Sunday, June 4, 2006

This Jesus Thing [Was] A Smash Hit

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything of substance, and I’m afraid it’s going to be a long time before I post anything again. While I hate to say something is dead and never coming back, I think it’s safe to say that the Christian retail blog is on a permanent hiatus.

I can only make fun of the Christian subculture for so long before it just becomes boring. And let’s be honest, nobody wants to read my navel-gazing about faith and theology. So I suppose this is goodbye. I’ll still contribute to my “life blog” with my wife so friends and family can keep up with our life, but this space will be silent for the foreseeable future.

It’s been fun. And Chris Rice fans, no hard feelings.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


It's a sad day for Taylor University alums everywhere as we mourn the sudden death of five or our own.

I wish I could provide some eloquent reflection on death or comment on the randomness of the whole thing. But I can't.

And I don't know why I'm so mournful at the deaths of five people I never knew and am only connected to because of some Christian liberal arts college in Indiana. But I am.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Easter Part 2: Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it, mount of thy redeeming love

For Christians today is Good Friday, the time when we mark the death of Christ in anticipation of Easter Sunday, the day we celebrate his resurrection. It is the holiest day in Christianity.

In 2002, Jim Hart collected over 60 hymns, poems, prayers, etc. focused on “the cross and the resurrection, on death and glory.” Jim has apparently left the blogosphere, since the last post at his blog is dated June 6, 2005. I know he’s still alive, because he has recently given me advice on how to deal with famous rappers.

Thankfully, Jim archived the collection, so you can still look through it. There is some great stuff listed. I hope Easter is a refreshing time for you and allows you to reconnect with the cross. Maybe this collection can help you do that.

Easter Part 1: This Is Why Giant Bunnies Are Evil

My friend John Hardacker just sent me a video of the Easter Bunny showing his true colors. I hate the Easter Bunny ever since a little mishap at a birthday party/Easter egg hunt when I was a child. Let’s just say that seeing a six-foot tall rabbit hop out of a bedroom does not sit well with the average four year old. I think this video proves what I have already known – men in bunny suits belong at a Flaming Lips concerts, not in the midst of religious holidays.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Viva Las Vegas

So, my wife had to go to Las Vegas this week for the CTIA Wireless convention (she does public relations and represents a certain large software company that controls the universe). They were putting her up in the Venetian, and since I have nothing better to do, I decided to go party in Vegas. (And when I say party in Vegas, I mean lose $5 at the penny slots, eat gelato, and stalk Barry Manilow.)

The aforementioned software company invited us to a private bash co-hosted by Billboard Magazine at the VooDoo Lounge. While we’re there, I turn around and less than five feet away from me is Chuck D from Public Enemy.

I did the only thing I could think of and texted my friend Jim. He wanted me to ask Chuck D if he ever watches The Flavor of Love on VH1. I wanted to know how his collaboration with Jesus was going. He left before I could ask him these probing questions.

More thoughts on Vegas to come.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jim Caviezel Eat Your Heart Out

The question, “What did Jesus look like?” has plagued the church for centuries. According to the Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company, makers of the Messengers of Faith doll line, he looks like Val Kilmer.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

And The Winner Is...

The Oscars are Sunday. I’m sure all of you have filled out your Oscar pool and will be standing by cheering on your favorite nominees.

I’ll personally be rooting for “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp” from Hustle & Flow in the best original song category. My affection for the song is mostly due to the strange environment in which I saw the movie. I watched it at the Edina Theatre in Edina, Minnesota, where the audience consisted almost entirely of gray-haired, rich white people. It was odd, to say the least.

But I digress.

This year’s Oscars have so many question marks. Will Jon Stewart’s hosting turn out like his TV show (hilarious) or like his movies (awful)? Is “playing gay” the new “playing mentally challenged?” Is Peter Jackson’s ability to make good movies directly proportional to his weight?

The drama is killing me.

