Friday, December 14, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

ZING!

Robert has become a ministry god because Doug Pagitt posted a letter he wrote a few days ago (a letter that i would agree was excellent). It is now my goal to quote Robert as much as possible within my posts and thereby raise my ministry street cred.

Robert is cooler than me because he never ever ever mentioned it - unlike some people whose egos are in such need of a stroke that they send out the link in an e-mail to everybody they know.

Seriously, dude - I was reading that post not knowing it was you, and thinking, "Man, I can totally relate to that guy." Then when I got to the point where you mentioned Stevens Point, Wisconsin I thought - "Hey! Robert lives there!" I'm an idiot. I should have known it was you at "CHRIST-mas lights".

Shalom.

P.S. I am totally writing a book called:
Ministry god Marriage Counseling by Robert Terrell
by J.T.

No kidding. The manuscript is a Word document in my My Documents folder. Look for it at your local retailer this Spring - just in time to make a perfect shower gift for June brides!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What Would Batman Do?

Earlier today, I came across somebody on a message board using this as their avatar:






No. I do not read message boards at work.

9 Most Bad*** Bible Verses EVER.

















Go HERE for the hilarity.

And due to graphic violence, some profanity, and frank sexual language - this link is not suitable for younger viewers. Parents strongly cautioned.

(thanks to Cracked.com)

Why So Serious?

BEST.
POSTER.
EVER.

Discuss.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Mo' money, mo' problems (Alternatively - "Dolla dolla bills, y'all!")



A clear and concise (not to mention entertaining) explanation of WHY I'M STUCK WITH RE-RUNS RIGHT NOW - AND SO MANY FREAKIN' REALITY SHOWS!!

Pay the writers already!!

Shofar - so good.



So - blah blah blah - spiritual gifts, blah blah "one body, many parts", blah blah blah kingdom of Heaven.
What I mean is - all the churchy words I would use to describe the relevance of this clip would be powerless against the actual viewing of it. So just watch it, okay? And remember - it's a beautiful thing.

I do love the way it all starts with the blowing of the Shofar, though. A nice touch.

Shout out to Brit, who commented the other day, and who I stole this from. Thanks.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

OH SNAP!

"I would rather be wrong with Brian McLaren than right with D.A. Carson..."
- Leonard Sweet
This quote won't mean anything to most of you who read this blog, but to the 3 or 4 of you who will understand it - OH SNAP!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

FBC, Legoland









































(click photos to embiggen, or enlargify)

thanks to Alan Hirsch and The Forgotten Ways blog

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Larry the Bear

Larry the Bear is kind of our informal youth group mascot at the church.
We named him Larry after the pastor because of a slight resemblance.
He's Alaskan.
And he's got mad drum skillz.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Preguntas

I must confess that in my most frustrated times in ministry, I have turned for solace to the job listings at youthspecialties.com, or churchstaffing.com, or minstrysearch.com, or even the illustrious list put together by that dude Craig.

Sometimes, (staring at those job postings with their qualifications and prerequisites, and those churches with their programs and statements of faith) I wonder if I could, with any intellectual honesty, continue to do youth ministry, or even work on a church staff at all.

Then I ask myself, "Would I recognize the ideal position if it showed up on one of these sites?" And in response to that, I think I've come up with what I think would be the coolest ministry position ever.

Minister of Questions.
I think I would make a good Minister of Questions.
The guy responsible for asking difficult questions about faith. Questions that need to be asked. Questions that sometimes we are too afraid or too comfortable to ask ourselves. Questions that propel us into a search for something deeper, something fresher, something more real. Questions that actually require truth as their answer.

I would welcome questions from others about my own life and faith, as well. I love them. After all, that's why I'm in the questioning business in the first place! I would work extra hard to make sure that I'm a safe place for people to ask the most scandalous of questions, and offer the most unorthodox of answers for consideration.

I would hold gatherings, large and small, where people could come together to ask and be asked questions (really important ones, and maybe sometimes little fun ones, too). Sometimes I'd answer a question with another question, not to be difficult, but because sometimes the best answer is another question. Sometimes the answers would be life-altering, and would come from the most unlikely people and places. Sometimes we wouldn't really be concerned with answers at all. After all - I'm not the "Answer Guy", I'm the "Question Guy".

