Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Moving Day

After being stuck for entirely too long in the 'thinking about it' stage, I have finally taken the plunge and moved the blog to my own self hosted site.


As you might have surmised from the lovely graphic my friend Adam made for me, is a blog about Faith, Family, Football, and Writing Fiction. The goal of my blog remains to converse, to exchange ideas, and to learn. It's not about racking up huge numbers, but finding people with whom my blog resonates.

So please drop by the new site and say hello!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

NFL Draft - Carolina at 9

Despite Ron Rivera's talk, I don't believe for a minute that they are content with DT. They are talking up all the positions in an attempt to drum up interest in a trade down. If we had only won that coin flip, we could get a sweet deal from someone in love with Tanneyhill because they would have needed to trade with us to jump the Dolphins.

I'm not a fan of taking Melvin Ingram. I watched most of the USC games this year, and there is no denying his talent, but I feel like Carolina is okay at the rush spots with Hardy and Charles Johnson.

My hope is that they take either Michael Brokers or Fletcher Cox. Cox seems to be the better pass rusher, but he's a little undersized for DT. Brockers seems to be more scheme diverse and would be really stout against the run. For all the hype and hoopla about the quarterbacks in our division, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay all love the run the ball. It's even more important to get a run stuffer if Trent Richardson winds up in Tampa. Brockers would be a force to reckon with in the middle and create situations where Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy could really tee off on the quarterback.

So I'm hoping for a trade back and Brockers, or just stay put and take Brockers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sunday Seven : Trademarks

Patrick’s Sunday Seven asked us to name seven of trademarks you most often find yourself using generically.

My list is heavily influenced by the fact that I'm a dad with one tween and one almost toddler.

Onesies - Although my son is starting to out grow these, we still dress him in a onesie often. The true genius of the onesie is easy access to the diaper change area of the body.

Crockpot - We are a busy family with school, church, and social commitments. The crockpot saves us many a night of eating out by essentially letting my wife be in two places at once.

Chapstick - One thing you learn when you have kids, or maybe more correctly said, one thing you are reminded of when have kids is their apparent inability to feel cold when the playground calls. I'm shivering my behind off and my daughter is running all over the playground like it's a perfect 75 degrees. Both of us need chapstick after a long play session.

Band-Aids - It's amazing to me how often my kids, especially my up and coming toddler, skin their knees and elbows. We have all sorts of band-aids in our house: water-proof band-aids, character band-aids (I believe our current crop is Scooby-Doo), see-through band-aids, you name it.

Kleenex - My entire family, including myself, suffers from allergies. We should have long ago bought stock in Kleenex or Puffs. I'm sure I've put several of their kids through school by now.

Tupperware - I don't even think most of our tupperware is even tupperware anymore, but I don't know how we would get along without it. Instead of brown bagging, most days I take leftovers from dinner in a tupperware container to work to reheat for lunch.

Q-tips - Another staple of the family with the young children, I really don't know what people did before Q-Tips.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Saturday Six: Diet Time

In this week’s Saturday Six, Patrick is discussing his new diet. Here are six questions he poses.
1. When you were a young child, were you generally too skinny, too heavy or just right?
I tended to fluxuate between just right and too heavy most of my childhood. It wasn’t until I got to high school and start racing 12 speeds that I was consistently in shape.
2. What’s the most weight you’ve lost during any one diet? (Or have you never had to be on one?)
I lost about 20 pounds doing a diet/exercise program at my church. This was either 2011 or 2010. The great thing about the program was that it forced me to set aside time to exercise. I really don’t think my eating habits are my biggest problem. My biggest problem is a sedentary job and time constraints that make exercise difficult. Most nights it is well after 8pm before I could even think about exercise and by that point, motivation is lacking.
3. Of your favorite foods, which do you think is the healthiest?
Probably oranges and tangerines. They provide natural sugar and they taste really good.
4. Of your favorite foods, which do you think is the least healthiest?
Java Chip Frappuccino from Starbucks. Not only is it hard on my waist line, its hard on the wallet, too. Tell me you aren’t tempted by that beauty!
5. When did you last have some of each of those two foods?
It’s been a while since I’ve had tangerines or oranges. We don’t tend to buy fruit a whole lot as it can be very expensive and our budget is really stretched right now. We do buy fruit for the kids and especially my toddler has fruit with every meal.
6. You go to a coffee shop to meet a friend for conversation. How likely are you to buy a pastry or some kind of snack to go along with that coffee?
Fairly unlikely. Usually the coffee concoction I order will cover my sweet tooth quite well.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Learning To Love God

