Tuesday June 27th 2006, 7:14 am
Filed under: personal, tv/movies

jeannie and liesl werre out of town saturday and sunday nights, in vegas for liesl’s last dance competition. so max and i were alone for the weekend, which was pretty fun for us. max made a list of things he was hoping we would do, and we got through most of them. saturday night we saw the movie “click“. there was a bit too much sexual humor, and i felt a little bad for bringing him (max is still a bit too young to have caught much of it). but for me, it was a great movie, much more than i expected. lots of laughs. but what really made it great — and brought me to tears, literally — was the kick in the groin about priorities, specifically about putting family before work. sure, it was all a bit cliche (not like the thing’s going to win any awards). but the message was still true. and the anguish in adam sandler’s eyes when — as an old dude — he realized how much he’d screwed up his life with wrong priorities… well, that was worth a thousand seminars and books on priorities and time management. i hugged max a bit extra all weekend.

the life of glamour
Tuesday June 27th 2006, 7:13 am
Filed under: personal

flew to grand rapids last night (sorry, grand rapids friends, i’m in town for less than a day and didn’t have time for any fun). well, that’s not fully true. i flew to chicago; and when i found out the airplane for my 9pm-ish flight to grand rapids wasn’t due to arrive in chicago until 1:15am (2:15am, grand rapids time), i decided to rent a car and drive. left chicago at 10pm. arrived in gr at 2:15am — wondered if my flight was about to leave chicago or not. then — DANG — couldn’t sleep, even though i was dog-tired. tossed around in bed for a few hours. now (just after 7am here, but just after 4am to my california body), i’m off to zondervan to talk about ys to the national sales force of zondervan and meet with my boss all day. fly home tonite — please god, let me get home tonite.

i get really whiney when travel goes bad.

blog reader change
Monday June 26th 2006, 9:09 pm
Filed under: blogs

ok, ok. at the request of a couple readers, i’ve changed my settings back to send the full posts to blog readers (like bloglines). i don’t get as many click-throughs this way, and don’t get to see those numbers in my sitemeter stats. but, hey, it really is NOT about sitemeter numbers. the readers have spoken.

Monday June 26th 2006, 11:10 am
Filed under: thinking..., books

bob carlton tipped me off to this book — rejuvenile: kickball, cartoons, cupcakes, and the reinvention of the american grown-up. i’ve ordered it. connects with my earlier post about grups being a (potentially) positive trend, counter to what others have said. from the website:

Once upon a time, boys and girls grew up and set aside childish things. Or so the story goes. Nowadays, moms and dads skateboard and download pop-song ringtones. Captains of industry pose for the cover of Business Week holding Super Soakers. The average age of video game players is twenty-nine and rising. Disney World is the world’s top adult vacation destination (that’s adults without kids).

It’s hard to imagine adults in previous eras so unashamedly indulging their inner children. But these are not the adults of twenty years ago. They constitute a new breed of adult, identified by a commitment to remain playful, energetic and fun in the face of adult responsibilities. Whether buying cars marketed to consumers half their age, dressing in baby-doll fashions or bonding over games like Twister or stick ball, this new band of grownups refuses to give up childish things they never stopped loving, or else revels in things they were denied or never got around to as children. Most have busy lives and adult responsibilities. Many have children of their own. They are not stunted adolescents. They are something new: rejuveniles.

what matters most
Monday June 26th 2006, 11:10 am
Filed under: youth ministry, youth specialties, books, youth work

i read a draft of doug field’s next book this weekend. it’s called (at this point) ‘what matters most’, and is a re-written version of the talk he gave at all three national youth workers conventions this past fall. killer stuff. it’s all about saying ‘no’ in ministry, when so many voices (our churches, our bosses, our calendars, teenagers, parents, our own inner needs for ’success’ and accomplishment) all beg and plead for us to say ‘yes’ to too many things. i thought this talk (when doug gave it) was the best thing i’d ever heard from him. but that might have been because it hit so close to home for me. sorry, i should know when the book releases, but i don’t. just watch for it.

books and bands smash-ups
Sunday June 25th 2006, 12:43 pm
Filed under: youth ministry, church, books, music, youth work

this is way fun. a group of people had the weird idea to combine famous book names with band names in a little literary/musical smash-up.

the results are titles like:

The Things They Might Be Giants Carried
The Who Moved My Cheese
The Old Man and The Sea and Cake
Charlie Daniels and the Chocolate Factory
Catch 182
Horton Hears a Hoobastank
Of Mice and Men at Work
Bare Naked Lunch Ladies
The Agony and the XTC

read the whole list on the site, and your mind will get churning to think up some more!

