The C Word – June State of the Blogger

It’s been a long time, readers.


Before we go any further, you need to know the C word is church.


Do you still want to stay?

There will be a few other C words in this update, but the one in the title is church. I had considered making the C word: Claudio, Community, or Children, but in the end I felt like church was the best fitting for what I’m thinking about this morning.

So plenty has happened in the seven months since last I wrote here.
We’re having another baby, a girl, in August (due on my birthday actually).
I finished a beta edit of my novel, The Pale Shadow, and sent it to beta-readers.
I’m waiting now…Just waiting…
I directed Almost, Maine for Shadblow Theatre. I am immensely proud of it.
I choreographed a fight scene for Calvin College’s Sense & Sensibility.
I re-upped my unarmed certification with the SAFD.
I taught two classes for Civic Theatre Grand Rapids (Acting 1 and 2).
I played Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing at the Rose with Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company. I think Claudio has a bad reputation and consistently gets hated on more harshly than necessary. I thought about doing an, “The C Word – In Defense of Claudio” post and then thought better of it. I’m over it now.
I have read a lot…for me at least…like 20 books, I think. Find me on Goodreads. We can be friends.

What brings me back to sonofascritch today though is church.
I’ve talked at length about it before so I apologize if this is a retread, but a conversation with a friend of mine got my mind turning this morning.

“I have enough church,” he said, “what I really need is friends.”

As someone who spent their entire childhood, college years, and half of my adult life steeped in the Christian church, I find it really easy to blend in. I know how to navigate the social spheres, make polite conversation, meet needs, etc. I think one of the like 12 youth pastors I had would probably have said, “I know how to fake it.”

This isn’t a declaration of my falsehood btw, I do these things in earnest. I love my church. I love my church community. I love helping where there is a need. Furthermore, I think it takes spiritual discipline to do things even on those days when you don’t feel like it. But I digress.

My point is this: I know how to do church.

What my friend is struggling with right now is  like me he knows how to do all these things. He knows how to function as a part of the body. What he’s finding, however, is a severe lack of genuine friendships coming out of doing church.

“I have enough church. What I really need is friends.”

It made me start thinking about my church community.
What if my friend was a stranger to me and started attending my church?
Would we be friends or would we be church friends?
Would we forge a friendship out of common interests and spend time outside of the church or would we make polite conversation and say, “See ya next week!”

I think for the church (the body) to function as it is intended to, we need to be developing friendships outside of the church (the building). Yes, we always have our faith to fall back on, and No, you don’t need to be besties with EVERYONE. However, I think it is of utmost importance for us to be building multi-faceted relationships. Otherwise, some folks may only have friends on Sundays.

No one can live like that.

So maybe next time you meet a future friend at church, before you invite them to more church maybe have a drink with them first. Find some common interests. Perhaps you’ll find someone to do life beside instead of…ya know… just Sundays.

Also here’s a book you can read together!

scritch out.


Hey everybody,

This week I’ve been thinking about the pendulum…


Not a literal pendulum mind you…

A metaphorical one.


One I’ve observed.

My observations could be and are probably wrong, but they’re mine.

When I was attending UVF (then VFCC), I found a lot of my preconceptions challenged. The way I viewed God, the church, and scripture, yes, but also the way I viewed life in general.

I was raised in a very Pentecostal church. We didn’t dance with snakes or drink venom, but there was an emphasis on the supernatural. During which, I saw some strange things. Explanations for which, I still don’t have.

It was supernatural.

Anyway, when I started college, I brought with me a lot of notions I had about how the world worked. As I mentioned above, these notions were challenged, and my worldview began to morph and solidify. That’s the purpose of the university (and education in general). To educate and produce scholars capable of formulating their own thoughts. Being raised in a very non-structured, charismatic movement, I latched on to the information from the other side. Clearly, liturgy and straight expository preaching was the answer to ALL of my problems. The issue was clearly that the previous generation had abandoned homiletics and hermeneutics, and it was my duty to mend that mistake!

Of course, I ended up going into theatre and all this is moot now…


The fact still remains that I swung the other direction.

