I recall taking an internship my junior year in college (2003) and I had just finished cooking for Jesus & having a “date night. with Him” I was single, focused & very intentional about spending time with God daily. So, as we watched a movie, He told me to turn to TV off. I grabbed a journal and the Lord began to download into my heart. He said,
“Heather, I have called you to preach my gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ. You and your one day husband will have a worldwide ministry and millions of..

Attention, Looking Closer readers: This blog is moving.

Three years ago, almost to the day — July 1, 2012 — I crossed the great Internet Sea carrying many years of Looking Closer blog content in my cargo hold, and I docked long-term here at the Patheos network. Today, I am pulling up the anchor and setting sail again for a new location.
If you don’t want to fall overboard, jot these two addresses down and we’ll all arrive safely at our next destination: LookingCloser.org and JeffreyOverstreet.com.

Either of those will redirect you to my new home when I arrive there. I can’t say yet when that will be. Hopefully it’ll be ready to welcome guests soon.

In the meantime, if you want to keep in touch with me during the voyage — and I hope you will, because I’d love to keep you posted about the exciting new things I plan to do at my next Looking Closer home — follow one, two, or all three of these simple steps:

1. Follow me on Facebook. I’ll continue to blog, during the crossing, at http://fac..

Take a deep dive into your own head. Do an archaeological dig. Work your way all the way to the center. What do you find?

Core memories. Foundational impressions. The moments that made you.

Me? Mine are almost all related to creativity:

– Reading books — fairy tales and fantasy, mostly.
– Writing and illustrating my own fantasy stories with crayons, and then learning how to type out the words with my index finger on a typewriter.
– Drawing pictures on church bulletins during church while my mom softly shushed me.
– Opening presents on Christmas morning at my grandparents’ house, and discovering that my grandfather has built me my very own puppet stage.
– Hanging out with my dad while he read theology books and graded high school students’ papers all evening.
– Playing basketball in the backyard all by myself, inventing new variations on the game, and pretending to be every player on opposing teams as I acted out whole games.
– Watching Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on the bi..

In memory of Clementa Carlos Pinckney (1973-2015), Democrat, South Carolina Senate; senior pastor of Mother Emanuel A.M.E. [African Methodist Episcopal] Church; martyred with eight of his congregation while they studied scriptures and prayed together in the church.
You can read much more about Pastor Pinckney and his church here.

It was one year ago this month that shots rang out on our campus at Seattle Pacific. And the community responded by gathering in grief, in support, in prayer, and, when the truth was learned, in grace and love toward the antagonist. I was blessed, and taught, by their response.
Today, those of us on campus are gathering in SPU’s prayer chapel to pray for our grieving neighbors at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and for the troubled heart of the suspect in custody.

Elsewhere — specifically, online, from angry responders (a wide range, including suit-and-tie white guys) — I’m already seeing waves of rage and hate directed at the shooter.

I unde..

Gathering in a bunker deep underground where velociraptors cannot find them, the Looking Closer Specialists are talking about Jurassic World.

The Specialists are a community of friends who are supporting my efforts on this blog. They have a private Facebook group, they get to see some of this blog’s posts before everybody else, they’re acknowledged in the Credits, and they are invited to participate in occasional posts like this one. (Sound like fun? Here’s how to join them.)

Since I haven’t had a chance to see Jurassic World yet — there were other films far higher on my priority list this week — I asked them for their first impressions. Here’s what they’re saying…

Joseph:
It met my expectations, Jeffrey. But I suspect that says more about my expectations than it does about Trevorrow’s film. Heavy, heavy on the effects and action, light on story and the characterizations (and motivations) of its characters.
A more successful return to the franchise than either The Lost World or Jurassi..

It’s June again: The end of another academic year. We’ve come to Graduation Weekend, and I’m driving to a special ceremony, where this year’s crop of honors society students — the Seattle Pacific University Scholars (or “UScholars”) — will gather with families and friends to celebrate their achievement.

And on the way, my car doors are pulsing to the beats of an album that has its hooks in me: Sprinter by Torres.

These songs keep playing in my head long after I’ve had parked the car on Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill and descended into the sunny campus. Everywhere I look the lawns are alive with faculty in full regalia and seniors draped in graduation gowns and stoles, capped with tasseled mortarboards. I hurry through the crowd to the lobby of Otto Miller Hall, where UScholar seniors have set up informative honors project displays. There each student explains to visitors what they’ve been learning in these last days before their launch into the great unknown.
Despite the celebratory mood, I..

Just like every other moviegoer on the planet, I had a blast attending the theatrical opening of Jurassic Park in 1993. I remember laughing for joy at the blissful terror of the T-Rex’s entrance, and laughing even harder when I saw my friends Eric and Matt crawling under their seats.

But I was having fun in spite of the movie’s screenplay, which felt cheap and sentimental even for Spielberg at the time. I thought then — and I still think — that it’s B-grade Spielberg.

This weekend, I went digging for any writing I might have done back then, and could only dug up this old paragraph:

One cannot help but assume the reason the characters in the film are so scared is because they’re so poorly developed. Spielberg was so excited about directing the dinosaurs that he forgot to check the quality of the script. This is not such a bad thing, really. The corny dialogue and aspirations to social and environmental relevance seem to suit this old-fashioned thrill-fest. Who comes to this movie to be ..

My friend Pete Horner was the sound designer/sound mixer for Jurassic World… not to mention his extraordinary back catalog of work, like the Redux version of Apocalypse Now.

He won an Emmy for his work on Hemingway and Gellhorn.

Here he is, interviewed for Filmback, talking about the art of sound design. Well worth listening to.

And here’s a shout-out to my friend Claire Tanner, who is a producer and the co-host of Filmback. Great work, Cory Titus and Claire Tanner! Check this out.

And if you like that, you’ll like the bonus round, when he tells a story about my favorite band: Over the Rhine.

Image published my two-part interview with Horner a while back: Part One, Part Two.

So far, 2015 has been an impressive non-stop parade of great albums. I could easily turn in a Top 10 of the year today if I was asked.
But we’re only halfway there.

Dr. Jeff Keuss of Seattle Pacific University hosted this live podcast discussion of some of 2015’s most exciting music. We listened to stuff by Kendrick Lamar, Kacey Musgraves, Ibeyi, Sleater-Kinney, and much more, and talked it over. Then, we answered some great questions from diners in our live audience.

Panel guests included Anthony Barr-Jeffrey, Anna Miller, and myself.

Maybe you missed the live event, but you can listen now to the podcast.

Tune in for The Kindlings Muse here.

What are the most impressive records you’ve heard in 2015 so far?

What albums have you played the most?

Charlize Theron-the-Road-Again

[This review has already been read by the Looking Closer Specialists, whose helpful responses persuaded me to see the movie a second time before publishing it. Thanks, Specialists! Read about how you can join the club that gets first-looks and access to a private Looking Closer Facebook group here.]

I am looking at the back of a man who stands on a sandy precipice beside his souped up sports car, and I have just enough time to think three things:

1) Wow, the colors of this post-apocalyptic desert wasteland are so saturated that they make Luke Skywalker’s homeland look positively grayscaled by comparison!

2) Is this guy just scanning the horizon, out beyond the dunes? Or he is preparing to urinate over the edge? And then,
3) I wonder how long this goes before we hit the first chase scene and we see Max —

BOOM!

We’re off! He’s jumping in his car! And the first mad, mad, mad chase scene of Mad Max: Fury Road is underway!

And if you’re not excited about tha..