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Wikipedia defines Crowdfunding as the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people. Crowdfunding is a form of crowdsourcing and of alternative finance. The USCCB calls for the New Evangelization, a ‘re-proposing’ of the Gospel in a special way.

Combine these two trends with a bit of apostolic succession and a pinch of infallibility and you have Crowdfunding for Christ or simply Missio.

Launched by Pope Francis, Missio offers you a direct connection with his Missions and with those helping our mission family. Missio is an opportunity to choose how to put your faith into action, and a way to answer the call to each one of us who are baptized to be missionaries ourselves, through prayer and sacrifice, in word and deed.

Missio offers you a place to encounter the Missions whenever and wherever you are.

Every project on Missio is led by a change-maker half a world away. These change-makers, many of them religious Sisters and priests, offer help to the most vulnerable communities of our world. They provide essential education and health care, social outreach and advocacy, and pastoral service. In every moment, they also offer spiritual comfort to the suffering and marginalized.

Join the world’s change-makers.

 


Download the app on iTunes: http://bit.ly/MissioiTunes
Download the app on GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/MissioGoogle

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldmanand McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

Full disclosure: I’m a Nikola Tesla nut!

So, when I heard that there was a musical about Nikola Tesla, I quickly added the play’s performance to my bucket list.

Source: Facebook | Design by Lauren Machlica

However, with two young kids, getting out to see anything is never a sure thing. And with family hundreds of miles away, my wife and I have to pick and choose our date nights carefully.

As fate would have it, my mother-in-law decided to visit last minute, so I quickly bought two tickets to a recently added Saturday matinee and scheduled a date – with my wife, of course.

The play was hyped as Hamilton meets Tesla.

So, I mentally prepared to be disappointed, but still hoped to be entertained.

Thankfully, Nikolas Tesla Drop The Beat was not only entertaining; it also did not disappoint!

For starters, I didn’t expect to see Hamilton in any shape or form. Nor did I expect to see something ready for Broadway. I expected to see a play in its infancy – and that’s what I saw.

I very much liked Act I, especially the Westinghouse Open Mike Night with its elements of beatnik trope.   I found the Marie Curie presence at the cafe and characterization both creative and hilarious.

However, I felt short-changed after Curie sat down.

I expected at least two other iconic historical figures to follow the Nobel Prize winning Polish scientist — say Darwin, Einstein or even Joseph Gayetty, the inventor of toilet paper — to keep the comedy going.

The Second Act was a downer, however, it didn’t let me down.

I was well aware what was to going to happen to Tesla, historically.  However, I could see how those not so familiar with the fall of the Serbian immigrant inventor would find Act II a bit drab.

If I could give one suggestion to the playwrights, it would be to watch the 2006 film The Prestige.

It’s a story about two 19th-Century magicians locked in a bitter battle of supremacy, much like the Tesla-Edison rivalry depicted in The Beat. In fact, Nikola Tesla, played by Rock-legend David Bowie, has a small, but integral role in movie’s storyline.

In The Prestige, Tesla inventions more than just props. They were an important part of Tesla’s character.

Still to this day, these radical inventions give Tesla his true essence and only add to the mystic qualities that defined the man.

Nikola Tesla reading in his laboratory in Colorado Springs circa 1900. Wikimedia commons

I kept envisioning The Beat’s Tesla, played masterfully by Issac Powell, surrounded by life-size coils and their colorful corona discharges. I kept imagining how captivating Powell’s already powerful portrayal of Tesla would be if he was surrounded by wireless lightning and 10-foot streamer arcs of electricity.

I also wanted to see more Edison, played by the extremely talented Jon-Michael Reese.

Though the Act II romance between Tesla and Kat Johnson, played by Kaylen West, was well done, I would’ve enjoyed seeing more Reese, more of the War of the Currents in Act II — and much less Marconi and Pupin. (It ain’t personal).

Source: Facebook | “War of the Currents” — at Adirondack Theatre Festival.

Edison was never soundly defeated by Tesla, as the closing scene in Act I seems to suggest.   So, highlighting the bitter rivalry more in the second half might make The Beat more palatable to those in the audience members who were not Telsa Geeks, like me.

Edison’s consolidation of power and his purchasing of Tesla’s patents would, in turn, become  The Beat’s historic fatal shot.

