Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Review: Vena Sera - Chevelle

This alt-rock trio is back with their newest work which is a bit of a disappointment. Something to make your head rock but lacking anything really progressive in terms of the band's maturity, Vena Sera is just so-so. Here's the INFUZE review:

Review: The Ringing Bell - Derek Webb

Derek Webb is one of the voices in Christian music that is well worth listening to. While not always a pleasant message, it is often a prophetic one. Derek's new album continues his legacy, this time finding the artist seeking out the amps and offering up some 60's styled indie rock for our listening pleasure. This is one worth getting. Here's the INFUZE review:

Graduation #2..And Probably the Most Enjoyable

My son's a graduate. Tyler had his Pre-K graduation ceremony last night, complete as you can see with cap and gown. It was a great program and we're, well, we're a little bit proud right now. Truth be told, we weren't entirely sure that was gonna happen given that he got suspended from preschool twice!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I began my oh-so-popular blogging lifestyle on another service called LiveJournal a few years ago. Just recently, I was thinking back to those posts and decided to go back and read through what I had to say. Here's my first posting back from February of 2005:

I'll take this first post as an opportunity to introduce myself and where I'm coming from as well as where I'm at for those that might come across this and do not know me personally.

My name is Andrew. I'm a father of one, a husband of one, and a "minister in training". I grew up in the church, a "fundamental, Bible-believing, King James Version only, dunk 'em baptism, hellfire and brimstone, Armageddon anticipating, rapture awaiting, there'll be others in heaven but it's the baptist's who're goin' first class" independent Baptist church. It really wasn't as bad as it sounds. It was there that I received a foundation of at least looking to the Bible for answers, as well as where I met Jesus and began my journey with him. It's also the place where I received "the call" to ministry.

Now, I don't particuarly like the term "the call" for that but it's really hard to put into words what it is. So that's going to have to do. So, from there, I graduated high school and began community college, had an affair with an older engaged woman (obviously I strayed off the path a bit), got right and dropped out of community college, enrolled in a Bible college my church recommeded, finished one semester and came home with 50 demerits from aforementioned Bible college, began dating my wife-to-be, broke up with my wife-to-be, begged my wife-to-be to take me back, got married, enrolled in another Bible college (this one of much better thinking than the previous), had a child, and became a youth pastor. And this is the point at which our story gets more interesting.

I began work in the church thinking that I knew everything I needed to learn. I quickly learned that I in fact knew, nothing. But that was a good starting point because I had a clean slate to work with. So learn I did. And learning to love was probably the best part. I fell in love with the young people in my youth group, as well as the adult volunteers who gave tirelessly of their time and resources. In addtion to loving, I learned all the unsavory aspects of church politics, business meetings, and all the other crap that goes with it. But all in all, we had what would really be deemed a "successful" ministry. But my heart was changing and desiring a path for the ministry that the church did not have. And that change was largely due to reading, thinking, and a lot of praying I'd been doing. And in all of this, a question came to the forefront of my mind: "Is this all there is?" What I mean to say is is this all there is to salvation? Is salvation some sort of divine get out of jail free card that does only that? Now, friends and foes alike, please rest assured that I knew and know deep down that there is more but I had to really start searching out what "more" is. So we left the church.

It's been seven months now. In that time we've wrestled with a lot of things. And God has been sufficient to let more questions build than answers. And the questions have come hard and strong. Questions like: "What is the church's place in today's world?" "What is salvation really about?" "What does it really mean to be saved?" "How do we really show love to this world?" "Is there truth in other religions?" "Is the Bible more than an answer book? Have we damaged it by treating it thusly?" And more. To some, especially some from that more "fundamental" side of the fence, these questions definately carry a "liberal" slant, and some might even venture to use the word, "heretical". But these are the questions I've been given. They are mine to wrestle with and endure.

I apologize for that being so long but thanks for taking the time. What's most interesting to me is that some of those same questions are the ones I'm still wrestling with three years later. But, deep down inside, I know that I've come a lot further than I was at that point. It's just very interesting to see where God has brought us from...

The Reading Continues...

Here's what I've been reading as of late:
I'll admit that I totally didn't see where this Potter book was going at the beginning. Now I think I'm gonna have to go ahead and pre-buy the seventh so I can be assured of one on it's release date! I just can't get enough of Harry!
I became a Michael English fan way back in the day. He was at the height of CCM when I was in high school and was first coming to know of any sort of Christian music industry. It also didn't hurt that he also had a foot in the world of southern gospel, which was the genre I grew up listening to. A lot has changed in ten-plus years but I've never lost my appreciation for Mike and his music. His story is rough and rugged and only makes me like him that much more!
Christopher Moore is a writer that you just can't go wrong with. There are some of his works that are definately better than others but, like a good Snickers, they all will satisfy your craving. Especially for the macabre and bizarre. Good stuff.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Writer's Block

Ever since garnering the staff writer/blogger gig over at INFUZE, I've had this notion that I ought to be writing more. In fact, even before that, I've wanted to be writing more. Day after day I have ideas spinning through my noggin, many of which I don't even latch onto for lack of a pen to write it down at that fleeting moment or simply because that dreaded four-letter-word rears it's ugly head: work. Either way, I've felt like somewhat of a writing failure as of late.

For someone who fancies their self a writer, not writing is, well, a big kick in the pants. Its not that I don't want to. It's that I can't. Times to write are so few and far between that I can't establish a solid rhythm or cadence to the process. All the writing books I've read and respected people I've talked to say the same thing, "Write often." This makes perfect sense if you're doing that sort of Romantic Age loner thing but how do you pull it off with two kids, a wife, and an uninspiring 9-to-5er? My only points available to write seem to come after all the kids are in bed and asleep (a very important point) and that's usually 9-9:30. Now, at one time, this would have been fine. I was a night owl, able to stay up till all hours of the night, wake up at seven wiping the sleep from my eyes, and head out to greet another day none the worse for wear. Those days are long gone.

I don't know. I need a sledgehammer to break through the wall...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Some New Kid Pics...


It's only taken, um, well, let's see...I graduated in '94...Hmmm....Wonder how long the Masters work is gonna take?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Review: Compadres - Marty Stuart

One of the most diverse and accomplished yet humble artists working within music today, Stuart has established a legacy that has stretched far and wide, crossing genres and uniting him with all sorts of artists. This album is a collection of collaborations that span the career of this nice guy from Philadelphia, Mississippi. Here's the INFUZE review:

Review: The Wheel Man - Watermelon Slim and the Watchers

Solid, rootsy blues soaked in Slim's oaken voice accompanied by some smoking musicians. Slim is old school and keeps the blues blue. Here's the INFUZE review:

Review: Miles Away - Gina Villalobos

With a voice that evokes thoughts of Lucinda Williams and Melissa Etheridge, Villalobos writes heartfelt lyrics over a country-tinged rock soundscape. Here's the INFUZE review: