NYWC Pittsburgh

Posted on: 10/31/08 8:50 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Last night YS kicked off their second National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC) of 2008, the one in Pittsburgh, PA. I’m excited about this convention because I’m going to be kicking it with my “Steelers” fan (don’t hold it against him), Todd Pearage.

Todd is a PA native and is often found donning a Steelers jersey. Ya gotta love a guy who supports his home team. You’ll usually find me in a Manchester United shirt… and I’m from California. Yeah… whodathunkit! What can I say… Manchester rocks (and many of you are probably asking yourselves right now, “who the heck is Manchester United?” I’ll let you Google that one.) Most of you know Todd from our movie review page and several of the podcasts he has done with us. Todd and I did the Top Five Movies of the Year podcast last year… we’ll be doing that one again this year. I’m glad we get to hang out at this convention together.

I’ll be doing two seminars at this PA convention, one, a brand new training based off my new book 10-Minute Talks, and the other, also a brand new training from my upcoming book CONNECT: Engaging One on One Relationships in a World of Isolation. Here’s the schedule and descriptions of these seminars from the YS site:

If you’re one of the thousands of youth workers at the convention, say hi after one of my seminars. I’d love to meetcha face to face.

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Soulja Boy’s Swag is… What?

Posted on: 10/29/08 10:21 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Soulja Boy is back with a new dance. If you don’t recognize his name… your kids do. In the Fall of 2007, Soulja Boy’s song Crank That (The “Superman” song) dominated the charts, holding the #1 spot for eternity. But his song isn’t what launched Soulja Boy… it was his dance.

Kids in elementary schools across the country were learning the “Superman” dance. My own daughter came home from junior high school last year informing me that it was required learning for P.E. (nice). But then people started figuring out what this “Superman” song actually meant. (which is funny… because I guess the fact that he was calling girls “bitches” and “ho’s” wasn’t enough to upset people initially)

Now Soulja Boy is back with a new song and a new dance. This time he isn’t talking foul or objectifying women… he just kindly wants to let us know how much money he made doing it (hence the footage of him blowing his nose into hundred dollar bills, holding up wads of cash, and flaunting buckets of hundreds). Take a peek for yourself.

(Is anyone else wondering how this guy ever got popular???? Wow! Our taste in music has hit a new low! I’m not even talking about lyrics… I’m talking about “singing offkey.” Can you imagine this guy at an American Idol tryout!)

In case you missed it… here’s some of these lyrics:

i got a question why they hattin on me,
i got a question why they hattin on me
i aint did nuthin to em, but count this money
and put my team on, now my whole clic stunnin
boy wassup, yeeeea
boy wassup, yeeeea

when i was 9 years old, i put it in ma head
that ima die for this gold
(soulja boy tellem)
boy wassup, yeeeea
hopped up off tha bed
turn ma swag on
took a look in tha mirror said wassup
yeeeeea im gettin money (ooh) x2

In this MTV article (or you can watch their MTV News video) he tips his hand about his goals with this new song:

It’s just showing all my success from my first album. The first chapter of Soulja Boy in the music industry. I went platinum, 5 million ringtones. A whole lot of records I broke. It’s a lifestyle record. Speaking on my success, showing how my life changed since I became a celebrity. It’s basically saying, ‘I’m back.’

It will be interesting to see what kids think when they listen to this song and see this video? (because they ARE listening) It’s the same message they’ve been hearing recently from T.I.’s Whatever You Like. “Money brings happiness.” Maybe that’s what they want to hear.


Generation WE

Posted on: 10/28/08 2:14 PM | by Jonathan McKee

They have many names: Gen Y, Millennials, Generation @…

CEOs describe them as the toughest generation to manage. Others call them “teacups,” fragile, with drama at every turn.

All true. But in my recent book THE NEW BREED, I labeled them “the best volunteer you’ll ever have.”

