Thursday, August 26, 2004


I'm glad that the gospel, as Brennan Manning says, "is for ragamuffins." Occasionally, now being one of those occasions, I realize how stupid and selfish I am and how much God truly loves me despite that. I have a couple of friends who have come upon a situation that I judged them for. I judged their attitudes, their behavior, right down to their character. And I don't mean I made a judgement call, I mean I was judgemental. Being judgemental is a step down from being vindictive. In the course of anger, I let mine get outside the realm of righteous anger, and I became unloving. But they are bigger men than I am right now, because they are forced to deal with the situation, while I sat back on my haunches like a tennis referee and threw indictments out at them. I thank God for bringing me to the end of that. I thank Him for giving them love enough to forgive me. I pray that He will give me love enough to support them both. I thank Him that the gospel, the Good News, is fit to measure for ragamuffins. I'm glad that, occasionally, I find out anew that I am one and always have been, and that it's ok.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Mushrooms and Musicians

I've spent the last couple of days cooking mushrooms in Merlot for myself and Red and some other good friends. That plus Tortallini with mushroom and garlic sauce. I can't even begin to tell you how good the food has been. So much better than food from the caf (that's cafeteria to the non-Carson Newman folks). I'm listening to the Vince Guaraldi Trio right now. This soundtrack to the Charlie Brown Christmas is probably the only Christmas music I listen to during the middle of the year. I take that back.......I did put on Handel's Messiah and Mozart's Vesperae Solemnae (I think that's how it's spelled - cultured people will correct me). I got to be a part of that recording when I was in Men's Chorus for CN last Christmas. I guess that when Andrew Peterson come's out with his Christmas cd, I'll put that in year-round too, since it's much more than just Christmas season music to me. God really showed me about writing songs today. I was driving the other day (don't remember where - how typical) and I thought about how small songwriting is in comparison to God's mighty love. It made me look at songwriting as if it was not important enough to do anymore. But today, as I was driving (again), I heard on the radio, a man (I think David Jeremiah) talking about reading Psalms whenever he had trouble or hardship. It got me to thinking, actually, God just flat out showed me. There's a Psalm in there for everything. If you're down, up, left, right, or confined to an amorphus shape, there's a Psalm for how you're feeling. There's a word from God to get you through. And all it is is David, Asaph, and whoever else just writing songs from their hearts about what they're going through. It's not them trying to say something profound - like I often do. I try to say something profound, and what I'm saying might be profound to some, but my attitude when I do that is haughty and shallow. It's not out of love, so it's worthless (If I speak in the tongues of angels, but have not love, I am nothing but a resounding gong and a clanging cymbal). I don't know if you've ever listened to someone play a ten-minute solo on crash cymbals, but personally, after no more than thirty seconds at the max, I feel the overwhelming desire to strangle something. (I haven't really heard a ten-minute cymbal solo, or even a five second cymbal solo...............thank goodness) So anyways (tangent ended), when they write from their hearts, not only is it good stuff, but God uses it to speak to people. And they get something out of it too. Like my friend Nathan told me, you can read good books and get good at writing, but if you don't get out and live your life, you'll never have anything to write about. Thank God for the fact that he uses us.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

A Change of Home

So here I am at Carson Newman. I finally got moved in and I can't imagine a more desirable or yet a more disappointing homecoming than I've had today. It feels like the beginning of my senior year, and yet it still feels like I've come back home. I'm listening to Garrison Keillor again - seems like something I constantly come too. I shouldn't be up this late, because I've got a few things to do tomorrow morning. And yet, I have that feeling that I always got that caused me to forget my obligations for the next day. Of course, "Do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself." I can't really type well while listening to something like this. Something that keeps my attention like Garrison Keillor's wonderfully captivating voice.

