Friday, September 30, 2011

This could be a comic in the back of Imaginary Jesus

Luckily it looks like that poor slob has already sold all his
earthly possessions to backpack around the country.
Stolen from Andrea Schultz.

Eavesdropping With Matt (Episode Fifty-Seven: Teriyaki!)

Dedicated to: Me! And to my hungry eight-year-old.

Or... leftovers!
A: Dad, what's for dinner tonight?

Me: We're all having something different. There's spaghetti. There's grilled cheese. Quesadillas.

A: Yay! Can I have teriyaki?

Me: No, the point is to eat something we have in the house.

A: Can we buy some teriyaki and bring it into the house?

You can read more Eavesdropping With Matt here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Speaking of Christmas! New Kindles and "Kindle Fire"

Wow. In the last hour, Amazon announced a bunch of new products.

I have a Kindle, which I got for my seminary graduation. It turned the mountain range of books beside my bed into a couple of small hills and a thin device which holds the rest of the range. I love that it's not backlit, and thus is easier on my eyes after a day of starting at computer screens. I love that when I'm traveling overseas and need another book I can, for instance, walk past the six English paperbacks which cost 23 bucks apiece and download something I actually want to read for the flight home. I can download a lot of books for free (right now I'm reading "A Christmas Carol"... don't tell my wife, she doesn't like me starting the Christmas celebrations too early).

But this morning Amazon announced a new Kindle touch, which means you'll be able to turn pages by tapping the screen, I suppose, which would be nice. AND, if you 
don't care about the touch aspect, you can get a "regular old Kindle" for for 79 bucks! The touch version is for 99 bucks or with 3G  for 149.

The other big news is that Amazon is releasing an iPad competitor, the big difference apparently being (1) the price and (2) that Amazon thinks storing things on your computer is lame, so all your movies, books, and music will be primarily stored "on the cloud" which for all you non-tech people out there I will explain this simply: It's magic. Anyway, it's called the Amazon Flame Kindle Fire  (I guess "Amazon Flame" sounds a little too mythological) and it's only going to cost $199, which is a pretty big difference from the iPad. It's going to have a new web browser, too, called Silk, which is supposedly going to be very fast because it will use a special system where it will browse the internet partly using computing power from the cloud rather than from your tablet. I know what Krista and I will be wondering: does it play flash? I get tired of the iPad not playing flash. (UPDATE: It DOES run Flash!)

ANYWAY... I got all excited and thought I would share. I think this all looks pretty cool.

Eavesdropping With Matt (Episode Fifty-Six): FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS!

Dedicated to me! And my wife! And Rob Bell!

I am laughing so hard at your
 communication skills, Mr. Mikalatos.
Me: Rob Bell has just announced that he is leaving his church. There is a big hoo-ha about it all over the internet.

Krista: A hoo-ha?

Me: Yes.

Krista: Is that a real word?

Me: Um. Yes?

Krista: What does it mean?

Me: It means... um... hoo-ha.

I know this is probably the most cogent, well-thought-out post you will see about this topic. So enjoy it and be sure to send all your friends here to read it. Turns out, by the way, that the word has only been in English usage for less than a hundred years

More eavesdropping with Matt here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Introducing the Newest Member of Our Family

We've always promised the kids that they will never have a pet, so long as they live under our roof. Mostly because Krista is allergic and the kids (though they would rather have their teeth pulled out than admit it) are also allergic. But after we briefly cared for a lost kitten this spring, we caved and told the kids they could get a kitty.

So, introducing out new pet, who was supposed to be an outdoor cat but is terrified of the outside and thus is living nights in our garage and being forced to face her terror during the day. Her name (get ready for it)... Her Majesty Princess Amber. I call her "kitty" or sometimes "scaredy cat."

As you can see she lets the baby do whatever she wants with her. In fact, the other day M picked the cat up in a full on WWF stranglehold and the cat immediately started purring. She fits in fine around here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Christmas Is Coming... no, really. It is.

