Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My 1 year old's L's

Cutest thing. My daughters L's are are said like Y's.  Every time she talks in her little voice I wanna just stop time.

Here's a few of my favorites:


Yook at me.  (Look at me)

I yike it. (I like it)

Heyyo? (Hello?)

I yove you. (I love you).

Where's my yammy? (Lamby)

Rant: Santa Stance 2.0

I was in Starbucks with my kids the other day. A woman leaned over to our table and made eye contact w/ my 3 year old.

"Is Santa coming to your house to give you gifts this Christmas?"

My three year old was bewildered and averted eye contact to me as if to say, "Help!"

I laughed and told the lady, "Mom and dad give the gifts at our house."

Then she said, "Well.. HE's coming to MY house to drop off gifts."

AWKward. 

Can't you see how this adult perpetuated saga makes for craziness at Christmas. (Why is Santa going to give her gifts and not us? Well, kids...) Thankfully we've had the talk w/ our kids. It's a story, pretend like the princesses of Disney.



I wrote THIS POST on Santa 2 years ago and I still stick with it adding a minor modification. Saint Nick was a real person in history and we should (read in the article below), appropriately reference him. But I don't think it's appropriate to go to all ends to build a child's belief in Santa as necessary part of Christmas because it comes with ramifications. I've heard two stories in the past weeks where preschool parents have had to deal with kids being told (pushed perhaps) at school to believe the story of Santa to the point where it confuses or scares them. (Someone is coming down our chimney? Why does my neighbor get more & better toys from Santa than me?) This brings up the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Leprechaun issue...my kids have enough lies & fears to battle every day I don't need to add to their  thinking that little pixies are flying around their room. (This reminds me a friend made up a story for his toddler to get her off pacifiers. He said a fairy came and took them for other kids to use. Some time later the kid was hoarding her blanket and toys in fear and asked her dad when the fairies were coming to take them to other kids).



This is a must read article. I don't always agree with Pastor Mark Driscoll, but I think he is right on with his (click here) Santa Stance.

Friday, November 12, 2010

S-I-X

I love marriage. Today I honor my wife and in thanks to God celebrate our six years of marriage and 11+ years of friendship.
----
Art that hangs in our room by friend/artist: David Nyquist (painted during our wedding celebration). Inspired by John 15. Our wedding word was: ABIDE. Here's some fave pics of our GTEAM!


11.12.2004 Redwood City Ca


Chicago Dec 2004

London March 2005



Italy May 2006


Hawaii November 2006




Our 1st child is Born. March 2007


Portland April 2007



Las Vegas April 2008




Our 2nd daughter is born February 2009




San Francisco October 2009


Tahoe Summer 2010

Love our family!


Six years, Six amazing years with my wife!
I'm so grateful to have this friendship with Wendy Rose, the most significant relationship of my life!



Here are the vows I said to her on our wedding day six years ago and that I will renew with her this weekend!
I, Anthony James, take you Wendy Rose to be my wife!
I realize God has entrusted you to me as a gift. I commit before God, our family, and friends to love you by first devoting my heart to God, following Jesus Christ, and living in the Holy Spirit.
I love you, and know that I can only do this through God. Because of this, I vow to be your faithful husband to strengthen and forgive you through grace and to give you courage when you need it. I will be your biggest fan. I commit to praying for you and encouraging you to become the woman God created you to be so we can glorify him together (Psalm 34:3).

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Me, the Film Critic

Someone gave me a film on DVD and asked me to preview it and give feedback. Man, it was not easy. Here's my response.


Hi __________ thanks for dropping off the DVD.  I appreciate you seeking me out--because film is a huge passion of mine. I did pop it in and watched the first few 15 mins.

Y'know, as a self-proclaimed "film buff, "I  love movies and 1st and foremost I appreciate people trying to make films. It's a lot of hard work to make it all come together. Being a film critic or an American Idol judge is not my intended desire cause I'm more of a pastor and I want to "nurture people." :)--But you asked for some feedback so here goes:I have some thoughts:

-It seemed like the target was teenagers or even younger tweenies---so maybe that's why I hard a hard time jumping into it...and I had a hard time believing the acting, the main girls/boy were big caricatures which serves a point, but maybe is better for something like a youth group sketch--One technical note was that I had was that I had hard time reading the screen during the the online chatting scene. Maybe it was the DVD quality but I'm just saying.

