The Video Crew Farming System

15 06 2008

Certification Day, 2008

Today was “Technical Crew Certification.”  We are preparing to leave as a family for a video interviewing roadtrip (with some site-seeing along the way) so I trained the kids on the basics of our video and lighting equipment this afternoon. 

These basics include:

1. The difference between a “Key Light” and a “Back Light”
2. The difference between a BNC and a XLR connector
3. The difference between a Lowell ProLite, DP Light and Rifa Light
4. The ability to say “gobo” without laughing

After the training session, they all took an exam and passed with flying colors!  So we held a little ceremony where they recieved their Technical Crew certificate–a business card sized ID with their name and today’s date that allows them to get “grip credits”.  In the weeks and months ahead, they will hopefully receive their Lighting Certification, Camera Certification, Audio Certification and Editing Certification.    

It’s fun to grow a crew, but it makes me wish for about 3 more kids…



Happy Father’s Day

14 06 2008

Dad at Krispy Kreme
Contemplating another, 2006


The older I get, the more I enjoy hearing people say: “You’re so much like your father.”  May God have his way in our hearts, making it more and more true… 

From Deuteronomy 10

15 The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. 18 He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. 19 Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20 You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. 21 He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen. 22 Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now the LORD your God has made you as the stars of heaven in multitude.

Prince Caspian

20 05 2008

Baccus, Greek god of wine

In light of the Narnia fever surrounding the release of Prince Caspian last weekend, I decided to pick up the book last night and read it again.  Before yesterday, if anyone would have asked me what Prince Caspian was about, I don’t think I could have told them anything about it beyond: “its has something to do with a Lion…and a prince.”  I believe the last time I read the book was more than 20 years ago–though I’m sure I only skimmed it then so I could get on to the Voyage of the Dawn Treader (easily my favorite of the series). 

We have many friends who are avid fans of the Narnia series (the books) who have often spoken very fondly of the times spent as a family reading the books aloud, or listening to the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre production.  When asked how our kids like Narnia, there is usually a suprised response when we confess that we don’t read the books to our kids.  We are not often asked for our reasons why. 

After reading Prince Caspian last night I have to admit that I am even less enthusiastic about Narnia than I was before.  I know that C.S. Lewis is highly revered and loved in most evangelical circles and is the poster child for many who want to see more serious Christian thinkers in positions of influence in our culture.  However, in the case of Narnia, I have to take exception.

My problem with the Narnia stories is Lewis’ seeming facination with Greek and Roman gods and the magical creatures of the Norseman, Celtic and Britons.  For example, in Prince Caspian, Baccus (the Greek god of wine, agriculture and pleasure) is seen dancing with and serving Aslan.  River gods, tree gods, nymphs, dryads and many other mythical creatures have a part to play in the Narnia stories–mostly positive parts.  I don’t have a problem with talking animals, trees that come to life and even a God-like lion, but the attempt at redeeming the pantheon, magic and pagan mythology troubles me. 

So I find myself conflicted as I read these stories.  There are so many times that Lewis frames spritual truths in such meaningful ways as to move me deeply–he makes me see some important truths in fresh ways.  On the other hand, he includes elements and characters that come right out of pagan worship systems (like the licentious Baccus) as well as Islamic and Jewish mythology (the White Witch is supposedly the offspring of Adam and “his first wife” Lilith–who was cast out of the garden and turned into a demon-like creature). 

I think that we need to much more seriously consider the value of these stories.  Like the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Narnia is full of beautiful symbolism and deep theological truths, but there is a danger of accepting everything in these stories as worthwhile, merely because a Christian man wrote it.  Taken on their own, the merits of these characters and elements would be almost universally rejected by most Christians, and I think that this should be pointed out more often when speaking about Lewis–instead of blindly praising him and the Chronicles of Narnia.  

From Deuteronomy 18

9 “When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. 14 For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you.

Hospitality 101

20 04 2008

Place Setting

National Airport courtesy of the Library of Congress

Yesterday, we spent a few hours driving to the other side of the city to pick up a gently used couch. While we were out and about we were listening to a lecture by Alexander Strauch on the Biblical injunction to seek out opportunities for hospitality.

When the lecture was over, I was trying to interact with the kids on what we had listened to by asking them what kind of questions they could think of to ask visitors to our table (so as to encourage better conversation).

