Nerd Stuff: New Avengers


Get. Excited.




Greetings friends,

I have been meaning to get back in to blogging more, but truth be told a lot of the stuff I need to write and get off my chest is a bit deep and tragic and hopefully and profound, which all makes it very difficult to write. So I thought I'd start with this:



This is remarkable, because everyone in this city blames our good natured French-Canadian goaltender for everything that has ever felled the Penguins, whilest completely forgetting that with the new coaching regime we've been reminded of what both a decent power play and penalty kill might look like. We forget that he won a Stanley Cup, something not a whole lot of goaltenders out there can say. We also have forgotten that the free agent market for a decent goaltender makes Fleury look like a brick wall in the net. But still, it's all Fluery's fault. The only responsible choice is for readers of the J-Blog to blame everything that goes wrong today on Fleury, because he got a lot of money. 



But as for me and my house, we will proudly wear our Fleury jersey to every Penguins related event for the remainder of the season. #fleurystrong

Go get 'em buddy. Go get em.

Moving Home


Greetings friends!

We're back! After a couple of years at the J-Blog, our hosting had lapsed, and it became clear that it wasn't really worth it to keep paying to have the address. But it feels like blogging is a key element to who I am. It helps me for sure to get my thoughts straight when I'm working on a bigger project for school or a sermon or something like that. So there will be many posts coming soon, including some thoughts on hope and miscarriages, the value of community in dark times, and other topics. We're still going to talk about youth ministry. We're still going to talk about worship music. We're still going to talk about seminary. And of course, we're still going to talk about hockey. But for now, update your subscriptions, add a bookmark or two, and get ready for the insanity!

We've Moved!!!!


Sold sign1

Hello friends!

The J-Blog has officially moved to our new home.

Please update your browser's bookmarks and RSS feeds. See you at the new place!

Moving Sale 4: My favorite series


Youth specialties

Hey friends! 


Here it is, the last official post on the J-Blog in this location! Tomorrow, we're going to move to the new site, which you will be able to find at ( Tune in tomorrow for Photo Friday and some intro posts!


To close things out, one of the things that I love to blog about most is when we take our annual trip to the National Youth Workers Convention. But a few years ago, I wrote one of my favorite YS summaries. After spending a few hours this morning pouring over the J-Blog, I think these posts represent some of my favorite writing I've done here. And so I shamelessly share it with you!


NYWC #0: Traveling

NYWC #1: Photo Blog

NYWC #2: Time Machine

NYWC #3: Challeneged

NYWC #4: Photo Blog 2

NYWC #5: Me Time

NYWC #6: Photo Blog 3

NYWC #7: Worship

NYWC #8: Photoblog 4

NYWC #9: Going Home


Tomorrow's the big day! Woohooooo!

Moving Sale 2: Anne Rice

Good morning bloggers! 

First of all, good news! The J-Blog move is going a lot smoother than I had originally hoped, so the new site will launch officially on Friday! We'll wrap up the moving sale this week and then move over there for the first post in the new digs! Should be great!

Until then, check out this gem from the J-Blog's history. I wrote a quick piece on Anne Rice, and what her decision to leave Christianity was teaching all of us. It is to this day the single most commented on story in the J-Blog, so it deserves a second look. Enjoy!

Quitting Christianity: What Anne Rice is teaching us all

Posted by Jason Freyer at 9:42 AM Thursday, August 26, 2010
Anne Rice1 thumbGreetings bloggers!
A few months ago, Anne Rice stated on her Facebook page that in the name of Jesus Christ, she was quitting Christianity and was no longer a Christian.
It's taken me this long to get around to this post because that sentence is tough to wrap your mind around. How can a person quit Christianity in the name of Jesus? What's really at the heart of Anne Rice's comment here? What does it mean for those of us who are in the Church and in Church leadership?

Rice's comments make sense in a world where we're told it's perfectly ok to be spiritual but not religious. On the plus side, it would appear to this casual observer that there are more people than ever who are interested in the life and teachings of Jesus. People are opening the scriptures and seeing the God of the Universe who cares for and loves their souls. These people fall head over heels for the savior.

But they simply can't stand his followers.

These folks read the scriptures, particularly the teachings of Jesus, and as their eyes glance up from the page they notice that the people in the pews around them are nothing like the savior has asked of them. They see the horrible things we are capable of doing in the name of Jesus, the way we treat each other, and the way we treat people who disagree with us, and they want out.