I have to be honest I didn't finish it because my time just feels so precious and can be limiting w/ kids, family, ministry and my own creative pursuits and it didn't grab me in the 1st 15 mins so I didn't finish watching it. I feel bad but I wanted to be honest about my feedback since you asked.

I hope I don't offend you and I don't mean to be presumptuous or arrogant by any means.--but I just read this article passed on by a friend and it made me think of this film:

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/film/features/23250-why-are-christian-movies-so-bad

I hope this is OK and I would be happy to chat w/ you by phone or even talk w/ the producers of it. I'm no expert, but I love films and have my own experiences w/ film making that give me a somewhat biased opinion. :)

Let me know how/where I can get the DVD back to you.

much thanks
tony

------------
I dont' know how Roger Ebert does it. UG!


Sunday, September 05, 2010

Dad Life

This video speaks to my life as a dad, especially to being  a dad with daughters. I loved it my wife and I laughed! :). Hilarious.

(Thanks Uncle Jack).

Gas station glasses..
daughters
manscape
water parks
Minivans..
grills
Disney Videos--(of which, yes, I have cried!).
Nigh-Nigh Songs

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Validation

Great little short film on something we all need, (Not just free parking), and how when we get it-or don't get it-it effects others. Moving little piece. You never know how your actions impact others.

VALIDATION

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My daughter thinks I'm a vampire

It all started last week when my father-in-law was reading a Sesame Street book to my youngest daughter (1.5). As they were turning pages she pointed to The Count and said, "Daddy."

He alerted us from the living room and we all had a good laugh. Then later in the week my wife noticed my daughter was looking in the Sesame Street books for the purple skinned "Daddy"  on her own. Should I be alarmed? Is it the widow's peak? The goatee? Or maybe it's my Transylvania accent or the way I laugh?? I know I have teeth issues but yikes!!AH-AH-AH!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Human Trafficking: Myself

Wow. I have barley blogged this season of life. I have an excuse. It's summer. Summer is like living one full year in the span of ten weeks. It's like the crazy "J Term" college thing (what is that anyway?) where in 3 weeks of class you fulfill a whole semester of credits. Summers with PCC are always amazingly life changing, fun, full of new life and people, and for me and countless others in our church family and staff it means full schedules. That's why I haven't made time to blog. I really haven't had enough time to do a lot of things I wished I could. So the other day I laughed to myself wishing I had a clone and had a sci-fi-like day dream.
I dreamed if I could clone myself-- I could do so much more. I could go to every event I wanted to attend and was unable, participate in all the great happenings summer had to offer. I would make TONY#2 do all the things I can't do in a normal day. I'd (Tony#1) stay home with my wife and kids and send my clone out to make appearances at parties, concerts, hospitals, birthdays, weddings, funerals, meetings etc. Tony#1 would get enough sleep, hang out with people, and still be on top of all the bills while Tony#2 would get up early to work-out (somehow both bodies would share the same affect of exercise) and he would stay up late answering emails, returning calls and texts. I'd even make him get another job to earn some extra money-(cause I've got dental bills to pay) maybe waiting tables cause I've got some experience in that.  Life would be great and with out complaint. Than seriously within minutes it hit me...that I was actually coming up with a plan for trafficking myself. I was dreaming of cloning a being in which to force labor upon him. I actually saw images in my head of ME in chains being ordered around be ME and forcing work on me. Wow. It was time to set me free.
It was a deep moment where I realized the twistedness of my brain. I actually needed to apologize to God and change my thinking!  I'm so prone to feel guilt for things in which I can't do or wish I could do more. If it were up to me (and if I refused to take my wife's wise counsel) I'd be burning my candle at both ends, out every night, "doing great stuff" but depleting myself in an incredibly unhealthy way. This is perhaps a theme and challenge of my life, being STILL (my word for the season) and finding value and worth in God and his love alone. I really enjoy doing things, helping people, and serving but I there are too many good things for one person to be able to do them all. And at times I slip often believing that when  I am doing and working (albeit great things) than I have attained or earned God's love and favor. But God created limitations for good reasons. He created me, all humans,  with a need for sleep, dependence on him and others, and the IN-ABILITY to be omni-present so that others would become interdependent on each other and wouldn't be dependant on one person, especially one pastor. I was humbled as I thought of myself "trying so hard to be like God" that I was even stepping over lines TRYING TO BE GOD. My mind is still wrapping around this. I've had to let things go, disappoint people, and say no (to great "godly" things)  even when it hurts to do so. I'm reminded God calls me to sacrifice but doesn't call me TO BE Him, just BE LIKE Him, and even he rested at creation and Jesus found many moments to rest and pray alone. God I'm sorry. God renew my mind. God, thank you for saving me and creating me, only ONE me. Thank you for setting me free..from me.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Anew

