Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bold Links, complete with Exclamation Points (!)

KILLER ELEPHANT ON THE LOOSE!

BBC India reports that there is a serial killer elephant on the loose.  He has killed at least 10 female elephants and his signature kill has to do with puncturing his victims with a broken tusk. 

This sounds like a job for... BOBO THE DETECTIVE CHIMP!

If ever there were a time that the world needed a real, live detective chimp, this would be that time.

CONTROVERSY OVER CHURCH NAME SHORTAGE!

You've probably already heard all the controversy surrounding the shortage of church names.  This is by far the best article I've seen on the topic.  It's an important issue that all Christians should weigh in on.

AMAZING SHRINKING HORSE!

BHR correspondent @mrkengos writes in to tell us that horses are getting smaller all the time. Soon you will be able to carry them in a purse or handbag, or carry them on an airplane.  I would appreciate it if no one ever mentioned this to my children.

ROBOTS ARE DESCRIBING IMAGINARY JESUS!

At least I assume it is robots.  It might be poorly paid interns.  Regardless, you can see my careful study of the fruits of their labor here

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Get Page CXVI's HYMNS album for FREE (!!!!). No, really. Free.

Today through May 4th you can download, for free, the entire first Hymns album by up and coming rock band Page CXVI.  Here's the link for that album.  Page CXVI has an amazing sound, and I'm glad they're giving this album away.  Part of the idea here is that you will love the first album and want to buy the new one, which is releasing this week.  You will want to buy the new one.  I'm going to go buy it right now.


You may recall that I've written about this band before.  They are always trying to be all anonymous because they want people to focus on the music and not get caught up in a celebrity lifestyle.  Well, I don't want you to have to worry about it, so last year I revealed their identities.  I have listened to this album (the first one) about a thousand times.  It's really amazing, and it has done exactly what they designed it to do... brought new life to beloved hymns.  I love hymns, I really do, but frankly I do not listen to them outside of the church building.  Or I didn't before this album.  If you're skeptical (why be skeptical, it's FREE!), take a listen to a couple of songs.  I love their version of "Joy".  And, well, their version of everything.  It's powerful stuff.  Take a listen and leave your thoughts here, if you like.

Their name and logo, by the way, comes from C.S. Lewis' The Magician's Nephew. Page 116 is the page (in the edition they were reading) that Aslan sings the world into being.  They wanted to allude to the creative power of God and the power of godly music to transform and create. In my edition it's the part where the witch tears out the lamppost and goes after the taxi driver with it.  Which would have made a cool logo, if you try to picture it.

Look forward to hearing what you think!

Monday, April 26, 2010

If you're looking for Matt Mikalatos, this is where you can find him.

I've had a sudden surge in interest today here at the Burning Hearts Revolution, because George Barna sent out an article about people's opinions and thoughts concerning whether they feel connected to Christ. I thought I'd give a quick introduction about me and my book for all our new friends.

About Me.



My name is Matt Mikalatos, but I suppose you figured that out already. I live in the Portland, Oregon area, and I'm married to a gorgeous woman who has provided me with three gorgeous daughters. We go to a church called Village, just west of Portland. I just graduated from Western Seminary, and I work full time for Campus Crusade for Christ.  You can follow me on twitter or friend me on facebook.  No doubt there are other things you could do to me on other websites.  Here is one of my favorite pictures of myself, with an eagle on my shoulder, from when my wife and I went to the election riots in Mexico. Yes, the only thing I was thinking the entire time that thing was on my shoulder was, "TAKE THE PICTURE BEFORE THIS THING SCOOPS MY EYE OUT LIKE A GRAPE!"  We don't show pictures after this time until I could take the patch off.  I am a passionate follower of Jesus, and like him I have a lot of friends who aren't followers of Jesus.  And that's the way it should be, to my way of thinking.  And now I will stop editorializing and share a couple thoughts about my book.  I LOVE to speak at different events, and if you would like to invite me to speak at your event you can listen to a couple of talks I've done or schedule me for your event right here.

