We've moved! Check out my digital and nerdy ministry focused Substack here.

Backloggd List | Follow me on Backloggd

Each week on Backloggd, the game logging site, I post some sort of Top 10 list. To better elaborate on my choices, I am posting the top three on this blog with slightly more detail.

This week’s topic was to go broad rather than deep. I curated the top ten games released for the entire decade of the 2010s.

I've crafted the most challenging list. I started a list of 25 games before winding up with ten. The first four were easy, but the rest changed several times before shakily landing. I'll explain the top three, but I encourage you to see and judge the list thoroughly.

Obviously, this is incredibly subjective. But my list is correct.

3: Stardew Valley

I've developed as a gamer into more of a narrative-focused person. But, in my heart, I will always be a farming sim kid. I grew up on the best game of all time, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life. I was raised by games that encouraged romance, business-savvy, and of course, four seasons. The same was true for burgeoning Game Dev Eric Barone (ConcernedApe) as he was crafting Stardew Valley.

This game is a love letter to the farming sim, and, up until now, it is the one that has captured the experience better than any other farming sim has managed to do. From the characters to the playstyle to the continuous content release window, it's hard to imagine a better farming sim experience than this game.

For those of you who know me, I have my annual Stardew Valley play session, where I will start a new session and play for around 100 hours. And I've done it every year since 2015. I was a Day-One-er, and I haven't looked back since.

2: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

It's been said enough, but Breath of the Wild changed the name of the game. It set apart a new era of gaming for me, at least. It wasn't the first open-world game, but it changed it all for gaming for the remainder of the decade. I still hear people talking about how this or that game is 'like Breath of the Wild.' And I still see YouTube videos popping up with '38 Things You Still Don't Know About Breath of the Wild.'

The truth of this game is that it was perhaps the most polished Nintendo game we had gotten in years, and it added upon an existing universe and model that people were familiar enough with to make it an immediate purchase. Add into the mix that the additions were actual improvements to the experience? Yeah - that's a big win. I might go so far as to say this game is one of the most defining games ever made, but that will have to wait for that list to get curated.

1: Undertale

Sure, it might be cliche at this point, but Toby Fox's Undertale simply cannot be overstated in terms of the indie narrative experience. The tropes and subverted expectations were enough to shift the gaming landscape. But then Toby went and shifted the music scene. And the pixel art scene. And the battle mechanic scene. And the narrative scene. Toby took the idea of indie gaming and turned it upside down, doing for indie games what Breath of the Wild did for AAA titles.

Things just haven't been the same since Undertale entered the world. Whether it is a game you love, hate, or love to hate, it defines the narrative experience present in gaming. Plus, it's just a great game. It took the bullet-hell gameplay and made it more intuitive and enjoyable while allowing for the more challenging affair of Sans and Undyne the Undying. Plus - as I mention ad nauseam - it was literally given to the Pope (twice).


And that wraps up my top three picks from the whole decade of the 2010s. If you’ve never played these top three, would you consider it now that they’ve been brought to your attention? What would be your top picks from this decade?

I hope you enjoy these lists and look forward to bringing another to your feed next week.


July 13th, 2022

ICYMI, I’m working slowly but surely through the 1001 Movies To Watch Before You Die list. Movie #30 was the restored version of the historic film Metropolis by Fritz Lang this past Friday.

A bit of background on me: I’m someone who wants to consume as much as I can as often as I can. I’m constantly multitasking and devouring podcasts, videos, games, books… pretty much any medium I can get my hands on.

Metropolis demanded something of me that few media do: my attention.

This is the first silent film that has been RNG’ed on my 1001 list, but there have been a dozen or so foreign films, so I’m not ignorant of reading subtitles that demand my attention.

But a silent film is a whole different thing.

A silent film demands constant, unbreaking attention. I took for granted how much sound allows me to multitask. Even in a foreign film, I can look away for moments at a time when no dialogue is occurring.

The silent film demands patience.

This was humbling enough as someone who doesn’t give hard-crafted media the attention they deserve. But I’ve neglected to mention until this moment the length of Metropolis.

Metropolis has a run-time of 153 minutes. Two. And a half. Hours.

If the silent film demands patience, the 2.5-hour silent film demands endurance.

And yet, I watched it - end to end. And it was an excellent story. I’m the better for having consumed it in the way it demanded.

On a related note, this film was supposedly Adolf Hitler’s favorite. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that he either A) didn’t get the plot or B) didn’t have the endurance actually to watch it.


July 11th, 2022

Backloggd List | Follow me on Backloggd

Each week on Backloggd, the game logging site, I post some sort of Top 10 list. To better elaborate on my choices, I am posting the top three on this blog with slightly more detail.

This week’s topic was a deeper dive into the past with my list from 2009.

Depressingly, I had a tough time coming up with many games from this year that I even enjoyed—kind of a rough year for video games, upon reflection (at least for me). But there were some absolute gems in the muck.

Obviously, this is incredibly subjective. But my list is correct.

3: Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth

This might be one of the most contested picks on my list. For those unfamiliar, Ace Attorney is a gaming franchise out of Capcom that follows the wacky courtroom antics of Phoenix Wright. The writing is flawless, and the mysteries are always captivating. They are a mixture of point-and-click and visual novel gameplay elements.

With the success of the mainline series, Capcom released Ace Attorney Investigations. This game allowed players to control Phoenix’s rival Miles Edgeworth, a prosecutor that constantly gets wrapped up in trouble. The game also changed the point-and-click elements into a 2D action-adventure that is relatively light and limited. This took fans by surprise. Some loved it, some really, really hated it.

I’m the former. I love the gameplay. I love the story. I love the writing. It’s a joy to play through in bits and pieces and an excellent ‘bedtime’ game to wind down the day before sleep.

I am as much of a narrative gamer as I am anything else, and Ace Attorney is nearly as good as it gets when it comes to story-telling. Notice I say nearly.

2: Batman Arkham Asylum

I love the Arkham series. I miss the Arkham series. I want more of the Arkham series.

I was a late arrival to the Arkham universe. My first was Arkham City, but I didn’t even play it until it was years old. However, the literal minute I would finish one Arkham game, I would start the next one and begin my binge through the story.

I’m not usually one for stealth gaming or beat-em-up ARPG-style gaming, but the combination of both with the character of Batman makes for the best gaming experience. I am a diehard Bats fan, and every single entry in the Arkham universe makes the player feel like Batman. Kevin Conroy certainly helps that immersion.

There aren’t any superhero games as good as these, and Asylum was the one that started it all. For that, I am forever thankful for this series. Here’s hoping that Suicide Squad lives up to the Rocksteady hype (if it ever releases).

1: Zero Escape: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

I don’t care what you think about my number one entry. There is no argument here. This is, unequivocally, the best game released in 2009. As I’ve mentioned in other lists, the Death Game genre is my favorite of all time. And Danganronpa holds my heart as my first experience of falling in love with the genre.

But this game is the best entry the Death Game genre has ever had.

999 is an absolute masterpiece of suspense, storytelling, and characterization. Like most games in this genre, it’s a point-and-click visual novel. However, I was first drawn to this game's escape room elements.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the narrative. I’m not trying to be hyperbolic, even if I am - it is a story I constantly gasped out loud at.

It’s hard to say that these Death Games are suitable for anyone. It’s so niched that most ‘gamers’ don’t enjoy them. But this gamer sets this one up on the pedestal as the GOTY of the Death Game genre.


And that wraps up my top three picks from 2009. If you’ve never played these top three, would you consider it now that they’ve been brought to your attention? What would be your top picks from this year?

I hope you enjoy these lists and look forward to bringing another to your feed next week.


July 6th, 2022

Backloggd List | Follow me on Backloggd

Each week on Backloggd, the game logging site, I post some sort of Top 10 list. To better elaborate on my choices, I am posting the top three on this blog with slightly more detail.

This week’s topic was a progress report on the past 6 months of gaming we’ve seen since 2022 first kicked off.

Ironically enough, I discovered quite a few jarring entries on similar lists, so I have added quite a few games I’ve yet to play to my list. That being said - the full top 10 list contains games I’ve personally played or watched enough to warrant placement on the list.

Obviously, this is incredibly subjective. But my list is right.

3: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge is a beat 'em up game that is so rife with nostalgia it’s enough to turn one’s stomach with delight. It’s an obvious homage to the classic 1987 TMNT series and feels just like the arcade games that came out of the Turtle-mania of the 90s.

Beyond the nostalgia, the game is downright charming from beginning to end. The soundtrack is absolutely flawless. The background designs and intractable objects make the world feel lived in and explorable, which is impressive for a fast-paced beat ‘em up. The characters control just differently enough to pick a favorite (Donatello fyi) and they all have enough touches of design that they feel specially crafted to appeal to each player.

It’s a game with impressive replayability as well as feeling manageable with or without the co-op playstyle. Add in a myriad of related collectibles and you have yourself one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences one can have.

Is it going to revolutionize the gaming industry? Is the story going to win an award? No. But it’s a delight of a game and has been given enough loving care that that is more than enough.

2: Elden Ring

If you know me at all, you are likely surprised to see this title on my list at all - let alone in the top 3. And yet… here we are.

Elden Ring is a fantasy, action and open-world game with RPG elements such as stats, weapons and spells. Which means, use spells. Lots and lots of spells.

This is the latest entry in the Soulsbourne genre of gaming. That means that the point of the game is for it be unforgiving and harsh. And that it is. I’m not one of those gamers, so I don’t like this game.

But I sure do love it.

It’s a compelling narrative with some breathtaking design elements. The options and adjustability of each character and playthrough make for an impressive feat of game design.

Despite an often toxic fanbase (but where won’t you find that) and some HUD choices that I would personally disagree with, it’s hard to deny the credit that must be given to Fromsoft for this absolute work of gaming art.

Just don’t ask me to actually be the one holding the controller.

1: Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Look - I’m a simple man. I see Pocket Monsters, I love the game. It’s really not too much to it.

Except that this game changed the whole formula and absolutely consumed a solid two months of my life. Putting it lightly - I adored every minute that I had with this game.

Arceus game honors past Pokémon games’ core gameplay while infusing new action and RPG elements. The player is tasked to catch, survey, and research wild Pokémon in a long-gone era of the Sinnoh region to create and complete the region’s first Pokédex.

I was bought into this game hook, line, and sinker from the very first trailer that we got for it. Just the fact that I was given the amazing opportunity to throw a Pokéball was enough for me. I can only hope that it did well enough for The Pokémon Company to keep making more of them.

I would say more about this one, but I probably should go and start playing it again.


And that wraps up my top three picks from the year so far. What would be your top picks from this year? If you’ve never played these top three, would you consider it now that they’ve been brought to your attention?

I hope you enjoy these lists and look forward to bringing another to your feed next week.


June 29th, 2022

As the appointed pastor of a digital church plant, I see it as my obligation to research as much as possible to understand better the beast I have been called to serve.

The digital church is confusing, exciting, and overwhelming. And I love it.

I love it so much that I see it as my responsibility to serve it in connection with as many wise writers and leaders in the field as I can.

This requires a lot of reading, followed by some more reading, then top all of that off with a little more reading.

There is one thing that has been made redundant. We do not need ever to say this one sentence in any book. It has been written. It has been exegeted. It has been backed up traditionally, scripturally, and experientially. It is only short of the Archangel Michael descending upon Bill Gates in his sleep to affirm it.

The phrase?

Online Church is not here to replace traditional expressions of church.

If you could, you would hear my eyes rolling right now.

Please, please, please - let’s allow that to be the last time it is written on the Internet. The point is proven.

Instead, here’s what I propose: to everyone so afraid of the online church replacing their physical churches… how about you just be irreplaceable?

In his pivotal book Linchpin, Seth Godin posits the idea of the most valuable employee or idea being the one that holds the whole thing together. The most valuable leader is the one that is indispensable and creative - living each day as an act of breaching the chaos and finding order.

The antithesis of the ‘linchpin’ is the person who lives in fear of the unknown, uncertain, and undetermined.

In other words, the ones afraid of being replaced.

It is precisely the fear of being replaced that makes you replaceable.

The church digital has no plan to replace the traditional one, it’s true. But whether it will or not is up to the orthodox church. Be irreplaceable. Be indispensable. Be the linchpin.

Don’t place the burden on the digital church. Be the best you that you can be.


June 27th, 2022

When Logan and I bought our first pop-up camper, we realized we had to get one of our cars properly equipped to pull it. I wasn’t sure where that was even done. Did I need to call a dealership? A mechanic?

After some Googling, I found a decent-priced hitch installation package from the moving company Uhaul.

I remember the confusion at that moment. I wasn’t even aware that Uhaul had an onsight technician. In my experience, they only had one or two people in the office building designated to fill out paperwork or hand out keys.

And then it hit me - didn’t this seem like a conflicting business for Uhaul?

If they equipped more cars to pull equipment, what would stop customers from ditching the hitching company and purchasing their own trailers?

I’d be willing to wager this is true for a few customers. But I’d be equally willing to wager that there are far more whose hitch installation brings them back for repeat business to rent trailers directly from the company.

For Uhaul, there is a dance between trailers to rent and hitches to pull. The more cars equipped with the capability, the bigger the pool of potential customers to rent their product.

This is diversification. Knowing the offered product and then asking how to make that product more desirable.

What product are you offering? Ask yourself how you can equip and empower people to use it better - not how you can coerce or force people into using it.


June 26th, 2022

There is a fundamental disconnect in the concept of ‘Ready, Set, Go.’

I think most of us know how to go. Some of us are quicker on the draw than others, but we all have a general idea of what it takes to start something or do the next thing.

We also have a good idea of what it means to be set. We are eyeing the clock, considering the deadline, and marking our calendars constantly.

Where we seem to be missing the mark is what it means to be ready.

The reality of readiness is that it demands preparation. The time between knowing about a race and running the race could be days, months, or years - the prep time is variable.

In my experience, people procrastinate the ready and try to squeeze all of the preparation in the few moments before we are called to get set.

Worst case scenario - our panic to squeeze in our readiness messes up our ability to ever set ourselves up and leads to a delayed go.

We need more researchers. More preparers. More students.


June 24th, 2022

Backloggd List | Follow me on Backloggd

If you haven’t followed me on Backloggd, the game logging site, then you have missed out on weekly Top 10 posts. I am beginning to post brief rants on this blog for the top three picks to use these lists better.

I’ll throw some of the older lists here and there, but I look forward to a new top 10 list and post every Wednesday in this space.

This week’s topic was the Top 10 Games of 2010.

2010 was kind of a weird year for me. I was in between a lot of things. I would end a long-term relationship that year. I would be in several musicals. I was (and still am) a busy bee.

Nevertheless, not all of the games on these lists are games I actually played during the year they were released. Not a single entry on this list was played that year.

3: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game is a side-scrolling beat 'em up game based on the Scott Pilgrim series. You play as the friend group of Scott, who must battle through seven levels to defeat Ramona's seven evil exes.

This game was tricky to track down, but I remember discovering the movie and the game around the same time when seeing my buddy Sam playing this game on the Xbox Arcade in 2013. I was enamored by the beat ‘em up style game I hadn’t seen in quite a while.

I got so curious about the game that it led me down the rabbit hole of discovering the movie and finally the manga series.

That’s right: I am the one person who discovered Scott Pilgrim through the game first. What are the odds of that?

2: Limbo

Limbo is a black-and-white puzzle-platforming adventure. You get to play the role of a young boy traveling through an eerie and treacherous world in an attempt to discover the fate of your sister.

Before playing it for myself, this might have been one of the first games I watched as a Let’s Play. I have always been interested in horror games, and this one’s dark palette made for a captivating experience.

Playdead has continued to make one excellent game after another, but Limbo will always be the one that started it all for me.

The platforming of this game is just okay, while some of the puzzles make it exceptional. But what sets this game apart as a number two entry for the whole year is the narrative. This is not a story for the faint of heart, and one should be prepared for some uncomfortably Cronenberg-esque body horror. I could have never anticipated the twists and turns of this one.

1: Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

If you know me literally at all, then this one should not surprise you.

In this masterpiece that has the ranking of one of my favorite games ever made, you'll dive into a series of class trials and expose the lies and contradictions of your classmates to find out who's behind each gruesome murder. With each trial, you'll have to use the evidence and testimony collected during your investigation to literally shoot down your opponent's assertions.

But the mechanics are not what makes this game what it is - this game is one of my favorite stories ever told. This is the game that started my obsession with the Death Game genre. Kodaka (the creator of the series) is one of those elusive writers that I eat up every word of every interview if he ever offers one.

There is something about the prep work for this story. Looking back at the story itself, it’s not flawless. But the character design evokes such a powerful atmosphere. The writing and translation provide such a dance of horror and humor in each specific situation.

While Danganronpa 2 remains my favorite of the trilogy, this is the first foray into the world of the Ultimate Students and sets up for a wild ride of a story.


And that wraps up my top three picks from 2010. What would be your top picks from that year? If you’ve never played these top three, would you consider it now that they’ve been brought to your attention?

I hope you enjoy these lists and look forward to bringing another to your feed next week.


June 22nd, 2022

After my first big break-up, I remember retreating into my room for a while and spending a good chunk of time reading some of my favorite stories and playing my favorite video games.

Even today, I anticipate an evening gaming session when I get home from my general work day. It offers up the opportunity to unwind and de-stress. During particularly hectic days, those gaming sessions are only even more needed.

I’ve always attributed this stress relief to the types of games I enjoy. I love farming sims, dating sims, and turn-based role-playing games. These games are heavy in the slow, methodical feeling of progress. They are also typically accompanied by a strong narrative that draws the player into the world.

However, as I continue to learn more about nerds, geeks, and gamers with my current vocation, I am learning that the type of game has little to do with the effect here. Whether it is the latest high-action first-person shooter or the monster-raising anime game, people flock to games as an active practice for positive mental health.

And I’m not alone in this observation.

DeepWell DTx is an up-and-coming organization founded and led by some leading health and gaming experts working in tandem.

The project aims to take the existing world of video games and combine it with the world of mental health treatment.

Think about the ESRB rating that you see on the cover of every video game ever. The one that made your mom tell you that you couldn’t have that game because it was rated M for Mature.

Now imagine for a moment that you look right above that rating, and you see that this game has been approved as a therapeutic prescription designed to ease the impact of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Games are already being used as medicine, so DeepWell is taking the initiative and helping to make that medicinal knowledge available to the general public.

Keep an eye out for more of this in the future - gaming can be good. It is doing active good.

Innovators like DeepWell are taking that good and amplifying it for the betterment of all people. I share that goal and look forward to a vibrant future for the future of health, medicine, and video games.

P.S. If you want to hear more about gaming and fitness, I was a guest on the Active Faith podcast last week and discussed how gaming can be good self-care.


June 21st, 2022

Can you call something a daily blog so long as it gets posted on a day?

I initially had a vision for this blog to serve as a daily exercise that would stretch me and keep me honest about the works of creativity I love.

And it did.

But then I had to prep for paternity leave.

And then I had a second child.

And then I had to recover from that paternity leave.

And then I had to play catch-up.

And then I had… And then I had… And then I had…

Are you picking up what I’m putting down here?

The truth is this - I didn’t have time to stretch these muscles. I wasn’t making excuses. I wasn’t being selfish. I simply didn’t have the space. We must be honest with ourselves in moments when the time isn’t there.

It’s tempting to beat up on myself and say that I should have stayed up later, woken up earlier, worked harder, and played less. But this isn’t helpful or fair. Not to my family, not to my vocation, and certainly not to myself.

The whole precipice of this website is that I am a notoriously busy person.

I love to do and get done. It’s my personality.

Whenever life gets in the way of that (and it will), I am still learning to step away from the things that generally drive me and instead lean into the space I am offered in this specific time and place.

Will this blog be daily?

Maybe. Maybe not.

But it’s a practice that I’m ready to adopt (adapt?) once again. So - let’s get back into it.


June 20th, 2022

Despite being a social media platform with a great algorithm, I’ve been hesitant to do much on TikTok. Not to be all ‘hipster,’ but I remember when the name change took effect from and seeing the cultural shift. It’s incredible.

As someone who knows some incredible people, I’ve watched the rise and fall of many fascinating personalities on TikTok.

The rise is what leads to the temptation.

Creators can shoot up like a rocket with the baffling algorithmic For You page. I’ve personally experienced the rush of getting a million views over the whirlwind of a few days. It’s exciting - there’s no denying it.

However, the fall of my friends and peers is what leads to my hesitance.

It was a slow and gradual process when it came to the rise of creative people on YouTube or Twitch. It often required collaboration. It required humbling experiences of posting dozens of videos that only got ten views before slowly amassing an audience.

It’s tempting to say that YouTube and Twitch took more work - but that’s not quite the issue. TikTok takes a lot of work, too. It’s not about effort or merit.

The difference lies in the role of humility in the algorithm.

Don’t get me wrong - there is no shortage of vanity on the other platforms. But these are exceptions to the norm.

The culture of YouTube is patient curation around keywords for advertisers.

The culture of Twitch is loyalty to the essence of the chat and independent donors.

The culture of TikTok is a specialized focus for each user.

A specialized focus is a literal creation of confirmation bias. The TikTok creator is fed to precisely the right audience. That exact right audience is continually fed things that keep them watching - for better or worse.

The YouTuber gets better and grows as a creative to appease the advertiser.

The Twitch streamer gets better and grows as a creative to appease their audience.

The TikToker gets better by not growing but doubling down on what got eyes on them in the first place. This is a dangerous game.

Like with the vain YouTuber, there are certainly exceptions to the rule. But the algorithm itself doesn’t want the TikToker to develop or grow. It wants you to keep doing exactly what you’re doing.

And that’s simply not for me.


May 17th, 2022

Around this time, two years ago, I started taking the mental steps towards planting a digital church for nerds, geeks, and gamers. I didn’t know it would be called Checkpoint. I didn’t think it would be on Twitch, Discord, or YouTube. I didn’t know - well, pretty much anything.

The biggest question from Day Zero was this:

Is the online church a church?

Can a digital community serve the same role as the physical church building?

Contrary to many beliefs, it wasn’t an immediate ‘yes’ for me. I wasn’t sure for a good, long while of the possibilities of the online church. I knew that it was possible to build a community online. I knew that the digital halls were where I would find the people that I was hoping to reach for this church plant.

But how can you know what you don’t know?

In the grand scheme of things, it didn’t take long to discover the truth. As soon as we started streaming and poking around in the digital space, I quickly found real people with real questions and substantial interest in what we were doing. I made friends. I laughed and played games. We realized that Twitch wasn’t enough for us, so we made a Discord to have a more consistent communal experience.

It was then that magic happened.

Discord opened up new possibilities. Suddenly we were offering a space for people to exist within - no VR headset required; we had created an existing space in the Metaverse.

It didn’t take long to open up. We had people inviting people. We had stories shared. We opened a #Prayer-Requests channel. We bore our hearts to one another and made a difference.

I could tell you story after story of lives impacted by the online church.

And I plan to.

Starting soon, we’re launching Humans of Online Church.

We’re doing this as a fireworks display of proof that the people joining online churches are real, digital people. These are real, digital lives that are being affected.

And we need your help.

If you know anyone with a story to tell or a positive experience of the online church scene, then send them this link.

It’s time we settle this debate.

You are real.

You are valid.

You are the Church. Online.


May 16th, 2022

Sometimes you start a daily blog. Sometimes it goes well. Sometimes you fall off the wagon.

The Internet is this magical place where we spend all of our time, but we are only given very short glances into the windows of the lives of others. For readers of the Nathan Is Busy blog, I vanished. But for Nathan himself - I was here the whole time.

I often think of the creators that I follow. I’m currently obsessed with Elyse Myers of TikTok fame. The parasocial contract we’ve signed makes it so that I get into Elyse Myers’ life for around 1-3 minutes per TikTok video. I don’t know her.

And yet, I continue to live my life. And yet, she continues to live hers.

Such is the cycle of the Internet and the nature of the 24/7/365 beast of constant connectivity. It’s neither a good nor a bad thing - it’s just a thing.

What matters most is, of course, the friends we make along the way.

If the Internet is good for anything, it’s making relationships. I will not likely develop a friendship with Elyse Myers. But I will perhaps have one or two who read this blog and say, “Hey - me too!” At that point, I get to add to my relationship book of people who like the same thing as me.

And that’s living. Why would we want it any other way?

All this is to say - I’m nearly back from my paternity leave and will plan to hop back on the wagon with these blogs.

But maybe I won’t.

Who knows?

Regardless of the actual presentation of the thing, take heart that I am still here. And so are you. While this is true, let’s enjoy one another’s company, unspoken or not.


May 13th, 2022

It’s a weird phenomenon when building a community - online or IRL.

Whenever we first started discerning what Checkpoint Church would evolve into as a church for nerds, geeks, and gamers, the big question my coach asked me was: who am I trying to reach? It’s a great question that every church planter or community developer must ask.

The false answer is everyone. No one can reach everyone. No one should want that, to be frank.

The true answer is more specific than you think. You really can’t be too specific. If you get hyper-specific, it may adversely affect your community in size. But size alone is rarely a good goal.

For Checkpoint, our target audience was the 29-year-old nerd.

If I were pressed, I would expand that to a 29-year-old nerd that never went back to church after moving out of their parent’s house.

Even that is still a bit broad. Do you know how many 29-year-olds there are? Some quick math shows that there were 5.5 million 29-year-olds in the world in 2019. Would you want 5.5 million in your congregation? Probably not.

This is ultimately beside the point. We won’t reach all 5.5 million (obviously). Most of us are lucky to reach 5.5 million people in general.

All of this is to say: the target audience does not define the culture of inclusion in a community.

To say that we are targeting 29-year-olds is not to say that we aren’t willing to welcome the 55-year-old D&D player. We are open and inclusive of way more than our target - but knowing our target helps us to make decisions about the things that we do.

The people that choose to join us by what we do may vary - targeting is only good for discerning a purpose and direction.

Where the toxicity enters the picture is with the NIMBY trait - not in my backyard. In the nerd community, we might call these people gate-keepers or Grognards.

If we ever say to the 30-year-old that they aren’t allowed in because they aren’t our target… that’s when we lose our inclusive badge. If we say that My Little Pony doesn’t count as nerd culture - yeah, that’s gate-keeping.

If we are to discern something to keep out of our communities - it’s NIMBY. Openness is key to a welcoming community.


April 8th, 2022

Look - I get it.

The world is busy. Life is busy. Things can get pretty loud and overwhelming. I understand the natural desire that we have for less of everything. For a ‘return to nature.’ It adds up. It makes sense. It’s a good thing. It’s a healthy thing.

But it can become an idol.

Silence for silence's sake is not much more than an obsession with control.

We should seek out silence for that which comes alongside it - if we want one-ness with God from it, then we should be seeking God in that silence. Maybe you’re seeking silence because you want peace. That’s fine - but the self-help assumption seems to be that silence is the only way towards peace.

Silence is the antithesis of secularism - or at least that’s what some would have you believe.

But what if I find God in the act of coloring? Or playing a zen video game? Or a loud video game? Or a workout session? Or - dare I say - in this Chili’s tonight?

Proclaiming silence as the cure-all for the busyness of life is like telling an addict to stop being addicted.

Explore avenues and possibilities for alleviating the stressors of life. Find methods that work for you and your experience. Not everyone has the time or luxury to pay for Headspace.

Silence is good. Sure.

But we must be honest - Jesus sought out both silence *and* loud dinner parties with the sinners and tax collectors. It’s not black-and-white. Re-focus where and what you worship.


April 6th, 2022

This is the 26th blog that I’ve written for Nathan Is Busy and I’ve already fallen prey to the constant vice that plagues my creativity.

I assumed that I needed an idea and a goal for each of these posts.

They don’t all need to be around 1000 words. Nor do they need to be entertaining, informative, or persuasive.

The objective of the stream of consciousness blog is not to garner some massive audience or to win some Bloggy award (if that’s even a thing).

It’s just to write. And to enjoy writing.

I’ve sat here for twenty minutes now staring at my screen, stressed about what to write. Why? There’s no outside pressure. No impetus on this endeavor at all. This doesn’t have to happen. It doesn’t have to be daily. It doesn’t have to have some moral or theme at the end.

It can just be.

This won’t be the last time that I fall prey to this temptation. I’m not sure what it is in my psyche that leads to this result - but it’s very typical. So I give myself permission to experience it, address it, and move on from it.

So… hello from the experience of unmet expectations! Until next time.


April 5th, 2022

I just finished stocking over fifty gachapon capsules.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, this is my loving colloquialism for the small plastic balls in vending machines that contain small prizes. You can read more on the etymology here.

At the church which I pastor, we stream on Twitch three days a week for a total of nine hours. This is all-at-once too much time and nowhere near enough. In an effort to fill some of that time and also encourage viewer participation, I have a capsule machine behind me on camera that viewers can redeem ‘channel points’ to use. They gather these points via watching the stream itself.

Inside the capsules are a series of silly things - some result in my hosting of a bonus retro-game-based stream, others involve me reading poetry in bad celebrity impressions. Nearly all of the options are devoid of anything you might find in a standard church experience.

Whenever I was serving as an associate youth minister, I recall reading some comments on a collaborative ministry website. The consensus was that gimmicky ministry was distracting and drew people away from a relationship with God. Blending up a McDonalds meal at a youth event wasn’t drawing people closer to God - nonsense like that was a boon to the church.

I couldn’t possibly disagree more.

At its best, this sentiment keeps me humble in remembering the why behind what I’m doing. But at its worst, it can do real damage to the hard work of innovative ministry. Not all innovative ministries are based around entertainment. Some are camp ministries. Some are mission-based and evangelical. Some involve monasticism and seclusion.

All are needed and all are in vital need of graceful discernment.

The hierarchy of what innovative ministry is most synonymous with the gothic architecture of a cathedral is beside the point. Your innovative prayer labyrinth ministry is not more or less innovative than the prayer-requests channel on the Checkpoint Church Discord server.

