yup, this is a bit of a random collection, i’ll admit. but these are four things i really want to recommend, and i didn’t want to inundate you with four separate posts. see how thoughtful i am?
i met brian houston in belfast, northern ireland, quite a few years ago (this is not the same brian houston from australia, btw). i was speaking at a youth worker event for the presbyterian church of ireland, and brian was the music/worship leader. i totally dug his music, and we hit it off. we did a couple other events together, and i hung out with him a couple times when i was in belfast (one of my favorite memories of yaconelli involves brian also, but it’s so off-color — thanks to a very drunk woman who came out of a bar to pursue yac when yac, brian and i were sitting in the lobby — that i cannot write it out here. feel free to ask me sometime when we’re face-to-face).
anyhow, i noticed on steve stockman’s blog that brian had a new album out. if digital files could get worn out, my other brian houston albums (particularly big smile) have 0s and 1s flying all over the place from over-playing. so i downloaded brian’s new album — shelter — and i just love it. rock mixed with gospel with heavy doses of blues and R&B. amazing lyrics, great voice.
let me be clear: i’ve not had contact with this guy in over 5 years, and no one asked me to promote this album. i found out about it by luck. i just really like it!
jeannie’s birthday was last saturday, and we’d celebrated with the kids earlier in the week. since it was just the two of us, she said, “let’s go to a movie that i would like.” (the clear inference, and probably fair, is that i tend to swing my movie-choosin’ weight around most of the time.) we looked at what was showing, and remembered that we’d heard good things about moonrise kingdom. but we had no idea.
HOLY COW! what an incredible film, in so many ways. the story is amazing and layered and insightful. but visually, i hardly even know how to describe it. i don’t normally notice — and completely enjoy — the color palate of movie scenes. i don’t normally notice — and completely enjoy — the symetry or framing of a scene. and the dialogue. and the costuming. and the casting. and so many other little bits about this.
plus, it’s about 12 year-olds!
jeannie and i left saying, “we never buy DVDs anymore, but we want to own that one so we can watch it a bunch of times.” youth worker joel mayward wrote a fantastic review here.
andy marin is a freakin’ saint. he has said and done what few in the church (at least the evangelical church) have been willing to say and do to build bridges with the gay community. and in doing so, andy has bushwhacked for many of us, providing a footpath that doesn’t seem as scary as it once did.
i read andy’s book, love is an orientation, a few years ago when it came out. quite simply: everyone must read this book. but if you’re an evangelical or catholic (those with more conservative understandings of homosexuality), you really, really, really must read it. please.
i knew that zondervan released a DVD curriculum to go along with andy’s book last year, and i knew it would be good. but i was lame, and i didn’t get around to watching it, even though two more of my friends — ginny olson and the esteemed adam mclane — are in it (in the fantastic session on adolescents and homosexuality). but i watched the whole thing the other night. and. it. is. so. great. it’s honest and helpful and will absolutely open up great dialogue. i highly recommend it — for adult groups, and maybe for more mature high school groups.
i had a phone call yesterday with rick lawrence, group magazine‘s long-standing editor, to talk more about the content of the upcoming ReGroup event i’ll help to lead with him and kurt johnston on august 13 – 15, in loveland, CO (at the group HQ). i had been looking forward to this event prior to the call; but my anticipation is now approximately 8.3 times heightened.
we’re gonna talk through a handful of elements we’re seeing that really make a difference in great youth ministries (some of this comes out of my recent book, A Beautiful Mess). but rick and i agreed today that i’m going to spend a good chunk of time doing some of the exercises i use in my coaching program, helping the small-ish group of attendees to reflect at a more personal and strategic level about their lives and ministries. really, i now feel like this event won’t just be ‘interesting’ or ‘fun’ (though i think it will be those also); now i think it will be transformational.
limited to 100 people. it’s exclusive, baby. and it’s gonna rock. clicky-clicky.