This is something I shared with my Community Gathering group last night, and several people asked me to email them what I said, and after a little thought I decided to make it a blog post. 

We were discussing our call as disciples of Christ to love God, each other and ourselves. Jesus called it the greatest commandment, and we were discussing which one of the three is most difficult for us to do.

Most of us thought that loving God was the easiest of the three, but as we continued our discussion we discovered that while the concept of loving God is easy, the concrete practice of it is a little more difficult. Since God isn’t corporeal, we can’t show Him affection by hugging him. We can tell Him we love Him, but sometimes it just sounds so hollow.

What I said on the subject was this.

When this clicked for me was when I heard a teaching on it, and I apologize for not remembering the teacher who showed this to me.

The basic idea is this. God is looking for us to answer three basic questions.

  • Will you pursue me?
  • Will you spend time with me?
  • Am I a priority in your life?

Remarkably, these are the same ways our wives want to be shown love.

We have to understand that God is genderless. He is neither male nor female, yet He is perfectly male and perfectly female. He needed both genders to fully express himself. When it comes to showing God we love Him, we can see the model in our wives. He wants to be cherished, and pursued. He wants you to lavish attention on Him, but most of all, He wants to be not just a priority in your life, but THE priority in your life.

I didn’t share this with my group out of any pretense I get it right, because I get this wrong constantly, both with God and with my wife. It’s so easy once we are five, or seven, or fifteen years into the relationship to slip into maintenance mode and let other passions take over in our hearts.

I am happy that some people thought what I said was helpful, and it is my hope you will find it helpful for you as well.

How would you have answered the question? How do you concretely and in real time show your love for God?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blue Like Jazz Review

“It’s a glorious anomaly: a subtle, sophisticated, open-minded, and courageously non-judgmental Christian film even non-believers can enjoy. Hallelujah!” - Onion A.V. Club

Full discloser to start out. I was a ‘backer’ of Blue Like Jazz and joined the Save Blue Like Jazz project. I contributed money to the Kickstarter and helped to make Blue Like Jazz a reality. But more than anything, all that did was make me really nervous going to see it opening weekend. What if I didn't like it?  Would it be something I would be proud to have my name quite literally* attached to?

Blue Like Jazz follows one man on a journey to find meaning and tackles the questions we are often afraid to ask, and refuses to give tidy, easy answers. The last eight minutes say what I've always wanted to say, but never knew how.

When I read a movie review, the question that I’m trying to answer is ‘do I want to see this movie?’ With Blue Like Jazz, that answer depends on you. If you are looking for a  movie that will make you laugh, cry, but most of all, will make you think, see Blue Like Jazz. If you have ever wondered whether or not God exists, or if that question even matters, see Blue Like Jazz.

If you want your movies to have easy answers, if you can’t consider the possibility of flaws in yourself whether you call yourself a Christian or not, don’t see this movie.

Most of all, if you want Christianity locked away in its own little subculture bubble, don’t see this movie.

