My Best Interview

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Mar 292011

I think Michael must have been sitting down when he took this.

This interview came out almost a month ago in Paste when we got snubbed by the Oscars.  I don’t know why I never thought to post it here, but someone asked me the other day what my best interview was and this immediately came to mind.   The interviewer is Michael Dunaway, who has interviewed me a few times before. Maybe that’s why it came out so good. Or it could be that I’ve finally figured out how to not sound like an idiot. Check it out:

Podcast: Where Are You, God?

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Mar 282011

We’ve all had moments where we wondered where God was and why God wasn’t helping us. Today we look at a story where people asked that same question, panicked that their lives were in danger. What they learned can help us as we too ask “Where are you, God?”

Charlie Sheen Is Right

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Mar 222011

The Charlie Sheen buzz seems to be dying down a bit. It’s been like watching a car accident- we all look, and then we turn away, disgusted with ourselves for looking in the first place. I’ve been able to turn away, but every now and then I’ve reflected on what he’s been saying. While it may seem obvious that he’s nuts, it’s his particular kind of nuts that interests me.

Charlie Sheen during one of his infamous interviews

Take a look at how he describes himself:

  • I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen.
  • I have a different constitution. I have a different brain; I have a different heart; I got tiger blood, man. 
  • Dying’s for fools, dying’s for amateurs.
  • I just didn’t believe I was like everybody else. I thought I was unique.
  • I’ve got magic. I’ve got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time – and this includes naps – I’m an F-18, bro.
  • You can’t process me with a normal brain.
  • If you borrowed my brain for five seconds, you’d be like, ‘Dude! Can’t handle it, unplug this bastard!’” It fires in a way that’s maybe not from, uh… this terrestrial realm.
  • I expose people to magic. I expose them to something they’re never going to see in their otherwise boring lives. And I gave that to them. 
When I put all these together on one page, one thing jumped out at me: Charlie Sheen actually believes he is more than human. That he is not just more famous than us, but that he is superhuman.

I wonder where he got that from?

Well, not really. He got it from us, of course. He’s been treated like a superhuman most of his life. That’s how we treat our celebrities. They can have anything they want, whenever they want it. They don’t have to follow the rules because when they break them, we welcome them back with open arms as soon as their next hit. And we absolutely, positively throw ourselves at them. Tell me that you wouldn’t love to meet Charlie Sheen right now. Of course you would! Why? Because he’s famous. A celebrity. And all of us adore celebrities.  The more I think about it, the less surprised I am at what Charlie Sheen has become and the more surprised I am that more celebrities aren’t the same way. 

Once I realized this, I first thought that Charlie Sheen would someday be in for a giant shock. He’s going to die, just like you and just like me. I figured that would jolt him because, deep down, he knows he’s different from us. When he found out he wasn’t, that would shock him.

But now I’m not so sure.

After all, Charlie Sheen is a movie and TV star.  Young Guns came out in 1988, almost twenty five years ago. It was on last week and there he was. Rio Bravo, a John Wayne film from 1959, was on last week as well. Movies and TV shows never go away. A hundred years from now, people will still be watching Charlie Sheen. Maybe even a thousand years from now. He really is different. He really is immortal. We made him that way. It’s not so bad, though.

Being a mere mortal has never looked so good.

Podcast: The Man Who Said No

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Mar 212011

Most of the time we hear stories of people who choose to follow Jesus. Today we hear the story of a man who chose to not. From it, we can learn the things in our own life that are holding us back and discover how we can move forward on our faith journey.

Mar 142011

I look like a real writer, complete with drug deal in the background...

I’ve been writing for fifteen years. Get Low was my first success, but there were a couple of parts of it that left me wondering if I was “a real writer.” Was I just lucky? Anybody can get lucky. Was I riding on the coattails of others? The other writers did more work than I. Were they the reason for my success?

Was I “a real writer”?

When I got a check in the mail for my second paid gig writing devotions, suddenly I felt like a real writer. It took me a little while to realize why. The full weight of that realization hit me when I read a bible passage that told a story of two people who had it all except for one thing. After they gave it all up for that thing, they found it wasn’t worth it. The light bulb came on.  I had everything and, like the people in this story, I missed it because I was focused on what was missing. Only when that second check came did I understand why. That journey of self discovery, including the bible story that inspired it, is in my sermon from last weekend, “When Is Enough Enough?”

Ash Wednesday Podcast: Living on the Edge

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Mar 102011

We all put things off. We wait until the house is a wreck before we clean it, we wait until the bill is due to pay it, the list goes on and on.  We do that with God too, thinking “there’s plenty of time” for us to reconnect with God. Then, suddenly, there isn’t. The urgency of reconnecting with God was the topic on Ash Wednesday.

An Anti-Gravity Chair? Aren’t they all?

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Mar 042011

Saw this at the Costco today. Isn’t the whole point of a chair to be anti-gravity? It seems redundant to me. Unless it’s some super-secret Star Trek thing. Maybe it’s got dilythium crystals in the warp core?  I don’t know what those words mean, but it was crazy stuff like that that always managed to save the day on Star Trek. Maybe there is something to this anti-gravity thing after all…

It had better be anti-gravity!

Leonard Pitts Nails Why I Don’t Need to Prove God Exists

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Mar 032011

Leonard Pitts writes an opinion column for the Miami Herald. Once a week his columns appear in our local paper. They are “must read” for my wife and I. Pitts won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004, so we are not the only ones who think that. His opinions on race, politics and culture are always thoughful and thought-provoking. Pitts is also a fabulous writer. Reading his columns makes me a better writer. You won’t find a better writer out there than Leonard Pitts. Different, but not better.

Columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Today was better than usual because Pitts is writing about something I have tried to express before but failed, which is the reason why I don’t feel the need to prove God exists scientifically. It’s because there are lots of things that are real that cannot be proven scientifically. It’s the wrong approach.

But don’t take my bad prose for it. Read his column for yourself.