Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Festivus - Dec. 23rd

With credit to Wikipedia here is the story of Festivus:

The Beginning -
Frank Costanza: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.
Cosmo Kramer: What happened to the doll?
Frank Costanza: It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us!

The Festivus Pole -
Cosmo Kramer: Is there a tree?
Frank Costanza: No, instead, there's a pole. It requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting.
Frank Costanza: It's made from aluminum. Very high strength-to-weight ratio.
Mr. Kruger: I find your belief system fascinating.

Airing of Grievances -
Frank Costanza: And at the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year!
Frank Costanza: I got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you're gonna hear about it. You, Kruger. My son tells me your company STINKS!
George Costanza: Oh, God.

Feats of Strength -
Jerry Seinfeld: And wasn't there a Feats of Strength that always ended up with you crying?
George Costanza: I can't take it anymore! I'm going to work! Are you happy now?!
Frank Costanza: I've brought one of the cassette tapes.
Frank Costanza (on a tape recorder): Read that poem.
George Costanza (on a tape recorder): I can't read it, I need my glasses.
Frank Costanza (on a tape recorder): You don't need glasses! You're just weak, weak!
Estelle Costanza (on a tape recorder): Leave him alone!
Frank Costanza (on a tape recorder): All right, George. It's time for the Festivus Feats of Strength!
George Costanza: No! No! Turn it off! No feats of strength! I hate Festivus!
Frank Costanza: We had some good times.

Festivus Miracles -

Miracle #1;

Sleazy Guy: "Hello again, Miss Benes."
Elaine Benes: "What are you doing here?"
Sleazy Guy: "Damndest thing. Me and Charlie were calling to ask you out, and, uh, we got this bagel place."
Cosmo Kramer: "I told them I was just about to see you. It's a Festivus Miracle!"

Miracle #2;

Gwen: "Jerry!"
Jerry Seinfeld: "Gwen! How did you know I was here?"
Gwen: "Kramer told me!"
Cosmo Kramer: "Another Festivus Miracle!"
Jerry Seinfeld: (gives Kramer a murderous glare)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Youth miniStarZ

Thanks to @revkevgcc for posting this.. This one goes out to my friends, Oakley, Steve, Barry, Ben, and a bunch of other Youth miniStarZ out there.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Coincidence on My Way to New Jersey

Coincidence was all around me on Friday, December 11th, 2009. I woke up totally excited about how the day was going to unfold. My enthusiasm was due to the fact that I was about to hit the road and drive to my brother's house in New Jersey. Chris turned 30 that day... and I figure that was only going to happen once. Surprising him at his front door seemed like the right thing to do. As a father of 2 young boys, I don't get to do leave for a night very often, but in this case, Erin really encouraged me to make the trip.

I also felt like there was something more significant than the trip. There was something about this nearly spontaneous decision to take on the open road that was inspiring me. It might have been the left over joy I felt from the hugs I got from Erin and the boys before I left or that I sense life change in the near future. But mostly, I was excited to see the next scene of my life story take place... a chance to see a band that my brother and I haven't seen together since 1997. Switchfoot was playing at the TLA in Philadelphia and we had tickets... only Chris didn't know that I had one as well.

Switchfoot always inspires me. Their music is the poetry of hope that I need to hear when I feel like my heart is in a rut. Just list the titles of their songs and I start to feel inspired: "Meant to Live", "This is Your Life", "Dare You To Move", "Awakening" and so many more. On the drive down to see my brother, I promised myself that I would sing the words of these songs until my voice was sore. It felt like the thing the 1997 version of myself would do.

I was excited about one other thing on this trip. I haven't been doing much reading over the past several months and this trip was going to include 10 hours of drive time. So, I signed up for Audible, the audio book service that allows you to download a book and listen to it on an MP3 player or phone. I decided to listen to: "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller. The poignant question posed at the beginning of the book is this: "Why would you want a Volvo or anything of perceived value if you wouldn't be interested in watching a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo?" To put it another way, the elements that make up a story for a great movie are the same elements that make up a great life.

I was seriously challenged by this premise. I mean, I've always known that real value in life is generated by the relationships we cultivate and not the things we accumulate. But I never thought of putting life in the context of a good story. I love a flawed character, vibrant scenes, the challenge of the antagonist and so many of the other components of a great story. I just never thought of those elements of story being important to my life.