And if you do decide to see this movie, you can feel good knowing that 10% of the profits from Blue Like Jazz will go to build wells, free slaves and provide  mentors.  (

(* - in the closing credits, everyone who contributed over $100 to the Kickstarter is listed as an Associate Producer, and my name is among those credited.)
Here are some of the reviews from around the web:

Four Reasons Why You Shouldn’t See the Blue Like Jazz Movie

"Blue Like Jazz, not like Courageous"

“It tackles existential struggles that many of us grapple with – and the film industry virtually ignores – while doing so in an entertaining way. “ - San Francisco Chronicle

“This is a rare bird, a sincere movie about Christian faith.” - New York Post

“It steadfastly refuses to demonize.” - Boston Globe

“Witty, provocative and life-affirming.” - Paste Magazine

“Just earnest enough to blend its religious theme with a beer-chugging hero for a surprisingly contemporary look at faith.” - USA Today

“…the film is very visually accomplished, with handsome compositions, labored-over art direction, and constant employment of the titular hue.” - Slant

“…gets the atmosphere of intellectual curiosity mixed with know-it-allness just right…It’s a story that needs to be told” - Washington Post

“Loosely belongs to the same universe as 'Portlandia'… This is a movie with heart” - Seattle Times

“Sincere and literary…” - New York Times

“…a cut above the usual indie-comedy mock shock.” - Village Voice

Want to think, laugh, and see real-life faith? Not even sure God exists or why He matters? Go see #BlueLikeJazz

“Thought provoking, funny, disturbing & refreshing.”

“ a person who doesn't believe in God, I LOVED it. Run, don't walk, to your nearest theater.”

“An excellent, funny, smart movie with an awesome resolution.”

“...a call to Christian artists everywhere, it's time to up your game.”

“Totally worth the 6 hour road trip”

“I am so getting a tallbike!”

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blue Like Jazz Opening Night

Friday is the opening day for Blue Like Jazz the movie. None of the theatres in my home town chose to pick up Blue Like Jazz. None of the theatres in my home state have it this weekend, and although two towns will show it next weekend, they are over 3 hours away. Therefore, I am driving over three hours to a neighboring state to see the movie this weekend.
If you want to see where Blue Like Jazz is playing, you can check the website for theatres in your state.
“Christian spirituality was not a children's story. It wasn't cute or neat. It was mystical and odd and clean, and it was reaching into dirty. There was wonder in it and enchantment.”
Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
Why does Blue Like Jazz resonate so deeply with me that I would be willing to drive over 3 hours away just to see it opening weekend?
“Everybody wants to be fancy and new. Nobody wants to be themselves. I mean, maybe people want to be themselves, but they want to be different, with different clothes or shorter hair or less fat. It's a fact. If there was a guy who just liked being himself and didn't want to be anybody else, that guy would be the most different guy in the world and everybody would want to be him.”
Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
My first exposure to Don Miller’s writing was reading Blue Like Jazz - Non Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality. Here was someone talking about my faith in a way I had not heard before. He saw a Christian faith that was authentic, messy, and real.
“...I want my spirituality to rid me of hate, not give me reason for it.”
Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
Then I read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. In this work, Miller compares our lives to a screenplay or story. There is some excellent analysis on what makes a good story, but Miller goes deeper with the analogy of stories and lives. Just as no one wants to read a meaningless story, Miller challenges his reader to not live a meaningless life.
“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”
― Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life
When I heard the premise of the movie of Blue Like Jazz, I was immediately hooked because the Don in the movie takes such a similar journey to the one I went on as I went to college. I lost myself, and much like Don in the movie, I found myself, but only after a messy ride.
“Many of our attempts to understand Christian faith have only cheapened it. I can no more understand the totality of God than the pancake I made for breakfast understands the complexity of me. The little we do understand, that grain of sand our minds are capable of grasping, those ideas such as God is good, God feels, God loves, God knows all, are enough to keep our hearts dwelling on His majesty and otherness forever.”
Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
I’m heading out bright and early to see Blue Like Jazz to vote with my dollars that this is a movie I wanted to see made, and a story that needed to be told.
“I loved the fact that it wasn't my responsibility to change somebody, that it was God's, that my part was just to communicate love and approval.”
Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality