Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bitter Boys Playlist #1

We Got The Beat - The Go-Go's (81)
Who Can It Be Now - Men At Work (84)
Nobody's Diary - Yaz (83)
Keep On Loving You - REO Speedwagon (80)
Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears for Fears (85)
Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood (84)
Beds Are Burning - Midnight Oil (86)
Something So Strong - Crowded House (86)
Puppets - Depeche Mode (81)
Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran (82)
I'm an Adult Now - The Pursuit of Happiness (88)
Mirror in the Bathroom - English Beat (80)
What I Like About You - The Romantics (80)
Don't Go - Yaz (82) [sadly I can't find this track in the collection at the moment; will acquire it]
How Soon Is Now? - The Smiths (84)
Boys of Summer - Don Henley (84)
Life's What You Make It - Talk Talk (80)
Pride (In the name of love) - U2 (84)
Middle of the Road - Pretenders (82)
Small Town Boy - Bronski Beat (84)
True - Spandau Ballet (83)
Rock Me Amadeus - Falco (84)
Miame Vice Theme - Jan Hammer (85)

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a new step forward

For those who only know me through the digital world, I am the proud caretaker of a large collection of 80's vinyl. I inherited it from my friend Pete Hoaken (who had inherited it from his older brother Rusty). When Pete was going through a downsize in his life, I happened to be in the right place at the right time. It was going to break Pete's heart to lose the collection but he couldn't keep it around. He had just gone through a real crappy time and I was at his apartment in Montreal so I became the steward of the collection, looking after it until the King returns again to reclaim his rightful place. Before the collection left the apartment, the scotch came out and many, many hours later, we had recorded two mixed tapes based on the vinyl - the Bitter Boys Collection #1 and #2.

Since that time, I have supplemented the collection with some more mainstream stuff (e.g. Michael Jackson's Thriller), some vinyl classics (Springsteen's Nebraska) and blues. I have thrown a number of vinyl parties where whoever shows up gets to DJ a couple of tunes so they can walk down memory lane. I have faithfully shepherded the collection through two moves in Ottawa, a move to Princeton and a number of way stations back here to Brampton. All in all, I feel like I've been a good steward.

Now, I've taken it to a new level. With the collection came an odd turntable - a Sony Direct Drive Automatic Stereo Turntable System PS-155. Odd because it has an amp built in and therefore doesn't need to be grounded or go through a special line in. Now, I've taken advantage of that little idiosyncricity and hooked the turn table up directly through the Line-in on my soundcard. I can't seem to get it to work well with my laptop despite a frustrating experience with a USB conversion tool, but with my desktop I'm on fire. With an open source program called Audacity I've been able to record most of the Bitter Boys. Next comes putting classics like Nebraska onto vinyl. After doing a little research, I discovered that much of the collection is out on CD but only about half seems available for down load. For instance, I couldn't find Midnight Oil's Beds Are Burning for download. Now I've got it in all it's vinylesque glory.

Requests being taken now.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Vinyl is Digital

Thanks to Shane M., one of the guys in St. Andrew's Youth Group, I have discovered Audacity. I have begun the process of converting 80's vinyl into MP3's. The journey is long, but oh, so sweet.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Bible and schools

Time has a new article about the Bible and schools. More comments to follow.

shout out to marko who put me onto this article.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Practicing Discernment with Youth

I need to quibble with Kenda Dean on this one. I'm not sure that White is "the most thoughtful scholar in youth ministry today." He is thoughtful but his innovations in terms of integrating practices of discernment into youth ministry suffer from insufficient grounding in a well reasoned normative theology. There are lots of vague references to the "Holy" (as if you could have holiness without the tension of God's grace and anger), social critique more rooted in Adorno than Amos, and a Jesus who did a lot of nice things. In the end, I struggled to place Whites insights into my context.

White clearly operates from a praxis (in the Marxist sense) methodology when it comes to culture and faith. Culture deadens adolescents with its false promises of happiness through consumption. The church must raise critical conciousness in adolescents. We do that through discernment which is a continual cycle of listening (to our true beings), understanding (to those things which deaden our true being), dreaming (connecting our true beings to Scripture and theology) and finally acting (expressing our true selves).

I can agree with most of this but I was always left with the feeling that I could read someone like Naomi Klein and get this. For instance, isn't discernment both horizontal and vertical? Shouldn't I care both about how social studies can explain something and how God continues to act in the world? Is there no personal God that I must attune myself to in some way? I'm not asking for a simplistic Jesus-is-my-boyfriend theology here. I have more than a passing knowledge of St. Ignatius of Loyola for instance, and he clearly had a concept of God's providential activity in the world. Given that White cites Loyola on more than one occasion, where is an Ignatian sense of discernment which recognizes both feelings and the Spirit?

I will use this book in my own ministry but am sad that its audience is so limited. I teach at an evangelical school and we use many different sources for theological reflection. Sadly, Whites animosity towards evangelicals and/or any traditional orthodoxy will make it difficult for me to assign this book. It isn't that I don't want students to get exposure to other theological traditions. This book however has such a narrow focus that I think that to ask students to persevere through the whole thing would not be worth the time investment. What is even sadder may be that I don't get the sense that White cares about this which is a pity because his thoughtful innovations are worthwhile for more than just his small part of the youth ministry world.

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Shut Down Day Results

I did it, mostly. Vivian turned on the desktop computer this morning but I didn't go in the room nor did she play music on it. I also passed by a Phil's computer later in the day. No touching or using so I think that I qualify as succeeding.

Biggest impressions. Vivian was happy that I seemed more available. I missed some of my music. I finished a book that I would have posted some thoughts on immediately. It was a lot easier because it was a Saturday. Something that I should work into my Sabbath routine.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Real Beauty

I think that most folks have caught on that Dove is trying to do something, although it is not entirely clear what, with their real beauty campaign. I say not entirely clear because they seem to want to redefine beauty but never actually say what they want it to be.

Virginia Postrel has an interesting take on the campaign. Beauty, according to Postrel and the researchers she draws on, is not some ephemeral feel good attribution that we randomly assign to things that we like. Beauty is quite measurable, always has been and likely always will. We can no more say Halle Berry is ugly than we can say Ugly Betty is, well, beautiful. We recognize in other areas of life that the genetic lottery is unfair. I don't feel bad that I'm not Wayne Gretzky when I play hockey and nor should I. It would be ridiculous to have a campaign to redefine greatness in hockey, so why isn't it also ridiculous to do so with beauty?

