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Alexander Wilhelmsen
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It's been something like 34 and 1/2 months from the last one, and the Comment section has been back for around the last three of those (I missed those until now). Apparently that's just me, but there was a one-off nearly 27 months ago, and I missed that too... anyways, back to work... for now. I'm never sure of what the circumstances of someone who has faithfully done their job to the best of their abilities getting sacked. Especially so when they are SO experienced and qualified and have seen what an industry is from the beginning. As of when Tic Long started (don't know him, but sounds like a guy I should), I don't think so-called "Youth Ministry" was that old, and it's likely been evolving as the culture has. The fact that he got brought back sounds similar to Steve Jobs, where he was brought back into Apple and took back over what he started. It sounds like the several times when I was able to come back in several circumstances in my life, and my disappointments when I haven't. After keeping my head down and kicking tail somewhere else, I come back bigger, better, and grateful. It sounds a kind of like you, except instead of re-starting in place, some new and amazing things seem to show up each time you get beat down and rise again. Not to mention, being further able to speak the language of "Life Sucks," for a lot of people that are like if you dropped an English speaker in a non-English country and said "Yeah, you're gonna live here, good luck!" Of course, it's not English speaking, but over time, you can learn, understand, and find a new kind of home. I don't know what the aftermath of Tic Long going back, I do know that you dropped off YS to focus on home. It's a story of "new beginnings," and restarts, which I know you know something about. I don't know what all of my re-starts were all about, nor yours, but I do know that it's a strong faith and compassion that just doesn't give up that has gotten you to your next stop and, in a way, given each stop a new and better leader. One pretty cool "new beginning" which I think you've done better by bringing some friends that will drag you along is your new podcast. I'm not sure what slammed on brakes on the original "Flipcast," (featuring Sean Allred, and the REALLY early days of MUTEMATH (that's a long time ago) they may as well have been called "Earthsuit 2.0." I guess, in a way, even when it doesn't seem like it, this is not a bad idea to keep in mind... because somehow, in some way, it comes true... "The Future is So Bright I've Gotta Wear Shades!" As for San Diego versus these guys, I know I had some fun with this picture. I also know there was a post for feedback on PCP... How about a "Post-Christian Pastors" supergroup episode, not unlike some of these Old School (the band guys you grew up with) coming together to make two great parts try to make a pretty awesome whole, and just shoot the breeze on some topics for a good 75-80 minutes, as the shows tend to be these days. Maybe "suffer through" a full two hours of worthwhile stuff by bringing these dudes in on some GoogleHangout sesh or something. Sounds like an idea... "Hel's Angels," maybe? "Steel Chargers?" Anyways, hope this return to order has (or did) bare some great results in the aftermath! Things like these somehow manage to, if people let them.
Toggle Commented Apr 24, 2016 on Back to the Future for Youth Specialties at :
"The greatest cause of atheism is Christians" line is probably the most well known because of the dcTalk song "What If I Stumble," but I read that his impact is much more widely recognized and rightfully so. That line holds a ton of truth and the fact is, yeah the overt culture is in a state of moral decay, or is it? Are we just giving more recognition to how people are and that's all? Thing is, I KNOW the culture war can't be won in the political arena, but it can be won when we show "what is beneficial" instead of what is simply allowable as "we can do anything." Grace isn't a "Get Out of Jail Free" card. We pay for our sins, God just doesn't hold us out of heaven and in the end hold us accountable. We need to say "hey, we're just like you, but not." Are we perfect? No. Should we ever claim to be? No. What I find unusual is that generally a church is the LAST place you're gonna find honest, kind, and decent people who know they're screwed up. The fear is either A) get "excommunicated," or B) advice to get therapy, or C) let's pray and lay hands on whoever. What people sometimes want is someone to listen with empathy and compassion and treat people like people. Pretty sure Mr. Manning would agree. Doesn't seem like he'd mind "going quietly," the guy SHOULD know that he was a "quiet storm" that left and impact and left behind some benevolent wreckage (to stick with the storm theme) of people's lives being changed.
