(MOVIES)

It Might Get Loud: I got this movie for Christmas and it was an excellent film. Essentially it is an indie documentary on the electric guitar through the eyes of three well known guitarists from three different generations – Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White. If you are a guitar player, a fan of music history, or a fan of Led Zeppelin or U2 or The White Stripes-The Raconteurs-The Dead Weather; you will thoroughly enjoy this film.

Battle in Seattle: This is a film surrounding the events of the 1999 World Trade Organization conference in Seattle. The film is a mix of information and entertainment – what I guess some people call a “docu-drama”. Prior to watching this film I had no idea of the events that happened in Seattle in 1999 and the controversy surrounding the WTO.

Jim Gaffigan – “King Baby”: this isn’t really a movie, but rather a dvd of one of Gaffigan’s stand up specials that was released this year. I got to see him live at RIT in Rochester NY a few months ago, and the guy is simply brilliant. If you are looking for great comedy – you have to check this out.

(MUSIC)

The Dead Weather – “Horehound”: Without question the best musical find of the year. This is Jack White’s new band (#3). Instead of guitar and lead vocals he is playing drums and doing some vocal work. What I enjoy most about this album is how interesting the music is. When I first listened to the album I just couldn’t wait to hear the next song. The instruments and effects used and the song structures all bring such a unique sound. You MUST buy this record.

Mos Def – “The Ecstatic”: I am not a huge hip hop/rap fan, but this record is fantastic. It’s political, it’s fun, it’s comedic, and the music is killer. It’s intelligent hip hop which makes all the difference.

Phoenix – “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix”: This is a very fun record. I first saw these guys on Saturday Night Live and absolutely loved the music and vocals. I bought this album in Canada before it hit big here in the US and have listened to it countless times. You can’t help but sing along and just feel good while taking it all in.

Other noteworthy records: Them Crooked Vultures (self-titled) – very good, just not top 3; Steven Curtis Chapman (“Beauty Will Rise”) – I am not a big SCC fan, but this record which chronicles his journey through the loss of his little girl is heart breaking and will deepen your understanding on the subject of loss; Pearl Jam (“Backspacer”) – such a positive and fun rock record; Street Sweeper Social Club (self-titled) – I am a huge fan of Tom Morello’s guitar playing, but ultimately listening to this record, although pretty good, makes you just wish that RATM was back together; finally MuteMath (“Armistice”) – this record has some top notch song writing on it and some very catchy songs.

(BOOKS)

“Love is an Orientation” by Andrew Marin: Definitely the best book I read this year. This is about elevating the conversation between the church and the gay community. This is NOT hate or fear propaganda and it is NOT liberal propaganda trying to belittle the church or water down the authority of scripture. This book takes an absolutely loving look at an issue that has become incredibly divisive and hurtful. This is a MUST READ for everyone, especially those who claim to follow Jesus.

“The Unlikely Disciple” by Kevin Roose: This book is outstanding. I laughed out loud, I was ashamed, I was angry, I was annoyed, I was proud… If you want a look at Christian culture through the eyes of someone who is from the “outside”, who wasn’t looking to mock Christians, but rather to just understand them better, then you will find this book to be very enlightening and for me even refreshing.

“Less Clutter. Less Noise” by Kem Meyer: This book is super practical and helpful in the area of effective communication in local church ministry. In fact having been around churches for the vast majority of my life, I would say that this is a MUST READ for most churches. Communication is a vital part of what churches do day in and day out, and it has to be done well. This book is well worth buying and giving to your leadership teams (pastors and board).

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