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Folks, it’s my privilege today to present an interview with author Chad Gibbs. He is the author of the bestselling God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC, and the recently released Love Thy Rival: What Sports’ Greatest Rivalries Teach Us About Loving Our Enemies. (Head here if you would like a signed copy).

 

1) When did you first know that writing was something you wanted to pursue? And who supported you early on in pursuit of your calling?

I didn’t really start reading until after college. I mean I knew how to, just never did it for leisure. I think a love of reading really turned me on to writing, and my girlfriend at the time (now my wife) was and is my biggest supporter (figuratively, not literally).

2) You are the (regional) bestselling author of God & Football. What kind of pressure did you put on yourself to follow that book up with something as strong (and as funny)? (And what does a typical Chad Gibbs work day look like?)

No pressure really. I mean I’d love for each book to be better than the last, and each one to outsell the last, but that’s not going to happen. In the end I just want to write stuff that makes my wife laugh. Not sure if there is a typical work day. Some days I write all day, some days I drive all day to talk to a church or group, some days I watch a lot of soccer.

3) Your wife is a doctor? What’s it like having a live-in patron? Ok, just kidding! How supportive is your wife of your work? How does she help keep you grounded?

Tricia could not be more supportive. It’s obviously a blessing to be able to pursue writing full-time, and not something I could do without her. All aspiring writers should hang around medical schools to look for potential mates.

4) Your second (published–we know all writers have trunks, and in them are manuscripts mouldering far from the light of day) book, Love Thy Rival, came out recently. How did the idea for that book come about? Is there really more sports in it? 😉

More sports I’m afraid. With the first book I looked at how fans love their teams, and in this one I wanted to look at why sometimes they hate their rivals even more. To me it seemed a natural progression, although publishers didn’t think so, which is why I self-published it.

5) As a writer, who do you like to read? What kind of work nourishes your creative soul? Along those lines, would you agree, or disagree, with the following: Worship is whatever we attempt to derive life from? In your case, what is it about sports that so nourishes you?

Oh I read all sorts of stuff. Enjoy Nick Hornby, Bill Bryson, AJ Jacobs, Malcolm Gladwell. Older stuff I enjoy is Hemingway; read Great Gatsby every year, and To Kill a Mockingbird is a favorite. I love reading about travel, and I love funny writers. Sometimes reading this stuff ‘nourishes my creative soul’, and sometimes, if it’s too good, it makes me want to give up. I’m not sure if sports nourishes me, but I enjoy the drama of it. I think that’s why I write about fans, and not really the games.

6) As intimated above, your books are funny. What pushed you in that direction? What, in your view, makes for good satire?

It’s the only way I know how to write really. I just put down my thoughts and observations, which I guess are oftentimes humorous. I get that from my mother, who sees the funny side in every situation.

7) I’m not so much a sports fan (a huge failing, I know); as such, what would I (or readers like me) get out of your books? What is there that’s applicable?

I think the two books are entertaining, even if you’re not a sports fan. Spiritually, they take a look at idolatry, something we all struggle with from time to time.

8) You’re currently engaged in a campaign to build a women and children’s clinic in Haiti. How did that come about?

After writing God & Football I started getting emails from fans who shared my struggles. I remember thinking, “great, a community of like-minded Christian sports fans. I just wish we could do something.” So I spoke to Samaritan’s Purse when wrapping up the new book and we came up with a giving campaign that would pit rival fans against each other with the goal of raising 40K to build the clinic in Haiti. We’re over 1/4 of the way there, but still have a ways to go, so if any of your readers are feeling generous you can send ’em my way.

[Note: to learn more about the Samaritan’s Purse campaign, and how you can help, please visit Chad’s blog]

9) I’ve heard that you’re a rabid Star Wars fan? (I am, too). What do you like about Star Wars? Which one is the best (if you say Phantom Menace you’re never welcome back here again)?

Empire is the best film, and the best thing about Star Wars is Lando Calrissian.

10) What’s next for Chad Gibbs? I hear you’re working on a travel book for Zondervan–how’s that coming along? Any fiction in your future? Any questions you’re surprised you’re never asked that you would like to address? Speak now, or forever… Oh, never mind. 😉

Yes, a travel book with Z that looks at Christianity around the world. Been to Brazil, Spain, England, Russia, Uganda, and Italy so far. India, Japan, The Netherlands, China, Australia, Israel and Turkey to come. No fiction for now, unless you count the parts of God & Football I made up. Oops.

About Chad Gibbs:

Chad Gibbs, former baby, is the best-selling (okay, regional best-selling) author of God & Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC and Love Thy Rival: What Sports’ Greatest Rivalries Teach us about Loving Our Enemies. He has written for The Washington Post, CNN.Com, RELEVANT, and has made multiple (okay, two) appearances on ESPN’s Outside the Lines. If you’d like to talk to Chad about his books, or about life, or about how to lose baby fat, he can be reached at [email protected] or by raven.

