girls post (that's tomorrow!). This is a post regarding Rory Fitzpatrick. Rory is a below average hockey player (0 pts this season), but there is an amusing movement amongst the NHL's fans to vote him into the ALL-STAR game. Amazingly, as a write-in candidate, he is currently in 5th place in the Western Conference all-star defensemen voting! The thing that impresses me most, though, is the effort being put into this campaign. If you're a hockey fan, you may find the following 2 attack ads funny:

Sunday, December 10, 2006

No New Knew News

I've had so many comments lately I was feeling a little pressure to be super interesting, but I have nothing to say tonight. I had a few ideas, but decided I should restrain myself from discussing Michael Richards, secretly writing as Mary, or boring you with book reviews. So I'll just update you on a few things:

The Bills are actually playing well
The Sabres are very exciting
Myspace is better than yourspace
Facebook is better than myspace
Blogger is better than facebook
Thanksgiving is better than X-mas
X-mas is the same as Christmas
Holidays are the same as Holy Days

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Card Wall 2

Previously, I made my bedroom's South wall a football card wall. Well, I can't sleep again, so I just made my room's Northern wall a hockey card wall. I have thousands and thousands of cards left. Who wants me to come decorate?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Sandra Bullock

Ok, this is the last actor/actress that I can think of that qualifies (7 movies I've seen) for my 'favorite actor' contest. With time, more are sure to qualify and I will add them accordingly.


Time to Kill, A
Demolition Man
Forces of Nature
While You were Sleeping
Miss Congeniality
2 Weeks Notice
Net, The

Current Total: 4 pts

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Please Pray for Me

I don't open up very often, but I need to now. This is really hard for me to say, but I can't keep it in anymore. I need to vent what's been going on in my life. Over the past year, I have fallen in love with a girl that lives here in town. I didn't say anything directly to her, but I told my parents because they know her parents and I figured that, together, they could gauge whether or not such a relationship would be feasible. Everyone agreed that it'd be a good match. The girl is only sixteen years old, but she's very mature for her age. I have no doubt that she has a great relationship with God. Even as a twenty-five year old guy, I think I have much to learn from her level of devotion to the Lord.

Anyways, a little while back I finally contacted the girl and it was pretty obvious that things were going to proceed smoothly. She liked me a lot and I really liked her too. Everyone that knew about the two of us was really happy that we were a couple.

Please don't judge me for what you read next. This girl is now pregnant. I know some of you won't believe me, but I promise the baby isn't mine. I was shocked when I found out. I really don't know what to do. People in town are going to talk. My reputation may go down the drain. I still love this girl, but I'm angry, confused and embarrassed. Part of me wants to stay with her despite what she did. We could get married and raise the child together. I think that deep down, she still loves me. On the other extreme, I sometimes think I want to let everyone know what she did to me and let her suffer the consequences of her sin. It's probably best, though, to take the middle position and just end our relationship as quietly as possible.

I know all this must come as a shock to most of you reading this, but I could really use your prayers and advice regarding my situation. Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mystery Tarts

Almost weekly, I'm given a box of 'toaster tarts' by someone in our congregation. The current box is labeled "Frosted Strawberry," but the last 3 of the 4 packs that I've opened have turned out to be "Brown Sugar" tarts. So today I am going to test everyone's guessing skills. Do you think my pack today will be Strawberry, brown sugar, or other? I'll let you know tonight when I open another mystery pack!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Gilmore Girls 10

Gilmore Girls Survivor
Last weeks results: Paris +5, Jess +1, Logan -6. Thus, Logan was the 1st character kicked out of our contest (which will end on the season finale). Remember to vote FOR (+1) a character and AGAINST (-1) a character. Here are this weeks randomly selected participants:


Vote Away!
And check back later for my review of tonight's episode

Monday, December 04, 2006

Disagree with Drury

I just read Drury's latest article "Sex and the Single Minister" in which he makes the following recommendations:

1. Avoid obvious offenses- prostitutes, porn, etc. Drury recommends accountability (since a single pastor doesn't have 'built-in' accountability and/or an internet program like Covenant Eyes

I'm not big on 'organized' accountability (let's face it, I'm not big on organized anything!). Both BBC and the denomination as a whole think very highly of accountability partners/groups, but I really don't. Now, some of you probably agree with me, others might think that implies I'm hiding secret sins! I suppose I could post more about my rejection of organized accountability in a later post.

2. Use extra care with minors- Drury gives the normal advice to never be alone with a minor.

Again, I think this is an over-reaction. Of course, it's a good thing to keep in mind that such a thing can be dangerous and shouldn't be sought out. But I totally disagree with the mentality that if there's a need to give some kid a ride home once in a while that I can't do it (or have to find another person to ride along). If I get falsely accused of something, I get falsely accused of something. Ok.

3. Don't date people in your church- Drury says this is unethical, comparing it to a therapist dating a client.

I disagree that it is necessarily unethical, though it is often unwise. To compare it to therapists dating their clients implies a gap between the clergy and laity that is, in my opinion, far too large. Of course, the way Drury worded it "single ministers don't date people in their church" reveals such a gap wherein the clergy consider the church 'theirs'. In a laid back country church (or any church) where all the Christians view themselves as fellow ministers, dating each other is hardly out of bounds.

4. Establish high standards for dating- Drury is basically making the point that a single minister should never 'go too far' sexually as it will always get back to the congregation.

I certainly agree with his point here, but I think he should have talked more about having high standards in choosing who 'not' to date instead of simply what 'not' to do with those you are dating. After all, if you handle the first 'not' correctly, the second not will be much easier!

5. Accept singleness but seek marriage if you want- Drury talks about where to find dates (since excluding the local congregation creates a problem given his view). He mentions larger churches, volunteer work, or online dating, but suggests that the most fruitful method of finding a match is by getting back in touch with people from your past.

I agree with all his points on number 5

So what do you think?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Julia Roberts

Oceans Eleven
Pretty Woman
Sleeping with the Enemy
Conspiracy Theory
America's Sweethearts
Oceans Twelve
Runaway Bride
Mona Lisa Smile
Erin Brokovich
Pelican Brief, The
My Best Friend's Wedding
Mexican, The

Current Total: 6 pts

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Meg Ryan

You've Got Mail
Addicted to Love
Sleepless in Seattle
When Harry Met Sally
City of Angels
French Kiss
Joe Versus the Volcano

Current Total: 6 pts

Friday, December 01, 2006

Ben Hur

Last night I tried to fall asleep before 1am, but to no avail. Around 3:00 I decided to put on one of my favorite all-time movies, "Ben Hur". Winner of 11 academy awards, the 1959 flic is ranked 72 on the AMC's all-time best movie's list. I've seen it between 5-10 times.

Some people hate re-making classic movies, but I would LOVE for someone to re-make Ben Hur. Not that this version isn't great (it is!), but I think a new version could create a whole new generation of fans of Wallace's great story. I mean, what's not to like? This story involves politics, religion & sex while showing the story of Christ from a unique vantage point!

They'd probably have to cut at least an hour off the movie (it's currently about 3 and half hours long!) and cast well, but it could be great! I liked the movie now more than ever.

Rating: 9.1
Status: Must tell others