When I read about Jesus, and those who interacted with Him, I come across some of the most profound questions in all of life.

"You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Matthew 8:26, Matthew 14:31
"Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?" Matthew 14:3
"Who do people say that I am?" Matthew 16:13, Mark 8:27; Luke 9:18
"But what about you? Who do you say I am?" Matthew 16:15
"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" Matthew 16:26
"Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?" Matthew 18:21
"Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" Matthew 19:16
"What are you looking for?" John 1:38
"What do you want me to do for you?" Matthew 20:32; Mark 10:36, 10:51; Luke 18:41
"Who is my neighbor?" Luke 10:29
"What is truth?" John 18:38

Question after question after question. And sometimes, the question IS the answer. Sometimes the question is such that, to attempt an answer would be feeble and trite.

A couple of days ago I came across the web page of a church that had an obscenely long list of people on their "Staff Bios" page. Like 40 people. Their list included a "Director of Operations", an "Operations Coordinator", an "Operations Service Manager", and an "Operations Weekend Manager".

Now, I don't know what any of those jobs mean, but I promise you this:
If they hire me - I'll certainly ask.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Big Church






















Back home.

Plenty of things to discuss - but before that post comes this quick one.

I'm co-teaching with the pastor in big church this Sunday. It's what we little youth ministry peons like to call, "the Show".
(For those of you who don't know, "Youth Ministry" is what churches call child care for kids that aren't cute anymore.)

We're in the middle of a series on seeing the world/life/culture/whatever the way God sees it. Worldview, basically. Which I guess, no matter who you are, translates into: Seeing the world the way we see that God sees it.

Nevertheless our topic for this week is, generally, Church/Faith/Mission. There are three basic questions we are asking about the topic that perhaps you might be able to help me with.
1) What was/is God's intention for the church to begin with.
2) What, if anything, has gone wrong.
3) Is God doing anything to restore #1?
Discuss. And do it in the comments so's I can see it. I'd LOVE to hear all of your thoughts, no matter how big or small.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Day 7 - the vacation begins....

















Don't ask me what this picture's all about. It was the coolest one on the first page of images when I googled "Denton, TX" - which is where I find myself tonight.

This morning I was awakened by the sound of sirens outside my thousand-year-old Memphis hotel room. Then about two hours later I was awakened again by the alarm on my cell phone way across the room. Man, I need a vacation.

Oh wait....

So it's day 7. Day 1 of the vacation portion of my vacation. This morning Abby and I got up, checked out of our hotel, and decided we'd head out to Graceland before leaving town. Like you do when you're just stopping overnight in Memphis. I mean, what kind of vacationer goes through Memphis (twice, mind you) and doesn't stop at Graceland - am I right? Well, since we were already on Union Ave. (where Mark Cohn allegedly saw the ghost of Elvis), we decided to stop here on the way out:
That's right - Sun Studios.
The hallowed ground where Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and B.B. King did most of their early recording work.

We were looking for a place to eat breakfast, until we saw that they had a little cafe there at the Studios - so we stopped in for a moment. It turns out that the best we could get for breakfast was a cup of the worlds strongest coffee (no kidding) and a Moon Pie (also, no kidding). So we did. Screw you Weight Watchers!

Our arrival coincided with the start of the next tour, so we ponied up $10 each and joined the queue. The tour featured a small museum with memorabilia from the earliest days of the Studio, including a single-track recording console, and a machine that actually cut the grooves into the master copy of a record. Our tour guide was a pretty cool guy....

(Sidebar: he said to me, "Whoa - for a second there I thought you were my friend Craig Brewer. He made this movie called Hustle and Flow - he used to come in here a lot before he got famous. Anyway, you totally look like him. You could be his stunt double." Although - I'm not sure why a director would need a stunt double - maybe I don't quite understand moviemaking as much as I thought I did. Hustle and Flow, huh? That was a great flick. Oh, here's Craig Brewer doing an impression of me being a complete tool:

Pretty good huh?

