Wednesday, November 29, 2017

TV Tuesday - This Is Us

I know. I know.
Some off you saw the title of this post and are already calling to have my man card revoked.
I refuse to give it up and will fight you if you think this show is girly.

This Is Us is the best TV drama that has been on TV in years. If you don't believe me, you're wrong.
Some people might say it plays with the viewers emotions. To that I say "play away." It does it in all the best ways.

There are lots of things great about This Is Us, but by far the best is Sterling K. Brown, That dude is just so dang likable. I first became aware of this acting giant in The People Vs OJ Simpson. He was great as Christopher Darden. Then when I saw him on This Is Us, I was hooked. I now wish this guy was on every show. He might have even made the movie I watched last night better, if given a chance.

Ok, so he's great, but the writing on the show is too. I find myself connected to the different story lines in so many different ways. Of course, I understand some of their daddy issues due to the fact that my father passed away in 2011. So anytime there is father drama, I'm pulled right in.

I hope this show continues on for many years and then after that they spin off Sterling's character to his own show called "This Is Me."

In the meantime, I completely agree with something I heard Chris Hardwick say on a talk show recently. He really needs to do a "This Is Us" after show called "That Was Them."

(I know I said I'd watch TV for 2 hours. I did, but we'll have to talk about Lethal Weapon later. It's. so good and so not, but that's a conversation for another day. )

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Movie Monday - Why Him?

Ok, so here's the deal. There are not enough hours in the day to see/read/enjoy all the good entertainment content that is available today. I enjoy movies, tv, video games, podcasts, and VERY rarely, a good book. So I had a bright idea.

I'm generally a late night guy. I rarely go to bed before midnight, so I thought I might try something crazy. I'm going to try to more carefully choose how I entertain myself and when. So here's the plan I came up with.

From 9pm-11pm on most nights I will attempt to tackle a different form of entertainment.

Monday nights becomes Movie Mondays
Tuesdays are TV Tuesdays
Wednesdays are church night, so I guess I get a break from all this.
Thursdays are for video gaming. I am taking suggestions for a better title for this than "Gaming Thursday." That's pretty lame.
Fridays are Fiction Fridays. I plan to actually read some of the books I've bought over the years that are taking up space around here.

That all sounds like a great plan, right.

Well, I thought so too...until...

I chose an awful movie to start with.

Last weekend, DirecTV offered a free weekend of all the movie channels. Like any movie lover, I set my DVR to record a whole buttload (technical term) of movies that I hadn't yet seen.
As it turns out the first one to record was "Why Him?",  an R rated comedy starring James Franco and Bryan Cranston. My one sentence synopsis is this: Dad does not get along with rich loser his daughter is dating.

I'll go ahead and admit, I did not watch the entire movie. Franco's character REALLY liked the F word. While I'm generally not offended by foul language, it was just way too much. Not quite halfway through this movie, I started hitting fast forward, A LOT. It wasn't funny enough to keep watching and the few scenes that were funny were only funny because of shock value. I do feel like I saw enough of it to have an opinion of it. so I'm going to go ahead and offer it now. SKIP IT.

I should probably quickly describe my rating system for movies:
SKIP IT - don't waste your time
WATCH IT - watch it if you can for free on tv or streaming
RENT IT - it's worth spending a few bucks on
BUY IT - Add it to your collection. You'll watch it more than once.

I will admit that Megan Mullally and Keegan Michael Key were very funny in their scenes that I saw, but they were the only bright spots in this film. I expected way more from Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston, but what I got instead was a movie that  Malcolm in the Middle's Bryan Cranston would have made.

They say that every journey begins with a single step. I think my journey of trying to consume entertainment this way started with a single mis-step.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

1 Pound

Just a quick update on things since I haven't posted anything since October.

Home - Life is kuh-ray-zee. Baseball season has taken over our lives. We are at the ballpark every day of the week except Wednesday. It's fun... most of the time.

Church - Everything is going great. I'm seeing more passion in our worship. People are simply responding to what God is doing in and around them. It's beautiful. I'm thankful to witness some walls coming down in the way we worship.

Health - Last week, I hit my highest weight since 2008. =/ I decided enough is enough. So, I've lost 1 whole lb since Monday. My plan right now is more water, less carbs, no eating after 8pm, and more movement. I'll will start running again, but haven't yet because of a million bad excuses. I really want to lose 90 lbs, but my only real goal right now is to lose 12 lbs. We'll see what happens after that.

Personal growth- Right now, life is basically work, baseball, then an hour or so of TV until I fall asleep in the recliner. I know I need to ditch the TV and read a book, but those programs on the dvr aren't gonna watch themselves ya know. Somebody's got to do it. Right? Right?!?

