You know how some things are really good, but then they get so much exposure, everyone gets sick of them?7trumpets (1)

Like your favorite song being ruined by constant radio play.

Or bacon.  For crying out loud, it’s bacon.  Yes, we all know everyone likes it.  Just shut up and eat it.

Or zombies.

Or the apocalypse.

Seriously, can we just get past the end of the world already?

It’s that last one that really sticks in my craw.  Everyone has their own brand of doomsday theory.  Elizabeth Esther wrote a great post last week about the spiritual abuse of “doomsday preppers,” (which is so widespread, it warrants a cable tv show.)

But if there is child abuse in prepping for the world, I think there has to be equal parts spiritual abuse in Christians prepping for the rapture.

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Have you ever been left out of a group?ComeToSecretClub

You know, like not invited to a birthday party?  Or the mean kids at school made a “No (Your Name) Club.”

That’s what I thought.  At one time or another, we’ve all felt left out.

This week, it’s being reported that an announcement may be imminent: that the Boy Scouts will begin to allow gay scouts and leaders (at the discretion of the individual troops, it appears.)

Of course, opinions fall all over the spectrum.  Who should be “in” and who should be “out.”  Ahem…

Plenty of people have been simultaneously praising and insulting the Scouts for a great first step away from “bigotry.”  And there are others who think it will ruin the spirit of Scouting.  For some unfathomable reason, USA Today asked SBC President Albert Mohler what he thinks of the pending announcement, as if his opinion has any bearing whatsoever and is not already thoroughly predictable.

You know what I think?

I think exclusivity – leaving some people out - is not always such a bad thing…

…but probably not in the way you’re thinking.

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Let’s face it.  A lot of you are out there.  You’re plugging away at your blogs…write-on-november-is-national-novel-writing-month-a5349cc216

…But you have another ambition.

You’d like to be an author.  Of a book.  With pages and a cover.

We all know it’s true.  A lot of us get into blogging in the hopes of becoming authors.  When I started blogging over four years ago, becoming an author wasn’t the first thing on my mind.  But as I saw more and more bloggers publishing books, it became a goal for me too, though I wouldn’t admit it to many people.

Well, it’s hard to believe that we are just two months away from April 1, the release of my first book, Life After Art.  It’s an event that I could not have imagined less than a year ago.

So, along with the Creative Giants series, today I’m starting a five part series, which I hope will encourage you, the blogger who would like to cross over into writing your own book someday.

This is my path to publication.

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Quit Ruining the Internet

January 25, 2013

commentsI love a good conversation.

I love a healthy debate, even a fired up but friendly debate.  I love all of you who comment here on my blog, even when you disagree vehemently with me.  I think it brings people to better mutual understanding, even if no one’s minds are changed.  I feel like I grow a bit whenever one of you disagrees with me.

I have had some really challenging discussions with some of my best friends.  I’ve even had some incredible disagreements with my wife.  And none of these disagreements have ever resulted in name calling, personal attacks or expletives being lobbed like grenades.

But it should be clear to anyone who reads the comment section of the average news site that most people are completely incapable of rational, civilized discussion.  Comments are often the rhetorical equivalent of chimps hurling feces at each other.  Many of these comments come from people who claim to be Christians.

I’ve jotted down a few of the most frequently occurring and egregious comments that are ruining the comment sections of the internet.

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Fundies get a lot of flack, you know?deservehell

I mean, “fundamentalist” is pretty much the go-to pejorative for anyone with any kind of extreme views.  And it pairs so nicely with terms like “right-wing” or “cult member” or “outright crazy.”

That’s what you think when you hear the word “fundamentalist,” right?  Crazy.  Extreme.  Dangerous.  Hateful.  Small-minded.  Misogynist.  Fearful.

Yes, a lot of fundies live up to their image.  Stereotypes exist for a reason, right.  Incidentally, whenever people talk about demolishing “hurtful stereotypes,” I never hear anyone standing up for the fundamentalists and all the stereotypes that are heaped on them.  Just saying.

But I have a confession to make.

I am a fundamentalist.

Yup.

I’m going to shoot you straight.  Most of the fundamentalists out there aren’t real fundamentalists.  Most of them are frauds.  The word “fundamentalist” has become so loaded with meaning, that it’s hardly any use anymore.

Well, I think it’s time we cleared the air and restored the meaning of “fundamentalist.”  Who knows?  At the end of this blog post, you may just decide you are a fundamentalist, like me!

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I can’t believe we are just a couple of months away from Life After Art hitting bookshelves!  To lead up to April 1, I’ve assembled a couple of blog series.  This first one, “Creative Giants,” is going to be full of guests, talking about their struggles and triumphs in their creative pursuits.  Remember, creativity comes in lots of forms.  It’s not always about traditional “creativity.”  Today, I’m really glad to kick things off with my good friend, Ally Vesterfelt.  She blogs, tweets and she and her hubs, Darrell run Prodigal Magazine, and her next book drops later this year.

Ally-vesterfeltMy whole life I’ve been accused of not listening.
In high school, it was the most persistent and embarrassing. A teacher would give an assignment; she would explain it verbally, from the front of the room. She would take notes on the white board as she was talking. She would even hand out an assignment sheet, so that there was no confusion. Then, she would release us all to do our work.
I would think about it awhile, an idea would spark, and I would get started, energetically.
But inevitably when the time came to turn in our assignments, the teacher would look at my finished product and say, “were you even listening?” 
I would have given my best thought to the assignment, worked long hours to complete it and felt a swell of pride as I stood up to present it. So when a teacher would show me how, according to the assignment sheet, I had “ignored the instructions” I would feel so ashamed.
Maybe I was just stupid, I thought to myself.