Brandy and I found a contemporary liturgical in VA Beach and started going there. We started exploring the Roman Catholic church, the Anglicans, the Episcopals, and Eastern Orthodox.

Because we’d swing the other direction.

This week I started to think about how this same pendulum swing happens generationally with so much more than theology. Specifically, in regards to parenting.

I know a lot of people my age who complain about the strict structures of their toxic upbringing. How they felt like they were forced to conform to the molds of what is masculine and feminine. This of course led to an identity crisis when they weren’t able to achieve that paradigm of whatever gender norm they were pressed to conform to.

I can’t help but wonder if maybe our emphasis on gender fluidity is in direct response to the way we were raised.

Note: Do not get me wrong. I’m not taking a stand on anything. These are just thoughts. I don’t want to even touch on transgenderism. I am not trans and cannot begin to understand the gravity of what trans people experience. I’m a strictly discussing gender norms in their relation to parenting.

My question for all of us emerging parents is this…

What will our children say about us?


Do you think we’re the generation that has it nailed down?

Or do you think this is just another swing of the pendulum?


I don’t know.


I don’t think of my childhood as toxic even though I was raised to be a man.

I was taught that emotions were good, and it was okay for boys to cry…

I learned to suppress them on my own.

I didn’t grow up idolizing John Wayne though I love his movies…

But I do appreciate a good tough good guy character.


To be honest, I’m kind of an intersection of masculinity and femininity.

I willingly chose and enjoy a profession that involves putting on makeup and pretending to be someone else. I love football and heavy music, but I also really like getting my haircut, and I’d kill for a mani/pedi. I cry during movies, but I also push down my real emotions like a true warrior. I’m vain and borderline narcissistic. I can’t pass by a reflective surface without looking at myself. I like beer and pizza. I like attention. I’m a whore for affirmation. I want my wife to know what I’m thinking and feeling before I do. I would love for her to come home with flowers for me. Oh, did I also mention I’m a stay at home dad while my wife works full-time.

You know what’s great about everything I just listed?

Although some of it is classically Male or Female…It doesn’t have to be either.

I don’t have to suppress those things that make up Me.


But society judges.

I get that.

I get that every time I tell someone my wife works, and I stay at home.


But I’m an actor and a writer.

Doesn’t matter.


I don’t know what this is from, but I couldn’t not include it…


I guess what I’m getting at is this…

We as parents have a responsibility to raise our children.

We have a responsibility to nurture their sensibilities and proclivities.

Not ours.

And to force on them the opposite of what our parents did just because we turned out to be self-obsessed, emo adult-babies (speaking for myself) is just as damaging as repeating their every mistake.

Maybe we just need to learn from our and parents’ mistakes and try to do better.

Each new generation has the potential to be the best one.

They just need some guidance.

Maybe it’s time to stop the pendulum mid-swing and find a happy medium.


Do what you will with that.


-scritch out.


Goodbye is Forever: Showbread is Showdead

Good morning, friends.

For the majority of my teen years into my early twenties, I had a favorite band.


They were raw and visceral and spastic and also godly.

I saw their music video for Mouth like a Magazine on TVU back in 2005 and I was hooked.


I burned through three copies of No Sir, Nihilism is Not Practical because it was the only cd I listened to.

In many ways, they changed my tastes in music…

Which is why I’ve avoided writing this post for so long…

And why I avoided listening to their final album for so long…

Because Showread got Cancer and died…

And Goodbye is Forever.


Here I lay because either way, I know we’ll all be dead by dawn.

Unlike other fans who came and went, I was loyal even when their sound changed drastically from album to album. I even went backwards and picked up older albums that were harder to find: Life, Kisses, and Other Wasted Efforts, Goodbye is Forever, and I had The Dissonance of Discontent. They were nothing if not enthusiastic although I preferred the better produced later albums.

I had posters, printed out pictures of band members, and tattoo designs I wanted plastered to the walls of my bedroom.

I even took a solo human video to Matthias Replaces Judas to National Fine Arts through the Assemblies of God.

