Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I Had A Dream

So exactly one week from today on Nov. 7th I will be flying to LA to attend John Mellencamp’s 55th birthday bash!

Just kiddin…I needed a funny opening line - what we call in the biz a “teaser” to grab your attention…did it work? Anyway, his birthday is on Nov. 7th though…

I am actually going to see Sister Act – The Musical. We are co-producing this new musical, based on the popular Whoopi Goldberg movie, with Pasadena Playhouse/other producers and the musical will be coming to the Alliance in January. This is a two-city try out for a show that could potentially head to Broadway.

And this is one sweet perk.

To fly to Cali to scout out a show and figure out ways to better position said show to Atlanta audiences. This opportunity has made me stop and remember that six years ago when I left college I had a dream…

A dream that has consumed me for the last six years. A dream that has kept my head down, kept me screening all my calls (even calls from family and close friends at times) and kept me over-working.

And it’s so crazy for me to think that something I couldn’t wait to do everyday for the last six years of my life might be set aside for something I didn’t even know I wanted to do a year ago.

Sure. I have learned tons in the business world that has made me the worker I am today but this is like HELLO DIRECTION CHANGE.

It wasn’t until about halfway through my senior year at Georgia that I even knew that arts organizations had marketing departments. But when I found that out it was like so clear to me - combining my marketing degree with my love for the arts was exactly what I wanted to do. And I was very passionate about it. I knew what an amazing experience at a show felt like. And I wanted to help people to have that same experience. I used to get stressed out all the time because I couldn’t get more people to come see shows. As one marketing colleague put it, “Curt, you can lead them to the trough, but you can’t make them drink.”

But you know what? “making people drink” just doesn’t frustrate me anymore…

One day I thought…“I don’t really think God loses sleep over how many tickets I sell to this show.”
And then I started thinking...“DOES God sleep?” No wait…
I mean I started thinking…“What DOES God worry about?”
And then I was like… “What is something that worries God that ALSO worries ME?”

I think it was that line of thinking that first caused me to volunteer at Prevent Child Abuse Georgia in January, and it was also thoughts like that which took me to work with children in Bolivia for two weeks in June and then took me to work with the kids at my church after that. It is also thoughts like that which might take me BACK to the kids in Bolivia because two weeks was just not enough time…

Dear Deloris Van Cartier (aka Sister Mary Clarence),

I know you witnessed your gangsta boyfriend kill somebody and all. I know he is hunting you down and you are being forced to hide out in a convent through the witness protection program. And I know I need to sell tickets so people can escape for two hours from their crazy, busy lives…but you see, this little girl in Cochabamba, Bolivia did not even BELIEVE me when I told her that yes, she could actually KEEP the box of crayons I gave her…and the look in her eyes and the hug she gave me were worth way more than any seat in a theater I could ever help to fill.

So I’m sorry. I wish you the best. But I got a new dream now.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Matter of Perspective

I have been taking a class on Thursday nights at church for about 7 weeks now called Perspectives. It is a 15-week course that teaches four different Perspectives on the World Christian Movement – biblical, historical, cultural and strategic.

It is one of those experiences that I am just glad that I am having before I try this whole missionary thing. The speakers for the course have a tremendous amount of experience and they have great insight and words of wisdom for my fellow classmates and I. This class is just another dot in a series of dots connecting me to where I think God is ultimately leading me.

Since the course has hit the midway point I wanted to stop and reflect on some of the ideas that have impacted me the most.