And though I’m still on the fence with the play’s custom design, I have to give kudos to the casting. Issac Powell, Jon-Michael Reese and Jared Loftin were artful and entertaining.

Issac Powell as Tesla | Source: Facebook

I especially enjoyed Powell’s vocals and seamless breakout performance, Loftin’s comic timing, and Reese’s Cabaret-style portrayal of Thomas Edisonwhich, for me, seemed more like an homage to the great Ben Vereen than a tribute to the Wizard of Menlo Park.

I’ll be the first to admit, being old school, the casting of a female as J.P. Morgan, at first, irked me some. However, Brook Wood changed all that for me the moment she took to the stage. Her performance was, without a doubt, the high note of the Second Act!

And, though I am aware that Nikola Tesla spent his remaining years penniless feeding – and reportedly communicating with – pigeons in the park, the last number What My Wings Are For may have lost most people.   A simple tweak is all that’s needed here.

So, like I said, I expected to see a play in its infancy. That’s what I saw – and with that I expect to see Nikola Tesla Drops The Beat grow and mature over time, if given the chance.

Nikola Tesla maybe died underappreciated, but he never stopped inventing.

Likewise, playwrights Nikko Benson and Ben Halstead need to keep moving this play forward. Given the means, they, along with Director Marshall Pailet, could turn this low-budget production into a Tony Award winner.

Hopefully, much like J.P. Morgan did so long ago, someone will have to take a risk and invest in this Tesla. If that happens, Nikola Tesla Drops The Beat will certainly make it to Broadway and Light It Up!

 

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. His play Faith Ties, which he co-created and directed, is presently in development to be a motion picture. For six years, James also taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

Father and Son (Source: Unsplash | Pixabay)

My boys are young — too young for “The Talk”. You know “The Talk” I’m speaking of … The Sex Talk.

Though I haven’t had to start having “The Talk”, I’ve notice my oldest is starting to get curious. So, I started planting the seeds for “The Talk”.

You can say the genesis of my talk has begun — and I started with the Book of Genesis.

First, we read a kid’s bible, Genesis 2-3. Next, we went start to the source:

1 Of all the beasts which the Lord God had made, there was none that could match the serpent in cunning. It was he who said to the woman, What is this command God has given you, not to eat the fruit of any tree in the garden?
2 To which the woman answered, We can eat the fruit of any tree in the garden
3
 except the tree in the middle of it; it is this God has forbidden us to eat or even to touch, on pain of death.
4
 And the serpent said to her, What is this talk of death?
5
 God knows well that as soon as you eat this fruit your eyes will be opened, and you yourselves will be like gods, knowing good and evil.
6
 And with that the woman, who saw that the fruit was good to eat, saw, too, how it was pleasant to look at and charmed the eye, took some fruit from the tree and ate it; and she gave some to her husband, and he ate with her.
7
 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they became aware of their nakedness; so they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves girdles. [1]

I explained to my boys,”As you grow, there will be plenty of pieces of fruit that may look good. It’s difficult to know what’s the right and wrong fruit to eat – that’s why God gave you Mommy and Daddy.

“As you age, things will get progressively harder. However, no matter what questions you have, you can come to Mommy and Daddy.”

So, if you are like most parents of younger kids and dread the day you’ll have to have “The Talk,” take the first step now, let God do the talking — and start with the Book of Genesis!

Start early and start simple … and that’s the genesis with “The Talk”.

Source: Pixabay

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

 

For the longest time, I lived two lives: The man I was at home and the man I was outside the home.

Outside the home, I was well liked. Inside the home, not so much — and I didn’t know what to do about.

There’s nothing more deflating than being able to write a book that offers inspiration, yet feeling like a failure with the person in your life who you are called to most inspire.

I wasn’t abusive or an adulterer. I wasn’t anything like those other guys.

And though I enjoyed being single, I never missed being single once I was married.  Nor did I ever looked back. I got married because I wanted to spent the rest of my life with the women who finally stole my heart — and I wanted to stay married.

But the harder I tried, the worse things became.

Then it happened.

Like in my book, Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, a mentor entered my life and taught me the time-test lesson for a successful and fruitful relationship.

Along the way, he gave me a book to read: Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs.

From that moment on, my life has never been happier and my marriage has never been stronger.

