A few years ago, one of my good friends decided to take an improv class. It was in a comedy club in downtown Ft. Worth, and my friend was born for it. Everyone was cheering him on, we were wondering if he was going to pursue this professionally or not. He was really a natural comedian, he had great timing, stage presence…everything.
And when he got done with the class, the word he had to describe it was exhausting. He loved every second of it, but it was more than a class. It was something that from the moment you walked in the door you were immersed in.
Recently I read Tina Fey’s new book “BossyPants” I think she is one of the funnier people in the world, and wanted to hear about what life was like working for SNL. It’s a bit rougher around the edges than your average 30 Rock episode, but right in the middle of it is a chapter worth the price of the book. It’s all about Improv.
Fey points out that, for her, Improv is not a way of creating comedy, it is a worldview. And like every worldview it’s got rules. Here are a few of them:
1. Always agree. This is paramount. Because Improv depends on imagination, the worst thing you can do is not go along with the scene. If your partner enters the scene, points their finger at you, and says “This is a gun!” You can’t say, “That’s not a gun! That’s just your finger.” If you do than the scene is a non-starter. Now, Fey points out that in real life you obviously won’t agree with what everyone says. But that’s not the point. The Rule of Agreement means to “Respect what your partner has created.” In the words of Fey, “Start with a Yes and see where that takes you.” Continue reading The Finger Is a Gun
Last week, I drove by a bunch of protesting college students. They were on a main road, next to a particular Christian college, and they were holding up signs for Haiti. The signs were basically saying, “Remember Haiti’s not better just because they are no longer in the 24 hour news cycle.” My immediate response was to think, Haiti? That was 3 natural disasters ago.
But they are right. Haiti hasn’t just magically improved because our cameras stopped filming. A huge portion of the Haitian population still sleeps outside. Their infrastructure is still badly damaged, only now there aren’t major celebrities pleading their cause on national television.
Haiti is so 2009.
Because now we are seeing the pictures of the devastation that Japan is suffering from a massive earthquake and a subsequent Tsunami. And if we have any kind of heart, we find ourselves asking new questions…that feel awfully familiar to ones we’ve asked before.
I still remember what it feels like to find a pair of kids shoes buried in rubble from the Tsunami of 2004 (see above picture). I remember being angry with God for allowing it to happen. It was 3 months after the Tsunami when it stopped being a abstract problem and started being one that I was holding in my hands, but the anger was fresh for me. It’s what happens when ideas become personal. Non-profit leaders have long known this, if you give someone a statistic about suffering there isn’t a compelling tug to do something, but if you show them a face…if that number is connected to a person, then there is a much greater chance that you might just engage the problem.
Bono, the lead singer of U2, once said, “15 thousand people are dying needlessly each day from AIDS, TB, and Malaria. Mothers, fathers, teachers, farmers, nurses, mechanics, children. This is Africa’s crisis. That it’s not on the nightly news, that we do not treat this like an emergency…that’s our crisis.” Continue reading The Groans of Creation
So today is Samuel’s 1st Birthday. It seems like yesterday that he showed up. We weren’t ready for him to be here, but here he came nevertheless. (We hadn’t even settled on his name. So for the first 6 hours of his life, he was Baby Storment). His entire first year has been pretty topsy-turvy. We’ve moved 4 times, changed jobs and cities. We left a church community that we loved and came to one that we are growing to love.
A lot has happened in this last year. And we are so glad that Samuel has been around to be a part of it. This is a post I wrote on Samuel’s actual birth day. And it’s more true now than ever. Thanks for being here little buddy. Leslie and I are so proud to call you son.
God’s continues to make babies, because God loves stories.” – Elie Wiesel
So yesterday morning at 5:18, Leslie gave birth to our 2nd baby. It’s a boy, named Samuel David. Actually, at the time he wasn’t named Samuel David, we decided to wait until we actually met the new little guy before naming him. Our thought process was that we might name him one thing and he come out looking like a Zebediah. We now know that is a mistake. Mainly because we forgot that all babies look like potted hams during their first few moments, and we didn’t want to name him Spam. Continue reading Samuel’s Birthday
So this is one of the holiest times of the Christian calendar. It’s the season of Lent. You know it’s gotta be big because even Taco Bueno’s menu has altered for it. It’s a time of year that Jesus followers remember and the Passion of Jesus, and ultimately the Easter story.
So sometimes people give up Ice Cream, or Facebook, or complaining. For Lent this year, I gave up telling people what I gave up for Lent.*
But the whole purpose behind it, is to remind Jesus’ followers of their story. Of a God who moves things from darkness to light. And that when things seem the darkest, don’t write God off because He just might be up to something that no sees coming. And in that spirit, I wanted to post something that I found on CNN’s website last week. It’s a blog written by the (now) infamous Rob Bell about how he came to be a Pastor.
I wanted to post it because Resurrection isn’t just a moment that happened it is something that happens. Hope you enjoy!
One Friday evening in the fall of my senior year of college I got a headache.
I took some aspirin, laid on the couch, and waited for it to go away. But it didn’t; it got worse. By midnight I was in agony, and by 3 a.m. I was wondering if I was going to die.
As the sun rose, my roommate drove me to the hospital where I learned that I had viral meningitis. A neurologist explained to me that the fluid around my brain had become infected and was essentially squeezing my brain against the walls of my skull.
So that’s what that was. Continue reading A New Beginning
Maybe you’ve heard the statistics about pornography. The staggering amount of men (and studies show women more and more) who are sinking into the world of consuming images. And maybe you’ve heard about the statistics of the world of pornography being built upon broken homes and broken families, and leading to more of the same (the book Silent War points out that up to 80% of women in the adult film industry suffered from sexual abuse in their past).
But here’s the best reason of all to avoid it.
Wednesday night, Randy Harris preached at Highland about some of the implications of living out the Gospel. It was a great sermon, and I highly recommend you give it a listen. At one point during Randy’s talk, he talked about how the general tension most of us live our lives in, is the balance between power and fear.
That is, we tend to act out of fear more often than we’d like to admit. And that generally, the way we try to overcome fear is by gaining power. These are the options that the world presents us with. It is the continium that we live on.
But it’s not the Gospel. Continue reading Cruciform Sex