And in that moment, somewhere on I-84 in Connecticut, I realized the coincidences all around me. The book, the band, the trip, and my relationship with my brother. I was about to play out a major scene in the story of my life... the kind of musical montage that sums up my relationship with my brother. Just picture us walking on South St. in downtown Philadelphia, eating a Cheese Steak and having a drink all while the sounds of Switchfoot played in our heads... "This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be?"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chrome OS

What if Rob Bell was going to produce a Google video for the new Chrome OS? It might sound something like this. Even if you don't agree with the Rob Bell comparison, I really like what Google is saying in this video.... why not simplify!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Calculator (The story of my trip to Burlington, MA)

As some of you heard on twitter today, I went to Burlington, MA for a training event at work. It was a pretty good event with plenty of food and the promise of a prize for those who could answers questions at the end. Like any other perpetually broke person, I was excited for the chance to get something for free. That included a free lunch, which also made it a poor choice for me to go to the Chick-fil-A at the Burlington Mall... so I didn't go (refer to the tweet).

Anyway... back to the point. I was anxious to answer a question at the end of the training so that I could reap the benefits of paying attention all day long. The first question was impossible, so I didn't raise my hand. The second question was a little more realistic and my hand rapidly flung up in the air as if I had channeled the 4th grade version of myself. I confidently... and correctly answered the question and was rewarded the 1st prize.

It was a calculator.

I tried not to look outwardly disappointed but I'm sure a smirk flashed across my face. After we were dismissed, I put it with my things and headed for home.

When I got home, Mitchell greeted me with his usual enthusiasm. It's a joy that can't be explained until your 2 year old runs up to you, hugs your leg and yells, "My daddy's home!" I started to look for a place to put my things down; Mitchell followed me to the couch, with Landon looking on from his spot on the floor. Mitchell asked what has now become a very common question, "... This is...?" (interpretation: What is this?) I showed Mitchell and Landon my new calculator. The wonder and amazement was over the top. "A Calculator!.... WOW!" In an effort to keep things equal, I actually handed it to Landon first. He didn't say anything, but he did grab onto it with his unusually strong, 9 month old hands as if to say, "I love this calculator!"

The calculator was free. The reaction was priceless. These are the invaluable moments available in parenthood no matter how broke you think you are.

(Plus... the calculator situation reminded me of this SNL skit from last year. Check it out!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Don't Call It Marriage

One of my closest friends, Jay Caton posted to an earlier blog dealing with Homosexual Unions. We respect each others opinions and since its rare that we come down on different sides of the issues, I figured I would share it on this blog (with his permission). His rebuttal and yours are welcome!

Jay Caton:
I'm deeply saddened that Maine voters have overturned their same-sex marriage laws. It’s a blow to all our rights, gay or straight.

is is not a religious issue. They will not "teach" our children how to be gay. In fact, in what class are they teaching them, to be straight?

They will not “overrun” our system and cause problems in our society. It works in Mass, it works, in 4 other states and in numerous other country’s. It can work across the US too.

No one is saying that individuals need to "accept" same sex relationships or "lifestyles". There are those who still are very vocal about their dislike for interracial marriage. Just this week a justice of the piece in Texas resigned his post because he did not want to perform such wedding ceremonies. He did not need to resign; he could have just chosen not to do those weddings. That’s fine. But he can’t tell interracial couple they can not wed at all.

And no one should be able to tell a same sex couple they can’t either.

My response:
I haven't read much about the decision in Maine, but I did read that it marks the 31st time that the electorate has voted down a measure for gay marriage in the US. Whether one agrees with the decision or not, I believe that a referendum style vote is the most clear way to deal with this issue. It is not small minded to defend a principle such as the definition of marriage as one man/one woman (who also meet other important criteria such as not being related). People have just as much right to vote for a more open interpretation of marriage if they wanted to... its just that the majority hasn't... 31 straight times in a row including states more likely be vote blue like California and now Maine.

The real mistake is the tactic to use the word marriage to describe a homosexual relationship. That word marriage is what actually does make this a religious issue for many people. Marriage is deeply ceremonial and religious in nature.

Government has endorsed this method and then applied rights associated with marriage. Government has laws that deal with marriage or religious institutions and those laws are meant to protect citizens from religious fraud.

The key for successful gay-rights is to look to the government to apply rights associated with marriage, but under different terminology and conditions. Just like there are rights applied to a 'common marriage' couple, there can be... and should be... rights applied to a homosexual couple. They should be concerned with new rhetoric to support government recognition of an entirely new category of relationship that qualifies for tax credits, health care benefits, beneficiary rights and so on.