/sidebar)

...
he even played some clips of early Sun Records recordings on the tour.
Downstairs we stood in the actual recording studio where all those guys made their first recordings. It's also the studio where U2 recorded three tracks for Rattle and Hum, namely When Love Comes To Town, Angel Of Harlem, and Love Rescue Me. Green Day was scheduled to come in and record later today - but really, who gives a chunk about Green Day?

After the tour we had our coffee and Moon Pies (6 points), and spend a wad of dough on merchandise. Coolest merch ever. Then we decided to head over to Graceland.

Graceland sucks. It's $25/person for a self-guided tour. I don't love the King that much. I'm more of a Johnny Cash kind of guy. Unfortunately, his house burned to the ground earlier this year, so one takes what one can get - which for me, turned out to be a couple of pictures from across the street, and a souvenir magnet for the wife. Mission accomplished. I've seen all I need to see of Graceland. Moving on.

That's it, really. We ate some car sandwiches (5 points), got some gas and pointed our noses toward Denton, TX via West Memphis, Little Rock, and Texarkana. We're staying with Jenny and Dylan (thanks guys!) until Sunday and visiting some friends locally while we relax.

We're meeting Shane and Tara at their place tomorrow, where Shane has promised to cook for us from the Weight Watchers cookbook (thought I forgot, didn't ya?). Cory will also be there. Should be a great time!

Thursday we're finally getting our Billy-fix. He's taking us to his movie theater to see 3:10 To Yuma, with perhaps some caffeinated beverages to follow. Bones may be thrown.

Friday, the Bagboy is house-sitting for some lucky schmo with an 80-inch projection screen tv, so it looks like we will wind up there for - well, anything you can think up to do with one of those. Bones may be thrown here, as well.

Saturday is the David Bazan show at Dan's Silverleaf, where Jenny works. That's entertainment!

Sunday finds us having a late lunch with Shane and Tara on our way out of town.

Those are the plans, and they are, of course, subject to change without notice.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Grand Rapids (alternatively, Mars Hill or high water...)

Midnight last night - get home from wedding.

1:30 a.m. - Finally get to bed.

3:42 a.m. - Rise and Shine!

5:15 a.m. - On the road again.

9:30 a.m. - Arrive at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan an hour and a half early, and literally cuss myself for needing that extra sleep 6 hours ago.

10:30 a.m. - Commence geek-out.

Listen - I'm the first guy to say that church is not a show, or a performance. And at Mars Hill, it's really not. But I can't imagine a time when I was this excited about front row seats at church! In my mind, the front row is where the offering plates are stored, or the place you sit after the offering if you want to make an announcement from the stage. Today - it was within spitting distance of the stage at Mars Hill. So close - we were inside the ring of speakers.

It was pretty much what I expected - simple, stripped down, un-flashy. I think they have the same amateur hand-painted mural of Noah's ark on the wall of their "Preschool Pier" that we have at Copperfield. The building is an old mall that somebody donated, and it appears that there have been very few renovations to the property. "The Shed" is the room you see above, where the worship gathering takes place. It's set up in the round, with instruments and musicians all around the outside of the stage, facing inward. The ceilings are low throughout the room, much lower than it looks in the picture - and the screen-cube-thingy hangs just above the head of whoever's speaking.

I guess I was impressed by the fact that it's really obvious how little they care about making a show of things. Their facility can't really be considered "nice", at all. There isn't a single sign that says Mars Hill Bible Church. In fact, you don't even know what the building is until you walk up to the doors, and it's stenciled on the glass. They are NOT advertising - and they are not concerned with attraction strategies. They break every megachurch rule in the book. It seems clear that the folks at Mars Hill are more interested in doing something real for the world than for Mars Hill. And I think that is what is attractive about them. Sure, the worship and teaching is amazing, insightful, and seriously hip (Rob Bell was sporting a buzz-cut and sideburns; they played Bob Marley's Redemption Song in a seemingly endless loop before the service), but a lot of the people seemed to really be tuned in. Like Rob speaks for them, instead of to them.

The teaching was about how the gospel shouldn't be something that weighs people down with guilt, and responsibility to be good enough. The gospel is "good news" - and the news is that it's not about getting there.... Jesus is already "there" and if you're in him, you are too. It's about the kind of freedom you can only know when you realize that whatever it is you're trying to do has already been done for you.

