Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Life Outside the Box: Renee Johnson, author of "Faithbook of Jesus"

Months and months ago I asked my friend Renee Johnson to send me a couple of thoughts to share about her book, Faithbook of Jesus, and months and months ago she sent me those thoughts and I somehow neglected to share them here! But now I have remembered.

Some things you should know about Renee: She claims to be an introvert (clearly a falsehood). She likes to harass me about how she lives in Oceanside with its superior climate and proximity to the ocean, and she has a red-nosed pit bull. She claims to be able to type 108 words a minute, but it has to be the word "a" 108 times if you ask me. She calls herself the Devotional Diva and she created the first-ever speakers bureau for 20-somethings.

Faithbook of Jesus: Connecting with Jesus DailyMe: What sets your book apart from other books?

Renee: I’m one of the only 20-somethings that was discovered & signed via Twitter who wrote a book for 20-somethings called “Faithbook of Jesus.” My generation has grown up with technology since birth. We know computers, social media, and google. We like clicking things. So I came up with a highly interactive devotional that connects people to Jesus daily FOR my generation. I also surveyed over 300+ people, ages 18-35, to match the day’s verse/devotional. Take that Facebook!

Me: How did your “outside the box” idea impact your creative process? Tell the story of how you produced this outside the box idea. Was it a struggle? Had others done it before you? Did you mess up along the way or was it smooth sailing from the moment you had the idea?

Renee: Because of the highly publicized success of being discovered on Twitter, my job at Outreach Events (working with the top, nationally-known Christian speakers and comedians) my book sold out before it even released. Oh, and it did help that every single Barnes and Noble nationwide picked it up for their Easter table.

Then the struggle hit. Bad. I couldn’t handle the writing demands, launching a new ministry/brand for 20-somethings AND working full time. So I quit my precious job at Outreach. I thought my career in ministry was over. I was so wrong! Only God knew that He had been setting me up for this moment for years. Now I am writing m second book on brokenness, something which I’ve always wanted to write about next. And because of my success, I didn’t have to force it. Is just happened. I praise God for this!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

More dreams!

I had an odd dream last Friday night, and in my typically generous way I'm here to give all those armchair psychologists and interpreters something to do.

Here we go:

I was in line to get my boarding pass on an international flight, coming back to the United States. It was one of those annoying gates where once you check in you have to go down into a dedicated area for the flight and aren't allowed to walk around the airport at all. As I was waiting in line, I looked out the window and saw a giant whale down on the tarmac. The whale was easily the size of a jumbo jet, it was black and white (not a killer whale, though, it was shaped more like a blue whale), and its side was opened up and the whale had been mostly hollowed out. People, bulldozers and other vehicles were coming and and out of its side. There wasn't much gore. I kept trying to get everyone in line to look at the whale, but no one seemed that interested. I stopped an airport employee and asked him about the whale. He looked down at the whale and he said, "Oh, that thing? It's a literary allusion to some story in the Bible. I can't remember what it was called..." I asked him if it was Jonah and he said yes, that sounded familiar.

Then I woke up.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" Speech

This is well worth seventeen minutes of your day. "No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."

"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The County Fair and What We Did There


This year, as a result of my lovely wife's genius brainstorm, my kids entered the Clark County Fair.  My mom helped 7 year old A make pickles, pickled green beans and to sew a skirt.  All three won blue ribbons, and the beans won Best In Class.  Of course this means from now on, A will be wanting to practice her prairie home pickling skills once a year to gather more ribbons.  Krista helped Z make brownies, and those won a blue ribbon, too.  Now I just have to figure out what I am going to enter next year.  I am thinking of crocheting a life-sized Millenium Falcon.  I'll be asking for volunteers in the near future.

Carnies and Nausea. 

Z wanted to try the Ferris Wheel, and A wanted to try every ride known to man... The Viper and Wheel of Fire and Super Shooter and so on.  I went to buy tickets from the lady in the ticket booth (her front teeth were broken and looked very painful, and I could smell the smoke on her breath through the plexiglass).  She looked down at A and then at me and asked, "Which ride are you gonna torture your Daddy on today, hon?
  Without a pause she replied, "The Viper."  The carny laughed a long, hacking cough and said with a voice filtered through decades of smoke and tar, "That one ain't too bad... until it starts going backward."

I will say here and now that I did not puke at the Fair.  This was my achievement for the day and I trust that my blue ribbon is in the mail.  The Viper certainly tried to destroy my record, and when we got off that one I felt nauseous and A said, "It looked much faster from the ground.  I don't think it was fast enough."

We were turned away from Wheel of Fire because of A's height.  Eventually we went on 1001 Nights, which is a big platform that rotates in high circles over and over until someone starts screaming to let him off, let him off, he's going to hurl.  As we loaded ourselves into our seats (I was somehow smacked in the head by the bar) the woman next to us asked A if she was scared.  A assured the lady there was no need to be scared, that it would be slower than it looked from the ground.  She liked the ride a great deal and when it started doing stomach-dropping lurches, A started laughing and shouting, "MY TUMMY FEEL SO TICKLY!"  Yes, the little daredevil is ready for an amusement park.


My Mom had walked the Fair with the baby, Krista with Z, and me and A dominating all the carny rides.  When we got home I was sunburned and nauseous. I debated seriously whether to rest in my hammock and eventually decided it was not a stable enough place to lay.

Pictures coming soon over at Krista's blog....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reel Images of Immigration (a film guide)

One of the most divisive issues today (at least on the level of rhetoric) seems to be immigration reform.  Regardless, it's certainly one of the largest (if not the largest) civil rights issues facing us in the United States.  Sojourners sent me an email this morning with a discussion guide about four different movies about immigration, which you can download here.

I've only seen one of the movies, The Visitor, which I enjoyed a lot.  It was a powerful, moving film that wasn't preachy, but used some immigrant characters as the catalyst in a story about a man dealing with the loss of his wife.  It has great acting and excellent writing.  In fact, I suggested that you watch this movie back when I first saw it.

The second film is called Made in L.A. and is a documentary about some sweatshop laborers who come to realize that they are being exploited and successfully sue the clothing company that is mistreating them.  I haven't seen this one, but the reviews are quite good.  Here's the trailer:

The third movie is called Dying to Live and also appears to be a documentary, with a broader look at the border in general and lots of interviews with a diverse group of people.

The last film is a third documentary, Farmingville.  After the attempted murder of two Mexican day laborers, in Farmingville, New York, two film makers move to town for a year to try to get the points of view of all the different people involved.  Sounds interesting. 

So, there it is.  The discussion guide is designed to help create a conversation about these movies, what this says about our society and the role of Christians in this difficult question.  If you've seen any of these movies drop me a note, I'd love to know what you thought of them.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Do You Hear What I Hear?

A while back I did a phone interview with Jason Coker at Christian Audio. You can download the interview for free, and then listen to me answer Jason's questions while you are jogging. Or, for those of you who have already had knee replacements, while you are surfing the internet.

What's that you say?  You want to spend money at Christian Audio as a way of thanking them for this excellent interview?  Then I would suggest that you buy the spectacular audio book to which I have linked at the end of this paragraph, with "Voice Acting" by the author himself.  It is a treat wrapped in an enigma.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

New Dawn Treader trailer...

I am going to go see this movie. But I ain't going to see it in 3D. The last thing I need is a 3 foot tall mouse jutting out of the screen and in my face.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

At last someone is taking responsibility to protect us from robots

As you know, I never advertise here on BHR, but I do occasionally talk about products I really believe in. That's the case with Old Glory Insurance. Please watch the important commercial below. And special thanks to my friend Christian, who pointed this out to me: