The weird and the witty: an Electric Monk on a bored horse

If there’s one thing I learned as a grumpy, broke and pretentious teen and twenty-something, it’s this: It taking life too seriously is hard work. It takes a lot of effort to be dour all the time.

This is helpful for me to remember now as a thirty-something. After all, I work for for a ministry that does very serious (and very good) work. The material my team and I produce tends to be focused on very serious issues, even when we’re telling hopeful stories. And sometimes there’s almost this expectation that I’ll spend my free time focused on those areas, too.

But I don’t really like reading a lot of books on poverty and social justice, despite having written one. I don’t enjoy movies like Slumdog Millionaire; I’d rather go see something like Guardians of the Galaxy.

Which brings me to the point of today’s post: starting today, and over the next few weeks, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite weird and witty moments from books, movies and web videos. These are just silly, witty and weird things that make me laugh. I’m sharing them with you for one reason: It’s really easy to be far too serious as Christians and forget to do things like laugh. But God wants us to laugh—He gave us senses of humor, so we should use them!

So here’s the first bit of weird and witty, something from one of my favorite Douglas Adams’ books, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency:


High on a rocky promontory sat an Electric Monk on a bored horse. From under its rough woven cowl the Monk gazed unblinkingly down into another valley, with which it was having a problem.…

The problem with the valley was this. The Monk currently believed that the valley and everything in the valley and around it, including the Monk and the Monk’s horse, was a uniform shade of pale pink. This made for a certain difficulty in distinguishing any one thing from any other thing, and therefore made doing anything or going anywhere impossible, or at least difficult and dangerous. Hence the immobility of the Monk and the boredom of the horse, which had had to put up with a lot of silly things in its time but was secretly of the opinion that this was one of the silliest. (4-5)

It’s a simple scene, but it sets up the absurdity of everything that is to follow in this book. And be honest, you smiled at least a little reading that, didn’t you?

Is Your Small Group Too Deep?

He’s got a solution:

(RSS Readers: Can’t see the video? Please click through.)

Gotta Share!

This made me laugh… and think a little. If nothing else, it’ll hopefully inspire you to go and order Tim Challies’ new book. :)

(RSS Readers: Can’t see the video? Please click through)


A Beautiful Woman…

…through the eyes of a literalist:

This is an important reminder of why similes and metaphors should always be read as such.

HT: Michael Krahn


Everything old is new again… including bowl cuts:

I have new respect for Chris Tomlin.

HT: Tyler

Friday Funnies: Iron Baby

Saw this yesterday—Amazing!

Bonus! Bruce Lee vs. Iron Man

I hope these make the end-of-the-work-week countdown go a little faster.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Should I Buy an iPad?

Considering buying an iPad? This chart will help you determine whether or not it’s a good idea:


Fear the Boom and Bust: A Lesson in Hip Hop Economics

Z shared this video on his blog the other day. Who says learning can’t be fun?

Sing along with the lyrics below: [Read more…]

It Makes Me Laugh: How To Write Badly Well

Today’s laughter comes to us courtesy of my new favorite blog, How to Write Badly Well:

Narrate every scene in a matter-of-fact tone, no matter how exciting

At this point, the dragon, which was larger than a single-decker bus but smaller than an articulated lorry, breathed some fire out of its mouth (or, more properly, exhaled a mixture of flammable gas and liquid which was ignited by a spark from a gland in its throat). This burned several people quite badly, although the knight who is the subject of our story remained largely unharmed.

Naturally, this incident caused a reaction of fear and surprise amongst the local population. It also caused a not insignificant amount of damage to property, which would take local residents many weeks to repair. Aside from this immediate inconvenience, the subsequent disruption caused by reconstruction efforts would also have an adverse effect on the local economy in the medium term. The knight then hit the dragon with his sword, killing it, which was probably for the best.

And one more:

Introduce major plot elements in an off-hand manner

As the wailing of sirens got louder, Claire and Pete hunched over the glowing computer screen. Pete swallowed nervously.

‘What now?’ he said.

‘Well, now we disarm the missiles.’ Claire flexed her fingers. ‘I didn’t tell you this before, but in my spare time, I’m a skilled computer hacker. I’m sure I can crack these defence codes.’

‘Excellent,’ said Pete. ‘I’ll use my extensive jujitsu training to hold off the guards if they come through the door, which we were unable to lock behind us because the key broke off in the lock, which I forgot to mention at the time, but it did.’

‘I’m in!’ said Claire. ’The password was the middle name of the shadowy CEO of Cryptotech, who incidentally is secretly my father.’

Happy Monday!

It Makes Me Laugh: The Muppets cover "Bohemian Rhapsody"

I have no words.

Monday Morning Humor

Ever notice how there aren’t a lot of heroes with beards?

Croatian artist Vanja Mrgan did.

Bearded Batman

Check it out his illustration series, Bearded, over at his blog.