Depending on what sort of holiday person you are, it's possible you're either setting out pumpkins right now or taking down Christmas lights from your house. As for me, I started whistling "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" last week and I'm going to read "A Christmas Carol" tonight.

One of our big Christmas traditions in our house, and one that is universally loved by everyone in the family, is reading the Advent Book together every day in December. It's a beautifully illustrated Christmas book done by Kathy and Jack Stockman, in which each day has a gorgeous door that opens up to a Bible verse and a painting from the Advent story.

Jack and Kathy print the books themselves, and they're having a sale until the end of this month... it's the last discounted price for the books between now and Christmas. So, if it's something you think you'll enjoy, now's your chance!

We are big, big fans of this book. It makes a great gift, and we love reading it every year. In fact, we have copies for our kids to give them when they leave home. I mentioned it a little early this year so you could get in on the sale.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

LINKS! The sausage of the internet

Here are some links that were sent to me recently from fellow revolutionists from all over the world:

The first Brazilian review of Imaginary Jesus. (NOTE: In Portuguese, not Brazilian)

A moose in Sweden got drunk and fell out of a tree. (ACTUALLY... if you read the article carefully you'll see that he was pushed.)

An early review of Night of the Living Dead Christian (spoiler: he likes it).

AND my favorite link in several weeks... a smuggler tried to sneak some pythons into the U.S. by hiding them in his underwear (this has made me laugh heartily for several days now).

Who will go to this movie with me? Do I want to see this one? I am conflicted. How about "I Am Legend 2"? Okay, okay, that was not nice. How about Attack the Block. It looks great!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday: Werewolf (were-mouse?) sings about Night of the Living Dead Christian while playing accordian

I love the very serious, scholarly approach to the werewolf mythos evidenced in this video. For instance, the human part of the were-creature often cannot remember what has happened clearly... thus the reference to "Night of the Living Christian" instead of the actual name of the book. And then, to know that I am often called Mike instead of Matt... I was really impressed. :) Anyway, I enjoyed this creepy/funny video. Be sure to share it with your friends!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Living Dead Christian Sightings!

 This first sighting comes from Mark Sweet, who says he will have it read by Thursday. Other things we can learn from Mark... he has bought at least two copies, which I heartily endorse everyone doing. And, for some inexplicable reason he has placed the books and a box on top of his stove. BE CAREFUL, MARK! These books are flammable.

Next comes this artistic representation sent in by Rachel Ronk! I like the couch pattern (that's a couch, right, Rachel?) as well as the creeping darkness coming in from the upper right side. It's an excellent shot, thanks for sending it in. Now how about one with Harry Potter holding it? If anyone can accomplish that I know that you can!

Lastly, this photo sent in by my friend Rebecca Weidner Onkar who said:

Just bought Matt Mikalatos' new book, "Night of the Living Dead Christians," at the local Christian bookstore today. There were two on the shelf, I bought one and turned the other face forward for you Matt. I then clandestinely took a picture as proof. "Imaginary Jesus" wasn't on the shelf, but I found a copy for $2.98 on the Used table (none in the Discounted section.) Whew.

First of all, Rebecca, you have done the right thing in turning my book face forward. Bonus points for you and my eternal thanks! Secondly, this is good news, to see that some bookstores are continuing to put my book in with the Amish Romance. It makes the Amish ladies sad not to be near Imaginary Jesus or Night of the Living Dead Christian. Notice how the Amish lady in the cover of "A Bond Broken" seems to be caressing the cover of my book. NOTE: Yes, this book is completely appropriate for your Amish friends and family.

Okay, friends, keep the pictures coming.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wild Living Dead Christian Sighting!

