Reading Lord of the Rings outside


The Lord of the Rings was meant to be read out in nature. I don’t know if J.R.R. Tolkien intended for that to be the case, but there’s something about the story, the world of Middle Earth, and the way Tolkien describes it that makes me want to be outside.

This picture would be a lot cooler if I was reading a physical copy of The Fellowship of the Ring instead of having it on my kindle. You can’t event ell that’s what’s in my hand. This picture just looks like “hey everybody, decided to take my black rectangle to the lake today!”

My original GoodReads Reading Challenge goal for the year was 45 books. I’m at 22. Apparently I’m 17 books behind schedule. So now my NEW goal is to finish the Lord of the Rings trilogy before January 1st. So far so good.

I don’t know if I should be embarrassed that it took a bunch of made up hobbits for me to realize nature can be cool.

Another Exhausting Election

I voted today but you’d never know it because the moment I got my little sticker I ate it.

Politics are exhausting.

I know I could spend tonight watching the results roll in but that dos not sound fun at all. I did that in 2016 and that emotional rollercoaster was enough to last me a lifetime.

The only good thing that came from election coverage in 2016 was Colbert’s improvised closing monologue at the end of his live Showtime special that night.

This election season is about to end but you just know the 2020 presidential campaigns are going to start way too early. More arguing and Facebook anger is right around the corner.

Today’s a good day to watch Colbert’s monologue again.

If you want to avoid election coverage tonight but you still want something a little political, here’s what I recommend on Netflix:

  • West Wing (the TV show)

  • Lincoln (the Spielberg movie)

  • Unconstitutional (stand-up special from Collin Quinn all about the constitution and I love it so much)

If you are going to watch the results roll in tonight and you feel like you’ve got a lot of skin the game, remember that there are real life people on the other side of those issues. They have names and faces and fears. They think they’re doing the right thing too.

I love in that monologue how Colbert connects politics to gambling. We get wrapped up in winning.


“…worrying about winning and not about what the consequences of winning is.”


Yes, voting is a way for your voice to be heard but it’s not the only one. It IS the only way to really “win.” But I wrote a while ago why I want to stop winning arguments.

Be kind. Be cool. Don’t set anything on fire. We’re all still neighbors.

3 Reasons to Stop Winning Arguments

I have found that the best way for me to win an argument is if I play both parts.

I wish I could stop thinking of it is “winning” an argument, as if it’s a game. I mostly want to win because I don’t want to lose.

CONVINCE is a better word. I want to CONVINCE someone of something because it’s right and true and I know it will make them (or maybe even the world) better for believing the true thing. I should also be open to being convinced because if I believe something that’s wrong then of course I want to find out as soon as possible so I can replace it with the right thing.

What if this whole time I thought toothpaste was for your armpits and deodorant was for your teeth? That would be a miserable and embarrassing life. I’d hope someone could convince and correct my bad thinking.

Here are 3 reasons why I think it’s better to convince than to win:

1. There’s a lot more compassion is “convincing” than there is in “winning” the argument.

2. It puts disagreements in a better perspective. The more trivial arguments lose intensity when it stops being about winning. Why do I need to convince someone that The Dark Knight is not the greatest movie ever made? Is it that important? Instead I think I can convince them to watch more movies to see what else is out there.

(at this point I would like to make it clear that I enjoy The Dark Knight but I don’t think it’s the greatest movie ever)

3. No one ever thinks they lost an argument. Have you ever said to yourself “boy, I really lost that one.” NO! Of course not. You walk away mad. You play it over and over in your head. You talk about how dumb, mean, and ugly the other person was. But you never declare yourself the loser. So part of the satisfaction of winning is taken away when you’re the only one who thinks you’ve won.

I think this can really help my mindset when I walk into a disagreement. Now if I could only control how loud and angry I sound whenever I get passionate.

Even if I’m not mad, I always come across like the russians playing chess on The Simpsons.


No One is Too Cool for Mr. Rogers


A couple months ago I was going down the rabbit hole of watching every Mr. Rogers video Youtube had to offer. After a while I got curious about what the comments on these videos would be like. Youtube comments are notoriously nasty and argumentative. What kind of junk would people say about Mr. Rogers.

In the comments section of one of the videos I found this story:


“When I was in the fifth grade, Mr. Rogers was announced as a guest speaker on the topic of helping. Fifth grade was a little past the age that most kids watched the show, and it was cool to make fun of Mr. Rogers. I remember a bunch of kids saying that they were going to ask him several inappropriate questions or otherwise try to cause a disturbance during his presentation. But when he took the stage, all those kids fell dead silent and listened in awe to the ‘square’ they were going to mock in front of the assembly. I got to shake Fred Rogers’ hand and talk to him for a few moments, and I thank him for the memories.”


The sincerity and love of Mr. Rogers can break through anyone’s defenses.

I’ve done school assemblies where you can just feel that every students has a wall up. It’s cool to not care and they use that as a defense against any message you try to bring them. I have my own little ritual to get myself ready for assemblies like that. But it can be so discouraging.

It’s nice to hear stories like this.

I hear guys talk about how they can’t be effective in youth ministry because they’re too old and out of the loop. But Mr. Rogers is a reminder that your greatest tool in ministry is love. How cheesy is that? Whatever. I’m leaving it.

Me in the bathroom after every meal...

I can’t believe I had never seen this video before. This is the most relatable content I’ve ever seen on the internet.

I have this same conversation with myself at least once a week.

I’ve mentioned before I’m lactose intolerant but I didn’t know it for the longest time. I just thought what was happening to my body was normal. I thought everyone’s butt fell off every time they ate a lot of cheese.

Here’s me talking about about bathrooms on my stand-up album, DON’T PANIC:

How I Fight Insecurities Before Performing

I started a new ritual this year.

