The Unstuck Activity Book: App Collage


Post by Ben Roberts

With this exercise, you can create your own poetry or prose using mobile apps.

1. Select three or more reading apps. For this demonstration, I have used:

* Poetry’s randomized poem generation machine;
* Connu’s Pandora-inspired short story collection;
* YouVersion’s scripture-in-translation database;
* the new Kindle-based literary journal Day One;
* the Audible app; and
* the new “read it now” feature on the Goodreads social media app.

2. Open an app, click around a bit at random (to get past the welcome screen and into the text of a book, article, poem, etc.), and copy the first block of text you find. You can copy this text by hand or type it into a Word doc.


Poetry: "From The Task, Book V: The Winter Morning Walk"
Connu: "How many heavens do you need to be happy?"
YouVersion: "Psalm 119:11 -- I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."
Day One: "One part of our mission..."
Audible: "But still as tired of life as he sometimes felt..." 
Goodreads: "From India one of these days, June or July, she forgot which..."

3. Collage the text to create new phrases. In the example below, I've created miniature first-, second-, and third-person narratives, along with a short lyric poem.



1st Person:

I have stored up how many heavens from the task? One of these days, June or July, our mission might not sin.

2nd Person:

The winter morning walks against you. Do you need to be happy?

3rd Person:

She forgot to be the task. He sometimes felt sin.


Winter morning word of life
The task in my heart

Life from India:
One part June or July

Sin against happy

The Unstuck Activity Book: Looking for God in All the Wrong Places


Post by Molly Laich

Watching so many films alone in dark theaters—feeling vaguely as though my Heavenly Father has abandoned me—I started to think about God in the movies. If a movie creates its own universe, then the governing truth behind that universe is there in the bones of the art, is it not? Here on earth, IRL, we can’t be sure that God is real, but maybe in cinema?  

Sometimes I write film reviews for a little paper in Montana, which means I wind up seeing a lot of movies. Just for you, I’ve invented a fun game called GOD or NO GOD. It’s a one-person game with no rules, scores, ending or winners. I’ll show you how to play using a random sampling of 13 new releases from 2013.

Movie 43

The fact that this aggressively mindless, star-studded film was ever made and released in theaters is evidence of Richard Dawkins’ blind watchmaker at work. If there ever was a god, he abandoned these characters long ago.


Now You See Me

This is a movie about magic in the “staged illusion” sense of the word, but they end it with an inexplicable CGI glowing eyeball of a halfhearted suggestion that real magic exists. Ergo, God is a wizard.


The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Unlike Now You See Me, which treats teleportation like it’s the easiest trick in the world, the makers of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone claim that all of the stage magic performed in this incredibly dull excuse for a movie is based on real magic tricks, aided by only minimal CGI. There’s no real magic and there never was.


Before Midnight

Jesse and Celine are at each other’s throats for half the goddamn film. Gravity has defeated their bodies. Celine drowns the little ones in the tub in the last scene… (Not really.)


After Earth

I overheard some people say this father/son adventure saga was about Scientology, which it turns out isn’t true but here I go repeating it anyway. Nevertheless, remember that M. Night Shyamalan is the director, who made that movie Signs about the little girl who changes destiny by leaving glasses of water all over the house. Apply the auteur theory, carry the one, and…


This is The End

All the good people get sucked up to heaven in blue rays of light and I think Satan waves a towering penis around at some point, if memory serves. Sometimes this game is easier than others.


World War Z

This is a tough one. It’s a conclusion that every moviegoer has to come to on his or her own: Are zombies an expression of a harsh, indifferent, predatory existence? Or are they God’s retribution sent down from the heavens in the form of a virulent, rabies-like disease or whatever? I think


The Conjuring

They cast a demon out of a woman using the Lord’s Prayer. Since the prayer worked, I have to tentatively conclude


Blue Jasmine

I think we can all agree that Woody Allen is an outspoken atheist who’s really more like an agnostic. Not a lot of mention of God in Blue Jasmine, but if you look at Crimes and Misdemeanors and its sister film, Match Point, you’ll find that in both stories, the evildoer gets away with his crimes, because of privilege, chance, or both. The implication is that man dishes out his own punishments and rewards. Then again, who can say for sure that the Martin Landau character isn’t burning in hell as we speak?



I really went back and forth on this one. There’s George Clooney’s ghost, but most people interpret this as a hallucination. When Sandra Bullock talks about the death of her daughter, she describes it as a random accident, not predetermined or divinely inspired. Now, does the fact that Bullock survives in the end confirm or contradict the conclusions she came to about her daughter’s death? Did she survive with the help of an inner, Godly strength as part of a predetermined plan, or did she just happen to beat the odds and live? I think this movie flirts with the divine, but it has a stronger hard-on for the human spirit.


The Counselor

Cormac McCarthy wrote the script, so.


Ender’s Game

The movie is for kids, and they’re not just going to send our little ones into darkness. More to the point, it seems that Ender’s conflict at the end reeks of moral absolution. He’s deceived by man but ultimately answers to a higher power. It’s probably some sort of futuristic God is a robot inside a video game wrapped in a dream from the future God, but a God nonetheless.


12 Years A Slave

This is the movie that first got me thinking about GOD or NO GOD in the first place. In my review I wrote, “it feels like God or the devil is lurking in the shadows, pressing down… Always it sounds like a storm is on the way, but it never rains. A cotton field is both beautiful and feels like hell. The black people are in hell and so are the white people.” And somehow Brad Pitt always manages to be on the right side of history. He must be real.