Generation WE author Eric Greenberg is also optimistic about this generation. He describes them as “fed up with partisan politics.” He goes on to describe them as “socially tolerant, environmentally conscious, and peace loving. They volunteer in record numbers. They’re technologically brilliant and politically engaged.”

The term “Generation WE” has gone viral with this new YouTube video (ht to Anastasia) bragging over 700,000 views… a good glimpse of what this generation looks like.

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HSM3 Hype

Posted on: 10/27/08 9:19 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Zac and Venessa are back… and tweens everywhere are screaming in delight as Mommy and Daddy drop them off at the movie theatre to see the newest addition to the High School Musical series.

I guess those tweens DO have big influence over their parents’ spending power, because HSM3 (much easier to type than High School Musical Three) broke records this weekends at the box office. At $42 million this weekend alone, HSM3 scored best-ever opening for a musical. Not bad.

I sent our movie review guru Todd Pearage to see it this last weekend to give you his 2 cents. I love his opening words in that review:

Tweeners rejoice…you have a clean, high-quality musical; unfortunately I’m not a tween.

Todd goes on to give it a good rating for kids, but a serious ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz for adults. I love his analogy of why reviewing this film was a struggle:

Recently my 10 year old daughter challenged me to an arm wrestling match in front of some of my jr. high guys. What a dilemma – if I lose to a 10 year old girl, I’ll be made fun of without mercy, on the other hand, if I win I’m a jerk for beating my own daughter. I’m facing the same dilemma writing a review for the most popular kid’s musical in history. But I’ll try to be as honest as I can and as nice as possible.

Grab that whole review here.

Our own David R. Smith gives us a deeper glimpse at the whole High School Musical phenomenon in this week’s Youth Culture Window article.

I guess I’ll never be bummed when our tweens are excited about a G-rated movie. Whodathunkit?!!

My Girls

Posted on: 10/22/08 12:28 PM | by Jonathan McKee

My girls are so dang cute!

Lori and I went on a run today and the girls (Alyssa and Ashley… 13 and 11) rode their bikes next to us. They cut out early when we rounded a corner by the house and rode their bikes in our cul-de-sac.

When Lori and I finished running, we didn’t see the girls. As we turned up our driveway we saw them sitting by the house playing with something on the ground. You have to realize how creative my Alyssa is… she makes little crafts or projects out of any household utensil! Don’t ask!

Here’s what we saw.

Yeah… they have different colored leaves as checkers! (the board is made from bark fragments ground into the sidewalk). Alyssa claims they were going to play blackjack, but they thought it would take too long to mark up all the leaves.


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In the end… it will be just a theory

Posted on: 10/20/08 4:10 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I was watching M. Night Shyamalan’s newest film last night, The Happening. Although people probably won’t like it as much as his past films (Signs, The Sixth Sense, The Village, Lady in the Water)… it still was worth the rent (my movie review of it here).

A great discussion starter from this film jumped out at me that I missed the first time I watched this movie in the theatre. I can’t believe I missed it the first time. We’ll be definitely writing this one up with small group questions, etc. very soon.

Here’s the dialogue: 

The Happening

20th Century Fox Home 

Start scene at Ch. 4; at 6 minutes and 43 seconds…

The Scene opens with high school teacher, Elliot Moore, leading his science class in a discussion about the disappearance of honey bees all over the United States.

Key Dialogue:

(after Mr. Moore asks several of his students about their theories, he turns his attention toward Jake, a good looking student)

Mr. Moore:  Jake?

Jake:  (doesn’t say a word, just stares blankly at Mr. Moore)

Mr. Moore:  You don’t have an opinion?

(Jake shrugs like he doesn’t care.)

Mr. Moore:  You’re not interested in what happened to the bees?

Jake:  (shakes his head no)

Mr. Moore:  You should be more interested in science Jake.  You know why?  Because your face is perfect.  But the problem is, your face is perfect at 15.  Now if you were interested in science you would know facts like the human nose and ears grow a fraction of an inch each year.  So a perfect balance of features might not look so perfect five years from now.  If might look downright wack ten years from now.

