Category Archives: Christianity

You Still Wonder Why I Existed, I Exist in a World That’s Real Different!

I need to start this post with yet another apology. On Monday, when I posted the submissions for RELIGION and THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE I did not post a second picture submitted by Andy.

This was not an error of carelessness like in some past weeks. I legitimately didn’t know that it was a submission.

You see, he sent me a picture of Hawkeye propaganda. I didn’t realize that it was a submission for RELIGION. I thought he was committing a hate crime and I nearly called the police.

However, I remember that in some societies, being a Hawkeye fan is considered a mental illness. With the way this society stigmatizes mental illness, I thought I better just pretend like nothing happened. Back away from the propaganda and nobody gets hurt.

But the ordeal wasn’t over. You see before Andy sent me the picture of his boat, he implied that I might not publish his submission. I let him know that I will publish ANY submission that doesn’t get me in trouble with the law.

He then sent me a picture of his boat with the following explanation:

I feel closest to God in my boat on water at sunrise or sunset…

I can relate to this sentiment. I don’t fish (much), although I did catch a fish worthy of a Master Angler Big Fish award once, but didn’t turn it in due to my modesty. I also often feel closest to God when I am in nature.

I texted back:

I was worried it was going to be some Hawkeye garbage.

He then sent me the picture of Hawkeye propaganda with the commentary that they go together. I didn’t put together that the pictures went together. I thought that the propaganda was on the boat, because it is.

I have since rectified the situation. If you click on the link below, you can see Andy’s submitted Hawkeye propaganda:

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEEK 142 – RELIGION

Now that bit of unpleasantness is behind us, I need to remind you that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is:


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WORK!


A WORK picture is anything that involves WORK. A person WORKing. The tools somebody uses when they are WORKing. The results of WORKing. If you don’t know what WORK is, ask an immigrant. They get the job done. We all know that Peter Piper claimed he picked them, he just underpaid Pablo.

The world wasn’t ready for the following RELIGION pictures on Monday. Not sure the world is ready now, but I can’t hold them back any longer:


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You’re welcome world!

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE REMINDER – RELIGION

It is reminder time!


Don’t forget that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is RELIGION!


You should also remember photos should be submitted by 11 AM CST to bennett@photography139.com.

What is a RELIGION photo? Here is an example below:


Week 142 - Religion
RELIGION


A RELIGION photo will show either a religious activity, a religious building, a religious book, a religious piece of art… The possibilities go on and on and on.

Happy photo harvesting!

05-09-08: The Big Jesus Road Trip

The photos from today’s blog come from the folder 05-09-08.

These pictures were taken during what historians have called THE BIG JESUS ROAD TRIP. It is hard to believe that 10 years have passed since THE BIG JESUS ROAD TRIP, but they have.

Jesse and I embarked on THE BIG JESUS ROAD TRIP with a destination in mind (Big Jesus) and a few stops in mind to make along the way. We wanted to see the place where “The Music Died”. We wanted to see the World’s Largest Cheeto. We wanted to stop at Bob’s Drive-Inn and try a Bob’s Dog. Anything else we experienced on the trip was gravy. Delicious gravy. The type you put in a gravy pitcher during Thanksgiving.

Mmmmmm…. gravy!


The Big Jesus Road Trip

The Big Jesus Road Trip

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The Big Jesus Road Trip

The World’s Largest Cheeto did not disappoint. Neither did Big Jesus or the Bob’s Dog. The Pocahontas statue… yeah. That is one ugly statue.

Sometime this year I hope to make a trip to see the world’s largest popcorn ball. Who is game?

By adding THE BIG JESUS ROAD TRIP photos to the Photography 139 Photo Gallery, I was able to restore the following historical “An Artist’s Notebook” post to its original glory:

THE BIG JESUS

There are more pictures from THE BIG JESUS ROAD TRIP that I didn’t share in this blog post. If you want to take a gander at those, click on the link below:

THE BIG JESUS ROAD TRIP PHOTO GALLERY

Next Saturday’s trip down memory lane will involve a trip to visit the Cardiff Giant and his giant phallus. Jason Baier will be joining us!

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE REMINDER – MUSIC

A friendly reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is MUSIC:


WEEK 139 - MUSIC
MUSIC


A MUSIC photo is any photo that is related to MUSIC. From live MUSIC to recorded MUSIC to sheet MUSIC to toy MUSIC to MUSICal instruments. Anything that relates to the creation and/or playing of MUSIC. Good or bad MUSIC. Doesn’t matter.

