Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

31 March 2014

I had a quinoa salad for lunch

"I had a quinoa salad for lunch.  It was SO so good.  Do you know how many calories that quinoa salad had?  Not many.  I even know what the daily caloric percentage for that quinoa salad as calculated for my body weight.  I heard about it on the O network.  That Oprah... you've really got to hand it to her.  Well after that quinoa salad, I went for brisk walk.  I did.  And I wore a purple jumpsuit.  But it wasn't that deep purple that you love... it was a pale purple like my Aunt Agnes used to wear.  She loved that color because she had a doll as a little girl... whose eyes were that color.  She always said that she'd get lost in those eyes.  I wonder what it would be like to get lost in an eye.  What's in an eye anyway?  Probably veins.  Did you know that my veins are narrower than most people's veins?  They are.  That's why, when I get really worked up, they turn a slightly deeper shade because of the lack of blood flow.  Or at least that's what the public health nurse told me once.  Remember when we'd rinse with fluoride rinse in schools while listening to the Smurfs dental song?  Why did we do that?  Why don't we do it anymore?  Did you know that the French for Smurfs is Les Schtroumpfs?  It is.  I don't know why.  Do you know why?  The French are weird.   Why do we have to pay more for French food than other food?  And it's all so rich. SO so rich.  And you get less but you pay more for French food.  That's a sad thing about eating out right?  It's not like back when we'd go to the Ponderosa Buffet and we'd get our fill.  Remember Bonanza?  You don't?  I guess you're too young.  I'm going to tell you about it anyway. It had that Lorne Greene in it.  He was Canadian I think.  Google him.  He was right?  Ha.  I was right.  I always get him confused with Bruno Gerussi from the Beachcombers.  I LOVE the beach.   Don't you just LOVE the beach?  I found a 20 dollar bill on the beach once!  I walked over to a lady, who had this gorgeous red handbag... who told me incidentally that it was a hand-me-down from a friend who actually acted as an extra in one of those Chevy Chase movies.  Anyway I asked this lady, who believe it or not had a Croatian accent.  I know that because I actually asked her.  I had to know.  She sounded so exotic.  ANYWAY, I asked this lady if she lost 20$ because I found 20$ on the beach and she said no.  So I took the money went right into the casino.  Did you know that they will give you all the free Gingerale that you want as long as you're playing the slots?  Well I only wanted to spend that 20$ because I don't want to be one of those people who loose more than they can afford at the casino.  Those people are so sad.  My neighbor back in Calgary was one of those people.  He had a cowboy hat bigger than you'd believe.  You know what they say about people with big hats right?   So I thought I'd get an "old-fashioned" like Don Draper drinks and they told me that they didn't make "old-fashions"  How do you even say that drink plural?  Is it old-fashioneds or old-fashions?  That's hard to say.  Grammar sucks anyway.  So instead I just got a free gingerale.  Did you know that they'll give you a free gingerale as long as you're playing the slots?  So I sat down right beside a machine with stars all over it.  That's what I heard someone tell me once and they were a VERY lucky person.  So I played slots for 20 minutes and came out 5 dollars ahead so I got another Gingerale and went home.  Did I tell you that they will give you all the free gingerale you want as long as you're playing slots?" 

"And in the naked light I saw ten thousand people, maybe more. People talking without speaking; people hearing without listening"

Simon and Garfunkel  

20 March 2014

You can't do anything without doing anything

"Advertising is poison gas. It should absolutely attack you; it should rip your lungs out. Great ideas can't be tested. Only mediocre ideas can be tested."
George Lois - Art and Copy.

As communicators... we should loathe white noise.  We should despise it.  We should be repulsed by it. It should be an opposing polar magnetism type repellant. It needs to be the bane of our existence.

Especially in cities of mid to smaller stature, there is an urban message canvass that provides grandiose opportunity.  While there still exists nearly as divergent a population base as large markets (simply in smaller proportions)... to those like myself who are fascinated by holistic city transformation, therein lies the true possibility to mobilize a higher percentage of the collective TOGETHER.  This means strong churches & ministries... but also strong businesses, non-profits, and organizations.

But you do can't anything without doing anything.

George Lois's "poisonous gas" IS a poisonous gas conviction to me as a communicator.  We too often succumb to the soothing haze of white noise without even knowing it's happening.  It's a siren song.  It leads to repetitive ineffective patterns, cliched phrasings, safe words and imagery, lazy market analysis and mimicked techniques you read about on the internet.