Jake:  (looking distressed)

Mr. Moore:  Come on Buddy.  Take an interest in science.  What could be a reason the bees have vanished?

Jake:  (pausing for a moment in thought) An act of nature and we’ll never fully understand it.

Mr. Moore:  Nice answer Jake!  He’s right.  Science will come up with some reason to put in the books, but in the end it will be just a theory.  But we will fail to acknowledge that these are forces at work beyond our understanding.  To be a good scientist you must have a respectful awe for the laws of nature.

Jake:  (still thinking about his nose) How much does the human nose grow each year?

Mr. Moore: It’s miniscule, O.K. Buddy.  Don’t worry about it.  You’re gonna be a heartthrob your whole life.  I was just messing with you.

Jake:  (smiles and points at the teacher)

 End Scene at Chapter 4, 8 minutes and 59 seconds

Here’s the line that jumped out at me:

Science will come up with some reason to put in the books, but in the end it will be just a theory.  But we will fail to acknowledge that these are forces at work beyond our understanding.

Britney Baring All Once Again

Posted on: 10/17/08 11:15 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Sex sells. Mariah knows it, Madonna knows it, Christina knows it… and Britney definitely knows it!

Britney knows it so well, her new song “Womanizer” just made the biggest leap in the history of Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart. It’s no coincidence that her video features her naked in a sauna throughout the video, half dressed and sensual on several other occasions… while the whole time, ironically, singing about a guy that’s a womanizer. (Which makes me wonder if I am just missing another video featuring him singing about her being skanky?)

This racy video is now the #1 downloaded video on iTunes, the #1 featured video on MTV.com’s music video pics, and available to see everywhere for free from YouTube to AOL.com videos.

Yes…Britney doesn’t actually show those crucial few inches that would declare this actual “R-rated” nudity, so it’s being played everywhere. The question I have is this: are your teenagers going to steer away from clicking on this when they stumble upon it on YouTube?

Problems With the Word “Porno”

Posted on: 10/16/08 12:43 PM | by Jonathan McKee

People are complaining about the ads for Kevin Smith’s new film, “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.”

CNN reports that one complaint came from a man watching a baseball game with his son. “He was explaining to his son what a squeeze bunt was. Commercial break, the ad comes on, and the kid asks, ‘Dad, what does porno mean?”

Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch responded to complaints about ads for the film during the game. “Dodgers baseball has always been about family, and we’ve always been sensitive to the type of advertising that runs on our games.”

Commericals for the film were dropped from Fox Sports at the team’s request.

Good for them!

The film, originally rated NC-17, is rated R on appeal for strong crude sexual content including dialogue, graphic nudity and pervasive language.

That sort of sums it up.

Kevin Smith, no stranger to raunchy movies, wasn’t about to let the NC-17 rating stand. “We didn’t set out to make an NC-17 film. That’s just commercial suicide,” Smith told The Associated Press. The NC-17 rating would have prohibited anyone younger than 17 from seeing it. With an R rating, those under 17 can see it in the company of an adult.

Isn’t that nice!

The sad fact is… Kevin Smith is a really talented writer, this film is already getting a lot of hype… it’s probably going to do really well.

It’s also one of the films where people can go onto the movie’s web site: http://www.zackandmiri.com/ and view the redband trailer (the “R-rated” trailer). Sure… our kids will say, “Mom, Dad… don’t worry… that trailer didn’t have any nudity!” And they’re right. But WOW!!!

Teenage guys are definitely going to want to see the film… they traditionally respond better to movie ads than girls do, and this movie is right up their ally.

Our kids our growing up in a different world than I did.


The End of Christianity

Posted on: 10/14/08 8:22 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s always a learning experience to hear what people outside the church think about those of us “inside” the church. This is a sobering example.