Dave Shearin, my good buddy, parter in ministry (Street Church's pastor), makes his acting debut in a beautiful little short film by some friends I have through the Academy of Art! Way to go Andrea & Jae.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Somewhere called STILL

For as long as I can remember being a part of my church family, I have been encouraged to pick a word for each season of life. This summer season it was obvious that God was calling me to be STILL.

There are many ramifications for that. Making time to simply rest. Carving out to be be quiet. Intentionally saying no to busyness..just making time TO BE STILL. The past few weeks, the first few weeks of summer have been crazy, good, busy, a whirlwind. I graduated Seminary, welcomed in our 20 interns, kicked off young adult summer groups, celebrated my 4th Father's day and my birthday (whew)..and now I get some time to actually reflect on it all..

God-ronically, this week coming up with be spent recovering from some mouth surgery will have me laid up this week recovering..and being STILL...to which I'm thinking I should just go with a grill. 



Saturday, June 12, 2010

Helicopter Hat

"Can I wear your costume & helicopter hat?"

Monday, June 07, 2010

Genesis Film Fest



I would like to invite you to the first annual GENESIS film festival.

Date: Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Time: 6:30pm
Location: Santa Clara University, St. Clare Room, Library-3rd Floor
Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=130423393635645

The Genesis Film Festival will showcase the best student work during the past year. Genesis embraces the gift of storytelling, and students are challenged to create films that revolve around the human condition and social justice.

Short films will be screened from the following categories through faculty selects:
Visual Communication, Intro Digital Filmmaking, Narrative, Documentary, Expanded Cinema, and Capstone. Awards will be given to the top film in each category as well as Best Screenwriting and Audience Choice.

Sponsors include: Avid,
B&H Photo Video, Final Draft, FotoKem, Keycode Media, Kodak, Pro 8mm, SCU, Snader & Associates, and VMI.

Free Admission
Reception following at the de Saisset Museum
Check out the Genesis commercial, “The Confession” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPqoMz-pkWE

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Upper Room Worship Gathering

Had a sweet night of BEING THE CHURCH with multiple churches coming together to worship in music and prayer. 6 different worship leaders from different churches. I loved it!

Thankful for X-Factor
Watch the Video on Youtube here!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost: No More (spoiler alert).


My wife convinced me to stay up last night to watch the Series Finale! So glad we ditched our DVR plan for the next day. It was well worth it. From what I am seeing the reviews are mixed. But I don't care, I'm not miffed. There was so much I loved. And it reminded me of the value of my own life and loved ones!

One thing's for sure, I love being able to see God through media, TV, film, art..and it isn't the stuff that we expect nor totally agree with, but we can see God and be touched by him as we brush up against beauty, pain, truth, life..and specially through the mystery of life's unanswered questions in Lost. Watch this Video.

This is big picture that I take away from the message of Lost:
Life is about relationships (living in community), healing (both emotional in reconciliation and physical), finding and embracing a mission (we all have a purpose in life), seeking light (I obviously interpret this for THE light I seek), and overcoming any obstacles (the Island, Smokey, the others) in order to do so! All around...pretty cool and...we truly don't need to die alone..(thanks Vincent).
But I'll be honest. There was one slightly cheesy, over the top, and possibly a jump the shark moment, The Stained glass window in the Church Building. A Cross, A Yin Yang, other religious symbols. Ya, Ok. We get your message. I've seen it on car bumpers: "We can all co-exist now and in eternity."
Since I loved the show so much I'm willing to forgive that :) cause I saw God so much in the story, and was moved in many ways. But I do just want to acknowledge that we can still see God, be touched by him as we encounter truth and beauty in the world even when we don't fully agree with everything theologically (like allocating Jesus to just "a way" among many paths to enlightenment). But with that said, it was great TV in so many ways and touching emotionally and spiritually in so many ways. (I cried yes, and held my wife a little longer last night as we prayed :)!