Maybe you’re in the same situation. Maybe your most important relationship is not as your hoped or dreamed on the day you took your wedding vows.

If this is so, watch this video, If you like what you hear, buy the book Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs.


Source: YouTube

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:
I am not receiving any compensation for promoting Emerson Eggerichs’s book: Love & Respect beyond the compensation of knowing it will help.  The only payment is payment of the heart.

Several years back, I was approached by my friend John “Rusty” Proctor to help him work out a problem.

You see, he had written a play titled Faith Ties: A Christmas Drama, and needed to get it ready for production. The problem: Every time Rusty tried to cut material from his play, he just added more pages.

Normally, I would’ve said no, but Rusty and I had become pretty close. In fact, I blogged about how we met earlier in the year.

The play was an amazing story about forgiveness, redemption and rebirth that followed the spiritual journey embarked on by a pastor’s wife after her husband, a man of unwavering faith and determination, received a vision to grow his church.

The rewrite took me some time, but I was finally done.

Excited, I emailed Rusty to let him know that I was taking a break, but I only had one more scene to go and that I should have a finished product ready by morning.

After taking a break, I hopped on my Macbook only to discover that the file that I was working on became “corrupted”.

I was devastated.

Somehow, I had to break the news to Rusty, who was patiently waiting to read the polished new script.

Thankfully, I remembered almost everyone of the changes that I made and emailed Rusty the changes a day late.

A few days after receiving the rewritten play, Rusty called me and asked to meet. Not only did he ask me thank me, but asked me to direct the stage play.

“I never directed anything before,” I told him.
“I never produced a play before,” he said.

Long story short, the play was a success, mainly because he and I were too naive to realize that we had no business directing or producing anything.  Maybe that’s why, together, we took the next step.

“What do you think about turning this into a movie?” Rusty asked me as the curtains closed to applause on opening night.
“Already working on it,” I smiled.

I quickly adapted the story for the screen. Shortly after, legendary Television icon Demond Wilson came on board. Watch the video below to see what he had to say about the script.


(CLICK HERE if you have problems watching the video.)

For a while, I thought the film version of the play would never be made.

Finally, we returned to method that made the play such as success: Two dudes too naive to realize that we had no business directing or producing anything. Rusty, the creator of the story and play, now has taken on the role of Executive Producer of Faith Ties and the movie is now in pre-production!

Check out the Faith Ties Go Fund Me promo…

(CLICK HERE is you have problems watching the video.)

The script has gone through several rewrites.

In one of the earlier versions, I wrote this sermon on Forgiveness. Like the original play, some scenes were cut while others were added. It seems, as a writer, some of your favorite scene don’t make the cut.

It’s not an easy process. But as they say in the biz, writing is re-writing.

Today, like the Extra Reel on DVD, cut scenes can now be shared. So, here’s a cut scene from the upcoming film Faith Ties. I call it “The Thing That God Forgot

I hope you enjoy it…

INT. BETHEL A.M.E. CHURCH – DAY

The Pastor preaches to the congregation from the pulpit.

                        PASTOR
In a small, secluded African community,

word quickly spread of a young girl who
believed she was talking daily to God.

Soon, members of the congregation stopped
attending Church. Instead, they would
congregate at this infant prophet’s house
to hear God’s Word straight from the
source.

News eventually reached the office of the
Bishop. Concerned that a young minister’s
congregation was no longer attending
Sunday service, the Bishop scheduled an
urgent visit.

Within days, the Bishop arrived to pay
the girl a visit with the intent of
returning the Church members to the pews.
However, before heading out, he asked the
young minister to hear his confession.

Finally, both the Bishop and the parson
arrived in the small village and entered
the young girl’s home and found her to be
just like any girl her age, playing with
her doll.

“Is it true, my child, that you speak
directly to God?” the Bishop asked.
“Yes, it is true, Your Eminence,” she
humbly replied. “He arrives the same time
everyday.”
“How convenient.”
“Oh, God is very convenient,” she glowed.
“Did you talk to God today?” the Bishop
asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
“Will you talk to God tomorrow?”
“If He wills it, yes,” she again
respectfully replied.
“When you talk with God tomorrow, can you
ask him one question for me?”
“Of course Your Eminence,” she submitted.
“What is the question?”
“Can you ask God for the list of sins I
confessed this morning. When I come back
tomorrow, you can tell me what God said.”

