Friday, December 31, 2010

Educated Gangstas

I'm at work Wednesday. I'm shelving DS games. A young man walks up beside me. He's talking on his phone.

"No, I'm not retarded. That's the worst metaphor I've ever heard. You said 'like.' If you use the word 'like,' it's a simile, motherf#ck@h!"

I laughed out loud. I apologized for interrupting his phone call, but I couldn't help it. It's still making me giggle.

Episode 1 Cast

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Freudian Slip?

Might have just hit a new low. Discovered a "gift" from the dog on the floor and used a page from one of my recent scripts to pick it up.

It felt like something from a Colin Firth movie or Nick Hornby novel.

Monday, December 13, 2010

How The Church Failed Me

I was recently asked "How did the church fail you?"

It was in response to someone discovering a lifestyle decision I had made. This decision, which I won't get into here (as I don't want to distract from the conversation that needs to be happening), was something that not only went against the things they believed, but went against the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, a denomination that not only was I brought up in, but one I still belong to.

My response to this person was, "it hasn't." I was responding to the notion that the church had somehow failed to communicate what it thought on the subject. I was well aware of what the church's official stance was. I knew the dangers -- as exaggerated as they may be -- that the church preached.

"Then why are you doing this?"

That's when I realized how the church failed me. That's when I realized how the church is continuing to fail its children and its older members. That's when I realized what we need to fix if we are going to stay relevant in the twenty-first century.

Before I continue, let me absolutely clear: This is not an attack on the Seventh-Day Adventist Church or any other organized religion. I still count myself as a Seventh-Day Adventist and I whole-heartedly approve the concept of organized religion. This is the recognition of a weakness. This is a confession. To the offended, this is a request for forgiveness. To those of us in the church, it is a challenge to do better in the future.

In the war between Heaven and Hell, the church is a front line triage unit. The hurt, the crippled, the maimed and the dying hobble in, seeking solace and sanctuary. We do our best to patch them up, to the heal wounds, and prepare them for tomorrow's attack. Historically, that's what we've done. But as time marches on, as the war continues to rage, we're getting tired. Our friends are dying. Our loved ones are giving up. The hope that the war would be over by Christmas is fading. And as all of these things take their toll, our work suffers. We get sloppy. It's not that we don't care, it's that we've lost focus. What ends up happening is a man comes in with a gaping wound in his chest, we pop a couple Ibuprofen in his mouth, call it a day, and then wonder why he doesn't come back when his wound begins to fester.

We seem to believe that since there are two sides to this war that every decision and every moral dilemma we face is a simple one: It's either black or white. Good or bad. Heaven or Hell. Everything is to be praised or condemned. Every action is to be endorsed or shunned. Nothing is neither. When we do this, we create for ourselves battlefields where there need not be any.

Let's talk about sex.

Having sex will get you kicked out of private school. The appearance or the unprovable theory that you had sex will get you fired from a Christian summer camp. As a youth pastor, speaking approvingly of sex will get you reprimanded and possibly removed from your position. As a principal of a boarding school, if you take your teenage child to a movie that has sex in it, your ability to lead will be called into question. These are all experiences I have witnessed firsthand.

The truth about sex, as I have come to learn, is that it is a multifaceted thing that doesn't ruin or save a relationship. It multiplies that which you already have. If a couple that was already on shaky ground introduces sex to the relationship, fighting increases, resentment rises, unhappiness ensues and a break-up is just around the corner. When a couple that is in love and has a caring and balanced relationship, sex is a celebration of love, lust, and life.

The reason for this is sex is a thing of raw intimacy. No matter how carnally or how casually one might treat it, there's a great amount of naked trust in the act and that trust must be upheld in all other aspects of the relationship.

I've often wondered why someone might think their failing relationship could be saved by sex. It's not medicine for what ails you. It's desert. Desert after a great meal is perfect. Desert after eating too much just makes you feel sick.

