Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Hallowed Evening

I turned on channel 10 news tonight to see the ETPRS report of the Bijou Theatre Hauntings. What I got instead was a report about a security officer getting shot in the parking lot of my old high school, on the same campus where my brother goes to school. The incident had happened about 15-20 minutes before the newscast, and the officer was en route to the hospital. He had gone to check out an out-of-state car in the parking lot and gotten in an altercation with a homeless man from Virginia. The man shot him in the back with a revolver. The officer happened not to be wearing his customary Kevlar vest tonight. The suspect left the scene and rammed a KPD cruiser just north of downtown. He was then apprehended and taken to St. Mary's hospital (the police had to taze him). The officer died just before reaching a different hospital, while I was watching the news story.

Jay Leno came on. His guests were Rosanne Barr, who blatantly stated that not enough people were getting divorced, Sharon Osbourne, who was very proud of her daughter for bringing home a different boy every day, and Marilyn Manson, who, poignantly, is always wearing a costume. I would have liked to hear an interview with him, but no such luck. He sang a song from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Conan came on and was funny.

The one thing I can remember in this unexpected, close-to-home piece of surreality, is the picture of the shooter being taken in cuffs from the hospital. He, with several officers, walked out the door in the background, and in the foreground, quite by accident, was a slightly out-of-focus statue of Mary looking up to heaven. We "ponder these things" in our hearts, and the end of the matter is still that somehow, God is sovereign. Perhaps it is even more pointedly revealed here: a homeless man with a car and a gun, from over 150 miles away, a security guard who didn't wear his vest tonight, a Hallowe'en when schools send security out at night to prevent vandalism, a God under whom no sparrow falls unnoticed or unbidden. I'm not sure how something could be so heavy with sorrow and joy at the same time, but it is.

Happy Hallowe'en, my alma mater. Soli Deo Gloria.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Wilde Dreams

Study journal excerpt - 10/20/06

"I believe it, now (after reading the first pages of Madeleine L'engle's Walking on Water), to be no coincidence that I find my path, as a writer, crossed by the best lyrics when I am driving or showering. At first, I thought it to be God's sense of humor. But could it be, that those are the times when I am most still? I am then alone, and usually worried about nothing. Steamy water on my neck or the rhythm of the engine on a long raod gently nudge my consciousness into a nonchalant listening. I am certainly, in these two solitary environments, least worried about what people think of me."

A couple weeks ago, I had a great night of praying and studying. I say great, but perhaps what I mean is diligent. Any time that I spend listening to and depending on Christ for all is time well spent, no matter my gauge of it. But I awoke the next morning after having three dreams in which my attitude was summed up in ruthlessness. I was simply uncaring and visibly selfish to an astonishing degree. I only remember the details of one, but I remember the feeling, and I remember waking up and refusing to go back to sleep.

Few things are as frightening as confrontation with the realization of one's own sinful potential. I started awake, horrified and unconsolable. I can only hope and pray that it was merely God's hand driving me back to him, lest I should become so confident in my 'success' the previous day. Spiritually, that's what it felt like, but it was still.....ugly. My own Dorian Gray portrait. I still find great comfort and joy in God's continued direction and intervention in my life (and I was never promised convenience).

"Sweet dreams are made of this. Who am I do disagree?"

                                 -The Eurythmics

Friday, October 13, 2006

To Hear Where the Music Lives

Tonight, I experienced a great fullness in the music that I've been privileged to write - a fullness that I had not known until this past concert. I played at Johnson's Brewing Station for a small crowd made up mostly of folks I know and love. Nathan Sharpe joined in on Wurlitzer and electric, Britta Adams sang and played phenomenally on percussion, and Andy Vandergriff sang and played guitars. I really felt the beautiful twinge of blessing that these great folks chose to spend their time making my music sound like a good story ought. And it was even more amazing that people, even - and perhaps especially - people I know, gave of their time to sit and listen to my play and sing for an hour. I played a new song called Fight With Skin, with is essentially about my wife being wonderful enough to be honest with me - specifically when I really need to be told that I'm being an idiot - and about the beauty of taking this allegory called marriage very slowly, savoring each other's presence.

