Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Last Halloweenie

I thought I'd write an overarching, beautiful, poetic, creepy, scary, powerful post about Halloween that you would never ever forget.

But I'm not going to.

I'm just going to wish you a Happy Halloween. Be safe. Have fun.

and of course

Be good to each other
Rev. Josh

Friday, October 27, 2006

hangin' out with the DREAM KING

Not a Halloweenie, but then again, The Sandman gets pretty dark in places. But that's not really why I'm writing this post. I'm writing this post because Neil Gaiman is quite simply an author everyone should familiarize themselves with. I especially wanted to link this post from Neil's blog. You may have to scroll down a bit, but there's a great question about graphic novels' being eligible for literary awards. I love Neil's response. If you have any interest whatsover in our First Amendment Rights, and you should, you definately want to dig deeper into Neil's brain. Oh, and check out the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund The Comic Book Legal Defene Fund helps people like Mike Diana, the first American artist to be arrested under an obscenity law. His sentence was... rediculous, I honestly can't believe a U.S. court enforced his sentence.


I guarentee that if Mike were a novelist instead of a comic book artist, this case would have been all over the news.

Huh, maybe this post is scary enough to be a Halloweenie after all...

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Friday, October 20, 2006

Halloweenie of the... ok, the Week, sorry.

I know I haven't been keeping up with this very well, but you'd much rather I kept up with my other work first, right? I still have hope that my wife will be writing something about one of her favorite horror flicks, but for now I want to tell you about one of my favorite television shows that explores the creepy.

Ghosthunters follows a group of paranormal investigators called The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) which operate out of Warwick, RI. This information in and of itself catches my attention, after all, I've been to Warwick many a time on shopping outings... and they're often investigating places we know, such as The Lighthouse Inn, New London and the Bradley Playhouse. (Incedentally, I know folks who have been involved with the Bradley, and they were disappointed in the episode... can't all be winners, I guess.)

Anyway, my wife and I have both seen shows that tear apart paranormal investigators as utterly pseudoscientific, and indeed, the founders of TAPS are not scientists--they're plumbers who had personal experiences which led them to wonder more deeply about the possiblity of hauntings. But they are a little more grounded than most of the "investigators" I've seen torn apart. For example, a staple of paranormal investigation is an EMF (electro-magnetic-field) detector. The theory is that unexplainable electro-magnetic fields could be evidence of a haunting. The thing is, anything with electricity has an electro-magnetic field, so when you see other investigators oo-ing and ah-ing over their beloved toy while they're standing next to an outlet... it means nothing.

But the TAPS team doesn't do that. They try to find what the base readings are in a room, and record fluctuations. And if they find fluctuations, they attempt to discover a reasonable explanation for it. For example, in one episode the team is investigating the claims of a pair of homeowners. The gentleman of the house is a refurbisher, and the house is old and in the process of being refurbished. The homeowners complain of phantom noises, unexplained shadows, and feelings of dread and depression. And the kicker? These symptoms are only experienced when in the house! During their investigation TAPS discovers that there is an unshielded electrical box in the basement under the stairs (where phantom sounds are heard) putting off an emense EMF. They also discover a serious mold problem. And the chemicals used in the gentleman's refurbishing business are stored near an intake for the air vents in the house. Any one of these, high EMF, mold, and chemical fumes, are possible explanations for the hallucinations and emotional swings the homeowners were experiencing.

Most of the cases they cover have no conclusive evidence at all. Some are even easily explained away rationally. So when they do catch something, it becomes that much more impressive. Now, I'm pretty sure that I could reproduce most of the evidence they've caught on tape. But if the show is a hoax, it's a really elaborate one, with money spent covering episode after episode where nothing really happens.

So when TAPS goes home and goes through their audio footage and hears a voice that they have no memory of, and they bring the audio clip to their host and she says, "No, that's not my daughter," then they call it an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenominon) and they put it in their "evidence file."

It's enough to give you a shiver, and get you to thinking... what if there are ghosts, and science just hasn't caught up yet?

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I'm Sorry

I've actually gotten a response or two from my last post through private channels, and I think I came down too hard on the subject. From my original perspective I saw a large percentage of the congregation in a big hurry to escape from what I considered to be the responsibility of the membership. After all, the boards and committees of the church worked hard to get to that meeting and all that was asked of us was to vote on it--which, again, only took 7 minutes. And one of the first things I heard in the midst of that was what felt like an accusation that it was the fault of Pastor Ed and myself that so many people left. And as I reflected on that, I came to the post before this one. It was a little defensive, and it blew things out of proportion, and for that I'm sorry. It was not my intention to cause guilt over our busy schedules, and I'm sorry for doing that.

So let me try again. Pastor Ed and myself should not have recessed, it gave our "captive audience" the freedom to "escape."

I'm sure that there were many reasons for folks to not want to stay for a congregational meeting. We live in a society where every minute of the day is packed with more and more activities, especially if you have children. And you have to eat sometime. And so out they go. I'm sure there are people who would rather poke themselves in the eye with a sharp stick than sit through one more meeting. And so out they go. I bet there were at least a few who just hadn't been listening that hard, or their minds had wandered, and so they didn't hear that they were asked to stay. And so out they go. And so on, and so on.

