9:04 PM Robert Moran discusses the culture war and the coming elecion. 8:56 PM A Dallas couple purchased 6000 tickets to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Jesus Christ, which opens February 25. They have rented all 20 screens at a local theater complex and will be showing the film 22 times on February 25. They are giving 3000 tickets to their local church, 1000 tickets to Dallas Theological Seminary, 1000 to other ministries, and the rest they are giving to friends. This sounds like an excellent idea. Wouldn’t it be great if Chicago-area theaters were packed on February 25 and the days following with Christians who invite their friends to see this powerful film? 4:32 PM Renovation Update: Mark Todd took me on a special tour of the portico, the site of most of the work these days. The foreman explained how the 1000-pound stone lintel over the doorway between the sanctuary and portico had cracked in two places. They knew about one crack and found the other when they removed the plaster. The lintel holds up the stones, which in turn hold up one of the stained glass windows. And because of the cracks, the lintel had dropped a bit so that it rested on the wooden doorframe. A massive shoring up project is undersway that involves a steel lintel and several columns that will make the whole wall sturdy for at least another hundred years. Work continues in the old Resource Center area. They have removed the windows and created the spaces where we will sell books and tapes. The portico work should be done in about three weeks… . Meanwhile, we received $8700 in the Building Fund on Sunday. Last year the congregation gave over $500,000 to the Building Fund above and beyond our General Fund giving. 4:30 PM Just back from my first bike ride in two weeks. Temp 26 degrees but that felt warm after the truly cold weather last week. I had to squeeze in this ride because tomorrow th forecast calls for 5-8 inches of snow.