Sent in by Matt Tory, an all around nice guy and a Family Christian Store sales associate in Folsom, CA since 2009, we see this lovely beast in its natural habitat.NOTE: The Family Christian Stores have NLDC out on the shelves RIGHT NOW! So if you can't wait for it, now is you chance to jump in the car or ride your bike or skateboard or taxi or hover board out to a Family Christian Store to purchase this book.
Notice that the book is in the preferred "cover out" position. Excellent!
You may note the conspicuous lack of Amish romance novels around NLDC. What's this? Have my books moved to a new neighborhood? Indeed they have. Tyndale changed the description of the book so that it would be shelved a little closer to Don Miller and a little farther from "How Softly The Corn Silk Blows In the Wind That Broke My Heart." I think that was a smart decision! If you see Mr. Tory on your trip to Family Christian Store, be sure to listen for his trademark catchphrase, "I bag yo Bibles!"

Saturday, September 17, 2011

#1 best-selling Christian science fiction and fantasy

Here I am. awake in the middle of the night, and I decided to check my Amazon rating for my new book, because that is what authors do... obsess over their Amazon ratings like drug-addled test monkeys pushing the refresh button over and over and hoping for hits. And guess what? Thanks to those of you who bought the book late last night, the book hit the top of Amazon's Christian science fiction and fantasy list! Cool! Here's a screen shot:

As you can see, we're beating out those Christian spec fic classics,  The Greek Myths by Robert Graves and America By Heart by Sarah Palin.


Yeah, okay, the Amazon categories are a little loose.

But, just for fun, let's pretend that Graves and Palin wrote Christian science fiction and fantasy. Using the titles "THE GREEK MYTHS" and "AMERICA BY HEART" come up with a synopsis (the "back of the book" description of the novels) for one or both in the comments.

My favorite comment wins a signed copy of my book.

Go on, now, get to work.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

At His feet

After my post yesterday about letting business get in the way of hearing from God, I was convicted enough to actually go do a devotional. Sometimes when I'm out of the habit and need to jumpstart that sort of habit again, I go to a website called Sacred Space. It's a prayer and devotional website run by the Jesuits. Every day of the year they have a new devotional that leads you through a prayer and reflection time in about 10-20 minutes and I find it refreshing and it takes very little time and no preparation beforehand. You might want to check it out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Even More Advance praise for Night of the Living Dead Christian

From your fellow Friend of the Revolution, Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira, author of Grumble Hallelujah: Learning to Love Your Life Even When It Lets You Down:

"I love to laugh and I love to think.So what a treat it is to find a book like Night of the Living Dead Christian that allows me to do both. Often at the same time. In his fun. campy monster book (did I mention I also love monsters?), Matt Mikalatos takes his readers on an adventure every Christian needs to take. One that helps us to see our own zombie or werewolf or vampire tendencies that make us live like we're dead and one that teaches us to shed those tendencies and live like we've been reborn."

Uh oh. Don't tell anybody, but it looks like Amazon is shipping Night of the Living Dead Christian starting September 16th! THAT'S THIS FRIDAY! It's not supposed to be out until October 1st!

Where we are this week and why my nickname should probably be "Martha"

As many of you no doubt know, Krista and I work with the Worldwide Student Network. Basically, my job is to help Christian college students who want to serve as missionaries overseas to get there... whether for a week, a summer, a year, or the rest of their lives. We partner together with people from all over the world so that our students can go nearly anywhere they believe God is calling them to reach other college students with the good news about Jesus Christ.

This week, Krista and I are meeting with our national team -- everyone else who does the same job as us in the United States. We've been on this team for seven years now, and we've become really great friends with a lot of people on the team, so although we do a LOT of work during our time together, the highlight is often spending time with one another and being refreshed by some people who understand exactly what it's like to have the same job as us.

We really love what we do and who we get to do it with... and it doesn't hurt that our meetings this week are in Oceanside, California, where I've seen dolphins every day and also men with tattoos rather than shirts.

Mary and Martha by He Qi.
Yesterday, Keith Bubalo (the big boss himself) led us in a really excellent devotional time about Mary and Martha when they are hosting Jesus in their home. It really got me thinking about my response to Jesus, and quite a lot of other things. Some issues in the story that have been bothering me after some reflection:

1) The house is referred to as "Martha's house" which means that she did have an obligation to be a good host... she was worried and distracted by her actual responsibilities.