Friends, my friend Kevin Haggerty is a good guy, and a great friend of this blog. Kevin and I have guest posted for one another, swapped tweets, etc. He has keen sense of humor, has his finger on the pulse of pop culture, and writes some of the funniest posts I’ve seen (his “Friday Funhouse” series).

More importantly, Kevin loves Jesus, and strives to follow him where he leads. You may, or may not, know, but Kevin was let go from his teaching job earlier this year. Despite having a baby on the way, he and his wife, Kim, felt the Lord leading them into the direction of self-employment. Kevin fell in love again with design, and launched a business, KR Graphix. After some initial business, things seem have largely dried up. (More details are available on Kevin’s blog).

All of that is to say: please pray for Kevin and Kim. That they would hear clearly, and that Jesus would provide. And if you are in need of some design work, please check out his business, KR Graphix.

On a personal note, I’ve seen God do some amazing things for me and my family this; I know he can do the same for Kevin. Please join in praying that he does so in such a way that he alone gets the glory.

Thanks, friends!

'Oppositions' photo (c) 2009, Iliazd - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/Those of you who have been readers here for awhile know about the appeal for help I put out on Father’s Day. And you folks responded in a beautiful, and powerful, way. At a time when I was doubting the community we’re building here, you showed me. You honored the ways I invest myself here, on this platform, by investing in me.

That investment is about to come to fruition. Soon I will be heading off to the Wild At Heart Bootcamp. I am going for healing, and for hope. For the resolution of issues that have plagued me since childhood.

But just getting there might kill me.

Ransomed Heart, the organization the hosts the bootcamp, sent the following:

“What you are about to take part in may be one of the most spiritually significant experiences of your journey.

Expect opposition.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a
roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in
the faith.” 1 Peter 5

Arguments with your wife. Health problems. Being inundated with demands on you at the
office. Assaults against your strength, your character, your work, your reputation. Roadblocks coming up between you and the retreat. Men, please know, these are ALL indications that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. The evil one does not want you to walk forward and take part in what God has for you at this retreat.”

I acknowledged this upon receipt–not really giving it much thought. My bad.

But it has been proven to be entirely prescient, altogether true. All of these things have happened.

And I am kicking against the goads. I have lashed out, tried to defend my honor–instead of letting Jesus do it on my behalf.

Can I get real for a minute?

I have no fight left in me. I’m tired. But I don’t want to give up. I want what the Lord has for both me, and my family. I want it like nothing else. Pray that nothing comes between me and my going up to the mountains.

Will you commit to praying for me, and my family, from now through August twentieth? I covet your prayers. Please pray the Lord covers in all the areas, and indeed mends the wounds I have inflicted. For I am the rough beast that slouches towards Bethlehem, waiting to be born. But I would not be that beast anymore.

Thank-you, and God bless!

How may I pray for you?

As I’m vacationing with my family this week, I decided last minute to take a break from posting this week. And because I’m a dumby who doesn’t plan ahead, I put out a last minute desperate plea call for guest posts. Along with Michelle Woodman, the always hilarious Kevin Haggerty rose to the challenge as well.

If you follow me on @randomlychad, you know that I put out a humorous challenge asking our blogging friends to the North to tell us all why Canada is better. Michelle’s post dropped on Monday. The following is Kevin’s rebuttal.

    Why America Is Awesomer than Canada

Your knee-jerk reaction is going to be to try and correct the grammar in my headline. But let me stop you right there.

Fact: Every time someone tries to stop a blogger from using the word ‘awesomer,’ the terrorists win.

Earlier in the week, Chad challenged the good people of the Internet to state why Canada was better than America.

This, of course, was a facetious spoof of a request, yet Michelle Woodman was unable to see the trapdoor under the thatch covering.

God bless her. She did her best. But I believe her strongest point had something to do with Captain Kirk and alien blood.

That just isn’t going to get it done.

So, now that we’re done humoring Michelle, let’s get back to reality. America is clearly a superior country to Canada, and really to any country that is not named ‘Narnia.’

That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. (Sidenote: Do they call them cookies in Canada? Do you guys even know what I’m talking about right now? Should I call them scones? Maybe crackers?)

Michelle used a list. I guess that’s the format this debate is taking, so I’ll use one too.

Without further ado, here are the reasons why the United States of America is undoubtedly better than Canada:

Lack of Celebs

For giggles, I just visited Wikipedia (which everyone knows is the true source of everything factual in the world) and found its page titled “List of Canadians.” Essentially, the page is supposed to list all noteworthy Canadians, ever.

Now, I was admittedly scanning the page, much in the same way that I listen to the opinions of people who are fans of the Twilight films. With that said, I scrolled almost the entire page before I saw names I cared about (or should I say, ‘aboot?’).

What were the names, you ask? They were Terrance and Phillip from the TV series Southpark.