And least/most importantly...I'm totally fine w/ all the unanswered questions. What about the Dharma Initiative, the Island, the numbers??? There's a lot of room for interpretation and it's good that they didn't give every answer. Does life? Does God? Besides, the writers probably didn't have all the answers either. I like this blog's take.

So, it's time to move on. Let go.

Aloha Lost..
I'm found...... and I'll live like that.

Friday, May 21, 2010

VLOG 18 May 2010 TRT 4:58

Watch May Vlog here

I like to talk about this...a lot.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More Quotes from a 3 year old


These all came out tonight.

5/15/2010


Me: Ok, now lets pray and be quiet so we can listen to hear Jesus talk to us.

(after a minute)

My Daughter: I don’t hear anything I think he’s sleeping.

Me: (deep breath) Well, Jesus actually doesn’t sleep in Heaven.

My Daughter: (Perplexing look)

Me: I know we just finished reading about Jesus calming the waves on the boat & and he was sleeping in that story, but now in Heaven he doesn’t sleep.

My daughter: I think he’s just talking to other people so we need to wait until he’s finished so he can talk to us.

---------------------


My daughter: Lets pretend I’m Mary and you’re Joseph.

Me: Ok, lets get on the donkey and go to Bethlehem to have Jesus.

My daughter: No, we have to get married first and go to Tahoe.


----------------

While praying for our victims of human trafficking, (I call them kid slaves with my daughter), I told her that many of them are orphans so we need to pray for God to give them mommies and daddies.

My daughter: What’s an orphan?

Me: A little kid who doesn’t have a mom or a dad.

Me daughter: Why?

Me: Well, uh, (gulp) because some parents left or some died (gulp)..so we need to pray for them.

My daughter: Dad….don’t die…


Friday, May 07, 2010

Mr. Bill Goes to the Dentist

Remember Mr. Bill? This guy popped in my head the other day and I youtubed him. Funny thing? The first one that came up was his trip to the Dentist. Wow, how I could relate. You gotta watch until the end, it's a good one.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Lighting up Hollywood

Just returned from a great time in SoCal: Studio City at CBS Studios. Four of us spent the day with hundreds of other Hollywood types at Biola's 15th annual conference for Christians in Media and entertainment.

In between workshops on Film Making (one of my faves by Stan Williams), new technology, and good story-telling we were seizing any opportunity we could to pose in front of CBS logos while checking out sets , sound stages, and the scenery lots.



Here I am with my pal Gabe. He directs the PeaPod group (a media/arts academy at the Redwood City Boys and Girls' club) .



Here's me below (looking like Shark boy. I blame the wind for my "hair-fin."), with Paul Skidmore: up and coming film-maker extraordinaire who tweets regularly and gave a crazy good workshop on the future of technology and film-making. (His last film he just used his iPhone pretty much to direct, location scout, produce, etc).


One of the moments that stands out is when I was escorted- like a criminal-out of the conference, while I was sitting in the front row in front of everyone. They thought I was bootlegging some of the never before screened footage in a new trailer for the third installment of the Narnia films: C.S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader. No joke. They warned the whole audience that they had to be super tight on security and asked us to have integrity not to leak it out. So I put my phone down and didn't even want to touch it during the three minute clip. After the trailer finished and every one applauded for Walden Media president, Michael Flaherty ... I grabbed my phone to tweet my response and check others who were posting under the twitter hashtag #bmc10. Just then, about 5-10 minutes after the trailer in the middle of the guest speaker Q&A-- a security guard crawled out the front middle row and said, "Sir, I need you to come with me..and bring your phone, too." So funny..I was paralyzed. "Excuse me?"
Here's the pic I took of Ralph Winter and Dick Cooke, minutes before I almost got tazed.