That's what I would tell someone about sex. But those are grey, weighty concepts that can be hard to explain. It's just easier to say, "you can get pregnant, you can get STD's, and it'll change the relationship and he'll break up with you." This course of action doesn't give us what we need to know about sex. It doesn't arm us with knowledge that there are ways to prevent STD's and pregnancy. It doesn't even prepare us for sex after marriage, the thing the church wants the most. All it does is lamely try to scare and/or guilt kids out of having sex. And when that tactic fails, and a person has sex, and they don't get pregnant or get an STD . . . a great undermining of church authority takes place.

It's not the "sexual deviant" that undermines the church, it's the church itself. As children, we are told that life is black and white. But when we step out into the world, we discover it is actually every shade of grey one could imagine -- ranging from the whitest white to the blackest black. Upon that discovery, the church is made a liar. It lies with good intention, but it lies nonetheless.

This is how the church has failed me. It has concerned itself with inward and trivial matters, while ignoring the bigger issues that surround it. When it does address those bigger issues, it addresses it in demeaning and trivial ways. It's almost as if the church sees its entire congregation as children, not adults.

We are taught abstinence, not responsibility. We are taught avoidance, not temperance.

It's a matter of great frustration for me. We get so caught up in "being in the world but not of the world," that we don't actually prepare anyone for the world. It is something I've vowed to not pass on to the next generation.

I live in this world. I don't count it as my home. I'm a pilgrim passing through. The only trouble with that is there's nothing I can do to make that passing any faster. I can't reach my destination until my Heavenly Father says so. So in the meantime, I'm setting up camp here. This is my temporary home and as such, I'm going to try to make it as warm, as comfortable, as welcoming and as loving as I can. I'm going to fight for Truth and Justice. I'm going to battle the darkness by shedding as much light as I can. I'm going to be responsible and conduct myself in a way that brings glory to my Heavenly Father.

Even if that means I fail my church.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

it begins

On December 17th, 2010, we'll shoot the (possibly first) teaser. We'll release said teaser online shortly thereafter. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

on turning 30

I was born on December 6th, 1980 at 6:33pm -- which means, if I'm doing my math correctly, on December 6th, 2010, at 6:33pm, I will be 30 years old.

That's supposed to mean something. I'm 30. The trouble is, I don't put a lot of stock in numbers. If I'm counting dollars, or measuring ingredients, numbers are important. If I want to be on time for the 3:15 showing of Hamlet, numbers are important. But if I'm measuring maturity or trying to put some kind of value on a life, numbers are irrelevant. Because time is subjective.

I could make sit here and make a list of all the numbers in my life (5 years married, 3 countries lived in, 3 blah's and/or 3 yadda's) but they wouldn't mean anything. I see those kinds of numbers as interesting bits of trivia, not as mile markers (because the point of mile markers is to give context to the journey or to designate progress made towards a destination).

In these thirty years I've had seasons of arrested development* and times of incredible, unprecedented growth. I've experienced more joy, elation, and downright glee** in a single day than some people have their entire life. I've also experienced dark days of loneliness and aimless nights staring at the ceiling wondering "why?" I've had fulfillment and I've had unfulfillment. I've seen justice and injustice. I've been incredibly spoiled and I've had to make tough decisions. I've been loved and I've been mocked.

Everything that I've experienced these past thirty years don't make me 30. They make me me. The fact that it's taken me thirty years to become me makes me thirty, but I'm not even sure what that means. I just know that I've generally enjoyed these thirty and would like a second (or even third) thirty to see what other things I could get up to.

* Not to be confused with the three seasons of Arrested Development, though I did enjoy those too.

** Not to be confused with musical television show Glee, though I've experienced a lot more of that than some people have.

Friday, December 3, 2010

first, episode six

Doing something I've never done before. I'm writing the last episode of a series before I flesh out 3-5. The Ruffians will be a six episode arc (with the potential and possibility for a second series). I wrote the first two episodes because they were the initial ideas and they needed to be put down on paper so I could focus on the rest of the series.

Then something strange happened. It's never happened like this before. I usually struggle with the ending of whatever I'm writing. But after episode 2, boom, I knew how it had to end. So I'm writing that now. Once I finish it, I'll go back and connect the dots. It's thrilling and freeing in a very new and interesting way. I like it and wouldn't mind it if all future projects worked out this way.

Trouble is, I can't control inspiration. It dictates the road I walk on.