Monday, November 29, 2010

Civilization As Defined By My Children

Traveling back from our Thanksgiving getaway, Krista and the kids had the following conversation:

A: Mom, are we going to stop somewhere for lunch?

Krista: Yes, but we'll have to wait until we reach civilization.
Civilization at last!

A: Is Civilization the name of a town?

Z: No, A, civilization means a town that has a Burgerville or McDonald's or something like that.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving in Spaaaaaaaace!

Here are some Thanksgiving thoughts from our crew aboard the international space station. It's a good reminder to be thankful for what we have and where we are. I'm very thankful to be with my wife and daughters and in-laws today and to have so many loved ones here and abroad. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sacrifice, surrender and hope

Here are the other two sessions from this last weekend where I did some Bible teaching for the Great Lakes staff.

The first talk was about surrender and sacrifice, coming out of the story of the rich young ruler who came to talk to Jesus. The talk starts at around 29 minutes:



And here's the last session from the conference, where we talked about hope. We had a really great time with the Great Lakes crew! We're glad we got invited to go hang out with them. My bit starts about 31 minutes in:

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Lord's Prayer

Here's some video from this weekend at the Great Lakes conference. It's the entire first session, so it's not just my talk. It's the deluxe package,complete with conference announcements. You can jump around in the video until you find my stunningly handsome face if you like.

There are two more videos I'll put up later, when I'm not on this evil internet connection at the Chicago airport.

Level 3:16

This weekend Krista and I were at the Great Lakes Staff Conference with CCC. I was the Bible teacher and we had a really great time together with the GL staff. While we were there my Rasool introduced me to this video by a band called Level 3:16... they're part of the Impact Movement and are producing some excellent music, which you can enjoy right now with the video below:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Biology Lesson

This week my 7 year old, A, was trying to put on my bluetooth... she wanted to see what it was like to take a phone call through the earpiece. She was struggling trying to put it on, and suddenly she grabbed it, pulled it from her ear, looked at it skeptically and asked me, "Dad, was this thing designed for boys?"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Crustacean News In the Headlines Today

I wanted to be sure to share this fun vending machine from Asia. Mmmmm, hairy crabs.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wes Yoder, author of "Bond of Brothers" on The Today Show this morning

I've mentioned my good friend Wes Yoder before... he's the author of the new book Bond of Brothers and was featured on The Today Show this morning. Check it out:



Here's my review of Wes' book. You can buy Bond of Brothers here.

Wes and I will both be speaking at a Campus Crusade for Christ staff conference next weekend, and I'm excited to get to hang out with him and minister together!  Congrats, Wes.  Keep up the great work.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dick Van Dyke... are you *trying* to make us jealous

You may have already heard that Dick Van Dyke fell asleep on a surfboard, woke up far from shore and was saved by a pod of porpoises who pushed him back to shore.

What has not been widely reported is how a tribe of monkeys pulled him from the water and he told a flock of birds what had happened and they quickly flew off to tell a cub reporter all about it.

In other news... Dick Van Dyke, how I envy you.

My Jesus is bigger than your Jesus

A town in Poland is in the news right now for finally defeating the giant Jesus statue in Rio with a significantly larger Jesus of their own. Who has a crown. In your face, Rio!

"I'm watching you, little man."

Jesus cranes his neck to get a better view.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Flying cars! Now I just need a jetpack.

The big news in missionary circles right now is that Steve Saint just got his flying car approved by the FAA.

Here's the article from CNN.

Here's the website for "The Maverick."

Here's a video of the car in action.

Steve Saint, as you may already know, is the son of martyred missionary Nate Saint, and has dedicated his life to helping the Waodani tribe (the same tribe that killed his father) interact with the modern world without being consumed by it.

This would be an excellent Christmas gift for me, and it only costs 80 thousand dollars.  Sweet!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

TURTLE MAN!

One of the excellent side effects of having young new interns working at my office is being introduced to things on the internet that must be shared with you all.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Ferret Legging

In response to the recent post on catching catfish using one's bare hands, Rob E, the poet laureate of Missouri, suggested that I should look into "Ferret Legging."

Ferrett Legging is a sport that originated in Britain, in which contestants tie their trouser leg closed, place two ferrets in their trousers (it's Britain, people!) and then tighten their belt closed. The ferret must be fully teethed, undrugged, and the contestant cannot wear anything under their trousers. I read the wikipedia entry and laughed myself silly.

Here's a funny video. It doesn't appear to be taking the rules of Ferret Legging seriously, but it's still entertaining:

Friday, November 05, 2010

Page CXVI preview of Hymns III album "Be Thou My Vision"

My good friends Page CXVI release their next album this coming Tuesday... in the meantime, here's a little tast of the sonic goodness. Enjoy!

02 Be Thou My Vision by PageCXVI

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Flying Colors and Savage Dragon

Thought you all might enjoy this article.  My boss and the owner of Flying Colors, the comic book shop I worked in and that appears in Imaginary Jesus, is now appearing in the comic book Savage Dragon. 

Congratulations, Joe!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Skin Map (book review)

Hello my minions. It is now time for a book review of The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead. 

The Skin Map (Bright Empires)Here's the skinny: Once upon a time there was a guy who could travel between worlds (dimensions/universes/etc.), and to keep himself from ever getting lost he tattooed a map onto himself.  Then he died.  Now all the other explorers would like to have his skin so they won't get lost, either.  Also, it appears he may have discovered the secret of the universe.  Clever boy.  Except for the being dead part. 