This, of course, will not be very popular with those who join Facebook groups called Authentic Beauty or the thousands of comments left by young women struggling with body image on YouTube. Still, I wonder if the answer to body image problems is not to redefine beauty (and make money doing it as Dove is) but to celebrate other attributes less tied to the genetic lottery. I believe Dove is trying to have its cake and eat it to by redefining physical beauty using non-physical characteristics. This flies in the face of the fact that very few people are really physically beautiful yet we still know them when we see them.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Canadian Youth Workers Conference

I've been lame because I haven't gotten either the Presbyterian Church in Canada or Tyndale officially behind this, but my lameness isn't based on politics or because I think the event will suck. Quite to the contrary. I think it will be a great event and canadafire has gone out of its way to build a diverse group of folks to support it. I know it's out West, which makes it difficult for poor Tyndale students to go for instance, but we'll see what we can do. Check it out.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Shut Down Day

CBC had an interesting piece yesterday on a couple of guys trying to get people to turn off their PC's for a day. Shut Down Day, a sort of technological Sabbath, fits in with turn off your TV day etc. but has the additional irony of getting promoted on the medium that it wants to shut down. I'd be interested in seeing what the web page looks like on Saturday. As for me, I won't be checking from my computers. I'll take a break and hang out with my friends the Irishs.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Sleep Better

I'm thinking of getting these little numbers for my little guy. I'm sure that when Jesus snuggled under the blankets, Mary rested better because he was fully clothed in the armour of God PJ's.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Super hero religion

Recently, Marko posted about a survey to see what superhero you might be, if indeed you were a superhero. I wonder if the survey considered that many superheroes apparently have a religious affiliation. Superman, for instance, is a lapsed Methodist, much to the chagrin of a friend of mine who uses Superman as an example in some of her academic work.

I'm a little more upset by the lack of major Presbyterians. Umm. Are we boring?

check it out.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Reading List

Since 1995 I have kept track of every book that I have read. The rules are simple. I read a book. I write it down on the list. If I've skipped significant sections or have only read certain chapters, the book doesn't count. While doing grad work that had a deleterious effect on my lists (reading Barth is not a cover to cover experience for me).

The list on the side bar had become sadly out of date. For instance, in the past two days week I've read two books that didn't even make it on the list (I figured the whole world, at least teenage male world had already read Eragon and Eldest I better hop to it). It isn't that I finished the books listed there but they just weren't getting read. I've decided a new, simple rule for the side bar list. I must have read each book on the list within 14 days of my most recent post. Hopefullly that will show more accurately what I'm reading.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Losers Club

No, not the YS book but similar. I was listening to an Emergent Village podcast by Samir Selmanovic entitled Finding Our God in the Other. It was worth the listen for his provocative take on the kenotic nature of Christ and the implications of that for inter religious dialogue. A brief snippet however started another meme of a thought.

Selmanovic tells a story about a conference where pastors would confess their failures and then recieve a blessing or benediction or absolution from others. How refreshing to see a group of Christians deal with failure in a way that allows God's grace to enter into the situation. Instead of hiding failure by only focusing on the positive or deluding ourselves into believing no failure goes on, these pastors faced the fact that of 100 ideas, 98 don't work. For a faith that proclaims a God who failed intentionally, we don't do failure real well. Instead of looking for resurrection, we continue to crucify those who do fail.

My presbytery (a group of lay and ordained Presbyterians in an area) could use some of this kind of confession and absolution. Instead of getting defensive, we could accept that we don't get it right all of the time and accept God's grace to fail. I propose (and I'll do it in an email to my ministerial colleagues) that we form a Losers Club that is a place to fail with grace and to receive words of absolution from fellow sinners. We'll see how it flies.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Blair is back

Over the past couple of months I've taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging myself as my class at Tyndale took over.

They are done their blogging assingment now and I'm back to contributing myself.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Final Assignment

Here is the general outline for the assignment. To get the files mentioned, email me. Choose one of the following:

This is a research paper that uses at least three different academic sources to better understand how Canadian youth interact with culture. This could take the general form of Lynch’s case study chapters or something entirely different. The possibilities of combining descriptive, evaluative and normative sources are near endless. Pick some aspect of youth culture that captivates you and explore it in a disciplined, persuasive manner.

Using the template given (Curriculum Template.wpd) design a 2 or 3 session curriculum aimed at youth or aimed at adults who must understand youth e.g. parents. You may address culture in two ways. First, you may directly address youth culture. A seminar for parents that explains how they might evaluate the music their kids listen to fits into this category. Second, you may use popular culture to teach about something else. Using the Lord of the Rings as a theme to talk about friendship, vocation and evil would be an example of this category. Since this is not a course focused on the pragmatic, the majority of your marks are for understanding the evaluative and normative assumptions you make about culture.

Create some sort of cultural artifact that Canadian youth would reasonably be expected to use. The sky is the limit although you must have approval of the instructor. Expect to spend between 15 and 30 hours creating your object and writing your proposal. Use the Youth Specialties book proposal template supplied (YS proposal guidelines.wpd) to think about your new cultural artifact. Do not worry about completing Section I (biography) or areas that clearly have no relevance to your project such as its value as an academic source. Use the template as a guide to figure out how your object fits in the overall scheme of things.


"Hurt" by Johnny Cash - a post by Andrew

So I will be honest I am a new comer to Johnny Cash, it wasn’t until the movie about him cam out that I started to listen to his music and boy did I miss out. Out of all his songs the one that stands out for me is “Hurt.” Now “Hurt” was a cover tune that he did, but unlike so many other cover tunes he make this one his own and according to some it’s better than the original. Hurt is about the dangers of addictions, but for me its so much more. When I first heard the song it reminded me of every relationship that I have had in the past and how I had screwed up. But most importantly it reminds me of my relationship with God and how I can only make one promise to God while I am on this earth That promise to quote Cash “And you could have it all/ My empire of dirt/ I will let you down/ I will make you hurt.” This promise is because of our sinful condition and that at times we are all like Judas and will betray Christ with how we live our lives. If you haven’t seen the video for this song as well then you really need to. Through out the video Cash is seen in all his wealth and seems so lonely. At the end of song we see clips of the Crucifixion I recommend listening to this song and see the video

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Revolver: Christian Metal's Holy Alliance - a post by Andrew

Back in January I was at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Brantford and checking out the magazines there when one caught my eye. That magazine was Revolver which is aimed at the hard rock/ metal scene and is a non-Christian magazine geared to non-Christians. Having never read this magazine before it was the picture on the cover and the main article that ensnared my vision. The cover has the front man of four of the biggest Christian metal bands with the phase Christian metal’s Holy alliance. The article in the magazine had the four front men sit down together and discussing a wide range of topics dealing with hell, the Bible, abortion, playing music, Present Bush and so on. There are two things to note the first is that I am leery when non-Christian media represents Christian’s because they get portrayed as freaks and outcasts. The second is that I love seeing good “Christian” bands getting non-Christian attention. So when I first read the article I was both apprehensive and excited at the same time.
In reading this article some things pop out to you, the first is that the person who is asking the questions is not a Christian and so is asking question that all non-believers would ask like “Am I going to hell,” “Rules” and “Is the Bible a divine book.” As I was reading this interview I was very please with the writer not making us as Christian look stupid, and fanatical. Some of the answers that the gays had to say was some what of the typical answers and so as Christians we know them all; but as a non-Christian reading this article I think would let them know that all Christians are not crazy people who are there to bash them over with guilt and condemn them. One of the things which I thought was important to the writes indicates that this interview was like any other on that they have done but the langue was clean and sanitized. This kind of dialog with non-Christians is very important was it shows that we are not all fundamentalist.

