My Response to Kony 2012 aka #StopKony

I try not to simply re-post thoughts from my blog here, but I wanted to share today's thoughts with this community as well...If you've been on Facebook or Twitter over the last 24 hours, you have probably seen people talking about the efforts to stop Joseph Kony from the organization called Invisible Children.Here's my response after watching the 30-minute film.Let me start as a filmmaker. It's an amazing piece of art. Propaganda maybe...but the best kind of propaganda there can b … [Read more...]

Agree or Die. [Improvisational Christianity #4]

Improv is play – simple pretending. Think of what works best when kids are at play.Here are three examples of how little children tend to play together:Example 1:Girl: I’m a Princess!Boy: No, you’re a Wizard!Girl: No, I’m a Princess. You’re a Prince.Boy: You’re ugly and stupid!Girl leaves weeping.Example 2:Girl: I’m a Princess!Boy: Ok, I’m A Wizard.Girl: No. You’re a Prince. You have blonde hair and green eyes and you live in a castle and you have w … [Read more...]

The Birth of the Emerging Church & a Missing Voice

There is one important person who helped start the entire discussion about "Progressive Christianity" or the "Emerging Church" who has been silenced. He is speaking again, and I'd suggest we all welcome him back. Let me explain:Somewhere around 1996 an organization called Leadership Network pulled together about 10-20 young leaders in the church to begin a discussion about ministry for Generation X. Within a few months, the conversation morphed into a more academic one about post-modernism … [Read more...]

Personal Confession Re: “Occupy” Movement

History will tell if the Occupy Movement spurs any sort of actual change in America. I line up on some the issues of societal justice that the movement desires. I also disagree with some things. Here is something I do believe:The wealthy have a unique responsibility.The wealthiest of the wealthy – the top 1% - even more so.My friend Wess Stafford says this:"The opposite of poverty isn’t wealth. The opposite of poverty is enough.”He's probably right. I don’t have any problem wi … [Read more...]

Shirley Jones, Marlon Brando and God. [Improvisational Christianity]

The actual scene being shot. That's my back...Shirley's face.

Warning: Name-dropping ahead!I had the pleasure this summer to work opposite Shirley Jones. Shirley won the Academy Award for her role in Elmer Gantry in 1960. She may be better known these days as Mrs. Partridge, but she was a certified top-of-the-A-list movie star 50 years ago. We did a scene together in our latest romantic comedy, A Strange Brand of Happy. Brad Wise, the director, asked us to simply improvise a conversation to see what might happen. Brad knows that I am an improv guy and … [Read more...]

Is God Fun? [Improvisational Christianity #3]

skateboard_grandpa_old_man_skate_park_funny_humor_cool_haha_lol_rofl_smiles

This is the third post in my exploration of Improvisational Christianity. You may want to catch up by reading the first two posts:1. Improvisational Christianity: I Hope You Like Me2. Saturday Night Live, Modernity and StoriesThe first rule of improv we looked at last week was “Tell a Story.” This week we look at the second rule I learned as an improviser:Rule #2 - Everyone Plays.Deeply embedded in this rule is that improvisation is supposed to be fun and communal.So i … [Read more...]

The Magi Myth

magi

I have no real problem with believing that actual Magi saw a funky astrological phenomenon and found a Jewish baby a few years later. I don’t deny that supernatural things like that can happen.I also don’t have a problem with the story in Matthew 2 being midrashic.I spent most of my life wanting the story to be historical. For some reason this year I want it to be mythic. We are hungry for myth. History is great for telling us who we were and why we are the way we are. Myth is better for … [Read more...]

Saturday Night Live, Modernity and Stories

justin-timberlake-snl-mother-lover

My life changed forever the day I wandered into an abandoned dance studio just west of the Las Vegas Strip on a Wednesday afternoon. It was my first professional improvisational comedy class at The Second City. I had no idea that my life was about to shift so dramatically. I had always been fascinated with improv and sketch comedy. As a kid, I used to sneak out of my room at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings to catch the last thirty minutes of Saturday Night Live. In high school I watched a … [Read more...]

Is My Favorite Bible Story Biblical?

My favorite Bible story probably shouldn’t be in the Bible.I love the story of the woman caught in adultery found in John 8.  I have to be pushing 100 tellings of that particular story in my lifetime. To me, it is gospel in microcosm.But, here’s the thing I tend to gloss over about that section of Scripture. There is almost no chance that the story was in the original manuscript we label the book of John. I won’t bore you with the textual evidence for it. (Because I really don’t care to c … [Read more...]

Improvisational Christianity: I hope you like me.

This is what I look like. (As an Amish farmer.)

Starting a blog for a new "audience" is awkward.This first post feels a little like a Match.com-ish plea for you to like me. Just so you know, I really do want you to like me. I love the approval of strangers.  That said, I will pretend like I don't care what you think of me. My shrink calls that instinct "self-preservation" and I am really good at it.I'm thankful that Doug Pagitt invited me into the conversation on this blog. With no sense of false humility (just genuine, completely … [Read more...]


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