Enter washed up layabout Kit Livingstone who, it turns out, has a latent ability to travel between worlds himself.  His great great great grandfather shows up and recruits him to the hunt for the Skin Map (eww).  Unfortunately, in one of his jaunts through the worlds, Kit has carelessly lost his girlfriend in another dimension/time/world.  So now the race is on to comb the multiverse for his girlfriend and the map.  Yes, there are bad guys.  Also coffee. And some sort of prehistoric sabre toothed cat or something.  Her name is Baby.

Things I liked about this book:  I enjoyed this book pretty well, honestly.  I'm a sucker for multiple universe stories, and Kit's great grandpa gave off a faint Dr. Who vibe (possibly as a result of being British) that I found enjoyable.  The historical settings were interesting, and I thought the spiritual content was (overall) well done and didn't detract or distract from the story.  The characters were likeable and I would have been happy for them to overcome all the odds stacked agains them in a spectacular climax that spanned several worlds.  That's not what happened, but that's what I would have liked to see.  The pace of the book wasn't a headlong race after the map, which was puzzling but also enjoyable.  It was a pretty relaxed, easy-going kind of race.  And I will say that Mr. Lawhead's writing never got in the way of the story.  He's a solid writer who knows what he's doing, and when there were confusing moments or strange occurences I knew I could trust that he would take care of me as the book progressed. 

On the Other Hand. I wish that the book hadn't been just the first part of a series.  I think I can fairly say that multiple subplots and even major plot points are not resolved, that characters disappear, reappear at other times and are then ignored, and all this with the implicit promise that I will get answers if I read book two.  My preference would have been to have at least some of the plot resolve.  And (SPOILER -- STOP NOW IF YOU HAVEN'T READ IT AND PLAN TO) I found it odd that, for instance, the missing girlfriend isn't "found"... she just reappears at the end of the book without any explicit explanation.  The heroes are just bumbling through the plot to some degree.

And one other thing that bothered me. It seemed to me that sometimes the characters did something dumb just to make the plot advance the correct way.  Here's a complete SPOILER example.  Two of the characters have a section of the skin map squirreled away somewhere.  They go to get it out and discover (gasp) it has been stolen.  Now they are out of luck.  Because they never copied it.  It's a priceless artifact because of the drawing on it, but no one thought to make a copy. 

And one last little annoyance.  I had this feeling that about page 371 the author realized Ooops, I've come to the end of my page count for part one, I better quickly wrap some things up a little bit but not too much.  This involved leaping over a few events that needed a chapter or two.

A final word.  I enjoyed the Skin Map.  It seemed like a more accessible (and less enjoyable) version of the Connie Willis Oxford time travel stories (which, if you haven't read them, are well worth your time).  At the same time, it seems a bit early to rush to judgment since this is really only the first part of the story, and it may well be that when the story is taken all together that it will be quite good.  I certainly think it has that potential.

And now, if you will excuse me, I am going to slip into another dimension where I am the author of all of Stephen Lawhead's books and he is reviewing them.  And also I am the founder of Microsoft. 

If you'd like to see some more thoughts on The Skin Map, check out all my buddies on the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Tour:

Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
George Duncan
April Erwin
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Gavin Patchett
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Lei Line

After yesterday's post on ley lines, I thought I would include this picture of a Lei Line. Moowhahahahaaa!

In other news... LET'S GO TO HAWAII!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Ley Lines and "The Skin Map"

The Skin Map (Bright Empires)Today and the two days following I'll be joining a bunch of other bloggers to talk about Stephen Lawhead's new book The Skin Map.  I got a free copy of the book for this "tour" with the other members of the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy blog tour.

Ley lines.  In 1921amatuer archaeologist Alfred Watkins noticed that certain ancient sites seemed to criss cross Britain in straight lines.  Curious as to why this might be, he set out to study these significant line ups of ancient wells, walls and monuments.  He eventually came to call these ley lines, and hypothesized that the lines were actually correspondent to some sort of energy underground that moved in straight lines and had somehow been sensed and used by the ancients.

Watkins' theories were met with nearly universal dismissal until, several decades later, several New Age authors latched on to the idea that (depending on the author) spiritual power or electromagnetic fields were moving along these geographic lines.  And, they've been fodder for fantasy novels, science fiction shows, New Age rituals and comic books ever since. 

Lawhead uses them for his own purposes, like everyone always has.  In Lawhead's book, ley lines are somewhat like fault lines... places where separate worlds and/or dimensions rub up against one another and create the possibility of traveling between worlds. More about this in later posts, but suffice it to say that "energy field that transports you to other worlds" is a great deal more exciting than "supposed energy field that probably doesn't exist but could be one explanation for some stuff being in a straight line."

And if you don't believe me, check out this trailer for the book:



My plan in the next couple of days is to talk about Christian fiction in general and how Stephen Lawhead's book relates to that, as well as a review of the book itself. A bunch of my friends will be talking about the book over the next few days as well... check them out:



Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
George Duncan
April Erwin
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Gavin Patchett
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson

Me and My Groupies!

 This weekend I spoke at the Seattle area student retreat for students involved in Campus Crusade for Christ.  We had a great time.  The theme of the weekend was "Who is the Real Jesus?" and I spoke about the reasons people follow Jesus, the love Jesus has for people, and the Great Commission.

On the last day (October 30th) two of the young ladies on the retreat put on their Halloween costumes early... they were my groupies!  Notice the star-shaped glasses that match Imaginary Jesus' glasses.  A nice touch I thought.

So, here it is, the first official pictures of my first official groupies, Melanie Terry (#1) and Sarah Brown (#2).  Thanks, ladies.  It was nice to feel like some sort of famous person for a few minutes. 

P.S.  They asked me to sign their shirts, so I signed on the back there.  It's hard to write on shirts.  I am going to need more practice if this groupie phenomenon becomes more common.

Sharing is nice

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