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Dresses - a post by Jeanette

I was able (maybe not able, but roped into) spending a day at the mall looking for grade eight grad dresses. Having never spent money on grad dresses, I was quite shocked at what these girls were looking at. The prom type grad dresses with an average value of over $300 were a bit much for grade eight. I realizes that grade eight graduation is a mile stone in a young girls life, but is it really worth $300+? And that was just the dress. Then comes the shoes, the jewellery, ect. Are these kids crazy?

The girls didn’t buy a dress while I was with them, mainly because none of them have the money, it was an interesting experience. The dresses that they would choose for grad were more for prom, but overall it was a good look into who they were a young people. I realize their parents may have a different opinion of how much they are willing to spend on a dress, but these girls have high hopes. They don’t seem to understand the value of a dollar. Their parents will pay for it...they say. I know better...

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Music and Lyrics - a post by Jeanette

Music and Lyrics starring Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant is just another romantic comedy, or is it? Actually, it is the typical romantic comedy. The girl, the guy and the predictable ending – all three give the basic outline of a romantic comedy. Hugh Grant plays a one hit wonder type from the 80's who has been asked to write a song for the most popular teen singer. Drew Barrymore’s character works for family and meets Hugh grant while watering plants in his apartment. She has a talent for writing poetry and Hugh convinces her to help him out and by the end of the movie, they end up together.

The whole story has a cute, romantic feel to it but it also has a few interesting parts to it.

The movie begins with Hugh Grant singing in an 80's music video. If you don’t go to see the movie for the rest of the content, go for this music video. Quite amusing. I never realized the craziness of 80's videos, but it definitely showed what the videos were really like. It does look like the MTV music videos from the 80's. Overall the movie was good. Not one of the better romantic comedies, but one worth seeing once. So if you have some time to waste, check this one out.

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A new controversy - a post by Geoff

I was going to write about something that I enjoy, because of the fact that every blog that I written; is against something. However I was watching CNN tonight and I saw this newscast on the tomb of Jesus and his son… or whatever they think they found. The most shocking thing is, that there is a documentary that is suppose to be coming out on it. And it is directed by James Cameron. I heard rumors about something like this happening. But truthfully I thought it was a joke.

This is truly foolish; the man that made Terminator and Titanic is making a documentary on Jesus’ tomb. You’ve got to be kidding me. What are they trying to prove? It seems that every year ‘they’ come out with some type of Christian controversy. And it seems to happen around this time as well.

In the report they were sharing, they say that there is DNA evidence has been linked to Jesus and his son. How the heck are they getting this stuff in the first place? I’m sure they have some type of proof to fall back on. But come on now, why? Does Cameron have some beef with Christians; is he getting paid huge to do this? I am baffled at this story.

They even had a producer or some involved with the documentary, saying that this is not going to be against Christians; supposedly he has talked to a few about it and their fine with it.

Fine with it..? I can understand Christians not caring or believing this, because to be fine with trying to disprove their faith, that ludicrous. No one would be fine with any outside faction trying to disprove their faith. What if the documentary was on Muhammad’s existence or something along those lines. I’m pretty sure that, the Muslims would come at them pretty seriously.

What’s the real problem? I have come to expect attacks like this every once in a while, because it does state that Christians will be persecuted. But why continue; atheists are like 0 for 12 now. And it is even more embarrassing for them now that non-Christian scientists are proving Darwinism wrong. It is like the San Antonio Spurs trying to stop Tracy McGrady in the last 13 seconds. Atheist are like people that find out about a surprise party and their not invited; so they try their hardest to ruin it, but they never succeed.

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Fame - a post by Geoff

One thing that I have always been baffled with is the journey that people go on to get their 15 seconds of fame. For some people they will try for it at any cost. Whether it is through sports or being game show, which are more positive way. However there are those who make absolute fools of themselves by going on these ridiculous reality television shows, where they get humiliated just to get on TV. I don’t think that this is an encouraging thing for our society. I feel bad for the people that get mad fun of on these shows until I realize that they know exactly what they are doing.
It is starting to bother me; all these shows were the first part of it is devoted to showing the really good people and the awful people, and networks know that people enjoy watching the people that make fools of themselves. So they can put on as many as possible. It gets pretty outlandish to watch someone acting stupidly for a 30 second stint. Then have the judges or whomever go mock them for 2 minutes. Is our society so desperate for attention that they will seek it through any outlet?
I just don’t understand people’s infatuation with fame; it seems that people will climb over anyone in order to obtain it. Such as all of these reality television shows like survivor where everyone is put on an island and it is a game were the goal is to be the last one voted off. The concept to me is alright. What I don’t understand is how people can go and sell out team members so easily and say it was just a part of the game. To me that garbage! People just want the money and the fame. I do not enjoy watch human desperation at its lowest form. It seems that we are teaching the younger generation to become sellout and cowards if it gains you fame that is so valuable. How horrific is that. And we wonder why teenager search for recognition and respect in all the wrong places.
If people want to become famous by putting in the hard work and long time, that’s fine by me; but if they want to cheat and act foolish to gain useless recognition. Then that’s a different story. I find that to be heartless and empty. I also believe that it leaves people feeling fake at the end. It is a sad truth in today’s society.

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Peter Petrelli – the Human sponge? - a post by Ian

Heroes, 9 p.m. Monday nights on NBC.

Shameless plug, I know. I won’t ruin a lot of the show, but I wanted to get at one issue. One of the main characters in this rookie tv show that has captivated millions is named Peter Petrelli. He is arguably one of the most unique characters on the show because unlike everyone else with singular powers, Peter’s power is he can absorb anybody else’s powers and they affect what he can do. The reason I find him the most interesting character is because often we can get like that with people around us. Some people are so affected by what other people around them say or do that they sometimes model it upon themselves, usually to increase their popularity or social status.

I think in Tyndale the problem can be even worse, because some students at school are all Christian and Praise Jesus at school but then on the weekend go back home and return to their usual lifestyle therefore when they come back on Monday again they feed off of others and let it affect who they are. Do you agree with this? In your opinion, is peer pressure still as prominent as it always has been or has it turned into a case of people just wanting to be like everyone else, ignoring who they really are, regardless of the amount of pressure around them?