Toggle Commented Jun 10, 2013 on The Death of the Ragamuffin at :
If sideways drums is what I think it is, The Newsboys are well known for that happening during their performances for a LONG time and I mean since the mid-90s. These guys are to 80's hard/glam rock what Relient K is to alternative, Skillet to harder rock, Underoath is to Metal, P.O.D. at least was for rock as well, and Lecrae is to Hip Hop. I'd even extend that to the more mainstream guys to an extent like U2 and Mumford and Sons to music in general (U2) and Folk like music. Proof that Christian groups CAN stack up to the mainstream groups with a mostly different message, or at least a reason for the message. That said, I am more a fan of groups who talk about Life and God instead of just trying to be generically Christian spiritual than having some depth and a willingness to go into life, relationships, and some darkness and sometimes saying "I still haven't found what I'm looking for."
I'm actually pretty shocked by all of these, especially considering that the majority of people are SUPPOSED to be Extroverts, who are supposed to get all jazzed up about meeting and being around people. I'm not in that majority, but it's crazy. I'd love to actually be able to figure out truly what all these "outgoing" folks are doing that these numbers are true. Heck, maybe that's why a ton of people are down these days, they're Extroverts not acting like it. As opposed to little ol' me, who has a darn good time when the wallflower take the stage (sometimes admittedly to make things interesting for the people that don't get it) before retreating to the "Table, Party of One!" and actually okay with that... guests are always invited. I know I'm a friend in writing, but hopefully a meaningful one as you still are these years later. You're definitely missed.
Toggle Commented May 24, 2013 on A Most Rare Thing at :
Love the lyrics reading it. The band? Maybe they're better live and are cool people or maybe it's just the presentation of the video. Not bad, but maybe not my cup of tea (hey, who says I'm always sunshine, the weather also includes clouds and rain after all).
Toggle Commented May 24, 2013 on All The Poor and Powerless at :
I've felt this way over time while still doing something, even if it's a fraction of what I feel I once did. The big blows are having ministry opportunities I thought I was doing well in taken away suddenly while the small blows are getting further into my 20s and going "did it matter?" and "What's next?" or seeing the end of one chapter or another that you saw. My answer to the first question is that "it does" even though it isn't something grand and wonderful or at least in appearance. To the other question... I'm still trying to figure that out and learning that's actually okay... well... not necessarily okay with me though. I'm in the middle of reading this, along with a couple other books: I got the idea to read that from someone my age that I'm simply in awe of... which leads me to think, "What's the matter with you?" while also thinking "If someone that amazing is going through the question of 'What's next? What now?' then maybe I'm okay too." On Paul, that dude had SO many reasons to give up and yet reasons to continue, which are summarized in "Love God, Love People" and his call to tell people about Jesus no matter what becomes of him. Anyways, the Story of Starfish comes to mind, even as I may not be throwing as many or as often as I once could or feel that I am... or maybe I'm just throwing different ones. I guess it's like Hebrews 13:2 "Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!" or "Don't stop helping and loving others, you never know how you're blessing God and others." When you want to quit, keep going... and don't forget that you're not alone and getting up is easier and more fun with friends!
