The Story Never Ends

(It’s WrestleWeek on POP GOD! In celebration of WrestleMania 32 this Sunday we’ll be looking at the intersection of faith and wrestling. You don’t have to be a fan to hop in the ring on this journey. Read on to see how this fake sport provides real lessons for anyone who’s ever grappled with God.)

wm main eventOn Sunday April 6th, 100,000 people of all ages, races, genders and nationalities will congregate upon Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. This happening could possibly set an indoor attendance record. The fans crowded in will scream and cheer for 6 hours until the main event where 2 middle aged warriors will set foot in a predetermined battle inside a structure known as “Hell In A Cell”.

This, my friends, is WrestleMania.

If you’re not a wrestling fan this must seem bizarre to you. How is that professional wrestling can possibly draw so many fans to its biggest attraction? How is that the WWE Network is one of the top 5 streaming video services in the world? How is that WWE’s signature show “Raw” has been on the air for over 20 years and over 1,100 episodes?

The answer is actually quite simple. It’s all because in pro wrestling the story never ends. Continue reading

2 Dirty Little Secrets About Performers

IMG_4141A few weeks ago I had the chance to step back on a theatrical stage for the first time in a year. I was just playing a minuscule background role, but it was a special performance for a couple of reasons.

For one thing I got be on stage with my wife. It was also my very first – and probably very last – time performing in an opera.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to sing. My only real role in the show was to throw a punch at a guy who was trying to steal my girlfriend away (a punch I never could get the timing right on).

As I sat in the background of the show waiting for my moment to come around, I noticed a few things about my fellow performers.

Now, if you’ve ever performed on stage before as an actor or musician,  you probably already know these secrets. But if you’ve only sat in the audience, I’m going to pull back the curtain and let you in on some juicy behind-the-scenes dirt.

I’m not doing this just to stir up gossip. Instead I think these are 2 secret tricks about performers that can help you be more successful on any stage in life: Continue reading

How Boyhood Found Beauty In The Ordinary

MV5BMTYzNDc2MDc0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTcwMDQ5MTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_Imagine a Hollywood director obtaining the raw footage of your childhood. Pretend everything you did between age 6 and 18 was caught on film and someone wanted to piece together a 3 hour movie of your story.

What do you think the director would find? What do you think would be the story of your youth?

That’s the question director Richard Linklater tries to answer in his fascinating film experiment “Boyhood”, the front-runner in this year’s Academy Awards race.

You’ve probably heard by now the way Linklater gathered the same cast together for a week every year for 12 years to shoot the story about an ordinary boy growing up. It’s a well-deserving Best Picture candidate, and not just for the incredibly creative gimmick.

What’s truly beautiful about “Boyhood” is the way it captures just how important the ordinary moments in our life are. Continue reading

Why Your Life Is Not A Soap Opera

Gl92Every day when my Mom came home from work one thing was certain – she was going to watch her soap opera. Most of the time I watched it with her. 

She was a religious fan of “Guiding Light” for as long as I can remember being alive. She set the VCR every morning and hit play every afternoon. Usually I sat on the floor playing with my wrestling toys as she watched (my own personal soap opera I suppose).

“Guiding Light” – like most soaps – was a pretty crazy show. There was your usual soapy drama – hookups, power plays, murder.

Then it got REAL crazy. People came back from the dead. There were twins with two different fathers. There was even a human clone. (The clone storyline was my favorite.)

My mom watched “Guiding Light” for as long as I can remember. She stuck around to the bitter end as aired its final episode in 2009. I have to admit, I grew pretty attached to the show too.

But I think sometimes we make our lives too much like soap operas.  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

POP GOD POPcast: Episode 16 – Ellie Holcomb

slide.001Welcome to Episode 16 of the POP GOD POPcast – an exploration of into the lives of people seeking God in the present tense.

This week’s guest is Ellie Holcomb. Ellie recently released her first full-length solo record entitled “As Sure As The Sun”. We talk about what led to her branching out from her husband and their band to record this album and the incredible amount of support she received. Ellie also shares how she came onto the music scene, her fears and doubts about hitting the road, the way a newborn changes everything, and what it’s like to have your music played at department stores across the country. Plus since it’s Ellie’s first solo album we play a game of Firsts to reveal some things you probably never knew about her like her first job, first concert, and more! Enjoy this deeper look inside the life of a musician truly seeking God in the present tense.

Listen to the podcast here:

Or Subscribe and Download on iTunes Or Listen on Podbean

Check out Ellie Holcomb’s site for tour information and pick up As Sure As The Sun on iTunes

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, rate it, leave a comment, listen to all the other episodes, share it on Twitter and Facebook and anywhere else. I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.

I love sharing stories of people seeking God in the present tense. Let me hear your feedback. Leave me a comment and let me know how to improve things, what you’d like to hear discussed, and give me your ideas as to who you’d like to see on the next episode of the POPcast.

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Tips For The Beginning Time Traveler

ABOUT-TIME_NZ_A3_v1.inddYou may not be able to travel back in time. But you can change the future.

That’s the theme of “About Time”, the new movie starring Rachel McAdams which just hit theaters. My girlfriend and I saw the film this weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The plot focuses on a young man who learns a secret from his father on his 21st birthday – all the males in his family have the ability to travel back in time.

The young man knows instantly what he wants to use his gift for: to find a girlfriend.

At first the possibilities are endless for how to use his new power. He’s able to fix those awkward dinner conversations, perfect the first kiss, even stop the love of his life from meeting a bad boyfriend.

Late in the movie things really get interesting. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything, but the question for the main character becomes “Instead of traveling back in time to fix my mistakes, how can I do things better the first time around?” 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