Run through a wall?…let’s see how you can do that. DIY Film Editing style

My favorite resource in learning film editing at tricks is Film Riot. If you haven’t checked them out you need to! Take a look at how to run through a wall!

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‘Pay It Forward’ is working in the real world

A few years ago I wrote a blog post about the movie ‘Pay It Forward’. I asked what would happen if people actually started trying to do that in real life. I tried for a while to get a

group of people together to go out and do things for others. It was a lot of fun and we did some pretty great stuff over the next few months. Life happened and the group we had all moved away and kind of lost touch. That was the start and finish of my attempt to get Tulsa/Broken Arrow to ‘Pay It Forward’. There is a city that has had a lot more success that we had over the long run. This city is now being called by some “The Kindest City in the World.”

 

Winnipeg is that city. I ran across an article Winnipeg’s Residents Pay It Forward and I had to stop and read it. What I found was pretty awesome. The movement seems to be taking the city by storm. Here is a short portion of that article:

“Last month, we reported the story of a kindhearted bus driver who took off his own shoes to give to a homeless man on the street one cold morning.

Recipients of other random acts of kindness have taken to writing in to the Winnipeg Free Press to share their experiences.

“I would like to thank all the kind people who stopped to help me recently when my car was rear-ended,” Paul Chute wrote. “I am especially grateful to an off-duty paramedic who came to my rescue and made sure I was okay and stayed with me until the ambulance arrived.”

These aren’t the only stories, they just keep coming. They started a Facebook event called, “Winnipeg Pay it Forward Day” and if you scroll through there you will see even more stories of people doing nice things for others simply to be nice. No one is getting paid, no one is getting recognition, it is just being nice because it is the right thing to do.

What if this happened in the town your live in right now? What would it look like if we were doing nice things just because we wanted to do nice things? It is a challenge to me to step outside of my normal routine and do something for someone else. Why not start today where you live? It is not going to hurt anything. If it doesn’t sweep through your whole city (like it is in Winnipeg) then at least a few people will have smiles on their faces that might not have had a smile before. It doesn’t take much to change someones life. That goes for positive and negative change. I think you should try to make someone smile today.

Jars of Clay (Dan Haseltine) and Pedro the Lion (David Bazan) leave the Evangelical Church behind…what is going on?

It has been almost a month since my friend Ryan Byrd wrote a blog post about Dan Haseltine and Jars of Clay leaving the evangelical church behind. I saw that he had posted it and I wanted to read it, but I got caught up with my own life and all that was going on there. For those of you who don’t know there were two big events that happened in the two weeks before his post. The first was that I got married on the 25th of August and the second was that 5 days before Ryan wrote his post my office burned up in a fire. Needless to say I was a bit slow in getting everything back on track.

Between his writing the post and me reading it I was able to go to the David Bazan concert at Eikon (thank you once again Ryan). If you don’t know who that is, he was known to the Christian community as Pedro the Lion until he left the evangelical church and Christianity behind. This was not a normal ‘concert’ for me. It was a small setting with less than 50 people in the room. Bazan was playing a bass guitar like it was an electric guitar, complete with capo and pick. His bass player was playing electric guitar during the show. It was just the two of them with their guitars and mics.

About every third song David Bazan would ask if anyone had any questions. There was a group of guys sitting on the floor right in front of him. One of them had several questions, but the one that caught my attention was when he asked him what was up with him? What had really happened with him leaving Christianity and had he really broken up with God like people said after his breakup album. Had ‘Curse Your Branches’ really been about him breaking up with God? Bazan responded more candidly than I ever expected someone in his position to respond with. He was honest and open about the fact that he had come to a point in his life where he had to search out some answers. He had taken things for granted that he had been told his whole life, but he fully expected to find in the end that everyone had been right and it was all true. According to him, that is not what he found. He found that he couldn’t get the answers he was looking for and had to be honest with himself and walk away from what he had been taught.

I am not quoting him word for word and if you really want to know what Bazan thinks you just need to read the lyrics to his music. He is amazingly talented and has a lot of influence on a lot of people. That same thing can be said for Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay. The journey he is on seems to be a bit different from Bazan’s, but it is headed in a similar direction. He is leaving the evangelical church behind and is making music about real life experience.

