At the urging of my friend Rhett, I watched the Mat Hoffman documentary film The Birth Of The Big Air with my boys. I love to show my boys stories of people who did what others thought was impossible. I love to encourage them to dream differently and bigger than other people. I want them to be OK if everyone else thinks you’re a bit “extreme” or “radical.”
As I’ve shared before, I grew up identifying with skateboard culture more than anything else. To be honest, we didn’t have a lot of BMX riders where I grew up. But I knew who Mat Hoffman was.
You can certainly accuse me of “Jesus Juking” here if you want to, but I’m being honest when I say that the whole time I was watching this documentary about Hoffman, listening to how crazy everyone thought he was but also how everyone around him and come to just accept that that’s who Mat is, I kept thinking of a quote from Francis Chan’s debut-sational (Do you like how I just made up a word there?) book Crazy Love. In a section describing how much of the “American Church” has become “lukewarm,” Chan insists that:
Lukewarm people are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for “extreme” Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call “radical” what Jesus expected of all His followers.
Watch the trailer for the movie:
As I’ve shared, I was never great at skateboarding. But I also wasn’t horrible, which meant that I at least was willing to get hurt in order to learn new tricks. It took patience and determination and a certain bit of determination to endure suffering for the goal on the other side. Now, years later, I see how much of that same attitude is at the heart of Christianity. I’m not saying that we all have to be blasting big airs 54 feet off the ground. In fact, most of us should never attempt any such thing.
But think about some of the things that Paul says when describing his own journey of faith. He says that we should rejoice in our sufferings (Romans 5:3). He tells his Philippian readers that suffering has been “granted” to them (Philippians 2:29). In fact, the writer to the Hebrews insists that Jesus went to the Cross “for the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2).
I’m not saying that Christians should pursue suffering or persecution. I am saying that, I am humbled by the intense ferocity of Mat Hoffman’s pursuit of his vision. He was willing to pursue his dream through financial hardships, through injury, through scorn, through disbelief and slander. Yet, how is it that someone can have more passion to go high on a bike than I often have for following Jesus?
If Chan is write and “Lukewarm people call “radical” what Jesus expected of all His followers” (and keeping with the metaphor undergirding this whole piece), then Mat Hoffman is “all followers” of Jesus and we are the “lukewarm.” I look at what Hofman did on a bike and, while I realize it’s possible, I’m pretty sure I won’t be even attempting many of the things he accomplished with ease. But why? It’s not just that I grew up in different circumstances. It’s not just that I grew up skateboarding instead of BMX riding. So did Danny Way, after all. No, I simply don’t have the determination that Hoffman has. I don’t have the resolve. I don’t have the joy and, frankly, I don’t have the guts.
Which means that while part of me “knows” that my supreme pleasure lies in God alone, I let my circumstances on this side of eternity sway, steer and encourage me. In the documentary, there are photos of Hoffman with Evel Knievel. Though I’d love to have been a fly on the wall for those conversations, I can’t imagine hearing Hoffman compare stories with the Apostle Paul (“oh yeah, well I was shipwrecked! I was stoned and left for dead! I was bitten by a deadly snake! . . . ). There’s something about those people. Their passion is contagious. Their willingness to endure suffering for what they love is inspiring. And yet I’m left wondering: why don’t I love Jesus the way Mat Hoffman loves the next big thing on his bike?
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I really, really love music. And I love to pass along music that I love so that you’ll love it too. I understand that you won’t love everything I love but I love that about music. We can all love what we love and love that other people love different music.
The Dallas band Air Review is releasing their debut full-length album Low Wishes on January 29. Blending folk, Americana and Electronica and Pop, the band has a sound that’s at once comfortable (in a good way) and challenging (in a good way).
Stream the album on Bandcamp:
Check out the band perform “Low Wishes” on The Local Yokel Show
Watch the video for “My Automatic”
- Visit the band’s official website
The Habañero Collective is pleased to welcome Jenny & Tyler for a house show, Thursday, March 14 at the Whiten’s house. Jenny & Tyler are a married couple who make sing-along-able folk-pop.
Watch the EPK for their 2012 album Open Your Doors.
Check out the video for “Faint Not:”
We hope you can make it. There is a $7.00 suggested donation. All proceeds go directly to the artists. We don’t make any money on house shows. children are welcome if they are old enough to listen respectfully. Please help share the load and bring snacks and drinks for one and all.
Hutson, formerly of The Driftwood Singers, recently released his debut solo EP, “Will Never Break Up, which you can stream below.