The young girl glowed and went back to
playing with her dolls.

As they returned to the rectory, the
young minister thanked the Bishop for
coming, but was confused how his short
visit will return his congregation to
return to his church.

The Bishop grinned.

“Surely, if she can’t tell me what I confessed to you
earlier today, she’s not talking to God
and YOU will again be able to tend to His
flock as you were ordained to do.”

The next day the Bishop returned.

Instead of speaking to the girl
privately, as he did the day before, he
questioned the girl publicly, for all to
hear.

“Did you talk with God this morning,
Child?” the Bishop queried.
“Yes, I did Your Eminence.”
“Could God tell you my list of sins?”
The girl paused and lowered her gaze to
the floor. “Sorry, Your Eminence, He
could not.”

The grin of the Bishop grew as the town
people returned to the young priest for
guidance.

“Please, Child, tell everyone listening
why could God NOT recall the sins I
confessed yesterday?” the Bishop probed.
“Because…”
“Because why?!”
“He already forgot them.”

The pastor pauses, then looks out at his parishioners.

                        PASTOR
He already forgot them!
(a beat)
Was this young girl truly talking to God
or not? I don’t know. But I do
recognize the wisdom in her final words.

God’s forgiveness is limitless! Clear!
Complete! And forever! Amen.

                   PARISHIONERS
Amen!

The CHOIR kicks into song. Pastor moves from the pulpit
to his chair as the MUSIC RISES and FOCUS on the
CROSS.

The moment after you faithfully say these three simple words: “I am sorry,” God forgets your sins — every single one of them.

That’s the thing that God forgets.

 

“I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.”

Isaiah 43:25

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE

If you like to know more about the movie Faith Ties, go to FaithTies.com.

Faith Ties: A Christmas Drama.

Source: which.co.uk/

F-YOU and the Lord’s Prayer. Now that’s two things which normally DON’T go together — unless you live in my family.

It’s the title I used to describe my Step-Dad life at his funeral memorial. It’s a story of perseverance, rebirth, salvation and, above all, the making of a miracle.

You see, my Step-Dad had Lupus.

He was diagnosed — or misdiagnosed, when he was a teenager in the U.S. Navy.

His whole adult life he suffered from this auto-immune disease.  However, he never let the disease dictate his life. Among his sufferings were frequent strokes.

“I know I’m going to have them,” he informed me one day. “So, I’ve learned to enjoy them.”

He had many. So many, they became almost common place. Almost. However, finally the “big one” hit.

At the time, I was living in Burbank, California. I was at Disneyland when I my Aunt Ro called and gave me the official news.

You see, I knew he had a stroke — and I knew it was severe.

My mom, being my mom, never delivers bad news. My brother and I joke that when we hear my mom say the words, “Everything is going to be alright”, its time to panic.

My sister, being my sister, was just the opposite. Everything was usually blown out of proportion — and usually to the extreme.

Aunt Ro, however, was the voice of reason; my go-to-person, especially in a time like this.

So, when my aunt said, “Maybe it’s time to come home” …  I knew things were serious.

Immediately, my wife and I started making plans to head back East — but for when and for how long? Living long distance from family is never easy.

Daily, my wife and I spoke to my mom as we made arrangements to head home.

“He can say a few words,” she told me as we discussed my step-dad’s condition. “And they’re all curse words.” (This where the F-YOU comes in.)

My mom, being my mom, felt bad for the patient in the bed next to my foul-mouth step father.

“He’s a Rabbi,” she reverently said. “He (my step-dad) got really bad when the Giants were on.”
“He curses at the Giants when he’s well,” I chuckled. “Why don’t you just shut off the game?”
“I did, but he cursed more” she told me. “He remembers his prayers. So, I just have him saying The Lord’s Prayer.” (Part 2 of the title.)
“I’m not sure the Rabbi wants to hear that either,” I joked, though my mom, someone who once considered  being a Catholic Dominican Nun, didn’t laugh. “Keep me posted. I love you.”
“I love you too,” she said, then hung up the phone.

That night, I spoke with my wife. She had a similar conversation with my mom and sensed her concern.

My wife, being my wife, told me that she asked my mom if my step-dad, a former seminarian, remembered his Latin prayers. He did! So, my she suggested, to my mom, that my Step-Dad start reciting his prayers in Latin — and give the Rabbi some relief.