Elliot and Aelsa came up with a few like: “How many siblings did you have growing up?” and “What was it like for you when you were a kid?” I asked Robin what he would ask someone joining us for dinner, since he had yet to answer. After a very short pause, he replied: “Would you like a glass of water?”

From Matthew 10:

He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.

And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.

Count Your Blessings…

21 02 2008
Bless Our Home
Bless Our Home, courtesy of the Library of Congress

I recently heard an interview on Kevin Swanson‘s radio program with Greg Vaughan of Letters from Dad. The program encouraged fathers to begin writing letters to their families as a living memorial of our love for them, as well as a record of God’s faithfulness to our families.

So I wrote the following letter to my family and read it to them before dinner this evening. It isn’t overly thoughtful or profound, but I hope that it is something that over time becomes a meaningful part of our family life.

For my family,

On the occasion of the 37th anniversary of my birth, I want to take a moment to contemplate the blessings of my life and hope you’ll find encouragement in their telling.

I am blessed to have a wife who is so gifted and chooses to honor God by being obedient and investing those gifts for the betterment of our home.

I am blessed to have children who find such companionship in each other–who lovingly call each other friends.

I am blessed to have a home that is a refuge of love and peace from the world around us.

I am blessed to have a family-line of Godliness–by His grace, a multi-generational work for His glory and to His end.

I am blessed to have a heavenly Father who has chosen to reveal Himself to me–through His Son and His word.

And I am blessed to have this day to remember my blessings and mark another year of God’s provision and care.

May God work His perfect plan through us in this coming year so that we will not only receive His blessings but also freely share those blessings with others.

– Your husband and father
February 21, 2008

Make a Wish

20 02 2008
Make a Wish
Grandma Taylor Sings to Her Cake, courtesy of Library of Congress

The children have been reminding me today that in three years I will be 40 years old. I know some friends that might freak out when they think of themselves reaching that milestone…but I don’t feel that way at all. What I am a little weirded out by however, is the fact that I am entering the time period of my life that corresponds with some of the strongest memories of my father during my own childhood.

In fact, in my mind’s eye I still see my Dad as the younger man I remember throwing a ball with, or playing chess with, or swimming with. Those images of my father are some of the strongest memories I carry–when my dad was my age…

I am challenged on this day to recommit to taking time to make those memories with my own children. Snow forts, picnics, lunar eclipses, trips to the aquarium, family worship, pizza lunches after lessons, bedtime stories (just to name a few)–for these are the days that they will remember…someday when my sons and daughter are 37…

From Psalm 92

12 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 Those who are planted in the house of the LORD
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
15 To declare that the LORD is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

A Biblical Model for Finding a Wife

11 02 2008
Let’s Interlope by EBENIM PUBLISHING

Are you fed up with the sham and charade of the “Christian” dating game? Are you uncertain as to the Biblical veracity of “Kissing Dating Goodbye?” Are you concerned about where to find a good wife for your sons?

Ebenim Publishing announces the unveiling of its new booklet: Let’s Interlope–a truly Biblical model for finding a wife from the book of Judges. This highly acclaimed booklet will bring clear, scriptural understanding to this emotional topic.

You’ll learn from Judges 21 these important principles:

1. How vineyards are the key to a happy marriage,
2. How catching a mate may be easier than you think,
3. How dancing can be the key to your future.

For less than the price of premarital counseling, you to can own this important booklet that will transform your views of finding a wife.

From Judges 21

Then the elders of the congregation said, “What shall we do for wives for those who remain, since the women of Benjamin have been destroyed?” And they said, “There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, that a tribe may not be destroyed from Israel. However, we cannot give them wives from our daughters, for the children of Israel have sworn an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the one who gives a wife to Benjamin.’” Then they said, “In fact, there is a yearly feast of the LORD in Shiloh, which is north of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.”

Therefore they instructed the children of Benjamin, saying, “Go, lie in wait in the vineyards, and watch; and just when the daughters of Shiloh come out to perform their dances, then come out from the vineyards, and every man catch a wife for himself from the daughters of Shiloh; then go to the land of Benjamin. Then it shall be, when their fathers or their brothers come to us to complain, that we will say to them, ‘Be kind to them for our sakes, because we did not take a wife for any of them in the war; for it is not as though you have given the women to them at this time, making yourselves guilty of your oath.’”

And the children of Benjamin did so; they took enough wives for their number from those who danced, whom they caught. Then they went and returned to their inheritance, and they rebuilt the cities and dwelt in them.