2) When she talks to Jesus about how Mary isn't helping her, Jesus doesn't tell her to stop making preparations for dinner (or whatever she was doing). He just says that Mary has chosen what is better and it won't be taken from her.

3) Jesus didn't invite Mary OR Martha to sit at his feet and listen. Mary chose to do so, Martha didn't. Because she was serving Jesus. She is not rebuked for this.

After Keith's devotional, I have to ask myself the question of whether I am serving Christ in the absence of listening to him, and I think the answer is often yes. When I stop and think about whether Martha should have left her responsibilities to sit and listen to Jesus, I wonder if he would have even encouraged that (a sure sign that I relate to Martha, I think). I mean, when the disciples suggested that the crowds go to get food, wasn't it Jesus who said, "They don't need to go away, you feed them"?

Also, I'd like to think that Jesus is going to work hard to get my attention, to shake me loose from my everyday responsibilities and say, "Look at me, I have something to tell you" but in this story he certainly did not do that. He let Mary and Martha both choose what they would like to do, and he didn't tell either of them to do something different (though he did tell Martha that she was worried about lots of things instead of the one thing that really mattered).

I find that pretty much every day the voice I listen to is that of Martha. There are things that need to be done, and like Martha they are good things, and they are in service to Jesus, and they are honestly done out of commitment to him. And, frankly, there are the voices of my friends and those around me who are saying the same thing... telling me about even more things that need to be done, job responsibilities that need to be accomplished better or another way, new crises to deal with, people to talk to, commissions to be fulfilled, rights to be wronged, lives to be saved. And in the midst of that, I can't even see the way to set it all aside and sit and listen for an hour, to hear what the messiah might say. Not even what he might say... what he is saying in the room next door to those who are sitting and listening, as I bustle around and cook the fish and fill the water jars and make the bed.

And I realized, maybe this devotional is the closest thing to an invitation to sit and listen... this reminder that I am worried about many things but only one thing is necessary and that it's not too late, that I can choose what truly matters.

So here I am, standing with a basket in my hands, in the middle of my work, trying to find a path that leads from where I am standing, surrounded by all that needs to be done to the place I want to be... through the crowds sitting in the living room, to the very front, to sit at his feet. And I honestly don't see how to do it, how you can set everything aside to hear from him.

But I'm going to try. I'm going to go try right now....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ridiculous Reviewers on Amazon: One Star Review for Fahrenheit 451

In the world of Fahrenheit 451, a totalitarian regime has decided books are too dangerous to be allowed, so they've banned them. The main character is Guy Montag, who is a "Fireman"... he confiscates and burns books, which is where we get the title... books burn at 451 Fahrenheit. The book is beautifully written and follows Guy as he experiments and eventually becomes a champion of reading books. It's a love letter to books and reading, and the power of free ideas to create freedom in society.

Which, of course, means that it's time for another Ridiculous One Star Review!

We start strong out of the gate with the ever popular A Customer, who has this to say:

This book makes no sense what so ever and i had to read it for school. I have no idesa just how in the world a book this horrible could have stayed around for 40 years!!! I have talked to everyone I know and they all read the first 5 pages and immeadiatly hated it. THey rented the movie and watched some of it so they won't have to read it, and it was verbatum, and guess was even worse than the book! I do reccomend this book to all of you...well only if you want to find out how terrible books can get or you want to find out what type of flammable liquid burns better on books!

Wow. Did we miss the point of the book, or are we living proof of the point of the book? The irony is so overpowering it is making it hard for me to think. Hmmm. Interesting. Could it be that the author, Ray Bradbury was responding to attitudes and thoughts he ran across in the real world that caused him to pen this excellent novel? Let's see if this next review, also by someone called A Customer, sheds any light on the question:

This book started out weird and ended up wierd and boring! The author has a good idea. We should read instead of watching TV, but if this book is one of the choices you had better turn the TV back on. I mean who in his right mind would ever write a book with 4 wall TVs, robot dogs, and burning books. And the story never really had an ending. It just stopped, I guess to end the boredom.

