Thursday, December 18, 2008

Follow the Story/Nepal Blogging

I want to remind anyone that might be interested of the locale of my Nepal blogging. It isn't here, but you can follow this link to get there:

Please visit the site regularly and keep us in your prayers as you follow the journey we are taking...

It is getting very close! I am in fact, worn out already, from the preparation and the late nights of work these past few weeks. Since I pretty much won’t be getting much rest these next few weeks, I am counting my blessings. Caffeine. Lukewarm showers (for now). A warm bed. Stuff in abundance…. and I am thankful to have the chance to work on a project like this. The hard work, weary travel and sleepless nights will all be worth it in the end! I can tell already by the response the trailer has received, as well as the excitement and dedication I personally have for the trip and film.

The vision for this trip and film project has been a team effort between myself and Caleb and Patrick, but there have been a few others who have had a great supporting influence on each of us.
One of those is a man who has been my mentor in no small way. His encouragement, and personal dedication to his work and also his creative genius have given me much to aspire to.
Since Shane has had a large part in helping prepare me for the field of media, I think it is fitting he is mentoring me through this project as well.
He has written a post that sums up much of the purpose and vision for the series on the City on a Hill blog.

This film series will be launched by City on a Hill Productions sometime around April as a DVD driven small group study guide. (We are still working on a name for it.)

So currently as I pack and make my last rounds of purchases and equipment gathering for the journey I am outlining the film project in my head and writing out as much as I can. The key to a successful trip like this will be proper planning. No project succeeded without it.

Goodnight and namaste.

Shepherd Ahlers/filmmaker

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving is now a National Holiday!!!

"Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor--and whereas both houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."
George Washington, October 3, 1789

That is pretty cool huh? A holiday to thank a Universally recognized God who is involved in the worlds affairs? What an idea.... I would like to see congress pass something like this lately.

Happy thanksgiving friends! I go to eat turkey, and rejoice in God's good graces.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

No matter who is in the oval office...

"Who's your brother, who's your sister
You just walked passed him
I think you missed her
As we're all migrating to the place where our father lives
'Cause we married in to a family of immigrants

My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
It's to a King & a Kingdom

There are two great lies that I've heard:
"the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die"
And that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
And if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him

But nothing unifies like a common enemy
And we've got one, sure as hell
But he may be living in your house
He may be raising up your kids
He may be sleeping with your wife
Oh no, he may not look like you think"

[Lyrics sung by Derek Webb]

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Guide To The New Media For The Church

The New Media Frontier
Blogging, Vlogging, and Podcasting For Christ
Edited by John Mark Reynalds & Roger Overton

Is it possible to communicate the fullness of the ever changing, ever expansive category of “New Media”, using a book? That is just what John Mark Reynalds & Roger Overton attempt to do, as they bring together some of the best voices from the Christian movement in online media and blogging. The results are a fascinating and informative book, that for now is a complete and relevant guide to the things Christian media creators should know and should care about.

The book is written by a team of well-researched writers, who speak from experience. It begins especially well, and explains the history and the relevancy of the New Media from a Judeo-Christian worldview. From there it continues to build the case for Christians to learn to use the new forums of communication now open to us.

The points it raises are fascinating, and to the point. Each question is handled well, and nothing is simply dismissed or glossed over.
It explains why Christians should err on the side of liberty when it comes to the new media, and at the same time explores the pitfalls and weaknesses in the New Media movement.
The communication style of each writer is easy to read, but very well researched and full of information. I found myself highlighting and marking sections of the book to come back to. There possibly couldn’t be a better resource available for the Christian interested and/or involved in producing for a new generation highly attuned to the ever changing world of media. The author brings out this quote that; “as long as Liberty prevails, a chance for more entrepreneurial activity in information distribution will exist.”
The incredible tools that the New Media bring to the table will need to be defended, for freedoms sake. True Christianity has and will do well under the microscope of free information access.

If you are new to the realm of online media and blogging, this is a great start, but without mentioning up and coming and widely popular and spending so much time on the awful Youtube, rather than the more relevant and high quality sites for video available (where is in this discussion?) I wonder how long this book will last before needing to be republished?
Of course that is the point… Technology changes, and the old media can only take the church so far before we are irrelevant.

I work in producing media that falls into both the old media and new media categories, and I found this book to be extremely relevant to the questions I had in trying to navigate the expansive waters of the internet revolutions aftermath. Great discussions will come from reading this book, and I imagine most of them will be communicated, like this review, via the internet. This is the New Media Frontier. Have we missed it?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Introducing: my journey east...