Then, three days later, the miracle occurred.

My wife called the hospital to check on my mom. After a few rings, someone answered the phone.

“Hello,” the voice slurred.
“Hello?” my wife replied.
“Hey kid!” It was my Step Dad, John.
“Where’s Mary Ann,” my wife asked, wondering why my mom was not at his bed side.
“I sent her out,” he added. “She’s driving me [bleeping] crazy.”

The two talked for several minutes until my mom returned to his bedside.

It appeared that his Latin prayers exercised his brain back to repair — at least that what the doctors suspected, though they had no rational explanation as to why my Step-Dad recovered so quickly.

Long-story short, I didn’t have to return home. And, against all odds, my Step-Dad walked out of the hospital, on his own accord.

Granted, he had noticeable signs of a stroke until the end of his life — six years later. But this was “the big one”! He shouldn’t have had the ability to do anything on his own accord — ever again.

The Bible is full of stories about miracles.

They occur in both the New and Old Testament. However, I’ve often heard people say that few people today witness a true miracle like they did in the bible.

The sad truth is that people witness miracles every day — there’s just so many of them today that we fail to recognize many of the events that occur around us, as miracles.

Air travel is miraculous. Wi-fi and iPhones, miraculous.

Heart and brain surgery … hip and knew replacements … Organ-transplants … limb transplant … The list goes on-and-on … all miraculous!

Miracles are so common today, we just take them for granted.

Maybe that’s why Jesus suggested that the Apostles not discuss His miracles, knowing all too well how unimpressed mankind becomes with sensation over time.

Think about it.

Let’s take a look at video games as an example.

My generation thought Pong was pretty awesome. Today, you couldn’t pay a kid the price our parents payed for an Atari Playset, to sit down for an hour and play this two-dimensional, Monaural arcade game.

Granted, miracles are much more impressive than Donkey Kong.

However, after walking on water and raising a few people from the dead, the fascination with the Miracle Maker from Nazareth would’ve eventually ran out if He didn’t have something more substantive to offer than just miracles.

Now, I’m not saying that miracles aren’t important? They are.

However, I believe that the act of recognizing these miracles, as a direct gift from God, is more important than the miracle itself.

It’s important to recognize that all miracles, big and small, come from God. Likewise, its important to realize that God can turn any horrific event into an opportunity of glory.

God can even use the unfiltered words of foul-mouth former sailor to guide us to witness an unfathomable modern-day medical miracle.

That’s why in my family,  F-YOU and The Lord’s Prayer will always go together!

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

I received an awesome Father’s Day present today.

The first part was “A Book About My Dad” which is me, by Mathieu, who is my son.  It was a fill-in-the-blank assignment given by his elementary school teacher.  I highlighted the words that he chose to best describe me.

It’s reads:

My dad likes to eat hamburgers.

If I could take my dad on a trip, I would take him to LegoLand.  (Message received.)

If I could buy a gift for my dad, I would buy him a Stretch-Limo

If I could do something for my dad, I would help him do yard work.

Finally, I turned the page and became speechless at what I saw.

It reminded me of a passage in my book, Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul

“What is the goal of parents?” the mysterious Mr. Mel asked. “Well, have you ever heard of the song by Harry Chapin, Cat’s in the Cradle?”

It’s one of those songs everyone knows.  The kind of song everyone feels.  Individually, Cat’s in the Cradle means something completely different to everybody.  Yet, at the same time, it means absolutely the same thing.

In public, it unifies all  It entwines strangers.  It bridges generations.  Crosses color.  Forms circles of friends.  Yet, in private, it heals wounds.  Celebrates loneliness.  Defines relationships and describes love.

As I hug up the phone, it occurred to me,
My boy was just like me, yah…
My boy was JUST like me!

Sad, right? The irony of it was that the father wasn’t sad.

As I turned the page of Mathieu’s picture book, I discovered “A Picture of my dad and me…” With it, the fill-in-the blank caption read:

I love my dad because he plays with me outside and draws with me inside.

It was then and there I received the second part of my awesome Father’s Day present.

As suddenly, it occurred to me,
My boy was just like me, yah…
My boy was JUST like me!

Happy Father’s Day!

 

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

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