In other words, the author of this review prefers the dystopian future to current reality. It's like someone reading 1984 and thinking, "I wish the government could spy on me through my mandatory television set." Ha ha ha. I also like how the book started out weird and ended up weird and boring. I'll use that again, I can feel it.

Here's one that would make Ray Bradbury and English teachers everywhere weep themselves to sleep:
ok at first i jumped at the idea when in the future they burn books since i am not a big book worm. then when i started reading it i frequently got lost! you cannot wonder or your like "what?" the plot is dumb i could have done whole lot better! in the description too. and then i came to a conclusion "its a book and it talks about banning abd burning books"...hmmm.... "how dumb!"
And lastly, because we have to end this somehow eventually (there are over ten pages of one star reviews for this book):

It makes no real attempt to make a statment on book burnings.

You're right. I wish someone would make a serious attempt to write a book about censorship. Once again, our one star reviewers show us how totalitarian dictatorships don't actually have to work all that hard to keep the people docile and satisfied. Then again... maybe the book would make more sense to people if it were about the internet?

You can see previous installments of Ridiculous One Star Reviews Here. UNLESS YOU'RE A FAN OF CENSORSHIP!

More Advance Praise for Night of the Living Dead Christian

This one from Brett McCracken, author of Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide

Here's what he had to say:

"Somewhere between classic monster movies and C.S. Lewis is Matt Mikalatos's inventive sci-fi gospel drama, Night of the Living Dead Christian. Zombies, werewolves, vampires, mad scientists, crossbows and... Jesus? It's all there in this endlessly energetic story about how God's grace can transform every last one of us. But can monsters really teach us about Jesus? Before you laugh at that question, read this wildly creative, surprisingly insightful book." 
It's not too late for you to preorder NLDC
. You know, so you can tell your friends, "I bought this book before you even heard of it. I bought it before it came out. I bought it before it was even written. I am that far ahead of you."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

First sighting "in the wild" for Night of the Living Dead Christian!

Chris Gubril sent me a note today that he had gone into Family Christian Store in Prescott, Arizona and BOUGHT Night of the Living Dead Christian RIGHT OFF THE SHELF.

He sends this as proof:

You may recall from our Imaginary Jesus days that I love posting your pictures of my book "in the wild"... so as you find it on bookshelves, at libraries or thrift stores, send me a link or a pic and I'll put it here with a link to your blog, facebook or twitter! Bonus points if the book is "spine out" when you find it, and you switch it to be "cover out" before you leave!

Youth Group Movie

I saw this on Marc Cortez's blog this morning and thought you would enjoy it!

The guy making it is Thor Ramsey.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Interview with Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira about her new book, Grumble Halleljuah

Today we have an interview with Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira about her recently released book, Grumble Hallelujah: Learning to Love Your Life Even When It Lets You Down. Caryn and I have become friends over the last few months, and discovered, actually, that we have a mutual friend that we've both known for quite some time! Her book, which we discuss below, was really enjoyable. I laughed out loud at parts of it and enjoyed Caryn's humble attitude and frank honesty about her spiritual walk. I caught up with her recently and asked her a few hard-hitting, journalistic questions that almost made her weep, but I didn't stop because I'm just that kind of guy. Enjoy.

Matt: Tell us a little bit about your book... what's the main idea behind it?

The best summary of Grumble Hallelujah
 that I’ve got is actually is actually its sub-title. It’s all about “learning to love your life even when it lets you down.” You know—living well and praising God even in the midst of disappointment or heartache. The book is for anyone who’s ever looked around and life and said, “This is not how my life was supposed to be.”

Matt: I heard a rumor that you debated not writing this book at all after you had already sold it... that you even considered sending back the first half of your advance? Are you crazy? What happened?