"in order of appearance:
Caleb Meeks
Patrick Covert
Shepherd Ahlers

December 22-Jan 8 2009

I have always admired people who choose to be missionaries. I have often wondered if it is something I could have chosen for myself. I want to have that mentality of self sacrifice and the freedom that comes from serving God with my life. Since realizing my calling in media and coming to City on a Hill Productions I have seen the need for a counter-cultural view on the power and purpose of media, within the church and otherwise.

The average person consumes media on an almost constant basis, and without building a case for missions using that language I think very few people will realize it's importance or existence. The youth in our generation, like myself, spend their time surrounded by music, movies, television, and online media for an average of 6.5 hours a day. If they are going to hear the cry for them to take action it must come in the language they are most attuned to. Most young people want to feel like they are a part of something, they want to make a difference with their lives, they want to stop world hunger, or end unjust war... but few ever move from wanting to do something, to actually getting their hands dirty in real change. The purpose of this journey to Nepal and the focus of me and Caleb and Patrick will be always to speak to that young person, and give them more than a cause, but a calling.

Why did we choose nepal? There is a huge need in that country for relief, and hope. This is what Christ called us to do, is to be his hands and feet, and to comfort the hurting, and to take care of widows and orphans, and to set the captive free from the chains that bind their souls. There is incredible poverty and despair in Nepal.

Approximately 40% of Nepalese live below the poverty line of $12 per person/per month. Discrimination on the grounds of caste is officially illegal in Nepal but is in fact widespread, especially in rural areas. Members of the lowest caste (dalits, or untouchable) are the most disadvantaged group. Most people in the dalit caste work as wage labourers for higher-caste farmers.

We will be creating awareness of poverty, and suffering, but in the metanarrative we will be bringing out the calling of God in each one of us, to be Christ to the world, especially young people. That is our hope for this project, and for our own lives.
We are there during the coldest time of the year, and we are going to be facing a lot of cultural challenges as well. None of us will be effective communicators to the Nepalese people on our own, and so we are doing our best to crash course ourselves in Nepali culture and phrases. The other part of the trip may include india, another unique culture, so we will have our hands full with preparing for this journey.
We will be online throughout our journey, so you should be able to follow our trip through daily blog posts through our soon to be announced site... 

Be sure to bookmark it for the future:

To best keep up with this project, send an email to: with "subscribe" in the subject line, and I will add you to our newsletter e-list.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fireproofing the box office

The elements were there: Kirk Cameron Christian superstar ala Left Behind, a $500K budget, a soundtrack made of cheesy christian radio singles. I was ready to be treated to tired church platitudes and sermons preached by characters with heavy southern accents that almost sounded faked...

And somehow a film with all those elements I described beat out Brad Pit in the box office for the #4 spot, having opened on less than 1000 screens, and being marketed almost purely by grassroots means. It has caused a firestorm in Hollywood, and for good reason!

This movie wasn't just a success in the box office, it was a win in the heart of the story it tried to tell. I walked away, not thinking about the hit and miss supporting cast, or how bad the soundtrack was, or the obvious low budget camera work. I didn't care, because somehow the purity of the story got deep inside me. Someone said the movie made them want to be a better person, and that is how I felt.
It relied on too much "christianeze" for most outsiders, but for the Christ follower, and especially the person struggling with their marriage, this will be time well spent. For me, the most exciting thing is the way this movie will pave the way for more and better independent films, and change the way faith based films are marketed. To that I would give 5 stars.

I could write a review of the movie itself, and point out it's strengths and weaknesses, but someone else took the time to write an excellent review that I almost completely agree with, on both it's praise and criticism, both of which I believe are necessary for art to improve.
Patrol Magazine: 'Fireproof'

Also of note is the discussion surrounding this movie. It has captured the attention of Hollywood in a big way.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

An Interns Life (or goals part 2)

Read the original post here...

I am typing this from a hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee at about 12AM as I am down here with a very small City on a Hill crew here shooting a video for an incredible ministry to recovering inmates in the Memphis area and beyond.

This will also be my first real personal entry to the City on a Hill blog, even though I have been creating video content for this here blog for a good long time. It is one of the joys and stresses of my internship at City on a Hill Productions. A position only a select few will ever achieve in their lifetime. A coveted position. A position often referred to by those who know as "indentured servitude".

