Posts Tagged 'creativity'

Claudio Oliver: Turning Grease into Gospel

Get the show notes here.

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Makoto Fujimura: The Fine Art of Tension

Think:FWD interview with artist Makoto Fujimura. Enjoy!

Get show notes here.

PS: Do you Twitter? Let’s follow each other! I’m @zoecarnate

Unleashing Creativity – A Podcast with Teel Montague

PosterDo you get the Oozeletter? If not, you really should. Each month, you get a fresh serving of all that is Ooze-y around the globe.

This month, TheOOZE features a podcast interview of Teel Montague conducted by yours truly and Brittian Bullock. Here’s what Brittian has to say after our time with Teel:

Creativity, artistry, imagination, experiment have been powerful metaphors in my life lately. While I’ve always been one of those people who have been encouraged to pursue my passions by my family or others around me, I’ve also gone through phases in my life where my environment squelched all practical expression of creativity. I think of the 6 years I worked at UPS, crunching numbers, sifting through the mindless mundane, hearing corporate mantras. It’s not so surprising that those were the least experimental and most fundamentalist years of my life. In my present primary work at a local college, I’m surrounded by people who encourage expanding horizons and exploring new opportunities. I’m hardly surprised that a more generative season of life has set in.

Still, as one reader recently commented on my Church as Art, Community, and Transformation article, there are always those rare folks who can weather incredibly repressive external situations that should squelch creativity, but end up simply unleashing it. Those are the people who I admire at the end of the day.


Mike Morrell and I had the opportunity to interview just such a hero recently for TheOOZE community — her name is Teel Montagque. Teel is an image creator (painter/drawer), musician, designer and inventor. She extends her craft to children that have emotional and behavioral disorders, and she’s a single mother of teenagers.

As she describes on the podcast, she’s gone through a divorce, ending a long-term marriage. She’s a business owner, trying to ride out a plummeting economy. Needless to say, she’s facing some incredibly stifling life circumstances. But somehow…somehow…it’s producing a deep sense of creativity and renewal. She’d never recorded an album before, but felt it was time. She took a collection of songs that had been rumbling around for decades, added some new ones that had emerged in the recent turmoil, and opened up her heart. She also invented a sleek protective skin for iPods called the Eye Ghost…she designed it, created some crazy space age material for it, and put it on the market. It’s doing very well in Atlanta, and now other markets. This is incredible to me!

So please – join Mike and I in conversation with this remarkable woman, and let your own creativity be stirred. It’s never too late to allow Spirit to channel something new in you. The only time we have is now.


Silenced by Cher! 1st ROM Lower-Body Workout Vid MUTED by THE MAN! What I’m Gonna Do About It

So last week I posted my first lower-body ROM workout video. The first people that saw it got the full experience just fine – they laughed, they cried, they were inspired. So imagine my surprise a couple days later when my buddy Andrew Tatum (who just had his first baby, btw) comments on the vid and says “This is much, much more hilarious without the sound…where’s the sound, friend?”

No sound?! Well, then I check my Inbox to find out that YouTube has emailed me – one No Reply. Mr. Reply cut straight to the point: “Your video, First ROM Leg Workout!, may have audio content from Believe by Cher that is owned or licensed by WMG. As a result, your video has been muted.”

Silenced by Cher??

Now I’d like to think that Cher had nothing to do with this, personally. She seems like a decent woman. But clearly, these ‘WMG’ people she’s hired are a bit over-protective, not to mention too much time on their hands. I mean, c’mon, who gets paid to watch every single YouTube upload and determine if one’s violating their interpretation of copyright? In an era of massive layoffs, this job just screams ‘pork.’

(The infamous silenced video itself)

But the bottom line is, What to do? I majored in Journalism in undergrad. I’ve taken a Media Law class. And what we all came away with in that class is that a.) Intellectual property rights are a big deal, and b.) We have no idea how they ought to work on the World Wide Web. It’s an evolving phenomenon. As a creator myself, I wouldn’t want someone misusing my work, particularly for profit. But seeing as a.) It’s a pretty low-quality recording, b.) It’s not for profit, c.) It’s all in good fun, I don’t see where I’m violating “fair use.” YouTube’s Copyright Dispute page points to a page with four factors to self-diagnose fair use:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Siiiiiiiiigh. I dunno. It seems to me that my use of ‘Believe’ by Cher falls under ‘parody’ kinda, utilizing the song as background music in a fun kind of way that, if anything, gives publicity to this has-been pop-radio hit. But what do I know?

I don’t.