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Back then, it was just a video game! - a post by Ian

First of all, I want you to think of the first thing that comes to your mind when I say these words: 15 Love, Foul Ball, Nice Spare, Nice Approach, Round 1 – Fight! Upon hearing these words, most people would think of 5 sports: Tennis, Baseball, Bowling, Golf, and Boxing. In the past, people would never relate any of those words to a video game.

Until now, I give you the Nintendo Wii. When I first heard of this invention I was quite pessimistic, thinking that the idea of a motion sensored video game was too unrealistic to be plausible. And then, one cold and rainy November day I was visiting a friend and they asked me if I wanted to play on their Wii. Once the initial shock wore off due to the confusion of what I had just been asked, I realized what they were referring to and agreed to at least try it out.

To my surprise, not only was it fun and gradually addicting, it took a heck of a lot more energy than I first though. After my first few rounds of boxing were over I was surprised to notice that I was getting a little tired. After a few sets of tennis is when I begun to realize that unbeknownst to me, I was excercising! And all I wanted to do was played a video game, I didn’t intend to actually feel somewhat “in the action” as I did.

Which got me thinking, if a video game system can get me working as if I’m playing a sport, how many children throughout North America are unknowingly begging their parents to buy them a Wii. Then, while playing it, they gradually losing weight throughout the ordeal. Laugh at me, roll your eyes, scoff, whatever, it’s true. It is widely known that the Nintendo Wii is the best selling video game system on the market and I find it interesting that so many kids want to play these video games without realizing the after effects of actual movements.

Sure it’s a stretch, and they’re still not outside actually playing the games, but think about it. Kids playing xbox 360 are sitting on their couch munching on food as they play. Nintendo players, on the other hand, are standing up, swinging their arms frantically with no extra time to munch on anything until the game is done. Again, they’re not outside just yet but I think it’s a step in the right direction.

Anyway enough of what I think, what do you guys think? Have you played it? What do you think? Am I full of it or do you agree that I’m onto something here?

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Living in the Country - a post by Aaron

The Moira River runs by my house in Plainfield Ontario. This river is not the cleanest, but with areas with rapids, calms, and lots of wilderness, it is an amazing way to escape from the business of everyday life. Closer to my house, there are five islands, one fairly large appropriately called "Is-Land". Years ago before I lived the Christian life, I used this island for crazy parties with my friends. We set up tents, cut down trees, and made huge fires. We would go late night swimming, and drink the night away. At the time it was amazing. Now, I still go out to that island. I still hang out there with friends, camping, having huge fires, simming and having a great time. However, now there is also another reason why I go out there. Sometimes I go out there by myself and just bring my Bible, pad of paper, and my MP3 player loaded with Hillsong music. I sit on one of the chairs, and just take everything in. I feel very close to God while I am there because I can see the beauty of God's creation. Now that I live in Toronto eight months of the year at Tyndale, I feel very distant from nature, and is difficult to find that place where I feel close with God and escape everything around me. I can deffenently see why some people like the city life, but it's really not for me. I have been trying to bring some of my new city friends to come to my house to join me in my island adventures with God. I think it is important to see both sides of life; the country life, and the city life. I think it is good to try different ways to meet with God. Going canoeing, watching beavers and the fish swimming by, the birds chirping over head, and the sun beating down on you, all marvelous things that God created.

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Football Culture - a post by Aaron

Football has been a huge part of my life for the last 7 years of my life. Some people never understand why I love football so much. They dont understand why I spend countless hours infront of the TV watching Sunday Football games, commentaries, and playing the lastest Madden football game for Playstation. Most of all, they never understood why I would play football. I would come home with all kinds of injuries. Hyperextended knee and elbow, bruises all up my arms and face, bloody and jammed fingers. Dispite the injuries it never stopped me from playing. Is this wrong? is this an obsession? I say no. Football for me, and many others is a form of culture. Over hundreds of thousands of people jam into giant stadiums every weekend to watch their favorite teams play. There are tailgate parties for hours, and for some, days before the game even starts. People park outside the stadium and camp with their BBQ's and beer. There are people gambling thousands and even millions of dollars on just a single game. Even though the football life does not always bring the best out of people, there is so much good it has to offer. The entertainment, friends, Superbowl parties, and life goals are all things that come out of this great sport. Football means everything to some people in the lower states. Kids are trained as soon as they can walk. They are pressured to be the best they can and try to make the team. Football is a huge part of peoples lives.

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YouTube - a post by Gordon

The person of the year is YOU! This title made it to the front covers of January's issue of Time Magazine this year. is not about Britney Spear shaving her hair nor Al Gore saving the world from global warming, it's about you, hence its name. Its about individuals living in the comfort their home, whom want to express what they want to say or show to the world. This web based video sharing network has not only reached North America, from where it started, but across the world. Youtube is a global movement! If an individual has a computer and internet connection, then most likely they would have had connected with Youtube at some point. The average Joe can become famous over night just by posting a Jackass-like video of himself. Before you know it, the youtube video gets recognized by the news press and TV producers, which may land them on national television.
In fact, Sportcentral featured a new sport presented on youtube called 'locker boxing' last week. It features two persons in a locker room, wearing padded equipment, such as hockey helmet and gloves. The objectives is to punch the opponent until they drop and can't get up. The person who remains standing declares as winner of the match. Even though locker boxers are padded, the impact caused in throwing punches at each other can lead to some serious concussions...
...which makes me think. The technology age is moving so quickly, now everyone can handle making their own music videos and short film. I remember when I started my film program in high school, we used an analog editing system, called the Casablanca: a $4000 black box that connects to any TV. The following year, after a computer hardware device called the 'firewire card' was introduced, everyone in the film class was editing in digital format. The professional 'look' in movies was no longer beyond our reach, but in the accessible tools of a digital camera and a desktop computer. Before the end of the 2nd year, we were compositing CGI (computer generated images) on our films, making Mission Impossible-like explosions.
Video has developed so rapidly since the millenium. Everyone is a filmmaker now and you don't even need skills. All you need is a cheap digital still camera and computer to upload it on to Youtube, then BOOM, millions of hits over a short period of time...what a revolutionary explosion.

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Lost Writers Lost - a post by Andrew

I have been into the show Lost for the last 18 months or however long it has been going on. For some reason the show has me hooked. Well I guess that is what the writers are going for, hooking the audience in for the next week and the next. But for some reason I wonder if the writers know where they are going with the show, or are they just going to end it at some point when the ratings drop from people like me getting bored of not being able to answer all the questions that writers hook everyone into the show with. They just show things and bring up questions every episode, not answering the big questions that have people sitting on the edge of their seats and writing blogs about the show. Like the plane crash, there as been no answer to why the plane crashed, there have been theories or partial answers but why not complete answers?. And who are the others anyway, why are they there, and how did they get there? Sorry for the little rant there, but seriously, I have no idea to some of the best answers to the show and it is a season and a half in. I thought it started as a mini series, I thought it was suppose to be over in under a year, and now I need to know the answers. I think another thing that has the audience hooked is the development of the characters. Every episode or at least almost every episode there are flash backs to the characters past life, which has you feeling like you know them. I wonder if this is another cover for making the show longer and giving the writers a chance to figure out just how they are going to dig themselves out of this crazy plot line they have put themselves in. The show is great but I really do wonder if there is a possibility of them answering all these questions made people think. But the thing is like we talked about in class the writers hook me in every once in a while with answering a question or two that I have been thinking about for days or weeks. So if you want to keep you Wednesday nights free do yourself a favour and don’t start watching.

