The Voice Of Christmas


Are you getting a new phone for Christmas? You’re definitely not the only one.

Phones and tablets and even phablets (I hate that word) are some of the hottest gifts every Christmas season. I personally think I’ve seen more phone commercials this Christmas than for any other gift.

The new hot feature everyone seems to be advertising is voice control. You know, Siri, “Ok Google”, Amazon’s new Alexa feature, etc.

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This is the new feature phone companies are on fire for. But I’m really not a big user of voice control.

I know some people use the feature all the time. And you are free to make fun of me for sounding like an old fogey for this. But I pretty much only use Siri for one purpose – speaking out my texts. Continue reading

What Would Jesus Watch – 7: Dial A Prayer

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

poster212x312This week we follow in the footsteps of John Oliver’s recent expose and explore the story of a woman looking for faith inside a questionable ministry as we explore the movie “Dial A Prayer” on this all-new episode. 

Join Alex and Kate on the latest episode as they break down this overlooked gem from earlier this year starring Brittany Snow and William H. Macy. This movie raises a lot of interesting questions about spiritual issues and we get deep discussing our feelings on the power and purpose of prayer. Plus we talk about whether or not this is a Christmas movie, the misleading poster, Brittany Snow’s breakout performance, the surprisingly shocking twist, and try figure out exactly what the business model of the Prayer Center is. All that as well as our Prayer Requests and K8-Tracks on this week’s “What Would Jesus Watch”!

If you haven’t seen “Dial A Prayer” before you’ll definitely still be able to enjoy the podcast. But if you’d like to prepare before watching you can check out the trailer below and find the movie on Netflix, iTunes, or at your local video store:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tjn0DuP-hJ8 Continue reading

God Of Customer Service

CaptureOne of the pleasures of moving to a new city is the always wonderful experience of dealing with the cable company. (Specifically Comcast, in case you were wondering. Or is it Xfinity now? I have no idea.)

Wanting to trim my budget in my new apartment, I made the decision to drop cable television and only purchase internet service.

After 6 months of getting by just fine with Apple TV and a digital antenna, I got a call from Comcast saying my promotional price on internet service was about to expire. If I did not update my plan, than my rate would more than double.

The customer service rep explained to me that basically it would be cheaper to upgrade my internet service and add on a basic cable package than it would be to remain at my current plan.

After going around in a circles with the sales rep on the phone I finally agreed. Of course once I received my new cable box in the mail it was not as easy to setup as the salesperson made it out to be.

So I was forced to do my least favorite thing in the world: contact customer service on the phone. Continue reading

Some Thoughts On Interstellar Communication

The Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter

“Love is the one thing that transcends time and space.” – Interstellar

In the end we’re all just trying to communicate with something outside of ourselves.

It’s the theme of Interstellar, the good (not great) but certainly worth seeing new film from Christopher Nolan.

On the surface the plot is fairly basic for a sci-fi space drama. In a not-too-distant future where our pursuit of technology has actually driven the world back in time to a Dust Bowl-like era, an undercover space exploration team is pursuing alternative planets for mankind to inhabit. Continue reading

Why I Don’t Like The Taste Of Communion

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

I was always nervous about Communion Sunday growing up. 

When I was young I wasn’t sure if I should take a cracker from the plate or keep passing it down the aisle. Sure, I was hungry, but was I really allowed to “come to the table” as the pastor would say?

Then, once I did feel comfortable participating, I became nervous about spilling the juice. What if I soiled the carpet in God’s living room with Jesus’s blood?

Communion never meant much more than anxiety to me growing up. I never really got the relationship between a flavorless cracker, a baby shot glass of grape juice, and the immense sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

I thought to myself, “If the life Jesus offers is so full and abundant, why is this remembrance and celebration so stale and bland?” Continue reading

The Retail Worker’s Prayer

photo-10The Folding. Don’t get me started on The Folding.

This holiday, after leaving my full-time job behind, I got a job at a major department store to earn a little extra spending money. I’ve mainly been running the register. But in between customers one of our main duties in the store is The Folding.

It’s incredible, really. You spend a few minutes folding a stack of shirts. Everything on the shelf looks in order. You turn around to check out one customer. You turn back around and a dozen shirts are back on the floor again.

As an employee I begin to wonder what the point is. I wonder why I bother picking up all these clothes off the floor just to see them knocked over and out of place just a few moments later.

But The Folding has to be done. We must go through the motions of The Folding and The Re-Folding day after day after day to keep the store in order. If we deny our duties just one day then the store would go into disarray. Continue reading

A Christmas Prayer From Henri Nouwen

I’ve done plenty of talking to you about Christmas this month. How about some wisdom from a far greater mind, that of author Henri Nouwen?

Henri Nouwen lived an incredible life of ministry in the 20th Century and wrote many powerful books. The Road To Daybreak is a journal of his first year living in the L’Arche community, a shelter for adults with special needs where he spent many of his later years serving some of the most needy souls. It’s an honest, heartbreaking, challenging diary of a man all-consumingly following God’s calling.

I just happened to be reading the chapter on Nouwen’s first Christmas in the community the other day. On the entry for December 23 Nouwen offers a humble Christmas prayer, and I wanted to share that with you today. Here is the prayer in full: Continue reading

How To Be A Living Hand Turkey

photo-5Hand Turkeys are not high art.

Surely you crafted a Hand Turkey in your younger days. Perhaps your child or grandchild made one for you. Or maybe you created some other elementary artwork as well – a Christmas ornament made from an ashtray, a picture frame glued with glitter and macaroni, etc.

You worked hard on these crafts. Spent afternoons in a grade school classroom perfecting the placement of buttons and stickers onto an oddly adorned flower pot to give to your mother or father on a special occasion.

But these crafts weren’t art. You were 7 when you made them. Continue reading