Toggle Commented May 11, 2013 on Sam To Your Frodo at :
This post is officially BRILLIANT!!! I think this one fits up there with The Pope trained to be a scientist (a chemist) and came to the priesthood late and has been reaching out to people who we wouldn't first think of. Possibly because it's not a comfortable thing and doesn't fit our "perfect vision and life." Some Christians don't like scientists and for some reason atheists dismiss the idea that scientists do their job as an act of faith and discovery. Likewise, despite the fact that alcoholic beverages are said to be good for you in some quantity (Paul to Timothy) and Jesus made water into wine, drinking is a bad thing. Getting drunk and losing your mental capacities and what that does is the sin. Reminds me of a story where church was held after "Last Call" (I think for Christmas), how "God of this City" came to be, and the Tony Campolo "Birthday Party" story that I still love. Not to mention, your youth ministry meeting place was a bar. Anyways, awesome to see that Mr. Guinness was inspired by John Wesley and was the St. Patrick of Sunday Schools and the name is synonymous with one of the more well known beers. Since it is beer though and it's not PC to really put beer and faith together, you wouldn't know as much. But as people cite Acts 2 a lot, I'm pretty sure if Guinness had existed, the would have used them to toast and sing the Doxology ("Praise God from whom all blessings flow") as I would believe Guinness would see his product not as a vice, but as a way to bring people together and experience life. I can see St. Peter greeting Mr. Guinness with two mugs to welcome him to the God honoring party that never stops known as Heaven. "Well done, good and faithful servant! You got IT... and shared IT!" I also think he'd enjoy the commercials they came up with to represent his beer... not to mention the real and absurd excellence created from the World Records book that started from his company... BRILLIANT!!! For folks who need some nostagia and don't have much else to do, enjoy these... I take no responsibility for the pain in your sides from laughing, these are classics: Party: 6 Pack: Bread: Sunscreen: Cheeseheads: Moderation: "Much Better": Hot Wings: St. Patrick's Day: Picnic Bloopers: Invention Bloopers: Black Book: ... and one that involves a phone call to Mom, as everyone who has a living Mom, but can't get back to them should do: Have A BRILLIANT Day!
Toggle Commented May 11, 2013 on Guinness & The Gospel at :
Another way I had seen Jesus paradoxically described (including the cuddly version we usually hear about) is from comedian Brad Stein as follows: After watching that, and what Brad says is true, I'm not sure how you can see Jesus as a politically correct guy who is all love, sunshine, and rainbows, he is a man who is a warrior with a heart. I hope that when people think of Jesus, they think of all that he is, not just the parts that are comfortable or comforting. Then again, when I rest, I may feel more comforted by someone who not only can hold me up when I don't want to or can't stand, but someone that can capably stand up for me which means they can't only care, but they have to be tough. Jesus was a tough guy, but that's because of everything he was, not just parts of him. On the line where he says "Jesus is full of surprises." I remember when WWJD? and even the wristbands had their time like POGS, Pokemom, and Angry Birds. I think if people really read up and dig in to WWJD instead of what they think, they'd be amazed that it's not quite what they thought it'd be. Jesus is the ideal... he just isn't some people's less attractive (when you think about it) ideal.
Toggle Commented May 11, 2013 on The Beautiful Paradox at :
If I remember right Mary Rude is one of the people you would have wish to have taken with you when you left. It's just an example of ordinary people who do things that are honestly extraordinary and at least a little crazy. The Bible doesn't cover EVERYTHING that happened back then, as it happened. I'm pretty sure there were some amazing things that happened back then that if it were a quilt, we're only looking at a barely visible piece of thread. However, God sees it, and it is great. John mentioned that if all the things Jesus did were to be recorded, it couldn't be contained, and Jesus said we'd do even greater things. How true.
Toggle Commented May 8, 2013 on Retro Post #1: Jesus and Hot Dogs at :
The battle these days is for the youth and the culture. I think that on one hand, younger people need people who will give them the independence to find their place and find their way, while also providing the guidance they need and I believe want. I think that sometimes what matters is at least that they matter and they have an important part to play. Hopefully for God.