About Imaginary JesusImaginary Jesus is the first novel to be released by Barna, and it's a comedy theology novel.  If it sounds like I just said "It's a cat that lives underwater", then you can read the first chapter here to see what I mean. It's designed to be entertaining while simultaneously exploring our misconceptions about Jesus... and how to know and interact with the real Jesus. So far I've heard from atheists as well as fundamentalists who have loved the book, and I believe you could use it to start a conversation about Jesus with pretty much anyone.  Anyone who can read, that is, unless you just want to discuss the excellent cover.  You can order the book here, the spectacular audio book here.  You can also go to the IJ website, or ENTER A CONTEST to win a Kindle, iPod and a trip to hang out with me in Portland, OR!  Since we're throwing links around like they're free or something, you may as well go check out the cool book trailer that Tyndale House put together.

About the Burning Hearts Revolution.  BHR is my blog, which I put together several years ago purely to entertain myself.  I pretty much write about whatever pleases me.  I call the followers of the blog the BHR Minions.  I don't often put a lot of my more profound thoughts or spiritual experiences on this blog, though that's something I'd like to change.  But it takes me a long time to express those things adequately.  In any case, please understand this is just my personal blog, which I keep updated for kicks.  You can check out the Imaginary Jesus blog, which I keep updated for kicks, also, but which is more specifically focused on the content of IJ.  In any case, you are very welcome here, and we're glad to have you aboard!  Feel free to introduce yourself in the comments if you would like.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What It Looks Like When I Graduate From Seminary

Friday night Western held the graduation banquet, which was actually a lot of fun and brought to mind a lot of reminders about why we came to seminary in the first place. I'll put a post up later this week about that. Krista, our parents and my sister Dawn all joined us at the banquet and so did a lot of our friends from Western and their families, of course. And why the number 40 in this picture? Why, it's my class rank, of course. Goooooooo, number 40! Oh, fine. It was the number of our table. Goooooo number 40! In other news, the napkins at the restuarant were made to look like human hands. Creepy. Notice also the uncontrollable flame in front of Krista. Because she is HOT!


Here's the family, all celebrating together. No more class for Dad! Yay! The kids did an admirable job sitting through the ceremony. Here's the first picture of me with my Master's Hood. I liked it during the rehearsal when they kept referring to "The Hooding Place." It sounded creepy. It wasn't actually creepy, but that's how it sounded. The hood, unfortunately, was rented and had to be returned.


Baby M: "Dad, I am so glad you spent six years and many thousands of dollars for this great toy for me!  Yaaaaay, Dad!  It's attached to your head!"

Z: "Before I had a baby sister *I* would have been the one to yank those tassles."

Old couple in the background: "When I was younger, people had the proper respect for graduation tassles!  None of this letting babies touch them nonsense!"



Lastly, I told A she could take a picture of herself wearing my cap, but only if the tassle was on the right side of the cap, since she hasn't earned wearing it on the left yet. TAKE THAT you seven year old non-graduate! Don't worry, she is planning to defeat my school-going record. Go for it, kid!

Many thanks to all my family and friends who came to graduation and the party afterward. I love you guys and am thankful for all the hard work, understanding and patience you have given me over the years while I was working on this degree!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Taking Malaise Out of My Diet

Mmmm. malaise.

I went and worked out the other day after not working out for, oh, I don't know, a million years.  Yes, that's right.  A million years.  I realized during the workout that I had been experiencing a general feeling of malaise and I needed to kick myself into gear.  Yes, that's right, kick myself.  It's not as hard as you would think.  Man, you're really picking my every word apart, aren't you? 

ANYWAY, if you're all done criticizing every single thing I say.  Sigh.  What I was trying to say was that I was experiencing some malaise.  And while it sounds like something that might be tasty on a sandwich, it's not something you want to be feeling in life.  It's unpleasant.

And as I worked out I felt better.  I decided that I needed a goal to break out of this malaise.

Now, according to the height/weight charts I've seen, my "target weight" should be 167 pounds.  This is shocking.  The last time I weighed 167 pounds was the day I was born.  My skull alone weighs about forty pounds because the Good Lord wanted to make sure that my monstrous brain was well protected.  I weigh 208 pounds right now.  But it's strawberry milkshake season, so that could be about to go up.