This myspace blog titled “The End of Christianity” from a person that calls themself “Human Evolution” has been getting some serious internet buzz (shout out to Chris for sending it to me). The top of the page offers a 37 second YouTube video of Richard Dawkins that begins with him reading the words, “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction.” He goes on to describe God as “vindictive, unforgiving, unjust, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser, homophobic, and racist.”

As you scroll down the page you’ll begin to read the rantings of someone who is obviously very upset with God… someone really hurting.

Some might be inclined to get angry with what you read. I beg you to read with an eye of compassion. My guess is that most of us have someone living a few doors down from us who thinks just like. Have you ever stopped to listen to their thoughts? Have you ever read between the lines to see what’s behind these words?

For example. Read this small excerpt:

Regardless of the fact that God does not exist in scientific terms, many have spent their lives as devout Christians; they ask God to spare one second to talk to them or to give them a small sign, but many (including myself) are ignored, even when we pray the “right” way and for the “right” reasons God epitomizes the deadbeat father. When we have dozens of people praying for us, nothing happens, as the study mentioned above shows. While God is silent to our prayers, there are children slowly dying of starvation every 5 seconds, there are natural disasters claiming the lives of millions, and there are viruses using innocent hosts in the most detestable ways.

Do you hear the undertones in this writing? Do see you see the life experience? “They ask God to spare one second to talk to them or to give them a small sign, but many, including myself, are ignored…”

The entire blog brings up issues like this, tough questions, and real feelings from a real person.

This is a good example of the philosophies our kids are going to encounter in the real world. Are they prepared for these conversations? (We talked a lot about this in our podcast episode #12 with Dan Kimball)

According to one of the comments on this blog page… we aren’t. This guy threw these darts at Christianity, basically concluding that Christians are completely ignorant:

The reason Christianity remains is because of several reasons:

1. Christians don’t read their Bibles, nor do they know the history of their religion.
2. Christians do not know that the arguments they think prove their case are not valid logical arguments.
3. Christians don’t know how their Bible was compiled, nor do they know the politics involved with the process.
4. Christians don’t know (or won’t accept) that their Bible is flawed scientifically and it proves many contradictory answers to important questions (such as suffering).

Despite the meaning behind his claim, are these accusations wrong?


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Greg and Fred

Posted on: 10/12/08 12:46 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Today (actually, it’s now past midnight, so I guess I mean “yesterday”…  I’m referring to Saturday) was another fun day hanging out with some youth ministry friends at the National Youth Workers Convention in Sacramento. I’ve been blogging about it several days now if you need to be caught up.

Today I got together with my buddy from Dare to Share, Greg Stier. He’s always a kick. He’s passionate about evangelism, combined with a full life experience (tons of stories) and a keen sense of humor. We recorded some stuff for you guys… so you’ll be hearing from him soon in both podcast and our new “4 Minutes of Ministry” mini-videos.

I also connected with my local youth worker friend Andy Matzke. Those of you who are THE SOURCE Podcast listeners might recognize his name… he’s been in several podcasts, the most recent being the one where he brought two student leaders on with him- great podcast! Andy and Greg’s heart beat at the same pulse. They both have a passion for evangelism, caring about the whole person, physically and spiritually. It was fun hanging with both of them together and hearing them dialogue.

After hanging with just those two, we re-joined Brandon (who I’ve been hanging with all week) and my good buddy Fred Lynch from Dallas. Fred is the editor  of our popular online slang dictionary, and author of a couple books, including the e-book we did together, What’s a Fo Sheezy, and his Hip Hop version of Gospel of John called The Epic. Tonight he got to do a little bit of that on mainstage at the conference. Some sweet beats from my Texas brotha!

Tonight I did some last minute prep for my two sessions I teach tomorrow. Both are new to this conference… one is a session I’ve never done before (“Using 10-Minute Talks”). I’ve incorporated some fun media and interaction… I’m looking forward to it.

Almost 1 AM… busy week. I better hit the sack!



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