Friday, May 29, 2009

Chonda & friends bring the funny

The Christian Comedy Association presents a showcase performance on Sunday, May 31, at 6:00 p.m. at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Chonda Pierce will host the event, and compete for laughs with—er, graciously introduce—some of her fellow CCA members, including pro comics Thor Ramsey, Ken Davis and Michael Joiner. These folks are living proof that God truly does have a sense of humor. Take that any way you want.

Tickets are $10 if purchased at the church, or (for those who are less easily taken in by this blatant attempt at proselytizing) $11.50 if purchased online from a safe distance. For more info or tech support call the church at (615) 896-4515.

*(Tickets may also be available at the door, but bring cash; those American Express commercials don’t always tell the whole story).

This event kicks off the annual CCA conference, which runs through Tuesday, June 2, also held at the church. The conference will encourage, instruct and challenge those interested in pursuing comedy for a living (psychological evaluations encouraged, but not required). The event will include seminars and critiques by professional comics, worship music by Clay Crosse, and a special presentation from financial advisor/author/radio host Dave Ramsey (a man who has gotten his share of laughs in his time by advising people to save money and avoid using credit cards…but who’s laughing now, right, Dave?).

Monday, May 18, 2009

"As We Forgive"--worth a look

It's hard to imagine the kind of horror that went on during the tragic slaughter in Rwanda in 1994. Bad enough to lose a family member; worse to see them killed. But to have former friends and neighbors taking an active--even gleeful--part in the killing, and knowing you might be next, while talk radio eggs on the perpetrators...unimaginable.

This film looks at the alternative to revenge and lifelong hatred. Sometimes it takes the worst-case scenario to show us that the principles of forgiveness and reconciliation are not just lofty ideals we hear about at church, but vital tools of spiritual survival.

From the website of "As We Forgive," playing at the Belcourt in Nashville this Thursday at 8pm:


Could you forgive a person who murdered your family? This is the question faced by the subjects of As We Forgive, a documentary about Rosaria and Chantal—two Rwandan women coming face-to-face with the men who slaughtered their families during the 1994 genocide. The subjects of As We Forgive speak for a nation still wracked by the grief of a genocide that killed one in eight Rwandans in 1994. Overwhelmed by an enormous backlog of court cases, the government has returned over 50,000 genocide perpetrators back to the very communities they helped to destroy. Without the hope of full justice, Rwanda has turned to a new solution: Reconciliation.

But can it be done? Can survivors truly forgive the killers who destroyed their families? Can the government expect this from its people? And can the church, which failed at moral leadership during the genocide, fit into the process of reconciliation today? In As We Forgive, director Laura Waters Hinson and narrator Mia Farrow explore these topics through the lives of four neighbors once caught in opposite tides of a genocidal bloodbath, and their extraordinary journey from death to life through forgiveness.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Playing the Commodore Saturday May 16

Looking forward to the writers round I've assembled for this Saturday at the Commodore Grille, an upscale establishment that even you can afford. Especially since parking and admission are both free.

Julie Gibb has a warmth in her voice and a gentle delivery that will draw you into her world before you realize it, but you'll be glad to have surrendered to her musical charms. Resistance is not only futile, it's downright irrational behavior in this case.

Joni Bishop knows her way around a guitar and a lyric (not to mention a dulcimer), and her blend of folk, country and gospel will have you tapping your toes and nodding your head in new appreciation for the familiar truth.

And then there's my dog-and-pony show (NOTE: no animals will be present on stage due to code restrictions).

We'll be on stage from 7-ish to 8-ish. This is songwriter time; science tells us that the longest-living people in the world are not slaves to the clock. I plan to be around awhile.

The Commodore Grille is on the first floor of the Holiday Inn Select, 2613 West End Avenue. Call 615-327-4707 for directions, room rates and pool temperature (if that's important info for you).

Come early, come hungry and enjoy!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Everybody Loves Her

If you don't believe me, just ask'll see.

This video is a tribute to my mother in song and pictures. I surprised her with the song at Christmas, and sang it for her church a couple of weeks ago. And just in time for Mother's Day, I have a recording of it (rough, but audible).* So I put some pictures to it for you to enjoy. Nice to put that Communications degree and all that time watching TV to use.

In case you haven't guessed, I'm a little bit of a mama's boy, like most Southern men are on one level or another. Some of us are just man enough to admit it.

Click to see the video

P.S.: Here's another admirer of the kind of volunteer "work" my mom has done as part of the music therapy program of Memorial Hospital, Chattanooga. Don't know if he's seen her specifically, but it's close enough to a tribute for me!

*P.P.S.: I had James Gardner enhance the music with this talents, so this is the new & improved version. MKH, November 22, 2009

Sunday, May 03, 2009

They're coming to my parents' church

Forgive the Neil Diamond reference (yes, that's what it was), but this event is one worth mangling a pseudo-classic song. The African Children's Choir, known far and wide for their talents, their remarkable stories of joy in the face of hardship, and those irresistible smiles, will be performing at my parents little ol' church--Big Springs Baptist Church in Cleveland, TN, to be exact. This would be a good time for Clevelanders and Chattanoogans to break a habit for a week and go to a different church (or to church, period) on Sunday, May 17. Service starts at 10:45 a.m. I advise you to get there early.