2014 in the rear view window

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The WordPress.com stats helper cheetahs prepared a 2014 annual report for JohnnyBGamer.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Off Campus: Theology Gaming Podcast #59 – TGBS Awards, or Best of 2014

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A few weeks ago, I woke up in the early morning hours and podcasted with Zachary and M. Josh. Had a great time hanging out with the Christmas Guantanamo and the Destroyer of Christmas. If you have a moment, head on over here and give the old podcast a listen. The first 10 minutes are pure gold. Gold I tell you!

Serial: Episode 12

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Note: If you have not listened to Season One of Serial, I encourage you to do so before reading this. If you have not listened to Episode 12 yet, I encourage you to click away, listen, and come back. Ye be warned!

I would like to thank Sarah Koenig for not tying Adnan Syed’s story into a perfect bow. There are too many questions in his case, avenues that give the listener pause. Did Adnan Syed kill Hae Min Lee? I have no idea. Adnan’s silence makes me think he is guilty, but again, I think his story is far more nuanced than that.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to Season One of Serial. The concept of an on-going investigation/story is neat. I especially liked the words Episode 12 ended with:

“Just tell me the facts, ma’am. Because we didn’t have them fifteen years ago, and we still don’t have them now.”

A Book Review – Open by Craig Gross

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The first time I heard the word accountability was shortly after high school. A good friend of mine asked me if I wanted to be accountability partners with him. This meant that we would talk about the deeper things that boil beneath the surface; things that hold most tightly to themselves. I am not sure if I was scared or what, but I quickly declined his invitation. I did not want anyone getting closer. I was an island.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent…

– No Man Is An Island, John Donne

Open, by Craig Gross, is a book that encourages living a life in accountability to another. The book is divided into three parts:

  1. Part 1: Why accountability is…(Good, Safety, Deep, Necessary)
  2. Part 2: What you need…(Honesty, Courage, Help)
  3. Part 3: How – Get…(Involved, Intimate, Effective)

Open by Craig Gross

The Good:

Starting in Chapter 8, I love how Craig breaks down exactly how to establish an accountability relationship and exactly what that looks like. He talks about the small things such as:

  • Picking someone of the same gender.
  • Finding someone you are compatible with (preferably someone who knows you).
  • Having an accountability partner whose views are slightly different than your own (this way you avoid someone who is simply going to be a yes-man and will instead challenge you).
  • Choosing someone who you can trust. I have found point to be especially true. If you don’t trust your accountability partner you will never go below the surface conversations that you have with everyone else.
  • Taking into consideration whether you want someone in the same stage of life (income, age, marital status, kids, etc.) as yourself.

Though Craig’s background is primarily in dealing with pornography through XXXChurch, in Chapter 9 he goes beyond porn in asking, “What are you seeking accountability for?” (p146). This is a fantastic question because accountability can be for almost anything from exercise to the spiritual discipline of reading the Bible. I know that when I hear the word accountability I automatically think of someone needing to overcome some sort of terrible sin.

Finally, in Chapter 10, Craig discusses scheduling, deciding on a meeting place, and what the format for an accountability meeting looks like.

“Honesty can be spontaneous, but spontaneity often arises from planning.” (p171)

He suggests:

  • Five minutes of small talk
  • An opening prayer
  • A series of staple questions you ask each other each week (“How was your week? Were you honest and truthful in all you did? State one lie you have told someone in this past week or a secret you are keeping from someone else or the group.” (p173))
  • Asking specific questions that apply directly to you (Did you steal from the cookie jar?)
  • Closing prayer
  • Further discussion/ small talk
  • Close

The Bad:

I dislike the tone that Craig writes with at the beginning of Open. The first few chapters paint a picture of a man who is all about self promotion/himself. This turned me off to the book and caused me to skim until I found material that was actually helpful and worth reading (the back half/practical end of the book). This is a shame as I can see this as a turn off to other readers.

In Closing:
Despite a poor beginning, Open features useful discussion on the why’s, how’s, and what’s of going beyond the personal island and seeking out others to walk through life with.

I was given a copy of this book by BookSneeze. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Serial: Episode 11

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Just finished up listening to Episode 11 of the Serial podcast. The final episode, Episode 12, releases this Thursday (12/18). At this point, I am not sure if Adnan is guilty or not. His friend Jay comes across as a much more believable suspect in the case. Either way, I am convinced that there is more to this murder. Someone hasn’t told the full story.

What is odd about listening to this podcast is that it isn’t a work of fiction. This was a real case. A girl died. Innocent or guilty, Adnan’s life changed forever due to this event. As Sarah Koenig presents the case, I find myself judging Adnan. There is something disconcerting about passing judgement on a person I do not know. But I do this all the time.

Thursday is right around the corner. Have you been listening to Serial? Let me know what you think in the comments.