5 Things I Love

1. Sci-Fi Movies.  I watched “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” a couple days ago for the first time in probably six years.  When I first saw that film in high school, it became one of the most defining movie watching experiences of my life.  Seeing it again, I’m reminded why it had such a major impact on me.  It’s a movie filled with moments we cinephiles call pure magic.  There are so many shots of faces in it – faces reacting to something extraordinary.  And the final 30 minutes are as breathless and wondrous as anything ever put on film.  It reminded me of so many other sci-fi movies that have influenced me since I was a kid, old and new – “Forbidden Planet”, “2001”, “E.T.”, “Knowing” and so many others.  This is a great and unique genre, one of the only that has license to give us the rare and wonderful experience of awe.

2. NoiseTrade.com.  Have you heard of this site?  My dear friends, Joe and Liz Brasher, opened my eyes to this site last summer.  It was co-created by Derek Webb, a music artist and provocateur behind Caedmon’s Call and solo efforts like “Stockholm Syndrome”.  The site offers music from a vast array of different artists who make their music available free of charge.  You can literally spend no money gaining hundreds of songs.  The site also gives you the option of “tipping” the artist, which is basically naming your price.  If not for NoiseTrade, I would not know about Ben Rector, Jenny & Tyler or my most recent obsession, Susan Enan, who will make another appearance on this list.  There are some stinkers who manage to get their music onto the site (which is also free), but you’re likely to find some of your new favorite music here.  Support this site.  Join its “The Noisemakers Campaign”.  Details on the homepage.

3. Ritz, Jiff and Choco Milk.  When I moved to Chicago almost three years ago I was in culture shock.  Didn’t have friends.  Didn’t have confidence.  Didn’t have (my own) money.  One night I sat down to watch a movie and scrounged the kitchen for something to eat.  All I could come up with was Ritz crackers, peanut butter and a tall, cool glass of chocolate milk.  My world was turned upside down.  It’s not as though I’d never had crackers and peanut butter, but chocolate milk? Lunacy.  But it made me a believer.  Since then, I’ve devoured countless sleeves of Ritz and scraped clean dozens of jars of Jiff.  It’s a comfort food.  And it’s cheap when you buy the off-brand.  But…I do recommend this particular combo: Ritz, Jiff, Hershey’s chocolate syrup and Dean’s whole milk.  More expensive and much more likely to make you a fatty in no time flat – which means it is delicious.

4. Preachers.  I’ve done a little bit of preaching the last six months in the Crossroads University Ministry at The Moody Church.  It’s been a humbling and beneficial experience learning how to faithfully exegete God’s Word and communicate it to body of believers.  Far and away, the most influential preacher I’ve heard is Eric Naus, who leads Crossroads.  He’s my pastor and mentor and his preaching has changed so much about the way I view God and live life.  (To hear many, many hours worth of Pastor Naus’ preaching, go to our podcast here.)  But in terms of people I don’t know, Tim Keller, John Piper and Martyn Lloyd-Jones have revolutionized how I look at preaching.  From Keller’s highly Christo-centric hermeneutic, to Piper’s oratorial passion, to Lloyd-Jones’ fiery commitment to sound doctrine, these preachers have instilled in me a high view of God.  A high view of God’s sovereignty coupled with his goodness.  These men have convinced of the primacy of preaching for the equipping of God’s people for life and godliness.

5. Songs of “Conclusion”.  There’s a particular type of song that, musically and lyrically, seems to be communicating the end of something.  I call these Songs of Conclusion, and I love them.  Often they have a nostalgic tone, which is appropriate because nostalgia implies a time that ended and is remembered.  I think of songs like “Brothers On A Hotel Bed” by Death Cab, “Trust Me” by The Fray, “Sprawl II” by Arcade Fire, “Salt in the Sea” by House of Heroes” and “The Grave” by Susan Enan.  I encourage you to find these songs and listen closely.  They might whisk you back to a different time in your life or spur you on toward something new.

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About Collin Damon Welch
Collin worked in the film/TV industry for a while. Now he's pursuing ministry. He and his incomparably beautiful wife Nicole live in Chicago.

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