Why am I here, doing this? I decided to write about that particular story. (Out of a good many I could have possibly chosen.)
So I shall start in the beginning... I was born in a small run down apartment owned by my parents in the east end of Louisville in July of 1989... OK. So maybe not that far back.
I'll start with more recent events. In 2006 I was 16 years old, and was only just beginning to feel the wind beneath my wings so to speak. Maybe I was a socially challenged homeschool student, (that's a joke actually) but I had begun to really feel the calling of God on my life to pursue media. Then my parents decided an ordinary life with 7 kids wasn't enough and they adopted 5 more from Western Africa. At that point I knew God was challenging my family to change our thinking in the area of family and ministry. What I wasn't aware of was how God was changing and forming me for ministry in an area I began to have an inexplicable passion for. It happened as easy as breathing in a smoke filled room. I had to do it, even though it wasn't always easy to follow through with. I didn't get my desire to craft films and media with a neat little instruction package, so to speak, but I am blessed with parents who recognized my need to pursue this dream I had.

Fast forward a little. I am growing frustrated. I learned a lot through trial and error. Going to Africa I found the story, but struggled in learning how to communicate it. I do know that during this time I developed the most crucial connection I have made. Media is a mission field.
Yes I was ON the mission field, but I realized that what I was doing, bringing the mission field back to people safe in their homes through the power of visual storytelling, was a vocation in itself. I knew there was a language to learn, and I began praying that God would bring someone into my life who could help me better learn that language.
Enter City on a Hill. Stage left. It almost was that simple. I had placed this growing passion back in God's hands a good many times, and it was during one of these spells where God proved he knew what He was doing, and that He knows how to keep secrets. I had no idea that there was a little production company growing up right beside me in my hometown. I couldn't have dreamed that it was doing exactly what I was just feeling a desire to do, to use media to tell story and support missions, and to do that excellently. I am also pretty sure my mom did a good job of convincing Shane he needed to be teaching me. (Thanks mom!) Though I don't think it hurt that I was not going to a full time school and was able to commit to an apprenticeship of sorts, and that I was able to drive. Believe me, I have run many an errand for City on a Hill. Many.

So you think that sounds easy? I wish I could write everything this has entailed, but for the sake of the ministry I will not. PETI would probably get involved if they knew how things really went down here.*

I continue to learn to communicate using this powerful medium of film, and I think I have found my home here for a while. I might have even convinced the staff I can be funny at times, which is quite an accomplishment, let me tell you.
I can only speculate what the continued journey will bring about. I am sure it includes fund-raising, and many projects I never dreamed I'd be given the chance to be a part of. Currently there are two specific projects I will be heading up in the near future I really should mention. One is a documentary in the country of Nepal I will be making this December. The other is "Shepherd's Project" which has has been put on hold as we are extremely busy with other projects, like Easter Experience and such right now. It will be a very cool project though, and I am excited about it's ministry potential. (hint: It's about adoption)

There you go. That is my update for now. I hope you continue to enjoy reading and going behind the scenes with our ministry and the lives of the staff members who make this team of creative amalgamation. Thanks for listening.

Shepherd Ahlers

[*People for the Ethical Treatment of Interns]

Monday, September 15, 2008

Richard Wurmbrand

Take some time to watch this video and really listen. You can skip ahead to the part where Richard is actually talking. Listen to the part where he talks about being nothing. It blew me away.

"Nothing is the best substance there is, because God can make anything out of nothing."

Richard and his wife Sabina founded a ministry to the persecuted church known as Voice of the Martyrs.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Say The Word

I had months to write a song
That captured who you are
But I fear I have done you wrong
Because I've failed you so far
The chord that struck, an angel fell
The sky went dark and it all comes down
The choices made, the lies forgotten
Oh, well

This is the way that I know
This is the way that I know
I would give everything for some hope
Are you different, could I be different too?
Nobody knows you, nobody knows you like I do

There's a song outside my window
And it plays to your tune
And there's a life inside this pencil
And it lives for what is true
Cause I am lost for words, the cost for her
Was way to much to bear
You're not perfect, but I don't care

This is the way that I know
This is the way that I know
I would give everything for some hope
Are you different, could I be different too?
Nobody knows you, nobody knows you like I do

Say the word, say the word
Are you different, could I be different too?
Nobody knows you, nobody knows you like I do

Are you different, could I be different too?
Nobody knows you, nobody knows you like I do
Are you different, could I be different too?
Nobody knows you, nobody knows you like I do

I still feel you...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Semi-reclusive digital personality.... Me?

"Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is..." ~ C.S. Lewis
There are two things that I have failed spectacularly at lately. Perhaps others if I put my mind to it, but two for the sake of brevity..

This morning I had a moment of self-revelation. I was slain, in the figurative, at something which I was formerly uncontested!
I lost in the first 90 minutes of chess! (OK, maybe it was less than that) Not just any chess match though, this was a true battle of wits!! It was brilliant and bold, and a true victory by my opponent. My consternation over the loss you ask?
My victorious opponent was none other than my six year old brother. (He doesn't even wear glasses!) I was more than a little deflated. If I remember his kind words of consolation, they were:
"It's alright, you maybe can beat me when you get a little bigger."

Does this seeming prodigy know who he just outmatched in the game that has passed the test of time? The game played by the greatest philosophers and by generals to practice their skills at actual combat strategy and to stretch their problem solving abilities? I was more than your average child nerd. I beat my grew-up-in-the-chess-club relatives and probably said similar comforting words of my own. There is no justice!
So I admit to being taken off guard. I went in to the game sure to outmatch my brother, and teach him something about skillful chess playing. Now I feel as though I will end up submitting myself to my (very adorable) six year old mentor. He will teach me the ins and outs of the game, and maybe some day I will be good enough to play a real game again. Maybe.

"An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered." ~ G.K. Chesterton

I have sat down many times intending to write a blog post again. I have!! I love the idea of blogging regularly. I love to read other peoples blogs. It lets me feel in touch with many people I don't see all that often, and gives great places to start conversations, etc. But my time to blog is not often aligned with my will to blog.
But tonight, on this independence day I am freeing myself from internet long-form blog semi-reclusivishness, and inconveniencing myself with a chance at adventure! At least, the glorious ability to share an adventure with others! If you don't mind being inconvenienced by reading of them. I have many adventures. Some very large, and some very small, and that are only exciting to me.

To continue this trend, I am working on a short round up of some movies I have seen recently. The latest I have just finished viewing, perhaps the best I have seen in a while! I am talking about The Great Debaters. I think that I am a small bit late in seeing it, but I am glad I finally did.

So if you read my blog encourage me to write more! If you play chess...

Umm. I play a mean game of checkers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Variation On Commemorative Transfiguration and Communion At Magruder Park

Here goes everything.
My life, my work, my love, my heart, my truth, my village, my remedy.

No longer mine
You may ask, why everything should go... I will tell you.

It is poetry. Everything must go.

I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
Philippians 3:8

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Goals I Found In My Closet (Part 1)

About a month ago I was digging through my closet. I don't quite know why I chose to clean out my closet that day, but I do know that I hadn't done it for a while. Amongst the mess I found some paper on which I had written a list of lifelong goals probably 3 years ago... I am guessing, because it was before I had invented a dating system for my subsequent letters and lists... Since part of the cleaning out my closet ordeal was a spiritual journey of reorganization, and cleansing... Sort of... I thought it would be cool to read over and see what I had yet to accomplish, and what things had changed in the time I wrote and stowed this note:

"Goal #1. Write a book."

Ok so maybe I have been a little slack on this one. I forgot this was on my list. Good to know it is a goal of mine!

Further down was something I could now check off my list:

"Goal #4. I want to be a black belt in Tae Kwon Do"

Many others I came across were small things. I wanted to go to a Falling Up Concert, and I wanted to create a blog. (and I still haven't done the former.) I wanted to achieve financial independence, to get married and have kids, to get my drivers license, to build my own home. Then I found what I feel is the most significant of all of these written goals of mine at this time in my life. It was written on the second page of my dreams:

"I want to work with dedicated people on film projects and I want to make at least one feature film that glorifies God."

I wrote these goals long before I even had an inkling of what God had in store. This was long before I knew of what kind of changes God would bring about in my life as well... I couldn't have imagined what it is like to fall in love with someone, and discover the agonies and growth of a relationship. I could only hope to someday have a part in a greater vision, but no real road to get there and achieve a dream I not only wished for, but felt called to take on.
It was before our family would take a huge risk and adopt 5 wonderful kids from a country called Liberia in western Africa.
It was long before I would be invited to start an apprenticeship with a Christian director, right here in Louisville! All I had were these small wishes in my mind, and I was so unaware of God's plan.
Through this reflection, I came to the obvious conclusion, that God knows my life's purpose better than I do! He put the planets in order, and he created the nucleus of a cell, and He knows my heart inside and out... He has brought me further than I had planned, so can I take any credit? I suppose the only credit I can take is that I have made my life available to him, through his grace. It is really a testament to Him no matter which way you look at it.

