Monthly Archives: September 2011

Re-Creating Manhood

Ever had that one who got away? I mean, did you ever wish you said you loved someone before they left you?

If you’re like me… scratch that… if you’re a human living in the 21st century, and not under a rock, this has probably happened or probably will happen to you if you partake in the glories and the wreckage of the world of dating.

We open our post today looking at a young man who is both re-creating what it means to be a hip-hop artist, and what it means to man up, own your mistakes, and decide to take a different path forward. That man is Jason Derulo, and here is the work of art we will be focusing on for a few minutes. Take a look and listen.

(Even if you don’t like rap videos, close your eyes and listen to the words. It’s a great sample of an Imogen Heap song.)

Powerful.

For me, at least. And any guy who’s got any hopes of marrying a young woman someday soon. And in case you’re thinking of tuning out because you’re happily married… wait just one second. Are you currently in the dog house? Made a decision that affected your family poorly in the last year? Lacking direction in your marriage and your family, or your career, and it’s making things hard w/the woman you love? You might learn a thing or two here as well.

These words may sound proud, but if you listen to the heart you’ll find it’s something inherent in every man… that is, the desire to provide for his beloved. The desire to be exceptional, “when I become a star… I’ll do anything for you!” And these might cut you to the quick, “I know what I did wasn’t clever, but me and you were meant to last forever… so let me in… give me another chance, to really be a man!” Not your man… just A MAN. He has a desire to live up to his calling as a protector, provider, pursuer. Kudos to you, Jason, for boldly proclaiming your desire to live as God’s son.

Jason may not know that he wants to be God’s son, a man of strong character who is told at the end of his days, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Yet that is what he desires. That is what we all desire, whether we know it or not. We try and fill this desire w/many other lesser desires, but they don’t fill. Jason might be trying to fill his desire to connect w/his heavenly father w/a connection w/beautiful women. Probably a safe bet… yet I still hope that he and I might rejoice together some day because he found – to quote Bono – what he was looking for.

Thank you for reading. I welcome your comments, rebuttals, suggestions, etc. Be on the lookout next week for a survey which I humbly ask you to fill out so that I might better serve you by my writing.

Cheers,

Kyle

Re-Creating Recovery

As I sit here alone w/my thoughts after watching Everything Must Go starring the great tour-de-force in training – Will Ferrell – I am reminded that a great screenplay begins with a good story, and good stories always tell the truth about the human condition.

The man behind this great film is the American Academy of Arts and Letters inductee Raymond Carver.

The inscription on his gravestone lets us peer into the soul of the man who wrote the short story that would become this film, which I think does justice to Carver’s own story.  At the end of his days, these are the words the poet chose to live on beyond him:

The Fragment

And did you get what

you wanted from this life, even so?

I did.

And what did you want?

To call myself beloved, to feel myself

beloved on the earth.

Wow… at the end of the day, the bittersweet victory of this verse ought to speak to each of our souls. It’s almost as if death poses this question: what did you want? And Carver replies almost in defiance, as if he cheated death by learning to love himself, and to know he was loved by another.  And I hope he did cheat death.  I hope that death had no sting for him, because it is each person’s greatest desire to be known in his or her nakedness, and feel no shame before their beloved. Carver seems to have understood that.

And so does the team that produced the film based on his short story Why Don’t You Dance? Having read the poem after viewing the film and reading more about Carver on Wikipedia, it would seem that the poem is autobiographical. Carver struggles with the sins of his father, and wants desperately to break free into new life.  However he realizes, as does Ferrell’s character, that in order to move on he must let everything go.  Nothing can stay, except the real Carver.  If Carver – or Ferrell – hold on to anything, they will not be able to live a successful life.

This movie wounded me. I’ve been changing a lot recently, and admittedly it feels good. But I’ve got my vices, same as anybody.  I want to change them. But I like my own management system. It makes playing w/fire feel safer than turning and walking away. It’s stinkin’ hard to let somebody else rip something ugly out of you, and this film taps into that.  Enjoy this scene. It spoke to me. And pay close attention to what is said at the end by Ferrell’s silence.

