"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

4 Awesome Things I’m Reading Right Now

Posted in Day-To-Day, Good Causes, Preemptive Love Coalition, Stuff I'm Reading by matt on Thursday, January 3, 2013

These days, my clipboard is uncharacteristically free of to-do lists. I’ve barely left my neighborhood in weeks. I’m sedentary and stressless. It’s a great time to read. 

Aside from a couple video projects and Preemptive Love’s year-end fundraising campaign, I’ve had a good bit of free time to catch up on all my books, RSS feeds, and bookmarked articles. And—thanks to Instapaper—my ‘to-read’ list is quite a doozy.

Here are 4 of my favorite things from the list and why I’d recommend them:

#1) BLOG: Coppyblogger—the king of writing blogs; if you have any interest in improving your writing, I’d highly recommend this site. I subscribed last year and have used them more as a referential source for whenever I have questions about a particular genre of writing. But they cover it all: Social Media, marketing, blogging—even letter-writing. Their Copywriting 101 guide is a great place to start, but it’s really all quality (though I didn’t love their newsletter). And most of it is free. If I’ve managed to get anyone’s attention with my writing over the past couple of years, it’s probably because of these guys. Go check ’em out.

#2) BOOK: The Kingdom of God Is Within You—written by Leo Tolstoy, the book heavily emphasizes nonviolent resistance and Christ’s teachings on the Sermon on the Mount. Like Kierkegaard, Tolstoy is disgusted by the blended church-state entities of his day, and he is more than willing to sink his teeth into them—particularly when it comes to their acquiescence to violence and war (his book was banned in his home country of Russia and was first published in Germany).

Tolstoy is relentless in this simple belief: a Christian cannot follow and support both God’s new governance according to the Sermon on the Mount and a government that perpetuates violence. For me, this generates questions over the difference between ‘submitting’ to a government and ‘supporting’ it, how do we read Romans 13 in relation to the Sermon on the Mount, etc. Very interesting stuff.

A couple of my favorite quotes:

“A virtue cannot be practiced in all circumstances without self-sacrifice, privation, suffering, and in extreme cases loss of life itself. But he who esteems life more than fulfilling the will of God is already dead to the only true life.”

“Having withdrawn from human protection, what can sustain us but that faith which overcomes the world?”

#3) EBOOK: DSLR Cinematography Guide—the video capabilities of DSLRs went from nothing to holy-crap in about 2 years. I’ve made a few little short videos with these magical machines, and I’m quite impressed. Still photography is fun, but if you’re willing to put in the work, a short video is a phenomenal way to tell a story. So I’m hoping this Ebook will provide a little growth spurt for me as I create videos for PLC’s Remedy Missions. Stay tuned for more videos in 2013.

#4) VIDEO: Neighborhoods—OK, so this isn’t technically ‘reading,’ but this short is really beautiful. It’s simple, it’s low-budget, and it’s worth a couple minutes of your day—I’ve watched it more times than I can count!

 

So those are my top 4 picks right now. What about you? Comment below with recommendations of your own and help me replenish my ‘to-read’ list—I could especially use some good fiction recommendations!

A Little Boy Named Hussain

Posted in Good Causes, Photography by matt on Thursday, February 16, 2012

A photo of me with little Hussain

I’m in southern Iraq for two weeks to document Preemptive Love‘s ninth surgical training mission in the country. This boy above is Hussain, and he is one of the sweetest kids I’ve meet so far.

To see more stories, photos, and videos from this mission, check out the PLC blog. I actually just posted a video that I think you’d enjoy here.