It was a year ago that I began working as a volunteer intern with City on a Hill. I was still new to the concept of driving, and I had so little experience. I am surprised that even after I got lost while getting lunch for everyone, and then breaking down in a car I had for all of 2 days that I was still given an increasing level of responsibility, and invested in. I continue to grow through the new experiences and the challenges, and the working relationships I have to work on at City on a Hill. But it is worth every moment I spend working long hours, or sitting in on meetings much bigger than me, or serving in whatever way I can, now as a member of a quickly growing ministry. Not to mention the experience I have gained in production, and learning an editing style through the various projects I am given. What did I do to deserve the opportunity? I don't know that I deserve it, but I have been given the awesome gift of goal number thirteen becoming a reality.

Monday, April 14, 2008

UK huh? Better change those colors...

+The Announcement (and Invitation)+

These are friends of mine who will be working with us at City on a Hill soon.

I am excited about this. :)

If you haven't seen any of Richard's work yet, get yourself familiar with Youtube and watch The Interrogator
That is a good place to start. Then I suggest you see his film The Oath of Desormeau and Washington's Cross... I find all his films are well written, and show a potential in directing that I hope to achieve myself someday.

Aletheia Stage and Film

But apparently they are unaware of the implications of taking sides here in Kentucky.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Na 2008!

This is a conference that I have not attended before, but I have heard a lot of good things about through friends who have attended, and also through Alex and Brett Harris' recommendation over at the Rebelution

One of the terms that really caught my attention, especially when I saw the add for it in Relevant Magazine, was "Humble Orthodoxy."
According to the website of Na or "New Attitude" Humble orthodoxy "is a commitment to believe, live, and represent biblical truth with humility."

If you are interested in going, do your research soon!

The Dates: MAY 24 – 27, 2008 | LOUISVILLE, KY

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Postponed Success

"Failure is only postponed success". That is what I told myself, many times over.

I had waited so long for this moment, trained for this moment. It had been three years since I began my journey, and for much of three years I had kept this day in my mind, preparing myself for this day.
So failing to break the majority of my boards during black belt testing wasn't what I had hoped for, it was crushing to think I would fail this testing. Just boards... between me and a black belt. Everything else was just as I had trained for, but I had been confident that my techniques would carry me through. I knew strength was there, I simply missed. 4 times, all over shot. I assumed I was done, yet I still had fighting to do. Master Ramey didn't dismiss me. He put me in the ring, and for the next hour I fought hard, my eyes flashed I believe.
I didn't care if I was giving all for nothing, I was doing this to prove to myself I had it in me, the black belt spirit that never dies. Failure is an important part of success.

It is said that Thomas Edison when asked about all his attempts before getting the filament right in his lighbulb responded: "I never failed once. It just happened to be a 2000-step process."
It is that spirit that achieves the difficult.
(I believe there is little actually impossible, in the sense that one cannot achieve the impossible, for once it is achieved it is no longer impossible but difficult. It was only perceived as impossible before.)

My mind went back to what I had written in an essay for that very testing I was faced with...

"The “Do” in Tae Kwon Do literally means way of life. That is how I feel about martial arts. A way is a path, and that of a black belt student of Tae Kwon Do is the beginning of a journey I am ready to begin. No matter how hard or how complicated circumstances are in life, the ability to overcome and find victory shall always be my greatest asset. Bring it on."

"Bring it on."

It was on. Was I?
It felt like my dream was postponed. A lot. I watched others break their boards, and held for them, it was hard to not feel a little sorry for myself celebrating their achievements. But a black belt should not feel sorry for himself...
This was not the first time failure would creep up on me, nor the last. I was going to be shaped by this, and be better because of it.
I was given grace. Wednesday March 5th I was faced with the same challenge, over again. I was given a second chance to change my life. This time I wasn't to fail. It was postponed success, but it was success achieved only because I stayed in, and fought till the end, and didn't remain defeated.
I can smile, it is a memory now. It means I begin to face greater challenges, greater odds, and greater victories.

We are only defined by our circumstances if we allow them to define us.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What Are You Listening To?

