Overlapping Thoughts: Vol. One

I think I’m going to start using this blog as more of a journal, especially about things related to faith and the beyond the surface moments of life that I notice. It is pretty stream of consciousness, and for myself first and foremost, so please don’t expect it to be excellent writing. 

Recently I have been watching a lot of TV shows. There’s a lot of really good storytelling being told right now on TV. Recently I have watched: Man Seeking Woman: S3, Better Things: S1, Homeland: S6, Legion: S1, This is Us: S1, Love: S2, Travelers: S1. I’ve also watched a few comedy specials recently, by Louis CK, Dave Chappelle, and Neal Brennan. 

These shows are all over the map with how they tell their stories. I am definitely drawn to the stories that build on character development. It’s the reason I like TV shows more than movies. 

I used to have to read the reviews of every show after I watched each episode. But I rarely do that anymore. There are only a few reviewers that I like to follow, and only one that I tend to agree with pretty much every review (Todd VanDerWerff, from Vox, previously on the AV Club). 

Out of these shows there are a few that stand out to me that I liked the most, and it always dealt with messy people who are always trying to connect with one another, to belong, to love well. 

Better Things, Man Seeking Woman, This is Us, and Love. 

There’s always those elements in every decent show, but these shows really focused on those moments. I really liked watching the second season of Love over the course of the past week. I still can’t really put my finger on what I like about that show so much, but it’s probably one of my favorite shows of the last couple years. In many ways it reminds me of the HBO show Togetherness, which I also enjoyed for similar reasons. 

I guess it feels real to me. And it’s dealing with people my age for the most part. 

I will always find stories of the everyday lives of people more interesting than an action movie. People are complex. Relationships are complex. Following the journey of two lovers is fascinating to me. 

I like shows that inspire me to be a better person, too. Like even though both the main characters of Love mess up from time to time in their relationship, they show the places where I need to be better focused in my relationship with my wife. I found that as I watched Love over the course of the last week, I was more patient with my wife. I was more physically affectionate (something I struggle with). 

And that’s the power of a good story. I love it. 

I also listened to the podcast S-Town recently as well. And to me that’s a bit deeper and harder to figure out because it’s a true story with real people and real relationships. If you haven’t listened to S-Town yet, I’d recommend it. I think by looking into the life of a very complex man in a small town, we are forced to look at what makes us tick. We are forced to consider many things about the human condition in general. 

I guess I have been surrounding myself with lots of good storytelling recently. And I’m glad that for the most part my wife enjoys this storytelling with me. A good portion of these shows she watches with me. So we get to talk about what we like about the show or about the episode. What works, what doesn’t. What’s believable, what’s not. 

So it stands out when I go to church here on Easter and the sermon is filled with very bland storytelling. It stands out when I go to a seminar, and the speaker is attempting to be insightful and deep, but seems to be content standing in the shallow end. 

It’s disappointing. We have an entire campus filled with kids whose hearts are potentially fertile for things like Jesus’ beatitudes. Their hearts just need a little tilling. Their minds need to be reassured that they are accepted and forgiven. They may not even realize just how hungry and thirsty they are for righteousness. 

We don’t need to look cool for these youth. We need to be models of love and consistency. 

That’s especially true when giving a sermon here. I think the youth don’t realize they want to connect at a deeper level because we aren’t giving them many opportunities to do so. 

What’s the goal of the church service here? Is it to keep everyone awake? Is it to simply get them in church? Is it just part of the behavioral routine? Or are we trying to show them how they can understand they are loved and that they belong and that life with Jesus is able to keep up with their ups and downs. Jesus isn’t threatened or worried about rough waters. He’s able to sleep right through the storms, and when he wakes up he can calm them with just a whisper. 

I don’t think we’re doing a good job at that. 

I was watching Rob Bell’s video on Facebook from Easter. He gets it. He understands what we are really searching for. What we really want to know. What we need to feel. And his optimism and life pour out as he talks. That’s what these kids here need. I’m trying to do better with that. Not just simply believing in the resurrection, but living it. 

It requires doing a better of job of listening – of paying attention. Being grateful and therefore joyful. And it requires me expressing those moments with these girls and my wife. 


Here’s Rob’s video:

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