After the teaching, I had a brief audience with the rabbi, and mentioned to him that we had driven from Houston to have the Mars Hill experience, and he introduced me to his friend Alan, who had just come in from England - which, he made sure to mention, was farther than me. LOL. When I mentioned Houston, he said - "Oh yeah, I'm going to be in... uhhh..."

"Dallas" I said. "We'll see you there." And that was that.

By the way, Rob Bell? That's one seriously tall, and seriously skinny dude.
Also, Rob - the jig is up on the cool glasses. You took them off, and forgot to put them back on to read. Listen - just between you and me? I think they're purely cosmetic. It's cool, though, man, I've got some myself.

Jordan and Vicki, the really nice couple who sat next to us invited us over to their place for lunch, which was really, really nice. Only, I think she read the look on my face as being totally creeped out, instead of the utter joyful shock that I intended it to express, and then tried to backtrack. Either way, they invited us to hang out with them at the church-wide celebration this afternoon at the park down the street. Even gave us their phone number and e-mail address. Unfortunately, the only thing we could conceive of was finally getting some much-needed sleep, so we had to pass on both.

Lastly (and I realize this is such a vanity post, and that absolutely NONE of you will have read this far, BUT), if you have never visited Grand Rapids, I highly recommend it. It was a beautiful day, clear skies, breezy, about 70 degrees, and not at all humid. Around dinnertime, it got as cool as 58 in some places. Abby also remarked about how clean and quiet it feels around here. We think we could actually live here....

... during the summer.

Tomorrow: Chicago, Gary, and Memphis (redux).

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Round on both ends.... hi in the middle....

















Dateline - Columbus, Ohio.
Not much to brag about today. We drove alot. Through Knoxville, Lexington, and Cincinnati, and ended up in Columbus. We actually made really good time, but then had trouble finding a hotel room that didn't cost a fortune, and didn't look like it rented by the hour, so we checked in around 8:30.
That was kind of a hassle, and hacked me off a little, to be honest.
But I got over it just in time to watch the Saints put on the worst display of football ineptitude in history (so far).

The lesson, then, for today is twofold:
1) Book your hotels online ahead of time using travelpricehotelsorbitzocity.com
and
2) Whenever you blitz the corner - you cannot let Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne behind your defense! I mean - that's a no-brainer, man!

Until tomorrow, friends - shalom.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Dateline- Nashville


















Ahhh - Nashville. Not the stunning Mississippi-river-side skyline of Memphis, but it does have the Batman building, so I'll call it a tie.

We left about 8 a.m. this morning, and arrived here at about 10:30 p.m.
On the way here we stopped a couple of times for my new favorite delicacy - car sandwiches. Mmmmmm. Very soon, I'm certain the weight will begin just falling off.

We also drove by the campus of ETBU to check out new developments at the ol' alma mater. We didn't actually get out of the car, but we did notice lots of nice, new, graven images for donors to take credit for.

Remember the little road-gems I promised you? Try this one on for size:
We stop at a public rest area right outside Little Rock, Arkansas, and what do we encounter there?
Idaho Senator Larry Craig.
No, not really.
According to Abby, there was - in the women's restroom - a rather large black woman having a grumpy in one of the stalls. That wouldn't be so weird, except that she was singing, loudly, "Que sera, sera..."

Only in America.

A new twist on the Mars Hill debacle:
Turns out the itinerary for Saturday's wedding includes the wedding from 2-3, after that - photos; after that - a trip off-site (???) for some MORE photos; and finally a reception until 11 p.m. that night. So our options are:
a) Skip Grand Rapids, Mars Hill, Rob Bell, and the first week of the great new series they're doing.
b) Leave after the reception and arrive in Grand Rapids around 6 a.m. (all after having been wedding-ing all day).
c) Stay through the reception, spend the night, leave the next morning around 4 a.m. to arrive in Grand Rapids in time for the 11 a.m. Mars Hill Service.

So - you make the call.

I'm freakin' tired! Headed out at 8 again tomorrow. Destination: Knoxville, Cincinnatti, Colombus.