Silly ministry isn’t dragging down the important work of the ministry itself. Holy play is a vital thing. Jesus went fishing. Leisure and relaxation are integral aspects of a ministerial life - simply because it isn’t the preferred way that some might choose to focus does not make that edgy new innovative ministry objectively opposed to the hard work of the church.

So - thank God for the Twitch pastor; the TikTok reverend; the Camp Director; the Geek Preacher - we should all be in prayer for them like we would be for any other missionary.


April 4th, 2022

I’ve now logged three films into my 1001 film challenge.

Last week, the random number generator pulled up films 955 The Ice Storm and 536 The Conformist.

The former was a boring and shocking Ang Lee film that reminded me that Kevin Kline is a person who exists. Whenever I mentioned on stream that I was watching this movie, some of the chat remarked, “Isn’t that the movie with Christina Ricci?”

I didn’t understand why they asked that.

Now I do.

And yes, it’s that movie with Christina Ricci.

It’s very disturbing in general. From beginning to end, the film is slow, methodical, and pointless. It’s a book-like journey exploring the dismantling of a suburbanite upper class family. Except, unlike the novel version, it doesn’t allow for any real depth into the motivations behind the characters. I’m still not sure what drove Kevin Kline to do anything he did. I’m still not sure what we were supposed to learn from Sigourney Weaver’s character at all.

Occasionally in the film the characters themselves will question each other’s actions and not have an answer. This feels like a clear thing for the cast, the writers, and the audience watching - there is no answer. I’d have to go below the standard review and give this one a 6/10.

All in all, this film was a case study that interesting cinematography and a phenomenal cast don't make a good story. If the script itself is obtuse, then the story will remain that way in the end.

This was also the case for The Conformist.

This 1970 film from Bernardo Bertolucci has been revered as his magnum opus and it’s clear why this might be.

This Fascist commentary faux noir film is engaging and curious. It’s a story told out of order, also known as a non-linear story. This was likely the most interesting aspect of the story, unfortunately.

I can imagine that seeing this film in its context, the scandal must have been so much more powerful. The tension, the eroticism, the anti-Fascist rhetoric, the exploration of a man in pursuit of self-discovery - it’s all there and it’s all done well.

Folks more impacted by Mussolini would have been certainly more susceptible to the wiles of the film. Earlier generations discomfort with homosexuality would have also been shifting in their seats with the story being told.

But, in today’s context, I’m not sure if the story provides enough for the dramatically high ranking that viewers have given it. With a 100% on Metacritic and a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, I am (unsurprisingly) continuing to lean with the IMDb folks at more of a 7/10ish.

I wonder if a current iteration of this film might be interesting. The story being told is a fairly universal one. Who doesn’t inspire normalcy? The main characters' conflict of self and imposter syndrome make for a compelling narrator. I didn’t trust our MC from the first minute that I saw him.

Perhaps my less-than-stellar review of both of these films is my abundant desire for nonconformity and hope. I’m not naturally inclined to the despair present in The Ice Storm. Nor am I naturally inclined to the deceit and lies of The Conformist.

A fine example of this would be that I might see myself more in the shoes of the to-be-assassinated Professor Quadri. Especially with lines like, “Clerici (the main character) is a fascist. I'm an anti-fascist. We both knew. And we decided to have supper together all the same.”

Having supper with the sinners is kind of ‘my thing.’ I’m afraid that puts our conflicted Conformist on the naughty list in my book.

Onto the next one! 3 down, 998 to go.


March 31st, 2022

As some of you may or may not know, I’m an avid reader. I enjoy the act of reading as a meditative practice, a contemplative practice, a relaxation practice, an educational practice, etc etc etc. I love all of it.

One of the ways that I try to stay in-touch with the trends of the world is through the books that I read. In the world of leadership and business, there is one clear winner of the trend awards…


It’s to the point now that I could likely just create a whole subgenre of the subgenre specifically for this category.

What has shocked me to this point is that everyone has the answer, but the books keep needing to be written. And somehow - they all seem to say conflicting things.

I started this morning with The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. So far it’s presenting the story of an up-and-coming megachurch pastor who burns out and resigns from his position to better center himself in the role of a small-church pastor to ‘get back to his roots’ of ministry. He’s fleeing from the stressors of the fast-paced life of the megachurch towards the simpler ways of the country-living.

I’m giving it a harsher spin than it deserves. I’m certain Comer will teach me some things and help me shape some of how I process things.

But, to be frank - I’m just so used to reading these books that the narrative has become downright synonymous with the Hallmark Channel movie scheme.

Comer will tell the story of finding his family again. Of loving his life again. Of how to trim the fat and return to the true self that God wants him to be.

And it’s likely all true.

But how many of us have been given the platform to lead a megachurch? To have the audience that brings us a following on Instagram of over 100,000? To have 6,000 reviews on a book on Amazon?

Comer and his contemporaries aren’t entitled or being lofty, in my opinion. I don’t judge them for their lot in life. If I’m truly honest with myself, I’m not even jealous of their fame and attention. I like my little spot on the Internet where I get to make mistakes and still feel seen.

However, all of that considered and aside, I’m just not sure if there is a magic bullet of productivity that the latest-and-greatest speaker has to offer.

The topic itself sells a great book. It’s a fun topic that engages and entices. But is it solvable?

My methodology has gone from Evernote to the Bullet Journal and everywhere in between. I’m currently using a combination of Google Calendar and Todoist. Should I write a book on it? Probably. But will a book actually make a difference? No. It doesn’t even make a difference for me.

The harsh reality is that each of these books is written with a false illusion of confidence in a proposed methodology. You can’t convince me that Comer doesn’t have days where he slacks off in an unhealthy way (I’ve only read the first chapter, so he may acknowledge this shortcoming for all that I know). Not every planned moment on Carey Nieuwhof’s calendar is actually productive. The reader doesn’t get to see the truth because it doesn’t sell.

Each self-help author is presenting a way that they have helped themselves - it may or may not work for your situation, too. But it won’t be a magic cure-all. It may work now and not work later.

My advice for the seeker of better productivity?

Forgive yourself for failing. Pick up the pieces and try again. Rinse, repeat.

That’s the truth of a productive life.


March 30th, 2022

Yesterday, it was announced that Mohammad Fahmi had passed away.

To most of the readers of this blog, that name likely means nothing. But to me it was a gut punch.

Fahmi was the creator and developer of an excellent indie game from a few years back called Coffee Talk. This game centered around a fantasy world’s coffee shop and the antics that happen on the other side of the bar. The player controls the barista during coffee preparation and makes occasional dialogue choices, but most of the game is played as if reading a novel, also called a visual novel in the gaming world.

The game was a sleeper hit that did very well and had been on my radar for quite some time. Despite knowing that I would love it, I took my time and waited to enjoy it until earlier this year, even though the game released in January of 2020.

It was one of those can’t-put-this-one-down games. I binged it and thought of little else while I played it.

As I am usually wont to do, I had to learn everything about the game and its development after rolling credits. I needed to follow the team on Twitter. I needed to watch YouTube videos. I needed to know the easter eggs and trivia.

I went on my deep dive and discovered Fahmi and his other games. Coffee Talk was so clearly his passion project that he had put so much time and effort into. He has two games that were slated for release this year, which may or may not still be possible to publish posthumously.

I became an instant member of his nonexistent fanclub.

He isn’t the first to have this effect on me. I long to know more about ConcernedApe aka Eric Barone, another indie developer who found outstanding success with the viral Stardew Valley. Kotaru Uchikoshi and Kazutaka Kodaka, behind the game series Zero Escape and Danganronpa respectively, also intrigue me.

Why I get so head-over-heels for these kinds of projects has always eluded me.

Until one of them passed away. Then it clicked.

I don’t know Fahmi personally. I never had the luxury to meet him at a Con or anything like that. To be brutally honest with myself, I have only known of him since January of this year. It’s totally bizarre to be so impacted by his passing.

But it all makes sense when I acknowledge that these are the ones who I see as my mentors.

Above nearly every title that I’ve been given, aside from maybe father and husband, the truest part of me that feels like ‘me’ is my creativity. I am wholly, completely a ‘Creative.’ I have chosen to bear the responsibility of husband and father - and I’m honored by those titles. But the title Creative is one I was born into. Molded by it, as Bane might say.

In everything that I do, it all comes back to my creativity and how I can use it. It’s a desperate need that I must pursue in every vocation, hobby, or menial task.

Whether this is also true for Barone, Fahmi, Kodaka, or Uchikoshi, who can say? But they are who I see as shining examples of creative passions made manifest by the virality of Internet culture. They are the mythic figures put upon a pedestal that I strive for but secretly hope to never achieve. They have become a goal, a model for me to look to.

So, when a mythic figure passes away at the young age of 32, what do you do? How do you respond? How else can you respond? It’s grief for the loss of an idol. For the loss of an example.

But it’s even more than that - I am grieving for what could have been. What would have been. What was to come.

But not for the one who passed.

It’s a selfish feeling for myself and my own creativity. What am I not doing? What am I putting off by my own humanity that I should be pursuing to the fullest extent? None of us know the day or time - so we must push forward and do what is right for the time being.

More than anything, this has made me consider what it means for a Creative to die. What do we leave behind? I know where I stand with my faith and with my understanding of the afterlife. But what role does creativity play in that?

I’m not sure yet, to be honest. I think of Rich Mullins, the Christian musician who died in a tragic road accident. What was left of him? I believe he knew God and Jesus and went on to the Church Triumphant. But what of his creativity? It stayed with us. To be enjoyed and shared. To continue speaking truth to life.

That’s what comes to mind when I see the image on the main blog page that the Coffee Talk team created to honor the passing of Mohammad Fahmi. The most we could ever ask as Creatives is that our creation might honor our death and continue our creativity into the future like a progeny.

It’s something I plan to consider for quite some time ahead. But for now, rest in peace Fahmi. Enjoy your ride on the train to what’s next.


March 29th, 2022

At least, less than you might expect.

I was reading a story today about an avid bicyclist that is also a pastor in the Church of Christ. Her name is Rev. Laura Everett and I think her story is great and worth learning more about.