A Switchfoot tune a few years back gives the challenge, "if we are adding to the noise, turn off this song."
I love music, I admit I might enjoy it more than I should… I usually keep it playing in the background as I drive, or write, or just think and dream.
I turn on different music at different times, especially when I am feeling all at one end of the emotional scale.
I have sometimes wondered if Jon Forman really hoped that somebody would take his advice when he wrote that song? Perhaps he is acknowledging something we all know somewhat. That the media all around us, the "stereo, radio, video, I don't know what they're gonna think of next" is just another way to drown out what is really important.

Ideas. They are thrown at us these days. Not just simply presented in a book where you can much more easily evaluate them, but shouted at you through the TV set. You get more than your share of what others think you should believe when you go to the movies, or in surfing the Internet, or listening to the radio, or walking through the mall. All these modern conventions make up what we call the "information age". On demand we can become know-it-alls about pretty much anything. As great as this makes a game of trivial pursuit, or writing research papers, it also makes us consumers of such mass amounts of media that distract us, and give us at best, a convoluted view of life, love and God.
It is like we are walking around surrounded by all these messages and images and voices fighting for our attention, trying to get us to buy this, or try this, or live this certain way. All seem to want to make us happy. Most end up pulling you in totally opposite directions. Having access to all of the ideas in the world provides a challenge of navigation...
How do we keep ourselves from getting lost in the vast array of advertisements, video games, magazines and hit singles? I mean it is all targeted right at you! With the purpose of selling you something, so that you keep buying something, so that you are addicted to what they are selling.
It is so easy to get lost when you're trying to navigate a noisy universe.
This was the theme of a communications conference I attended this month. The official slogan for it was "Through The Noise".
Noise in a photograph is the particles that distort the image, and what generally distracts from an otherwise good picture. I am often frustrated by the presence of noise in my photos. Who wants a noisy picture? But that is what we often have in our lives.
We live in the noise.
The picture of “noise” represents ideas about something. Ideas about life.
But in a world of noise, I am afraid just adding our "Christian" noise is not going to help either.
There was this dump truck I passed on the road the other day that said; "Jesus loves you this much." In reading it the first thought that came to mind was "absurd!" Does that mean he loves me as much as a truck full of landfill? I mean, I know that Jesus loves me, and I want the world to know that too... But what are we saying when we attach the name of Jesus just to any form of communication? I am feeling like the dump truck is getting in the way of my perceptions of the otherwise awesome truth of Christ's eternal love. I am not saying God doesn't use dump trucks, but what is up when Christians make Jesus another bumper sticker, or another song, or another "B" grade movie? I can't handle it, and I am willing to bet that most of this generation is thinking the same thing, only they can't see the truth on the other side of the noise we've made.

So what is the answer? We can't just make all that noise go away... I still watch movies, and listen to a little to much music. I watch Mythbusters on the discovery channel and skip the commercials, I want to use the internet without getting caught up in social networking, or the oh so easy access to sexualized images. I use a blog to write my thoughts down just like any other teenager in my generation, I cook on a gas powered stove.... I mean I do cook, sometimes... To take it back to the noisy photograph problem, it is a combination of light, and the correct focus that will give a clear image. (if you have already shot it, you need photoshop... but that is another tangent.) As I have learned in filmmaking, just changing the focus of the image can change the story dramatically.

I feel so strongly about the power that film has through storytelling. I don’t watch movies for purely entertainment any more. I have to evaluate the story, what is being communicated to the audience, and how it is being communicated. So when I think of examples for blogs like this, I like to use those I have gained from movies. Like this scene from Ray, where Ray Charles is blind and in the middle of a noisy restaurant with Della Bea Robinson, who would later become his wife...
"I hear like you see. Like that hummingbird outside the window for instance."
"I don't hear her."
"You have to listen... it’s all what you are listening for"

It is all in what you are listening for. It is easy to just hear the noise of people, and dishes, and the sounds of the street. Close your eyes and listen, and you can hear her much better now... "Her heart skipped a beat."
Ray's life was a life lived in the noise of drugs, extra marital affairs, and the music that made him famous. I am not certain he ever was completely changed, but in his life it took the truth to set him free, and make him "see" who he really was. We all need to know redemption, and we all need to know what voice to listen for out of all the other voices. In the midst of all the voices of the entertainers, and the acclaimed speakers and politicians and professors, how will we know who to listen to?
If we are listening to something greater than the next big thing that will blow away in the wind, all the other noise around us cannot hold our attention, and hopefully we will learn not just to hear through the noise, but speak through it as well.