What Would Jesus Watch – 8: Blue Like Jazz

Welcome to “What Would Jesus Watch?”, our summer podcast series overanalyzing the over looked genre of Christian Cinema.

This week we let the listener’s pick our next film – the loosely based true story of author Donald Miller’s search for God and meaning amidst the chaos of Reed College in “Blue Like Jazz”!

FullSizeRender(2)Join Alex and Kate on this all-new episode as they break down the 2012 film which Alex has a very personal connection with. There’s so much to talk about here and we try to cover it all including a comparison of the ways this movie speaks to a Christian’s experience in college as opposed to a movie like God’s Not Dead. We share our favorite quirks about the movie’s version of Reed College, highlight the some of the movie’s truly unique characters and conversations and discuss what it really feels like to be in the minority when it comes to being a believer. Plus we offer our dream cast for the movie with Hollywood stars and open up a session of K8-Tracks on this week’s “What Would Jesus Watch”! Continue reading

What Jon Stewart Taught Me About Legacy

Watching Jon Stewart’s final episode of “The Daily Show”, I was struck by something truly wonderful.

It wasn’t the comedy of the episode, though it was as hilarious and irreverent as ever. It wasn’t the inspirational message from Stewart on seeing through the, ahem, bull”crap” of the world. It wasn’t even the powerful final “Moment of Zen” from Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band.

What got to me the most about Jon Stewart’s farewell was seeing the community Stewart built return to say thanks. 

 

The extended opening segment of the show saw nearly every “Daily Show” correspondent over the past 16 years return in a touching tribute. While “Saturday Night Live” is often hailed as the greatest breeding ground for comedians on televsion, the seemingly never-ending cavalcade of stars “The Daily Show” has certainly given it a run for its money over the past decade. Continue reading

Naked And Unafraid

Discovery ChannelMy parents love this show called “Naked And Afraid.” Ever seen it?

On every episode 2 strangers meet, completely naked, on an abandoned island and try to survive with no supplies and no clothes for 21 days.

To me this show is the height of insanity. I spend the entire time petrified thinking about the extreme discomfort these contestants must be in. I certainly can’t imagine ever “competing” on the show.

Yet “Naked And Afraid” has been going on for 4 seasons. It’s even spawned an entire naked television genre, with “Dating Naked” and other bare-skinned shows populating the cable airwaves.

I used to think “Naked And Afraid” was the craziest show on tv. But I’m starting to wonder if maybe the contestants on this show are onto something.  Continue reading

5 Books That Changed My Life

With November being National Novel Writing Month, I feel the urge and the pressure to write my first book growing. It’s long been a goal of mine to write a book and leave my mark upon the world.

After all, there are so many books which have shaped my life. A book has the power to impact a person like no other art form.

With that in mind, I want to share with you 5 of the books that have changed my life over the past 28 years. These are books I go back to time and time again for inspiration. If you’ve never read them, I encourage you to check them out on Amazon. Maybe one of them will inspire you too.

In chronological order of when I discovered them:

dear-mr.-henshawDear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary – This was my first favorite book in elementary school. Dear Mr. Henshaw tells the story of a young boy completing a class assignment of writing to his favorite author. Over the years the boy continues to correspond with Mr. Henshaw seeking advice and wisdom as he struggles with all the issues of adolescence, including his parent’s divorce. Dear Mr. Henshaw is engaging and captivating and honest – just like all of Beverly Cleary’s work. Most importantly for me, Dear Mr. Henshaw opened up the possibilities of what a book could be in my eyes. The entire book is written in the format of the boy’s letters to Mr. Henshaw. At a young age I learned every book doesn’t have to look the same or follow the same format. Ever since then I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing that plays with the traditional narrative. Continue reading

Tips For The Beginning Time Traveler Part Two

rs_1024x759-140425121751-1024.Parks-And-Recreation-Amy-Bangs-Adam-Tux.jl.042514What will your life look like 3 years from now?

Some of you may be facing 3 more years of the same old, same old status quo. Others may be on the precipice of major changes and choices in life.

But wouldn’t it be cool to jump 3 years into the future to get a glance at how things will pan out?