Happy photo harvesting!

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This isn’t related to anything, but I wanted to put a quote here that I used as part of a Youth Group lesson on the Secular World vs. the Sacred World on Wednesday:

“One of the great hindrances to the development of biblically informed mainstream art has been the perception that Christians should make Christian Art. And that Christian Art is always explicitly religious. Understood this way, Christian Art is not distinguished by a regenerated outlook on the whole of life, but on a narrow focus on Bible stories, saints, martyrs, and individual’s relationship with God. Christian Art in this sense is either and aid to worship or a means to evangelism.”

It comes from a book called Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts. I haven’t read this book yet, but I’ll be getting to it soon enough.

Here is another quote from the book I cam across:

“A corollary of this has been that Christians have thought that they should only create art with a Pollyanna quality to it: paintings of birds and kittens, movies that extol family life and end happily, songs that are positive and uplifting – in short, works of art that show a world that is almost unfallen where no one experiences conflict and where sin is naughty rather than wicked.”

Remember that Photography 139 is a Christian “business”. It believes in creating works of art that glorify God. This stuff will get dropped on you from time to time.

Graceland

Time to hit up the back log. These pictures are from Russell, Jesse, and I’s trip to Memphis to watch Iowa State stomp the Memphis Tigers in the Liberty Bowl.

I am a fan of Elvis. I get that from my Mom. From her I grew up listening to Elvis and Kenny Rogers. I love them both. I never quite inherited her love of The Beach Boys, but I do also enjoy them. From my Dad I got my love of old country. Johnny Paycheck and Tom T. Hall in particular. If you don’t love Tom T. Hall, you’re doing something wrong.

Before we left for Memphis I had done some research on places to visit. Graceland was number two on my list behind Beale Street. My research showed that an actual tour of Graceland can take over 3 hours. While I was willing to spend the small fortune it costs to tour Graceland, we just didn’t have that time.

However, I read that they open up the grounds of Graceland from 7:30 – 8:30 for people to pay their respects to Elvis’ grave, for free.

I convinced Jesse to wake up early and check this out with me. Russell wasn’t buying waking up early on his vacation. He stayed at his hotel.

Here are pictures from Graceland:


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When I was trying to figure out where in the back log to hit up, I was considering the trip to Mount Rushmore, March for Our Lives, or the flowers of Donna Jones. However, recently HBO has been playing a 4 hour documentary on Elvis called ELVIS PRESLEY: THE SEARCHER. I knew it was time to reveal my photos from Graceland

If you are a fan of Elvis, music, or history and have access to HBO or HBO GO, I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve learned quite a bit about Elvis and his musical influence. I think it is unfortunate that because of the way he dressed, the antics, the way he died, and the horrible movies, I think sometimes it gets lost what an extremely talented musician he was. Also, what a completely unique voice he had as an artist. I don’t mean that in the way that his physical voice was unique. I mean the way he expressed himself as an artist.

Can you imagine an artist in modern times that would record entire gospel albums at the height of this popularity? Some Christian artists will crossover, but they certainly never come back. I don’t know of an artist in modern times that could weave so many musical influences in to their own unique sound.

Could you imagine going to a modern rock concert and then BOOM! here is one from the hymnals!

Elvis Presley is the only royalty that I will ever recognize!

Any other Elvis fans out there? Let me know what your favorite Elvis song is in the comments section of this here blog!

I’ve decided when I start working on the party soundtrack for my birthday party in 2019, there will be a full hour of Elvis music.

A Photo Journal – Henry Carroll – Page 105

On Good Friday I descended upon downtown Des Moines to take a picture for Page 105 of THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT:


Photo Journal - Page 105
Take a photograph that could only be taken today, not yesterday or tomorrow.

I took off from the Computer Mine early on Good Friday and went to Des Moines to witness an event put on by The Bridge, a coalition of downtown Des Moines churches, called the Way of the Cross.

It is an interesting event where people carry or drag a cross through downtown Des Moines, stopping every few blocks or so to read a passage from The Bible and hear a small sermon or devotion or speech about that verse.

While I took several pictures along the way, only one can be physically adhered to the physical THE PHOTO JOURNAL. Here are some of the other pictures I took on this journey and I will follow it with my Yelp review of the event:


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This lady set up shop on the National Rifle Association.