Yeah. One day while writing some personal stuff—actually a part where I sort of ‘fess up to the various scandals of my life and “sins of my youth”—I panicked and remembered, “Wait. People are going to read this! My mom is going to read this. My mother-in-law. My kids. My kids’ teachers. People I go to church with are going to read this! And it made me not want to write it.

I thought, “I’m going to send my advance back and just say I can’t do it.”

Matt: Clearly you did finish writing the book, though... or hired a ghost writer. What made you change your mind?

God made me change my mind by making me remember that we were in fact broke and that the first half of the advance went to pay property taxes and that probably the county wasn’t going to give it back.

So I had to go on writing anyway. God bless America.

I’m really glad I kept writing. Even though I’m still freaked out when people tell me they’re reading it—like my next–door neighbor just did! I wonder, “Have they gotten to the part yet?”

Matt: There's a common conception among writers especially that "once I have a book deal everything will be better." But Grumble Hallelujah has a lot to do with following God in the midst of dissatisfaction. What about your life has NOT improved or changed since writing this? Or, how did writing this book make your life worse?

I’m pretty clear in the book that I didn’t write this from a place of “it’s all better now!” (In fact, I think that’s exactly what I did write.) And I’m still in a place where it’s not all better. For example, the book has not eliminated all marital stress in our household. The book has not yet dramatically improved our financial situation. Now, if a quick hundred thousand or so of you could go ahead and buy it, then it will have. (Thanks in advance.)

Writing a book is the best thing in the world (or, close to it). But it certainly makes life more stressful! Especially the promotion part of it. You can write it, you can blog about it, you can talk on radio about it. But doggone it! You just can’t make people buy it. (Insert subliminal “buy Grumble Hallelujah now” message here.]

Matt: We hear all the time from authors about what they want people to get from their book. What are the things you don't want your audience to know or learn from reading this?

Great question. I don’t want readers to think this is a 1-2-3 step process. Where they shut the book, follow my advice, and voila! Problems solved. I do love my life now—I really love it. And I’ve still got heartache and hardships and all that. But it’s taken a long time to get here.

What I share are the things that put me on the road to loving my life—and honoring God with it. But it’s no quick fix.

Matt: Your book comes from the expectation that people are sometimes having a rough time in life. Talk to those who are deliriously happy right now. Readers for whom everything is going just perfectly. How can you (and this book) help them through this time?

Totally laughing right now. I love feeling sorry for super happy people. They miss out on all that God has to offer us in the dark times, you know?

I love being happy—really, I do. But I also try to encourage happy people to “fear not” the unhappy stuff of life we may need to face. To not run from the unhappy places we’re sometimes called to head toward. That stuff—those places—tend to drip with Jesus.

Matt: If your book had to fight another book to the death, what book would it choose and why?

Oh! Fun! To the death. That’s serious. Of course, because we were just talking about happy people, I think of Joel Osteen. He’s got a new book out, Every Day a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week. That seems like Grumble Hallelujah’s natural enemy, doesn’t it? Except now that I’ve identified it as an enemy, I suppose I need to love it. Okay. How about Grumble just fight it till it cries. And admits that there’s a lot of good in grumbling. And that constant happiness is overrated. And that Mondays are really the best day of the week.

Matt: I think you might be one of seven people on earth with a name that is as hard to spell and explain as mine. What tricks do you use to get people to remember your name and how to spell it?

Rivadeneira (at least in English) sounds a bit like Robert DiNiro. Sort of the same cadence. I tell people just to start Rivadeneira and just commit to it. Say it like you own it. And then usually you get it.

In Spanish, it has diphthongs and all sorts of weird things happening that I cannot even do. Spanish speaking people have no trouble at all, of course, except they always ask if it’s Portuguese. (It’s not.)

The added bonus of my name is that Caryn is pronounced CAR-IN (car in, car out).  And that I can’t let go of Dahlstrand (not Dahl-STROM!). Radio people LOVE me. But once you can spell all this, I’m easy to Google—and find on Facebook.

Thanks, Caryn! 

