Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Deb.

Fourteen years ago today I married the most beautiful, kind, true and forgiving person I have ever met. I was 21. She was 20. We were just kids. We didn't know the first thing about anything, with one possible exception. We had learned a thing or two about marriage. Unlike so many of our friends, we were both blessed with parents who found a way to never give up on marriage. We grew up surrounded in the security of a loving mother and father who not only loved their children, but also genuinely loved and served each other. Fidelity is in our genes.

I tell people all the time that Debbie has been married to four different guys with the same social security number. Most gals would have given up on a guy like me at some point. God knows that I have given up on myself again and again. But she hasn't. She has an amazing capacity to see what I can become in spite of what I currently am. She embodies grace and hope. She's a great mom, and my boys will grow into men who know how to love and be loved because she is their mother.

Fourteen years into the journey, and I'm still that guy trying to figure out who I really am. I don't know if or when I'll find all my answers, but I am confident that when I do, Debbie will be there loving and supporting me the same way she as for the last 5,110 days. She's the one thing in my life that i never doubt...she's the most real thing I know and I love her.

Happy Anniversary, Deb.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

This Week

I'm taking some time off this week to try to finish my book, A Tale of Two Kingdoms. I'm sitting at around 26,000 words as of yesterday. Contractually, they want it to come in between 30,000 - 35,000 which I think will be 150-200 pages. I have no fear of hitting the word count by January 30 (the deadline), but I am nervous about ending the story properly. As a writer, I've generally had a discovery philosophy where I much prefer to just write and see where I end up. This has it's benefits...and I'm sure it is rooted into my improvisational background, but it also has some drawbacks.

I can tend to meander and sometimes lose the throughline of the story I'm telling. I generally make up for this by constantly editing the entire story every so often to make sure I am on the right track. I have a loose outline for the last six chapters of the book that I'm writing now, but just having the outline for some reason creates some angst. Perhaps it is that, knowing this creation will be published, there is no turning back. This is the ultimate loss of creative control. I've been editing this story for nearly eleven years. Next month, others will start editing it with me...and then it will be cast in stone (or hardback) in the Library of Congress. It will be done forever. Only George Lucas can go back and have Greedo shoot first. The rest of do not have that luxury.

The big decision now really hinges on how to end this tale. The publisher and myself would love to see it become the first in a series, but that will depend on how it is received in the broader market. (I don't think they create an extended series based on an author's parents and 100 closest friends buying a book.) So, I'm trying to end it with both hope and some measure of uncertainty. If I knew for sure that there would be a second, the ending would be a bit more menacing. If I knew it was the only one, it would likely end with all the loose ends tied.

I know that I want the final chapters to have a strong eschatological emphasis. To help me prepare, I'm currently reading N.T. Wright's Surprised by Hope. I just started it, but I can tell it is going to be good - possibly mind blowing. Feel free to join me.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Chris Seay on CNN

Chris is an old friend of mine and a genuinely good guy. He was interviewed this morning on CNN at 5:45...about four hours before I woke up. Luckily, I found the clip on their website:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The God in the Cave

This sketch of the human story began in a cave; the cave which popular science associates with the cave-man and in which practical discovery has really found archaic drawings of animals. The second half of human history, which was like a new creation of the world, also begins in a cave. There is even a shadow of such a fancy in the fact that animals were again present; for it was a cave used as a stable by the mountaineers of the uplands about Bethlehem; who still drive their cattle into such holes and caverns at night. It was here that a homeless couple had crept underground with the cattle when the doors of the crowded caravanserai had been shut in their faces; and it was here beneath the very feet of the passersby, in a cellar under the very floor of the world, that Jesus Christ was born. But in that second creation there was indeed something symbolical in the roots of the primeval rock or the horns of the prehistoric herd. God also was a CaveMan, and, had also traced strange shapes of creatures, curiously colored upon the wall of the world; but the pictures that he made had come to life.

Want to keep reading? See the rest of this chapter of GK Chesterton's The Everlasting Man by clicking here.

Sam, Joe. Joe, Sam.

The {Re}Gifter is over. At least for now. It may try to resurrect itself in one way or another. It's very late and I may write more soon about what I learned through the three month process of seeing this thing come together. It was a bummer that we had a huge ice storm on closing night. Several thousand guests couldn't make it, but the right people were there. It was a good night.

It was good to give Sam (aka "The Creep" (aka "The RE-Gifter")) an official good-bye watching his beard float away down my bathroom sink. My face skin lives's proof:


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Closing Time.

The {Re} Gifter closes tonight at VCC. It's been a great run so far. If you haven't seen it yet, there should be seats available at the door. Just show up early for the 6:00 or 8:00 show.

Then tomorrow is our annual Christmas Eve Donut Outreach at 5:00 pm. We will be handing out 24,000 Krispy Kremes all over the city. This will be our second Christmas Eve here, and last year was a cool family moment for us.