In fact, it's worse than you think.  While unintentionally blending in with white noise can start off because of simple inattentiveness or ignorance... continuing down that road it will lead to FEAR.  If you won't use poiseness gas because you're afraid of negative fallout, you may find you've cheated your message, product, serve, brand or business out of it's rightful place of importance.

Jesus was fearless as a communicator.  So fearless that he HAD to be put to death because the faulty man-paradigms couldn't hold him.  His message was paramount over his life... since he WAS and IS the Son of God, there was no way that he wasn't going to see that message communicated not only to those in his "network"... but in His entire Kingdom. 

We must do SOMETHING to combat the lure of white noise.  If you really BELIEVE in your message, product, serve, brand or business... we need to use the right "poisonous gas." Don't settle.  

Email me bigearcreations@gmail.com if your message deserves find its way out of the white noise... and you wanna talk "poisonous gas"

12 March 2014

Winter life around the feeder

"When I think of the wonderful things that are undoubtedly true, and of the wonderful things yet to be discovered, I not only blush because of the little I know, but marvel because so many people manufacture wonderful experiences instead of studying the wonders that are undisputed.  Within five miles of where you live, there are enough strange things to keep you wondering all your life.  Probably in your dooryard may be found enough to employ the intellect of a strong man"

Edgar Watson Howe - "Ventures in Common Sense"(1919)

10 March 2014

The City's Stage

My most treasured moments inside The Sanderson Centre have been the quiet ones.  Sitting silently in the theatre, hours before a show, staring at The City’s Stage is beautiful thing.  Especially when it’s your show.  If you’ve never had this opportunity, you can actually feel the curtain going up in the pit of your stomach.  You know that soon it will once again… be showtime.

Opening in 1919 as The Temple Theatre, becoming The Capitol in the 30’s and then The Sanderson in the 80’s… almost everyone has a memory of The City’s Stage.  I grew up hearing stories from my Dad who worked as the assistant manager of the Capitol Theatre, while in high school in the early 60’s.  His favorite story to tell was how in 1962 Lawrence of Arabia came to town. They would turn up the heat in the theatre a half hour before the intermission; screen-time that featured Peter O’Toole traipsing through the desert.  He recalls that it was the only time where they actually filled up drinks and sold them row by row off a tray DURING the movie. They sold more drinks than there were people in the theatre every night during the film’s run.

When I asked around, people were all anxious to share their stories about The City’s Stage.  Brian Elliott told me of how magicians would come in at Halloween and how his friend volunteered for the guillotine trick. The magician told his friend to grab the legs. He reached out and grabbed the legs of the "beautiful assistant."  The magician said "not these legs, the guillotine legs!" Chris Smith told me stories of Saturday afternoon Elmer the Safety Elephant 25 cent films, where you’d get popcorn thrown in to boot. In 1952 Marty Bruines was 8 when he convinced his mother to let him go see King Kong.  He said, “It scared the bejabbers out of me.”  

In the late 90’s, I used to act in New Life Assembly’s annual Easter Musical.  It was a wonderful time that saw the theatre filled for multiple, free-of-charge performances. But my favorite memory was during one intermission when Pastor Jeff Futers came out to take up an offering.  It was very smooth and professional until, walking off-stage, he forgot to turn off his mic before exclaiming loudly, “Can I take up an offering or what!” to the uproarious laughter of the crowd.  

In recent years, The Sanderson Centre has been the setting for many a Laurier University gathering.  Sydney Nicholson, a 2nd year teaching student still remembers the feeling she got during Orientation Week saying, “I don't know what it was about the place. The energy that all of us first years let out just seemed to resonate throughout the building.”  Former student Becca Vandekemp recalls her first introduction to The City’s Stage being the setting for her Basics of Psychology class every Tuesday night. “I associate the dancing ladies on the ceiling with the parts of the brain and concepts like positive reinforcement” she said with a laugh!

On April 9th, Freedom House is pleased to be co-presenting “Good Night and May God Bless - The Red Skelton Tribute” at The Sanderson Centre featuring the masterful work of Red Skelton’s protegee Tom Mullica... who was trained by the legendary Skelton himself.  

The Sanderson Centre’s theatre manager Glenn Brown saw Red Skelton at the then Okeefe Centre with his now wife and both their parents in the late 90's, calling him ‘The ultimate clown.”  

Skelton, while never playing the Temple Theatre stage during his vaudeville days, conceivably could have.  Red Buttons, a contemporary, did.  In fact Skelton once painted Red Buttons as a part of his massive collection of art.  Skelton was, quite simply, a creative genius.  It was said of him that he didn’t ever do one show a night.  He’d do three. The rehearsal show, the dress rehearsal and the real show; since much of what he did simply flowed out of his brilliant mind.

