Storytelling vs. Promotion

I’d rather tell a good story than sell someone on an idea. But can I accomplish one without the other? I toggle this line of being part-marketing guy, part-artist. It’s not easy - especially because creativity and promotion are so intrinsically linked. I’ve worked for companies that kept me awake at night thinking “all they care about is promoting their product without any regard for its integrity.” And I’ve thought, “I don’t want to tell that story.” I’ve also seen organizations become so scared to do anything that might remotely look or feel like promotion, that they sacrifice communicating a great story to an audience who could really benefit from it

1 [stawr-ee, stohr-ee] noun, plural -ries,verb, -ried, -ry⋅ing.
1.a narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale.2.a fictitious tale, shorter and less elaborate than a novel.3.such narratives or tales as a branch of literature: song and story.4.the plot or succession of incidents of a novel, poem, drama, etc.: The characterizations were good, but the story was weak.5.a narration of an incident or a series of events or an example of these that is or may be narrated, as an anecdote, joke, etc.6.a narration of the events in the life of a person or the existence of a thing, or such events as a subject for narration: the story of medicine; the story of his life.7.a report or account of a matter; statement or allegation: The story goes that he rejected the offer.
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There's Always Someone Cooler Than You

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life…

- Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message)

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Heaven & Earth & Flannelgraph

I’ve never been much of a sentimental guy. But I also haven’t had much to miss until recently. A year out of college and into the work force will make you think about everything that’s worked to define you over the past 23 years.
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Phil Wickham: A Look into Heaven & Earth (Recap in Pictures)

Here are some photos taken from our Conversant event a few Fridays ago featuring Phil Wickham and TOMS shoes. We invited 50 VIP guests to join us at the actual event and over 3,000 people tuned in to watch and listen live online.


These amazing photos were taken by Michelle Kim - a pretty epic photographer if I do say so myself. Check out her bio and contact at the end of this blog. If you need some photos, especially if you're a non-profit or social justice organization, she is your lady.


 TOMS Shoes Style Your Sole Party 

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Morning Prayer

God, Creator and Sustainer of Life
Thank You for filling these lungs with air and this heart with blood another day.
Please provide me with the things I wearily strive toward on my own.
Stretch my heart wider than I have tried,
Expand the scope of my eyes can see with,
And give me an imagination for Your Kingdom here on earth.
Strengthen me with bravery, creativity, and passion.
Move me across the chasm of knowledge to action.
Invade my heart with grace so it has no choice but to leak onto others,
So it cannot distinguish between "loved-ones" and "strangers."
Unclench my hands from pride, fear, slavery, and self-preservation
And make real your nonsensical inherent love.

I release control to You. 

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An Interview with Derek Webb on Stockholm Syndrome

I got the opportunity to sit down with one of my industry heroes: artist, musician, and rebel-rouser, Derek Webb. Check out the audio from our discussion. We discuss Stockholm Syndrome: his controversial new album which comes out tomorrow, musicianship as a full-time small business, and the responsibility of an artist in today's culture.

Guest Post: Brian Wurzell on Art for Huruma

The following is a guest post from my good friend, Brian Wurzell, about a unique opportunity for us to be involved in a project that combines creativity and community. Whenever I see people combine these two things together I feel it's worth giving a platform to. Not saying my blog is a huge platform, but hopefully those of you who read it will be challenged to think differently and creatively.  Take a gander:


A couple years ago I had the opportunity to meet a woman named Mama Zipporah from the Hills of Nairobi, Kenya. She's a revolutionary Native Kenyan who has taken on the plight of the less fortunate. If you've seen the documentary 'Invisible Children' you will note, in the beginning of the film, that Mama Zipporah was the woman that, ultimately, led the guys to their story.

A Dangerous Freedom

I’ve wanted to be a director since I was 5. To confirm this statement please go up to my parent’s attic and take out my first grade homework assignment entitled “What I Want to Be When I Grow Up” with a very Steven Speilbergish looking picture of me brilliantly sketched in Crayola washable marker.

Since then I’ve directed projects big and small (mostly small) and have even managed to grow a beard (something the great directors always have).  But the biggest project I’ve endeavored to undertake is my own life. 

I’ve grown to realize, however, that my biggest undertaking is also my biggest failure.

The actors won’t do what I tell them to.

I’m either too early or too late to shoot whatever scene is supposedly going on without me.
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CJ is a writer, artist, and cultural communicator with a passion for raising a new generation of innovative leaders and forward thinkers. He is's Social Evangelist and manages their Undiscovered Artist Platform.