December 2009


A couple of days ago I sat down and did a quick (10 minutes, tops) review of this years blog posts.  Less than ten minutes, because to be honest, I’m not that interested in reading that much of my stuff.  Plus, it only took that time to see a few themes develop…

  • 2009 has been full of great people.  I’ve been able to stand beside some amazing peeps as they started attending the Summit, gave their lives to Christ, committed their lives to each other, and welcomed life into the world (keep in mind, not all of those were the same person).  I’ve also said goodbye to some great friends who have left for the mission field and gone home to Jesus.
  • My family continues to be an incredible source of humor and a place of refuge.  Yes, I put their lives up for all to see from time to time, but doggone it, I’ve got a great family.  I’m thankful for ’em.
  • God has defined and refined my life’s direction.  In reading back over posts, I can see how he’s grown me, shaped me, and taught me.  Good stuff.  Good, good stuff.

So here it is, ten random samplings of some of my favorite posts of ’09.  For heaven’s sake, don’t read them all (I didn’t).  But click on one and join me on memory lane…

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I dig me some books, and there were some doozies this year.  Here are the best books I read in ’09, in no particular order…

  • A Comedian’s Guide to Theology: Side-splittingly funny, yet amazingly doctrinally-correct book.  If your idea of theology involves the words “dry,” “dusty,” or “I’d rather be mauled by ferocious rabbits with dull teeth,” this is the book for you.  I reviewed it here.
  • Through Gates of Splendor: How I made it through 25 years of the Christian life without reading this book is beyond me.  It’s like making it through 37 years of being J.D. Greear and never quoting C.S. Lewis.  A must read missional biography.
  • Eat This, Not That!: Pow! I just threw a diet book in the pile.  This book helped change my physical life more than any other this year, and I was less miserable than I thought I’d be.  I talked about it here.
  • The Starbucks Experience: If you’re in the guest services biz at your church (or any other organization) you owe it to yourself to read this masterpiece by Dr. Joseph Michelli.
  • Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us: Seth Godin is the guru of all things business, leadership, marketing, and maybe hermit crab breeding (not confirmed, but I bet he’d be good at it).  I took my team through Tribes this year after reading most of it in one plane ride.  Yep, it’s that good.
  • Flashbang: How I Got Over Myself: Another great, very funny book that walks through the themes of pride, self-deception, and spiritual growth.  Mark Steele is uber-funny.
  • Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls: If you are a parent, will be a parent, or had parents, this book should be on your shelf.  What Gary Thomas did for husbands and wives in Sacred Marriage, he now does for people who change diapers, put kids in time out, and set curfews.
  • Lord, Save Us From Your Followers: Why Is The Gospel of Love Dividing America?: The book that became a documentary, this read is a fascinating look at what mainstream America really thinks about evangelicalism.  Brutally honest, compelling, convicting.
  • A Praying Life: Connecting With God in a Distracting World: Without a doubt the most influentially shaping book I read in ’09.  We gave away a few copies over on the other blog, but if you didn’t win it, you should buy it.
  • The Pursuit of Holiness: Repeat everything I said about Through Gates of Splendor.  Somebody should make you read this within the first year of being a Christian.
  • The Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected are Redefining Community: I just finished this one two days ago, and it was so powerful I included it as #11 on a Top Ten list.  Watch for a full review coming up on the blog soon.

So, what have I missed?  What should I be reading in 2010?

Here it is, the second annual Connective Tissue tradition known as the Year End Review (also affectionately known as My Brain Is Too Fried To Come Up With Anything Else Original, but let’s not get distracted).

This week we’ll be hashing out the best posts of ’09, the best books of ’09, and maybe another best of if I can come up with it (don’t hold your breath).

Tune in tomorrow for the first Best Of!

Or maybe Wednesday.  I don’t know.  It’s that fried brain thing.

Editor’s note: So what just happened was, you wasted everyone’s time with six sentences, all in an attempt to get ‘em back tomorrow.  Or excuse me, maybe Wednesday.  Wow.  That should make a Worst Of list.  I’m just sayin’.

O Holy Night is one of my favorite Christmas songs ever.  And whatever guy butchered this version is the greatest anonymous prankster to walk the earth.

So gather the family, grab some egg nog, crank the speakers, and laugh ’till you puke.

Complete this post and submit your caption below!

(Thanks to Adam Moore for the picture!)

In yesterday’s post I told you about the Christmas songs that make me want to dive headfirst into a den of angry wolves.  Lest ye think that only one type of media angers me, here’s what I don’t understand about Christmas movies:

First, what defines a Christmas movie?  Apparently the good folks over at ABC Family haven’t quite figured that out.  Oh sure, I can understand How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys. But what’s the deal with those Harry Potter movies?  True, I’ve never actually seen a Harry Potter movie (I’m typically busy reading Leviticus and praying for you witchcraft-practicing necromancers who have), but am I missing something?  Does Santa swoop down at the last minute and deliver presents to all the good little wizards?  And I’m sorry, ABC, but showing The Incredibles on Christmas Day makes no sense.  Yes, Mr. Incredible is a fat man in a red suit, but he ain’t the same one!

And then of course, everybody from ABC Family to Lifetime has to come up with a dozen new Christmas-themed movies each year.  Just a few names that I am not making up include Holiday in Handcuffs, Cranberry Christmas, 12 Men of Christmas, Holiday Switch, A Very Merry Christmas, and my personal favorite, The Year Without Any More Stupid Christmas-Themed Movies. (Okay, I made that last one up.)

So I asked you yesterday, and I’ll do it again today, which Christmas movies grate you?

You won’t find anyone who likes Christmas music much more than I do.  I have to fight good common sense every year to keep from cranking up a little Bing Crosby way before Thanksgiving.  But even guys like me have their limits.  Even I hear a song come on the radio from time to time that makes me want to drive myself off the nearest cliff.  Here’s a list of my current annoyances…

  • Let It Snow (Gloria Estefan version): everybody likes a good trumpet, but 154 trumpets trying to outdo each other on higher and higher octaves are a bit much.  Sing the song already, Gloria.  Kill the brass.
  • Santa Baby (Eartha Kitt version): nothing says, “materialistic little princess” like this song.  Every time it comes on the radio I totally overlook the cutesy novelty of it and just want to park her in front of a looping commercial about starving kids in Africa starring that guy who now that I think about it looks a little like Santa Claus anyway, so there.
  • Santa Baby (Madonna version): same as above, except this time it sounds like a four year old singing it.
  • The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late): written in 1958, this song proves that the 60’s wasn’t the only decade of rampant drug use.
  • Any song by the Jackson Five where Michael has a conversation with his brothers.  (“I did! I did see mommy kissing Santa Claus!” “Shut up and get back in the hyperbaric chamber.”)  You’re a great singer, Mike.  Don’t ruin it by talking.
  • I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas: ’nuff said.

How about you?  Which songs cause you to want to rip your ears from your head and feed ’em to reindeer?

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