Toggle Commented May 8, 2013 on The Boston Bombers: A Youth Ministry Story? at :
As I PMed you via Facebook, your restart is upon my birthday and my already bittersweet and crazy last year of my 20s. I can't exactly relate to what's going on with you in terms of mirroring your story, and I have no idea truly what's going on. Beyond trying to piece it together in my own mind. The only other commentary was pretty much "no idea what's going on, but it can't be good." I do know that I have had my own share of "where do I go from here?" over the last year or so and trying to sort it out. It's nothing compared to your story, as it is now, but I am looking to better days. As I wrote among my comments catching up on the old posts, I've worked directly with a lot of people that I can't live their lives and I don't, but I can understand pain and trying to do the right things. I do find it funny that the first "24" movie (between Seasons 6 and 7) was called "Redemption" and dealt with Jack seeking to do the right thing and have peace while serving at an orphanage, only to be pulled back into the fray. On "deeper and darker," heck, it's being honest. People like people who are brave enough to go there. In the time between the last post and this one, I FINALLY read "Blue Like Jazz" straight through this last fall, and I think one of the things that resonated with everyone that's read that book is that it's Donald Miller telling it like it is. That's probably why you've resonated with me and the other pastor I've admired is that you are both honest about yourselves, God, faith, and life. Florida is called the Sunshine State, but we never forget that we're also home to a regular diet of hurricanes and rainstorms and humidity. None of those are that comfortable. Thing is, it's honest, it's life. Anyways, the Andy Ritcher to your Conan O'Brien, the David Spade to your Chris Farley, the Cal Noughton Jr. to your Ricky Bobby is back to "Shake and Bake" in the comments section, if it's okay with you. I could use it myself and I miss it. Not to mention, maybe some others will enjoy it and I hope they'll get involved in the conversation. This is doing something I loved and have missed and I hope it'll be a blessing for both of us. I don't know how you'll read me tonally, it should be different, but what will be maintained is the honesty and hopefully some humor that I brought back in the older days. I think when a person is sick and there's nothing you can do to heal them, you can comfort, care, and be there. I have no idea how I can help directly, but hey, how many stories have you read in The Bible and seen in life where people beyond hope and redemption are brought all the way back. You're not there, but I believe you know what I mean. Welcome Back!
Toggle Commented May 7, 2013 on Returning to The Pub at :
If you were going to write a book and end it, this would be a great way to end it. It also seems like a great way to start one too. I think that of all your posts, this is the one that serves as the "bottom line" of it all. Not unlike where the Priest tells Rudy in "Rudy" that in over 35 years of ministry that he knows two things "There is a God, and I am not him." That also reminds me of Steven Curtis Chapman's song "God is God" In the midst of everything, we are God's and he is in control. All we really can do is do his Will as best we understand it and do the "even greater things" Jesus said we would do.
Toggle Commented May 7, 2013 on Learning Who We Are at :
Thanks to that quote, I thought of some of my favorite YouTube clips that come from both "Alice In Wonderlands," and while I've seen both, I only really remember the live action one. That said, this sequence is funny, but this is the meat of Alice meeting the Cheshire Cat that I love: Alice is looking for the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat suggests The Mad Hatter and March Hare and tells her that they're mad. Alice says "But I don't want to go among mad people!" Cheshire replies "Oh you can't help that... most everyone's mad here... you may have noticed that I'm not all there, myself (as he disappears)." Love that. Also love both of these in the new one and how a father teachers her daughter something she will eventually teach a friend: Father to Daughter: Alice to Hatter (after he's lost it): Basically, the latter asks the former if they've lost it, to which the former tells them, "I'm afraid so; you're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret: all the best people are." Then there's the Steve Jobs classic "Think Different/Here's To The Crazy Ones": "Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." - Steve Jobs While we're on the topic of "Crazy," Cee Lo Green's song of the same name fits this theme too (imagine that, using Cee Lo to talk about Christian concepts... hey, Relient K covered this song): "My heroes had the heart, to live their lives out on the limb. And all I remember is thinking, I want to be like them." - Cee Lo To one of my heroes... who's ordinary... ("Hero" by Foo Fighters)
Toggle Commented May 7, 2013 on Crazy Like Him at :
The thing is, Christianity isn't about being all the things she described. The Church is not supposed to be anti-gays, it is to be against sexual immorality in all of its forms, including homosexuality, while also seeking to comfort and heal those that wish to be comforted and healed. The Church is there to struggle with them, or that's the dream. The Church is not anti-feminist, it is about having proper roles. In Jesus's day, you could consider him part of their "feminist" movement. Birth control is something to struggle with. On Democrat/Republican, Hillary Clinton is Methodist, George W. Bush is United Methodist, and I'm a lifelong United Methodist. So you have Democrat and Republican at the highest level, and libertarian Conservative myself. The Church is not anti-science or education as the first educational institutions are thanks to the Church. The thing is, I think she's among those who think like Ghandi, "I like your Christ, not so sure about your Christians." I know that there are people who do need a break from what it is sometimes. I think lately you've needed a break from it. Anyways, it reminds me of the Tony Campolo Birthday Story as he tells it ( saying "Wouldn't we all" in response to where the man behind the counter says "No you don't, I'd go to a church like THAT" after Campolo had said that he "goes to a church that throws birthday parties for whores at 3 o'clock in the morning," he says "I don't know where we got this church that's half Country Club." Me neither. It is about a mentality and a renewing of the mind and thinking about the things mentioned in Philippians 4:8 ( and making the Church like that.