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Facing the Giants of Christian Movie Making - a post by Andrew

So last night my family and I actually sat down and watched a Christian moving we rented from blockbuster. Now usually the words Christian and movie don’t go that well together, but this movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. The movie was called Facing the Giants and was based on the life of a high school football coach. This coach faces some tough life struggles as he is told he may lose his job if the team doesn’t perform, his finical situation is not so great, with his car in dire need of repair, and finally he is told that he probably can’t have kids. So as these situations seem to come together a man who prays for the Christian school that this
coach works for, encourages the coach to keep following God’s plan. So the coach re-evaluates his coaching philosophy and decides to coach and live following Biblical principles. This turns everything around, the football team changes their attitude and their winning ways. The community provides for the coach and his wife, and in the final scene the coach and his wife learn that they are pregnant. Although the acting was what could one say, a little sub par, and the writing was at times a little predicable (the winning kick is kicked by a boy named David, Jonathan is the one holding the ball for David, and the team that they defeat by that winning kick are named the giants.) The life principles are pretty neat. Once the coach decides to
change his coaching and life principles, the team, the school, and the community are changed, and God does some pretty awesome things. That started to get me thinking about how much we would change and the community would change if we started truly living by Biblical principles. Not just at Tyndale or in class or on Sunday morning, but in even in everyday life, with every person we come across. So if you can get passed the cheesiness of this movie, it worth the watch.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007 - a post by Josh

From having a sister who is three years older than me I know that a fairly popular piece of media for teen girls are magazines. I remember seeing stacks of Seventeen Magazine in my sister’s room when she was in her teen years and I was her annoying little brother (which I still am). As the age range of adolescence continues to start lower the forms of media that were reserved for older teens begin to seep into the culture of pre-teens.

I was in Chapters yesterday wandering through the magazine section and I noticed something odd. A girl reading Seventeen Magazine, but she wasn’t a teenager. She looked like a teenager, but mini-sized. This girl was probably around nine or ten years old. She was flipping through Seventeen Magazine and talking on a cell phone! I was shocked. I assumed that the messages the magazine passes on to the large population that read it were probably sub-par at best, but I wanted to check it out for myself. And rather than the shoppers at Chapters thinking I was some kind of creep reading Seventeen Magazine, I chose to check out their website instead. boasts handy articles like “Learn how to Apply False Lashes” and “No Fail Hook-Up Moves”. If this is the stuff that teenage girls are being told is important than we as youth ministers have our work cut out for us. The site also has a built in BMI calculator that measures your body mass index. This is positive because it helps determine healthy body weight, a concern for all teens whether male or female. There is an entire section dedicated to “Guys”. No wonder the notion of purity has become a gray area, for even churched teens.

Adolescent girls are starving for something more to cling to than shopping, fashion, and boys. They’re searching for their identity in the midst of popular culture. Our responsibility is not only to show them the gospel, but to show them Christ’s love at the same time. So more girls don’t end up reading up on “No Fail Hook-Up Moves” while chatting it up on their cell phones in Chapters.

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CSI - a post by Hee Jun

If I have a spare time to watch TV at night, I usually watch CSI : Miami. Compared to CSI : N.Y, this verson is more exciting and easy to fix my channel till the end. I think that Miami itself shows lots of good and luxurious environment to us. There are numerous criminal investigation dramas among the TV shows. I do not like horror movies which many innocent people die brutally. But I tend to see CSIlike dramas even though it contains bloody murder pictures. I really like the scenes related to scientific investigations by cool intelligent detectives.

Yesterday’s episode was about the death of one detective. I was so surprised because this guy was one of main characters in the drama. Why did the writer want him to die in one scene accidentally? After the show, I kept thinking about it. I concluded that his death would affect other detectives in a way. This drama will express their emotions regardless of the work they conduct.

This drama also contains many death scenes. The agent named Speedle’s death was treated very importantly and took a long shot. His funeral service was huge and very impressive. But the other victims or bad men’s ending was so short. Their deaths look very easy and satisfying. Rather I wait for their investigating process afterwards. I truly watch lots of shows with superficial interpretation looking for fun factors like this. But how about teens? How do they think about what they see through motion pictures?

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Blankets - a post by Joel

I recently spent the weekend at a snow camp with the youth group I am interning with, and on the 3 hour bus ride home, I had nothing to read. The youth pastor I am working for happened to have a graphic novel I had heard about recently from a friend.

Let us keep in mind that I am not known to enjoy graphic novels. I tend to consider them along the same lines as comic books, and that’s not for me. However, I truly enjoyed this “Illustrated Novel”.

Blankets is the author’s story, it is about a kid named Craig who is growing up in a conservative Christian home and is dealing with both his artistic talents and his faith while in a serious long term relationship.

Craig grew up sharing a bed with his brother, and enjoyed very few things in life because while at school he was constantly harassed and beat up, and in the summer he worked on the farm which was only a little better than school. The only true release he had was over Christmas break, which a week of was used by snow camp where the “Christian” kids were just as bad as the kids at school. All the while Craig is constantly being confronted in his last years of high school by his pastor telling him that he should “go into the ministry.”

While at camp in his high school years, Craig met a girl named Raina who he was able to relate to, and appreciated art as much as he did. Over time, after camp, a long distance relationship bloomed. They exchanged letters, and packages to share their affection for each other. One day Craig got a call from Raina during a snow storm telling him that her parents were getting a divorce and she had attempted to drive to his home in Michigan but the snow had stopped her 400 miles away.

The bulk of the story is based around Craig’s two week visit to Raina’s house and their interactions there, both with each other, Raina’s parents, Raina’s older married sister and her child, Raina’s mentally “retarded” sister, and Raina’s brother who has down syndrome. The latter were adopted by Raina’s parents to thank God for blessing them with two beautiful daughters.

This is a story about a Christian dealing with relationships and art and how he deals with not being supported in his passions because the people at church believe that at art school you become a homosexual because they make you draw naked people. It’s not a happy story, it’s filled with different narratives of both the past and the present and in the end you are left with almost nothing.

