Thursday, August 30, 2007
Fast forward to the present. Recently, my family and I joined a church after about three years or so of floating. Our floating came at the difficult end of four years of youth ministry, a story that I believe I've documented at an earlier time. In those years, I continued to pray, to think, and to deconstruct and I can honestly say that my thoughts and views have changed quite a bit from the past. Which makes our current situation a bit unique.
Our new home at Bayside Community Church is one that, five years ago, would have been a dream come true. It's a growing, thriving, young church with passionate leaders and rousing worship times. The pastor is a dynamic personality, speaking generally on topics that are readily applicable. My son loves his church time and is just jazzed every time he sees the hyperactive children's pastor. They pray for other churches in the area, which to me is a beautiful thing. Relationships are touted and encouraged left and right and the small group ministry is pitched as the hub of the church. A legitimate evening of prayer even frames the week for the church, allowing members and church leaders to come together in intercession for personal requests and the local community. These are all great things.
Yet, as I've said, a lot has occurred in the last couple of years. Truthfully, I've lost a lot of faith in the current state of church and particularly in churches as large as Bayside. It's an unfair assessment as people seem to generally be getting a lot out of things but I can't help feeling frustrated. My training from college as well as reading and thinking I've done about the state of both Christianity and the Church has me wrestling with so many elements within. I've even found myself questioning the use of disposable plastic cups for the Saturday evening pizza they serve after service as a reflection of how we view environmental concerns. Sometimes I think I've just flipped my lid and others I generally wonder if I've lost my faith. I don't possess the same fervor as I once did but I'm not sure that I want to feel that way again. I want genuine, authentic, passionate community that oozes depth and the glory of the goodness of God.
So, I continue to struggle, both with myself, with the church, and even with my wife. Yet, I can't seem to turn off my mind when it comes to these topics. I'm not intentionally trying to do this. I just can't get away from my thoughts of how things could be and wondering if perhaps they should be. I don't know if I'm missing God's blessing of answered prayer or am in a place where I'm called to be a catalyst for change...
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
"Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar."--Drew Carey
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Well, as a short glance down the page will show, my son and I have taken up fishing. I'd forgotten how much I really enjoyed the experience of being outside, of watching my bobber (yes, we're fishing old-school!) float across the surface of that water, and especially of having my son beside me learning. Now Tyler's not necessarily clued in all that well, and he tends to have more fun casting, then handing the pole to me to do the actual fishing so he can down a popsicle or rummage through the tackle box. Either way, I love the time I get to spend with him.
And, tonight, my son caught his first legitimate fish. While we're referring to the pic below as Tyler's actual catch, tonight was the real deal. Granted, it happened sort of by accident, as Tyler was holding the pole for a rare second while I baited our other pole's hook but when the bobber dove under the surface of the water and I hollered for him to reel, Tyler drew in our whopper of the evening. I'm going to say it. I'm a proud papa. I love my son. He's an amazing kid who continues to teach me each and every day. This morning he reminded me that he loves me. I hope he remembers that when he's sixteen...
Monday, August 27, 2007
I really don't know why. I don't. I guess that I just fell for the gimmick. Plus, I'm not gonna lie, in spite of myself I kind of liked Troy's guest spots on Big & Rich's first album. Sue me. Either way, you've gotta admit that this is catchy, even if you don't know what the heck it means.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Today's guilty pleasure is: Michael Bolton's My Secret Passion! Please be gentle...
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Theology - Sinead O'Connor
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Life in the Slow Lane
Thursday, August 16, 2007
The article itself goes on to discuss something else, namely the push of technology and the endangerment of albums as a whole. With the digital age and the ability to pick and choose songs, we're in serious danger of loosing classic art pieces like The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" or Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. So, I ask you another question: What is that life changing album or two that you've had? What was that album that you heard and you knew that the world was going to be all right because this music existed within it? I really am curious to hear some responses. Wonder if anyone will?
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Tyler: "Daddy, are you going to go to work today?"
Me: "Yeah, Daddy's going to go get ready in just a minute."
Tyler: "Are you be hating it?"
Me (a little taken aback but honest): "Yeah, some days Daddy does."
Tyler, walking out the door w/Mee-Maw: "Daddy be hating his work..."
It's a dark thing, a painful thing, and a weird thing to acknowledge that this is true. I've hit the place in my "professional career" where I really hate my job. Now, I don't hate the people and I don't even hate the work all the time but I hate the fact that it's just not, well, me. I don't feel complete in what I'm doing. As I spoke with a distant friend recently about this, he put it succinctly: "You're not buying what you're selling." Yup, kids, thats about the size of it.
While acknowledging a place for Christian retail, I realize that I personally am fed up with it. I'm tired of Jesus fish, Jesus shirts, Jesus lamps, and all other assorted and sundry Jesus junk. I believe that we are feeding into the already materialistic and consumer-crazed monolith that is already wreaking havoc on our society and I am tired of being a part of it. At least thats the big ideaological side of it. The other side of the picture is that I don't feel, and I hate to use this word but, called, or perhaps a better word is fulfilled, in what I'm doing there. I feel as though I'm sitting on both knowledge and talent without the forum to use them there and it's driving me crazy. So, yes, I guess, at least some days, I "be hating it."
Monday, August 13, 2007
What I've been working at, I suppose, is a bit of good 'ole deconstruction. It hasn't been a conscious decision, at least initially, but now I've sort of acknowledged it and have run with it. Let me give an example of what I'm talking about. Many, if not most of us, deal with things in the short term. We get up, shower, do whatever else it takes to get ready, head to work, slave in the office, fight our way home to play with our kids and eat dinner and rest up so we can do it all again. The trick comes when we begin to fine tune the lens a bit, to magnify things to point out certain details. One such detail that's really stood out to me as of late surrounds the concepts of ecology and sustainability.