But that’s what this brief stream of consciousness is about - it’s about one particular warning she gave on her Twitter. The phrase was, “If you follow me for biking, you’re also going to get a lot of Jesus.”

I was all at once challenged and yet conflicted about this. Do I contain enough Jesus? If I went back through my Twitter feed, would that be a warning I could offer? I’m not sure. I make a lot of jokes. I get pretty hyped about video game and anime news. I like a lot of memes.

Sometimes I even - *gasp* - find myself liking things with wordy-dirties in them.

I’m not sure if that’s something that I do. At least not to the point that it’s necessary for me to make anyone aware of it.

Now, I’m obviously being a bit hyperbolic here - Rev. Everett wasn’t actually issuing some bold declarative warning necessarily. It could be given a spectrum of weight depending on the meaning behind the message.

Nevertheless, it hit me and has made me think a lot about this today.

While I first felt like I should do more to make it worth warning people about the oncoming onslaught of Jesus, I’ve come to the conclusion that a healthy mix is better for me. Maybe even a little lighter on Jesus, actually.

Sometimes we think of Jesus’ ministry in concentrate. We get three years of ministry in four short books of the Bible. If you really set aside the time, you could read the whole collection of the gospel in a productive afternoon.

I’ll have been in the ministry for ten years this summer. I’ve written many, many sermons. I’ve led many, many worship services. If you were to collect all of them, they would likely take up more than an afternoon of time.

Do you know what else I’ve had?

I’ve had boring times. I’ve sat with people in silence. I’ve visited folks for tea and desserts. I’ve twiddled my thumbs through administrative meetings. I’ve counseled some before they say their wedding vows. I’ve had times where we’ve talked about basketball, video games, or the latest Marvel movie.

I’m convinced that there is a lot that Jesus did that wasn’t worth writing down. I’m convinced that Jesus had conversations that would be boring to read. I’m convinced that Jesus laughed at dumb jokes.

I’m convinced that not everything about Jesus has to be about religion.

Sometimes the best example of being Jesus is just to sit and be. Or to like that tweet. Or to tell that joke. Or to retweet that new Pokemon game. Or to just exist.

From what little I know of her, I think Rev. Everett would agree with this sentiment. And - maybe - that was even her own way of saying it. She will be biking, but Jesus is so indelibly tied to the things that we put our energy into that there is no such thing as removing the two.

We don’t need to bicycle wearing a shirt with the entire gospel of John printed on it. Sometimes just riding a bike is enough Jesus. Sometimes being Jesus is about being so yourself that the one who created you shines through your very act of living.

So maybe I don’t contain enough Jesus - or maybe I contain so much it’s unbearable.

Maybe it’s the opposite of the ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ sentiment. Perhaps ‘Jesus is seen in the living, not the looks.’


March 28th, 2022

As I write this twentieth daily blog, I want to acknowledge a few things.


Thank you for reading this and being the first to support this relaxation technique for me. I’ve started many of these types of exercises before.

Few of them, I must admit, make it to twenty.

So - congratulations to us?


According to our analytics, we’ve officially reached over a hundred unique IP addresses on these blogs. That’s outstanding. Some of you are returning for multiple blogs. Others of you read one and decide this isn’t the right time or vibe for you.

Regardless, over a hundred folks have chosen to click on my random musings.

Some are more serious than others. All of them authentically written without manuscript or outline. I’ve written a few over morning coffee. Some have taken five minutes - others have taken a short lifetime so far to learn.

I can’t imagine what has led to one hundred delightful people with (roughly) two hundred total eyeballs to look in my direction, but I hope it’s been what you needed for the time being. I’m going to push on and keep these coming.

If you have ideas or questions I can answer in blog format, send me a message on any of the platforms that I post these on or shoot me an email at

I hope you continue to enjoy these little pieces of my brain each day - it’s my pleasure to offer them.


March 26th, 2022

My wife and I inherited a gorgeous upright piano from my in-laws when we moved into our first home after I attended seminary. Her parents had big plans to ‘take one for the team’ and pack up everything and move to the coast - truly suffering for the cause. Apparently, no one wants to move a piano to a tiny house at the coast, so the impetus was upon us.

Well, really the impetus was on my wife.

I love the idea of having a piano in the house. I didn’t grow up with one and blame that missing object on my lack of knowledge on how to play the instrument. I understand and play the guitar, but the piano is an unmanageable beast to me still, even after a few forays at lessons.

So, when the question came our way, I quickly hopped on the idea of inheriting this piano. Of course I wanted it! Think of all of the time I would spend learning to play the thing. Think of the smell of the aged wood and felted hammers. Think of the sound of our children learning their first concerto in the living room.

However, here’s the thing about a piano: it’s a fickle machine.

Moving a piano requires a good chunk of force. Not only that, the force exerted transporting the beast knocks it horrifically out of tune. As a guitarist, I tune my instrument regularly. But it didn’t take long to learn that tuning a piano was something out of the question.

Case in point - I began to research trained piano tuners in the area. That’s plural. There are multiple skilled craftspeople in the area. It’s not a ‘take your guitar to the guitar center and have the clerk tune ya up real quick’ situation.

No, someone comes to your home and spends time on that piano. They have a toolkit. I bought my first ‘big boy’ drill like two years ago - you think I am interested in investing and storing a special toolkit for a piano?

Thus, we’ve lived in this home for two years come May and the piano remains untuned. It sits in our living room. We stare at it. Right now it has greeting cards from my wife’s baby shower sitting where an Overture should sit.

Now, we play with it occasionally. I’ve taught Norah a basic C-scale and she enjoys the concept of the piano. But a C-scale could be taught on a $3 glockenspiel from the Goodwill - the five-hundred pound behemoth need not apply.

But still I keep those dreams of learning someday. I hold onto the possibility of having it tuned. Sometimes it’s less about the actual experience of the thing and more about the possible future ahead - if it ever even happens.

(It won’t.)


March 25th, 2022

March 24th, 2012.

That was the day that my life would be irrevocably changed.

It was on this day ten years ago that I very first asked Logan Dunn if she would like to be my girlfriend.

We disagree on the time of day. I swear that I had just finished an interview for a college scholarship and my dad was driving. I was on my purple sliding-keyboard cell phone (I think it was an LG… we might have even still been under the Alltel label).

We had had a bit of a shaky back and forth later the year before. We both knew where things could head. But it was our senior year of high school - we would have had to have been out of our minds to start dating four months before heading to college.

Somehow, we decided to lose our minds along the way.

We went to school two-and-half-hours apart (yet commuting to see each other on the weekends would somehow only take two hours… weird). She went south, I went north, but both still in North Carolina.

We would then enter into four long years separated by I-85.

She knew right away that I was the one. The trickier part was convincing this knucklehead. Being so vehemently independent, I needed verifiable proof that it was the right time to propose.

So we dated and she tolerated my stalling. We were in school, we had the time to stall.

I remember when I first realized that it was time. I was laying on my XLT college mattress provided by the school. She was busy doing something. No new video games had been released. I had time and an empty brain for pondering. I went through the rigamarole of questions - why now? Am I really sure about this? What if it’s too soon? Too late? How will this work with my plan to pursue the ministry? Is that fair to her?

It hit me very suddenly that the questions no longer mattered to me. There was a more important reality that had set in - there was no longer a future for me that DIDN’T have her in it. It wasn’t a matter of dependence or introversion or work or life. It was just her and me and wherever we went from there.

I couldn’t - literally - imagine a future where Logan wasn’t by my side. Where I didn’t get to tell her lame jokes. Where we didn’t give each other looks. I even enjoyed sitting with her in the silence on our phones - even that was better with her.

So, it just made sense. And now, here we are, ten years later.

I’ve changed a lot. No more purple phone. I’ve got three degrees more than I did when this thing got started. I’ve made a lot of friends and lost plenty, too. My thoughts have changed. My opinions have changed. Even the way that we interact has changed. We almost have two babies - who saw that one coming? Woof. Times change and people do, too. That’s just real life.

But one thing remains the same - the only future that makes sense is one with us. It stopped being me a long time ago. Ten years, to be exact.


March 24th, 2022

There is a trend that has recently plagued my life called the 1001 list.

It all started whenever one of the members of the community at Checkpoint Church mentioned to me the existence of this thing called, “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.” It’s a musical reference book published in 2005 by Robert Dimery.

It’s a fine list and apparently a mediocre book according to Barnes & Noble reviewers. Or an A-list book according to Google Books reviewers. So take reviews with a grain of salt, as usual.

Regardless - I haven’t read the book and don’t intend to. What made this concept so engrossing was the corresponding website that allowed for those interested to work their way through the 1001 albums online. The website sends you a new album each day.

At Checkpoint, we’re listening through one at a time together and reviewing them. It’s a good time!

All that being said - I’ve now discovered that this isn’t exclusive to albums. There is also a “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die” by Steven Jay Schneider. There’s a game version by Tony Mott. And a book version by Peter Boxall.

For whatever reason this concept in and of itself triggers every single serotonin receptor in my brain and I simply must complete each list to feel like I’m truly living life in any capacity.

I’ll document some of my journeys here on the blog - with this being the first.

I was proud to have seen over 20% of the films on the movie-watching list, but there are still plenty that I’ve yet to see.

We are doing a similar format to our album-listening over on the Checkpoint Church Discord, which any and all are welcome to join. We’re picking one randomly-generated movie each week and working our way through them all. It’ll take 24 years and I can’t wait to see my youngest walk across the stage at college when I watch the final film.

First up was the film From Here To Eternity starring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, and Deborah Kerr. I had never seen this film, but very quickly recognized one of the most famous scenes of Kerr and Lancaster kissing in the waves on the beach in Hawaii. This scene has been lovingly re-crafted by many films to date, with one of my favorite instances being 50 First Dates that shared the very same beach spot.

This film was apparently one that was barely made. Fred Zinneman had quite a time convincing the publishing and distributors of the merit of this film. It was based off of a book of the same name that was - apparently - so scandalous that many believed it could never be re-created on the silver screen.

