Friday, December 31, 2010

Hitchcock would love this

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I took this video at my work today. It was a flock of black birds. Smaller than crows, they had some blue-green coloring around their necks. Anyone know what they are?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Musings on newlywed life and Christmas

It's been a month since I married the incredible Marie Pasco and things are just starting to get settled. Our home looks habitable (just don't go in the bedrooms yet), and we're entertaining our first guests this week.

I have been asked several times "Erik, how does it feel to be married?" Well to be honest, it feels more like a continuation of a great relationship than an entirely new experience. I'm loving it. It's nice to have your best friend living with you and it's awesome to not have to drive home after an evening together.

I spent my first Christmas as a married man with Marie's family. It was a little sad to be away from home in Ohio, but it was exciting to get a little Christmas snow down here in Alabama.

The cool thing about getting married is that all those family traditions you remember growing up with? You get to create your own new traditions. This year Marie and I got to start a few new Christmas traditions we hope to pass on to our children (some day).

Now that things are getting back to semi-normal, I will begin the hard work of finding a new youth ministry position. Marie and I are praying that God would lead us to a community of believers that would allow us to grow and use our unique gifts to minister to teens and families. Please be in prayer with us as we search.

As a new year approaches, I'm reminded of how much God has provided for Marie and I over the last year. 2010 was a great year. Here's to 2011!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Chris and Erik's Alabama sled riding adventure

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This is what happens when it snows in Alabama. We used a trunk mat out of Chris's vehicle.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wedding Pictures

Megan Floyd, our photographer has posted wedding pictures online for all to see.  If you would like to order any of them, you can order them directly from the site where you view them by clicking on the shopping cart.

click here to see the proofs

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Sony Music Hates Youth Ministry Video Montages

I grew up in a time of overhead projectors and picture slideshows.  When I was in grade school my idea of "multi-media" was listening to a warbley tape recorder narrate as the faded colors of a slideshow dimly lit up our projector screen.  Our math teacher would write in green dry-erase marker on an overhead slide.  This was the pinnacle of modern technology!  Except that it wasn't.

I grew up in the 80's and 90's but because I attended a public school, often we had a generation old set of technology at our disposal.  It's funny how churches have the same problem of being behind the curve of all things modern.  We still used an overhead projector in high school at my church and sometimes if we were lucky, we could watch a vhs tape on our color projector.  But times have changed, and (most) youth ministries are almost in perfect sync with the newest technologies.  Now we have PowerPoint, Media Shout, lyrics on the screen, videos on the screen, fog machines, laser lights, entire decks of starships fitted with holographic projectors that use intricate force fields to look and feel real (ok, maybe not that last one).  This brings me to a youth ministry staple.  The montage video.

Sure the montage video is nothing new, in fact it began with old slideshow machines synchronized with a tape recorder and mix-tapes.  But now we have computers that can edit our videos and share them with the world on YouTube.  Which brings me to my point for today.

Sony Music hates youth ministry video montages.

Why does a gy-normous record label even care about our lame spliced-together-the-night-before-because-I-was-watching-a-Firefly-marathon-all-day-Saturday videos?  It's all about the music.  You see at no point in the church media revolution of the 2000's did anyone ever teach youth ministry film makers how to capture any audio worth replacing in a montage (unless Jr. High retreat fake-fart noises count).  So to mask our bad audio (and video) capture skills, we throw in some incredibly awesome Christian band (or secular band that sounds Christian, or U2) to make up for it.

If you're showing your wonderful piece of film to a private church group, there's really no problem.  But post the video to YouTube and Sony tracks you down like a hungry teenager after bacon at a breakfast buffet.  You see, the songs or parts of songs that make your video awesome?  Sony owns them.  And for some reason that I can only attribute to being bullied in the 3rd grade, their lawyers are ready to pounce on any unauthorized use of their content.

It's not like we're encouraging our youth to go and steal some music off the internet.  If anything, they might LIKE the music and go buy it.  At any rate, be warned that Sony (and other music labels) roam around like a roaring lion waiting to devour our hard 8 hours worth of work.

Sometimes it takes months (years) for YouTube to identify your montage videos as copyright infringing goods, so there's no immediate reason not to put them there.  You could try and stick it to the man and not use music from the offending record labels (and their subsidiaries), or you could just deal with it and perhaps use Vimeo or Facebook to post the videos instead.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Selective Bible Reading?

Recently I've been reading a lot of books and blogs - which if you know me isn't all that strange.  But at the beginning of my sabbatical, I didn't feel like reading much which included my Bible.  I just was a little frazzled and in need of a break to rest and be renewed.