Please note: The views and opinions expressed here DO accurately reflect the views and opinions of the Curtival staff…

  • God already knows who He wants to bless through me tomorrow.
  • In some parts of the world you are actually putting your life on the line if you decide to get baptized (That kinda adds another dimension to it).
  • When you worship God alongside someone from another culture, your view of God gets so much bigger.
  • Sometimes I think we have a tendency to be in love with God’s blessings instead of just being in love with God himself. I think God is looking for people who can survive the blessings.
  • It’s about making God famous, not about Him making me famous.
  • Guilt will get you to the mission field, but it will not keep you there.
  • Am I concerned about God not being praised?
  • Most of us are just trying to get from birth to death in the safest, easiest, softest, most comfortable way possible.
  • God is not interested in achieving His work through us without increasing His love relationship with us.
  • I want to be more globally aware (thank you laptop and internet).
  • Don’t ask, “God, what is your will for my life?” ask “God, what is your will?” and then just join Him in what He is doing.
  • It sucks how Christianity has become perceived by so many people to be a western religion.
  • First impressions in cross-cultural ministry are often dead wrong.
  • Always struggle to admire the things that are truly admirable in any culture because people will eventually find out exactly how you feel about them.
  • No one should have to learn another language to find out how to spend eternity with God.
  • People have to genuinely feel that I like them before they will listen to anything I have to say. I have to earn the right to speak.
  • The first 12,000 miles are the easiest. The last 12 feet are the hardest because that is when people become real.

“In everything you do preach the gospel, if necessary use words.”
- Saint Francis of Assisi

Friday, October 27, 2006

Has anyone ever told you?

What? That I look like Dale Jr.? No...never.
But sure, I'd be happy to take a picture with your girlfriend…

In honor of me (I mean Dale Jr.) being in the ATL this weekend for the Bass Pro Shops 500 I just thought I would give you the tale of the tape…

Dale Jr./Curt comparison

Born on Date:
October 10, 1974 (Concord, NC)
October 9, 1977 (Jackson, MS)

Mooresville, NC
Atlanta, GA



Marital Status:

Whoever invented Chicken

Proudest Moment:
Winning the Daytona 500 in 2004.
Watching the Daytona 500 in 2004.

Cast Away, Saving Private Ryan
Any movie WITHOUT Tom Hanks in it

Tom Hanks, Vince Vaughan
Anyone who stars in any movie WITHOUT Tom Hanks in it

Susan Ward, Meg Ryan
Rachel Weisz, Arial from The Little Mermaid

Estella Warren, Tyra Banks
Adriana Lima, Adriana Lima

Hawaii or Jamaica

Favorite Meal:
Steak and Rice
Chicken Fingers, crinkle cut French-fries and Texas toast

If I wasn’t Racing:
I’d be working at my Dad’s Chevy dealership. It was only a couple years ago I was fastest oil-change man in the place.
I’d be a missionary in South America.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Choose My Own Adventure

This post is in honor of the Choose Your Own Adventure Books I had when I was younger. Did anybody read those like me growing up?

In my own quest for adventure and to gain more wisdom and council surrounding my potential career change I set up a meeting with the director of training and equipping at the World Missions department for the church I attend – Buckhead Church. I met with him on Tuesday to basically just tell him my story, share how I got to where I am today and see what he had to say.

Although I did not know this going into the meeting, it quickly became clear that they have an application process for becoming a career missionary as well. Maybe in my heart I knew that and that is why I wanted to meet with them in the first place.

The interesting thing is that the two agencies that are now on the table present two different primary missions strategies. I kinda feel like my life has really become like one of my old Choose Your Own Adventure books…

Like if I turn to page 25 I get…

South American Missionary Society

  • Guarantees I would serve in South America (I like this because I could definitely use my Spanish and God has really placed a love for the people of Bolivia in my heart)
  • Serves the Anglican Church which means I would be under the authority and direction of the leaders and bishop of the Anglican Church
  • Would lead to a more probable chance of me returning to Cochabamba, the city in Bolivia I visited for two weeks this past summer (And the city that lit this whole missionary flame in my heart in the first place)
  • More social/community outreach and a more likely chance that my primary mission would be to orphanages/children’s homes (I would help the local church there but my primary mission would probably be to help meet the basic needs of children who don’t have a chance and showing them the love of Christ in the process)
  • More freedom to choose my exact ministry and more flexibility within that ministry
  • Faster process (I could leave sometime next summer)
  • More of a guarantee that I will even be offered a position as a long-term missionary
  • The ability to begin raising funds sooner

