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Noah Will Open Doors

noah-poster

Call me strange, or old-fashioned, but I strongly believe when one wants to get one's facts straight one goes to the source. Much digital ink has been spilled regarding the upcoming biblical epic, Noah (starring Russell Crow, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and Emma Watson), how it is not particularly biblical, etc. We all know that controversy drives the press, nets clicks and impressions.

It seems however that this controversy is more of a non-troversy, because (and this surprised me) Paramount hired an honest-to-goodness biblical adviser. A man who has been involved since the beginning, a man who (in his own words) has "read probably more than 10 drafts of the script, given longwinded feedback on each, seen every piece of footage that was shot and been flown around the world ... twice."

Remember what I wrote above about going straight to the source? In this case, that source is the man I alluded to in the preceding paragraph: John Snowden. Mr. Snowden (no relation to the infamous Edward), prior to consulting on the Noah film for the past two years, worked in vocational youth ministry in the Los Angeles area. In an editorial for the Christian Post, he gives his careful, measured, informed opinion that People of Faith Can Embrace Noah.

Yes, that's right, the biblical consultant on this multimillion dollar epic has weighed in on this debate that's been raging almost since the picture was announced. He makes a convincing case that this film will open doors, that it does not mishandle scripture, that it presents God at the front and center. Rather than reiterate his case, I'll say this: knowing a thing, or two, about story, I understand that a story at its most basic is about a character who wants something, and undergoes conflict to get it. In this upcoming film, Tubal-Cain (as portrayed by Ray Winstone) personifies the wickedness of mankind, giving the story its antagonist (and Noah's primary conflict). Put another way, any story without conflict would be boring. As author Donald Miller says, one could write a story about a man who wants a Volvo, but who would be engaged in such a tale?

Here, in Noah, the stakes are much higher: the fate of humanity is on the line. So Noah comes into conflict the wickedness of mankind (as personified in the person of Tubal-Cain). His life, and the lives of his family members, are on the line... In what is arguably a post-christian culture, giving people--the young, the old, the indifferent--a story into which they can sink their teeth is a good thing. It will open doors of discussion for we who are people faith to walk through. Rather than criticize Noah, let's rather embrace the opportunity afforded us.

And rather than editorialize any further, allow me to again direct you to Mr. Snowden's excellent analysis: Why People of Faith Can Embrace Noah

Thanks for reading!

A Little Girl’s Dream

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Hi! This is my daughter, Bella; she’s a Daisy Scout. This is her, and our, first year involved with scouts. We’re heading into cookie season, a fun time for the girls (and their families). Cookie sales fund a number of scout programs, such as camp, troop activities, etc.

Ours being a brand new troop, expectations aren’t very high for sales. Even so, her mother and I always try to encourage Bella to dream big.

You have a dream; you might be pursuing it now. Or maybe you had a dream, and have forgotten how. You remember what it is dream–what it feels like to see it out there, shimmering on the horizon before you. It’s so sweet, you can almost taste it.

It’s right there at your fingertips.

You didn’t get there alone. You had a lot of help, a lot of encouragement, along the way.

My little girl has a dream, too:

She wants to sell 1500 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

If she can, she’ll earn a one-day trip to Disneyland (one of her favorite places). 'Take that, Girl Scouts!!' photo (c) 2012, An Mai - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

From the Girl Scout’s website:

“When a Girl Scout sells you cookies, she’s building a lifetime of skills and confidence. She learns goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics—aspects essential to leadership, success, and life.

By putting her mind and energies to something, a Girl Scout can overcome any challenge. There are no limits. She can be anything. She can do anything. Help her build a lifetime of skills and confidence.”

The Cookies

Can I count on you to order cookies, and help a little girl’s dream come true? They’re only $4.00 per box. Contact me at: Chad Jones, and we’ll work out the details.

Dean Koontz Google Hangout

Folks, following is the archive of the video hangout with I was privileged to take part in:

Thanks for your for both your support, and for watching!

See you later,

Chad

What’s The Story? You Decide

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Scary Mermaid

Like those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books of yore, today’s post is up to you. What is the story behind this mermaid? Is she bad, or was she just painted that way?

You decide.

You tell me yours, and I’ll tell you mine. But it won’t be pretty. ;-)

Excellence Opens Doors

'Excellence' photo (c) 2012, Iqbal Osman - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Yesterday, I posted about how we don’t need anymore “Christian” whatevers. In a similar vein, today I would like to talk specifically about art. If you read yesterday’s post, you would know that I’m off the mindset that what we need isn’t more Christian art, but rather more Christians who are artists. And of those, we need Christian artists who are committed to excellence in their art.

Gone are the days (if indeed they were ever here) where we can slap on a coat of Jesus varnish and expect the world to go “Ooh! Ah! Jesus!” No, mediocre art really only accomplishes two things:

1) It makes us look bad.
2) It makes Jesus look bad.

Excellence, however, opens doors. Excellence speaks for itself, and indeed invites conversation. It gets people talking, and provides organic opportunities for the artist to share his story. And make no mistake: that is what people today are looking for: to connect with someone’s story.

Yes, we’re supposed to share the Gospel. But more importantly, we’re supposed to live it. One of the ways to do so is to be excellent in all that we do. Because that is another thing excellence does: it elevates. It draws people into a shared transcendence.

But mediocrity does not. Mediocrity is boring, banal, and really not worthy of attention. And the thing is that, for those of us who would call ourselves Christian artists, our art isn’t ultimately for our fellow man–it is for us, and for God. And why would we, after he gave us Jesus, ever think that giving him less than our best is somehow okay?

PRO TIP: it’s not.

But excellence has a cost: it’s hard. Insanely so at times. Often we’re tempted to give in, throw in the towel, settle.

The world is full of frustrated artists who’ve settled.

But is that who you and I want to be? If so, let’s prepare to be ignored. If, however, you do not wish to be ignored, throw yourself into your art with abandon. Put your heart, soul, mind, guts into it.

Put your life on the line. Every time.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what the watching world is waiting for.

So make excellence your everyday goal. If you’re a writer, beat your head against your desk until your forehead takes on an oaken sheen. If a painter, paint until your fingers bleed a rainbow of colors. If an actor, lose yourself in your roles.

If a plumber, plumb the depths until you reach China. You get what I mean.

Remember: the goal here is not to save oneself, but rather to lose oneself. And in the losing to find.

The great paradox of art, and life, is indeed that: in losing, we win. In giving up, we find. To borrow a phrase, excellence is one door away from heaven.

And by excellence we earn the right to be heard. We earn the platform.

Don’t settle for less.

“In all that you do, do it as unto the Lord.”

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