There we go - story's over. Now I can type. Sorry for the lackluster droning that took place before that. I titled this post as such because I seem to have had, in the past few years, several 'homes.' They say home is where the heart is, and Kat and I refer to being with each other as 'home,' because nothing else seems to fall under the word so well. I don't really feel at home at my parents' house. Of course that's not their fault, I don't know if it's anybody's fault. I suppose I'm truly scared about what in the world I'm going to do after college. There are all these plans and things to be taken care of. It's difficult to trust God (for some stupid reason), but I know this will make Kat and I stronger. I don't really have much important to say. I suppose I just wanted to sit down and talk, since the day's been so crazy. Funny how I'll take anybody who'll listen, even if it's a keyboard and a computer screen.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Here's a story about a famous storyteller, told by another famous storyteller. I guess I just love to sit and listen to someone tell stories about things, about whatever. It doesn't always matter what the subject is. I guess it matters more that someone is talking, and even more importantly, that someone else is listening. This is something I found on a tromp through the Prairie Home Companion website. It's Chet Atkin's eulogy - by Garrison Keiller. Take the time to read it. It's definitely worth it, especially if you imagine it being spoken in Garrison's deep, soothing baritone. Enjoy.

Sunny Graceville, Florida

Here I am at Katrina's parent's house. We're here for her brother's wedding. I am plodding clumsily through Walden and Name of the Rose, which I enjoy even though a good portion of it is in Latin. And my skills in Latin don't exist, so it's somewhat difficult. I'm sure that they'll be a little better after I finish the book.
We're here to get our vacation. I remember a book that my mom had called the Mom Dictionary. It defined vacation as "where you go to get away from it all - only to find it there too." I guess that's how I feel going on vacation with my folks. They try so hard to have fun that it seems like work. So here I am on an actual vacation. I sit around and read. I write music. I play the piano (I purposefully didn't even bring a guitar). I go swimming in the dark by myself. And, of course, I eat. No no.......I engulf. Eating at Karen and Richard's house is an event. Karen has a freezer chock full of leftovers. (What does that mean anyway? What in the world is a 'chock'?) That, plus the food cooked during the week. It's nearly insane around here because of the wedding this Saturday, but I'm enjoying myself. And after Kat and I leave, we head off to school, which has become sort of a vacation from summer.
It's strange how we always require some sort of change after awhile. I guess this doesn't apply to everybody, but if I sit at my parents house for too long, I go crazy. I end up being lazy and gluttonous. If you remember Derek Webb's song Stupid Kid from Caedmon's Call's self-titled album:

I think this place is swell
There's much familiar here
I get my laundry done
And I get home-cooked meals
When I'm feeling tired
I can turn off all the lights
With no one knocking on the door
I'll pretend I'm not alive

Now, while that was an unnecessarily long quote, it just about sums up my summer when I have nothing to do. So I end up making up things to do. From thence come my strange dishes that I cook, books that I read, things that I paint without meaning, etc. I do occasionally come upon a legitimate project. I guess it's good that I had a job this summer. Right now, I'm in the process of creating a new website. The idea came from Over the Rhine's site. So now, I'm trying to put all my writing on one website. Thus the quote "Beowulf unlocked his horde of words." Ciau.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

A Little Jesus

My last day at the club was Wednesday, August 11th, 2004. I know for a fact that there are kids I will miss. Most of them in fact. They all had their mischievous days and their good days. But there is one that stands out in my mind (and I hope it will be a long, long time before I forget her). Little Franny. I don't even know how old she is. Probably about 9 or 10. But she has a somewhat severe mental disability. It affects the way she talks and her behavior. But she is the most beautiful little thing you ever saw when you spend time with her. She loves to touch, everything, everybody. It's her way of speaking in love. And she never gives up on anyone, no matter what. I was talking to some other kid about - oh, I don't remember - and I said something was stupid. Franny, quite unashamedly, said that I shouldn't say stupid, but that was it. There was no afterthought and no change in her perception of me. I caught myself starting to justify my actions to her, and looking back I ask myself, "What were you thinking?! What's the big idea in trying to make this innocent more in tune with the world?" I can describe Franny in no better way to you than to say that she was the purest expression of the love of Jesus that I've ever seen in all my life. The Passion was heart-rending, but actually coming in contact with the pure love of Christ is another thing. I am reminded of Garrison Keiller's story about meeting Donny Hart on the bus. You should look that up and listen to it.