Overall this is a great read (or look, for that matter), it’s worth the few hours it will take you to go through it. “Blankets” is a provocative look at how the Christian community sees art. However, it is important to keep in mind that this book takes place more than ten years ago and it is uplifting to see how the church in general is embracing art today, however, there is still more to be done.

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Blankets - a post by Joel

I recently spent the weekend at a snow camp with the youth group I am interning with, and on the 3 hour bus ride home, I had nothing to read. The youth pastor I am working for happened to have a graphic novel I had heard about recently from a friend.

Let us keep in mind that I am not known to enjoy graphic novels. I tend to consider them along the same lines as comic books, and that’s not for me. However, I truly enjoyed this “Illustrated Novel”.

Blankets is the author’s story, it is about a kid named Craig who is growing up in a conservative Christian home and is dealing with both his artistic talents and his faith while in a serious long term relationship.

Craig grew up sharing a bed with his brother, and enjoyed very few things in life because while at school he was constantly harassed and beat up, and in the summer he worked on the farm which was only a little better than school. The only true release he had was over Christmas break, which a week of was used by snow camp where the “Christian” kids were just as bad as the kids at school. All the while Craig is constantly being confronted in his last years of high school by his pastor telling him that he should “go into the ministry.”

While at camp in his high school years, Craig met a girl named Raina who he was able to relate to, and appreciated art as much as he did. Over time, after camp, a long distance relationship bloomed. They exchanged letters, and packages to share their affection for each other. One day Craig got a call from Raina during a snow storm telling him that her parents were getting a divorce and she had attempted to drive to his home in Michigan but the snow had stopped her 400 miles away.

The bulk of the story is based around Craig’s two week visit to Raina’s house and their interactions there, both with each other, Raina’s parents, Raina’s older married sister and her child, Raina’s mentally “retarded” sister, and Raina’s brother who has down syndrome. The latter were adopted by Raina’s parents to thank God for blessing them with two beautiful daughters.

This is a story about a Christian dealing with relationships and art and how he deals with not being supported in his passions because the people at church believe that at art school you become a homosexual because they make you draw naked people. It’s not a happy story, it’s filled with different narratives of both the past and the present and in the end you are left with almost nothing.

Overall this is a great read (or look, for that matter), it’s worth the few hours it will take you to go through it. “Blankets” is a provocative look at how the Christian community sees art. However, it is important to keep in mind that this book takes place more than ten years ago and it is uplifting to see how the church in general is embracing art today, however, there is still more to be done.

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O Brother Where Art Thou? - a post by Ryan

I don't know exactly why but it is my favorite movie. I have seen it over a dozen times, and every time I notice something I have never seen before. I love all the different situations that they find there selves in by chance, and the Irony of making a great song without knowing it. It is a journey that I think every guy can relate to and that's why guys like it so much. The movie takes you through all the emotions, humor, love, guilt, salvation & Joy, hatred etc. Each situation the 'soggy bottom boys' find themselves makes you feel a different emotion. One of the most random movies yet a classic.

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CFRB Talk Radio - a post by Ryan

When I am in the car I tune to 10 10am and listen Bill Carol in the morning, who usually talks about nothing important. The Mots are on in the afternoon (a married couple) who are unbelievably still married after taking so many different stands from each other and John Moore in on the way home, who is the most controversial. It doesn't seem to matter who the host is because they all take calls and usually cut off the caller and reinstate their own opinion. To me this is the best part of all their shows because its funny to hear the people call in thinking that everyone listening is going to hear their personal opinion and that it actually matters. Of course their opinions are only there for the entertainment of people like me and the talk show host who make them even more entertaining. I listen all the time but never once have had the desire to call in, but find it hilarious when others do.

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E.R. - a post by Ryan

A Cousin lent the first session of E.R. on DVD to my wife and I recently, both of us strictly comedy people did not think we would like it. After watching the first episode we have not been able to stop watching it. We are addicted!

The episodes build on one anther but don't leave you hanging or pick up on the story of a particular patient, instead it gives you an unquenchable desire to watch the
lives of a few doctors, nurse and clerks as each show develops more of their character. Having it on DVD gives us the luxury of not having commercials and being able to watch the next episode any time we want. If we didn't have a three month old demanding our attention I am sure we would have finished the entire first session in a week! The show puts me on edge, not because of the trauma of the patients coming in
to the E.R. but because I never know what's going to happen. Yet some of the characters are predictable and I feel good when I guess how they will respond and I am right. E.R. is an important cultural artifact because we have all experienced it before in some way. All of us have been in the E.R. whether for are self or with someone else. E.R. lets us experience life behind the scenes and from the other perspective.

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Whatever Happened to a Home Cooked Meal

Snider has another post. Look to the side bar for the link.

Super Size Me - a post by Jess

I caught a glimpse of a film I saw a while back while flipping through movie channels; Super Size Me. I remember staying clear of McDonalds for almost a year after seeing it. From the recap I got from watching just a bit of it again, it got me thinking. Some parents try to scare their children off smoking by making them puff on cigarettes until they get sick. Super Size Me tries to scare us off fast food—or at least warn us of its dangers thereof—by showing how a month-long diet of Big Macs and 42-oz. drinks causes havoc upon ones health.

But the film is not just about one man, and it is not just about nutrition. Along the way, some essential questions are raised about the nature of personal, corporate and social responsibility. Morgan Spurlock (creator/director of the documentary) is particularly concerned about the way companies like McDonald's target children through their Happy Meal toys, playgrounds, birthday parties, animated television shows and multi-million-dollar advertising campaigns. When Spurlock shows some children a series of portraits and mug shots, they have difficulty identifying everyone from Jesus to George Washington, but they all know who Ronald McDonald is.

Some questions that came to mind were these:
1. If our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, how should we eat? How do we honor God when we eat or drink? What place should fasting and feasting have in our worship?

2. What should concern parents more—the dietary aspects of fast food, or the way some restaurants encourage children to identify with their brand? If children, once grown up, will not depart from the way in which they have been trained up (Proverbs 22:6), then how concerned should we be about advertising that targets children?

3. How can we develop patience and self-discipline in a culture that encourages us to get what we want now? What would be the costs and benefits of waiting a little while longer? What would be the costs and benefits of doing more things for ourselves?

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Hiltons and Lohans - a post by Jess

Over the reading break I spent some time relaxing in front of a new talk show that Rachel Ray (formerly from 30 Minute Meals on the food network) is the host and most of her segments are geared towards womens issues. This particular segment was about how girls as young as 5 or 6 are becoming obsessed and affected by body image from the media. They showed a short video clip of a group of seven 6 year old girls, with their teacher who had two pictures. One of an overweight cartoon woman and another of a thin woman; She asked the girls which one they would rather be, and which one they would rather be friends with. Every single one of them said that they would rather be the thin woman and they would only want to be friends with the thin woman. Their response was simply, no one likes fat people. The girls were also asked if they’d rather be fat and really smart or thin and stupid. All but one said they’d rather be thin and stupid. It breaks my heart that girls as young as 6 years old have this mentality and it’s because of the culture that they live in that they feel this way. The mothers of those seven girls were in the audience of the show. After they saw the video clip, they were shocked. Some of them blamed themselves, others blamed the media. The truth is it’s a combination of many things in our culture.

Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears did not invent “thin is in”, shallow materialism, partying and vapid sexuality. They are also product of our culture, not the inventors of it. And they become children's teachers only insofar as we abdicate that role. Sure, the fact that these girls seem to get an inordinate amount of attention, their every move chronicled and discussed, can't help but leave curious little girls wondering whether this may be an appropriate way to fulfill every little girl's fantasy of being adored. It's up to parents to be parents and educate thier daughters that not all attention is good attention, not everything that glitters is gold. But too often the parents are just as intrigued by these little pop tarts as the kids, and are too interested in being seen as "cool" to bother with teaching the boring moral lessons that will protect them from becoming little Lohans and Hiltons.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - a post by Hee Jun

The series of Harry Potter have created a great popularity in the world. Over time Harry Potter grows up with the development of stories. The movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is based on the third book of Harry Potter series. This third one made Harry Potter become a thirteen years old boy and third grader in his magic school. He lost his parents when he was a baby. So he was raised by his aunt’s family. He received an unfair treatment and unloving care. This movie begins with his rebellious and twisted actions toward the family. Maybe he doesn’t think he belongs to them at all. This kind of life seems so sad to him but he finds good friendships and meaningful adventures from magic school.

I love Harry Potter stories because I involve in children’s ministry now. Children as well as teens love to talk about Harry Potter. They usually read books first and then watch movies. They can compare between two kinds of works. The magic school named Hogwarts is like any other ordinary schools. There are many characters in the stories just like today’s teens. But the main character, Harry Potter has extraordinary powers and fight against the evil one with bravery. In the end he always wins and brings back comfort to everyone. He becomes a hero. He uses the power by means of magic in order to save his school and friends. We can’t imagine it in our real world but the ordinary teen who has a special life in the movie makes it possible. We know that this is not real and biblical. However, some kids in my Sunday School believe that the magic thing is fascinating and powerful. They really love this kind of story.

Their thoughts are easy to be affected by any cultural things around them. Even I love to be in the cultural life. But I sense that popular culture like Harry Potter is needed to be filtered through Christian perspective because young students still need good guidance in every way.

Saved by the Bell to the O.C. - a post by Andrew

Go to Snider's blog for his musings on some iconic tv shows. Link is on the sidebar.

Facebook - a post by Rebecca

It is true - I have been sucked into the growing trend of facebook. At first, my unwillingness to join baffled my friends. But perhaps peer pressure got the best of me? As I was watching a friend of mine browse around on facebook one afternoon, I started to see why people were enjoying this latest internet craze. I had already been aquainted with myspace and enjoyed wandering around my friends pages from time to time, but did I really need to join another community of online friends? Apparently I did!

Facebook is so much different than myspace. It is far more exclusive and private. I look forward to opening my page, knowing that there are not a million and one friend requests from people halfway around the world (why do they feel the need to be my "friend" anyways?). From my understanding, in order to view other people's pages, you must first be connected through a mutual network (and even that doesn't seem to work at all times...). Either way, I don't need to understand all the logistics of facebook to say that I have come to really enjoy it!

There have been so many people from my high school that I thought I would never see again who have found me on facebook! Its incredible to see how they have changed (or stayed the same!) over the last few years. Its like one big high school reunion - internet style! I can honestly say that I love being on facebook. I rarely check my myspace account anymore because everyone I know on there has switched over to facebook. I find it a lot easier to use and I love being in touch with all of my friends again.

Breach - a post by Brennan

This past weekend I went and saw the movie Breach which deals with Robert Hanssen, the FBI that was convicted of espionage in February of 2001. I thought it was well done, with the actors playing good roles. However, the movie was fairly predictable, as with any other spy type of movie. Though, a movie should be predictable when it is based on a real life situation.

Which brings me to the point that made this movie more interesting to me. There is an obvious change in the last few years of the content of movies. There is a larger demand for movies that are based on a true story. All one needs to do is look at how well the Pursuit of Happyness did. Though, they are two totally genres. To me it seems like that for a movie to do well, the topic needs a strong fan base, like the comic book movies, or it needs to be more realistic, as in these based on a true story ones. I find this interesting, but think this is because of the large amount of movies that come out during the year. There are so many that perhaps being are tired of the same story and these two genres provide something new.

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Gears of War - a post by Brennan

Over the Christmas break I spent a lot of my free time playing Gears of War with my brother. Unfortunately, he possesses the first person shooting skills in our family and I end up on the losing side of things any time I face off with him. He knows this and we generally play co-operative. This little tidbit of information is crucial to my experience with this game.

I am not one to enjoy gore, thus I did not think I would enjoy this game. It is rated M for mature for a good reason. In some instances one can chainsaw the enemy which involves a lot of blood being sprayed on the camera lens, and lets just say it is not cartoon in any manner. It can be downright gross, but like many other players I look past this, perhaps for a different reason than others though. I doubt I would never play this game in 1 player mode. I would rather play with my brother. For us, this is our way of hanging out and having a good time together.

Many see this game as grotesque and will add it to the ever growing list of video games that make our society worse. They will argue it continues the desensitization of the gaming generation. I do recognize that there are statistics to show this, but I would rather not argue this now. The way I see the game is a tool for hanging out
with my brother. It is our thing. So even though some might rag on how bad the game is, and how Christians should not play this game, it does not bother me. I will still play with it, well until my brother gets bored with it.

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Two-A-Days - a post by Josh

MTV is something that is relatively new to Canadian culture. For decades we the only music channel geared towards adolescents was good old MuchMusic, but now MTV has invaded Canadian households with its less than godly perspective on teen culture. One of the MTV shows that I am guilty of watching sometimes is Two-A-Days. I am definitely not addicted to Two-A-Days, but whenever I catch the show it’s usually entertaining. The show documents the Hoover Bucs a highly successful varsity football team, from Hoover, Alabama and the lives of its players in MTV’s version of reality TV, which is usually scripted. I am a football fan, but also like Two-A-Days because I played varsity sports in high school and it’s interesting to see the differences between high school sports in the states and in Canada.

I enjoy the on-field segments of the show where game and practice footage is shown simply because I am a sports fan; but the show also documents the lives of the students at Hoover High School. This is where the show tends to send the wrong message to the teens who watch it. The show sends a message that says if you aren’t a football player, you’re nothing. I’m sure Hoover High does have other positive aspects, but the show depicts the students as a part of one of three groups. A Hoover student is 1. a football player, 2. a cheerleader, or 3. one of the hundreds of crazed fans that wish they could be on the field.

