Posted by: Chris Sandel | June 29, 2009

Our Art Art Hour

Well it’s been over a month since I posted so this one is going to be a doosey…or, more fittingly, it’ll be something completely random. 

Posted by: Chris Sandel | May 27, 2009

Seven Deadly Sins… of Sangamon County

YSMarko announced yesterday that he’d be backing away from his blog for a while.   I’ll miss his daily insights into ministry and other fun stuff but I’m guessing I’ll still highlight a few things he’s posted about in the coming weeks.  One post in particular I got a kick out of was this one about a geographical map of the seven deadly sins

Some university students looked at data relevant to each of the seven deadly sins and then created maps, by county, representing how significant each sin rated.  Upon perusing the image gallery of each map I noticed a disturbing trend.  Sangamon County, my current place of residence, shows up pretty significantly in envy, wrath and pride.  Take a look below and you’ll see a dark spot right in the middle of Illinois for each. 

7-envy

Envy was calculated using the total number of thefts — robbery, burglary, larceny and stolen cars.

7-wrath

Wrathwas calculated by comparing the total number of violent crimes — murder, assault and rape — reported to the FBI per capita.

7-pride

And pride, lastly, is most important. The root of all sins, in this study, is the aggregate of all data. Vought and his Kansas colleagues combined all data from the six other sins and averaged it into an overview of all evil.

Posted by: Chris Sandel | May 25, 2009

Not-Photoshop

I’m a big fan of photoshop.  From the first time I discovered the most basic version that came with our scanner during my Jr. High years, I’ve loved the program.  I remember experimenting with it at home and beginning to try my hand at graphic design.  It is amazing the graphic possibilities that open up with one simple program. 

As photoshop has become more well known, it has become nearly impossible to tell what is real and what is edited.  We almost assume that anything amazing has to be edited.  But here are 15 incredible images that look altered but aren’t.  I guarantee that they were much, much more difficult to shoot but it’s cool to think they’re all natural.

not-photoshop

Posted by: Chris Sandel | May 25, 2009

Awkward Family Photos

awkward

I recently ran across this blog dedicated entirely to awkward family photos.  It’s pretty funny because we’ve all been there.  What would a holiday be without a family gathering where you try to wrangle everyone into a picture before a grandparent falls asleep, a baby pukes all over himself or someone finally can’t take it any more and goes to the bathroom?  There are lots of good ones (and a few lame ones too) but her are a couple of my favorites.

I can’t tell if this family was just unfortunate or if they are really, really dysfunctional.  I mean like horror movie dysfunctional.  I couldn’t help but notice that the dad is a minister so maybe this is what our family will look like in 20 years.  Or may be not.  I would never wear those shorts.

awkward-choke

And this is my overall favorite.  I busted up laughing when I saw it.  If you’ve been to Jack’s blog you know that we are a pretty photo happy family but if you ever see me in a donkey costume on all fours just to help make Jack look cute please grab me and slap some sense into me.  If I ever wear a poo costume it sure won’t look like that.

awkward-poo

Posted by: Chris Sandel | May 24, 2009

Against All Odds

Boy, oh boy.  It is tough to keep up one blog post a day but when you start adding more blogs it becomes really tough.  Most of my attention for the last three months has been on my baby boy and helping him with his blog.  I figure why post funny pictures and videos of other people when I can do it about my own family.

I found a few minutes this afternoon though so I thought I’d post about a fun part of my week.  Several weeks ago my friend, and fellow West Side staff member Jessica, put together a little American Idol contest.  Several other staff members and I put in our picks for the top ten and the order they they’d be eliminated.  (You can see all of my pick on a previous post if you want to know exactly what I picked.)

The thing is, I don’t watch Idol.  I really never have.  I just like contests and I think Jessica is awesome so I thought I’d throw in a few picks and see what happened.  I figured the worst that could happen is I’d make a fool of myself…and I gave up on trying to keep from looking foolish a long, long time ago. 

Well this week I won our American Idol contest!  That’s right, after viewing one song from each contestant I made some off the cuff picks and picked Kris Allen to win it all.  There have been many jokes but I promise I didn’t even realize his name was the same as mine (only spelled like a girl) until after I made the pick.  I really did think he’d win. 