Shalom.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Thelma and Lewis

Well, the butt crack of dawn tomorrow finds Abby and I on the road for the next 12 days. Vagabonds, we are. Roamers. Wanderers. Strangers in a strange land. We're Jack and Jill Kerouac. Hope and Crosby. The Griswolds. Mickey and Mallory Knox. Bonnie and Clyde. We're Thelma and Louise, and Lewis and Clark. We're Thelma and Lewis. We hope to make it as far as Memphis, and maybe Nashville tomorrow night. Ambitious, I know, but we are spoiling for it.

We are armed with new CD's that we checked out from the library for FREE! (The library! Now THERE'S an idea I hope will catch on!). We've got Freakonomics the Audiobook to listen to, and we've got Shane's copy of the Velvet Elvis Audiobook, as well. We've got a cooler full of well-planned, portioned out healthy snacks (did I mention the Weight Watchers thing we're doing? Man. Whole other post....), deli turkey, and PB&J. We've got a Nintendo DS, an old-school Game Boy, an Atari Lynx, and a Sega Game gear. The iPod is fully stocked. We've got an empty credit card and a full tank of gas.

This will either be the all-time best experience for an 8 1/2 month married couple - or the worst idea since Flavor of Love 3. Stay tuned right here to find out! I mean, obviously I'll be blogging from the road, and keeping you up to date with all the excitement, like - "Oh, honey! Is that a Hawaii license plate? How DO they get over here?" - and other gems.

And if you're wondering whatever happened with that whole Mars Hill debacle - it looks like we're going to leave from Cleveland right after the wedding reception on Saturday night (thank you, sweetheart!) and boogie on over to Grand Rapids for a Sunday MORNING service. Take THAT Mars Hill Bible Church. You better be ready for J.T. - because I'm bringin' the tired, and I'm bringin' it strong. Word.

For those of you in the greater Dallas/Ft. Worth/Denton area - gird up thy loins, for the time of your visitation is surely at hand.

Amen, and amen.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thwarted!

So, I e-mailed the nice folks at Mars Hill to let 'em know I was coming, and that they should get ready. I let them know that I'd be attending the 6p.m. service on September 6th. I also asked if it'd be possible to get a tour of the building, and maybe a meeting with a Youth Pastor, to pick his brain about things. I even told them I was willing to stick around until Monday morning.

So today I got a response to my e-mail. I turns out that Mars Hill isn't having a service at 6p.m. on Sunday, September 6. They have canceled it in favor of a church-wide picnic at a park somewhere. So J.T.'s plans have been thwarted, thus far. What a shame. I had been looking forward to it for so long.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Power Shopper!

I spent approximately 2 hours today on the phone with various customer servicers at Dell. Some of them actually spoke English, and I think one of them was flirting with me. I was, of course, in no mood for that sort of nonsense by then. The happy ending is that very shortly, I may finally have a new battery and AC Adapter for this gently used 3-year-old computer. Of course, it will probably arrive in the mail during my week-and-a-half long road trip... which isn't such a happy ending after all, I guess.

This just in: I'm working on a redesign for the site! Watch this space!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Write SOMETHING every day....

I spent the whole day today in meetings. We had our weekly staff meeting from 7:30 to 9 this morning, and then spent the rest of the day in a planning meeting for our upcoming sermon series on Worldview. Looks like I'm team-teaching on Church/Faith/Mission with the pastor one week, and solo teaching on Music/The Arts several weeks later. I always get a little excited about teaching in "Big Church", but this series has me a little more excited than others. It seems more... lofty. It's the kind of thing that's going to make it difficult for us to go back to teaching about having a better marriage, raising better kids, or managing your finances, with a straight face.

In other news, Abby and I are leaving on our National Lampoon's Summer Vacation next week - probably Wednesday the 5th. We're taking the scenic route up to Cleveland, Ohio for a wedding, stopping several times along the way. From there we'll head over to Grand Rapids, Michigan to attend a service at Mars Hill Bible Church. And then we'll head to Dallas to visit with friends for the remainder of our time. Total vacation length - approx. 12 days! Total time driving - approx. 11 days! Okay, not really. But it is a heck of a long way. Let's hope our little car can take it.