I can't describe to you the feeling when the art you're taking part in comes to a head and, at least to you, sounds like an entirely new creation that you were never really a part of in the first place. I suppose it's quite akin to that first breath of today that I took as I stepped outside into the cool air. The day, and indeed the year, from that point on, becomes something else entirely. It ever longs to be violently alive.

If you came to the show, or if you're reading this, thank you. Seriously, it's incredibly heart-warming that you should care what I might have to say. Even if it is the internet, it almost feels as if we were sitting in a living room together. God has surely blessed me in what He has done. I won't say I'm no longer ambitious, but I'm a little more content (and not just because I feel that things went well). Content enough to be divinely discontented? Now that's another story for another day...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Be Very Afraid

Life is now a game.

Bow to the game-master.

I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ron Luce Rides Again

A quandry before bed...

I cut out this article so as to remind myself of the problems I see. Give it a read and then sit back and think about it. Then read it again.

Evangelicals Fear the Loss of Their Teenagers

The content certainly reveals a side of subculture Christianity that rubs me rather raw. Thus, I must kindly reveal that there are a few aspects, such as the ease of integration and community (although this presents some challenges of a different nature), that I do not find altogether detrimental.

However, I'm not quite sure that I agree with Luce and others about the causes of "the loss of [our] teenagers." The 'causes' quoted seem to be more symptomatic than efficacious. Anyway, the article is by Laurie Goodstein, the Times' religion correspondent, and I think I'll be reading more of her...

Sunday, October 01, 2006


In the next couple minutes before blessed Bed, I will do my best to bring you up to speed on current events. And believe me, I feel a calling from Bed.

In the past insane week, Kat and I have been blessed to see a little more clearly the fullness and purpose of God through giving and prayer. Community was certainly built this morning, as we spent the entirety of Sunday School praying in a small cluster. And indeed, I felt the retaliation of the Enemy like a weight around my neck later on. Praise God that he brings me back from the grave. I feel quite a bit more committed to music and playing and writing songs that reflect Christ in my life a little more. I don't quite know why, but I always felt an inadequacy to express these things in a manner that would not be campy and cheesy, and the knowledge I have in Christ is anything but. But yesterday, I walked out of a class on worldview integration with Nathan and we strolled up into downtown for lunch at MacLeod's, all the while feeling out conversation peppered with moments of changing and binding Grace. I talked a lot about my relationship with my dad. And certainly, after several revealing times and talks with friends beyond that, I feel more driven to reveal the mystery and the beauty that is Christ in God through songs. I hope one day that all doubt will be gone in this, but perhaps that is my own thorn. And, perhaps, I will soon better understand the strange and sometimes uncanny place that music, and indeed art, plays in this Great Story of the Lamb and his Bride. Many recent thanks; to Andrew Peterson and crew for always being honest with me and for living in the Spirit, to Kenny Woodhull for being passionate and Kingdom-minded, to Adam Feldman for giving me a swift kick, and to my sweet wife for being herself and more. This list seems shortish, but I think the rest of what I could say is a little too personal for mass internet publication, but there are more thanks to give indeed. And thank you, for reading...

In other news, I several dates coming up, some with Greg Adkins, some with other folks joining me to play some songs that I have been given. I'll try to remember to keep the website always updated with new concerts, provided that they exist (hint, hint, if you are a venue manager).

Our house, yesterday, was punctuated by the antics of children. Not our own, but sometimes I feel otherwise. But that's a good thing. Courtney and Matthew, Kat's little cousins, came over and baked bread with Kat and made real butter (of which I ate some). I must say to you, I think I would sin for real butter. Perhaps it is a sin in of itself, like a little white creamy lie on rye. But we sent it back with the kids, and I don't feel that I have gained too much in rotundity from it, although I do need to get back to running, among other disciplines.

Sleep well.