I decided, as I was saying, that I needed a goal.  And so I've chosen to lose some weight over the next couple of months. I'm not going to lose 41 pounds because I don't want anyone to call me Skeletor.  Also, it is unreasonable to suppose that I am willing to live without my skull.  No way!  That would be uncomfortable.

I'm targeting 190 by August 22. 

But I am not going to start trying until May first because right now there is a large amount of white chocolate chip cookies in my house that require eating and I don't want my family to suffer through that alone.

Also on the to-do list: My next book, Night of the Living Dead Christians, is due by August 1st.  I will write it instead of eating.  That is the plan.

And now we return you to the regularly scheduled blog posts.  Thank you for your kind attention.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Babies Are Awesome

I was home with the baby today and got to spend quite a bit of good, quality time with her, which led me to this observation: babies are awesome.

And perhaps it's because their skulls haven't completely closed up yet, but you can see exactly what they are thinking most of the time.

For instance, when I walked into the bathroom and closed the door most of the way, she wiggled in after me and the door swung open and she rolled over in stark amazement and I could see her thinking, "WHOA! That thing totally swings open.  You just push on it and it totally... swings." 

Then she found the wastebasket and she was clearly thinking, "Oh.  This is where Mom and Dad put all that stuff they don't want me putting in my mouth.  It's some sort of... treasure box!"  And when you tip it over it spills its treasure all over the floor!

Also, babies are still learning a lot.  For instance, most people would know not to follow me if I am walking into the bathroom.  'Nuff said.

Right now she is drinking from a bottle.  I notice, by the way, that super markets never put baby formula on sale because they know we have to buy it anyway.  But they are worried we will steal it.  It's just covered in electronic sensors and in some stores it's kept LOCKED UP.  With the spray paint and the cigarettes.  If this ever gets out to the young hooligans in our neighborhood I'm sure they'll be tagging fences, smoking, and drinking baby formula.

All that to say: babies are awesome.  The world needs more babies.

THE END

p.s. Puppies and kittens also are acceptable.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Touché

On the way home from the video store....

Me: Home again, home again, jiggetty jig!

Z: I'll kick a puddle and then eat a pig!

(pause)

Me: That made no sense.

Z: It made as much sense as what you said.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rest in Peace

I had this friend named Collette.  I met her in a creative writing class at my junior college.  As I recall she had written a story which turned out to be a thinly veiled story about herself, in which the main character was dealing with some conflict with her husband.  I mentioned in the feedback that the story was frightening, to see such a clear example of spousal abuse, and she came and talked to me afterward, to ask if I really thought what she had written about constituted abuse.  I told her I thought it did, and in some mysterious way this caused us to become friends.  That's my first memory of Collette.

Over the years we kept in touch occasionally.  Krista and I both briefly worked at the same school as Collette.  She got our newsletter, and she and I would send notes back and forth on Facebook.  She sent me theological questions every once in a while, and made funny comments on my profile about as often.  A few years ago I visited her at her house, and hung out with her and her kids.

Collette was a sweet, loving, patient woman, with a lot of ability to endure difficult things without realizing they were difficult.  She wrestled with tough questions, but with an underlying certainty of God's goodness.  She was friendly, and pleasant, and kind.  She had a sincere faith in Jesus Christ, and spoke about him often and with great affection. I considered her a friend, and I like to think she considered me a friend, too.

And that's about all I can share here about Collette.  This last Monday Collette decided for some reason I cannot fathom that it would be best if she took her own life.

How I feel about this is complex.  I think it's safe to say that the first thing I feel is regret.  I wish she had called me and I had been able to talk to her about whatever it was that made her think this was a good idea.  I wish I had known her better, had been a close enough friend that she would have even thought about calling me.  I was in her town the day she did it.  I wish I had thought, somehow, to call her.  I wish it had crossed my mind.

Related to that, and intertwined with it, is the sadness and a sense of loss.  When someone is gone, there's a realization that I can't call her now.  I left a note on her wall on facebook, but that's more for me than for her. She's not checking her messages anymore.  Or, well, I don't really know how that works. But there's this moment in the feelings of loss where I just want to go back and remember every insignificant conversation we ever had.  I want to re-read our dumb facebook notes to each other.  I want to double check her theological questions and see if I missed a warning sign. I want to make sure to remember every last thing I knew about her, because that's all that's left of her, for me.

