Star Wars…. the saga continues 


Having seen Rogue One 3 times this week I thought I would share my thoughts (without spoiling it).

1. It is the best written movie in the series. The plotline and the acting are superb. Forrest Whittaker does a killer job in his role as well as all the lead characters.

2. They finally got the sidekick humor right. C-3po was alright, Jar-Jar was a bust, but this new droid K2 is actually funny.

3. I love the way the writers tied the movie into the rest of the series without being over the top obvious about it, cameos by Wookies and things like that. They actually dumbed down some of the tech to make it fit in the rest of the Star Wars universe. It felt rooted in the series, like it belonged.

4. The future of movies and digitizing characters is here. Video games and movies will eventually be seamless. We may never have to say goodbye to some of our favorite heros from this point on in our culture. I’ll bet we even see Elvis return someday… 

So, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, go see it over the holidays with your family. I enjoyed the big sound and the color of the RPX and IMAX (3D) over the regular version. I don’t think I’d pay for 3D again, but definitely RPX. Star Wars has become part of the continuing saga of all of our lives, going back to almost everyone’s childhood, and it brings our family together for another chapter in our personal journeys.

Enjoy!

~Mark

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2014 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,500 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

My Top 5 Thanksgiving Memories


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Some of my Thanksgiving Memories:

1. Turkey bowl flag football games with teenagers and frozen gamehens.

2. Turkey Bowling with large birds, bowling pins and angry church custodians.

3. Tossing “butt-rolls” to my kids at the Thanksgiving table, (with corresponding screams).

4. Stabbing my brother’s hand with a fork during the Thanksgiving meal prayer, knowing he’d get in trouble if he made a noise.

5. Snowboarding at Silver Mt., with 2 ft of fresh pow, then coming home and eating turkey.

Today will be the first Thanksgiving that both our boys are not here with us… so thankful for the past but a new season of life is here. Enjoy your memories, but refuse to live in the past! Make new memories today!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

-Mark

So you wanna know the differences between N. Idaho and W. Washington?


2 years ago we moved from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to Bellingham, Washington… and I thought you might enjoy the contrasts. I know we have!

N. Idaho – Republicans Everywhere.
W. Washington – Democrats Everywhere.

W. Washington – Recycle, ReUse, RePurpose everything!
N. Idaho – Don’t bother trying to recycle – it all goes to the same burn pit.

N. Idaho -Most popular vehicle is a Chevy Suburban.
W. Washington -Most popular vehicle is a Toyota Prius.

N. Idaho- 6″ inches of snow… you still have school today
W. Washington – 1/2″ of snow… shuts down the city.

N. Idaho – Homeschoolers everywhere.
W. Washington – same

W. Washington – other ethnicities and cultures are abundant & celebrated.
N. Idaho – you NEVER see 2 minorities on the same day.

N. Idaho – Everyone shoots and kills animals.
W. Washington – Animals have sweaters and ride in purses and strollers.

N. Idaho – Dress code is blue jeans and Carharts.
W. Washington – Dress code is skinny jeans and black frame glasses

N. Idaho – Traffic means you had to wait 45 seconds to turn left onto Hwy 95
W. Washington – Traffic means you’re going to be 45 minutes late today for no apparent reason.

W. Washington – Speeders are from Canada
N. Idaho – Speeders are from Montana

W. Washington – Highest Minimum Wage in the US
N. Idaho – Tips are subtracted from minimum wage server jobs

W. Washington – Bike riders are people who want to be healthy
N. Idaho – Bike riders are people who’ve had their license suspended for DUI

W. Washington -Wolf Lodge is a great place to vacation as a family
N. Idaho –  Wolf Lodge is the best steak house in the area.

N. Idaho –  Deer dart across the road in abject fear.
W. Washington – Deer lounge in the road and look at you like… “Get out of my yard!”

