Bob Rice

An internationally famous speaker, musician, and writer, Bob Rice looks at the beautiful and the bizarre of life through a Catholic perspective. Also includes articles and excerpts from books he's working on.

My Photo
Location: Steubenville, Ohio, United States

My desire is to share the love of God to everyone I meet through the many gifts God has given me. My full time job is teaching evangelization and youth ministry at Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH. About two or three times a week I travel around the country proclaiming God's word or do a concert/lead worship. I've published many articles and I'm working on my first novel. 12 years ago, I married the love of my life and now we have 5 beautiful children. You can find out more about me and download lots of free stuff on my webpage-

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What can I do for you?

The “check engine” light came on in my car yesterday, and I hate the “check engine” light because I’m never sure what to do. “Low gas” and “low oil” I understand, but “check engine”? I open the hood and take a look. There, I checked it. It’s still there. But the light remains.

So I take it to the Honda dealership and really only look for two things to happen: 1) I want the light to go off, and 2) I want a free car wash. “Free” is a relative term because it costs me $80 for them to do whatever they do, but the car wash is a nice touch and the real reason I go there.

As I pick up the car, there is a man in greasy overalls who tries to explain in great detail what they did to update my car. Something about belts and filters. I nod at the appropriate moments, act like it was a great thing they did whatever they did in time before whatever happened to it, but in my mind I hope they left the big pieces of paper on the floor mats because I can pretend that I just bought my car.

This is not a great way to treat an automobile, but the world seems to have enough mechanics that I can get away with it. And after all, the light comes on to tell me when I need take it back. For all I know, it’s connected to a remote control at the dealership and when business is bad they hit the button and in I come for my $80 car wash.

The real problem is when I treat my spiritual life the same way. I know something is wrong, but I don’t want the details of why I feel the way I do. I just want it fixed, with a clean and shiny soul at the end.

That is not the way that God deals with us. In Mark 10 is the story of blind Bartimeaus, who cried out to Jesus as he was passing by. Jesus calls him forward and asks a ridiculous question.

“What can I do for you?”

The people in the crowd must have looked at each other in shock. Can’t Jesus see he’s blind? His problem is obvious. Why not just heal him?

But God is not interested is showing his power, but his love. His question gave great dignity to Bartimeaus, and allowed him to participate in the moment of healing. It became something they did together, as opposed to a mechanical action Jesus did by default.

Reading the Gospels, Christ always looked for moments to connect with those He healed. When the woman who touched the hem of his garment was cured, He wanted to know who it was. He touched the leper before He healed him. He could have waved His hand from a distance, but Jesus wanted to be close, to be intimate.

He still does. The “check engine” light of my soul shows itself when I lose my temper, stop making time for prayer, become self-centered, or fall into my old patterns of sin. In my frustration, I just want God to fix me so I can get “back to work”. I cry his name, and He comes, with those piercing eyes, and asks, “What can I do for you?”

I’m impatient at the question. We’re wasting time. “You know what’s wrong,” I reply. “Can’t you make me better now?”

He smiles and looks at me with love. “Of course I know what’s wrong. The bigger question is... do you?”

Monday, February 16, 2009


For today’s post, I’m going to pretend that I’m a movie critic.

Last week, while in Baltimore, I got to finally catch a showing of Frost/Nixon. I heard about it back in December from a lot of rave critic reviews, but could never seem to find it playing anywhere. For a while, only one theater in Pittsburgh had it. Then it went into “national release”, but still was difficult to find. Thankfully, the artsy clientele of the great city of Baltimore gave it enough viewings for my friends and I to catch a show.

The movie is about a television interview between David Frost and Richard Nixon. David Frost was a “talk show host” personality trying to score a serious interview and make his way back into the American public’s eye. President Nixon had resigned three years earlier over the Watergate scandal, but had never admitted he did something wrong or apologized for his actions. Nixon wanted to get back into the political game and hoped an in-depth interview would redeem him. It’s the story of two desperate men in a “no holds barred” contest that 400 million people ended up viewing. Though the supporting cast was excellent, the movie was it’s strongest when the camera went back and forth between the two of them in the interview scenes. Michael Sheen (Frost) does an excellent and subtle job as the interviewer. Frank Langella (Nixon) is nominated for an Oscar, and it is well deserved.

But the one who impressed me the most was Ron Howard, the director. The movie has a marvelous pace to it. Howard takes his time, a calm slow build to a dramatic finish. It’s like listening to an Eric Clapton solo- it’s not about speed, but style.

Howard brings us back to the 70s with amazing detail. It never feels like a 70s parody- the fashion, the cars, the hairstyles, they all seem to fit. Of course, Howard is bringing us back to a time he is intimately familiar with, since he lived through it as a young man. And he does well to keep the focus, not on culture, but on the characters.

This is his second “historical” movie, the first being “Apollo 13”. I think he is at his best when he is filming history. Another two of his great films, “A Beautiful Mind” and “Cinderella Man”, were true stories set in a historical context. But those were more about relatively unknown people. Apollo 13 and Frost/Nixon were about widely known events, at least at the time.

Howard brings us back to that time. For those who lived through them, they are a powerful reminder and a “behind the scenes look” at what happened. For those of us who weren’t there, it is a fascinating history lesson.

Now the phrase “history lesson” and “exciting movie” are rarely said in the same sentence, and this is probably why the movie has not had as much commercial success as other Oscar Nominees. What is so special about an interview with a washed up television personality and a former president? In light of other political scandals, what was the big deal about Watergate? And how can a drama star Richard Nixon, one of the most caricatured presidents of our time?

There are so many ways this movie could have failed, yet it was one of the most riveting dramas I have seen in the cinema in a long time. The interview scenes alone were worth the price of admission, and the historical background was fascinating.

I highly recommend it, but since I know there are some younger readers of the blog you should know that it is rated R for “some language”. You can find a more detailed summary of why it is rated R by clicking HERE.

And since every real movie critic needs some kind of catch phrase to say what they think of things, I am giving this movie two eyebrows up.

Monday, February 02, 2009

I went to the Super Bowl!

And yes, that is me hanging with... that guy. You know that guy. He was in the Transformers movie and had a show on Nickelodeon. You know, the guy from Cody Banks 2: Destination London?

It was pretty awesome. I got the news on Monday (my birthday) that my parents scored tickets through some corporate connection. I went with my mom, my dad, and their friend named Stu. What a game it was! At first, it seemed like it was going to be a blowout, and then it was one of the closest games in Super Bowl history.

Lest you think I’m a real high roller, I’ve never been to a Super Bowl before, and seriously doubt I’ll be at one again. The best experience of it was to be there with my mom and dad. And if you didn’t know, Steubenville OH is firmly a part of the Steeler Nation, albeit on it’s western border.