Saturday, May 20, 2006


I had an epiphanal moment of knowing what a beautiful place I live in. I left this morning as the sun was whispering out from behind the past nights spent and docile nimbus clouds, heralding the shadow of a Morning to come. Fields upon fields of hay and longgrasses have been mistily clad this day, the tell-all eyes of a bride beneath the veil. And the morning sun set the foggy atmosphere aflame in my rearview mirror as I drove west into the city. Kat and I have been searching and praying for a place to belong to a church. There's so much weeping built up in my heart about this, because while the masses argue that, "There's no such thing as a perfect church," I wish for a church that embraces the imperfect - a Body that is weak where He is strong. I don't want a rotary club. I don't want a pick-me-up. I don't want a program and a basketball court and the damnability of every shrine to Capitalism that I see. I want to weep the tears that have been waiting for many shoulders. I don't want to be made to sing and lift my hands in the view of brothers and sisters whom I've never gotten to know. I am a self-conscious bastard son of the Devil, saved from all my smallness by something I cannot fully know without dying, and I need to meet others like me. I need to feel comfortable to sit in the dust with the exiles by the Kebar River and be overwhelmed.

There are a hundred thousand things I'm unsure of, and an unseen list of that which I am certain. So I can't pretend to tell you all this as truth in the knowledge that I don't particularly know what's good for me. This is merely my heart. These are the aridities that I want refreshed by honesty and grace - both common and Divine. Hear the words of God to Jerusalem through Ezekiel:

   " 'Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen."

                -Ezekiel 16:49-50

Thursday, May 18, 2006

6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon

So I have a new freaky craze for the 6 degrees game - otherwise known as 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Andy introduced me to this, and I'll fill you in if you're not already a player. The game started out with the premise that you can connect Kevin Bacon to any other actor through six movies or less. For example:

Kevin Bacon and, we'll say Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman was in Twister with Bill Paxton, who was in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon.

Now that was an easy one, but they get fun. Just yesterday, some friends and I connected Tom Hanks and Kirk Douglas in merely four, through a strange connection. Some rules are that you cannot use made-for-TV movies (even though I use Merlin quite frequently, considering its laundry list of big name actors: Sam Neil, Martin Short, Helena Bonham Carter, and James Earl Jones), and that you can only use actors and actresses. No directors or key grips or gaffers. No makeup artists. Cameos are allowed, but it's just bad form to overuse a cameo, such as Bruce Willis in Ocean's 12. But you can still use it some. Oh, and you can use voice actors and parts as well.

A couple good hints are as follows:

1. The connection between Tom Hanks and Mel Gibson is Barry Pepper.

2. The "inconceivable" guy from The Princess Bride is Wallace Shawn.

3. The guy who looks like Groucho Marx is Eugene Levy.

4. Bruce Willis is in everything.

And I'm so excited about the Kirk Douglas/Tom Hanks thing, that I have to tell you.

Kirk Douglas was in War Wagon with John Wayne, who was in The Shootist with Ron Howard. Ron Howard was in A Beautiful Mind with Ed Harris, who was in Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks.

Anyways, it's not of much value, except in training your mental file-recovery system. I suppose that's quite a bit of value. It will make you realize what you pay attention to in movies, as well. Keep in mind, this game will lose you hours of your life on trying to figure out the ones that stump you.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Foiled Again!

It has been an interesting hiatus over the past few days. I apologize for the veil of secrecy, but I'll give you a glimpse of a naked corner of my soul for the night. Perhaps it will be worth the chasing of un-damning for both of us.

A friend of mine decided to leave me. At the Powell show, one who I called my friend decided to pack up his toys and leave, so to speak. I will leave the revelatory details at that, so out of deference, please don't try and figure out who it was. However, he left me no explanation. He simply told me off and refused to talk about what was bothering him. I haven't heard from him since. The show itself was no better. Besides the loss of a friend bearing death to any hope of that elusive musician-audience communion, few people showed up, and a humdinger of a storm descended with a brooding concentration on Knoxville. Looking back though, I can't tell you of the sweetness of the release when it finally broke. All evening, throughout the show, it sat outside the door and inside my heart, mumbling. A dark old man with a secret. I am terminally ill with a raging case of self-condemnation (which, for those of you keeping score, is simply a mutant form of pride), so my friend bailing out on me did nothing for my outlook. I might has well have tried to win Waterloo. But on the way to a sympathy-dinner at Cracker Barrel, the skies lost all dignity and burst out at every seam. Blackest night was unleashed with the brightness of noonday sun, and the rain fell catastrophically with an unstoppable percussion. If it had just been me, I would have been out there dancing in it and shedding clothes as I went. The scouring rage of the storm was a welcome salve.

And to further destroy any thoughts you may have on God being a clean-cut individual, this weekend, Andy and I drove up to Kentucky to play a couple shows. No publicity, just booked a few gigs and drove up to wing it. With that setup, one can hardly expect a system of regularity. But even so, I would have thought that we would play at the venues that we booked. But God had other plans. We played Ground Effects two nights in a row, for two different sets of small nomadic crowds. And the whole thing was a lesson in art and spirituality - at least for me. My heart finally felt itself nestled for once in that place where art is for the gifted reflection of the Wild and Boundless Love of God. An indestructible Life. It was not merely to feed all the conventions of being a gigging musician. It was a chance to say to the Master, "You left me with one talent, and see, I have gained one more." For the burial of neglect is as much an interrement as misuse. So, not to say I am so much the wiser, but God blessed the whole of the weekend in a surprising way - which, if I may say so, seems to be the only regular thing about God - to the ironic and often side-splitting confusion of us poor traditionalists.

So now I sit here waiting for the sun to rise and the alarm clock to wake up so I can cook breakfast. I have a jar of M&Ms for company, and they're beginning to wear out their welcome. For now, I certainly don't think that this musical pursuit of beauty will be a career, but I hold onto a hope that it will always be a profession - to the glory of God for redeeming his servant.

I have a glorious week off to spend doing any and all things non-Starbucks related.
For the evening, good night.