Just kidding, they didn't taze me but I felt like yelling that out. "I'm innocent, don't taze me bro!" I was taken to the back stage area where I was surrounded by an entourage of some tough guys types :) and Biola Media officials: Peggy Rupple and Kathy Cooke. Both women were very kind apologized repeatedly saying it was just protocol and they just needed to take every precaution. Peggy even bear hugged me to smooth it over. Good thing cause I almost wet myself. It was definitely awkward but now makes a great story. I shared it Sunday Night with my Church and they cracked up. (I totally understand they had to crackdown). They made me go through my phone's pics and videos and then set me free. Even though I was completely innocent--it was a weird feeling. My heart was beating fast, I was sweating, and trying not to think of what this could do to my illustrious career but hey..you know what they say in Hollywood-any publicity is good publicity right?Some one later commented--"Now you now how Jesus feels." Well, Jesus was falsely accused for calling himself God, whipped and beaten innocently for the sins of the world, not falsely accused of bootlegging--not quite an equal comparison, but worth a little chuckle. If anything, I'd say after my experience I now have more sympathy for Hollywood rebels like Lyndsay Lohan.

Besides my almost arrest, another highlight was how Twitter was used incessantly during the day. I must have tweeted a quote every ten minutes or more. Then-found a group of people to have dinner with via a "Tweet-up!" Gotta love it! Shout out to the Daily Grill crew!

We topped of our night with in a cool little private CBS screening room watching the film: "Like Dandelion Dust." Quite the emotional roller coaster-see behind the scenes here. Cool story about two families who are intersected and torn apart by the love of one little boy and his adoption, one is his biological family and one is his adopted family. It comes out in September. Bring Kleenex. Here we are with Director Jon Gunn and one of the lead actresses Kate Levering.Overall I loved the conference. Besides some of the cheesy music that played (a Jazz version of "Here I am to Worship,") and a few "oversaved" (in the words of comedian Michael Jr.) vendors tabling their merchandise at the conference, this event was well worth it. And I hope I get to go again. Maybe I'll get a free ticket for suffering the Christ-like humiliation of being forsaken and accused of bootlegging..hmmm...:)

I heart Hollywood. I love the creativity, potential, the stories and most definitely the people! God God! Go Biola! Way to go.
I pray God continues to do great work through his people to tell amazing stories that changethe world and impact those in the theaters, on set, and behind the scenes.

See a review from Christianity today here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

God Answers . com


Have you checked this out? GOD-ANSWERS.COM


Cool tool to connect about questions, interact with Scripture--and people all around the world.


I just finished giving my 2 cents on "Why can't I feel God's presence? I know he is with me.


When it comes to feeling God, I am with you. I wish I could "feel" him more. I know I am not an exception, but I think I am more sensory and emotional in how I was created so I enjoy feelings a lot and they have a profound effect on how I respond to God. I know God has created all of us that way somehow, with emotional needs. I find myself longing for a "feeling" of closeness with God and I love when I “feel” close to him. But I wonder if that can become dangerous. Usually my “feeling” of God is connected to something I have experienced like music, a film, and time with my family, silence, a creative space,




or beautiful place. Sometimes feeling close to God also is a result of things I am doing (obedience, character growth, serving), and the opposite is true, also. I don’t feel close to God when I’m in disobedience, lazy, and selfish).




But I think we must be careful in trying to seek out feelings to measure God’s closeness to us. I don't see much in scripture when it comes to "feeling God," but there are some truths that I could share with you that encourage me when I am discouraged with how I “feel.” I think of when Jesus told Thomas (the doubter), "Blessed are those who believe with out seeing." John 20:28-30. Thomas only believed Jesus had risen from the dead once he saw. Jesus pointed to what we think as being a crucial element in our faith journey. I had a counselor one time tell me that Paul told the Colossians in chapter 3 to use their mind to think about things above.” So when I felt lonely, far from God, or lacked “that feeling,” I could use my “holy imagination,” according to my counselor.