And then there's this next-to-last feeling that I'm not sure how to express because it seems wrong to say.  I know it's normal and even expected, but I am really angry at Collette, too.  Killing herself was selfish, pretty much the most self-involved thing she could have done.  It doesn't change that I liked her, or that she was a great person, but I just don't understand how she left her kids behind, and left all of us behind without a goodbye and without asking for our help.  Or maybe she did, and I wasn't close enough to be in that circle.  

The last thing, Collette, is that I'm glad you're beyond this now.  What I mean is, I know you're in the arms of Jesus, and even now he's wiping the tears from your eyes and showing you that all those years you spent broken and worried and hurt and abused and crushed and uncertain of your own value, that all those things are a million years behind you and you are in a place where you can experience (at last) perfect love and see yourself the way our Creator sees you.  I'm very, very thankful for that.  I wish you could have found a big enough piece of that here, but I'm glad you're in the arms of our savior now.

So. Rest in peace, my friend.  I will pray for your children and family, and I hope to see you well and whole when next we meet.

Your friend,

Matt

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Eavesdropping with Matt (Episode Forty-Four: THE WORST BOOK EVER!)

Dedicated to the very friendly, industrious and chatty teens at the Marshall Center in Vancouver, Washington, who had no idea that I was silently taking notes on them like some sort of person who takes notes on wild animals. 

Teen #1: What book did you choose for your AP book report?  I'm reading Alice in Wonderland, but I'm so far ahead of schedule I had to stop.

Teen #2: I haven't even started mine.  I chose The Count of Monte Cristo.

Teen #3: I chose, like, the worst book ever.  Don Quixote.  It's over a thousand pages with tiny print.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Easter is better than Wester

We had a great time yesterday here at the Mikalatos household.  We got up early yesterday and went to early service at our church, which was amazing.  The traditional service had an orchestra and large choir which was great.  Pastor John did a great sermon on Abraham, Isaac and the resurrection of Christ, which was really excellent and fascinating.

Then we came home and everyone started cooking.  My parents, Krista's mom, Shasta, my brother-in-law Kevin, my nephew and our neighbor across the street all came over for lunch, an Easter egg hunt and good company.  We had a good time.

On the left here you can see a picture of our wonderful children.  Baby M is holding that traditional symbol of Easter, the Jesus Chicken.  You can see more pictures at my lovely wife Krista's blog.

It was a good day.  Another wonderful holiday past... now back to regular seculidays.  Those are good, too.  I am thankful for my family and friends and particularly for the sacrifice of our Lord.  Christo anesti!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Imaginary Jesus Contest REVEALED!!

At last I can reveal the amazing "My Imaginary Jesus" contest!

You could win a Kindle, an iPod, signed copies of the book or... lunch with me in Portland!  I know some of you who read this blog are thinking, "I have lunch with you all the time here in Portland... and it's AMAZING!"  That's true.  But just imagine someone from some backwoods place like New York City getting flown out here by Tyndale to have lunch with me.  And imagine this... I will convince my wife to come to lunch with us, too!  AMAZING!  I know.  It really is.

All you have to do is write, draw, paint or record your own story about an imaginary Jesus from your own life and send it in to Tyndale and then WIN!

And to get you used to how awesome it is to WIN THINGS here is the first chapter of Imaginary Jesus FOR FREE!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Imaginary Jesus Sighting in the Wild, or, One of These Things Is Not Like the Others

Krista went to the downtown Portland Borders today and saw a copy of Imaginary Jesus in the wild!

Poor Imaginary Jesus.  He looks a little out of place on this shelf.  I mean, there you are, reading the spines and you come across:

Plain Jayne
Cowgirl at Heart
The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow
Imaginary Jesus (?!)
Somewhere to Belong
She Walks In Beauty

That's right, friends, Imaginary Jesus is the book equivalent of that boy that your parents told you not to hang out with in high school.  "Plain Jayne, I told you that Imaginary Jesus boy ain't worth nothing.  And he smokes and chews and goes with girls who do."

But that's where he likes it, baby.  He's going to worm his way into Amish romantic fiction soon.  Awwww yeah!

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