If you’re unfamiliar with their respective greatness, here’s everything you need to know in ten seconds:

In summary, the most famous celebs in Canada are two cartoons characters who purposely fart on each other.

Nice.

It’s Always Cold!

It couldn’t have been more than two weeks ago that my dear Canadian buddy, Leanne Shirtliffe, was posting pictures of her snowy back yard.

At the time, it was almost 90 degrees here in “The States.”

Don’t even come at me with the standard “But the summers are so beautiful!” defense. Two to three months of splendor doesn’t make up for the rest of the year, when you’re having to dig your car out, just to go to the grocery store.

If I ever want to freeze my boogers solid, I’ll book the first flight to Quebec.

The French

One of Michelle’s arguments for Canada being superior to America is its bilingual status.

Great. Really something to be proud of. Half of your country is confusing. And have you ever heard someone speak French? It sounds like they’re gagging or about to hock a loogee.

And what kind of people group proudly eats snails and fish eggs?? Could you just not get your hands on any squirrel feces?

The worst part of French peoples’ Frenchness is that they carry about them a completely unearned air of superiority.

Seriously. Why the snobbery? You’re largely known for retreating in battle and avoiding bar soap.

Cut it out.

If you’re still wanting for evidence that America kicks the butt of all that is French, I’d like to present you with ‘Exhibit A:’

Closing Argument

Not that I really need to shore up my case any futher, but I’ll wrap things up with this.

I want you to watch the following video. Don’t take breaks. Don’t fast forward. Watch the whole thing:

Case closed.

In all seriousness, I hope you Canucks are able to take this with a grain of salt. We like you. We really do. Thanks for peanut butter, the prosthetic hand, and for inventing the man who invented basketball.

You guys rule, eh?

Kevin blogs at the awesome The Isle of Man, and you can follow him on Twitter @kevinrhaggerty. On a personal note, He’s been a great online friend to me, and this blog. As such, I would like to entreat your prayers for Kevin and his wife, Kim, as they are launching into both parenthood, and an unknown future. Kevin was recently laid off from his teaching job, and is following his dream of being a writer. Thanks so much.

Because my family and I are vacationing this week, I thought it would be good to open my blog up for some guest posts. As with most things in my life, I didn’t really plan this out in advance. In this case, at all. Michelle Woodman answered my desperate plea last minute call, and handily cranked out the following:

5 Ways Canada Is More Better Than America

Chad Jones is a bit of a pot-stirrer. Why else would he issue the following challenge on Twitter?

pot stirrer

Now generally I’m not much of a pot-stirrer. There are other people who have an innate ability for such things, and most everyone who knows me will tell you I am not in that category. Plus, as often happens when I’m put on the spot, I proceeded to draw a blank in terms of Canada’s awesomeness. Ask me in 24 hours and I’m sure I’ll have all kinds of wonderful reasons why Canada kicks the proverbial patootie of the United States. But as of right now?

Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Not helping the situation is seeing who else Chad issued his Twitter challenge to. These people are seriously funny. If you don’t believe me, check out their Twitter feeds and blogs. Now check out mine.

Point made, no?

But like a beaver knawing through a maple tree, I will not be deterred. So after much internet surfing and other acts of randomness, I have come up with the following list (make of it what you will):

Five Reasons Why Canada is Better Than the U.S.

1. Canada is officialy a bilingual country. Now as any high school graduate will tell you, taking high school French classes will not make you bilingual. But it will provide you with additional reading material in the morning as you persuse the ingredients list on the box of cereal.
2. Canada is hilarious. We produce comedians like Cuba produces cigars. And I’m not talking only about the comedians who have found fame and fortune south of the 49th parallel. Go to You Tube, type SCTV in the search field and pick a video. You’re welcome.
3. Canada celebrates Thanksgiving in October. This means we have plenty of time to get over our turkey hangovers (and get rid of the leftovers) before Christmas rolls around.
4. Canada is the birthplace of William Shatner. There are those who would say this is a dubious honour at best. But riddle me this: What would Spock have been without Captain Kirk? Just another green-blooded, know-it-all alien, that’s what. How boring.
5. Canada has more practical (and prettier) currency. Google may think Rome is the country of choice for pickpockets, but I dare say the United States is the unofficial pickpocket capital. With all that green, how can anyone tell how much money is in their wallet at a glance? In Canada, that’s not a problem. We will know in seconds if a brown $100 bill or a pink $50 bill is missing. It takes even less time if a pickpocket pilfers our loonies and toonies.

Michelle blogs regularly at This Time Around. She is (obviously) Canadian, works with children, and is wife to her awesome husband, Jeff. She is a blogging buddy I met through Bryan Allain’s Killer Tribes. Even though she may not think so, she’s a funny lady (though she has been known to watch Big Bang Theory on occasion). You can read more about Michelle here. Follow her on Twitter @crosscribe.