Friday Funnies: Ted Kluck's Day-long Rock Bender

Ted Kluck, author or The Reason for Sports: A Christian Fanifesto and coauthor of Why We’re Not Emergent & Why We Love the Church, is working on a new book!

This time, Kluck is delving into the seedy underbelly of Christian music with To Hell With the Devil: 365 Days of Christian Music, from Al Denson to Alice Cooper

“The idea is that I’ll listen to nothing but Christian music (concerts, CD’s, videos) for a whole year.  This will be especially challenging for me since I haven’t listened to Christian music since 1991, when I was 15,” he wrote back in June when announcing the project.

Three months into the project, he succumbed to the siren’s call of rock and/or roll:

It’s October 21 and I just fell off the wagon.  Hard.  If this were a movie I would be Tony Montana falling face-first into a giant pile of blow in Scarface. It’s taken me almost three months into my fast, but I’ve discovered a very troubling, simple truth:  Christian artists can’t write love songs.  There are a few who get close (like Anberlin, “A Day Late,” and Paramore, “crushcrushcrush” and even Stryper, “Honestly”) but for the most part, Christian bands either suck at ballad writing or don’t even try (more likely).  And perhaps the fact that it’s more exciting to hear Sebastian Bach (Skid Row, not the other one) sing about lost love in “I Remember You” than my church’s praise band singing about “Amazing Love,” (about Jesus) says something incriminating about me.  Check that, I know it does.

But here’s the thing:  When I hear “I Remember You,” I think about things, places and people that I actually remember.  I do remember yesterday, walking hand in hand, love letters in the sand, and all of the stuff that Bach sings about.  It’s cheesy, yes, but it’s also the kind of thing that evokes – that makes a person feel.  Ditto for Warrant’s ballad, Heaven, which they probably intended to be less about the real heaven, and more about sleeping with some chick.  (Keep in mind, this is the band that brought us such lyrical poetry as “Cherry Pie.”)  But still, I love it.  It reminds me of driving my tan GMC pickup truck around Hartford City in 1993, wishing I had the courage to talk to girls.  Is there much that’s more romantic than having a “picture of your house, and you’re standing by the door, it’s black and white and faded, and it’s looking pretty worn”…and later, “I’ve got nowhere left to go, and no-one really cares…I don’t know what to do (cue guitar riff), but I’m never giving up on you.”

So I spent the majority of the day in my office with huge, cushy headphones on, belting out the lyrics to ballads that I should have waited until next year to dust off.  And it’s as good as I’ve felt in a long time.

You can click through to read a detailed account of Ted’s rock bender.

Nothing but Christian music for a year? That’s more than I suspect most could endure.

Pray that he survives.

Friday Funnies: The Ultimate Christian Novel

Yesterday, Tim Challies’ writing career took a dramatic turn as he shared his idea for the ultimate Christian novel:

Cassidy: Amish Vampiress of the Tribulation

No, your eyes do not deceive you. It’s an Amish Vampire Romance novel set in the end-times.

“It’s an Amish novel; it’s a vampire novel; it’s an end-times novel. It’s the best of all worlds,” wrote Challies.

Here’s Tim’s back cover text:

He is handsome. He is romantic. He is Amish.

Twenty-three year old Cassidy lives a simple life in the Amish countryside of Lancaster County. Simple, that is, until Slade Byler moves into the old Lapp farm. Cassidy finds herself irresistibly drawn to the handsome Slade; but she fears to share the secret that she alone knows. For Cassidy is an immortal, a princess in the long line of ancient Amish vampires. Will Slade’s love grow cold when he learns this great secret? Can she give to him a heart that does not beat?

Meanwhile, the strength of the Antichrist grows as he consolidates his power and seeks to destroy the peace-loving people of Pennsylvania. A blossoming romance unfolds between Cassidy and Slade as the world around them changes forever. They must fight to stay alive, they must fight to keep their forbidden love a secret, but, as Amish, they must not fight at all.

In this irresistible tale of intrigue and adventure, set against global upheaval, the bonnet meets the cape in a story sure to span the ages.

The “excerpt” from the novel is spectacular as well (you can click through to read it).

But you know what makes this even more awesome?

The reaction:

I have received [genuine] publication offers for “Cassidy: Amish Vampiress of the Tribulation.” It’s not exactly how I saw my career going.
(via Twitter)

Congratulations, Tim–Take one of those offers up and put your kids through college!

It Makes Me Laugh: The Emergent T-Shirt

A pastor friend of mine, AJ Thomas, sent me this a few days ago. I got a kick out of it and thought you would too:


The shirt reads:

God Said it.

I interpreted it
as best I could in light of all the filters imposed by my upbringing and culture which I try to control for but you can never do a perfect job.

That doesn’t exactly settle it
but it does give me enough of a platform to base my values and decisions on.

Thanks for the laugh, AJ!