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I even like her hat.

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This woman tore what I’m going to call Republican Jesus to pieces. They were both from a church called The Downtown Disciples.

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Note the lack of shoes – it was cold that day.

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Here is my quick review of “The way of the Cross”:

My biggest disappointment is that there wasn’t somebody there dressed like Jesus dragging the cross. Now I realize that this isn’t realistic and is actually the antithesis of the exercise. The exercise exists so that you can personally drag the cross and get the slightest modicum of what Jesus might have felt physically on that day. That being said, a dude dressed like Jesus would’ve made an even better photo opportunity. Especially if a couple of other dudes dressed like Romans followed along whipping him. Then part of the way through the event, another guy dressed like Simon of Cyrene joined the group and helped carry the cross the rest of the way.

I guess, maybe I should set the standard and show up next year dressed for the part myself.

My biggest legitimate complaint is that the sound system for the sermons was awful. They used a megaphone that wasn’t loud enough. It wasn’t loud enough by half. It might have been loud enough in a quiet room. It wasn’t near loud enough to battle or let alone compete with downtown Des Moines construction and traffic. The only sermons I could really hear were the two Downtown Disciples. The only reason I could hear them was because I got all up in their grill when I heard the lady in the sweet hat start busting on the NRA. I knew I had to hear that.

I was also disappointed in the size of the crowd. Now I know that not everybody gets excited for Good Friday. Many denominations don’t even do a service on Good Friday. Even the churches that do, I would describe those services as “sparsely attended”.

Which I get. I mean you can get the full Easter experience and give thanks to the one that gives you everything, but on the other hand, it is a Friday, and that beer isn’t going to drink itself. Is it?

Furthermore, even people that celebrate Good Friday, how many of them are going to take time off for work to wander around Des Moines on a cold Friday afternoon. I get it.

However, taking all of that into account, I thought there would be more people.

On the positive, I think it is an excellent outreach program. It is an excellent way to take the “Good News” out of the church and into what is falsely called the “secular world”. I witnessed many gawkers during the path. From people staring out their car, to other pedestrians, to office workers who rushed to their windows to watch the symbol of salvation pass by.

For the people that took their turn carrying the cross, it was a powerful experience. I’m sure if I would have taken my turn, it would have been powerful for me as well.

That is the curse of the photographer. The camera separates you from the experience.

Would I go again? I would, but I would take somebody with me. Hmmm… I hear Shannon’s new gig gives her Good Friday off.

I’m a Doctor with No Job. Me, I Don’t Have No Patients. I Keep Pacing Back and Forth, I Keep Racing.

The world wasn’t ready for these SIGNS pictures on Monday. I’m not sure the world can handle them now, but I can’t hold them back any longer:


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Beaver, Iowa – The jewel of Boone County.

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Grand Junction, Iowa – The jewel of Greene County

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Jefferson, Iowa – They have an A&W, that is the only positive thing I’ll say about Jefferson.

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Churdan, Iowa – Home of moderate high school athletic success in the 1980s

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Paton, Iowa – Home of the Globe Conspiracy

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Dana, Iowa – Making Paton look good since 1907

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Boone, Iowa – God’s Country

I took all my signs on a little road trip on Saturday. As is known to happen to me, I got obsessed into my own little world and lost track of time. I missed the Methodist Men Potato Peeling Party. They managed without me.

That is all I have to say about these pictures. You’re welcome world.

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE REMINDER – SIGNS

A friendly reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is SIGNS:


WEEK 135 - SIGNS
SIGNS!


Earlier in the week I described two hypothetical situations and gave an interpretation of what those SIGNS were saying. I want to backtrack on those. I believe these to be the correct interpretations of the hypothetical SIGNS.

Bro, if she has posted on 3 different social media platforms since you texted her and she still hasn’t texted you back, that is a SIGN(S) that she is SO into you that she needs time to craft the perfect response to your text message.

Girl, if he acts like he doesn’t know you when he is around his friends, but is constantly trying to slide into your DMs at 2 in the morning, that is a SIGN(S) that he thinks you are so special that he doesn’t want to share you with anybody else in the world.

Of course, you could also take a picture of real SIGNS, but I will warn you on this front, Tamara Peterson has already set the bar pretty high on this front.

Happy photo harvesting!