As 2008 came to a close, I found myself mourning the unexpected loss of several people I thought were friends. Simply put, they chose to do venture down some very self-destructive paths. Tempted though I was to preserve our relationships, I chose to walk away. Add to this the loss of income opportunities and a very ill relative and suffice it to say, I was in somewhat of a personal funk.
These personal losses weighed heavily on my heart as I waded through my post holiday mounds of mail. Peeking out at me from this pile were review copies of The Last Lecture  by Randy Pausch and Love All the People: The Essential Bill Hicks .
At first glance, one might think the only thing an outlaw comic and a Carnegie Melon professor had in common was that they both died far too young from pancreatic cancer.
Yes, Hicks' in-your-face-rants fly in the face of Pausch's happy-go-lucky demeanor. Also, Pausch gave his lecture knowing his death was imminent, while Hicks sobered up and delivered his most powerful punches before he received his fatal diagnosis.
But behind both men's messages is a raw and relentless pursuit for the truth that seems to endure despite their passing. Such qualities seem to be sorely lacking in today's brand-based world where even in the church we seem to market the message, albeit it in the form of Emergent Church