And if I turn to page 35 I get…

North Point Ministries World Missions Department

  • Could possibly serve in South America but I might not (They have strategic partners all around the world)
  • More focus on church growth – taking the relevant environments that are leading a large number of people into a growing relationship with Christ here in Atlanta and figuring out how to translate those environments into another culture somewhere in the world
  • Still working with children but feels like I could be a part of impacting a larger number of children by helping setup relevant church environments for kids in another culture (Feels like both quantity and quality)
  • More corporate, more structured and although each culture is different I would be trying to figure out how to apply similar ministry strategies/principles that have been proven successes here in Atlanta
  • Slower process (I could leave by next fall at the earliest)
  • Would need to go on a short-term trip with them first to see how they do things (probably late Spring or early Summer)
  • The selection process seems more involved/more like a traditional job interview and it seems like it would be more difficult to actually get offered a position as a long-term missionary
  • Probably less fund-raising needed

Anyone know which page I should turn to?

Better yet, anyone know what page God will turn me to?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Wait for it…

Patience - the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties.

I think the next three months are truly a gift from God.
You know what the next three months are?

Month # 1 – Waiting
Month # 2 – More Waiting
Month # 3 – Yet even MORE Waiting

I am waiting to attend a conference at the South American Missionary Society’s headquarters in Pennsylvania in January.
(I know…Pennsylvania in January…yikes)
Basically, at this conference it will become very clear whether or not this will be an avenue for me to get back to Cochabamba. It will be a time for training, education and just plain learning if this sending agency is the right fit for me. I pray daily that God will open the doors He needs to open and close the doors He needs to close and the doors to SAMS just seem to be wide open at the moment.

If all goes well in January I could begin a stretch of months that could prepare me to return to Cochabamba next summer. I feel so much peace about moving there it’s scary. Kinda like that feeling you get when you know you are forgetting something really huge but you can’t quite put your finger on it?

BUT the conference is 79 days away. 79 days of praying and resting in God. 79 days of God working on me.

Waiting is not exactly a strength of our culture. I want this taken care of now! I don’t want to be patient…I mean let’s do this. C’mon God, let’s figure out exactly what I am going to do when I get to Bolivia so I can begin to raise some funds! Time is a wastin…

“What was that? The less time I have to raise money the more I have to trust You? Oh…”

Well it’s no doubt that these next three months will be a great lesson in continuing to trust Him…and a reminder that I don’t think God needs to plan everything out in Microsoft Outlook like I do (He probably doesn’t even have to use those meeting reminder thingys). He is simply teaching me patience…that whole “being able to endure waiting without being annoyed thing.”

I pray God uses these next three months to bring wisdom and council into my life that can help confirm His call on my life and help confirm that I am going in the right direction.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” – Psalm 37:7

Ok. I'll take "patience" for $200 Alex...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Kids write the darndest things

So I was asked to help out with a new group of 2nd graders today at church. The girl who is the leader of this group has pretty much all boys in her group and they are wild. I just had to share something from an activity we did today.

The Bible story today was about this guy named Onesimus - a slave to this guy named Philemon. Onesimus stole money from Philemon and ran away. While he was away he met Paul and gave his life to Christ. Paul then wrote a letter to Philemon agreeing to pay the debt that Onesimus owed him. Paul told Philemon about the change that had taken place in Onesimus and asked him to accept his return out of love and gratitude.

Enter the 2nd graders. So one activity we had them do was to put themselves in Philemon’s shoes. How would they respond if they had received that letter from Paul asking them to take Onesimus back? We asked them to write a letter to Paul and respond.

I present to you now, two of those letters…

Letter # 1:
Dere poll.
I like the letr. it is the best letr in the world.
you have a big hort.