I was a fanatic in every sense of the word.

Unfortunately, I was also extremely young and didn’t get around to seeing them until the original line up was long gone and they were doing the whole Showbread and the Cancerbots thing.

After that concert, I offered them a place to crash.

I even stayed up until 3 a.m. for them to call.

They didn’t. I was bummed. Not a big deal though, right?

I only bring it up because…

I finally got to meet my hero, vocalist Josh Dies some years later at Ursinus College when he was doing solo acoustic shows.

I told him about how they stood me up and asked if I could punch him in the arm…

What an idiot, I was.

He autographed his book for me anyway…


To John. We stood you up. Joshua Porter.

It was an amazing response to a stupid question.

I still regret it.

Time jump to 2012ish.

Showbread announces they’re going to do something big…

An Album and a movie…


They called it CANCER.

An oddly fitting name seeing that it ultimately is what killed them.

When I finally listened to the album, I was enthralled.

I loved it, but something was off.

It didn’t resonate with me the same way everything from Nihilism to Flaming-lips inspired Who Can Know it? did.

I think it was partly due to where I was in my life.

I had graduated from Bible school and was now pursuing a graduate degree in acting. I was a husband and an artist. I still liked my music, but it didn’t occupy such a large place in my life.

Furthermore, I felt like Josh was getting a little pedantic with his lyrics. He had started integrating his theology more and more into his art (which is by no means a problem) but it felt like the days of loving Jesus were left behind and in its place was this theology monster. Just my opinion.

And I get it.

I do.

As an artist, our beliefs are intrinsically linked to our art. In my case, my belief in Jesus Christ manifests in what I do and how I do it in the theatre. In Showbread’s case, in lyrics and musical excellence.

Either way, it was the first album that didn’t cut me to the quick.

And ultimately, the project was too big for them, and it exhausted them.

They recorded one final album…

Showbread is Showdead.


I’m just grindin’ all the meats…

For reasons, I ‘m sure you can divine…I didn’t listen to it for awhile.

Really, I just wanted to be alone with it like with Anorexia and Nervosa.

Which is extremely difficult now that I have a toddler.

I was also afraid.

Afraid that Showbread with launch at me one final theological assault.

Bear in mind I too am a Christian (neither hyper Arminian or Calvinist, mind you).

But I was worried.

Worried I wouldn’t get to see that same young band whose music I fell in love with.

That same band that killed but also loved Jesus.

I was happily wrong.

Every song (with the exception of one…) had to it the fun, love, and aggression I so loved as a teenager.

Even the theological song I referred to a line above (Dear John Piper) was just angry and fun.

It was punk. Obviously riddled with their beliefs. But what is a Christian anarchist supposed to rage against?

John Piper, duh.

Angry. And thought-provoking.

But nothing.


No song they’ve ever written.

Has hit me harder than track 11.

Life After Life After Death…

And I know why…

Because Josh Dies is now a father.

And so am I.

It was everything I want for Jacob (and soon Kaeden).

Showbread has managed to touch me exactly where I am in life…one last time.

And now with these final lyrics, I’m finally willing and able to wish the greatest band in the world Good-bye.

“I try to be a better man
And I’m still learning how
I had a dad who taught me once
And I can’t ask him now
So while I have this time to talk
There’s one thing I would say:
Follow Jesus with your heart
Love Him every way.”

Goodbye, Showbread.

You were exactly what I needed when I needed it, and I thank God for you.

Scritch out.


Who Watches the Watchmen?

Hey everybody,

It has been almost two whole years since my last post.

A lot has happened in that time…As one can imagine.

We’re having another baby. Yay!

I finished my MFA in Acting. Yay!

We moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania. Yay?

With my parents. Yay…

And remodeled their attic so we have our own apartment. Yay…? I guess.

But more on that later.

This is what I hope to be the first post of a revived blog so please share.

So I was perusing my old posts when I stumbled upon an entry involving the announcement of the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

“I…I just died in your arms tonight…”

Aaaaaaaand considering I finally saw the thing yesterday, I decided it might be best for me to begin the resuscitation of my blog by sharing my thoughts on the film.