N. Idaho –  4 Seasons: Spring, Summer,Winter, Fall
W. Washington – 2 Seasons: Rain and August

And don’t get me started on the the annual multi-level marketing epidemic that invades N. Idaho every winter like an invasive species; or the fact that in my current city of Bellingham, it’s illegal for stores to put your groceries in plastic bags. I love dolphins too, but seriously people, this is inconvenient!

~Mark

2012 Blogstats for MarkModer.com


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for MarkModer.com which began August 28, 2012.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 15 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Are you actually addicted to your smart phone?


New data suggests that it might be possible. It looks like your brain gives you a little dopamine push every time your check your phone for a new message.  Turns out we are wired for data. From way back our brain learned to reward us for finding essentials key to our survival, like food and water by giving us a little shot of dopamine. “New research shows that the brain also uses dopamine to reward information seeking.” 1  And once the dopamine reward system is engaged it continues to reinforce that behavior.

According to Wikipedia “Dopamine plays a major role in the brain system that is responsible for reward-driven learning. Every type of reward that has been studied increases the level of dopamine transmission in the brain, and a variety of highly addictive drugs, including stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine, act directly on the dopamine system.”

Dopamine can be good as it rewards behaviors necessary for survival, but it also has a dark side when it overwhelms our brain and elevates one type of reward over another, like drugs or alcohol over food. At the risk of sounding like an expert, which I’m not, this may explain why it’s so hard for us to pull ourselves away from our screens. It actually feels good when we get a text message. So like any potentially addicting thing, consume in moderation, watch that it doesn’t negatively impact your key relationships…. and for goodness sake, don’t forget to brush your teeth. Addicts always have the worst teeth.

1 Selhub MD, Eva M.; Logan ND, Alan C. (2012-03-27). Your Brain On Nature: The Science of Nature’s Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality (pp. 40-41). John Wiley and Sons. Kindle Edition.

I'm not addicted. I just can't live without it.

Welcome to the Blogosphere Moderhead. Finally.


I’m not sure why it took me so long. I have been a mushroom-eater when it comes to everything techy. An early-adapter. But in this arena I have drug my feet. Actually, I know exactly why I haven’t done it yet.

#1. Some opinions are better off not shared.

#2. Writing should involve both thought and content, which is glaringly absent from most blogging.

#3. I did not want to add one more thing to my regular TO DO list.

SO WHY START NOW, MARK?

Well, writer’s write. And I want to stop making excuses and write more. I want to hone my craft. And now that I don’t have a regular preaching gig, I feel my need to communicate shifting mediums.

And, I suppose that I finally feel like I have something worth saying. This is my 47th year of life and my 27th year of youth ministry. I have worked with “literally” (channeling Rob Lowe here) thousands of teenagers. I have spent significant time in both small congregations and large congregations, in both the church and the para-church. I have performed both funerals and weddings of kids that were in my youth group; many of my former teenagers are now pastors and missionaries and board members; other are in jail, many are divorced; some have come out of the closet, and sadly some have renounced their faith all together. I’ve been both hired and fired, both cheered and falsely accused; had youth ministries in the single digits and some in the hundreds. I have been the low man on the totem pole and now the CEO of the organization. But most of my street-cred probably comes from raising 2 teenagers of our own with my wife Heidi over the past 20 years. I feel like I have not just a right, but somewhat of a responsibility, to add my voice to the conversation, at least in the arenas of youth ministry, the church, small groups and all things concerning Gonzaga basketball. I will occasionally chime in about parenting, discipleship, evangelism, home schooling and snowboarding and a few other topics I’m sure.

You will hear my biases.  You will both laugh and cringe. I have always tried to say what needed to be said, even if it’s difficult to say, or hear.  Like one of my mentors says: “Say the last 5%.” Don’t leave it unsaid assuming they understand. If you have the coins in the jar with people, say what they need to hear in love.

It will be fun to interact, to see who engages, and to learn from each other. Let’s agree upfront to agree to disagree and to have congenial dialogue. Because at the end of the day, you are my friend and I value that above just about everything.

Blessings. See you in the Blogosphere.

~Moder

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