Letter # 2:
Dear Paul,
Hi! Did you die.
If you died, I would kill Onnesimis.

P.S. I like applesause

Wow. I mean I know he stole some money from you but that’s no reason to go and kill the guy.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Weekend Happenings

Today I went to the doctor to get my second Hepatitis A immunization shot. I am now covered 4 life. Yeah! I will start my Hepatitis B shots next month (series of 3). All in preparation for spending more time in South America. I wonder what it would be like if we had to get immunizations to move around in the states. Like say to Loganville. “Oh, moving to Loganville, eh? Well have you had your Waffle House, Home Depot and Chevy immunizations? No? Well you better take care of that…”

I bet the Waffle House shot is a series of 3.

I also breezed through year 1 of the Louvre exhibit at the High Museum this afternoon. I must admit I was a little disappointed. For all the hype the exhibit was pretty short. I guess my expectations were too high. Visiting the Prado museum in Madrid and the Met in NYC spoiled me I think…

Saturday will be cool because in the morning I will be at the Boo at the Zoo event at Zoo Atlanta for a few hours because some actors from our children’s theatre production of Disney’s Aladdin will be in costume visiting with the kids. It is a trick-or-treat event that they have every year for the kids. Saturday is also Chris’ birthday so we will be having dinner in Athens to celebrate. Let’s hope the DAWGS end the losing streak so we will all be a little happier.

On Sunday, all I have to do is try to share my relationship with Christ with my group of 2nd graders at church. Haven’t figured out how to convey that on a second grade level yet…

“You see kids, I grew up in church but my faith wasn’t all that strong so in college I strayed away from God and did the whole sex, drugs and rock and roll thing but I’m back now and everything’s great…”

No wait. That won’t work.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Would you like that biggie-sized?

So I ran a report in Quicken tonight to check out my spending from January 1 until today and in nine and a half months I have spent $1,060.84 on fast food alone! That can’t be possible...$100 a month on fast food? Whatever. I hate you Quicken. I mean I love you. Thank you so much for helping me track where my money goes. Punk.

The only reason I ran the report tonight is because I get together with a group of guys from church every Wed. night and we have been studying finances the last few weeks. I use Quicken to track my finances like a good little boy but I had not run a spending report lately. I decided to run that tonight…and there it was staring right back at me…over a grand in fast food.

All I will say is, unfortunately, I have a hyperactive thyroid which causes an overactive metabolism so the crap I eat sometimes shows no outward negative effects. But health-wise I am starting to worry about the inside a little more than the outside.

I bet if I got a physical some of the results would surprise me. Maybe I’ll do that.

Big props to my roomie Warren – he has got it going on…he exercises, does the weight-watchers thing and has lost 65 lbs. I am very proud.

So bring on Reason # 2 to move to Bolivia – no fast food.

P.S. Reason # 1 is to make God famous.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Dale Jr. sighting in Hartwell...

This past weekend “Little E” himself spent three days in a campground just outside of Hartwell sources reported…

Wow. It is amazing how you adapt after you live in the city for awhile. I had no idea how much of a city mouse I had become…I was raised in a small town in Mississippi but after living in Atlanta for several years, spending three days in a campground in Hartwell made me feel like I was a Yankee. Now I really know what Adam means when he says God’s Kuntry. I was there for three days. I get it. I spent this past weekend on a spiritual retreat with some kuntry boys – men who love to eat southern food, tell jokes, talk high-school football, build power lines for a living…and oh, did I mention I look like Dale Jr.

Culture shock aside it was truly an amazing weekend. A weekend where I had no control, didn’t know what time it was for 72 hours and just spent time with God. It was cool.

