Sleek Steve

At the office, we play easy listening, lyricless, bad-piano-cover type music all day. I like to imagine what the DJ would sound like if the music was played on a radio station.

In a quiet, almost NPR like voice

Hey folks, Sleek Steve here, bringing you all the best easy listening, all [awkward pause] the [awkward pause] time. That’s right, when you’re looking for the best piano covers of all the hits of the 90s, you tune your dial to me, Sleek Steve, coming to you on 103.3 The Bore. Coming up next, it’s our hourly rendition of My Heart Will Go On, originally sung by Celine Dion for the Titanic Soundtrack. Take special note of the panflute, kids. Superb on this version, really smooth. After that, you’ll hear a calypso take on Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson. If you like what you’ve been hearing so far, you’re going to love that smooth, calypso criminal. For now, here comes the panflute cover of My Heart Will Go On.


What your heart wants

Now Playing: Invisible God by Andrew Peterson

I taught last Sunday on Sin and Depravity. Depravity is a good word for describing my (and your) natural tendency toward sin. Not that we choose the worst possible sin we can commit, but rather that when our options are obeying God and doing what we want, we will pick what we want every time, and what we want is, naturally, sin.

If that’s true (and I think it is), how do you ever figure out which of your desires are good and which are bad? I mean, for a believer in Christ, we’re new creations, no longer bound to sin, but then Paul describes in Romans 7 the struggle between sin and the new creation in him.

I guess that’s where being in Scripture, praying, and the work of the Holy Spirit have to come into play. And that’s often the part that western Christians aren’t great at. We tend toward self-sufficiency and self-reliance. But that’s not biblical Christianity. It’s a western/enlightenment/what-have-you notion forced into a Christian mold.

God help the man who helps himself, he needs no other devil. – Andrew Osenga, Firstborn Son.

Evaluating my own 24-hour-coverage addiction

Now Playing: Jake and the Neverland Pirates. It’s that time of day.

The events in Oklahoma are tragic. I hugged my kids tighter this morning. I’m sure they’re wondering if I’m just so strong that I don’t know how to hug them any more. Yeah, that’s it.

These kinds of things also bring to light my own tendency to indulge in too-much-coverage. This great post at Story Warren reminds me that it’s okay to look away. But, I often don’t. In fact, if anything, I look for more, more, more.

I want to find a good balance, but I’ll confess that I’m not sure I even know what that looks like. Figuring out the correct balance of knowing and caring versus not needing to know in order to care appropriately is tough. Work in progress, for sure.


He’s gonna rue the day he came up against The Extreme, baby. Bill, I’m talkin’ imminent rueage. (Dusty, in Twister)


Now playing: A guitar version of Edelweiss. It’s actually kinda pretty.

Hurry, hurry, hur-

ry, There isn’t enough time

Hurry, hurry, hur-

Bring me back something French! (Neighbor-kid, Home Alone)

What makes TV writing good?

Now Playing: I Want You Back by either The Civil Wars or N’Sync, you choose.

There are certain shows that my wife and I tend to watch together. We started watching The Office shortly after we got married. I joined Rebecca on the Lost train around the same time. We picked up Parenthood last year. We’ve been disappointed by the writing of all three… wait, no, that’s a lie, I don’t know if we’ve ever been disappointed by the writing of Parenthood. The other two, definitely at times.

It makes me wonder, what exactly makes writing “work”? I mean, more than the usual TV show. For example, we’ve watched at Revolution in the last year. The writing doesn’t work for me at all… I don’t like some of the main characters at all. But the premise is up my alley (a very sci-fi alley, I’ll mention), so I’ve persisted.

Parenthood and The Office, on the other hand, aren’t especially strong premises. But they’re populated with very strong characters. Adam Braverman and Jim Halpert are guys who represent what I want to be in ways. They experience real life and their reactions are compelling.

The Office finale, for me, delivered. It didn’t try to be another show, it did try to provide closure and hope for these characters. The **Spoiler Alert** Michael Scott cameo was the perfect execution of that character. He had two lines, one a classic Michael Scott-ism, another fitting the classic mold of mixed metaphors that he had mastered. There was no snow globe, no waking up from a coma, just resolution where you wanted it most. It worked.

Why’d it work? I don’t really have answers. I’m just trying to work through in my head what it is about the writing of these shows that make me enjoy them.  

He’s losing his mind… and I’m reaping all the benefits!

Picking up a pen

Now Playing: Phillip Phillips / Home. I’ve always noticed people who have two first names, like Michael Scott or David Brent; Phillip Phillips’ parents took it a step further, though. There’s a line between a little funny and preposterous. They jumped over the line and laughed. 

This isn’t for you, but it is. This is for me, first. I reread some old blog posts today. Like, written-the-last-time-the-leafs-were-in-the-playoffs old. They were… irritating. But, as I read, I realized that I wanted the same sort of measuring stick to use 10 years from now. And picking up a pen… or a laptop… and writing some in a regular, consistent way is a great way to provide that measuring stick.

So, what’s going on? Well, lots of things:

– I’m helping to lead a church that is the result of a recent church merger. It’s the third-scariest work I’ve ever done, and it’s good.

– I’m working running a therapy office.

– I’m doing freelance publishing work on the side.

– I’m the husband of one, and it’s the second scariest work I’ve ever tried. I love it so much, even when it’s hard.

– I’m getting ready to publish my first few books as a publisher. That’s exciting.

– I’m the father of two, aged five and two, and it’s the scariest work I’ve ever tried.

– I’m still struck by the greatness of God and my sinfulness as man. I think I’m probably more honest about it at 30 than I was at 20, but I’m more aware of how much a work-in-progress it is, too.

That’s about it for tonight. I wanted to do this because, well, it’s been a while since I’ve done this.

… A man in a … very nice camper wants to put our song on the radio. Give me a pen. I’m signing. You’re signing. We’re all signing.