If you're interested in hearing more from Caryn, here's her website or you can follow her on Twitter.

Advance Praise for Night of the Living Dead Christian

Hey everybody!

I know you're getting excited about the release of Night of the Living Dead Christian
 and you have every right to be, because it is like a giant sundae made of lactose-free awesome and topped with hot caramel happiness and a spray of whipped laughter. It's true.

Aaaaand, since you can't read it yet, I thought you'd like to see what the people who HAVE read the book are saying to whet your appetite. This one comes from Chris Fabry,radio host and author of Almost Heaven.

Here's what he had to say about NLDC:

"Matt Mikalatos gets what the gospel is all about. It's not about reform or spiritual cosmetology. We're dead, we're monstrous, we're enemies of God. But because of his great mercy, he desires a relationship. He wants us to become like him. What this looks like is beautiful, funny and tragic, and it's captured well in this transformational allegory. Have fun as you read. Enjoy the goose bumps, laughs and tears."

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Our nighttime ritual

Every night when it's time for bed, Baby M* and I have an evening ritual.

It starts like this:

Me: M, it's time for bed.

Baby M: No!

Me: Would you like to say good night to everyone?

Baby M: No!

Me: It's time to read a book and go to bed.

Baby M: Night night!

Then she runs up to her room, leaps onto a chair and catapults into her crib. Usually I hold up books until she chooses one, but tonight she started with a book she had been looking at earlier in the day and left beside the bed.... Dora the Explorer. When that was done I asked her what she wanted and she started chanting, "LION! LION! LION!"

She was referring, of course, to Herbert the Lion, the charming story of a young girl named Sally who gets a lion as a gift from her mother.

She made me laugh tonight, because she made a lot of commentary during the story, which is usually her pointing out things in the pictures. You know, like, "Bowl" while pointing at a bowl. But tonight she waited until the saddest part of the story, when Sally's friends, family and all of the workers (postmen and butchers and grocery delivery people) all stop coming to her house because they are afraid of the lion, and Sally is sitting, sad and dejected and crying, and Herbert the Lion looks sad, too, and then M said, "The End." It made me laugh pretty hard, and she was proud of herself.

Then it's lights out, and usually I sing "Eidelweiss" to her, a tradition that started with the older girls and went on  f o r e v e r and has been passed down to M. But tonight she told me not to sing. She wanted her blanket on. She wanted me to pray for her (she prayed along tonight, which was cute). Then she wanted me to go sit in the chair in the hallway, which is a new addition to our ritual. I wait here until she's mostly asleep. This part of the ritual got added because she can get out of the crib now. It started as guard duty and now it's a comforting tradition. We'll wean out of that one soon, I think.

Right now she's singing the Blue's Clues Theme song which mostly involves her humming and singing "Clue! Clue! Pawprint! Go go go! Thinking chair! You can do anything!" over and over. PAWPRINT! FIRST CLUE! A CLUE A CLUE!

Aw. This isn't going to last much longer, is it?

*Krista says that at some point I will have to stop calling her "the baby"... I told her that once Baby M hits the age of 30 I will consider any request she has concerning what I call her.

Who do you want to hear from during the thirty-one day celebration for Night of the Living Dead Christian?

This October, in honor of the release of Night of the Living Dead Christian, I'm going to have a gigantic party here at the Burning Hearts Revolution, complete with streamers, party hats and guest bloggers. I'm working to assemble a big list of interesting people who I think you'll enjoy hearing from. I'm not putting a lot of restraints on people about content, so I think it will be a fun time to hear from a lot of new and interesting voices. Here's a sneak preview of a few people who are already in:

Wes Yoder, author of Bond of Brothers: Connecting with Other Men Beyond Work, Weather and Sports

Marc Cortez, author of Theological Anthropology: A Guide for the Perplexed

Todd Miles, author of A God of Many Understandings?: The Gospel and Theology of Religions

Gina Oschner, author of The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight

So, you, loyal readers... who would you like to hear from? Fill the comment section with suggestions. Be honest, be creative, be awesome.