That’s what “Parks and Recreation” did on their recent season finale. Not to give anything away, but the final scene took Leslie Knope and her Pawnee crew on a bold leap , skipping over 3 years and settling into the near future where the next season will take place. Continue reading

When To Kill Off A Character

iron-throne-teaser-game-of-thrones-18537495-1280-720SPOILER ALERT: Your favorite character is going to die.

It’s happened on The Walking Dead. It’s happened on The Good Wife. It happens all the time on Game Of Thrones.

TV shows are killing off main characters left and right to shock the audience and get the Twitterverse talking.

A death on a show, especially of a major character, used to be reserved for a season or even sometimes only for a series finale.

Now it’s more commonplace for the lead in a show to die halfway through the second episode of the second season.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a comedy or a drama, if it’s on a major network or cable or Netflix – No character is safe. Continue reading

20 Things I Learned At The Storyline Conference

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“What will the world miss if you do not tell your story?”

This weekend 1,000 storytellers gathered in Nashville for the Storyline Conference to ask this profound question together. Hosted by Donald Miller and inspired by the logotherapy process of Victor Frankl, the Storyline Conference was a fire hydrant bursting forth knowledge and inspiration for dreamers wanting to live a more meaningful story.

Going into the conference I was confused and frustrated as to where my life was headed. After hearing from so many incredible speakers and beginning to go through the process of editing my life, I am finally finding clarity as to my purpose in this world.

I’d pay everything I have to send you to the Storyline Conference. Do yourself a favor and sign up for the next one. If you can’t make it to San Diego or Nashville next year, here’s a sampling of what I learned about sharing your story with the world: Continue reading

Do You Wear The Black Hat?

“The villain is the person who knows the most and cares the least.” – Chuck Klosterman, I Wear The Black Hat

In his new book I Wear The Black Hat, Chuck Klosterman writes about villains both real and imaginary. As with everything he writes, Klosterman’s book is an inventive and thought-provoking examination peeling back layers of pop culture to reveal truths that seem obvious until you realize you never realized them before. (There’s a particularly interesting discussion about what would happen if a real life Batman began to fight crime.)

But what sticks out the most is Klosterman’s main theory: A villain is a person who knows the most and cares the least. If you know all the facts about a particular situation, if you know what harm your actions will bring and you simply do not care what happens, then you are a villain in your story.

In a roundabout way, I Wear The Black Hat reminds me of another book about story: Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Continue reading

Stuff I Learned From Love Does Stuff 2013

Sometimes your heroes let you down.

And then sometimes your heroes are Bob Goff.

This weekend author/lawyer/”real-life Great Gatsby” Bob Goff led the first ever Love Does Stuff conference in Tacoma, WA. My girlfriend and I were lucky enough to be able to attend, all thanks to the graciousness of a few loving people in our lives.

I’ve looked up to Bob for years. Meeting and hearing from him in person did not disappoint.

IMG_8663Bob has an incredible philosophy and appetite for life. He invited a few of his incredible friends along, and over two days they shared how they do love in the world. Here’s a few things I took away (I did my best to attribute certain ideas to their respective speaker, in case you want to find out more about them):

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Reality Interrupted

“The Joe Schmo Show” might be the most incredible reality television experiment of all time.

This is not your typical competition for a million dollars filled with wannabe actors. “Joe Schmo”  asks the question, “What if there was a reality show where everything was fake except one contestant?”

The Joe Schmo Show

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On the surface, it’s hilarious. Seeing a dozen trained improv actors (and, inexplicably, 90s celebrity Lorenzo Lamas) dance around one unsuspecting mark as they parody all your favorite reality tv tropes is an incredible hour of television.

Underneath the over-the-top parodies, though, “Joe Schmo” gives us a picture of how to adapt to reality.

The rouse is on the poor Schmo 24/7 (who, to be fair, is rewarded with $100,000, luxurious vacations, and other prizes for his troubles). To accomplish this high wire act, the cast spends months getting into character, rehearsing their roles, memorizing backstories, and creating a script to work from.

The cast knows all it takes is one slip up, one drop of an accent, one stumbled line, and a million dollars and months of hard work would be washed away. Perfection is essential.

Of course all of this preparation is thrown out the window when the wildcard element of the Schmo enters the picture. Continue reading