Just don't call it marriage.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Birthay Erin (Mommy) - We love you!

Erin - On your birthday, I wanted to take a moment to publicly brag about the amazing mother and wife that you are! Mitchell, Landon and I are blessed every day by the little things and the big things that you do.

We've been together for 10 years now. Back then, I wasn't conscientiously thinking, "I want to marry her because she is going to be a phenomenal wife and mother", and yet I knew that you were the perfect woman for me and whatever children we may have. I couldn't put it into words then, but there was something about your ability to care for others that drew me to you. I couldn't resist.

And now 10 years later, I get to see how that potential to love as it is actually lived out every day. Every day you nurture and challenge us to be more caring ourselves. For the boys, they don't know any better. As far as they are concerned, Mommy and Daddy love them... period. For me, I know that they are loved by a woman who's capacity to care for her children far out ways my wildest expectations. I can't tell you how many times I come home from work to hear of the latest example of what you and the boys do for fun and learning and think to myself, "how does she think of so many great ideas?"

So... I wanted you (and everybody else) to know that I love you! I know the boys love you (Mitchell says it with words and Landon says it with his eyes) . They can't resist... and neither can I.

- Jason (Mitchell & Landon)

Monday, October 5, 2009

What I really think about Obama

Ok... so as many times as I've tried to explain it, every time I mention President Obama, I get a ton of hits and comments from my fellow Republicans. I'm not liberal in anyway... yes maybe I've become a little more of a moderate, but at the core, I'm a strong proponent of the Republican party. Let me put it another way... when I saw this skit, I totally agreed with SNL! (which almost never happens)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Homosexual Unions

This is a difficult topic. I recently responded to a friend's via email on this topic and this was a part of the response, now edited for this blog.

While I am personally opposed to homosexual marriage, if the state, through legislative means, rules in favor of a union for homosexual partners, what arguments do I have left other than religious? I believer it is completely appropriate for a religious body to not perform or support homosexual unions based on their interpretation of the scriptures. However, it is not appropriate for religious bodies to insist on state legislation based on a scriptural basis by which only they agree. In other words, all citizens have as a basis the common text of the constitution and law, however not all citizens consider the Bible as a common text. Therefore, any argument that we have against homosexual marriage, abortion, or any other ‘hot button’ issue that is based entirely on scripture will only be effective to those who consider the Bible as common text.

My point is that preaching that homosexual lifestyles go against Christ’s teachings is like preaching to the choir. I think most in the evangelical church would agree (though other liberal interpretations of Christ's teachings would not agree). So then, how does the evangelical church effectively reach a community with Christ's teachings when we often start by essentially saying, “If you’re gay or approve of homosexual unions, you have a distinctive disadvantage in getting to heaven” (… at least that’s how many people hear our opposition to homosexuality). I’d say that cuts us off from reaching about 40% of the community … maybe much more here in New England.

As a church in the modern world, I believe we need to focus on the universal truths in scripture, equip our congregations in a way that they can live it out in the real world, and educate them in such a way that they do not just ‘regurgitate’ scriptural references that will fall flat in a world that does not consider the Bible as common text.

Let me give you my favorite example. Abortion has long been opposed by religious organizations. Those who consider themselves to be Pro-Choice are most adamant that the government or a religious body not tell them what a mother can and cannot do with her body. If we resort to an argument stating that the Bible says 'killing a baby is wrong' and here is the scripture from Isaiah to prove our point, the argument then hits a wall. However, if we look at the universal truth of the matter that killing a baby is wrong and then attack the science behind the Row vs. Wade decision, we can begin to engage someone who does not acknowledge the Bible. I won’t spell out my entire abortion argument other than to say that our level of scientific understanding in 1972 when Row vs. Wade was handed down is easily debunked with modern science.

When it comes to homosexual unions, I have a more difficult time with the argument. I'm solid on the religious arguments, but in terms of matters of the state, I'm not sure there is a good reason to oppose unions. The one thing I know is that I don't approve of a court that creates common law in matters like this. Massachusetts is an example as our legislator did not pass a new law approving legal unions, but that the courts decided that the state constitution already provides for homosexual unions based on discrimination. That's not how our government was designed to work. However, if the state legislator does pass a law or an amendment to our constitution that provides for homosexual unions, then I have limited options for which to oppose it.