Any time I’m feeling insecure before performing—I’m so certain the audience is going to hate me or something will go wrong and it’ll turn into a complete disaster—I will watch this video of Andrew W.K. getting kicked off stage at The Gathering of the Juggalos.

It is one of the most inspiring videos I’ve ever seen. It’s a beam of pure light and it makes me fearless.

The Gathering of the Juggalos is a notoriously hostile festival for performers. If they don’t like you WHO KNOW what horrible things they might throw at you. Empty bottles? Glass? Their own poop? If they don’t like your show they will try to ruin it.

In the first few seconds of the video you can tell the audience isn’t on Andrew W.K.’s side. He’s dancing like a weirdo and sharing a positive message. He’s not trying to be cool. He’s not trying to impress anyone. He is being 100% himself NO MATTER WHAT.

They throw empty cans at him. Doesn’t faze him.

You can tell by even just the little you see the crowd that no one seems into it. Doesn’t stop him.

He’s giving it his all. He’s not giving up.

Eventually some security guard comes and pulls him off stage. It’s over. I guess they realized that no matter what happened out there Andrew W.K. wasn’t going to back down and if they wanted it to stop they were going to have to stop him.

Some times we’ll do a school assembly at a high school where it feels like nobody cares. It’s like every student decided they were going to check out the moment they sat down in the auditorium. You feel like you’re speaking to wall. It’s so easy for that to throw me off and get in my head. But if I picture Andrew W.K. just GOING FOR IT no matter what, it inspires me to keep going.

It might feel like 99% of the audience hate you and everything you’re doing, but even if there’s just one person connecting to what you’re saying, it’s worth it. I’m sure there were a handful of people who were absolutely in love with what Andrew W.K. was doing at The Gathering of the Juggalos. They were worth performing for.

Want more? Here’s a clip of Andrew W.K. talking about his experience of that performance.

A Spiritual Exercise from Curt Thompson

I’m waiting for my copy of Curt Thompson’s Anatomy of the Soul to show up in my mailbox.

Last week my friend Cameron sent me a Q Talk from Andy Crouch called Overcoming Our Greatest Affliction. In it Crouch references Thompson and I love the quote he gives.


“Our deepest drama is that we are looking for a face that is looking for us.”


I had to find out who Curt Thompson was and read something from him. Turns out I had several of his books on my To Read list already.

I also found the lovely video I shared above while looking around for more info about Thompson. The spiritual exercise he walks through is so simple and sweet. It’s not big or weird or self important. It’s such a lovely little way we can remind ourselves of how God is with us and what he thinks of us.

I can’t wait to read more from him.

Taylor Johnson's Sermon From SAGU Chapel

This last week I got to do an event at Southwestern Assembly of God University. I'm still replaying the whole thing in my mind because it was all just too cool to be true.

I spoke in chapel in the morning and did a free comedy show on campus that night.

Was I nervous to speak in chapel? Yes. Absolutely. I was terrified.

1. I graduated from this school. I sat in chapel for 4 years. I remember what it felt like when there was a great speaker and when there was terrible one. What if I’m one of the bad one?!

2. The way I thought I was supposed to end my sermon felt so risky to me. I kept asking God to confirm that this was His idea and not mine, because if it was mine there was a chance it would crash and burn and be a disaster.

3. I had a comedy show on campus that night. I knew chapel was going to be a bit of an audition. If I bombed in the morning then there was no way anyone would come to the show. I had to bring 100% if I wanted any sort of audience. 

But the students in chapel wiped all those fears away. They were on board for everything. They bravely responded to the end of the message. And we had around 500 people at the show that night!

It was awesome.

I'm so happy I was able to take the type of event I do for churches and adapt it for Christian colleges. It would be so cool if this opened more doors at more schools. I love speaking to college students.

What Are We Allowed to Joke About?

I’ve really been dreading social media the last couple of days. There’s A LOT going on in our culture and everyone has a strong opinion about everything. 

But it’s not the opinions I’m trying to avoid on Facebook, it’s the jokes.

Last year I created a video series called HOW TO LEAD A CULTURE OF CONFESSION. I believe we are all constantly auditioning to be the type of person someone feels comfortable opening up to. How we handle certain situations will let others know if they can trust us with what’s really going on in their life.

We have to be careful with what we joke about.

This isn’t me trying to police every word out of people’s mouths. I don’t want to make blanket statements that you can NEVER make a joke or laugh about anything close to this subject or that one.

I just want us all to be careful.

I think the most important question you can ask yourself is: “why do I feel comfortable making this joke?”

A flippant joke about killing yourself, eating disorders, assault, or spousal abuse (all things I’ve heard joked about at church events) might be the thing that pushes someone away from opening up to you.

They might be suffering in silence with something from their past and the joke you made let them know you believe that no one around you is struggling with that, so it was ok to make the joke. If no one else is dealing with it, they must be the only one. And if they’re the only one, no one will understand. So it’s better to keep it locked up inside.

Be careful.

Paul was willing to give up meat that he had absolutely no problem eating if it might cause weaker Christians to stumble. Are you willing to sacrifice a joke?


If you’re interested in the rest of my series, HOW TO LEAD A CULTURE OF CONFESSION, check out all 4 parts.

Video # 1 | Everyone Has a Story

Video #2 | What We Joke About

Video #3 | Dealing with Gossip

Video #4 | Sharing Your Story

Fans React to Me Eating Cheez-Its

This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever made.

I kept seeing reaction videos of people losing their minds over the new Smash Bros game trailer and I thought it would be funny if they were reacting to something incredibly mundane. It was an idea in my head for a couple of weeks before I finally sat down and filmed it. I kept saying “this is so stupid. Nobody cares about this.” But it made me laugh so I kept going.

Do dumb stuff that makes you laugh.