Now had this happened a month ago, I would have momentarily raised my fist in the air, and then done nothing. After all, I’m not a lawyer, and I can’t afford one for something like this, can I? Oh, but now I can – thanks to the friendly folks at Pre-Paid Legal! A few weeks ago I signed up for Pre-Paid Legal’s Family Legal Services Plan with Identity Theft Shield. A friend of mine had become an independent PPL associate and suggested I check ou the service. Basically, for $35.95 a month I get:

  • Preventative legal services – including legal consultation & advice by phone, letters written & phone calls made by lawyers on my behalf (up to two a year for my small business too), contract and document review, and will preparation for Jasmin & I for just $20.
  • Motor vehicle legal services – including help with traffic tickets and (God forbid) defense in the event of Manslaughter & Vehicular Homicide charges
  • Trial defense services – including up to 60 hours legal defense for civil or job-related criminal charges
  • IRS audit services – basically advice & representation if the Tax Man comes after you
  • Identity theft shield – round-the-clock credit report monitoring, licensed investigation, and identity restoration should virtual baddies usurp our good digital names

I thought that was a pretty good deal. After all, lawyers are expensive – so pricey, that we rarely utilize their services when we just have a basic question about our rights in a given situation – in my present case, me vs. Cher. So I got the service, and I decided to become an independent associate myself. After all, I know a ton of church planters, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and others who would benefit from having a full legal team on a shoestring budget. If you’re interested in the service – or looking for an income opportunity – feel free to visit my PrePaidLegal page and sign up. You can also email me at morrell.michael [at] gmail [dot] com if you have any questions.

So today, I’m going to call my lawyer. I can’t guarantee that the audio will be restored to my ROM lower-body video – the call might simply be an education on the latest nuances of Internet copyright law – but at least I’ll know. And knowing, as they say, is half the journey.

Creativity and Spirituality: A Possible Future

HT: Brian McLaren

How Does Social Change Occur?

Recently for my LMSF 602 Survey of Futures Studies course I was asked to reflect on my own ‘theory of social change’–that is, how does change occur? Some base their guiding narratives on power, others on progress, still others on ideas. As a friend and follower of Jesus, as well as a futurist-in-training, I offer some rough thoughts:


Being thoroughly postmodern and suspicious of neat meta-narratives, I don’t have much confidence in the Story of Progress as was propounded through the Enlightenment era. On the other hand, looking at the broad sweep of history, I cannot come to the nihilistic conclusions that some of my secular and religious friends have come to, that the universe is essentially meaningless or that we’ve all going to hell in a handbasket. There has been real change over the past several thousand years, and it is generally (sometimes very generally) positive. But there is no invisible hand guiding us to some inexorable destiny. I suppose I believe in a realized eschatological world, where emergent nested creativity (which I see as a Triune God with real personality and kosmic-and-personal dreams) abounds, ready for humanity and creation to tap into. I am a realist. History has, in many cases, been guided by self-interest of a powerful few, hell-bent on maintaining and expanding their privilege. But in the midst of this, we’ve maintained humble, celebratory wisdom traditions that give dignity to individuals and communities—thus the spirit of innovation and adaptability continues.

I think social change happens when individuals and communities generate and tap into powerful new ideas rooted in the old. Taking from our store-houses treasures old and new, we can become truly conservative and progressive, preserving the best of the past while reimagining life together into the future. This will happen through humility, foresight, and imagination. It is a good time to be alive.


…sounds like the coolest disorder ever.

My View of the Future Now

…is considerably more complex. While not dogmatic about eschatology, I tend to resonate with a perspective known as Transmillennialism, which tries to frame the Old and New Testament apocalyptic discourses in the prophetic, symbolic framework that would have been comprehensible to their original hearers. Doing this has the effect of seeing most (if not all) apocalyptic warnings and promises as being fulfilled, no later than 70 CE. This is, of course, quite different than the “Left Behind” perspective that tends to dominate our novels and video games these days…I still don’t know if my parents are aware that I’m no longer waiting for Jesus to pull an invasion of the body snatchers move!

My thoughts in eschatology tend to flow with my more general conviction regarding the future: It is an open book, and humanity has a vital role to play in it. Our decisions matter. Spiritually speaking, God does not want us to remain children forever; we are intended to grow and mature, becoming co-creators with God in every area of creation. This goes against a certain fatalism in American Christendom’s dominant guiding story, as well as our throw-away American psyche, that lives for momentary gains and little else. This is why I’m in the degree program I’m in: to meaningfully initiate change, and show others how appealing and beneficial this is.

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  • Friend of Emergent Village

    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

    Illumination and Darkness: An Anne Rice Feature from Burnside Writer's Collective
    Shadows & Light: An Anne Rice Interview in MP3 format from Relevant Magazine
    God's Ultimate Passion: A Trinity of Frank Viola interview on Next Wave: Part I, Part II, Part III
    Review: Furious Pursuit by Tim King, from The Ooze
    Church Planting Chat from Next-Wave
    Review: Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola, from Next-Wave