I thought it was great wisdom. So, now when I don’t feel God, I remind myself of God’s truth from scripture and picture Him close to me. Most of the times these God pictures are of parent/child moments that I long for or have experienced in my life with my own parents or with my own kids. One time I had a picture of God’s closeness in the form of a coach (and I am the farthest things from a jock). All that to day that we really are called to utilize our mind, the way we think will affect the way we feel. I’m certain of this in my marriage (see this post) and my friendships with human beings I see and touch, so it is for sure true with how feel with God, whom I cannot see or touch. We think when we don't feel God, and then he must not be there with us. But think about how James tells his readers to draw near to God and he will draw near to us. There’s something mystical to be said about our relationship with God and we are also responsible to act in our relationship with God. We shouldn't just sit and wait for God to come near to us; although he already is we must acknowledge him and seek him, too. With that said, I don’t think there is anything wrong with simply asking God that you might feel him. (Matthew 7: 7-11 says ask, because God’s a good Father who likes to give his kids good things). Just be read for his answer. He may tell you to trust and obey him (Psalm 37:3-6), or to rely on his love that his grace is enough (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). But I’d simply encourage you to ask for more of his presence in your life, more awareness of his closeness to you. I hope you will be surprised by what happens, and whatever happens, may you choose to praise him no matter what, for God loves you and those he loves will lack no good thing (Psalm 34).


Check these out

James 4:7-10

God's a good father who loves to give his kids good things. Matthew 7.

Psalm 34

Psalm 37:3-6


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Film and Theolgy Wed

Everyone likes movies, and even if they don't-- they like to talk about them, sometimes longer than the car ride home from the movie theater. Imagine getting to talk and ask questions of the movies and the makers of those films that you just watched!

This weekend I got to participate in a truly unique experience that merged my two loves: Film and theology. The inaugural Bay Area Windrider Film Forum was so creatively satisfying for me. I got to watch films and then talk about them with their makers! What a great opportunity. For over 5 years I have been a Seminary Student working on my Masters of Theology (about 9 weeks from now I graduate). It is kinda crazy to get a Masters in "studying God," --cause obviously you can imagine studying God isn't as easy as just filling in a multiple choice test and walking away with a diploma. In Seminary we try to interpret the Bible's letters and stories through context, dissect its history, and write way too many papers. I'll leave Seminary with way more questions than I started but I'm seriously stoked to be a part of a Seminary that values looking for God and studying theology by looking to what's going on in culture through media and especially the the arts with emphasis on film. So Fuller Seminary helped sponsor this forum (which started at Sundance) and I was so glad I got to be a part of it. (Not only did I participate by watching films and taking in the Q&A-- I got to help interview some of the film makers for some video promo blurbs in the future. Which gave me a backstage look into this great event).



Here's quick rundown:

April 8th: Thursday Evening

Opening Night Presentation and Film
6:00 pm Introduction and talk with Producer Ralph Winter (X-Men, Star Trek)and Fuller’s Chap Clark: I loved hearing about the Hero's journey.

7:30 pm Opening Film: AFTER THE STORM (what a great documentary on how kids in New Orleans processed Hurricane Katrina through putting on a musical).
Q&A with Writer/Producer James Lecesne
and Producer John Priddy

April 9th: Friday Evening
7:30 pm Film: SYMPATHY FOR DELICIOUS This was a pure blow-out night. What an edgy film that dived head first into God's healing power and how according to Mark Ruffalo director, "We don't always get the healing we want, but we get the healing we need." It's a drama about a crippled DJ (actor/writer Chris_Thornton) in modern-day Los Angeles who discovers that he has the power to heal everyone but himself mixed in the hard and raunchy life of skid row and the punk rock scene of LA. Both of these guys shared some of their own stories of film and faith and it was moving.
Q&A with Director Mark Ruffalo
and Writer/Actor Christopher Thornton
Read a review here.

As you can imagine people lost their minds over these two guys. Some true Hollywood fans emerged out of the film goers as well as the theology students and staff. It was quite fun to watch how people of all ages were star struck, frothing at the mouth for some celebrity face time, autographs, and pictures, and all in MENLO PARK of all places. But the attention was well deserved, Sympathy for Delicious was a dark and beautiful film that I hope many people get to see. In Mark's words it was "Rough and Holy."

April 10th: Saturday Afternoon
2:30 pm Films: A set of award winning shorts
QUEEN OF CACTUS COVE,
SHORT TERM 12,
WAITING FOR A TRAIN

One of my favorite films from the event was SHORT TERM 12. This 20 minute masterpiece was disturbingly delicious, (can I use the two words together?), written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. It truly invaded me while I watched it. The story is about abused teens living in a group home and how the adults, broken and messy themselves deal with the kids..as well as their own issues.