In a 1967 associated press interview, 16 years into his very successful run of The Red Skelton Show, he described what his typical day entailed.  He would sleep for 5 hours and get up at 5am to write. He’d compose with music, word and paint for 5 hours before having breakfast.  Over the course of a day, he’d record 5 to 10 piano melodramas, routine outlines and pantomimes into a tape recorder. He’d write at least one short story outline a day and complete one full story a week. THEN he would do his daily television, radio and theatre work.  

“I have a collection of clocks, none of them wound.  I think more people waste time looking at clocks than anything.  There’s plenty of time.  The trick is to apply it.” 
Red Skelton

Mullica, whose ability to bring Red Skelton back to life will amaze you, has played on more stages that he can count during his career.  He says “It really is a great feeling when I get to play at a former vaudeville theatre.  Often when you find them across North America, they aren’t always in great shape. Kudos to those have done the hard work to revive this space.  They are the true heroes.”

Glenn Brown agrees, “We've had vaudeville performers like Red Buttons, Imogene Coca and Mickey Rooney on our stage since the return to live entertainment. Listening to their reminiscing about that era and hearing what a beautiful place we have and how lucky we are to still have it is always humbling.”

Every city has a stage.  But not every city has a stage quite as handsome as ours.  Some performers were born for The City’s Stage.  Red Skelton was one of those men.  And while we’ll never again have the chance to see Red in person… seeing Tom Mullica embody Freddy the Freeloader, The Mean Widdle Kid and Clem Kadiddlehopper in a setting so loaded with memories will be a very special night indeed. A couple hours before the doors open, you’ll find me sitting silently in an empty theatre… soaking it in.

Get your tickets by clicking the link HERE, at the Sanderson Centre Box Office or by calling (519) 758-8090... or follow along with the Facebook Event HERE.

3 March 2014

My favorite picture with half naked girls in it

My favorite picture with half naked girls that I've ever seen... was the time the sex shop invited people to church.  

It was taken July 14th 2012 in the window of a sex shop in downtown Brantford... the day before we did our first giant outdoor baptism.  This was not a group of Christians slapping something over the smutty window.  That's what happens when you think adversarially.  Actually, when you look closely, you can see that this is ad is on the INSIDE of the window, under the photos of the girls.  The owner of the shop actually posted it and gave it position in his window.


Well this is what the ad says.

"Freedom House welcomes prostitutes, gamblers, wingnuts, bad boys, good girls, church folk, folks that don't do church, fat people, skinny people, generous people, wannabe generous people, those who like God, those who don't GET God yet, students, the deaf, the blind, and those with 20/20 vision, seekers, finders, lovers, haters, politicians, the jaded, fighters, the artsy, the nerdy, the disillusioned, the visionary, the rich, the poor, normal people, abnormal people, leaders, followers, the engaged, the disengaged, every tribe, every tongue, every nation, the cerebral, the pretty, the popular and those who don't think they are good enough, smart enough or cool enough, those with shame, and those with no shame whatsoever, kids, families, singles, loners and the big life of the party guys, people who want to get free, live free and free others.  Freedom House welcomes YOU."

It was blessing instead of cursing.  Serving instead of storming the doors. It's taking the first step, opening "come as you are" door... coming against the perceived vibe that many get that they wouldn't be welcomed in THAT place. 

There is a bit of a notorious bar downtown, right across from our church.  Lots of "not so good" stuff goes down there along with pretty exposed-to-the-public table dancing that, while permissible, is not beneficial to the culture of the street... let alone people involved.  So we BLESS the people.  Blessing and serving doesn't say that we're necessarily in total agreement with everything that's going down.  But it's embodying "The KINDNESS of the Lord that leads to repentance

Romans 2:4 (where that saying comes from) says it this way in the Amplified version: 

"Are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)?" 

In the summer, as we do our Friday Night "Flippin Friday" free street BBQ's... we invite the
employees (regardless of dress) over for burgers.  We show love, kindness and care.  We show HONOR.

Every culture of shame responds to being invited into a culture of honor.

And you know what happened last summer? The owner of this establishment came over to our BBQ and said, "I don't know totally why you do this.  But I like it.  It's a good thing." One night he actually gave us money to keep it going.

The kind of transformation we're praying for and working towards, includes changing a CULTURE.  It's not "Conform or get out."  It's let walk together towards GOOD and GOD (who IS good) together. 

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