At that point I have a few options: 1) run for state representative and work toward repealing the law, 2) protest and take part in civil disobedience demonstrations, or 3) move back to South Carolina. I don't see that legislator changing this law anytime soon; plus I still have a house there that no one else seems to want... anybody.... anybody want it? It's nice... I promise!

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mitchell Likes Ice Cream

In case you haven't seen Erin's blog, here is a video she recently posted of Mitchell expressing his love for ice cream.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What Do We Consider Important

If religion is not as important to people in New England as it is in other parts of the country, then what do we consider most important?

Honestly, I would need Gallup to produce another poll or reveal more information than what was in the report I mentioned in my last post to really get to the answer. But, since I've lived in Worcester, MA for 85% of my life and... since this city is perfectly situated within a 1 hour drive to all of the major cities in NE except for Portland, ME (2+ hours) - I'm going to make some assumptions and take a guess at what we consider important.

We consider community to be important. You might be saying to yourself, "that's a no brain-er" or "that's true in other regions of the country as well". So, that brings me to the type of questions I would like Gallup to study.

For example,
  • "How are you involved your community?"
  • "To which organizations do you give your time and money?"
  • "How much time in your week do you dedicate to community involvement?"
  • "How much money do you give each year to community organizations?"
I believe we would rank very high in a national poll about community involvement. People here are highly ambitious and sometimes involved in several community organizations at once. My next post will discuss some of these organizations.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

State of the States by Gallup

I have to point out a recent report issued by Gallup. A recent poll they did puts a little color in the discussion that I hope my blog can help to facilitate. As it turns out, we are correct in assuming that church growth is much harder to come by in New England. The entire 6 state region ranks in the bottom 10 states when considering the importance of religion.

I'm not as concerned with the fact that people here in New England are naturally less religious, that fact has a lot to do with historical trends.
  • I'm concerned when I hear about highly visible church organizations poring their resources into Nashville.
  • I get frustrated when I hear about "hot shot" seminary grads getting out and planting a new church in Charlotte.
  • I'm confused when I hear about really well known church leaders starting a new worship experience in Atlanta.
  • I'm jealous when read about all of the ministry training being made available in Dallas.
Are these organizations are smart enough to know that you can't run a "successful' ministry in New England, or are they settling for the 'low hanging fruit'?

I'm sure there are many good reasons to start a church in Birmingham, but I can't wait to see someone look at Boston and say... "why not!" Let's bring in some seminary hot shots and nationally recognized leaders and start something there. If God (and not geography) is the reason for their success, then let's buck the trend.

Click Here for a closer look at the trends.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Youth Pastor Gathering

You are invited to attend a gathering of youth pastors on Sunday, February 22nd at 6pm in Marlborough, MA at Metro Church. My long time friend, Scott Long and Chad Braswell are looking forward to networking and sharing with others in youth ministry here in Central Massachusetts. If you have any question please contact Chad Braswell: or Scott Long:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Landon Cosmo DeStratis

Many of you have already seen the news on Facebook... but in case you haven't heard, Landon Cosmo DeStratis arrived at 2:53am on Sunday, February 15, 2009. He weighed in at 7lbs 6oz and 21 inches long. Erin and Landon are healthy and happy... and so is Mitchell!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Room 237 (update)

Room 237 Update!

I just listened to my very own copy of "Room 237" by the Black Raspberries and it's great! I wanted to update everyone and let you know that if you'd rather have your own copy of the CD rather than the download, it is now available! You can get in touch with Giuliano via email: and let him know that you want a copy of the CD. This is a full length album for only $5.00. If you need to have the album shipped out to you, add on shipping and handling costs.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Room 237

It's been a long time in the waiting, but The Black Raspberries have hit the streets with their new full length album, Room 237. I couldn't be more proud of these guys as they wrote, recorded and produced the entire album on their own. These high school students have crafted some amazingly creative tracks and impressive riffs on this album. Don't miss this great rock CD!

Click Here to download the entire album for only $4.99!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Ok... I confess: I've been using Internet Explore way too long. Back in the summer months of '08 I downloaded Google Chrome, but only because the computer IKON issues to me wouldn't allow me to update past IE6.

I recently rebuilt an old PC to act primarily as a print server and back up computer. I decided that since I had a clean slate with this PC, I might as well try heading over to Mozilla. It didn't take long for me to fall in love with Firefox and all of it's 'add-ons'. Once web browsing became a social interaction, thanks to Twitter and Facebook, the old model of browsing just won't suffice. The two ad-on features that I am loving the most: Twitter and Delicious.

