sold out + more

it’s official! we’re sold out of dvds.

after barely a year since its release, our little independent film has done and continues to do the job it was intended to do: inspire, encourage and stimulate conversation. the feedback i’ve received over the last year has been overwhelming and i’m humbled that an idea that hatched on an innocent walk in kingston blossomed into a catalyst for so many. thanks to everyone who’s played a part so far.

here are a few things you need to know as we move forward:

*i’m still available for screenings, conferences, coaching sessions or even a coffee or phone call. there are still conversations that need to be had.

*there is an outside possibility of a follow up to OSFA? detailing all that’s transpired since the filming and release of the movie. this may be a web only release…not sure…either way, lots has gone down and been learned. i’d love to share that info with those interested. just need to gauge interest and find the right medium.

*at present, there is no intention to do a 3rd run of the dvd/cd. however, the possibility of a bulk order (100+) could be easily accommodated. in the meantime, there are two places on the web where you can still pick up the last remnants. check out the Goodbye Generation site, and in the near future, we’re going to list it exclusively through it’s the easiest and most cost effective way to go at this point.

*if you enjoyed the original soundtrack performed by Driving on City Sidewalks, you’ll be glad to hear that they’re working on new material and have some live shows lined up. find out more here.

*on a side note, a new film idea hit the whiteboard last week. so much hits the white board around here, but i think this one has legs.

thanks everyone. this story’s not over.

Good News

Just received this note from a close friend: “I saw the documentary and I was totally inspired. Inspired to approach ministry and getting to know God in a whole new way. I am more of a believer in the Story because of the dvd and the power the Story has in our world. I hope others are inspired by it as I have been and encouraged to step into the Story and live the true character God has designed them to be in it.”

That said, he’s provided the means for me to give away a number of dvds for merely the cost of the shipping ($5).

Shoot me an email if you or someone you know could benefit from having a copy of the film. (joe [at] thestory [dot] ca)

Quick Update

Since you’re here, we’ll fill you in on a few updates:

*currently working on a new webshort
*the DVD will be on & real soon
*the DVD is starting to pop up in a few book stores


The OSFA? crew is in the throws of imagining its next project. We’ll keep you in the loop.

As always, thanks for tracking with this project.

Driving on City Sidewalks on

Our friends at DOCS, the creators of the OSFA? soundtrack have been featured on Relevant. Check out the article here.

"Look to the Cross for Victory" – Punk Church in Edmonton, AB.

A few posts back I mentioned that there have been other new and evolving forms of church coming out of the woodwork since the film was published.

Below I’ve posted the story of one such church in the very words of one of its founders.

I wish I had known about them when I whipped through Alberta for the doc. I found the pickings to be slim in Alberta (I have a theory about this that I may share at a later date), plus the one church I did film, the sound was so poor that I couldn’t include it in the final cut.

Anyway…enjoy and be encouraged…

Shawn and I are from Lethbridge, a small city in Alberta just south of Calgary. Well… I’m actually from Tennessee and Shawn is originally from Vancouver, but that is another story in itself. Before we got married in 2004, Shawn was in leadership at a church in Lethbridge called The Gate, and had the vision or a calling or whatever you want to call it to plant a church, out of The Gate, in Edmonton, Alberta’s capital city. He told me he’d move in a few years, and the church would be for people who were misfits or outcasts and artists. That was the gist of the vision at that time. We were dating at that time, when he shared with me this calling, and it resonated with me. I loved misfits and outcasts and artists. I understood them. I was one. Another idea he had, that at the time seemed to be separate from the Edmonton church plant idea, was to start a drop-in sort of a thing at the Gate for the punker high school kids downtown… …The ones with the mowhawks and black leather jackets who hung out at the bus stops, even in the dead of winter, and swore and spit at people as they walked by. He figured they should be in the church building where it’s warm and where people would appreciate their spit and swears and friendship more than the pedestrians did. (Cos Christians have Jesus in them, and Jesus loves people who do those sorts of things.)