And since no blog entry is complete without a picture... here's a picture of my family on Easter.
Ain't we cute?

The Stinson Family - Easter 2015

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Rock And Roll Church: Thoughts On Lighting A Worship Service

Rock & Roll Church

That is what I have sometimes jokingly called churches that use smoke and cool lights on stage and turn the house lights way down or off the congregation during the worship songs.

I enjoy almost every part of what we think of as "modern" worship; The songs, the musical style, the video screens, the bands, etc. The only part of it I've never embraced is the lighting. I've had a few opportunities to lead worship in a set up like this and as a worship leader I was uncomfortable not being able to see the audience well. I've always liked to see the audience so I could judge if I should end a song of praise shorter than originally planned or if should I extend it. (I'm aware you can't really judge if someone is worshiping by their outward appearance, but you CAN tell if people are completely disengaged.)  So for years, I've been an "all lights on" kind of worship leader.

Recently however, I've been questioning my stance on this.

I was fortunate to be able to go to FUGE with our Student ministry back in June. I saw our kids worship there with a freedom I hadn't seen from them prior to that. After worship one night, I had the following conversation with a student...

Student: "I wish we could worship like that at Northside."
Me: "YOU CAN! We sing the same songs, our volume is just not as loud and our lighting isn't the same."
Student: "I just feel like everyone would be watching me."

Her reply has stuck with me.

Later, an adult told me the same thing. She wished she could feel more free to worship outwardly with hands raised, but she felt like everyone would be looking at her. I reminded her that raised hands is a biblical expression of our worship. I also explained that if God were leading her to do that, I think she'd be blessed if she followed His direction in spite of what anyone around her was doing. (Of course, everyone is free to worship as they feel led at our church, but as of this writing, I'd say less than 10% of our worshipers at Northside choose to worship in this way on any given Sunday.)

Back to the lighting...
I heard a pastor recently explain why his church turns the house lighting down during the worship. His church does it to make people feel more comfortable. When the lights are low, you feel like you can't be seen as well, because... well... you can't be seen as well.

I think Don Chapman explains what I'm talking about well in his article on
Here's an excerpt...
"The church I’m attending dims their lights during worship as most contemporary churches do. Then one Sunday, the lights were up during the music. I immediately noticed and felt… weird. I felt oddly exposed and unfocused. I realized the effect the dimmed lights had on me and how it enhanced my worship time – I somehow felt more comfortable to worship and could better concentrate on the songs. The dimmed lights took away distractions."

So my question to you (worshipers and worship leaders) is this...

Do you prefer lit congregation or dim lighting on the congregation?

To my Northside family, don't freak out. I'm not saying we will or won't make any lighting changes. I just think it's wise for me to examine my own opinions on such matters from time to time. If my preference of having a fully lit room is hindering anyone from worshiping more freely, I know I need to change...
 because it's not about me.

Friday, July 25, 2014

How I'm Going To Be A Millionaire

Disclaimer: I wrote this at almost midnight on Thursday. I might have been a little delusional.

If today were a normal day, I'd begin this blog entry by making up some excuse about why I haven't blogged in almost 6 months. But today is no normal day. Today will go down in history as the day millionaire tycoon Shawn Stinson came up with the idea that changed his life and the lives of all his family forever. So, no, I will not apologize for not blogging since February. Instead I'll begin this blog by saying this....

If you need me, I'll be at the beach thinking of ways to spend my new fortune.

Oh wait, I guess you probably want to hear my idea.
OK. Fine.
Here it is.

As I packed clothes into a suitcase tonight for a trip I'm going on, I thought "Wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to pack for vacation." Then it hit me...
Rental Clothes.
Yep, that right. Clothes you can rent.

Going to the beach?
Got a couple cool kids who like sporty comfortable clothes?
Got a lovely young wife who likes to dress fashionably?
Got a dad who's on the hefty side and prefers comfort over style?
Most of all, are you tired of packing the car, unpacking at the condo, then repacking just days later to head home. Of course you are.
Don't fret. Call BeachWear. 
For only $250 a week you can rent clothes for your entire family for the week.

Just log into our website, let us know all about your trip destination, your family's sizes and styles, then you can arrive at your destination and find clothes there waiting on you. When your trip is over, just leave them. Well pick them up.
For a nominal additional fee, we can also include toiletries, beach toys, other related supplies.

Once we have offices on every popular beach, we'll expand to MountainWear then SkiWear.

Man, how has no one thought of this before?!?  

It's a genius idea, right?

Yep, I thought so.
I know I'd pay anything right know to keep from having to finish this packing.

Well, It's been nice knowing all of you.
Thanks to this great idea, I might not see you again.
I'm moving on up.