It took everything in me not to beg, (but I kinda did ask/hint) the director to cast me in one of his future films. I really sensed incredible artistic genius in him and his talents, and I would love to be connected to art like that. I actually got to interview him, (twice actually)and hear his story. He's VERY humble, I like meeting people like that in general but especially when they are film makers. I sincerely applauded him for his piece! I think I was more starstruck with Destin than the Friday night guys. I loved Short Term 12's music, the set, the actors and of course the story. This 20 minutes is full of gritty sadness, with true to life characters but that are also lovable and raw. It makes you think about hurt and often forgotten/unseen kids in our culture but it also caused me to look inward to my own life of hurt and how that has affected me. We all are affected by our hurts and just because we get old, doesn't mean we "grow up." Purchase the film and support! Read an interview here. We will screen this film at our Serving Retreat this next weekend.


Q&A with Writer/Director Anna Christopher (So great to meet her, loved her Spirit!).
Writer/Director/Producer Destin Cretton,
Producer/Director Oscar Bucher, (We shared a moment about balancing being dad/family man with pursuing dreams and creativity. That was really cool).
and Director/Writer John Hindman

I got to sit with John Hindman for 15 minutes. I was nervous at first thinking I would feel small and insignificant with this big movie director. Although he was bold, confident, and fully willing to share his opinions --he was honest and authentic about his own spiritual journey. And later I found out ANSWER MAN was his directorial debut. I loved the film because it dealt with dark issues of death, alcoholism, awkward relationship stuff, and major father issues while being cloaked as a "Romantic Comedy," so as I was laughing I could address some of my own sadness and realizations of my own personal life.


April 10th: Saturday Evening
5:00 pm Reception with Filmmakers
7:00 pm Film: THE ANSWER MAN
Q&A with Writer John Hindman,



Two thumbs up for this great event. Two thumbs up for the marriage of theology and film!

Monday, April 05, 2010

A little taste of Heaven through music

In February I had the privilege of joining BOSS Church (Bayside of S. Sacramento), along with some other PCC Young Adults, on a retreat. Not only did we experience great connections with each other, we connected with God in beautiful ways through music. I have to admit, and I hope I don't sound harsh or judgmental, but I get surprised when the church-GOD'S PEOPLE, doesn't respond in such an outwardly expressive way. (View via FB here). I know that we all have different ways we worship, but imagine standing before our great God...and checking your watch, or playing with your cell phone. I find it hard to believe that when captured by such love, beauty, purity, and HOLINESS we won't just burst out crying, dancing, and/or fall flat on our faces. I think encountering God must be expressive, that's why I loved this time worshiping with song and dance. And I am so excited that Sam, the leader of the band, will be joining us for our Fall Retreat in September (17-19). What made this gathering time so meaningful for me was the way we worshiped our ONE God together, being that some of us didn't even know each other, and came from different places, and ethnic backgrounds, but it was God's love and a love for him that brought us unity. I'm really looking forward to being together at this retreat in the fall.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

To Tattoo or not to Tattoo...



In light of my last post (Marked by Love, not Cutting-which btw we are still having podcast issues through our website update, sorry). I am answering a question posed on our God Answers website, where people can chat around Q&A!

Here's the Q:

Should Christians get tattoos or body piercings?

I’ve read a lot of discussion online about this in light of Leviticus 19:28…but it seems so legalistic. Jesus calls us to obedience and to Himself. I can see how we are called to put our focus on God and respect our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit, but so much thinking seems old covenant.

What do you think on this issue?

Here's my A:

Our bodies are God's temple, and we are called to honor God with our body, says 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. We are also encouraged to offer our body to God as worship in Romans 12:1-3, so one could definitely make the case that tattoos (which I'll focus on for this post, but piercings are included) are an expression of worship. That's where I'd stand. First, I'd make the case that we need to carefully ensure our heart is what is connected to how we use our body, as well as how we act, (our behavior whether it be our language, sexual conduct, or tattoos). Jesus chastised the religious leaders of the day with how they focused on judging the outward appearance/behavior and often neglected their inward heart condition and attitude, see Matthew 23:24-26. Jesus cares about what's in our heart because he says it affects what comes out of our mouth, so I'd say the same thing about tattoos. If our heart is to honor God that will be reflected in our "body art." Therefore I would encourage someone who desires to tattoo themselves with this caveat: that it honors God and is an extension of who they are, their worship. For those against it and worried about the judgment of others from scripture in Leviticus 19, I'd be very careful with that verse as the Levitical Law also forbid things like cutting hair and facial trimming (I'd be in big trouble), eating certain foods, and how women should deal with their menstruation cycles that all are "acceptable" for those that may be against tattoos today. So I say that this is a matter between God and the one desiring a tattoo, since there is no direct New Testament reference for or against it. We have freedom, we just mustn't use our freedom to sin (Galatians 5:13). And I do think that some body art could cause others to stumble so we must be careful (1 John 2;10 and Romans 14:21-22). This doesn't mean we ONLY need to get crosses and pictures of Jesus tattooed on us, either, but in my opinion, just ensure your tats evoke beauty, mystery, worship and in some way point to God.