ya know, now that i’m thinking about it, let’s do a little sub-contest here. come up with a smash-up of a christian book, youth ministry book, or — if you really want to win — a youth specialties book. winner gets a ys book of their choosing. i might even choose a couple winners, if i get enough good ones! has to be a band or group name, not a song.

i’ll try a few to get you rolling:

the secret message of jesus and mary chain
velvet elvis costello
what’s so amazing about grace jones?
the problem of house of pain
a new kids on the block kind of christian
blue like the preservation hall jazz band
the power of a praying wolfmother

and a handful of ys books:

purpose driven sonic youth ministry
the best of coldplay it
contemplative youth ministry (yeah, have to think on that one. last word is a band.)
help, imogen heap volunteer youth worker

(ht to dave palmer, or should i say, “ palmer”)

where’d everybody go?
Sunday June 25th 2006, 12:43 pm
Filed under: blogs

weird. not to obsess about my blog traffic or anything, but ysmarko has experienced a rather sudden drop in readership. prior to our big Z announcement, this blog had about 500 visitors on an average weekday. the zondervan announcement brought the biggest day ever, with about 1900 visitors, followed by a few days of 900+. then it settled into a new plateau of about 700 or 750 per day. until last week, when it dropped to the 400s every day. is it just summer, and more youth workers are doing things more productive than reading blogs? or have i only been posting fluff (funny stuff, links), and that has caused people to stop dropping by (i feel this — i’ve been so busy in the last couple weeks i don’t feel like i’ve had to time to think deeply, and that has left me with less substantive stuff to blog about)?

metaphorical signs
Saturday June 24th 2006, 4:14 pm
Filed under: faith, personal, thinking...

in the last couple days, i saw a couple signs i found strange, and full of potential “other” meaning.

first, a few times in canada, i saw signs for an “area of refuge”. i have no idea what these are. this one…

appears to not only be an area of refuge, but a handicapped area of refuge. neat. the first one we saw was in the airport, and it was a tiny glass-enclosed room (like a miniature version of the smoking rooms you see in some airports, where the smokers sit looking like delinquent animals in a zoo for vices). maybe some canadian can tell me what these “areas of refuge” are. in the mean time, when in canada, i will use these as a visual reminder of what it means to live in christ: like the coneys (proverbs 30:26) who know that their safety is in the rock, my area of refuge is in christ.

then, today in the grocery store produce department, i saw a stack of little watermelons, each about 6″ or 8″ in diameter. and then i noticed the sign for them:

personal watermelons. i’m not sure why this both cracked me up and distrubed me. i guess it seemed (i know i’m slightly stretching it here, but that’s what metaphors do, right?) like a metaphor for the over-individuation of our world, especially our u.s. culture. watermelon is the ONE fruit (it is a fruit, isn’t it?) that, by its very design, is communal. watermelons are meant to be shared, to be sliced up into hunks for everyone at a party. watermelons belong in parks and poolside and at the beach. to engineer a “personal watermelon” seems oxomoronic at best, and reflective of our “it’s all about me” mentality at worst. couldn’t they at least have called them “small watermelons” or something other than “personal watermelons”?

what’s next, personal church? personal marriage? personal buffets? i think i’ll go outside to my large pool behind my privacy fence, and swim by myself while i think about this.

random meeting
Friday June 23rd 2006, 10:56 pm
Filed under: church, personal, emerging church

boarded my plane from vancouver to san fran today (connecting down to to san diego), and i’m sitting in my crap seat, reading a book while the rest of the plane continues boarding. suddenly i hear, “marko?” i look up, and it’s josh fox, worship leader at vintage faith church in santa cruz (where dan kimball is the pastor). during the flight we got up and stood in the back and got caught up on life. i really like josh, both as a person and as a worship leader. here’s josh…

Friday June 23rd 2006, 12:30 am
Filed under: youth specialties

i’m in vancouver, bc, exploring a possible canadian partnership with a wonderful youth ministry organization called canadafire (they do a great youth and youth ministry event called campusfire). our host, darian, booked us into a great hotel right on the water in white rock, south of vancouver. here’s our view, looking toward the u.s.

jay howver is with me (the publisher at ys). darian is an amazing 24 year-old guy who’s clearly been given a calling and the chutzpa to pull of some amazing things (like helping to organize groups of students to pray together in about 1400 high schools and colleges across canada). here’s a pic of jay and darian…

we’re thinking about working with canadafire to launch a canadian youth workers convention, as well as thinking about ways to make ys resources more easily available in canada. great possibilities!

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