The film itself tells the story of several characters serving the US Army in Hawaii in the days preceding the attack on Pearl Harbor. Sergeant Warden, Lancaster, has an affair with the Captain’s miserable wife Karen, played by Kerr. Meanwhile, Robert E. Lee Prewitt, played by famed method actor Montgomery Clift, is a new recruit to the army who is being harassed and abused by his squadron as a means of peer pressure to join the boxing club.

It’s a moving story and has some great acting. Side tangent: I used to loathe that trans-atlantic accent, but now it has a special place in my heart.

The end of the film suffers a bit from some good old-fashioned positive twisting to the narratives originally written in James Jones’ work. The death of many characters wasn’t quite as Jones had envisioned it. And the cruel Captain getting his just desserts wasn’t at all the experience of the powerful in the military at the time, leading to a disingenuous twist of unlikely fate.

Intriguingly enough for me - I didn’t realize just how small Frank Sinatra looked. With such a big voice and personality, it was a surprising revelation in this film. Honestly, the same could be said of Clift. The only truly larger-than-life person was Lancaster, who actually did serve in the US Army.

Did I mention that Ernest Borgnine supposedly received real-life death threats after his character in the film abuses Sinatra’s, leading to his eventual in-film demise? It’s nice to know that bizarre para-social relationships with film characters goes back to even the earliest films of the 50s.

In 2002, the Library of Congress added the film to the United States National Film Registry, stating that it was significant to our culture, our history, and our aesthetics of a bygone era.

I have to agree - this was a film that felt like a milestone as I was watching it. Aside from the historical landmark of one of the major battlefields of WWII, this film set many standards of film-making that would go on for some time - with one certain scene still playing a role in the aesthetic zeitgeist still today.

1 down - 1000 to go. Cheers.


March 23rd, 2022

Web3 has brought with itself an exciting onslaught of possibility and energy. There are new markets of exchange, new places for community building, decentralized means of business and finance, and so much more.

And then there’s the NFT.

The non-fungible token has become a bit of a meme of itself at this point. I see two viable futures for the concept.

It disappears into obscurity and becomes another Internet phenomenon.

It re-centralizes under the powerful markets that control and have controlled everything.

But that’s not exactly the reason for this blog. Far be it from me to make bold claims about how the side hustle culture and the pastorate. The Apostle Paul was a tent-maker, after all.

I’m also far from a technologist. My two viable futures are merely guesses. I’ve been right before and I’ve been wrong before - Facebook has managed to survive a scandal I thought might surely end it. I’m not infallible with tech predictions.

However, I am in tune with the current connection between the church and the tech culture.

And, for that reason, I make the gentle statement:

If you’re in a position of leadership in the Church,

be very, very careful when it comes to NFTs.

Churches are undeniably connected to the market in some way, shape, or fashion.

Anyone claiming that churches are separate from the economy has never had to file taxes as a self-employed clergyperson. Like it or not, unless we Ron Swanson this mess, the church is connected against its better wishes.

Simply being connected, however, does not mean that we cannot strive to be holy in our finances.

To be holy is to be set apart - sounds kind of like decentralization, huh?

Maybe. I’m open to the possibility of the future of the church and the NFT. But I’m continuing to hold it off with a ten-foot-pole.

Consider for a moment one of the most popular NFT iterations currently existing: Gary Vee’s VeeFriends.

These tokens consist of crude and childlike drawings that are made available for certified purchase on the blockchain. With the purchase comes admission to a leadership summit crafted by Vaynerchuk that will feature presentations by a litany of gurus and financial leaders.

When I first learned about these drawings, I thought this was ridiculous. I thought it proof that the NFT is surely a scam. Who cares about a drawing from Gary Vee? He’s no artist. That’s not his product. It’s not profiting a creator, as NFT prophets might use as an example of the benefits to the concept.

Then I learned of the conference admission behind the NFT and it all made sense. Vee is a speaker. He is utilizing the bubble of the NFT as a means to promote and connect his audience with the event in a way that will both lead to higher profits and elevated interest. After all - I now know about the event despite not following Vee closely. And now, so do you. Boom - marketing.

So what of the NFT? Does it matter that it is decentralized? Will Vee continue to sell tickets using the blockchain? Who cares. It doesn’t matter. It worked for his purposes. He has an event (his product) and it was able to be delivered via the blockchain (the market).

Suppose that next year some new technologist begins to promote a new model of blockchain with a better (new and improved, same great flavor!) decentralized methodology.

Call it a NTC - non-transmutable coin.

Suppose that it gets media attention - both negative and positive - why wouldn’t Vee use this new certificate platform for his event then? Call it Veebuddies, this time. And this time he actually draws them with colored pencils! Truly trendsetting. A visionary, if ever there was one.

Here’s what I’m getting at: at the end of the day, Vee’s success is still his own. He has built an audience for years. He then utilized the trending market at the time to maximize the reach of an event that he had planned anyway. NFTs are simply another means by which to deliver the product to the market. Decentralized? Maybe. Regardless, it seems to still have been fairly centralized to something: multi-millionaire Gary Vaynerchuk.

While my bias is likely clear, I don’t inherently disagree with Vee’s methods or the concept of the blockchain as it were. I think there are scams in the system. But there are scams everywhere - not just the NFT exchange.

My greater concern in this is the role of the church. Our product isn’t one that is sold - it’s served. It’s offered. We’ve thrown out the church tax for a reason. It’s wrong. We’ve had indulgences, where forgiveness was bought and sold. It was wrong.

Like Vee, the church has a rather remarkable audience. We could utilize (and arguably abuse) that audience for potential Scrooge McDuck finances.

But we are called to a greater thing.

What NFTs have failed to convince me of is their greater worth beyond a financial exchange. It’s another iteration of a financial contract. It’s another PayPal. Another BitCoin. These things aren’t bad, but they also aren’t good. They just are.

The church must explore these options and discern the difference between finances and stewardship. It’s our obligation as pastors and leaders of the church to understand the importance of knowing each concept for its true purpose.

Should you allow your church to accept cryptocurrency? Sure. That’s a decision worth considering. Can you be paid in ETH? Maybe. That’s something that could be explored.

But I fear if we ever breach the wall of the church producing or selling NFTs, we will be begging for someone whose name begins with a ‘J’ to come and flip our tables.

For this reason, I am going to continue to learn and keep the thing away from my pastoral ministry like the plague. But I understand the temptation if you are a pastor and seek to explore the connection. If that’s the case, I’d advise you to hide your whips.


March 22nd, 2022

I’m looking at a building.

It used to be a Family Video.

I didn’t live here then. I didn’t even know it existed. Truth be told - in my hometown we had a Movie Gallery. So I don’t even have a relationship with the establishment that is Family Video at all. But I know the concept. I understand the idea. And I have a relationship with that idea in my childhood.

I can recall renting many video games from the rental shop. I rarely had any interest in the movie selection - movies were short and shallow for me. I wanted experience. I would go and pick out the latest addition to the collection - likely a three-to-four year-old game at that point. The games that the well-to-do had received on Christmas years prior. It didn’t matter to me. I was happy to be playing them at any time. I never considered myself late to the party.

I would shuffle down the aisles, taking too long. Then I would pick the top three games I wanted and try my best to limit it down to just one to take home. It was an awful decision. Probably the hardest one I would make in a week.

Looking back, the decision wasn’t worth much. Most of the rentals were 48-72 hours in length. We’d drive the copy back to the shop and drop it inside the return slot before church. But a lot could happen in those couple of days. It was an important decision to the Nathan of back-then.

I wonder how many Nathans might have frequented this Family Video.

I wonder if they loved this place. I wonder how long they took to pick their game selections. I wonder if they chose a top three first.

I’ll never know. Partly because time travel hasn’t been discovered yet. Partly because the Family Video is closed now.

When I first started discerning a place to plant a church, this building was one of the first in my mind.

What a rich history! I thought. This community must’ve loved this spot!

Of course, none of that is too true. There is at least one Blockbuster that can claim the top spot of being the most loved by its community.

Planting a church for nerds, geeks, and gamers - a Family Video just made sense. This was a spot that was often visited by the members of this community who met that demographic.

I dreamed about the people who might visit the church and say, “I remember coming here as a kid.” Or the parent who might proudly bring their children to the place that formulated much of their childhood.

And yet - I would choose to pass on the building. In part because of the lack of the ‘For Sale’ sign’ and because of my general ignorance of how to track down the previous owner to offer a bid. The other part because it was dirty. Beaten up and broken down from years of negligence and vacancy.

It was the right decision - or so I tell myself.

It could have been a great spot. It could have been a nightmare. It’s impossible to know the unknown.

And it is indeed an impossibility now. Because the sign has been removed and replaced with another. A new name has been given and the building has been gutted. Its halls are no longer filled with the history of pop culture and video gaming. No upstart arcade has entered the void where childhoods were once lived. It’s a different sort of place now.

I look at this building and remember its history and the possibility we had together.

I’m looking at a building.

Yolo! Says the neon sign, like an ironic jab at the Surgeon General and their warning. Shop here for your vaping products and latest tobacco-based paraphernalia.

Indeed. I think to myself. Much like the Family Video, you do indeed only live once.


March 21st, 2022

Music is likely my favorite means of cathartic exchange. The act of sharing such raw emotion for the purpose of both creating art and remembering a moment is a gift to all purer than much of what we get in life.

With this in mind, I wanted to share a particularly powerful song that is evoking some catharsis in me right now.

Gang of Youths are an Australian Alt Rock group fronted by David Le'aupepe. When David’s father passed away from cancer, he penned down the words to the song you in everything.

And it’s perfect.

And it hurts.

It’s a multipart experience from Le’aupepe. He is all at once remembering his childhood while experiencing the past loss of his father while contemplating the future in his own children.

Aside from the gorgeous strings and masterful connection of Aboriginal sounds within this faux alt-rock and dance ballad, this song is jam-packed with some of the most challenging lyrics I’ve read.

The refrain itself is made up of fluctuation between experiencing the life of those we’ve lost ‘in everything.’ Le’aupepe sees, hears, needs, feels his father in everything - in the past, present, and future.

This in and of itself is enough. But then there's this one lyric in particular that pushed me over the deep end.

/ We held you in your bed

We washed you in your sheets

And sang you hymnals from the islands

’Til you drifted off to sleep

Then I kissed the hands that raised me for the last time

And stared out into the street /

Then I kissed the hands that raised me for the last time.