Then I will lock myself in my house with the family for a week.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Opening Night

The {Re}Gifter opens tonight with two shows at 6:00 and 8:00. We have run out of the 2,000 released tickets for each show tonight, but there are a few hundred balcony seats available for walk-ins. If you'd like to come Monday or Tuesday, there are about 300 tickets left for each performance. They are free at We expect every show to sell out, so reserve your seats now if you haven't yet. You can also return extra tickets you won't be using via the website.

There are different emotions on the opening night of a film vs. the opening night of a stage play. Since the {Re}Gifter is both film and play, I get to experience the double whammy today. Days like this are what performers live for. The buzz of three months (or more) of daily work going on (or off) in one solitary hour. The efforts of a team of nearly 200 people merging to one place at one moment. It's a beautiful thing.

I'd like to thank Brad Wise for dreaming this thing up and leading every aspect to conclusion. I'm proud to call him a friend and partner.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Book Deal.

This has been a long week as we prepare for The {Re} Gifter at VCC. However, I was able to take an hour today and head over to Mason to sign a contract for my first published book. I'm happy to let you all know that Standard Publishing will be publishing my allegorical "fairy tale for adults" called A Tale of Two Kingdoms.

I started writing this book over ten years ago to coincide with a Kingdom teaching series at Apex. Through the years I have written in spurts here and there. I have one month to finish the manuscript which will come in around 35,000 words. From there it will be edited and eventually end up becoming a real live book sometime in 2009. If you would like a teaser, I read two chapters this summer at VCC during our Kingdom Cliffs Notes series. You can listen to the audio stream by clicking here.

I suppose today was a big day in my life, but in some ways it just felt like one day in a series of a decade of days that has seen this story evolve and refuse to go quietly into the night.

Here's the press release from Standard's humorous to see them attempt to explain who the heck I am:


Author Joe Boyd knows a powerful little secret: Stories for kids aren’t only for kids. On December 18, Boyd signed the contract for his upcoming book, A Tale of Two Kingdoms, in Standard Publishing’s offices. Written as an allegorical fairy tale, this “kids story for adults” unpacks some relevant realities of the Christian faith in a simple and entertaining manner. In terms of its allegory and mythos, A Tale of Two Kingdoms is written in a style somewhere between C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia and Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese? Joe has had articles published in Leadership magazine, The Lookout, Christian Standard, and House 2 House magazine.

Matt Lockhart, vice president of product development, said, “We’re very excited to be partnering with an engaging storyteller like Joe.” A teaching pastor at the 6,000-member Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, and 1995 graduate of Cincinnati Christian University, Joe worked formerly as an actor in Hollywood. His on-screen credits include a recurring role on ABC’s General Hospital as well as starring in Breaking Vegas (The History Channel) and American Heiress (Fox).

A graduate of The Second City Training Center and The Groundlings, among the most prestigious comedy training centers in America, Joe is considered an expert in the world of improvisational comedy. He has performed in more than one thousand improv performances, including a three-year run as Michael Just in the Las Vegas/Broadway Company of Tony ’n’ Tina’s Wedding.

Joe is driven by the concept that story is one of the most powerful ways for communicating truth and that storytelling is foundational for any culture to find its particular meaning and place in history. As a result, he has a passion for writing and telling good stories. Standard Publishing is excited to break into this category of adult fiction/allegory with the release of A Tale of Two Kingdoms in November 2009.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Nearly Bush Whacked

Love him or hate him, the prez has cat-like reflexes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Last Call for The {Re} Gifter

The {Re} Gifter shows twice each night on December 21, 22 and 23. We've given away 9,000 tickets, but there are still some available at If you are in the Cincinnati area, hope to see ya there.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tough Times, Bold Church

I do not believe that you have to be part of an organized 501(c)3 non-profit organization (what us Americans often call a "church") to be a follower of Jesus. Some people probably should not be a part of one. Some people should probably take a break from "organized church" so that they can explore Christianity at a more organic level. I needed to do that. I spent many years on the outskirts of organized Christianity. At first, it wasn't too healthy. Like I tend to do, I made it very black and white. I concluded that all organized church was all wrong - too political, too business like, too event centered, etc. The answer for me, back then, was to reject all of it. There was a year in my life when I would have even thought it to be sinful to go to a church service or be a professional pastor. I see how I got there. I had to go there.

Then I got back in. The full circle journey taught me many things. Leaving church work to work at the Rio Casino for several years taught me that God is everywhere. I needed to see God in a casino to believe he also exists in a church building. I needed to see that a real church could exist outside of a church building to believe that a real church could exist within one. I needed to see that the real issues with church are caused by the real sins in people...and that those sins exist in all churches of all sizes.