It was bad.

Rolls credits.

Okay. It wasn’t all bad.

I loved Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot and Jesse Eisenberg were enjoyable.

I disagree with the assessment that Lex was recycled Joker.

My biggest problem with this gargantuan juggernaut of a clusterflop was that there were too many logical missteps and the flow of the film was, in a word, choppy.

But you can read all about that everywhere…

Like HereHereHere, or Here.

[Update] The current Superman to my Batman in regards to BvS, Michael McLendon, has an excellent review of the film Here. I suggest you give it a look.

I would like to discuss my thoughts on the director and his apparent theology.

But first a small tangent.



Seriously…Who was responsible for saying…

“You know, Zack…This might be cool and all, but it doesn’t progress the plot. It really has no business being in this movie.”

My thoughts?

I don’t think Zack Snyder listens to anyone, values anyone’s opinions but his own, and I think he disdains the defining characteristics of the characters he’s using

But…other people have talked about that.

I want to talk about X, D, and S.

Xerxes, Dr. Manhattan, and Superman.

Call me curious how in 3 of the films he’s best known for, he uses the God archetype.



Xerxes is wiping people out because he thinks he’s god (or a god).

King Leonidas stands up to him and proves that he is just a man. He can bleed.

“Do you know how I got this scar?”


Dr. Manhattan

Dr. Manhattan is a freak of science. An all-powerful man, but regardless called a god.

“I never said, “The superman exists, and he’s American” What I said was,”God exists, and he’s American.”

And yet…He is brought down by another exceptional man. Adrian Veidt – Ozymandias.

Ozy proves that god can be defeated.

[Don’t get me wrong, I know this is Alan Moore too, but Snyder directed it.]

No! And quit impersonating the Joker. Your crappy imitation is disrespectful to the memory of Heath Ledger! (Looking at you, everyone)



Superman is Jesus. There. I said it.

He’s sent from another world to lead and save humanity.

He is DC’s Jesus.

Superman’s powers and abilities list on wikipedia.

They could have just as simply said…All of them…And not written an article about it.

In fact, they keep inventing new powers to give him.

Because THAT’S exactly what he needed…

Needless to say…DC’s OG is OP.

And yet…Who brings him down?

The World’s Greatest Detective. One extraordinary man.

My imitation of Ledger’s Joker is ON FLEEK.



Zack Snyder seems oddly transfixed by false god characters being brought down by a man. So much so that it seems to be Lex Luthor’s only motivation in BVS: DOJ (which I still maintain is a stupid title).

Mind you. In this case, the man kind of fails…but does he?

I’m putting that in the Win column.


What do we do with this?

  1. Zack Snyder may or may not be an angry atheist. (But who cares really?)
  2. He clearly thinks murder is the best way to show that a vigilante is mature. (We should care because he’s tarnishing these great characters.)
  3. And finally, we hope to God WB has someone watch the watchmen. In this case, we don’t let the DCCU become a wonderland of murderers. Kids should be able to see Batman and Superman movies. At the very least, they should be able to see Superman. Don’t market toys to kids 5+ and then deprive them of the film experience by making it too gritty and dark. I’m not talking about pandering either. I’m talking about knowing your target audience and telling a good story.


It’s just a bummer because this had so much potential.

I can’t help but think that people who liked this movie do so for the same reason I liked Green Lantern when it first came out…

I was a colossal Green Lantern fanboy.

A small portion of my comic collection.

I looked past the flaws of the film to find the joy the comics brought to me.

I found my will in all of that mess, and I clung to it.

But time revealed to me the truth.

It just wasn’t good.

When we eventually get a few more good DC films (which I believe we will), I think people will begin to realize this was a weak start to the DCCU.

But until that time, fans will cling to the bright spots that bring them joy.

They’ll defend it, and they’ll wait patiently for better to come.

The Guardians of the Galaxy

^I kid. I’m looking forward to it.


Until next week, true believers.


-scritch out.

Zack Snyder’s Green Lantern v. Green Arrow: Death of Another God Character.