Why Sequels Suck

terminator-2-1991-28-gTerminator 2: Judgment Day is the best sequel of all time.

You may argue otherwise. But you would be wrong.

The first Terminator movie is a decent 80s action flick. It’s more focused on Sarah Connor, Kyle Reese, and their struggle to protect her unborn (and unconceived) son than it is the Terminator trying to kill her, played in an almost comically wooden fashion by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In fact, the famous “I’ll be back” line from the film is just a throwaway line the Terminator offers as he assesses how to break down a doorway to get to Sarah Connor. (Also, dig that rad 80s synthesizer score!) Continue reading

How To Have Complete Job Security

Anchorman-2Weathermen and Sportscasters have it easy.

A good portion of their job performance is based on prediction. Each night the weatherperson forecasts what the temperature will be. One segment later the sports anchor gives you their gameday picks.

They’re both just guessing. And most of the time they’re both wrong.

Yet there they sit night after night, week after week, offering their often incorrect predictions.

You probably saw it this week with high-stakes playoff football and wacky temperatures across the country. Even with incredible technology tracking the weather and advanced analytics watching every game, no prediction can be perfect.

Forecasters and sportscasters are given gobs of grace based on their personality rather than their prediction performance percentages.

It must be nice to have a job where you’re not really judged on your performance.

I think sometimes as Christians we become too concerned with The Measuring Stick – how we are judged by God based on our performance in this world. Continue reading

The Nativity Scene Smackdown

slide.001The Doriot Family Nativity Scene was a war zone.

Every year my parents put out a handmade wooden Nativity scene. There’s a swinging fence, hay on the ground in the barn, a reverent recreation of the first Christmas.

And every year I couldn’t help but desecrate it.

The first thing I did when the Nativity Scene came out of the attic was hijack it to use with my wrestling figures. The barn became the backdrop for an epic wrestling match. I called it the annual Christmas Clash.

The Christmas Clash was the centerpiece of my make-believe wrestling federation – the biggest card of the year, my own personal Wrestlemania. For some reason I loved having this beautiful barn as the setpiece for my miniature grapplers to have their most important matches.

The baby Jesus sat in the background and an angel looked down overhead as Shawn Michaels and Diesel wrestled all around. This is what I turned the Christmas story into as a child.

What have we turned Christmas into?

The mission of POP GOD has been to seek God in the present tense of pop culture. You would think it’d be easier than ever to see God’s presence in pop culture during Christmas. But Christmas has become less a celebration of the arrival of a Savior and more of a pagan holiday celebrating generic platitudes like giving and happiness and togetherness.

God has allowed us to redefine our worldly celebration of the birth of His Son in many different ways. Still, if you look closely, you can see the spirit of Christ amongst the masses. Just as the baby Jesus was present in my Nativity Scene Smackdowns, the Lord is present in the pop culture of Christmas.

So this season on POP GOD, I don’t want to ask the question of “Where is God underneath the wrapping paper?”

Instead, I want to ask, “Where is God in the wrapping paper?”

Where is God in the minutiae of this holiday? Where is God in the cheesy Christmas songs and movies? Where is God in egg nog and Christmas Tree Cakes?

I used to think I was being blasphemous with the way I used my wrestling figures. Now I think I was just embodying what Christmas is all about – the presence of the Lord descending into our everyday lives.

As a child though, I relegated the savior to the background as my wrestling figures brawled before His birthplace. This year on POP GOD, we’ll be celebrating the presence of God in the midst of every aspect of Christmas in pop culture.

Stay tuned to POP GOD during the Advent season for a special Christmas countdown. We’ll have a new post every weekday leading up to Christmas including a few Guest Posts and a special Christmas music episode of the POP GOD POPcast.

(If you don’t want to miss anything, enter your email address in the box on the left side of the page to subscribe to POP GOD and have every new post delivered to your inbox.)

Christmas does not mean what it once did. God’s presence is in the background of how the world celebrates the season. But He is still there – if only we will look.

Did you ever misuse your family’s Christmas decorations as a child? What’s an unusual place you’ve seen Jesus at Christmas? Leave a comment below and join the Christmas conversation:

Smiles and Zombies

GUEST POST: I’m excited to introduce our first guest contributor to POP GOD – Sean Taylor. Sean is the Pastor of Chandler Baptist Church of Missouri. Sean was also a mentor to me when I first began pursuing ministry when we worked together at First Baptist Augusta. Sean is one my favorite writers and blogs at Plunge47.org. Check him out and enjoy his first contribution to POP GOD:

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 1.44.56 PMThe Photographer said the first take was a “serious” photo. Every youth group veteran knows that means don’t act crazy – smile like it is a family portrait. The next photo will be titled a “crazy” or “silly” photo. Then everyone will jump around and throw up bunny ears and pull out buck teeth… only the photographer followed the first photo by saying, “Okay, now please smile for this picture.

Instantly she realized her mistake. But it was too late and when the cross-country team poster came out, there she stood a smile amidst frowns… Continue reading