What did you think to fill in Ferrell’s __________. I think the answer to Kenney’s question is ‘me’. I’m fighting back against me. Against the darkness inside of me that has wrecked my life and everything I care about.  If each of us were honest w/ourselves, we’d realize this is the biggest battle we each face in life. And often we feel we are in this battle alone. And some of us – as Ferrell’s character – choose to stay in the crucible alone. We won’t let anyone help.

The great thing we notice is the supporting character taking off in life; He’s more confident, makes some money, and learns some life lessons.  It would seem that Carver and/or the producers have a soft spot for children.

The pregnant woman across the street is an especial point of interest in the film due to her forthcoming child and the uncertainty as to whether she will be a single mom or not. And Kenny becomes more of a focal point for the plot as Ferrell’s character recognizes that Kenny’s basically raising himself. And he kinda charges to center stage because without him Ferrell never would have changed.

Did you notice that? His gay lawn care expert neighbor’s words didn’t move him to change, his cop buddy/AA sponsor’s words didn’t motivate him, and his young, cute, pregnant love interest’s words didn’t move him. Only the changes in Kenney sparked Ferrell’s mind to consider a new way of life. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Children teaching adults. I think the Good Book speaks to that a bit.

I won’t spoil it for you, but it does seem that we leave our protagonist better off than we found him, although almost no questions are answered.  This is another aspect many great films share.  They leave the truth about the human condition smack dab in front of our face, and leave us uncomfortable for the story is unfinished… we don’t know whether the characters we care about “live happily ever after” or not.  Isn’t this how life is? Every moment we move closer to light or to darkness, and our families, friends, co-workers, etc. bear or conversely reap the consequences and/or benefits.

Again, good stories always tell the truth; the truth is we are unfinished creatures.  We’re not sure yet what we will be.  But there is hope yet.  And Everything Must Go does a brilliant job casting just enough hope that we believe our protagonist will turn his life around.  We see him take some of the actions of love, and that is a great place to start.

Thanks for reading. I welcome your feedback.

Re-Creating Punk Rock!

Today’s post features my good friend Doug Stanford, with whom I worked at our much beloved WHSV-TV3, the ABC news affiliate in Harrisonburg, VA. (The Friendly City!… that’s right.)

Doug has always had a love for good music, in fact he used to play in one of my favorite bands – Panoramic – with TJ Ill, Joel Mills, and Wes Webb. They were the dream team, and have all gone on to interesting careers in fields other than Music, as has Doug.  Yet the music never died… it never faded for these four. Doug owned and operated a recording studio for some years before landing at DIGICO as a producer/editor/awesome dude.  Wes still DJs, and has committed to DJ-ing my wedding whenever that lucky lady finds me 🙂  His spin/mash name is DJWesternfront.  If you will do me a favor, like his FB page (you just passed the link) and tell him he needs to get his custom URL and lose that silly number after his name 🙂

Hold on for the Re-Creation moment… it’s coming… and it’s huge!

Joel continues playing percussion, etc. between being papa to babies and leading a business in NoVA. And TJ is enjoying life w/his new bride in the greatest comeback state in America!

So… you’re wondering where the re-creation happens. Where is the magic?

This week we’re focusing on Doug and his podcast venture to highlight rockers who have enlightened punk rockers everywhere w/their stripped down, bluesy, folksy food for the soul which is equally raw to punk, yet refined to tug heart strings a bit more, and honor the musicians who have gone before them.  The blend of these considerations on the part of the artists breeds an unbelievably eclectic format which you can join in to every week here. And check out the music video for Gallows Bound‘s new song here.  Wonder why he’s headed for the Gallows? Doug?

