Saturday, March 29, 2008

Script Writers Unite

I've toyed around with three different ideas for my next screenplay over the last few months. My friend Chuck Schierbeck invited me into this website where people try to write a 100-page script in the month of April. I'm gonna go for it.

If you want to join us, check out Only a few days left to sign up!

My user name is joeboyd77 on the site.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Worth 20 minutes...

Got time to kill? Here's a great clip from Ken Robinson from the Ted Conference on creativity and education...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter 08

It was a good weekend at VCC. Easter is a strange time for me. It's exciting because so many people come together. There's lots of energy and happiness - more smiles and handshakes than a normal Sunday. There are fond memories from childhood and Easters past - like Christmas but with less build-up and credit card purchases. That's the good stuff.

On the weird side, it makes me wonder why we as disciples put so much focus and energy into one weekend over another. It makes the faith feel a little event-centered and that freaks me out if I think about it too long. The older I get, the more I force myself to embrace that life is almost always more of a "both/and" than an "either/or." Life is organic, natural, free-flowing, and relational. But life is also organizational, ritualistic, traditional and, at times, predictable. I don't necessarily drift toward the latter as easily as I do the former.

But leave it to me to rain on an Easter parade. It was a great weekend and I love being part of this new community. Thousands of people celebrated the resurrection. Hundreds of people formally crossed a line of faith and began their journey with Jesus. It was great. If you want to watch it on the web, click here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tooting my own Blog-horn

Yesterday I was watching election coverage on MSNBC and one of the guest analysists was the writer of a political blog. Under his name it said, "Innovator of the blogosphere. Blogging since 2002."

I had to check my old blog to make sure, but I've been at it since August of 2002. I was in my twenties when I started...I'm turning 35 in a few weeks.

Therefore, I hereby humbly accept the title of "Innovator of the Blogosphere."

This concludes blog post #589.

You're welcome, world. :)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Road to Emmaus, PA

When I was in high school I went on a week-long "mission trip" to Tijuana with Amor Ministries. We built a house for a family there who was living in a gutted out school bus. It was an eye-opening spiritual event for me as a 15 year old white suburban American kid. I'm sure that what my youth group did there changed the lives of the Mexican family we went to serve, but I remember feeling even then that the experience was somehow more for us than them. We went to serve and were served. We went show God's love but came home more aware of our need to receive it.

Since then I've probably gone on a half dozen short term mission trips with the same feelings everytime.

I was suprised that this recent road trip left me feeling much the same way. We went expecting to find some stories that we could share with our church to help them grow. Maybe that will happen, but ultimately we found our own story on the road to Emmaus. We transitioned from reporters to receivers. We went looking for the story and became the story. We went as filmmakers and came home as pilgrims. God showed up in the most mysterious and practical of ways. He literally directed our steps each day - not in a "Christain speak" way, but he flat told us what to do and we did it. One of the most beautfully terrifying weeks of my life.

I am torn as to how much to tell you. I don't want to spoil the videos that will start coming your way next week. Let's just say that my faith is at an all time high and I can't wait to share our story in the months to come.

One more thing...Happy Birthday to the best life-long traveling companion I could ever ask for. Love you, Deb.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Road Trip Wrapped

We returned this morning just before 5:00 a.m. Four full days of travel and meeting people all across Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. RIght now I don't have the energy or mental fortitude to get into the details, but I will go out on a limb and say that it was easily one of the top ten spiritual events of my life. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it. God moved in a different and playful way with us.

We have around 60 hours of video footage to go through now. Bobby Frisch will be editing starting this weekend so that we can have a trailer for Easter at VCC. The task is only half finished...

More to come this week as I detox from the journey and the truth settles in my heart.

We are all travelers, all pilgrims, all wanderers...sometimes it takes going on a journey to remember the reality of the larger one.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Road Trip!

We are a few minutes away from leaving on a four-day adventure. Five of us are taking a road trip from Jerusalem, Ohio to Emmaus, Pennsylvania in an aging RV. This Easter at VCC we are launching a series called Road Trip about the journey of Christian discipleship. Dave will be kicking off the series with the story of the Road to Emmaus in Luke 24. Two of Jesus' disciples encounter him on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus after his death and resurrection. We are leaving today to see if Jesus still walks the road from Jerusalem (OH) to Emmaus (PA).

Along the way we will be picking up stories of faith, community and courage. We are banking on several "divine" appointments as we will pulling into strange towns and seeking to find the most interesting and compelling God-story wherever we happen to be. If you are the praying sort of person, we'd appreciate your prayers.

Luke 24:13-35, NIV:

"13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him.
17He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?"

They stood still, their faces downcast. 18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?"

19"What things?" he asked.

"About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see."

