a Smart Car and a Parent Seminar

Posted on: 04/10/10 4:31 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Smart Car?

Yeah… right. By whose definition? What a piece of junk!

More on that in a minute.

This weekend I flew into Chicago, rented a Smart Car and drove to Indiana to do a parent seminar. I love teaching parent seminars– they are one of my favorite workshops I teach right now. I’ve been working for two days on the youth culture section of this particular seminar, gathering and summarizing some of my current research. Really fascinating stuff. I can’t wait to share it with this particular group of parents.

This church is one where I did my CONNECT seminar last year. At the end of that workshop, the youth pastor who brought me out was kicking himself. He said, “I should have booked you for another day to share this youth culture section with our parents.” Here it is a year later and we’re making it happen (better late than never). I preach tomorrow in the main services, giving them tidbits of youth culture as I preach out of Acts 17. Then we’re doing a lunch and parents seminar to follow. Fun stuff!

Back to the so-called “Smart Car.”

First… some of you might wonder why I rent a car in Chicago to teach in Indiana. I’ll provide you with the quick version. It’s because I can drive to South Bend, Indiana in the same amount of time that it takes to wait for a layover flight to Indiana (no directs from Sacramento), and I’d rather not chance another delayed or cancelled flight (as you all probably remember, CAN HAPPEN) . Plus… flying into Chicago gives me a chance to stop by Giordano’s Pizza!  🙂

So anyway… I was online choosing my rental car a while back, and a Smart Car was an option. I thought to myself, “I’m smart. I might as well get a car to match my superior wit!”

Wow! Was I wrong (about the car… not my intelligence!)

This thing is a piece of junk!

First, when you press on the gas, it doesn’t go… it thinks about going, then accelerates a couple seconds later. Then, when it switches gears (it’s an automatic) it dips and lunges as if a teenager is driving a stick for his/her first time.

It gets worse. The air conditioning works about as well as a match in a windstorm. This particular car either has an electrical short (the car is brand new, mind you) that causes it to start and stop at will, or the “not-so-smart-car” has a temperature gage that misreads the inside air temp and decides for itself whether it should turn on, even though I have it on MAX and set cold enough to make any Minnesota resident shiver.

Then I took this stupid car on the freeway. Huge mistake! I felt like I was in the go-cart I made with my dad when I was 12-years-old (although I think my go-cart had bigger wheels, come to think of it). The car shook and swerved with every imperfect surface. I swear, I felt every pebble… every subtle dip… I think I even felt it when I ran over an insect. A gust of wind came along and shot me over 4 lanes. I was terrified to pass any cars because I thought I’d be whipped into them at any given moment. This resulted in a very tiring two hour drive because I was gripping the wheel for dear life the entire time!

Were there any positives about this car at all, some of you might be wondering?

Hmmmmm. Let me think.

Hold on…. I’m still thinking.


Oh… yes… one thing. It has an iPod jack in the glove box! That’s pretty cool, except that my iPod is bigger than the entire Smart Car. I can actually put the Smart Car in my iPod’s glove box.


That’s it. The rest of the car is worthless. That’s my two cents.

I better go. I gotta run through my message for tomorrow morning.

How to Respond to the “Day of Silence”

Posted on: 04/8/10 8:56 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Friday, April 16th, is the Day of Silence, a day where hundreds of thousands of teenagers and young adults will take a vow of silence to encourage their friends to address the problem of anti-gay, anti-lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender behavior.

Christians always get wacky on how to handle this day. They’ve even come up with their own day in response… the Day of Truth.


If you want my two cents, check out my blog from last year. I state my opinion on the matter clearly.

As for this year? I’ve gotta link my buddy Walt Mueller’s resource on the subject. Walt does an incredible job informing us about the history and purpose of this day, then sharing some vulnerable insight to his own feelings on the subject, and finally providing us with a glimpse at his reaction- step by step- of how he responds to people on this day – a reaction that models Christlike compassion and truth.

Walt also provides a link to a neat little free 10-page booklet (a PDF that you can print out and fold- tricky to read on the screen- it’s meant to be folded) from Harvest USA, “How Can Christians Respond to The National Day of Silence.”

I found all these resources enlightening and spot-on. I encourage you to take a peek at them.

Another of Our Brand New FREE Training Videos

Posted on: 04/6/10 12:25 AM | by Jonathan McKee

About 10 days ago I tested one of our brand new short training videos on a group of several hundred youth workers in my training workshop at a conference on the East Coast. The video lays out little cartoon drawings of my “Six Types of Kids” on a whiteboard, unveiling a little bit about each kid. Fun stuff! The response we received was amazing. They all asked me where they could get the video.

I was happy to tell that group of youth workers that we’d be offering that video soon as another one of the free resources on our website.

And I wasn’t lying. Now it’s up!

The video is a tool I use in my CONNECT training workshop, helping youth leaders set the stage for connecting with the wide spectrum of teenagers they’ll encounter in youth ministry today. The video really fleshes out the six types of kids I introduce in chapter four of my new book, CONNECT.

Take a peek… and then feel free to chime in with your comments below.

Canned by ABC Because of His Principles

Posted on: 04/2/10 11:40 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I’ve always enjoyed Neal McDonough as an actor. I didn’t know much about him… still don’t. But I have to say that I’m impressed by his principles. Here’s a guy that has proved to be anything but a sellout.

Neal was just canned from a new ABC show three days into the filming because he refused to a do a sex scene. This move might have just cost him a million bucks. And this isn’t the first time he’s said no to big money because of his principles:

McDonough was sacked because of his refusal to do some heated love scenes with babelicious star (and Botox pitchwoman) Virginia Madsen. The reason? He’s a family man and a Catholic, and he’s always made it clear that he won’t do sex scenes. And ABC knew that. Because he also didn’t get into action with Nicolette Sheridan on the network’s Desperate Housewives when he played her psycho husband during Season 5. And he also didn’t do love scenes with his on-air girlfriend in his previous series, NBC’s Boomtown, or that network’s Medical Investigation. “It has cost him jobs, but the man is sticking to his principles…”

Click here for the entire article.

In a world of sellouts… thanks for standing tall Neal!

(ht to my friend Becca for forwarding me the article)