I’m not gonna go into a boring play by play of the weekend so I will just share a few of the thought/questions God laid on my heart while I was in His kuntry:

  • God doesn’t call us because of who we are, He calls us because of who we might become.
  • Would you rather…wake up to the sound of a rooster or not be able to go to sleep because of the sounds of motorcycles?
  • No act of love or expression of love given in the name of Christ is ever wasted. (Thanks to those who were there for me this weekend. You know who you are.)
  • Why do we always have to worry about what happens next? I think we have been so trained to look ahead sometimes we don’t see things right in front of us.
  • I wonder how often my grandparents told my parents they loved them.
  • Isn’t it great to be loved for no real reason at all? Unconditional love is a beautiful thing. Not having to pay someone back for an act of kindness. That's cool.
  • This weekend confirmed that although I will never reach my destination in this lifetime, I am definitely reaching in the right direction.
  • Oh, there’s my southern accent…I missed you.
  • I remember when I was younger my mom telling me about seeing an angel…I want to ask her about that.
  • I want the love and compassion of Christ in me to be noticeable.
  • God’s grace is greater than all our wrong choices.
  • Jesus wants to go to Bolivia and He just needs me to get there.
  • I think people just loved being prayed for.
  • Forget “WWJD” how about “TWJWD” – “That’s What Jesus Would Do.” – I wanna hear that.
  • I will just do the possible and let God do the impossible.
  • I want people to see Jesus in my eyes.

Love well.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Walking to Emmaus...

So tomorrow afternoon I will be driven up to an undisclosed location somewhere near Lake Hartwell (on the Georgia/South Carolina border) to spend three days on a spiritual renewal retreat called “The Walk to Emmaus.” Chris and Melissa have both experienced this and I am extremely blessed to have them sponsor me and allow me to go. I don’t know what to expect but how can three days without the chance to satisfy my newly acquired weblog addiction and the chance to talk on my cell phone not change me in some way?

Full report after the weekend. See ya in da funny papers.

Where is HE now?

In the spirit of the VH1 “Where are they now?” program, here’s a brief summary of what I have been doing for the last 6-7 years of my life since leaving school. (For those of you who I haven’t talked to)


Just kidding…I have done a few things:

2 Jobs:
Moved to the ATL and started doing marketing/PR for Atlanta Ballet after college. (Was so excited and passionate to combine my marketing degree with something I truly loved…ballerinas…I mean the Arts. I would come to find out that doing something you love right after college was pretty rare…I would also come to find out that no, just because a ballerina is stretching outside your office does NOT mean that she likes you)

After a year and a half I took a job at the Alliance Theatre (great step up) and I have been there for about four and a half years now. I have gotten so much experience and learned so much about working/dealing with people. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. I probably would have been bored after a few years and left by now but I have a great boss who has kept me challenged and engaged and given me opportunities to grow. (Who your boss is can make all the difference in the world)

A few dating relationships here or there but nothing serious enough to move towards marriage.

I am a very proud uncle though...I have two beautiful nieces (Carolyn - 5 years and Averi - 2 years) who love Disney princesses and pink things and one nephew (Ben - 5 months) who loves trucks, nascar and football…sweet! (And yes, he is a Dale Jr. fan)

Biggest change: Found a church I love about a year and a half ago and gave my life to Christ. I grew up Baptist but was turned away when I went to UGA because how attractive is it to have to conform to a certain set of standards BEFORE you are accepted into a church? What a turnoff….Buckhead Church rocks and for the first time in my life I know what they mean when they say “personal” relationship with Jesus.

My whole outlook on life has changed which I’m sure I will talk about later…even to the point that I am considering a career change – moving to Bolivia to become a long-term missionary. We will see…

Anyway, that is my brief summary of the last 6 years. Warren, did I miss anything?

Back to work…

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hello Earth

How are all my faithful blog readers doing? That means you Warren. First of all, I just want to thank my roommate Warren T for helping me set up this blog. (I got nuthin but love for ya)
Basically, I don't have the greatest history (ok, I have pretty much no history) of keeping my friends informed about my life so I hope this helps. And with a potential move to South America on the horizon I am thinking this will come in handy...

Anyway, we'll see how this goes. Wish me luck!