There were people who thought they had time to leave and come back, or were coming up from the church school, and the meeting was over before they could make it. And so out they go, and back in they come, surprised!

What worries me is the idea that some people just don't care about the meetings and boards and committees and how the church works, as long as it's still there for them. It worries me that there might be people who aren't as concerned with making this church a thriving, growing place as the rest of us are. The very idea worries me on a personal level (after all, you added my position with the intention of it helping the church become a more thriving, growing place), but more importantly the idea worries me because I love this community, and I want it to thrive, and grow.

And so, instead of asking you, "Why did you run?" I wish I had asked, "Do you care?"

Because I hope with all my heart that you do care.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Velly Intellesting... But not funny!

I know, I know, I'm too young to be making Laugh In references, but I figure I gotta keep you wondering. I mean, even You Can't Do That On Television is pushing it just a little bit, and you ought to be wondering how I've even seen and retained any Laugh In. But I have! I especially remember Art Johnson popping up in his Nazi uniform, and Ruth Buzzi as an old woman beating the crap out of an old man with her purse.

But... that's not the thrust of this post.

The thrust of this post is... you ran. You ran away. You know who you are. You might be able to claim that you received a false signal from Pastor Ed and myself... but...

you ran.

From a meeting that lasted all of 7 minutes.

And I shouldn't take such a confrontational tone, but it's frustrating. We said at the beginning of the service that we would like you to stay put for a quick meeting. We said at the end of the service that we would like you to stay put for a quick meeting. And then we made the mistake of doing the recessional, just like we always do. And you got up and followed us, as you always do.

Only much, much faster.

So it's very interesting to me that you're willing to come to the service, that you're willing to be members of the church, but that you can't stay for a 7 minute meeting.

I'm told that our annual pledges are down a staggering amount of money, and I guess I already knew that, but...

I don't know.

I've never seen the sanctuary empty so quickly before, and I'm interested to know why.

It's very interesting.

But not funny.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Friday, October 06, 2006

Breaking News

The Senior Pastor just came in and asked if we had heard about the chemical fire in Apex, North Carolina. Apparently the new Peter Pan book, some basketball guy firing a gun into the air outside a nightclub, and Uwe Boll literally beating up his critics were deemed more newsworthy today.

Anyway, he has family there, who have been safely evacuated from the area. He says that they have a good evacuation plan in place because they're also near a nuclear plant. Anyway, here's the story.

Thank God for the rain.
And that it wasn't the nuclear plant that went.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Ooh-vay Scary...

I thought I was done posting for the day, but I was checking my e-mail and found an interesting headline on the yahoo home page. It read something like, "Horror movie director takes on critics in boxing ring."


So I read further. Said horror movie director is named Uwe Boll. Never heard of him. So I check out the video. I was wrong. I have heard of him. I had simply blocked it out of my mind because his movies are bad. And I don't just mean a little bad. I mean cataclysmically and unredeamably bad. And I like schlock. And I'm in the redemption business, right? To be fair, I've only seen one of his films, Bloodrayne... sorta. We fell asleep. We've been joking that our minds were trying to protect us from the crap. A lot of the arguments around why people hate Uve's movies so much center around his treatment of the source material. But here's the thing... I've never played any of the Bloodrayne games, and the movie was still bad. And I think that we all ought to be able to say that Uwe's movies are bad without personally attacking him. Be good to each other, right?

And this is a perfect example of why we should be good to each other. Because not being good creates more and more ungoodness. Now, I'm not feeling sorry for Uwe. Oh no. In fact, Uwe scares me a great deal more than his bad movies. You see, this isn't celebrety boxing. This isn't even a simple PR stunt. This is Uwe Boll, German film director and amature boxer brutalizing internet film critics with no training in boxing whatsoever! I don't like boxing to begin with, it's too violent, and before you come after me with arguments that I'm being hypocritical, stop and think. The stuff I'm into is all simulated violence. It's fantasy. It's not real. Boxing... boxing is real violence, and in this case, it's violence against defenseless people who thought they were in a simple PR stunt.

Uwe Boll must be stopped.

Be good to each other
Rev. Josh

"It's Funny Because It's True!"

Ok, so this isn't a Halloweenie, and it's not the post I promised you, but a friend sent this video to me from YouTube and I had to share it. It reminded her of my wife, and I'm not unconvinced that it should... so here's a vid for my wife and all of her fellow knitters!

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I was reminded just the other day that new people might be having a look at my blog as word of its existance spreads far and wide! For those of you just joining us, I've been preparing for Halloween since... um... the beginning of September. Heh. I love Halloween. I always have. And when I made the Halloweenie updates to the site's look I did a whole big post about why I love Halloween and why I don't think it's counter to my faith or particularly harmful. If you want to, go back and read it. For now, just know that I think you can relax and have fun with Halloween, and that is why I've been sharing my favorite scary things with you all.

Next time, I think maybe I'll have my wife write up a little something about one of her very favorite scary movies. It's another slasher flick, but the killer doesn't wear a mask. It has very strong female characters--but I doubt that's what it's famous for! And many fans like it because they think the killer is... funny?

Be good to each other
Rev. Josh