After a good break, I began to take in new thoughts, ideas, books, blogs to further explore.  One interesting person I've found is a New Testament scholar named Scott McKnight.  Scott might be best known for his book Jesus Creed which I recently finished.  But I'd like to talk about his most recent book The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible.

In the book Scott talks about how there are passages in the Bible that stand out and are hard to explain.  One point he makes in the book that has spoken to me is about selective Bible reading.

When I was growing up and began to read my Bible for myself, I noticed that there were some difficult to understand passages in it.  Going to Sunday school, and later youth group I was taught that we were to follow and obey all the words of the scriptures.  But here was the growing problem: I noticed that Christians would follow some verses and not others.  It's not that they were willfully disobeying scriptures it's just that it seemed to me they were taking some passages more seriously than others.  Let me give an example:
"Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." 1 Corinthians 11:3
"If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head" 1 Corinthians 11:6
Why is it that there are so many churches that are quick to jump on 1 Cor. 11:3 to show that men are to be the head or leaders of women but no one (or very few) practice 1 Cor. 11:6 and require their women to cover their heads in prayer?  Do we just pick the verses we like and support our opinions and throw out the ones we disagree with?

This is just one example of dozens I could point out.  At first glance it appears that Christians follow what they want in the Bible and ignore that which they don't like or agree with.

What if there is another way to read the Bible that doesn't result in us holding some verses over others or picking and choosing what we will believe and follow?  What if the Bible as a whole is saying something about God and His story and interaction with humanity?  What if the Bible is more complex and nuanced than we were once taught?  And what if the Holy Scriptures were never meant to be read and understood alone by ourselves in our "personal devotions?"

Recently I've been searching for a way to read the Bible while recognizing it's mystery, difficulties, and with an understanding that we can't just cut up the Bible into little bite size verses, yank them out of context and base whole belief systems on them.  Scott McKight's book The Blue Parakeet is beginning to show me a way forward from: How do I understand the Bible? To: How do I live the Bible?

Your thoughts?  What are some examples you've seen of selective Bible reading?  How do we learn to follow all of God's word and not just parts?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Secret Desires for Ourselves

We all have things that we wish about ourselves.  We would like to be smarter, faster, bigger, smaller, better lovers, friends, fathers, etc.  Some of these desires are easily achievable like trying something new at your favorite restaurant.  Other desires are impossible (like wanting to fly).  And still others are things that would take a considerable amount of effort, but would be useful or deeply fulfilling.  Some might call these personal goals, but for me these kinds of things only turn into goals if I decide to pursue them.

Today I thought of a few of these desires as I was dreaming about my life (my job lends itself to this kind of introspection).  Both of these could turn into goals easy enough, but I wanted to share them here so I could maybe start a discussion or at least glean some good insight into some of my friends own desires/goals.  The first secret desire is that I've always wanted to be bilingual.  I deeply respect people who have taken the time to learn another language and I love the idea of being able to interact with people from other parts of the world.  The other desire was to take on some sort of hands on craft like building furniture.  I love working with my hands and creating, and the thought of passing down something I created to future generations inspires me.

How about you?  Share a secret desire, personal goal about yourself and maybe why you are drawn to the idea.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Slow Return to Active Blogging

As many of you will know, I have been on a self-imposed sabbatical from full-time ministry.  My desire was to pull back from all my public roles (including blogging) and focus on what it means for me to love and follow Christ in my life.

The only things I've been blogging recently have been details concerning my upcoming wedding (which may I  add, I'm super psyched about) and trying to launch a tech-themed blog so that I might be able to share some of my tech-guru knowledge and make a little ad money on the side.  Over the course of this sabbatical I've come to realize a couple of things regarding blogging.
  1. I don't much care for writing
  2. It's insanely hard to make money blogging
Once thing I do miss is having a public forum to share my observations, stories, and spiritual journey.  I still think this blog is a great way to do that.  So in the spirit of the impending end to my sabbatical, I will be (slowly) returning to blogging.  Don't expect much at first, I'm still trying to find ways of tricking myself to write more.  I'm also learning how and when to best share private thoughts using a public tool like this that is both helpful and not damaging to myself and others.

I'll probably keep the tech-related posts here to a minimum and send those posts to my new tech-blog, but as I'm finding- I'm much more interested with the things I will be posting here.

Until then, grace and peace

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

New wedding website

Marie and I finally finished our wedding website.  You can find information about the big day as well as some pictures and stories about us, our wedding party, and the engagement.  Feel free to leave a comment on the front page we're using it like a guest book.  Thanks!

Friday, June 18, 2010

I'm Engaged

Yesterday I asked Marie Miller to become Marie Pasco, and she said yes!  We're both very excited and looking forward to our future together.  As for plans, we're still working on those so stay tuned...

Oh and those of you who want to see the ring, ka-pow!

Monday, May 17, 2010