Some of my house church friends, no doubt, worry about my soul now...the same way my organized church friends worried about me in my house church days. The truth is I am a hybrid. I'm now part of a 501(c)3 in the state of Ohio called Vineyard Community Church. I don't need to be a part of it to follow Jesus. I don't need to be a part of it to be right with God. I don't need any organization called "church" to be a part of a real church. That's not at all what it's about for me. I have chosen to be a part of it. (Or depending on your theology, God has chosen me to join this story.) Either way, it's a choice.

I choose it, not because it is a perfect organization, but because I believe we can do good and be good together. I believe in the mission - to love the people of Cincinnati into a relationship with Jesus and to give away to the world all that God has given to us. If you called it "The Blue Papaya Cafe" and that was the mission, I'd join up. I believe in the values: a group of people who strive to be a servant community, outward-focused, worshipful, agents of empowered transformation and relevant to the world we live in. Those are five values that I would take as a life-long vow with a group of friends if given the opportunity. I believe in the output of our organization. I see the poor served, the weak elevated, and relationships restored. I see Jesus working in us and the Kingdom coming in what we do...that's why I joined. It's where I'm supposed to be now. Maybe in thirty years I'll be in some non-institutional Jesus hippie commune for retirees, but for now this is where God has brought me.

For the record, that's why my family gives to this place...not because we have to, but because we want to. We give because this is our mission. We give because we have chosen this organization to live out our Kingdom values at this time.

There is great momentum at VCC right now. Hundreds of new people are coming around these days. We may see 10,000 guests at the {re} gifter shows next week to experience a simply allegory of the incarnation. Thousands of families have been served at The Healing Center. Hundreds of students are being loved. The poor are given dignity. The gospel is preached. Lives are being saved. God is moving.

However, there is not momentum in the American economy. Jobs are being lost. Stocks are going down. Some who want to give more cannot because they have nothing to give. But some of us haven't lost our jobs. Some of us have limited giving because of fear. This is not who we are. We are fearless. This is the time to be bold. Debbie and I are going to give extra this month to VCC. We invite those of you who are able to sacrifice with us so that we can move forward with all of our plans to love and give as a church in 2009.

For VCC' here to join us.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Tis the season.

Assuming Dave doesn't get laryngitis or win a free trip to Cancun over the next three weeks, I've taught my last four weekend Celebrations of the year at VCC. This weekend we looked at Peter's life as an example of how Jesus saves a person over time by working us through our rebellion, pain and self-centered dreams toward a redeemed life. God recycles the junk we make of our life and gives it back as beautiful and useful art.

We concluded by looking at a chapter in C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. It's a favorite of mine:

Tahnee Torres, Brad, Isaac and some of our other artists at VCC worked up a cool video rendering of the chapter. You can see it when the weekend video streams on the VCC website tomorrow.

I'll be plenty busy over the next two weeks getting ready for The {Re}Gifter. If you haven't booked your free tickets yet, do it now. It looks like we could fill all six shows. There are also some cool tools at to invite your friends via e-mail.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Well, today may as well have not happened. I woke up with a migraine. This happens to me sometimes. When I work at a church I get about one migraine per week. When I don't I get one about every three months. I don't know why this is the case. I'd like to get all holy and call it my ministry "thorn in the flesh," but I'm pretty sure it is simply how my body responds to stress.

Of the four or so migraines per month, one is usually bad enough that I'll have to find thirty minutes to rest and then go about my day. I usually take Excedrin Migraine and it magically goes away in a few hours. About once a year I am afflicted so bad that I have to go home and go to bed.

Then there is the perfect storm/category five/mother of all migraine migraines. The last one I remember was around 1996. I shut down, see blinking lights, toss my cookies repeatedly and generally pray for an early death. Today was the day.

It started when I woke up, grew worse during my first few meetings and apexed during lunch with my friend Derek. Lets just say that while Derek was eating his enchilada platter I was in the El Rancho Grande bathroom doing my best impersonation of your average frat boy at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Not my best moment.

I had to stick Derek with the bill and tried to make it home, but ended up taking a few scenic stops along the way.

I eventually got home and went to bed. That is the only cure. I woke up around 5:30 with what I call a migraine hangover. It's like someone has stuffed cotton in my ears and wax paper over my eyes. I now have a once-a-week level headache, which means I can function and, for whatever sadistic reason, write about throwing up at a Mexican restaurant for the world to read.

Here's the big confession: My life is easy. I thought of my friends who have much worse physical ailments than me on my way home today and managed a few prayers for them amidst my agony. That's all the wisdom I have on the events of my day...we all hurt, some more than others. But maybe our pain is the thing that reminds us to care for each other.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Get your {Re} Gifter Tickets Now!

The website is up and running. Go to to reserve your seats for the show!

Hamburger Happiness

A little piece of Southern California has come to Cincinnati. Brad beat me to it, but I will eat here this week. This is good news. Only this would be better news, but I am sufficiently happy.