Dan Haseltine wrote a blog post called An Unfinished Record; An Uncharted Path that you can read if you want to read. From what it sounds like, he had a similar upbringing to my own. He went to youth group, wore the Jesus t-shirt, and lived all that goes along with that. Somewhere along his path things changed and he had this to say:

“God gave us a story, and a space to fill. And it isn’t really in the same neighborhood as the evangelical church. And so our music will be disappointing to many. People will inevitably engage us with the question, “Are you going secular?” or, “Why don’t you sing about Jesus?” or, “How come you don’t share the gospel?” And some of those people will be angry. Some of them won’t have the tools necessary to understand that anger, or the fear that creates it. Some people will see our form of artistic expression as a threat. Some will categorize us as “back-sliders.“ I wish I had more patience and time for those people.”

His music is taking a turn that leave the evangelical church behind. Now I don’t know about you, but Jars of Clay has been one of those bands that has always been around in ‘Christian music’. They have songs that I know and hear even if it is not something I knew was their song. People remake their songs and worship leaders sing them in youth groups across the country. Now they won’t be singing about Jesus…or at least not in the way that most people expect them to be singing about Jesus. So what does that mean? How do men like this just drift away from the church? How do they begin to see the church as something that is no longer answering the questions that they have in life?

In another part of that same blog post Dan says this:

“These songs are honest expressions of what life around us looks like. The descriptions of love and pain, loneliness and hope are real to us. It is what frustrates me about the general church audience. If artistic expressions do not have an evangelical agenda, or they don’t explicitly cheer for Jesus, they tend to fail commercially. In my experience, the music with those kinds of agendas is shallow and somehow not ultimately believable to me.”

This is one of the things that I have heard from people who are not associated with the church and even from some in the church. They don’t think that what we call ‘Christian music’ and what we now call the church are honest expressions of what life around us looks like. They say Christians are out of touch. Is that what is happening? Are we losing the pulse of people? Are we missing the mark or is this just a blip on the radar? I have been reading some books that lead me to believe that we are losing more people both in the church and outside the church than a lot of us are willing to admit.

 

To say that there is nothing good coming out of the church today would not be accurate. There are a lot of hurting people being helped in a lot of areas. There are also a lot of people doing things that ultimately hurt other people. I think one of the problems that we run into is that people try so hard to act like they are perfect so they can be in the right ‘position’ to help others that they ultimately lose sight of what is really important. People are what is important. Jesus said we were to love God and love our neighbor as ourself. He didn’t say we had to love our church and those in our church while not worrying about what is going on outside the walls of our churches.

So I would say that we have some things we need to work on, that I think we can all agree on. My question is simply what is it that is driving away so many people who are looking for answers? Now I know that a lot of you who will read this are not Christians, but you all know that I am a Christian. I want answers, but I want it to be civil. I don’t need people bashing the church or Christians specifically or in general. I want to know what you think about Bazan and Haseltine walking away from God and the evangelical church (depending on which one you are talking about.) I want to know what you think is causing the exodus.

Republican National Convention, Isaac, Mormons, Chick-fil-a, Clint Eastwood…what about the 19 people beheaded in Afghanistan this week?

The headlines over the past week have been filled with one sensational story after another. I have seen coverage of the Republican National Convention, Hurricane Isaac, Mormons, Chick-fil-a, and a speech by Clint Eastwood. What I haven’t seen is any real response to the two short stories I read about 19 people being beheaded in Afghanistan this week.

The first article I read was that 17 people (men and women) were beheaded in Afghanistan after they went to a co-ed dance party. Then today there was an article about two children that were beheaded. Now I understand that we are a country that seems to be pretty wrapped up in ourselves and our own problems, but how can there be almost no comments on people getting their heads chopped off? You know it is 2012 right? I didn’t think we stood for things like that anymore? I thought that people had rights and that if we saw those rights being violated we would stand up and do something…or at least say something. What happened to KONY 2012? Why are we more worried about a surprise guest speaker at a convention than we are about people being murdered in the streets?

I know it is an election year. I know we are looking for change, no matter what side you want to win the election. That doesn’t seem like the only thing going on in the world right now, but it is the only thing people seem to be talking about. Perspective is gained when you look at the whole picture. I think that every once and a while it wouldn’t hurt all of us to take a look at what is happening outside of our normal circle. Maybe look at some things that don’t have any real direct affect on you. You don’t have to do any of that, I just thought it would be a nice change of pace.

Click on the picture. Read the article. Form an opinion.