Doug has carefully crafted an art form that is re-creating not only punk rock, but the music industry.  Let’s help him raise his brand and get the attention of the industry.  The only way we’ll change the current label system is by providing a viable (economically profitable) alternative.  And Doug has begun to do just that!  Now, he needs our support to keep on and get these artists more recognition as well as get AuxSend recognized for its ingenuity on a national level.  Is there a “Poddys” you could submit for, Doug?

As always friends, I love your comments, suggestions, rebuttals… LINKS TO PANORAMIC SONGS IF YOU HAVE ANY, and encouragement.  Cheers, Kyle

Re-Creating 9:11

My blog posts will be shorter moving forward. I’m working on a business right now, and therefore don’t have much time, however I appreciate all of you and your love and support immensely, so I will continue to post, just more briefly.

Today God surprised me w/His Goodness, and His Majesty, His Mystery even.  His church ministered to my heart in a manner that has restored so much I cannot even begin to tell you.  And he restored me by cutting me to the quick!

10 years ago I was standing half-dazed in the courtyard of Dingledine Hall in the 70’s style suite apartment-building where I mentored 30 or so Freshman JMU Dukes through the grief of 9/11.  I watched as they cried, made phone calls, got angry, organized, and made sense of the violence done to our neighbors in NY and the Pentagon.  More importantly I watched them become more cynical about God, and about their philosophy of life.  I watched them question how men could devise and enact something so evil.  However, very few were willing to look inward.

A wise man once said, ‘I am the problem. The problem is me.’

Pat Robertson likes to blame everyone else for God’s ‘just judgment’ raining down on the earth.  However, Jesus tells Pat – “you are the problem.” He tells me, “Kyle, you are the problem. You deserve the same fate as those hijackers, as the passengers on the plane, as the people jumping from the falling towers.”

You think I’m making this up?

Read Luke 13:1-5 and digest the context.  Then search the McLean Presbyterian Church website for John Hutchinson’s 9/11/2011 sermon audio.  I guarantee it will be an earthquake for your soul.  The footing of your faith will be shaken, unless you’re a robot.  I don’t know how I never saw these words from Jesus lips on the page before…

“Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” He’s talking about a tower falling in Babylon, and beyond that responding to the cries of Galilean believers for justice for their brothers in the faith who were killed by the Roman emperor and whose blood had gruesomely been added to the pagan sacrifices in hopes of satisfying the gods which the Romans thought were being frustrated by the rise to cultural prominence of Jesus and his disciples (all his disciples, not just the 12 frustrated “the gods”).

Wow… Jesus said to his closest followers – which I don’t quite yet qualify for 🙂 – unless you “believers” REPENT, you will find a similar fate.  You will be shown a fiery pit that bears a great similarity in it’s gruesomeness to the co-mingling of human and animal blood in pagan sacrifices.

WHAT? You’re thinking like I did… I’m a Christian, I don’t need to hear this… this is for pagans.  NO! Jesus was responding to his followers, who definitely believed at a certain level already or else they wouldn’t have left home to go be poor w/Jesus and hang w/the outcasts of society.  These guys are studs in my book… and he promised even them that unless they walk the road of repentance every day, turning from their old life to a new way, they too would wind up like the other Galileans.  I am undone!

I went to a favorite spot of mine today and soaked all of this in a bit.

I am also very grateful for a pastor who always seeks to preach the full Gospel, every worship service.  We were reminded at the end that we do have hope because Jesus has covered our sins and given us the promise of a counselor who will guide us in the path of repentance, should we choose to take that first step.  My first step today was being still in the bough of this tree, and knowing that Jehovah, He Alone is God.

So take the first step today! Whether you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior or not, stop being a terrorist.  Stop causing eternal judgment by your evil actions.  Choose to walk the path of righteousness.  It’s a path that I fall off of regularly, but by God’s grace he shows me how to step back up on the path, and how to keep in step w/the Spirit, and each time I get a little further than I did the time before.