I'm seeing more of the world in the last year than I have in my entire life. It's kind of cool. I had actually thought that marriage would slow me down. I hereby repent of that nonsense.

Is it raining where you are?

Friday, August 24, 2007

I suck at blogging.

The sad part is...
I'm still better than a lot of blogs I read.
So there.

Anyway - I've always got crap to say, and always forget what it is when I sit down to do this.
Write SOMETHING every day. Write something every day. No matter how banal. That's what I tell my other friends who suck at this, anyway.

But something happened to me recently that made my top 5 life experiences of all-time, so come on - I couldn't let it slip by without a word.

Two Sundays ago, I left for Dallas to meet Shane and Cory for a guys retreat to the mountains of Colorado. By Monday afternoon we were in Parker, just outside of Denver, and by Tuesday afternoon we were at our little cabin beside the river in the mountains. We were joined by a friend of Cory's (now a friend of mine) named Shawn, and a spry 65-year-old named Wes. Wes does a lot of mentoring for guys like me, some counseling, and some consulting for great organizations like Compassion International. He spent the week encouraging, sharpening, and blessing us in a multitude of ways. On Wednesday we spent the entire day in Rocky Mountain National Park marveling and overlooks and complaining that our cameras were way too small. The end of the day found us at Wes's "sacred space" on Sprague Lake - a place which holds special significance in his own story, and now ours as well.

That night, he led us in an unforgettable communion using Pepperidge Farm Mint Milanos and 12-year-old MacAllen Scotch. Strange, yes, and stranger for me because, teetotaler that I am - I reserve 100% of my alcohol consumption for communion. Afterwards, he anointed our foreheads with oil in the shape of a cross, and gave us this charge: "Go live the gospel."

Those were pretty much his last words to us. He left that night, and Shawn left shortly after. Shane, Cory and I spent the entire next day sleeping in, playing Bocce and horseshoes, grilling steaks and playing cards. Shane packed his new pipe for the very first time ever, Cory had a cigar, and I had many Sunflower Seeds. Sooooo many Sunflower Seeds.

Any summary of this trip must include three things: The unfathomable beauty in every corner of that part of the world, the unparalleled significance of 5 men seeking God and deep ecclesiology, and absolute fact that the altitude very nearly killed me. I felt terrible most of the week. On the day we went into Rocky Mountain National Park, I even resorted to taking hits off of Shane's inhaler. It didn't help. I will admit, however, that I have never felt so good feeling so bad. What I mean is, in surroundings like that, it's hard to feel bad about feeling poorly. I was determined to drink in every minute of it, and I think I did.

Yesterday I narrowed down my vast library of pictures to the top 100 MB that Flickr would allow me to upload. Check it out here. It pretty much excludes any actual pictures of me, because I looked and felt ridiculous. But the pictures it does include are far better than anything you'd find me in. Enjoy. I know most of them look like postcards - but they are, nevertheless, postcards that I was standing in at the time. Which is pretty rad.

Anyway - this is day one of the new "write SOMETHING every day" era. Oh - also the new "I figured a MUCH easier way of getting pictures off my camera, so I'll actually be using it now" era. Shalom!

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Man Who Laughs

For those of you who haven't been on the internet this week, and have only just now gotten on for the sole purpose of checking for updates at Go Brain, Go, I present to you -
Heath Ledger as The Joker.















My impression?
Mmmmmm.... geeky goodness.
I love the cut smile, and the insane look of it.
I can't wait to see more.
Here's hoping that this Joker will be less of a funnyman, and more of a homocidal psychotic sociopath.
*fingers crossed*

A couple of links for those of you descending into Batman sequal madness, as I am:
Batman-on-film (news and scoops)
The Dark Knight (Official site)
I Believe In Harvey Dent (Gotham City District Attorney "campaign" page)

Up until this weekend, the film was using a little viral marketing to tease the big reveal of the Joker image you saw above.
Several businesses found themselves littered with playing cards that looked like this:
















They have "I believe in Harvey Dent Too" written on them.
Until today, you could visit the website www.ibelieveinharveydenttoo.com and see a version of the "campaign" site that looked like it had been hacked and defaced by the Joker. At the bottom of the page you could enter your e-mail address, and it would send you an e-mail with X and Y coordinates in it, and a link back to the page. When you entered the coordinates on the page, it identified that ONE PIXEL, and revealed what was behind it. Thousands of e-mails later, the picture underneath was revealed to be our first look at Heath Ledger as the Joker.