Here is Hutson with Johnny Sneed on percussion:
Here is Shawn Skinner performing “Charlie and William” at an Habañero Collective House Show:
Here is Steve Deckel performing “Say You Will:”
Really?! Three weeks in a row?! CAN YOU DIG IT, SUCKA?! So, a very, very long time ago, I used to regularly do a blog post where I would collect and pass along things that, for one reason or another, interested me. After all, I figured, if it interested me, it might interest someone else too, right? After a long rest, the Town Crier is ready to get back to work.
Read as Yahoo considers the degrees employers love and hate.
Read about the teacher who claims that she’s been discriminated against for her phobia: a fear of children.
Read about Stephen Colbert’s sister running for Congress.
Read as Barna considers what Americans really think about “religious freedom.”
Read as Paste reports that both Bon Iver albums have been certified gold.
Browse this list of “20 Reasons Why People Are Seriously Amazing.”
Read Paste’s profile of Hopslam: “Hopslammed: The Double IPA That Causes a Nationwide Frenzy.”
Read what Bell’s Brewery’s Director of Operations has to say about their awesome IPA, Hopslam: “It flies off the shelf at damn near $20 a six-pack, and you know what it smells like? It smells like your cat ate your weed and then pissed in the Christmas tree.”
Read as Emily Heath takes on Mark Driscoll over Barack Obama.
Read as the Phoenix New Times interviews Maynard.
Read “John Dickson’s Rejoinder to Criticisms of “Hearing Her Voice.”
Read as Barna profiles the “most” and “least” Biblically-Minded” cities in America.
Read as several music producers interview Thom Yorke.
Read about the fake Vampire Weekend album.
Read this profile of Jeff Mangum.
Read about Molly Ringwald’s upcoming album of jazz standards.
Browse Paste‘s list of the 30-best beer can designs.
Read about Sigur Ros’ new album and preview a new track.
Watch a preview for the new Coen Brothers movie Inside Llewyn Davis.
Read Mike Doughty’s piece for Slate, arguing that Beyoncé was not lip-syncing.
Read Paste’s report that JJ Abrams has signed on to direct Star Wars VII.
Read as Consequence Of Sound reports that the 2013 Coachella schedule is finally out.
Browse this list of music to help influence your kid’s taste in music.
Read as NPR considers how music transforms movies.
Watch Pitchfork interview John Cale.
Read as Billboard reports that Elvis Costello and The Roots are teaming up for a new album.
Read about accusations that Lego‘s Jabba The Hut playset is racist.
Read about the couple who has been living under a rock for 30 years.
Read about the woman suing Match.com after her date tried to kill her with a butcher knife.
My wife and I are foster parents. Yes, we have four biological sons of our own. Yes, we are probably crazy. We’ve had Baby G. since he was two days old (we can’t even foster a girl!). He’s our third placement since becoming foster parents and we’ve had him just over six months. Up until very recently, we had been told by many people within the system that we would be able to adopt him. Then a family member showed up asking for custody (you can read about some initial reactions to that news here). I get it: we signed up for foster-care and we knew that we might lose him, but it’s been difficult. Baby G has become part of our family.
It’s been an interesting process. I can honestly say that Kristi and I have a peace about the situation. It will suck if we lost him, but God is Good, Right and Perfect, and we can trust Him. The possibility of losing Baby G (we still don’t know what will happen) has prompted some soul-searching and initiated some serious questions about my family and particularly my role as a Daddy.
If you’ve seen Baby G’s smile, you know how precious it is. If you’ve heard his laugh, you know it can melt hearts. We’ve come to the conclusion that, even if we do lose Baby G, our “job” right now is to love the snot out of him, make sure his needs are more than met and enjoy him. And that’s the way it should be. That’s the way it should be with my other kids. But it took the possibility of losing our foster son to realize how easily I take my biological family for granted.
I have been reminded to ask: “What is my life?” because “I am a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). I have learned again to know that, even though I should get on them more about bedtime, to enjoy the sound of their chatter. I have been reminded that it’s a small thing to live with the clutter of five awesome boys. I have been reminded that my boys are more important than my possessions. I have learned to love them for who they are instead of being frustrated that they’re not who I want them to be. It’s OK when they’re loud. I have been taught again to eat, drink and be merry, because life is good. Sometimes loss is part of loving. It’s not easy but it doesn’t excuse us from loving.
Jesus has a special place for children and so should we. Not just the dry obligation of “doing what’s right” to care for children but to actually enjoy them because they won’t be children for long. Baby G has reminded me that the heart is truly more important than behavior. True, behaviors flow from the heart but I worry too much that too many parents focus on the behaviors rather than the heart. And I can’t focus on my family’s hearts without first focusing on my own. My relationship with God will determine what kind of Daddy I am.
Thank you, Baby G for teaching me.