We got married in late 2004, and that is when I came on the Lethbridge scene.

In February 2005 we opened up The Gate on Tuesday afternoons with punk shows and pizza and such, and invited the punkers to come. People from the church community were there, and joined us in loving these “kids”. We called it the After School Special and put “Punk A.S.S.” on the posters and handbills, along with a picture of a donkey rockin’ out with a microphone and a mowhawk (cos donkeys have mowhawks, ya know.). Shawn and I liked to quote an old southern man who used to be my Sunday school teacher, “If God could use Balam’s ass, surely he can use ours” (…The After School Special was named after Balam’s donkey.)

Through hosting these events, Shawn and I were introduced to the punk community. We loved them a lot. We shared life with them, good and bad, tough and easy. We fell in love with the music we heard at shows and learned about just how many wonderful kinds of punk music and fashion there are. And after a couple years, we looked down at our steel toes and realised we had turned into punks too.

We started visiting Edmonton about a year after the After School Special started, so February 2006. We wanted to build relationships with the Christian communities of Edmonton, so we started where we knew people, and just followed the bunnytrail from there. Some of our Christian friends from camp who lived in Edmonton were doing this funny experiment of living in community in a house in Chinatown, sharing life and possessions in common. Shawn grew up with the Jesus People and so still today carries a fascination with their history, so he’d heard of this sort of thing being done back then, but it was pretty awesome and crazy to witness first hand. We’d also experienced Christian community life at a camp in the mountains where we volunteered during the summers. But it was while watching this Edmonton Inner City community house have a go at community living that we decided we wanted an element of that in the church plant.

We visited Edmonton more and more frequently over the few years in between then and now, hitchhiking between Lethbridge and Edmonton. Our life in Lethbridge slowly tapered off as we turned the leadership of the After School Special over to a team of volunteers from the Gate, and our life in Edmonton blossomed.

In May 2007 we were walking down Whyte Ave in Edmonton and met a couple of street punks. They were sitting on a bench outside Mac’s and asked us for some money for food, so we went and got some pizza for them. As we said goodbye and were walking away, we realised how stupid we were for passing up an opportunity to meet some of our community in Edmonton, so we turned around, got some pizza for ourselves, and joined them. The following weekend we went back up to Edmonton and found the street punk friends again and also met a ton of people in the anarchist community that we’re still hanging around with now. That was May-long weekend, and that was the beginning of that.

Shawn and I moved to Edmonton in September of last year, 2008. There were six of us who came to Edmonton from different places and at different times between September and November, and we all moved into the house we’re in now at the beginning of November. It was a tough start, but I imagine that these things usually are. There are five of us now in the house: Joshua, James, David, Shawn, and me.

We began gathering as a church community regularly right away in November. We enjoy meals together often, cooking lots of food and inviting lots of people to come share it with us. On Saturday mornings, people come over and we enjoy brunch together, we worship together, we share in communion, and we share stories of our lives in Christ with one another. The form of this sometimes looks different from one week to the next, but the basic elements are almost always the same.

As individuals in the church, we minister in the communities God has called us to and planted us in (like little juicy fruit-covered seeds of God’s love). Shawn, my husband, works a day-job at L’arche, where he loves on his friends with disablilities. I love the anarchist community here in Edmonton. I love their children and their creativity and their music.

When we come together as a church, part of our reason for gathering is to encourage one another to go out with the “love we received through salvation” and share of Christ’s redeeming act of love with those who don’t know it or believe it. We share this both in action and in word. For a while, our name was a description of this, the Monk part being the “being”, and the Punk part being the “doing”. Like lungs or a heartbeat. We are filled with Christ, and we give Christ.

We recently changed our name to “Look to the Cross for Victory”. It now seems that the original name we gave to the church community was a working title. (We were called “Monk Punks Christian Community”.) This change in name has been very good for us, turning our eyes to what is most important, and is a constant reminder of God’s grace and love.