Genius.


**EDITED TO ADD:**
I went back to www.ibelieveinharveydenttoo.com a minute ago.
Even though the page content appears to be removed, and the page says in red letters "Page Not Found" - if highlight over the entire page, it reads "HahaHahAHAHaha" all over it. VERY disturbing.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Here's what I think...















Also - he's going to live, and Charlie will die in the next episode.
What say ye?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Prince Caspian

Great quote from C.S. Lewis' Prince Caspian that I was reminded of while reading ysmarko's blog.

“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”

“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.

“Not because you are?”

“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”

Do you have a problem with that?


Check out this video for the song Sweep The Leg by No More Kings. It is written and directed by William Zabka, who played Johnny in the Karate Kid. He managed to reassemble most of the Kobra Kai, and even wrangled an appearance by the Karate Kid himself - Ralph Macchio, who still looks like he's about16 years old. Keep your eyes open for the homage to Raising Arizona, and for Mr. Belding. I've never heard of this band before, but this song is pretty sweet.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Geek Mythology

Back in 1983, my parents took me to see a movie in a theater for the first time. And I vividly remember waiting in a long line for tickets. Paying at the box office. Sitting in the theater eating popcorn. Staying awake for the whole movie. And walking through the parking lot when it was over begging to turn around and see it again right away.

I don't recall ever feeling that way about a movie again - until last night.
The first movie was Return of the Jedi. The second was 300.

I wanted it to never end! And all day long I've been going over my schedule for the week in my head - trying to figure out how soon it is before I can go see it again!

It was epic. It was intentionally anachronistic. It was shot entirely on green/blue screen. It was bloody. It was the most beautiful film I've ever seen. It was perfectly cast. It's my new favorite movie ever. Oh - and it was in IMAX.

I can't wait to run out and get the Frank Miller graphic novel that inspired this film.
That's the way to do it, you know. Since the book is always better than the movie - see the movie first, and if you love it, you know you'll love the book.

Yes, I am aware that I'm a HUGE nerd.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Blue Like Fieldy

"Eagle-eye" Thomas. That's what they used to call me. You know - because I could see stuff. Okay, okay.... nobody ever called me that. BUT THEY SHOULD! This weekend, I guess there was some kind of Miami Ink marathon on, and I got sucked into it. I'm not embarrassed, it's a good show. You should check it out. On one of the episodes, the guys joined the band Korn on the Family Values Tour. A couple of the band members and security guys wanted tattoos, so they took the show on the road. One of the tattoo-ees was Fieldy, bass player for Korn. When the Miami Ink tattoo artist walked onto Fieldy's trailer, there was, conveniently, already a cameraman in there. Fieldy was sitting on the couch reading a book. What book? - you might ask yourself. What sort of book would the bass player for Korn be reading in his trailer. Well, having asked myself the same question, I paid close attention, trying to catch a glimpse.

Blue Like Jazz.

Fieldy was reading Blue Like Jazz - Donald Miller's magnum opus (so far).

(Sidebar here, to mention that if you haven't read Blue Like Jazz yourself - you should really be feeling very badly right about now. Fieldy from Korn is way ahead of you in this game.)

Here's the episode on YouTube, which I will not embed because the Department of Justice has put the fear of God in me.

Here's a screencap of the scene where you can see the back cover of the book he's holding.
And here's a scan of the back cover of my (autographed! Thanks Shelly!) copy of Blue Like Jazz.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I meant to post this months ago...

J.T. - Don. Don - J.T. He said he wished he could grow a beard.
We all do, Don. We all do.

Heartbeats

Have you seen this video by Sigur Ros? Amazing. I saw it just about a week ago, and was blown away.