So the question is, can you be spiritual, but not be religious? Is it possible to lead a life of devotion to Christ but not be a part of the community of faith? Yes and no I think. I understand the heart of this feeling, the desire to distance oneself from "organized religion" (a phrase I find pretty funny, because as someone who works in the church I realize that it's seldom organized). I can even understand feeling like you're capable of accomplishing more on your own than you could with a group of infighting Christians.

But the truth is, you need that connection. You need that community. You need encouragement when things aren't going your way and challenge to see things differently when needed. You need to have your viewpoints challenged by caring and loving people who are willing to invest in you. I personally think everyone should be a part of a small group, a team of people who will listen to your life stories and help you put things in perspective. Sure, the Church can be ugly. To quote Augustine, the Church may be a whore, but she's my mother.

So Anne, I see where you might have felt compelled to quit Christianity. But I also beg you to seek out those of us who are trying to make authentic and purposeful communities, trying to live the life that Jesus has laid out for us.

Perhaps we should spend less time worrying about being Christians and worry more about being disciples.



Moving Sale 3: My New Monster


Hello friends!

I accidentally published what was supposed to be this morning's blog post last night. Oops! So we'll do another one today. Don't forget, we'll be moving to the new digs on Friday!

This is the single most viewed post in J-Blog history, and frankly I have no idea why. It clocks in 3446 hits, 1400 some more than the next competitor. Why you guys like this one, I may never know, but here it is anyway. Enjoy!

My New Monster


Hello friends,

I noticed something while I was at the gym working out yesterday, and I thought I'd share some thoughts here on the J-Blog.

When I was in high school, I took Advanced Placement American History, or APA as we called it. The idea was that you would submit yourself to an incredibly difficult year of learning, followed by a national test, which if you did well on you would be able to opt out of college classes. The test was the source of much stress and disdain from several students, and so our teacher nick named it "The Beast." It sounds ridiculous, but it actually helped get you through the tough year of classes to know that everything you did was one more weapon in your tool belt for when you would attempt to slay the beast. We pictured it with nasty fangs and blood drenched claws, and know that what we were suffering through would help us to slay the Beast made the suffering tolerable.

Last year, I started cycling as a form of fitness. I had always like bike riding, but never really got into the intense all out riding that so many people have come to love over time. I was at dinner with a few friends, when one Travis Bachelder invited me to participate in the MS 150, a 150 mile bike ride from Slippery Rock to Lake Erie. Foolishly, I said yes.

The 150 became my Beast. It was the monster that I had to overcome. At that dinner table, a 150 mile two-day ride seemed impossible. It was going to require a lot of me in terms of training, in terms of mental dedication, in terms of nutrition and eating better. I was going to suffer. But at least I knew that I was going to suffer with a purpose. I was going to slay the monster, and slay the monster I did. I never felt better after a ride than I did when we rolled into Lake Erie, and they handed me the finishers metal. It sounds cheesy, but that metal means a lot to me. It's not just two days of accomplishment, but it's every ounce of the 500 miles and countless hours in the gym that went into training me for that ride.

The 150 happened in the middle of my cycling "season", and I started to notice something interesting towards the end. I was losing my drive to go on. I didn't want to go out on a huge training ride. I had very little desire to go to the gym. When I did go out on a ride, I was seeking easier courses and flatter terrain. Without a monster to slay, I had no reason to suffer, because suffering pointlessly is really no fun at all.

As I was lying in bed the other night, and I saw an article about Gran Fondos. I had never heard of such a thing, but the article made it sound like the next step up from the charity rides that I have been doing so far. It's usually a century ride, or 100 miles in a single day. They are known for their climbs, and usually have competition on the climbs. They are not to be trifled with, yet they come with rest stops. Like the 150 was to me a year ago, this ride seems so very far out of my reach. There's one coming in New York early next season ( and I want to ride it so bad.

It is my new monster.

All of a sudden I can't spend enough time in the gym. I'm already upset that it's raining/getting colder so as to keep me off the bike a bit more. I will let you know when I get crazy enough to wear the jackets and tights and ride in the weather anyway. But this monster is coming, and I must be ready to slay it.

What is your monster? And what happens when people don't have a monster to work towards? Is it in fact true that suffering makes a little bit more sense when we realize it's leading us somewhere?

Food for thought.