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...]

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...]

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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