I've been experimenting with a couple of twitter apps. Right now I'm running Twitbin. I've also used TwitterFox. I'm not sure which one I'll go with... any sugguestion?

Delicious is the real reason that I'm converting all of my browsing to Firefox. How many times have you been on one computer, saved a site to "favorites" only to later be at another computer and not be able to access your favorites. Delicious solves that problem by creating a web based bookmark that can be accessed from any computer. The Delicious add-on for Firefox makes it as easy to add, view and change bookmarks as if they were built into your browser. All this plus the ability to create feeds and share your favorite sites.

Anyway, I'd like to conclude by appologizing to my many fellow nerdy friends... I was wrong to use IE for so long, but I now see the error of my ways. I pledge to use Firefox and all of it's cool extentions from this day forward.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I thought I would share a link to the book I just started reading - Churched

I'll probably post more thoughts on it later... but so far, for a guy who grew up going to church with a lot of rules, this book is really speaking to me... and making me laugh. I grew up in a Pentecostal / Charismatic church, which is very different from the Independent Baptist church that the author attended, yet from a kid's perspective, there were many similarities.

I'm only 3 chapters in... so I'll get back to you with more thoughts later.

Read more from Matthew Paul Turner at:

Monday, January 26, 2009


I like to consider myself a person who is up to date on my vocabulary words.  But one day last week as I was speaking with Claudio ( ) a word came up that I had never heard before... "Doppleganger".  Claudio used it so casually that I almost let it go... but I realized that I had to stop him and say... "Dopple...wha wha what?".  Claudio proceeded to give me a text book description of the term, stating that it was of German origin.  Wiki Definition Here.  I realized that I have clearly missed out on this word for 30 years.  With this new insight I vowed to learn more.  It turns out doppleganger is being used in pop culture all the time... and with that I present another SNL masterpeice by Andy Samberg. (thank you to Steve Bramlett for the link)

Friday, January 23, 2009

SoulFest RePost: Fictional Family

This story first appeared at:

This past Wednesday I became part of a fictional family along with 200 others gathered at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Fiction Family, featuring Jon Foreman of Switchfoot and Sean Watkins of Nickle Creek played to this intimate crowd anxious to hear the new side project from the two artists.

When I read the story on how these two established singer/songwriters came together, my original thought was that this project is the first "Web 2.0" album. Read the entire story here. The basic concept is that Jon and Sean were rarely able to be in the same place at the same time, so they traded musical ideas and tracks online, adding new elements until they had a song that worked. They colaborated over a period of three years while maintaining a busy schedule with their respective bands.

This concert was an extremely refreshing experience for me. It is rare to be so familiar with a musician (Jon) but not be familiar with most of the music being performed. Fiction Family's self titled debut had only been released to the stores one day before the show, so the only song that I was familiar was their lead single, "When She's Near". Some of the most memorable songs on Wednesday night showcased Jon's reflective and inspiring lyrics ("Mostly Prove Me Wrong") and Sean's incredible "blue grass" guitar skills ("War In My Blood").

Both artists come from different musical pedigrees which makes their colaboration truly unique. And even though a part of me was hoping to hear a couple of Switchfoot tracks mixed into the show, I really came to appreciate their dedication to the music of this project, as they performed almost every track on the album. I wasn't able to meet all the 200 or so members of my new fictional family on Wednesday night, but we all walked away a fresh take on the rock/folk genre.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Future

I've been thinking a lot about the purpose of this blog.  As you may have noticed, I bought a domain...  I've left the subtitle, "Jason Found This Interesting".  For a while now I've been feeling like that is far too broad for this blog.  But before I continue with the future of this blog, I'd like to take a quick look back at last year.

I learned a lot about blogging in 2008 - most of it from my friend Marty Holman.  Marty really pushed me to consider blogging and twitter.  Marty also had very kind words for me today at his site.

My most successful blog was:  My Vote For President
I enjoy politics.  I enjoy debate.  This post worked, but I'm not sure that I'm a political blogger.  And I guess that's my point.  I need to stick to my niche.

So the question is:  Should I narrow the focus of to "Strategy for Churches in the Northeast" and leave some room for personal stuff of our growing family?  Or should I create a new blog for Strategy and leave for family updates only?  I'm leaning toward the first option, but Erin reminded me that my faithful readers may not be interested in the Strategy content.  So let me know what you think.