So if you’re in the office at all this week and you smell something, it is probably coming from my office it isn’t the usual smell off Jr. High boy B.O.  No, that is the sweet smell of victory mixed with the scent of the fresh cookies that Jessica promised to bake me as a prize.  MMMmmmm… I like to win.   And I like chocloate chips.  Doesn’t get any better than this (especially since I didn’t have to watch a girly show like American Idol).

idolwinner

Posted by: Chris Sandel | May 22, 2009

Reason #47 I Love Jr. High Ministry

My friend Jessica, our Early Childhood Minister, sent me this video.  It is yet another reason I am made for Jr. High ministry and not children’s ministry.  In Jr. High I’m the one asking the crazy questions and forcing the kids to struggle to answer.  If elementary school kids started asking me these questions I’d probably make up some crazy answers just to mess with them.  Probably good that I stick with student ministry.

PS – Everything is cuter with a British accent…unless it is fake and spoken by one of my siblings.  Then it drives me crazy.

Posted by: Chris Sandel | May 12, 2009

What if the Church…

One of the blogs I check regularly is that of Adam McClane.  I’m not sure how I stumbled upon it.  It was probably through one of the other student ministry blogs I subscribe to. He offers a unique perspective on church and student ministry.  Yesterday Adam asked some interesting questions about the church, specifically the way we focus on Sunday AM worship.

  • What if Sunday morning were a celebration of community and a rallying together of community groups?
  • What if we came together purely for communion, prayers, and a simple message pushing us back to community groups for discussion and implementation?
  • What if instead of investing the time it takes to put on a worship service the church staff served the community and offered leftovers on Sunday morning?
  • What if the program of the church were just serving the community?
  • What if discipleship were of “while going” activity as Matthew 28 suggests?
  • What if going to the church were seen as a negative in light of being the church?
  • What if churches intentionally sold their properties and chose to meet in the public arena?
  • What if each community gathering became a place to serve the poor a meal?
  • What if community groups pooled their resources and invested in their own projects?

Reading his questions I was kind of intrigued.  When I read through the New Testament I certainly do see the church being all about community.  They do care deeply for reaching the lost and for serving others.  They reacted strongly against anything that would turn the church into a place that was showy or that exalted some people over others. 

As I read on, I think Adam may take it to it’s extreme as he contrasts our churches with those of the New Testament.  “In essence, a ‘successful congregation‘ (according to today’s standards) lives as a barnacle on its community.”  As I think about our church community at West Side, I don’t think we have become the type of church Adam describes, sucking resources from its community and reaching out only to members like a country club.  I do wonder though, how we can renew our commitment to being a part of the community God has placed us in?  How can we be sure a commitment to excellence never goes too far and becomes an excuse not to reach out and love like Jesus loved?

Posted by: Chris Sandel | May 11, 2009

Groove Shark

Last year I posted about Pandora, a cool music site that streams music similar to artists you say you like. I’ve used it a lot, especially since I discovered a widget for Windows Vista that keeps it on my desktop all the time.

Last week I heard about a new music site, www.GrooveShark.com. It is great. It has a HUGE selection (there weren’t many songs I could find at all, even in the more obscure Christian genres). You can listen to the whole song, make playlists (they give you some recommendations of similar songs if you want to explore) and even upload your own music if you want to be able to listen to something they don’t have while you’re away from home. I’m pretty impressed. Not sure how they’re pulling it off but I like it. If they had a mobile version you wouldn’t even need an iPod. You could just listen to whatever you want whenever you want.

They do have some friend capabilities so you can share music and see what your friends like.  If you want to connect with me, my login is sandman967.

Posted by: Chris Sandel | May 9, 2009

Treat Your Mother Right

With Mother’s Day coming up tomorrow I can’t help but be reminded of one of my favorite YouTube videos of all time.  I now give you Mr. T’s singing Treat Your Mother Right in all of his 80’s glory.  For more from Mr. T and the Funky Bunch (or whatever you want to call them) check out Stylin and Be Somebody.

Posted by: Chris Sandel | May 6, 2009

Lucky or Unlucky

I wouldn’t call myself lucky but I have won a few things.  I won a $50 savings bond in 4th grade.  Big stuff!  I once won a trip for four to Arizona to see Cubs spring training (so I guess it was a blessing and a curse) from a contest I am POSITIVE that I never entered in the first place.  Shout out to Red Baron pizza.  I don’t think I’ve ever had your food but you sent me to Arizona to two thumbs up.  I guess that makes me fairly lucky (though I’d usually call it blessed if any of you out there are worried about the language).

This guy though…wow!  I can’t imagine the odds of being quite this unlucky.  He tries his hand at Australia’s version of Deal or No Deal and does rather poorly.  Maybe if he had more skillz he’d have won.

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