I mean, come ON! If you don’t experience something from the very essence of that line, I’m not sure what more I can offer up from this one. It’s powerful. It’s brutal. It’s honest. It’s what we all fear. It’s universal, too. We all have those influential figures, whether by bond or by blood.

This line alone evokes loss, hurt, growth, evolution, past, future, history, love, and affection all in twelve little words.


March 16th, 2022

I will report this morning as a possible entrant for juror service. I’ve watched the orientation video. I’m wearing a polo (gross).

It’s very possible I will walk in and sit for a while and then will be dismissed.

It’s also possible I get picked as a juror and have to serve for $12 a day and could be done this evening.

I could also get picked and spend up to a week on this case.

There’s always a chance I could be picked as a juror for a major situation and this just becomes my life for a bit. Slim, but possible.

This will likely be the last that you hear about it given courtroom confidentiality. Regardless of that, the very concept of the infamous jury duty has me waxing on one of my very favorite philosophical ideas. It will likely come up often on this blog, as it’s become a mantra of mine.

Ichi-go, Ichi-e.

Roughly: one time, one meeting.

This quick and catchy Japanese idiom refers to the reality that there is no such thing as an ordinary moment. The mundane doesn’t exist.

Each moment presents new opportunities and new potential. My summons for consideration for the jury is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

Wait - I know what you’re thinking: Nathan, you could receive a summons again at any time.

Yes. But it’s not this time.

This is the only time right now where I have received a jury summons at this age in this place in life. I have my Board of Ordained Ministry continuance interview on Thursday. The potential for a week-long jury service is stressing me out with the conflict between those two expectations put upon me. This is the only time where I have plans for a long weekend trip to the beach with my gorgeous wife and family before we welcome our second child. This is the only work week where I am missing Friday for a trip and now missing at least my Tuesday for jury consideration.

These all are coming across as negatives - likely due to my stress - but the truth is that they aren’t inherently negatives; they’re the nuance of this situation.

Today is the one time for this one meeting in this one place for this one thing. It’s the only time this will ever happen.

Something similar may happen in the future, sure. But this exact moment will never pop up again. I can choose to let it pass me by or I can do my best to experience the moment. To take in my surroundings. To smell the stale carpet of the waiting room. To meet my fellow peers being considered.

Let’s just hope beyond hope that this one moment only lasts for today.

But, if it doesn’t…

Ichi-go, Ichi-e.


March 15th, 2022

Or Cmd+C, Cmd+V for all of you Jobsians out there.

There is sentiment in the creative field that we can’t create something that has already been done before. It’s especially prevalent in the digital field. This is likely due to the ease of search ability when it comes to what has been done.

Whenever I first found the drive to create this blog, I wanted the domain ‘’ It was already claimed. The next domain I considered was an emulation of one of my motivational idols, so I sought out ‘’ It was claimed. So I tried simply ‘’The price was astronomical at $10,800 a year. I’ll tell the story of how I ended up with nathanisbusy someday, but that’s not the message for this post.

The harsh truth is that I’m not the only Nathan with a blog. I’m not even the only Nathan Webb seeking out a domain.

This has been a recurring theme. I wanted to start a gaming channel for my youth back in 2015. So I did. It was based on the Game Grumps, Markiplier, and whoever else I was watching. I watched them and then I copied them.

I grew up watching Whose Line Is It Anyway? and then joined and led an improv group in college. Why? Because I was copying what they were doing.

I started a Christian Rock band in middle school with my best friends. Why? Because I was inundated with Casting Crowns and Switchfoot and wanted to copy them.

As I reflect on these decisions, I don’t regret any of them for a second. Nor do I really see them as true copies whenever I see where they went in the long run. All of these inspired copy-paste moments have led to who I am today. And I’m still being shaped by the things I learn from those who inspire me.

This blog, as I mentioned earlier, is an inspiration from my favorite inspiring figure Seth Godin. Checkpoint Church was inspired by the very concept of the Comic-Con model. The first chapter of a serial book I started yesterday on this blog is inspired from several science fiction pieces that I’ve consumed.

The real difference between growth and stagnance through emulation is what happens after you hit Ctrl+V.

I would never copy a blog post from Seth. But I will take the inspiration of a short, consumable stream-of-consciousness blog and run with it.

I would never tell Ryan Stiles jokes during an improv show. But I will take his willingness to lean into the bit and collaborate with fellow funny people for the sake of a good story.

I would never create an entire YouTube channel with a Markiplier impression (okay, actually I could totally do this one, but I won’t). But I will take the community aspect of the YouTube model and allow it to form my understanding of where culture is headed.

The ability to copy and paste has been around since long before the advent of technology. Just because it is now so much easier to find others doing exactly what you feel called to do isn’t an issue, it’s a tool.

Learn from others. Grow from others. Take what is being done and consume it and then put back out into the world your specific spin on the subject. That way the next person can learn from your product and create the next one.

The gift of copy-pasting is that everyone can do it and should do it. Let’s innovate upon our innovations and see what the future holds for us.


March 14th, 2022

There’s a fine line to walk here, but there may be someone who reads this (me) that this could help. I want this post to give you permission to create without the boundaries of expectation.

With the Internet creating space for everything to be everywhere for all time, this ugly beast has been forged of comparison and perfection. I have a million hobbies. Some of them I do are fairly decent. Others I have plenty of room to grow within.

Given the current cultural climate of creativity being the ‘side hustle,’ the impetus of every new hobby begs to be sold on some mass market. Why does every drawing I create need to be posted to RedBubble? Why can’t I be content with getting three likes? Why aren't two viewers on Twitch enough?

What these temptations end up spawning in me are a cultural hesitance and lack of creating anything at all.

Even with these daily blogs, I’ve asked myself if they are too personal, if the perspective is okay, or if the verbiage is too colloquial. Do I use em-dashes too often? Is that the proper plural of em-dash?

At my best, I am working against these interests and allowing myself to create that beginner garbage so that I can get better.

We all have room to grow. Especially in the beginning of learning something.

If we allow the hesitance created by perfection and comparison to stop our creative process, then we will never move forward with the gift of a passion explored.

Odds are - the garbage you’re creating at first isn’t actually garbage at all.

It might be, but it probably isn’t.

So you should post it anyway. You should share it as an act of accountability. You should share it for the off-chance that you get affirmation from another artist. Or you should post so that you can come back next year and see how it compares to where you are then.

So you have my permission, if you need it.

Create garbage and share it with the world. I can’t wait to see how you come out on the other side.


March 12th, 2022

Okay, admittedly the title of this one is a bit intense.

I had a revelation this morning that has rocked my world and that’s the biggest reason for the dramatic tension of the above.

I’m not a huge believer in the world of personality tests. But I love them. The MBTI is a tool that I carefully use, even if it isn’t drastically trustworthy. The more recent fad of the Enneagram is one that I gave an equal distance away from my psyché.

At their worst, these tests can develop a serious dependence on unhealthy habits.

But, at their best, these tests are educational tools that help us understand a bit more about the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ in the way that we subconsciously approach life.

Case in point - let me elucidate a bit about the revelation I experienced this morning.

I was listening to a podcast and the guest mentioned a bit about how the number we score the highest on with our Enneagram can influence our exercise and food habits.

Writing it out… it’s, like, duh? But I had never really considered the connection here.

I’ve always been incredibly hard on myself when it came to sports and exercise. I tried soccer (for literally three months) in fourth grade. That’s it. That’s the sport I played and the experience I had with it.

I’ve dabbled here and there in racquetball and golf - but never seriously.

I’ve always considered myself naturally incapable of the skills required for these activities. So I avoided them like the plague. I always preferred to watch from the wall or sit coldly in the bleachers without much enthusiasm.

The closest I’ve ever been to a football field was dancing as the mascot at my high school. And even that was more akin to my love of theater than anything sport-influenced.

But then I hear this podcast and everything clicks into place.

I’m a 5 wing 4 on the Enneagram. There’s a lot to this, but essentially the 5 is the Investigator. The 5 likes to consider themself an intellectual. They are introverted often and like the act of research and study. They also like to hear themselves talk and vision the future for others. The 4 wing adds in a touch or two of passionate creativity into the mix.

Nothing sporty about that, right?

Wrong. The Investigator seeks out understanding. Understanding is the fulfillment of knowledge. The fulfillment of knowledge is the completion of study.

Sports aren’t about completion. They are about tenacity and practice. One might never achieve fulfillment in their sport of choice or in their pursuit of exercise. There are plenty who exercise for sustaining a weight - not reaching an outlandish goal.

I have no interest in a sport because the odds of my being the best at it are astronomical. Not because of a lack of talent - but because it’s a challenging thing for anyone to do. Since it’s a challenge that is unlikely, my analytical brain decides it isn’t worth pursuing. Thus - I have no interest in pursuing this thing on a subconscious level.

I have an innate proclivity to avoid the mundane monotony of modern exercise that drives others to do precisely that.

So what does this mean for me?

My healthiest exercise routine is one that is connected with a fulfilling ending. I set the goal for myself to walk for precisely thirty minutes - BOOM - I’m motivated to do it. If I set myself to train for a 5K, then I couldn’t care less. It feels unfeasible. My brain believes I could never hope to be #1 in that race.

I’m aware that this may be the incorrect way to look at things subjectively. I’m wont to agree, in fact. If you asked me before this revelation, I would have told you that I am the furthest thing from a competitive person. But now I’ve learned that this isn’t actually true. I am competitive - but it isn’t that which motivates me. It deters me from the thing instead.

What does your approach to life say to your exercise routine? Your gaming routine? Our subconscious is more connected than we may realize to the way that we approach the rest of life. But awareness is key.

This whole blog, by the way, is totally something a Enneagram 5 would think as they process this information. Hook, line, and sinker, I guess?


March 11th, 2022

It’s time we stop using anonymity on the Internet as a crutch for bad behavior.

I’ve read more than a few books and articles that all cite our crisis of cruelty on the Internet being unquestionably connected to the anonymous nature of the medium. So, this is not about that - the studies have been done and the truth is apparent.

