Monday, March 28, 2011

Drive Through History-- Dave Stotts

I’m very excited to participate as one of Brandon’s guest bloggers. Brandon has been my friend since our time at Abilene Christian University and I’ve enjoyed keeping tabs on him and his family over Facebook (and every now and then, even some actual face-time). Though unfortunately, Nashville and Dallas are pretty far apart and that’s not likely to change any time soon (no matter how they try).

I host a television program about history called Drive Thru History. But anyone who’s seen the show COPS knows it’s not that difficult to get on TV. In that case, you just have to break the law. Nor do you need a Herculean intellect or world-class skill (for proof see Snooki). I’m not a history expert and I’ve not studied history beyond what was required in college and seminary. So when someone asks me “where did you study history?” I cringe a little and simply tell the truth: Wikipedia. But the fact is, a person can know a lot of data about history and never really fall in love with it. Just like a person can know a lot of information about God and fail to love him like they should. So over the course of the last 7 years since we took our first round-the-world trip, I have become an enthusiastic history lover and have been amazed to see what I believe to be the very fingerprints of God on the events of world history.

From the beginning we wanted DTH to be different than any other history program. So right off the bat, we knew it all had to take place on-location. Then we mixed in some humor, fast-paced editing, a “driving” theme, lots of colorful visuals, plenty of modern-day connections to the past and a host (that’s me) who doesn’t take himself too seriously and voila – a history show that had definitely never been done before. Somehow this odd mix of history and humor worked and it’s been exciting to partner with the TBN network, which broadcasts DTH around the world and to 90 million homes in America. We have also enjoyed seeing the DVDs make a big impact with kids and even their parents - especially in the home-school context. Students find that the humor of the show keeps them engaged. They come for the history, and stay for the cheap gags. When most hosts or explorers put on the cheesy Indy Jones hat and blow dust out of an ancient inscription, I blow dust out of it and it flies up and hits me in the eye. Or I’m getting bit by a camel (that’s happened twice now), or I’m getting completely lost in Rome. I’m definitely not the fearless explorer type. Seriously, I carry chapstick and hand sanitizer at all times.

History is so full of epic stories, interesting people and fascinating confluences of events that we have to work hard to make it boring. But sadly, we often succeed in doing just that. So when we teach history in a boring way, the message that gets communicated to students is – we should ignore it. But we do so at our peril, especially as Christians. When believers have their Christianity in one category and their History in another, we can fail to remember that the Christian faith is an historical faith about events that really did take place in time space history. So when my Christian walk is difficult, or doubts arise, I look back and marvel at how the world really was changed by a man who came back from the dead and made all things new. Of course, that renewal of all things extends way into the FUTURE – which is definitely not my area of expertise. So I’ll leave that to God. Unless he sends me a tricked out DeLorean with a Flux Capacitor in which case I’ll happily explore the future…where we won’t need roads (or hopefully hand sanitizer).

Dave Stotts has always made me laugh...almost on command. He is incredibly funny and intelligent...but he has an awesome heart too. One of my favorite crazy memories was when Dave, Rob Thomas, Jason McArthur (you've already heard from Rob and Jason last week) and I went to 2nd Ave in Nashville and put out a hat and took requests. We sang old TV jingles, popular cartoon theme songs and a killer Michael Jackson medley. We ended up with enough money to...well, to buy an ice cream cone. We also made a memory (among many others over the years) that we will never forget. I'm proud of Dave and his work. His show is incredible. Sheryl and I love watching it. It airs in Nashville on Saturday nights. Check it out!

Here are a couple of from the American History Series and one from the Ancient History Series. I laughed out loud watching both of them. Dave is a master story teller. I'm thankful that he is using his gift for great things!


annie said...

Loved reading this post about your friend, Dave Stotts!
He is hilarious & genius, all at the same time, isn't he?
I'll have to find out the times he's on in the Dallas metroplex & watch him while loving on newborn grandson---the next time I'm there, which I hope will be ASAP. :)
Thanks for showcasing him on your blog.

Tatyana said...

I LOVE Drive Thru History!!! I'm 23 and married and I can't stop watching them, they are so interesting. When my son gets older we are definitely going to be using DTH when home schooling him. I home that they keep making more and more of them. For example, history of Europe would be really interesting.