About Matt Schneider

Matt is an Associate Priest at All Saints Episcopal Church in Hilton Head Island, SC, where he lives with his wife Hawley and two children. In addition to regularly contributing to mbird.com, his writing has appeared in The New Yorker, on This I Believe, and in the Mockingbird Devotional. He likes to ride bikes.

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    Bono Talks Jesus on The Meaning of Life

    This is a clip from a longer interview on The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne, an Irish program on RTÉ Television (ht, AP). Much of what Bono says here overlaps portions of the book Bono: In Conversation With Michka Assayas that we’ve highlighted in the past. Bono seems to be in something of a league of his own as such a huge rockstar who is so open with his (solid) Christian faith, and he is articulate about it to boot. Watch the whole interview here.

    By the way, did you happen to catch the amazing/dizzying U2 performance of “Invisible” on the roof of 30 Rock on the premier episode of The Tonight Show Staring Jimmy Fallon? Their acoustic set of “Ordinary Love” was pretty mesmerizing, too. Some worthy lyrics here:

    ‘Cause we can’t fall any further
    If we can’t feel ordinary love
    And we cannot reach any higher
    If we can’t deal with ordinary love

    Are we tough enough
    For ordinary love

    Sister-Ax Evangelizes The Voice: “God Doesn’t Take Anything Away from Us”

    To the surprise of so many who watched, last week an Italian nun dominated The Voice of Italy by signing Alicia Keys’ “No One” in English. The absolute highlight of her appearance (which you can see in the video below) is when J-Ax, a heavily tattooed Italian rapper and one of the voice coaches, reacts with pure delight to Sister Cristina, including shedding a few tears of joy. Another highlight is that she says she auditioned for the sake of evangelism—something she claims Pope Francis inspired her to do. We are all ears, Sister! I also love that some of her fellow sisters appeared on the show in support.

    Here are some highlights. Make sure you click “CC” on the video to get the English captions.

    Question: What brought you here to The Voice?
    Sister Cristina: I have a gift and I am giving it to you. Shouldn’t things be this way?

    J-Ax: If I had met you during the Mass, when I was a child, now I would be Pope! I would surely have attended all the functions.
    Sister Cristina: Well you have met me now.

    Question: What does the Vatican say about you auditioning at The Voice?
    Sister Cristina: Listen, I don’t really know. I am waiting for Pope Francesco to call me on the phone. He always says we should go out and evangelize telling God doesn’t take anything away from us but will give us more. I am here for this. [The audience erupts in applause, and J-Ax begins to cry.]

    P.S. Have you seen this? Aaaauuugghhh!!!!!

    Scripting Others: Stephen Covey on Imputation?

    Scripting Others: Stephen Covey on Imputation?

    Despite my instincts to steer clear of self help literature, I recently read Stephen R. Covey’s classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Can anything good come from the self help genre? To my surprise, yes, especially this excerpted section below on “Scripting Others” from Habit 7: Sharpening the Saw (basically, self care). In the following section he talks about something akin to imputation—the act of attributing to someone a trait not otherwise natural to themselves.

    At some time in your life, you probably had someone believe in you when you didn’t believe in yourself. They scripted you. Did that…

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    The Lion Shall Lie Down with the Zoologist

    The Lion Shall Lie Down with the Zoologist

    On the viral video front, there is an incredible story circulating about Kevin Richardson, the so-call “Lion Whisperer,” a South African zoologist (not the Backstreet Boy) who playfully interacts with lions and hyenas on animal sanctuaries. While watching the video, I kept thinking to myself this guy is crazy and going to end up like the Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin or Timothy Treadwell, the subject of the film Grizzly Man, who were both killed by the wild animals they studied. In comparison though, there is something very fascinating and almost otherworldly about how comfortable Richardson is with these lions—they actually know him and…

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    Groundhog Day: Metaphor for a Lot of Things

    Sunday was Groundhog Day. As is my tradition (and should be yours if it isn’t already), I watched Groundhog Day the film, again (BING!). I also watched the DVD extras, which include some fascinating commentary from director Harold Ramis, also of Stripes, Caddyshack, and (Egon in) Ghostbusters fame. Unfortunately, the DVD special features I want to share with you are not available online, but I found a very similar and short interview with Ramis below. In these interviews he explains why the film continues to be a timeless existential classic applicable to anyone’s life situation, or religion, capable of saying new things to them each time they watch it. By the way, if you haven’t seen Groundhog Day yet, it’s about time—don’t wait till next February. Buy it so you can watch the special features.

    Click here for an excerpt from another similar interview with Ramis.

    groundhog clock

    In Gratitude of A Love Supreme

    In Gratitude of A Love Supreme

    I recently read Tim Keller’s book on work, Every Good Endeavor. One of the most important takeaways for me was learning more about John Coltrane, who is the inspiration for Keller’s title. Keller quotes the original liner notes to Coltrane’s most famous album, A Love Supreme, which use the words “every good endeavor.” This week I bought the album, something I should have done a long time ago. Here are those original liner notes, now in a CD booklet. Keller only excerpts the notes, but I feel the whole thing was worth sharing—”a love supreme” turns out to be Coltrane’s…

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    Under Pressure on Modern Family

    I was recently thinking how ABC’s Modern Family just isn’t as good as it used to be (for me) and that I kind of watch it out of duty nowadays. And then, BAM! They produce probably one of their better/best episodes ever. It revolves around high school anxieties, SATs, and college admissions: “Under Pressure.” The theme is certainly timely since this is the time of year many high schoolers start hearing back from college and university admissions offices. The unquestionable hero of this episode? Claire Dunphy. You have to watch the entire clip below to find out why:

    Top 10 Things I Wanted to Blog about in 2013 but Was Too Lazy

    Top 10 Things I Wanted to Blog about in 2013 but Was Too Lazy

    I happily come across more pieces of culture than I know what to do with each year (or month, or week, or day) that speak to the Christian Message. This is a good problem to have–it means a blog like Mbird or a preacher like me will never run out of new material. Not using it can feel burdensome though, because I want to talk about it all—and sometimes I just procrastinate and never get around to it. I lumped some highlights together here in truncated form, keeping this list limited to the top ten (maybe 11) things I wanted to…

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    Telling Truth from the Underside

    Telling Truth from the Underside

    Despite a few recent Mbird nods, as of three weeks ago I had no idea who Nadia Bolz-Weber was. But she has come up in conversation, in text messages, and in my Facebook feed about a dozen times since then. So I decided to pay attention and buy her new book, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint. Because I’m always on the lookout for how the humorous dimension links up with the theological, I was pleasantly surprised to read that Bolz-Weber is a former comedian with some thoughts on how standup comedy is an attempt at telling the…

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    On TV: Why I Like this Show So Much? It’s With You

    On TV: Why I Like this Show So Much? It’s With You

    Last TV season I created something of a niche here on Mbird with commentary on NBC’s Parenthood. Although I am excited one of my favorite programs was renewed (after some doubts), I’ve been admittedly uninspired to write on the new season until now. And unlike most posts on current TV programs, this one has no spoiler alert since I don’t give away too much—this is more of a meta-analysis on why I think the show has such a devoted almost cult-like following. Basically, I want you to watch it if you aren’t, and if you’re obsessed like me, perhaps these…

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    On Being a Finalist in The New Yorker’s Cartoon Caption Contest

    On Being a Finalist in The New Yorker’s Cartoon Caption Contest

    I recently received some of the most exciting news of my life: I am a finalist in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest this week, Oct. 21 to Oct. 27. This is kind of a big deal. So I am shamelessly begging you to go to newyorker.com/humor/caption to vote for your favorite caption (hopefully mine, please) in Contest #399 by Sunday. This isn’t just a self-promoting plug though. Since I have your attention, I am going to take the opportunity to say a few words about this famously cool albeit geeky contest whose devotees have included the likes of film critic Roger…

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    The Tim Gunn Save

    The Tim Gunn Save

    OK, I admit it. I watch Lifetime’s Project Runway. I would have been embarrassed to confess this guilty pleasure previously, but during the current season something altogether too noteworthy from a theological point of view has occurred. Early in the season a contestant was saved from elimination by one of the producers, and the ongoing results of this rescue bear witness to the fruits of salvation.

    If you don’t know Project Runway, it is a reality television competition between aspiring fashion designers hosted by super model Heidi Klum. Each week the group of contestants is given a new challenge to…

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    No, David! Yes, David…

    No, David! Yes, David…

    At our church preschool I lead a chapel service early each week and then a brief story time later in the week, reading a book that is in continuity with whatever Bible story I told in chapel. Usually I choose simple read-aloud Bible books for story time, but last week I tried something different. The response was noteworthy. I talked about the snake tempting Adam and Eve in the Garden at chapel, but later in the week I read David Shannon’s popular and award-winning children’s book No, David! Most of the kids seemed to love it—the room was buzzing with excitement…

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    Wings Like Eagles and an Unlikely Love Song: Grace Gone Viral

    Wings Like Eagles and an Unlikely Love Song: Grace Gone Viral

    On the viral video front, if you’re feeling bogged down by all the heavy and life-sapping stuff out there, you’ll be glad to see that in contrast two very life-giving videos have recently landed on YouTube and are worth watching. They each provide a taste of grace. First, there is this one from a camera mounted to an eagle soaring through the French Alps. I want to say that this is what grace feels like: a sense of liberty, awe, beauty, response, and youthfulness (in all the ways that are good). To quote Isaiah:

    He gives power to the faint, and to him…

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    Hector Black Forgives The Man Who Murdered His Daughter

    Hector Black Forgives The Man Who Murdered His Daughter

    I recently learned about Transom.org through This American Life. If you like TAL, you might enjoy listening to the Transom podcast, which produced an amazing (and relatively brief) interview with Hector Black, an elderly organic farmer, whose adopted daughter was killed by a crack-addicted burglar. Black describes this terrible incident and the ensuing relationship he developed with the perpetrator, Ivan Simpson, including publicly forgiving him. At Simpson’s trial, Black delivered a written statement. It all reminds me of the man who forgave the “Green River Killer.” Here are some highlights from the interview:

    I was saying how much we loved Patricia, how…

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