No one laughs at God in a hospital, no one laughs at God in a war…

My brother made a CD called “Girl Power” and it was (surprise, surprise) all women singing. I had heard it once or twice before, but yesterday my fiance replaced my Johnny Cash CD with the “Girl Power” CD for the ride back to her apartment. This morning on my way to work a song came on that caught me off guard and made me stop and think. It is called, “Laughing With” by Regina Spektor. Here is the music video:

It is easy to dismiss God sometimes as we go on through our busy lives. Then there are those times when our world comes crashing down and who do we turn to? Her perspective seems pretty good to me. Some of her lines were pretty powerful. I will leave you with just a couple of those lines:

God could be funny
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
God can be so hilarious

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God
When they’ve lost all they’ve got and they don’t know what for

There are those around you who are NOT laughing at God, they are going through something bigger than they know how to handle. Reach out to the hurting. Do what you can, when you can. We all have so much to give, even if it is just a kind word or a smile. You can change a life.

If you are looking for a tangible way to change a life right now CLICK HERE. The One, Inc. is helping keep people alive. If you don’t want to help here, help somewhere. We all have a part to play.

What legacy will you leave behind? Start now!

One day your life will end. A movie quote that always brings me back to earth is “On a long enough timelinethe life expectancy of everyone drops to zero.” We all live our lives like we will live forever. We ‘know’ that we won’t, but we secretly hope that we will be the one person who keeps on going. Science will make a breakthrough that will let us live forever! If we are honest with ourselves we know this is simply not the case. So what will you leave behind when you are gone? What will people remember about you? I ran across an article that gave me a link to a website about one man’s legacy.

His name was Aaron Collins and I didn’t know him. I also don’t know his family, but what he left in his will is something that has impacted people more than he probably ever imagined it would. Here is what is on the first page of the website:

Aaron passed away July 7, 2012 just 3 weeks after his 30th birthday.  He left us a will full of his personality. He asked that any debt he owed his parents be repaid should he have money in the bank at his death, but also had the following request:

“Third, leave an awesome tip (and I don’t mean 25%. I mean $500 on a f***ing pizza) for a waiter or waitress.”

Of course, the way he lived his life meant Aaron never had much and didn’t leave much.  We want to make his wish come true. So we are asking for donations to make this happen for him. Any money donated will go directly to this cause.  His hope was clearly that such a random gift of kindness would leave an impact for life.

Once we have $500 his family will go to dinner somewhere and leave it as a gift for the waiter or waitress.  If we continue to receive money, we will continue giving these gifts randomly, so that in his death he can touch the lives of many more people than he had even dreamed of doing in life.

If you can’t donate then please give a generous tip on your own.  Tell the waiter or waitress why, or don’t.  He would still be happy that you had done it.  Give them this website address if you’d like, or write it on the check, so they know they received the gift because of my brother.

The third thing on his list was to do something kind for people that he didn’t know. Here is the video of the first person that his family was able to give a $500 tip:

The most recent stat that is given is that they have received $57,000 in donations! That is 114 people who will now receive a $500 tip because Aaron thought it would be cool to put in his will. His death is a tragedy. No one should die at 30 years old, that is not a long enough life…but he was thinking ahead. He wanted to make a difference in the lives of people. What kind of legacy are you leaving?

Click Here to go to the website and see all the videos and read the stories of people who have been impacted. After you watch them, come up with a way to do something that will impact people in a positive way. We can all make a difference, all you have to do is try.

Two sides to the same story…how do you see it?

It is funny to me that when it comes to politics you can have EXACTLY the same facts/event/announcement…etc. and come to two polar opposite conclusions.

This is just one more reason that I say we all see the world through our own set of glasses. The world is colored to us by our past experiences, our convictions and what we have heard or read lately that we deem to be trustworthy.

An example of this is the VP nomination that was just announced. Paul Ryan is going to be running on the Romney 2012 ticket. I normally will check CNN.com in the morning to see if anything crazy happened overnight that I missed since I don’t watch a lot of TV. The top two stories in the left column were these two stories:

“Why Ryan pick won’t help Romney”

“Why Paul Ryan is the right choice” (after clicking on it I found out that the title and the actual article had different names…but it was the same idea)

I will give you one line out of each story. First the one that says Ryan won’t help: “…Ryan elevates selfishness to doctrine.”

Now a line from the one that says Ryan is the right choice: “The president has not led; Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will lead, and ultimately, they will lead us back on the path to prosperity.”

Both of these writers have witnessed the same event (the announcement that Paul Ryan will be the VP nominee) and both of them are familiar with Paul Ryan and his political past. The thing about it is that they have polar opposite reactions to the announcement. Who is right? Which one do you believe? Is either of them right? What set of glasses do you see the world through?