Friday, February 29, 2008

I don't know, dog. It was just a'ight for me, dude.

Couldn't resist telling the world that my friend Charlie spent this morning with Randy Jackson.

Seriously, I brush my teeth a lot

For the second time in twelve months one of my teeth fell out of my mouth. This time it was more of a cap, but still. I've had two root canals in my life. One earlier this year (when the first tooth fell out mid-hamburger) and another one about four or five years ago. The one from a while back gave way this week and plopped right out of my mouth while chewing gum. Now there is a strange toothless hole in the back of my mouth. The dentist can't get me in until next week - this happened last weekend.

Since then I have been on a two-day planning retreat to plan the 08-09 teaching calendar for VCC, taught at midweek and performed a little improv gig. All while toothless. I'm finally old enough to just start losing body parts willy nilly.

Speaking of improv, I have become a fan of the TV show 10 Items or Less on TBS. It's an improvised comedy similar to The Office.

Tomorrow will be my first day in several weeks to just hang out with the family and much as one can relax with a huge divot where his tooth used to be.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

E-Word and Second City

I should be finalizing preperations right now for what I'll be saying in a few hours at VCC. We are launching a new series on Evangelism, called "The E-Word." Our hope is to reclaim the word "Evangelism" from the fear, division and creepiness so often associated with it. I still haven't landed on exactly what stories to tell tonight. Thus, the writing of this blog to put off the decision a few more minutes.

After church tonight Debbie and I are going to see The Second City traveling show. I studied and worked with the Second City in Las Vegas. It's kinda like being a part of a fraternity, so tonight may be a little homecoming. I'm hoping someone I know is on the team, but I may be far enough out now that it will be a whole new crew.

Life is improvised. That's what I believe anyway. One great improv show can change the world.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Icelandic Kids Can Fly

Several people asked for a copy of my statement that I read at VCC this weekend. I've copied it below. We showed images from a music video by Sigur-Ros during the reading, which is also linked below.

Imagine a community of people who are different. They live as strangers and foreigners in a world that is not their home, They are on a journey, always moving toward a better place. They are not agreeable with mere survival or content with so-called “contentment.”

They hold no secrets. No closeted skeletons. No unspoken agenda. They readily admit what they once were. “Once we were nobodies,” they say with a knowing smile. “Once we had nothing.” They grin. “Once we were the worst of the worst, the poorest of the poor. Once we were vile, and ugly and conceited and desperate and dirty and foolish.” They stubbornly smile as they admit, “Once we were on the brink of death, but now…

You see, that’s their power. They can say “but now.” The fuel of their rebellion is not in their past so much as in the present reality of their future. “But now,” they say, “we live.” “But now,” they say, “we love.” But now we laugh. But now we give and sacrifice and serve and stand united. Once were not a people, but now we are God’s people. Once we were nobodies, but now we are a heavenly nation. Once we were stalled in the muck of the mess of our lives, but now we are a movement. We are a growing grassroots heart-burning movement of sold-out, unwavering, completely reborn and re-envisioned followers of a living God who prefers that we call him our Father. Under his love and power, we advance our revolutionary, world-wide conspiracy of kindness.

And our agenda is as simple to understand it is seemingly ridiculous to see fulfilled. Our agenda is love. Love reigning everywhere like benevolent dictator. Love in the back rooms and love in the boardrooms, love in the alleyways, by-ways and highways. Love in the city. Love in the country. Love in the suburbs. Love in the ghetto. Love in the barrio. Love where the black folks live, where the white folks live and where the brown folks live. Love that breaks through language and color and race and prejudice and ignorance. Love for the doctor and the drug dealer. Love for the prostitute and the police officer. Love for the jailor and the junkie, the pusher and the plumber, the under-appreciated, the over-worked and the under-paid. Love for all and all for love.

We are ragtag rebels. Rebelling against hate, war, prejudice. Rebelling against loneliness, boredom and meaninglessness. Jesus didn’t die so we could just come to church once a week sing a few songs and pretend to learn something. Jesus died to launch a revolution. He suffered and bled and died to see evil destroyed once and for all…and three days later he quit being dead to seal the deal and give us our marching orders.

Go, he said. Love as I have loved you. Love them all – every creature, every nation, every soul. We all can do our part, because we all can love. And when we love…we live.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

To gig or not to gig...

Regarding my previous post, I've written 2 of 5 pages this week. I thought I'd knock it out on my day off Monday, but it didn't work out so well. I still have a few days to find the time to finish. I'm speaking at VCC for the next two weekends. Add in midweek and a few other teaching gigs this week and my brain is getting a little tired.

My agent here landed me a nice little gig as the spokesperson for Time Warner. It would mean regional tv spots, etc. I'm not sure that I'm going to do it though. It's straight to camera stuff and I wonder if some folks wouldn't be able to see me as acting vs. somehow endorsing a company. This is stuff I didn't have to worry about as much in LA, but several thousand people in Cincinnati are starting to recognize me as "The Vineyard guy" and I wonder if seeing me sell cable service would be confusing. I think this is going to be a lifelong struggle. If I was an accountant who became a pastor I could do people's taxes in my spare time and nobody would care or notice. Acting is such a very strange career, and it would seem especially strange as a second career for a church leader. Dropping out of the scene completely would feel like losing touch with the one thing that connects me to the local culture and economy. There are lots of things less visible that I'll get to do though, so I'm thinking I'll pass on this one. The worst part is telling your agent who works hard for you that you don't want to do a gig - that's how they pay the bills, so it sucks to say no to them.