25He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

28As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.

30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

33They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34and saying, "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon." 35Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread."

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Perfect Storm?

We are in the middle of our first official "blizzard warning" as Ohio citizens. It seems a little late in the year for the first blizzard, but there's about five inches outside my house with another five or so predicted tonight and tomorrow. The kids were let out of school early and the natives here are running in circles prediciting the end of the world tonight.

This weekend was supposed to be the VCC Elder's Retreat. We got most of today's meeting completed before knocking off a few hours early and we'll reschedule tomorrow's stuff for another day. I was somewhat looking forward to it tomorrow, but I'm also teaching this weekend, so an extra few hours of preparation won't hurt.

That's assuming anyone shows up. I'm a little concerned that the mixture of a blizzard and time change weekend could merge to create the perfect storm of nobody showing up this weekend. If you missed it (most people did) Congress passed a law moving Daylight Savings Time earlier a few weeks this year. We are springing ahead this Saturday night. Seems to have been lost in the local news here what with the white death falling from the sky and all.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The E-Word and our Metanarrative

I guess I am post-modern. I've never tried to be, but whenever I decide to google the things that I really believe in I end up on some obscure website reading about post-modernism, post-liberalism or post-Enlightenment thinking. Kinda makes you wonder what the "pre" to the "post" is. I mean, I guess this means that my entire worldview somehow rejects what was popular thinking when I entered the world making me "post-everything." A thousand years from now people like me probably won't be known as post-anything. Maybe we will be known as pre-narratives or pre-neotheocommunists or whatever. At any rate, the same thing they were saying about my generation twenty years ago is still true - all we really know for sure is that we don't know who we are yet.

Maybe I believe that story matters more than anything because I am a storyteller. Or maybe I became a storyteller because I believe that story matters more than anything. Either way, it probably doesn't matter. The problems I see associated with faith in America boil down to the fact that people refuse to believe that their faith-story is actually their metanarrative (I'd define this word as "the biggest story I live inside.")

For many people the biggest story that they live inside is their own story. We call these people all sorts of things from sociopaths to egomaniacs to shallow thinkers to go-getters to a-holes. But they all have one thing in common - they are the main character of their main story. This thinking is not only incompatible with the metanarrative of Jesus, but it is antithetical to it. It's more or less the opposite.

Then there are all the -isms of the world. There are those people who have broken out of thinking that their own life is their own big story, but have latched onto some popular (or reactionary) communal metanarrative. This can be as simple as believing that your biggest story is that of your home state or town, your family, your nation, your political views, your religious denomination, your sports team, your career, your race or class, etc.

We all live in overlapping stories. I am an American, for instance. Regardless of how I feel or think about America, I cannot really change the fact that I live within the reality of the story called America. My story is also that of an Ohioan and a transplanted Nevadan. I cannot divorce the story of Las Vegas from my story because the ten most formative years of my adult life were entwined within that story. I also have family and religious heritage - I'm an Appalachian Campbellite if you must know. (At times this has evoked pride, at times shame and at times indifference, but it has never not been one of my big stories.) When I was finally eligible to join the Screen Actors Guild there was a temptation to make that my metanarrative as is the case for many performers. Our metanarritive produces our primary self-observed identity: "I'm an actor." "I'm a quarterback." "I'm a good person."

Here's the point - none of these things are my true metanarrative - the biggest story that I align with, or more accurately, the biggest story that has made me who I am. (See Chesterton quote below.) My big story is not that I am an American, a caucasian, a pastor or a SAG member. My big story is that there is a living God who created all that is. He made us and we rejected him in order that we could live apart from him. Apart from him, though, our lives are meaningless, painful and shallow. My story is the story of a nation called Israel because my God selected that nation to reveal himself to the world. Again, through Israel, we rejected him. So he sent a real man named Jesus who called us from the world to follow him in order to be reunited with our God. He came to start a Kingdom ruled by Love that would never end. We rejected him too and killed him, but he was resurrected three days after he died. (I never said that my metanarrative was easy to believe.) His death also paid the price for our pattern of rejection and his resurrection set in motion a conspiracy to see evil conquered in the world through the power of love and life and hope. He then asked us to tell others the good news of our big story and to invite others into our story. This is evangelism to me. Inviting others to turn in all of their stories, including their biggest story, for the story of God and Jesus. It's kind of a ridiculous thing to ask of someone - to be willing to change their prime identity. But for those who are really ready for change (now I sound like a presidential candidate), for those who are ready for a new life, it really is good news.

" ... I have attempted in a vague and personal way, in a set of mental pictures rather than in a series of deductions, to state the philosophy in which I have come to believe. I will not call it my philosophy; for I did not make it. God and humanity made it; and it made me." - GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy