"To Be Born Again": In Touch Magazine's First Graphic Essay

“To Be Born Again”: In Touch Magazine’s First Graphic Essay

In Touch magazine recently published its first graphic essay, and I wrote it! Jeff Gregory illustrated it. Read it here!
CTJ's In Touch Series: "Wholly Scripture: Confessions of a Wayfaring Reader"

CTJ’s In Touch Series: “Wholly Scripture: Confessions of a Wayfaring Reader”

In 2015, I decided to read the Bible from cover to cover for the first time. I did so believing I’d probably read most of the text over the course of my life in piecemeal form via personal devotionals, sermons, and Sunday school lessons. To my surprise, I discovered quite a...
"To Build a Throne": My Essay on James Hampton

“To Build a Throne”: My Essay on James Hampton

Read my latest piece, “To Build a Throne” (In Touch Magazine), which reflects on the work of African-American janitor James Hampton, who secretly built a 177-piece collection of throne-room furnishings for the return of Christ before his death in 1964. Photos courtesy of the Smithsonian. Excerpt: “If God chose to...
"Nightmarriage": Information, Critical Acclaim, Published Excerpts, Free Audiobook MP3s & More

“Nightmarriage”: Information, Critical Acclaim, Published Excerpts, Free Audiobook MP3s & More

Buy CTJ’s”Nightmarriage” NOW! Buy the Print Edition Here for $14.99 Buy the E-book Edition Here for $4.99 Buy the Color Edition Here for $34.99 Chad Thomas Johnston’s Nightmarriage is a whimsical memoir that explores the terrors of marriage and the perils of parenthood. Adapted from Johnston’s blog series of the same name, Nightmarriage proves that,...
CTJ Designs "Building a Life Out of Words" Book Cover

CTJ Designs “Building a Life Out of Words” Book Cover

Just finished my first ever paying book cover design! It’s nice when dead presidents can validate your meager attempts at art. Thanks to Shawn Smucker for giving me a chance. It was a pleasure, despite the fact that it took me around 30 hours to create from start to finish. I began...
Rubblebucket Tours for "Omega La La" LP, Sings Omega Lullabye for Evie

Rubblebucket Tours for “Omega La La” LP, Sings Omega Lullabye for Evie

I was already off work this week, attempting to help the wife keep our almost 3-week-old daughter from sabotaging sanity and sleep alike, but it was Rubblebucket that really made my week. It’s one thing to take perverse joy in the knowledge that your coworkers are handling all the “TPS...
Free 35-Song Album + Free Art Exhibit = Audiovisual Feast

Free 35-Song Album + Free Art Exhibit = Audiovisual Feast

Download the Poster Above here. Make it the computer screen wallpaper on your boss’s laptop. He’ll fire you, but he’ll also thank you. Consider this Web page an invitation to an audiovisual feast. The hands that prepared the meal are visible above. If not for the art of Danny J. Gibson,...
Nobody Wants to Be the Stinky Kid: CTJ Creates Planetary Recycling Poster for Allen Press, Inc.

Nobody Wants to Be the Stinky Kid: CTJ Creates Planetary Recycling Poster for Allen Press, Inc.

I created the above poster (click on it to enlarge it) for Allen Press, Inc., my place of employment here in Lawrence, KS. First, I sketched the shapes and facial expressions for each planet. Then I used GIMP, a freeware raster graphics alternative to Adobe Photoshop, to “ink” the images....
CTJ Creates Cover Art for Author Dwain Smith's New Book "Bullheaded"

CTJ Creates Cover Art for Author Dwain Smith’s New Book “Bullheaded”

In February, one of my contacts on Twitter, Claudia Hall Christian (@ClaudiaC), indirectly introduced me to Washington D. C.-based author Dwain Smith (@DwainSmith). She informed her followers that I was interested in creating book art, as I love drawing (in addition to writing). But I gave Claudia a little extra...
My Honorable Mention Essay Entry in Belle & Sebastian's "Write About Love" Contest

My Honorable Mention Essay Entry in Belle & Sebastian’s “Write About Love” Contest

Today I received notification from Matador Records that I have been awarded honorable mention in Belle & Sebastian’s Write About Love essay contest. We were limited to 300 words, and I did the best I could with what time I had.  We honorable mention essay writers will receive an autographed...
Latest entries
"At the (Topeka) Zoo" Video

“At the (Topeka) Zoo” Video

This weekend, Becki, Evie, and I ventured to the Topeka Zoo. I realize it is much smaller than the Kansas City Zoo, and thereby less thrilling. But we thought Evie might not be ready to handle anything more epic than the Topeka Zoo. At ten-months-old, she is still limited in her ability to endure prolonged...
An Exercise in Musical Mythmaking: The Prayer Chain and I, Part 1

An Exercise in Musical Mythmaking: The Prayer Chain and I, Part 1

When I was in high school, my favorite band was a little known outfit called The Prayer Chain (see the photo above). I listened to the band’s 1993 album Shawl so obsessively that, in a feverish frenzy to hear something new from the band, I asked my church’s resident audio expert how to play my...
Living Fossils: New IMAGE "Good Letters" Blog Essay

Living Fossils: New IMAGE “Good Letters” Blog Essay

My latest essay for IMAGE Journal‘s “Good Letters” blog at Patheos.com is now live. Read it here. It’s about found treasures (vinyl ones—not golden ones, all you Spanish explorer wanna’bes!), underground ’80s Christian pogo-punkers Undercover (see below), the extinction of dinosaurs and record stores alike, coelacanths, and a little local flavor in the form of...
FUN-draiser, CTJ Interview, & Limited Edition, Signed Print Copies of NIGHTMARRIAGE

FUN-draiser, CTJ Interview, & Limited Edition, Signed Print Copies of NIGHTMARRIAGE

The FUN-draiser My NIGHTMARRIAGE eBook is well underway at this time, and I am calling on you to contribute to my publisher’s Indie-Go-Go fundraising campaign. “What’s in it for me?” you ask. “I’ve already Kickstarted and Indie-Go-Go’ed myself all the way to bankruptcy, and now I live out of an Easy Bake Oven box.” To...
Book Review: "Evolving in Monkey Town," by Rachel Held Evans

Book Review: “Evolving in Monkey Town,” by Rachel Held Evans

When I think of Christianity in America—and more specifically, my own Protestant faith—I think of a congregation chanting something that sounds as though it might have originated in Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham. “We will not confess to men in frocks / We will not worship in a box,” and so on. We are...
Everyday Transformations: Interview with Katherine Willis Pershey + Book Giveaway

Everyday Transformations: Interview with Katherine Willis Pershey + Book Giveaway

IN THE BEGINNING I first came across author / pastor / mother / wife Katherine Willis Pershey on the Innocence Mission’s Facebook page at the end of February, shortly before my first of two Lenten essays about the band were published via IMAGE Journal‘s “Good Letters” blog.  It’s hard not to notice someone who wears...
Book Review: "When a Daughter Dies," by Ben Witherington, with Ann Witherington

Book Review: “When a Daughter Dies,” by Ben Witherington, with Ann Witherington

I had to check the date more than once. Ben and Ann Witherington lost their daughter Christy on January 11, 2012. On March 15th—only slightly more than two months later—Ben and Ann released an eBook titled When a Daughter Dies: Walking the Way of Grace in the Midst of Our Grief. Only a few months prior,...
Film Review: "Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story"

Film Review: “Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story”

To all four of you readers who frequent this blog to see if I am giving something away (I am not). I have recently begun reviewing things on Amazon. In the past, it made me shudder to think about publishing unpolished content anywhere, let alone on my blog, but I frankly no longer care. You...
CTJ's Zelda Essay in the Baylor Lariat + Zelda Window Display Photos

CTJ’s Zelda Essay in the Baylor Lariat + Zelda Window Display Photos

Today, the Baylor Lariat published my latest essay. It is a nostalgic piece about the original Legend of Zelda, which was released for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. Read my essay here. My contribution is a companion piece to Huy Bui’s essay, which is about the game Bioshock. The title of my essay,...
Book Review: Joel Heng Hartse's "Sects, Love, and Rock 'n' Roll: My Life on Record"

Book Review: Joel Heng Hartse’s “Sects, Love, and Rock ‘n’ Roll: My Life on Record”

Shortly after my daughter Evie was born in October, one of my Twitter friends and followers, Zondervan author David Jacobsen, was kind enough to send me a copy of his book, Rookie Dad. I planned to review it at a time such as this, but then David derailed the whole thing by directing my attention...
The Tragicomedy "La Femme": FREE Album & "Behind the Music"-esque Retrospective

The Tragicomedy “La Femme”: FREE Album & “Behind the Music”-esque Retrospective

ABOUT “LA FEMME”: Tracks 1-9 were produced by Scott Patterson. Tracks 10-12 were recorded live at the Nu Brew Coffeehouse in Springfield, MO by Bryan Carlstrom. Tracks 13-15 were recorded as demos to cheapo boombox by one Chad Thomas Johnston. All lyrics and music were written by Chad Thomas Johnston except 1) “Grace” (Lyrics/Music by...
Book Review: Katherine Willis Pershey's "Any Day a Beautiful Change"

Book Review: Katherine Willis Pershey’s “Any Day a Beautiful Change”

The best memoirs seem to spring from the fingers of writers who have an excess of something-or-rather in their lives. This excess begs to overflow the confines of their hearts and minds, and spills onto blank pages in the form of words that feel undeniably alive. Anne Lamott, in writing the transcendent Traveling Mercies, overflowed with rugged...