I also know of some who have tattooed their body (many before Christ, but also some after coming to Him), and then been convicted by the Holy Spirit to get it removed. We also shouldn't use scripture to manipulate or justify the idea of tattoos either. I once heard someone trying to convince me that Paul had tattoos from Galatians 6:17 which says, "I bear the marks of Jesus on my body," which is clearly a reference to his scars of persecution and not tattoos. By the way, I have tattoos myself and I am planning my next one later this year. But in line with Romans 14:21-22 I will be careful to exert my (strong) opinions on others as I don't want to make others stumble. Paul said, "It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause a sister or brother to fall. So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves." This is obviously a short answer to what I think is a gray issue, which would be much more fun to talk about (and exchange tattoo showings) face to face! But the bottom line, I believe we are free to tattoo our bodies just like I am free to shave my sideburns and enjoy a nice prime rib steak.

For a more extensive article on this subject see:
http://christianity.about.com/od/faqhelpdesk/f/tattoochristian.htm

I love how he calls it a "disputable" matter.

Now, besides if it's OK with God, there is a whole other conversation to be had about tattoos. It's it wise or foolish? Just google tattoos. I have to say some tats, again in my opinion are just plain dumb, and waste of skin space. I laughed, rolled my eyes, and felt sick looking at some of the choices people have made. Some, just plain creeped me out, I'll admit. But this is my western opinion. Some tattoos in the East are completely cultural. Another funny I saw was a tat twittered of Ashton Kutcher (by Mr. Kutcher himself), on a guy in Russia, even Ashton was a bit surprised by it. I wonder how many people look at their tattoo 5-10 years later and question their discernment. So make sure you know what you are getting yourself into!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Sound Room: Marked by Love, Not Cutting

This podcast is very raw, disturbing, and possibly may be hard to hear for some! My guest in The Sound Room will have to remain nameless (you'll have to find out why through listening to the podcast), but her story is touching because of how God interrupted her life of "cutting."


It's a true gift to hear this story on The Sound Room. Our guest vulnerably shares her story of the four different times in her life when she was sexually abused. These events caused her such great shame that she began to believe lies that she deserved to be hurt and therefore took on the habit of harming herself through cutting. But God marked her life by his love and she was never the same. Instead of taking a knife to her arm to inflict pain on herself, God marked her with his love and she tattooed her identity as a "Loved" on on her arm, the same place that previously was marked by a knife. Listen to her story and pass it on to others. This is a significant word for teenagers today, women, abuse victims, or anyone struggling with justice from being hurt.


Just in case you don't know:
THE SOUND ROOM (TSR) can be found and subscribed via iTunes!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

When someone will do whatever it takes to get what they want...

That's the making of a good story. A story we want to read, watch, or hear. This is Zach. He's an actor. I don't know much about his life other than what I read here, but it's a good story. But he has a story of wanting something really bad, and overcoming the obstacles, his own physical challenges, to get it. That's the making of a good story. A character who wants something and will do what ever it takes to get what they want, completely changing in the process. So, like I said, I don't know much about Zach, but his story encourages me. We are called to OVERCOME. This story encouraged me because it's someone conquering the odds, and I love it when it's someone fulfilling a dream within the arts.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Some Sex Stats

I found myself reading a book and just took some pics of interesting effects of sex before marriage.




Sunday, March 07, 2010

PCCYA serving





This week was read across America and I was stoked to read to kids in East Palo Alto. (See Ellen and Candice talk about it here). I'm very grateful that I see more and more that we continue to live out our vision to be a SERVING COMMUNITY!