I don't watch a ton of videos, but I'm working on developing a 4 or 5 week teaching series for the youth using videos like this one. So far I'm also considering UNKLE's Rabbit in Your Headlights, and maybe REM's Everybody Hurts (old school). I'm still looking for a couple more videos if anybody's got any ideas. Bill gave me a couple of great ones, and Abby.... well, she thinks it's a pretty dumb idea. They need to be kind of like short films, something striking to the eye, or with a big payoff at the end. I'm not concerned that they be squeaky clean, but I'd prefer if they didn't have nudity or any language that you can't hear on daytime television.

Click here to check out one of my favorites, so far, that Bill suggested. You may recognize it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Are you there, Margaret? It's me, God...

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Margaret from church left a bag for me at the Guest Services desk. I looked inside, and lo and behold, it contained all the West Wing DVD's a guy could ask for. To keep! For FREE!! She had bought them on eBay, and then somebody gave them to her as a gift, so she gave them all to me. Actually, it was seasons 1-5, and since I have 6 and 7 on my hard-drive, I can now watch any episode of TWW any time I want. I am now hip-deep in Season 2, and loving it. Margaret was such a blessing to me that I wanted to sing her praises here in this public forum. Madge - God used you to bless me - and I thank you!

ENVY ME!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fat Tuesday!

Happy Mardi Gras! Or, if you prefer - Martes Gordo! I hope you are doing well on this festive occasion, and filling yourselves to the brim with all sorts of delicious and sinful things that you will hereby abstain from for the next 40-some-odd days known as Lent. By the way, did you know that "carnival", as Mardi Gras is sometimes called, is a Latin word, that actually translates - "farewell to the flesh"? Today is the day we overdo it, to make up for the next several weeks of tragically(yet nobly, and very spiritually) under-doing it. I brought a beautiful King Cake to the office today, complete with plastic baby nestled within. I will most likely return home with 7/8ths of said cake. Baby included. Yeah- Texas sucks, whaddyagonnado?

I've already given up soft drinks of every kind for the entire year 2007 (yes, it's going very well, actually - thank you for asking), but for the lenten season, I have decided to add coffee to my fast. The wife said that sounds too easy, but I give it 4 or 5 days without coffee before she starts to sing a different tune. She, on the other hand, is giving up granulated sugar, and has informed me that for the next 40something days I'm to make my sweet tea with Splenda(tm). To which I, quite naturally, and as you would expect replied...... "um... yes, dear" ...and then mumbled something under my breath about that not really being sweet tea, and communism, or somesuch whateverness.

Are you giving anything up? And don't say, "Lent" or "Catholicism", because I'm the only one that makes stupid jokes like that around here, got it?


So, I bet you're wondering what would bring me out of hiding, after a more than 2-month-long hiatus. Well, here it is:
Sex God. The new book by Rob Bell (referred to by my wife as "your boyfriend"). The long-anticipated (by me) follow-up to 2005's Velvet Elvis. If you haven't read either of these books, then your life will never be considered complete. I hate to be the one who has to tell you that.

I have an insider at the Grapevine bookstore, who sent me a message as soon as it went on sale. I picked it up yesterday, and it took me about 2 1/2 hours last night to finish it. What a great feeling. To actually finish a book, instead of taking 3 months, and reading a chapter every time I go to the bathroom. Speaking of that....
I finally finished this book today, too. What can I say, I was on a roll. If you're interested in a fresh, uncomplicated take on an often misunderstood set of teachings, and something that's a little different from your typical Christian Living section fare - I recommend Matthew Paul Turner's Beatitude. MPT is the former editor of CCM Magazine, but don't let that scare you away. He was fired from that job, anyway - and probably for a good reason.


Lastly - I realize that there have been very few..... okay ZERO mentions of my recent nuptials on this blog. In fact, if you think about it, you might notice that I very rarely speak about the ladies at all on here unless they are of the celebrity variety. And everybody knows that celebrities aren't real anyways. But, I will confirm that I did get married on December 23rd, 2006, and that yes - she is hopelessly out of my league, and that all future posts will probably feature sickeningly frequent mentions of her, and no small amount of gushing. Those of you who are into that kind of thing can check out pictures of the wedding event HERE.

In the past 2 months I've also bought a car, and leased a house, and taken a 7 day cruise to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Most significantly - I've grown the beard back. Yes, it looks great, thank you.