But for the hardcore movie fan, the questions take on a personal tone. What do you wear to your Oscar party? Granted, sitting in your cousin's apartment eating Totinos pizza and making fun of Joan Rivers doesn’t require the same attention to detail needed to dress for the red carpet, but it takes thought nonetheless. Like a football fan dressing for the Super Bowl, what a movie fan wears to an Oscar party says a lot about their passion for film.

The perfect shirt for the season is The Original Brokeback Mountain from the Second Coming Clothing Co.:

I suppose it could be worse. Mark Lowry could have recorded the song “It's Hard Out Here For a Church Planter.”

Friday, February 24, 2006

Time To Diversify

Well, we've finally arrived in the greater Portland metropolitan area. We're in temporary housing until the end of March. My wife's job doesn't start for over a week, so we're playing tourist now. I'm not going to fill this blog with personal information. If you are interested in following our West Coast adventures, check out our new family blog at Right now there are just a few camera phone pictures. Soon, there will be all sorts of juicy details regarding our adventures.

Don't worry, I'll keep posting here. Even though Portland is one of the most unchurched areas in the country, I'm sure I'll still find myself immersed in evangelical Christian subculture. I can never seem to completely leave it behind.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Go West Young Man

Well, those of you who thought I would be a terrible pastor can throw your hands up in celebration. I am leaving seminary. Basically, it just wasn’t a good fit. In the words of Donald Miller, “It [is] hard for me to go to church without getting angry…” (Blue Like Jazz, p. 133) While some would argue that makes me the perfect candidate to become a pastor, I would disagree.

Withdrawing from my classes at Bethel Seminary was one of the most freeing experiences of my life. That is not meant as a dig at Bethel. It’s a great place with some amazing professors who have all challenged me, my faith, and my worldview. It was just time to move.

It’s amazing what happens when you’re willing to let go of things. Since I made the decision to move on, my wife began talking to an old boss of hers who had relocated to Portland, Oregon. To make a long story short, before you know it, my wife is getting an amazing job offer in Portland. (My wife works in public relations and is damn good at what she does.)

Some people would be scared to uproot and move their lives to the West Coast, to a city where we know one family. We’re not. Ok, we’re scared, but I think we both need this. I needed a fresh start. I was going to be looking for a full-time job, and Portland is just as good a place as Minneapolis to find that start. And my wife hates the long Minnesota winters more than I do.

So lookout West Coast, here I come. If you live in the greater Portland metro area and you want to 1) be my friend 2) be my therapist 3) tell me about your church or 4) offer me a job, shoot me an e-mail.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

So, we're pretty much friends by now, right?

My friend Beth (my inside contact at the Christian bookstore) refused to put this shirt out on the sales floor:

As you can see, this shirt is a direct rip-off of the Vote For Pedro t-shirts made famous by the film Napoleon Dynamite. It’s brought to you by Vic Kennett and his company Kerusso, the premier Christian t-shirt sweatshop. (I’ve railed against them before.)

At first I was frustrated. Yet again, the best Christians have to offer is a pathetic pop culture rip-off. But then I had an epiphany. Pedro is Catholic. Well, we assume he’s Catholic because Wikipedia tells us so, and because of all the Catholic images placed throughout his house. He could just have a thing for religious iconography, but we’ll assume it’s genuine faith.

But I digress.

Pedro is a Catholic, the mortal enemy of Protestants. In some Protestant circles, it’s better to tell your parents you’re gay then that you’re converting to Catholicism. Yet here is Kerusso, a Protestant company, claiming that Jesus died for Pedro. It’s a [tacky] olive branch extended across the religious divide.

Don’t let them fool you. Those Kerusso people are tricky. They have seen a future where Protestants and Catholics are free to greet each other in the street, but they know that Protestants will never go for it. Undeterred, Kerusso came up with this subversive piece of attire.

As we speak, thousands of Christian teens are subconsciously putting two and two together. Before you know it, they’ll be talking about confirmation and transubstantiation like they talk about Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson and Paris Hilton. Christianity will be unified, and no one will realize it’s happening.

Vic Kennett, you are one sneaky bastard. I tip my hat to you.