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Tim Challies

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From Orlando to Ontario

As you read this, I’m on my way home from Orlando, Florida. I’ve been here with the family for nearly a week now, first to take in Ligonier Ministries’ National Conference and then to grab a few days’ vacation. This is part one of our two-part vacation this summer—a bit later on we’ll be headed for a state park in Virginia.

I was busy from Thursday morning until Saturday afternoon and, quite literally, did not venture outside until then. On Thursday I spoke at the pre-conference which dealt with digital living. It was quite a good and useful event, I think, and featured talks from myself, Burk Parsons, Al Mohler and Ed Stetzer. If you read blogs, use Twitter, have a Facebook account or are otherwise engaged in social media, you may want to check out the audio or video. I think it will prove worth your while and hopefully it will help you understand these technologies a little bit better and help you use them in a way that honors God.

This years Ligonier Ministries’ National Conference was, in my assessment, an especially good one. It focused on tough questions Christians face and answers came from a long list of really good speakers (John MacArthur, Al Mohler, Derek Thomas, R.C. Sproul, etc). In the past couple of days I’ve posted blog summaries of a couple of the most noteworthy questions and answers: Derek Thomas discussing how God could be good and still order the destruction of men, women and children and Al Mohler discussing intellectually-fulfilling six-day creationism. I met lots of people who read this site and, as always, enjoyed doing so. At the end of the event we were told that next year’s event will be quite a bit different. It is going to join John Piper with R.C. Sproul, Desiring God with Ligonier Ministries. That sounds like it will be fascinating mashup of the two ministries.

We aren’t much for big tourist attractions, so we decided to forgo the Disney experience. But when my blogging duties had wrapped up, my family did venture over to Downtown Disney to catch a screening of Toy Story 3—a movie we all enjoyed. A couple of people subsequently asked me for a review but I don’t think I watched it closely enough to provide a thorough review. However, here are a few thoughts:

  • It took fully 25 minutes from the time the light went down before the movie began playing. In those 25 minutes we saw 7 previews, 2 commercials and Pixar’s traditional animated short (rather an uninteresting one, I thought).
  • Some people have expressed concern over the presentation of Ken in the film. I don’t think he was meant to appear as homosexual. Rather, he was the consummate metrosexual, a guy who takes appearance and his self-presentation far too seriously. So I was not offended by Ken; he was a rather clever caricature of metrosexuality.
  • The movie was rather intense at times and some of the younger children in the audience were quite frightened by it.
  • The movie beautifully closed out the Toy Story franchise and I trust (and hope) they’ve closed out those characters and those stories. There was barely a dry eye in the theater by the time the credits began rolling.
  • One of the previews was for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It looks quite good, at least based on the short review. I find it a little bit funny, though, that the voiceover declared it an “epic masterpiece.” That’s overstating the case a little bit, I think. It’s a solid book, but I don’t think it’s epic and few people consider it a masterpiece.

On Monday, our last full day, we headed to the coast to spend the day at the beach with Amy Scott and family—Amy of Amy’s Humble Musings fame. It was great to finally meet her (she’s long been a favorite blogger to Aileen and me) and to spend the day enjoying her hospitality. The sun was shining brightly all day and I’m sad to say that at the end of the day, the sunscreen won a clear victory over all the sunscreen I threw at it. My everything hurts.

And so we’re heading home from Orlando the way we’re supposed to be—relaxed and sunburned and eager to be back in our normal environment. As of tomorrow things should be back no normal around these parts.