It's been a long time since I've written about this stuff here...funny how a blog shows clearly the things a person is into at different stages of life.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


The WGA strike is about to end. It's made me think more about writing. I'm a writer. I think I might even be a good writer. I've never been a professional writer though. I've had a few things published and a few screenplays in various stages of production, but those things feel like strange spurts of creativity vs. a lifestyle of writing.

I used to hang out some at different coffee shops in Hollywood. They are all full of writers. The same guys and gals were there everyday. Laptops open and typing away. Most of them are probably more "aspiring" than working, but they all have something that I lack as a writer: they write. Everyday. For hours.

I was calculating last night that if I had written five pages per week since moving to Ohio I would have completed one screenplay by now. It might not have been the best thing ever, but it would be done. I've always lacked that sort of discipline as a writer. This post is some mixture of confession and invitiation. I'm going to commit to write five pages per week for the rest of the year. For me, this is probably only a 1-2 hour/week commitment. It seems so easy, but historically it has been difficult for me. I'm not going to try to write the great american novel or screenplay or memoir. I'm just going to write. I may start all of those things and jump back and forth between them. I just want to start a new habit and see what emerges.

If you want to join me, let me know in the comment section. Maybe we can set up a facebook group to hold each other accountable. If some locals join in, maybe we could meet once a month to encourage each other. Just some thoughts...let me know if it strikes you as interesting. Hah. "Strikes" you. That sort of bookends this post, so I'll stop writing now so I can start writing elsewhere...

Friday, February 08, 2008

Prof. Banjo Boyd

I was invited to guest teach for two different Public Speaking classes today at the Art Institute of Cincinnati. It was fun to teach in that environment about storytelling, teaching, comedy, etc. They let me show a ten minute clip from one of my messages at The Vineyard. Both classes ended with some students doing some Improv with me. They all did very well considering they had never tried it before.

It was good on many levels - good to be in the real world and with aspiring artists in an academic setting. I also found it a worthy challenge to talk about preaching in a non-Christian environment. Also, there's nothing like showing a sermon to a room full of college students outside of the church setting to see what works with non-church people and what doesn't. The day was fascinating.

On a side note, everyone at work has taken to calling me Banjo. I'm not sure why really, but it is an organized and deliberate attempt to nickname me. It feels a little less than organic, but I will answer to it for the first week to see where it goes from there.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Out of Africa

The team is back from Nigeria! Here's the recap video we showed at VCC this weekend. Pretty cool stuff.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

WGA News

Looks like the writer's strike may be over soon. This whole thing would have affected me a lot more if we were still in LA, but many of my friends have struggled to find work for the last three months.

It could mean new episodes of The Office in 4 or 5 weeks...SNL could be up quicker than that.

If you care, here's the LA Times story:

WGA News

Facebook meets Midweek

I've started a discussion group page on Facebook for the Vineyard Midweek class I'm leading. We can discuss the Dallas Willard article linked below there and post things for others to see. If you are a facebooker you can join the discussion by clicking here:

Facebook Group

Friday, February 01, 2008

How Smart was Jesus?

Here's the thing: those who follow Jesus are invited into a discipling relationship with him. Fundamentally, this is a student-teacher relationship. It's an apprenticeship. Jesus pushed the discipling relationship of his day to it's extreme. He said it was a slave-master relationship. To this day, anyone who follows Jesus enters a student-teacher, slave-master covenant.

Therefore, if I am a Christian (disciple) of Jesus, then he is my teacher and I am his student. As my teacher I trust that he is smart. That's part of what it means that he is worthy. I can't think of a reason why I should be Jesus' disciple if I don't think he is smarter than me or smarter than anyone else I could follow.

Maybe when Jesus walked the earth he didn't know as much about physics as Einstein. Maybe he limited his actual knowledge to cultural norms. I'm fine with that. But I find it hard to believe that he wasn't the smartest person who ever lived. I think it is hard for modern people to see anyone from antiquity as intelligent. They didn't have the internet or PBS or MIT. Maybe they had less access to data and accumulated knowledge than we do, but does that make us more intelligent?

I think it is hard to follow Jesus and still believe that someone else is smarter than him. I'm teaching a class at Vineyard midweek on discipleship for a few hundred folks. In a pre-survey, 31% of the attendees checked that they do not believe that Jesus was the smartest person who ever lived. 98% of them labeled themselves as followers of Jesus. I don't mean to come down on anyone, but I wonder if this isn't key to our discontent as disciples. (Over 61% also said that they felt something was missing in their faith.)

Looking back on it, I might have phrased the question a bit differently, but it has given me a lot to think about. I wasn't trying to trick anyone. I'm assuming most people get hung up on the fact that Jesus, while he was on earth, may not have known the atomic weight of Barium, but our high school physics teacher did. So, how could we Jesus is smarter than him? Yet, I'm pretty sure Jesus is smarter than Mr. Wilke when I compare the two in my head.

I'm not sure I have all this thought out yet, but I think there is something to it.

If you want to think more about this, read this short essay by Dallas Willard:

Who is Your Teacher?