This life is like a narrow path through a dark valley.  If you stop, you’re certainly sliding off the path or down the path; there’s no good in stopping, only pressing further up and further in will get the job done, so get at it! Don’t let your demise be the same as the terrorists.  Uncover the ugly terror that your bad choices create, and deal with it! Be honest about the fact that you and I terrorize people every day. Maybe it’s the person at the supermarket who takes a while bagging our groceries. Maybe it’s the guy in front of us on the 270 spur who changed lanes 5 times in the last 3 seconds.  Or maybe it’s me. Maybe I destroy myself in how I talk to myself every morning.

Whatever it is we’re terrorizing, let’s agree to stop it! And recognize that there is hope.  What has been broken will be renewed by the incredible power of the Holy Spirit.

I can’t wait for the refining.  I wanna be the old soul who feels like a worn-in easy chair every time someone gets together with me.  Only one way to get there: Repent!

Cheers,
Kyle

Re-Creating the Newspaper

Good day after labor day to you! Did you get back in your morning routine today? Pick up that paper off the stoop in your fine, terry robe with your steaming cup of Joe in hand after a brisk rinse in the shower?

Well, I didn’t!  I love the pace of reading a traditional newspaper, and the tactility… however, there is a lot in there I don’t want to look at, particularly in the Express or even the Washington Post. When I do pick up a paper paper it is often the Wall Street Journal. OH NO, I just lost 75% of my readers.

Hang on just one minute.  I’m not saying the Journal has found a new paradigm for the newspaper industry… I am suggesting that tim O’Keefe has joined a revolution which is promising.  (Psst – tim… does Paper.li allow you to place your own image pointing people to “Subscribe to” or “Embed” your paper like FB does? (see Snazzy ex. below) Any likes on Captivate Films would be greatly appreciated. It allows us to get a custom URL.)

Wanna see just what I’m talking about? Check out what Tim’s editorial eye picked up on today at OkeefesBeef Daily. Now THIS, my friends, is recreating the newspaper industry.  It’s even re-creating the online news industry that is primarily dominated by bloggers posing as journalists at the Huffington Post and other “online newspapers” – the Times, Post, and many other online paper spin-offs included. They all employ young blogger types who have no ethical framework for determining what journalistic integrity ought to mean, or why considering the source, and/or investigating your line (or circle) of logic before submitting a piece for print are part and parcel of the job of a reporter and, I would say< of a editorial writer too.

Stop. I am now done w/my rant.

On the flip side you get plusses and minuses from OkeefesBeef Daily.  One immediately recognizable plus you will notice – if you click on the link – is that an article I recommended concerning Steve Jobs’ exodus from Apple shows up in O’Keefe’s “Stories” page.

So here we go w/plusses of the new creation that Tim has lovingly crafted.  Another is you don’t have to scan your “paper” like a hawk, following w/your eyes the pattern the papers have set to lure you in to reading more, and hopefully buying their advertisers’ products.  Another plus is this: you know the person referring the story.  With a newspaper the only time you get a referral is if your neighbor calls you up @ 6am and tells you to look on page A7 for a story about Johnny’s football prowess.  We all love Johnny, but wouldn’t it be great if I could find that same article online after my friend and I put down the phone, instead of having to run to the recycle bin for section A, which may very well be at the bottom of the pile? I like that possibility… or the thought of seeing the story in my twitter in-box first thing in the AM.  If I had to find it in the paper paper, I’d probably never find that article.

Give O’Keefe’s Beef Daily a try.  I think you’ll enjoy the re-created paper industry.  And if you feel so inclined, join in.  The more people who do this, the greater the pile of info we have at our fingertips, and the less we have to dig through it because our friends have done so for us.

Thanks Tim! Good lookin’ out. I’ll keep blogging and finding articles.  You keep publishing the “findings”.  Thanks.

Your comments, questions, and rebuttals are welcome as always.

PS – there’s a great story in that roll about the use of social media.  I need to bone up. Anybody else?