The bigger question is: if all it takes is some thinly veiled anonymity, then why are we such cruel people?

Not to praise my parents too highly or to attribute too much to being brought up as a digital native, but I genuinely don’t have the natural proclivity towards toxicity online. I might go so far as to say that I actively seek out softer, more passive language when I respond to human beings on the Internet.

And yet - that isn’t the norm.

Am I some kind of virtue signal-er then? I don’t see it that way. I am honestly concerned for the state of the human heart with what I see in the comments section worldwide.

Perhaps the source of this is that we are using anonymity as a crutch for our own personal shortcomings.

I’ve met many people in my short 27 years of life. I’ve met kind people. I’ve met nasty people. I’ve met shy people. I’ve met boisterous people.

But on the Internet - I’m hard pressed to meet someone for the first time in a positive conversation. Twitch has changed that sentiment a slight bit. But for 100% text-based conversation on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook… it can feel a bit hopeless.

Nevertheless, I am a person of hope and I have hope for the Internet even still. I’ve seen how people can turn on a dime once a relationship is established. I’ve seen that the toxicity isn’t better in the offline world.

While I offer no answers with this one, I hope that at the very least we can acknowledge that anonymity may be a tool used for cruelty, but it isn’t the source. The roots run deep and that’s a crutch that is too often used. Cruelty exists, but we can be better - anonymous or not.


March 10th, 2022

When it comes to the creation of music, I’ve had a healthy habit for years of pulling out my phone and using the voice recording device to record a few quick notes so that I won’t forget the rhythm later.

For whatever reason, I have yet to build in that habit for creative writing.

It’s that precise issue that has led to this exact post. This morning, while I was listening to my usual morning podcasts, I had an epiphany. And it was a good one. It was one that would have surely rocked your world. It was one that could have landed me a book deal. It was one that would have been shared worldwide. I imagine I would have been on Seth Godin’s podcast - and he doesn’t even do interviews.

But then I forgot what it was.

And so, I’ve sat in the same spot drinking cold coffee trying my darnedest to recall what that idea was or what spawned it.

I’ve searched the web for how to view my playback history on my podcast app. I’ve read through transcripts of the podcast episodes. I’ve looked up everything I can feasibly look up to retrace my mental steps.

And I still haven’t recalled the idea.

However, what I have done is waste my own time and mental acuity by thinking about this one thing for so long. I’ve been so hyper-focused on this one genius topic that it has easily taken me an hour longer to think on this blog post than to actually write it.

In fact, I couldn’t write anything other than this: a diatribe on the thing that I can’t remember. Sometimes the only way to move past the thing in our way is to address it. Even if we can’t find the original kernel that caused it - simply calling a spade a spade will often be enough to move past the baggage weighing down our brains.

Sometimes I’m able to recall right away.

Others, like today, I just need to punt it out of my brain and hope for the best.


March 9th, 2022

I got my first music interface whenever I was 12 years old. It was an M-Audio device that allowed for my Christian Rock group F.A.C.T. to put together some of our original songs. It cost $100 at the Best Buy and we worked hard for that money that we all compiled as a unit.

With that single interface (that I eventually bought out from the group), I would spend years working on album after album, song after song. No matter how hard I worked or what steps I took, I could never get the pure, silenced sound that I wanted. It was, after all, a $100 interface from the Best Buy.

I only upgraded by the merit of my current church appointment, where we invested in a more expensive and higher quality Scarlett interface that has become the industry standard for online production.

While I have yet to attempt to produce an album using the device, I’ve realized that I likely still won’t achieve that perfection I long for - because it doesn’t exist. And even if it did, no one wants it anyway.

Since my daughter’s birth, I’ve discovered my new love of the Lo-Fi music genre. For those unfamiliar, these songs are designed to mimic the classic sound of live-to-tape recording during the second half of the 20th century.

That means that sound designers will install plug-ins and effects that recreate the sound of the tape scratch and crinkle. That vinyl tapping of the needle into the grooves.

I’ve been striving for aural perfection for over 15 years. And I’ve discovered that it’s the imperfect that sounds best to me in the end.


March 8th, 2022

I’ve been a parent for 1,095 days today. I’m afraid to inform you that this has single-handedly proven Malcolm Gladwell’s theorem of 10,000 hours devastatingly incorrect. I’m sitting at over 26,000 hours of parenting.

And I’m far from mastery.

But I have learned plenty from the experience.

At the end of it all, I’m not so sure mastery is something that we should be striving for anyway. When I think of my daughter and her exciting future, I don’t know if I want her to ever reach a place where she ‘finishes’ her passions.

Even after 1,095 days, I’ve not grown tired of watching her try something over and over again. I’ve not grown tired of her tenacity. By the grace of God - I’ve not grown tired of that stubborn drive that pushes her forward.

I fear we lose that along the way.

Life begins with the bold and endless motivation to try, fail, and discover. Mastery isn’t the point to a 3-year-old.

Regardless of if we are celebrating 1,095 days, 3,650 days, 18,250 days on this planet - let’s strive for the curiosity natural to a toddler.

Happy birthday, baby girl.


March 7th, 2022

At the end of the day, the words on the page are exactly that. Simply ink, virtual or physical, on a blank sheet of paper. I’ve too often been caught in the trap of believing that what I created is my peak, my masterpiece, my perfect art. But the creation itself doesn’t matter.

What matters?

Those who consume it and how they consume it. The story that it speaks to the experiencer is the story that matters.

That includes your experience of creating it, too.

Stories are nothing if not experienced - by the creator and the audience.

You can’t remove your experience of creating, provided that you are actively creating.

The only difference between you and Shakespeare is the audience that spread the story. Your story is no better or worse than the Muse. It’s a story. And the only thing that matters is who experiences it.


March 6th, 2022

I’ve been a lifelong music lover. There are some songs that stand out above the rest for me and I’d bet that they do for you, too. I’m not even talking about earworms here - I’m talking about what the Christian Contemporary Music scene understands so well: catharsis.

That feeling when your spine tingles with those perfect words.

Or the dissonance does something out of your control.

Or the tears well up in your eyes inexplicably.

Or you picture a lost loved one and wonder why.

As creatives, we are in the business of providing these experiences through our shared offerings. I can’t imagine a comment much more flattering than being told that I evoked that cathartic feel from something I created.

Offer catharsis.

And, if you experience that feeling with someone else’s creative work, let them know.

Creatively and feedback are both rooted in experience - offer both abundantly and gracefully.


March 5th, 2022

Balter : to dance or tread clumsily


Balter is a word that I feel like I could have known, but just barely missed. It’s so painfully close to ‘falter’ that I could even imagine having mistyped it and gotten curious when the squiggly red line didn’t pop up on a documentation platform.

It’s especially ironic given that I could arguably be considered a professional at baltering.

I’ve never been one for dancing. It’s not a natural expression for me in the slightest and it doesn’t really bring me much joy even when performing. During the infamous wedding reception dance sessions, I feel the pressure to dance with my friends, but I only make the move to the floor during line-dance pieces, such as the Cha-Cha Slide or the Cupid Shuffle.

Even still, my favorite part of those songs is whenever they end and I can go grab another piece of wedding cake.

I don’t consider myself as very high ranking in machismo - so I don’t think that my clumsy dancing is due to a lack of self-confidence or masculine pride. More than likely, it’s the lifelong challenge of being two heads above everyone around me.

Tall people don’t dance, I guess.

Or, at least, this tall person doesn’t.


March 4th, 2022

During tax season, a pastor has to complete the Self-Employment form. It’s an intriguing phenomenon and I could wax poetic on my tax thoughts, but no one is interested (if you think you are, you are not).

The pastor and the creative can be synonymous modes of employment. Both are victims of their own calling and are thus self-employed. But not really. Some creatives can and do work for someone. Some pastors can and do work for someone.

Regardless of tax status, self-employment is a reality of all creatives in any position.

To employ the self is to find the drive and the initiative to do the next task ahead of one’s self - no easy feat.

As I write this, I see a pile of things on my color-coded To-Do List. Some have sat on that list for days; others weeks; still more for months.

Am I a lazy person?

Perhaps in the perspective of a select few. But there’s more happening here.

When one is truly self-employed, the decisions lose their weight and their pressure. When pressure is let up, priorities wax and wane. So we self-employ our priorities.

But which priorities? And when? And what if something else sounds more exciting?

These three questions echo on repeat in the brain of the self-employed creative and create a mental paralysis. It can be called ‘choice paralysis,’ but it is ultimately a paralysis of the self.

A lull in self-employment.

A lack of employ. A lack of self.

Nevertheless, it remains the cyclical impetus of the creative to employ the self once more and drag one’s self from the paralysis. It must be done - by oneself.


March 3rd, 2022

In the world of the Internet, there has been a recurring theme - you get out what you put in. One might argue this to be a truism of the world in general. It may well be one. Regardless, it is especially true of the Internet.

Virality is never guaranteed.

But an audience is never given without first delivering the product.

If we are creating online for the purpose of reaching the right people, then we have our work cut out for us. We are practically emptying the ocean with a tablespoon. But not even a single millimeter of the ocean will be moved if we don’t show up.

One of the ways this concept is explored is by encouraging daily content creation that will be rewarded by the algorithm. Some might believe that this means that if they push hard enough for long enough then it is inevitable that something will eventually ‘work.’ This isn’t really the exercise at hand. Some platforms, like YouTube or TikTok, may occasionally reward the creator with that kind of virality. But that isn’t the purpose of the exercise.

You have to deliver. A creator has to create.

Consider the iconic phrase: “If you build it, they will come.”

Well, sure. But the more that you create, the better you get. Wouldn’t you want those arriving to your metaphysical baseball field in the countryside to get the best possible experience you can offer?

That only happens when you put in the work. Creating on a whim or living under the false parachute that you deserve virality will both inevitably result in the same crushing reality: the key difference between a creator and an influencer is that an influencer can lose their status. A creator cannot lose their creativity. An influencer shows up once and finds success. A creator doesn’t show up for success. They show up and that is the success.

Put in the work. For you, for them, for your goal - knowing your purpose is the first major step towards truly getting out what you are putting into the Internet as a platform.


March 2nd, 2022