Toggle Commented May 7, 2013 on The Vampire Has Left the Building at :
Who's the worship leader here? Isn't it like God to make what man may see as weak, God sees as and makes so strong. That's awesome. Reminds me of "Unconditional" from the Mexico Trip's worship band... "Come one, come all, we who stumble and fall." (
Toggle Commented May 7, 2013 on When a Song Becomes Something So Much More at :
I never understood anyone who dismissed out of hand that heaven and nature are displays of something greater that we know as God. That said, those "thin places" need not be physical places, but sometimes they are. I also think they're also when we fully give God the glory in our own times of glory and of pain.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2013 on Thin Places at :
I remember a story from The Leadership Summit where an African government tried to kill a missionary several times and God turned the lights off to save his servant. That said, I don't think the church should seek to be a theocracy or necessarily force morality onto people. I think that if God is God and his people truly act as his people, the laws can be what they will be, but God's will and people will prevail.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2013 on True Power at :
Now I don't recommend low wage work long term, but at least long enough to get to know some of the people there and never forget how well you have it.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2013 on The Outcasts at :
If you're ever out of work again, may I recommend Day Labor. Most of the people I've worked with, and I mean we're on the same level in terms of work, have issues with their driving or criminal records in the past. The thing is, when you're going to the job, at the job, and coming back, it's not about your past. What it is about is putting an honest, hard day of work and treating your fellow man with respect. A couple of stories that are compliments to me, are one guy who simply has been out of work has recognized me as a Christian and has said "pray for ol' me." Another is my branch manager commenting on how people like to work with me and how rare how I am is. Thing is, this life for them, a waystation for me, I have a few minor traffic violations that I've taken traffic school for and a few accidents when I first was driving that weren't necessarily my fault and caused very, very little damage. I am "better," but I am no better and I knew that from the start. I think the fascinating thing when Christians are ministering to those who are "less fortunate" is how they find the faith among those who have less and find that they're people, just like you. The difference is their condition in life. Sometimes all people have to give is respect and sometimes all people have is God, and sometimes those people are all the more richer for it, and that's people who are less well off than minimum wagers. It's like the words of Atticus Finch from "To Kill A Mockingbird": "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." While you never can be another person, the least you can do is be empathetic and compassionate as best you can.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2013 on The Outcasts at :
Some things need no further commentary and those things are the Truth.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2013 on Einstein is Cool at :
That takes me back. I miss being active with Youth Ministry, but I'll never miss drama, politics, or turf wars.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2013 on Just LIke That! at :
“Often when I pray, I wonder if I am not posting letters to a non-existent address.” -C.S. Lewis I don't know that I doubt that there is a God, but I do wonder about his timing and if when things happen if they're for me in particular or it's just coincidence. In the interim time that this blog has been away and I have been too, I've heard that life is about "blessings," "lessons," and sometimes both. What can be frustrating is that God is like life, but not school. You can't explain it, just live your life and believe that God brings all things together for the good of those who love him.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2013 on Finding My Way at :
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