Caveat: If you say some big name person like "Clint Eastwood" it would be helpful if you know how I can get ahold of them. Or, you know, if you are Clint Eastwood, we'd be glad to have you participate in the party. And before you say "Abraham Lincoln" I've already put in a request to his publicist.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

A JOLT in my mailbox

Hello friends! I hope you had a lovely long weekend. I certainly did... a fun family retreat in Seaside, Oregon!

And when I got home, I found two books in my mailbox! Here's the first one:

JOLT! by Phil Cooke. I met Phil this summer in Colorado... he and I were speaking the same morning at the Campus Crusade for Christ staff conference, and we talked for a short bit over lunch. I sent him a copy of Imaginary Jesus and he was kind enough to send me a copy of his book as well! I haven't had a chance to dig into it, but I'm looking forward to seeing what Phil has to say.

Look what came today! Hooray!
was a copy of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD CHRISTIAN! It looks amazing. The designers did a great job, and it's PACKED with EXTRAS! I can't wait for you guys to get a look at this for yourselves... less than four weeks to go before it's on the bookstore shelves!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Eavesdropping With Matt (Episode Fifty-Five: An Introduction to Anatomy)

Dedicated to the women of the Vancouver Swim Club, where I overheard this very conversation while we were having our back to school barbecue at the park!

These are doughnut hamburgers.
With eggs. Try not to throw up all over my blog.
Woman #1: Look, your daughter has chosen to eat doughnuts, cupcakes and cookies for dinner.

Woman #2: Enjoy it while you can!

Woman #1: You won't be able to do that when you're an adult.

Kid: Why not?

Woman #1: Because you'll have hips.

It's true! She'll have hips. More Eavesdropping with Matt here.

Someone has STOLEN my BOOK IDEA?!

Hello my minions!

Night of the Living Dead ChristianAs many of you know, the clock is ticking down to the imminent release of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD CHRISTIAN! A completely unique, never-to-be-imitated, spectacular one-of-a-kind comedy theology novel about the monster inside each of us, and the desire to experience spiritual transformation. Werewolves! Vampires! Zombies! Christians! There's nothing like it.

What's that you say?

There is something like it?

And it releases at practically the same time as MY book?

That can't be. Let's look for the cover.

The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook: Slaying the Living Dead WithinHmmm. The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook.

Okay, granted, the color scheme is the same. And the silhouette idea is the same.

I just have a hard time believing that someone else would write a book like mine... the story of a Lutheran werewolf wrestling with his uncontrollable lupine urges while seeking spiritual answers and dodging zombies, the neighborhood vampire and a crazed werewolf killer.

So, I sent a note to the author, Jeff Kinley. He wrote back to say that our books are coming at things from completely different angles. His is "straight up horror/suspense fiction" with twelve companion chapters that talk about the theology behind the story. In fact, his has a warning label on the back of the book for parents, so they know that their kid is getting a terrifying tale of the undead. Mine, on the other hand, has a warning on the back that you might laugh so hard that you get stomach cramps. And the theology is woven into the story rather than accompanying it.

In other words, if our books were about ghosts, here's Jeff's novel:

Don't watch this if you are afraid of clowns
or like to drink tequila.
And here's mine:

Don't watch this movie if you are a Keymaster
or are afraid of other dimensions in your refrigerator.
He's "Dawn of the Dead," I'm "Shawn of the Dead." He's "Dracula," I'm "Love At First Bite." He's van Helsing, I'm Buffy.

Well, I'm not actually Buffy. I mean. Um. I'm a guy and everything.

Anyway, Jeff and I are exchanging books and mid-October we'll trade reviews and you can see what we think of each other's books. I am guessing there will be an angry showdown where we both shout YOU STOLE MY BOOK YOU HACK! Or maybe we'll just be glad not to be alone anymore. Sniff. It is so hard being unique in this world. Give us your sympathy before we start to cry!