For the better part of my life, I've used plastic, styrofoam, and whatever other materials I've needed because they served my needs. They eliminated the need for doing dishes, saved me time, and just simplified my life. Good stuff, right? However, as I've pondered systems, I've come to think of things a bit differently. Yes, these conveniences might aid me in the short term, but what am I becoming complicit in? Is my use of such materials having any sort of negative effect on the world? And, to take it a step further, is my engagement of such things honoring or neglecting the faith I claim to hold?
Now, this seems a simple issue. Life is busy, hectic, and maddening at times. These products are cheap and provide a handy service. But, I have to deconstruct things and say that while, sure, they provide a service, they also promote many negatives. What negatives? Well, let's begin with the ecological expense, from the simple decomposition rates as well as the environmental footprint left to simply dispose of it. Then back up even further and consider the fact that if we keep on this way, we're gonna need more which is going to necessitate the production of more and more which will release how many more harmful toxins into our air and ecosystem, leaving a less-than-wonderful world for my children to inherit. Again, taking it that step further, what does it say about me that I'm more apt to be a consumer than one who is taking God's creation seriously, honoring it and seeking to beautify and add to it as opposed to poison it?
This is just one system that I've been mentally deconstructing, "in my free time." There are clearly more that my mind has touched on, political, religious, theological, and more. But this is a healthy process, I believe, one that will open me up to more possibilities as to what the world may hold.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Church Decision Outrages Family
Friday, August 10, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
1.) "Love is the Last Thing to Go" - Kris Kristofferson, from The Pilgrim
2.) "Perfectly Fitted" - Lori Chaffer, from Songs from the Voice, Vol. 2
3.) "Born in Bethlehem" - Blind Boys of Alabama, from Go Tell it On the Mountain
4.) "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends - Joan Osborne, from Pretty Little Stranger
5.) "When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again" - Elvis Presley, from Tiger Man
6.) "The Rock Song" - Sigor Ros
7.) "Old Dollar Mamie" - from the album, Negro Prison Blues and Songs
8.) "This is Now" - 33Miles, from 33Miles
9.) "Not Ready to Make Nice" - Dixie Chicks, from Taking the Long Way
10.) "The Difference (In the Garden of Saint-Anne's-On-the-Hill)" - Kings X, from Gretchen Goes to Nebraska
11.) "It's Beginning to Get to Me" - Snow Patrol, from Eyes Open
12.) "When Tomorrow Comes" - Pillar, from The Reckoning
13.) "Pretty Polly" - Ralph Stanley and Patty Loveless, from All-Star Bluegrass Celebration
14.) "Promised Land" - Elvis Presley, from 2nd to None
15.) "Mary Goes to Jesus" - John Debney, from The Passion of the Christ Soundtrack
Okay, the eclecticism continues. I'd love to see some of yours! Send them along!
One friend has encouraged me to learn my place as a permanent exile/stranger in this land. Still another has exhorted me to rejoice within my pilgrim journey. I've found these to be fitting analogies to where I feel myself going. I do feel exiled from that past I once knew. Parts of me, at times, long for the simplicity of a dogmatic youth, an existence that found peace and contentment within the colors of a black and white world. Yet, the rainbows of the prism have been unleashed within my mind and this is simply not something to be forgotten or cast aside. Yet the longing persists and I hang my head wondering.
It's ironic, really. I haven't, as some may surmise, lost my faith in Christ. Rather, I've lost my faith in Christianity and in many of those who would consider themselves to be it's adherents. The faith I once held dear, that faith of my youth, has been found wanting. The problem comes with the fact that we've stolen the name of Jesus and replaced it with rules, laws, and dogma. We've painted Jesus into a picture of Republican politics, consumer-minded materialism, and bumper sticker religion. I long for a faith that once again plumbs the depths, that touches the hem of the garment of the Divine, and again allows me that sense of peace and fulfillment.
That same friend who referred to me as an exile also exhorted me to stay close to the Sermon on the Mount. Let me leave you with the Beatitudes:
Matthew 5:1-11(NIV) Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Ulysses Everett McGill: I am the only daddy you got! I'm the damn paterfamilias!
Wharvey Gal: But you ain't bona fide!
Well, unlike Mr. McGill, I've become bona fide. Genuine-like. I am now, officially, a professional freelance writer. Sure, sure, I've made a few dollars via my work on Associated Content but the majority of my work has been done with the sole purpose of getting my name out there, getting some free stuff, and garnering some good practice. But now, ladies and gentlemen, I've actually received a check! Woo hoo!
"From who?" you ask. Well let me tell you. My good friend and Mr. Miyagi-styled editor and writing mentor Matt is taking on a new venture with Stereo Subversion. We're launching the site on August 13th and I can't be more excited. The site is geared around the pursuit and exposure of what we're simply calling meaningful music. Check us out at Stereo Subversion on the 13th! Tell your friends!
Alas, this was a bittersweet read for me. Ever since my dear friend Celena turned me on to reading about Harry and his pals at Hogwarts, I've made short work of the books, devouring my secondhand copies like they were peanut butter sandwiches. I splurged for this latest and last release, largely because I didn't want to have the ending spoiled for me. I wasn't disappointed. Rowling saves some of the best for last and continues the magic. The only bad part is that this is the end.
I finally got back into the groove and started reading something a little more heady than my previous selections. An Emergent Manifesto of Hope is a solid collection of essays from a number of practitioners and thinkers from the collective fellowship and conversation that is Emergent Village. Ultimately a challenging and thought-provoking read, this book not only highlights the unifying points of Emergent, but also it's vast diversity. While there are a few chapters that make for slow reading, the majority of the text is well worth your time.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Libertad - Velvet Revolver