Two-A-Days also sends negative body image messages to teens. The football players are massive; in the same vein that Lebron James didn’t look 18 when he entered the NBA, these guys are monsters! I know I didn’t look like that in high school, and I didn’t know many athletes who did. I’m fairly certain that the prototypical cheerleaders in the show don’t make teenage girls feel great about themselves either.

So how, as youth ministers, do we respond to shows like Two-A-Days? Shows that send out negative messages to teens? I’m not sure, but it is our responsibility to be familiar with the values that MTV and MuchMusic project in order to remain in touch with the culture that our students live in the midst of. What should our response be when a student says it’s just a TV show? Should the students who are passionate about reaching their friends with the gospel watch questionable shows that their classmates do in order to stay in the loop at school? These are all valid questions that we as youth ministers must answer, but as for me, I have to go, The Hills starts in 2 minutes.

Superman - by Jason

Jason has engaged in a significant online debate over at . An interesting engagement of popular culture that is decidedly for those in the know. Jason should get props for entering into substantial debates in a way that honours both his faith and those who are also in the debate.

Light Up Ahead - a post by Mark

For years, Further Seems Forever, a popular ‘emo-pop-rock’ band has been producing music that is highly appealing, both in sound and in word. I recently had the opportunity to listen and to watch the music video for one of their songs entitled, “Light Up Ahead.” The video depicts scenes from what appears to be World War I, with a focus on one particular soldier who sees his friend die, and has to leave his friend’s body behind as he himself retreats from the bombing. At first, I thought that the images on the video had nothing to do with the rather positive sounding song title and lyrics but…

Upon reflection and a more careful viewing of the video, I came to realize that the lyrics are actually words from the heart of the soldier who is not killed – words that are generated as a result of his spiritual experience on the battlefield. His smile represents the hope that he has found through faith in a Higher Power – one that can fill “all the emptiness”, and give him something to live for. Initially captivated by the graphic portrayal of the horror of war, I missed the real message – one of joy and expectation – as the soldier demonstrates perseverance through brokenness; realizes that he was spared for a purpose; and looks forward to a life dedicated to following God – the true ‘Light up ahead’.

The meaning of the song really resonated with me – likely because I too have had an experience where I was expected to die, and yet was miraculously spared. I was reminded again of the power of a sovereign God operating in my life, and purposed anew to take time daily to listen to His voice, and to determinedly follow the call that I believe he has placed upon my life. Although times of frustration and discouragement will come, I know that when, as the song says, I can’t see, I will wake up to His eyes steadfastly watching over me and lovingly guiding me.

After watching the video, I tried to determine what it was that made it so intensely powerful. I realized that the combination of audio and visual allows the viewer to be impacted on two levels. Though a song may have some inherent value or meaning on its own, it is only as it is combined with a visual picture that a story with a message – one that is highly relatable – is told, and is ultimately internalized by the viewer. The ability of music videos, through this duality of approach, to powerfully communicate the truth of the gospel message, renders them valuable tools for use by those involved in the practice of youth ministry today.

Facebook - a social network by Mark

Initially when I decided to join facebook, I was a little skeptical about what I’d find and experience. Judging from interaction and conversation with others about it, I wondered if facebook wasn’t just of means of satisfying curiosity about old friends and even a kind of ‘creepy’ means of touching base with past acquaintances. I guess I viewed it essentially as participation in a ‘free version of lavalife.’

Having had facebook, now for a couple months, I have come to a somewhat different understanding. I have found it to be a great way to meet up with old friends; a more interactive means than MSN of keeping up with current friends; and a system whereby I can share and exchange pictures, notes and gifts online. I have enjoyed the opportunity to talk with friends from public school, high school and camp, and find that my social world has greatly expanded as a result of participation – albeit on a mostly superficial level. I find that I check it a few times a day, and look forward to reading the comments, and looking at the pictures etc. sent by my contacts. Though the argument still remains that I could ‘just pick up the phone and call’, I think facebook provides a more efficient and convenient means of socializing with many people.

I sometimes wonder however, if the medium, in this case facebook, exerts too much control over the nature of interaction. I wonder if the simplicity, the efficiency, and to some degree the anonymity prevent or impede the development of close relationships that might have been established as a result of face to face interaction. The end result, I may come to realize, is the establishment of multiple superficial relationships, and few with any substance or long-term value. Also, facebook provides a means by which I can convey or even manufacture any image I choose – even one that may not be at all realistic or representative. In this sense, facebook can foster the establishment or maintenance or relationships that are not based entirely in truth – a reality that may also have negative long lasting effects.

In conclusion, I have come to realize that while facebook provides a wonderful means of contacting and communicating with people, it must be used with care. First, its use should never preclude personal, intentional, 1:1 conversations and interactions with friends and family, and second, I must take care to ensure that all communication, from my end at least, is carried out with absolute integrity.

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Superman - Angel

Jason has posted at a post on Superman. Not a big surprise to those who know Jason but interesting and worth a check out.

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Too Fast For Me! - a post by Rebecca

First, please let me make this clear - I not a gamer! Neither is my when he told me that he had just purchased a PSP for himself, I was slightly confused....we love music, movies, books, cars...but video games? Hmm...but hey, at least I can blog about it! Video games have certainly become something far more intricate than when I was a kid! I haven't really played a video game since my super nintendo days, and even back then, it was the generic mario brothers games. That game only required one or two buttons - this one has about ten!!! With that in mind, you might be able to appreciate my surprise (and slight frustration) when I attempted
to play "Need for Speed" on Ryan's PSP.

The concept for the game is fairly simply - similar to most racing games. The player gets to pick their car from the models available and then race others at different degress of difficulty. The player gets to collect points throughout the race for their performance level, their ability to outrun the cops, and the respect they earn as they drive. These points are accumulated to unlock new levels, new cars and new car parts that the player can then use. The driver can use the different car parts to do up their own cars very much like a real high performance car - the details that the writers of this game included are simply incredible!

After being able to watch Ryan play his new game for well over an hour (and yes, I did chuckle a few times at his own intensity), I was finally given a turn! My light-hearted laughter quickly disappeared as I struggled to control the car. Ryan set me on the easiest course in the game but my poor car still took quite the beating! The cops didn't even bother with me for the first half hour or so because I wasn't able to drive fast enough to catch their attention! To be honest, I really have no idea how long I played that game...perhaps two hours or so? By the time I did stop, my back, neck,shoulders and fingers were aching from playing for so long. I did manage to learn how to outrun the cops and even came in first place at the end of the
race! I know it was the easiest level but so what? Ha ha! I haven't touched the PSP since that night, but I do understand how these games become so addicting. They completely suck you in and make you lose all sense of time!

As for me though...I think I'll stick with slot cars...