So that is some of our story. …It’s funny that you asked for a story, because our community loves to hear and tell stories. This one is just from my perspective, with a little bit of Shawn’s because we’re always hanging out and doing the same stuff. If you ask the other people in the house and in the greater community, you’ll hear their weird and interesting stories.

Thanks for listening, this was fun to write out.


OSFA? on 100 Huntley St.

Click on over to the WebShorts section of the site to a feature interview for OSFA? taped on March 11, 2009.

OSFA? Radio Interview

This clip is from an interview I did back on February 15th on the Drew Marshall show.

around the web

OSFA? is getting some attention in the blogosphere. Here’s what some people are saying:

*emerge montreal


*based on a true story

*motion sickness




Out of the Woodwork & Into the Limelight

The pendulum is beginning to swing both ways for OSFA? as the film is beginning to stir conversation on both ends of the proverbial spectrum.

Out of the Woodowork

*Ministers and gospel enthusiasts in rural settings have contacted me asking if I have any thoughts or am aware of new and evolving expressions of church outside of medium and large urban centers.

Dylan Richards from Solomon’s Porch in Alberta expressed that ” Planting in a rural community has so many great benefits: building relationships is WAY easier, making in-roads into the greater community is much simpler.

But then there’s the challenges too: any development takes 5 times as long, people are VERY transient (my core team has changed 4 times in a year and a half due to things like school and work transfers)

And then there are the things that are both blessing AND curse, like the fact that in a small town you are expected to be pastor, counsellor, social worker, community organizer, arts co-ordinator, journalist, etc… and not just by people in the community of faith, but by EVERYONE in the area. It’s like having a congregation of 2500 where only 15 worship and pray together… makes it hard to stay afloat without outside help.”

In addition, Chris Goan from Aoradh in Scotland (UK) jumped in and articulated the challenge by asking “How do these things work their way out in small rural, dispersed settings?”

As I mull this over, two things come to mind:
1. Perhaps there should be a OSFA? V2.0 to amplify the voices and questions of rural expressions
2. In response to these questions, I offer the following initial advice: Network. Whether its connecting with other small town/rural ministers and churches that are of like mind or linking up with overarching web-based communities like Missional Tribe or Resonate may be of some help. (NB: see the WebShort ‘Role of the Internet’ for some added help.

Into the Limelight

On the other end, media outlets and others have caught of whiff of the film and are starting to pay some attention.

*February 14, 2009 – I’ll be in Toronto in studio with radio host Drew Marshall (Canada’s Most Listened to Spiritual Talkback Program) chatting about the doc.

*March 11, 2009 – I’ll be interviewed live on One Hundred Huntley Street showing clips and sharing about my findings.

*March 22, 2009 – I’ll be both preaching and screening the film at Freedomize, Toronto. Following the screening there will be a Q&A including a guest panel to converse about new forms of church and the arts. More details to follow so stay tuned.

*May 16, 2009 – The film will be screened at the next Cultivate Learning Party. Of note for this event, one of my favourite bloggers and thinkers on the subject of new and evolving forms forms of church Steve Taylor from New Zeland will be one of the keynotes.

All of these dates have also been added to the Showings section of the site.

Thanks again for tracking with the project…

Keeping You in the Loop

*Check out the new Webshort featuring Greg Paul from Sanctuary in Toronto. The piece is titled ‘The Treasure of the Church’.

*If you’ve seen the film, you’ve experienced the free-styling ways of Cyril Gurette, aka Ill Seer, aka Pastor at Freedomize Toronto. As an experimental side project, we’ll be hauling our gear to Port Huron, MI to catch a live show to film on February 20, 2009.

*OSFA? became an independent publication when our distribution company went belly up at the beginning of the economic crunch. However, a new distribution deal is in the works as well as a potential international re-issue.