Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Un-Emptied Throne

My great-grandfather died this past Monday at about 4 o'clock in the morning. In my thinking of the Kingdom, I can't seem to imagine the old man without all his quirks. He couldn't really talk about much with me. But he was a story and a poem in and of himself. Edwin Terrell Ivester. The man had beautiful white hair and big thick glasses. He used to be a farmer, and he used to be in the cavalry. Now he lies in wait for a new Dawn.

I finished reading The Man Who Was Thursday last night. And among this book and my great-grandfather's death at a ripe old age, I blinked again for a second and glimpsed a possibility of the world being more than what I see. A glimpse of everything being sort of upside down. It almost fully realizes that yearning we always feel. Everytime you turn off the TV and still can't sleep. That yearning that I felt tonight when I stopped for gas. People at a gas station at night don't talk to each other. We all just glance around and sort of notice the other folks there - as if we're embarassed about something. Or maybe it's a hurry to get home for fear of the night, like old Egyptian religions where one would not be caught out late for fear of the spirits wandering. Whatever it is, we're silent. And fearful. But what if that gentleman I crossed glances with sat down with me over a drink? What if we talked, like people do? I might see a bit of the upside-down-ness of our silent fear. I might see two thrones that await us both. Great chairs in the lighted shadow of a greater one. The arms on them almost hope for us - root for us. One throne now has only to be patient. It has only to wait with breathing relief at the side of a great Banquet Table.

But, I do appear to be rambling, and I must get to bed. If you must, you can be sorry for me. I loved what I knew of the man. But call me crazy, cause I'm glad for him. His fight is won.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


The forsythias and jonquils have smiled persistent blossoms through the cold snaps of a Tennessee spring again, and I don't think they're done yet. I, however, am quite ready for God to flip the switch for the season. I want to put Bart (the aloe plant) outside and I want to sit on the porch and drink tea and beer and listen to tree frogs. And, of course, I want to ride bikes and go for walks in the waning sun of southern dusk.

Aside from the commonly unusual weather patterns around here, I shall tell you some things that I'm excited about. To start off with, I think Kat and I have found a church where we want to be members. This is an answer to a few different prayers. It's been difficult to really be a part of the Body at Salem because of the distance and because of the family ties. I love my family, but Kat and I are beginning to think that the striking out of starting a new family (or at least a new branch of the old one) even extends to church. That's difficult for me to see Scripturally, but I feel increasingly led away from Salem. So, we've been visiting different places. And today, we landed upon a church that has a very missional, relational view of the Body of Christ. In the sermon I heard today, and more especially, in the people I met, I felt that I would be challenged but loved. I felt like I could be honest with people - like telling your best friend a secret that you've never told anyone. We're going to a small group get-together tonight, and I hope that with prayer and love, we can really meet some people here who will stand with us in perseverance. Like jonquils and forsythias, we will last through the cold.

I've also been on a cooking bout since Kat got back. While she was with her folks in Florida, I had nobody to cook for, so my dietary habits were reduced to whatever was lying around. But we got a Sam's card when she got back, and a new shelf to make a pantry out of, so I brought out the Wolfgang in me. A few recent creations include 1) chicken cordon bleu sandwiches 2) bread pudding 3) freshly baked bread 4) and a wonderful bruschetta. I keep inviting people to come over and eat, but they never do. Hopefully, this will tantalize someone enough to draw them to our door. We do love guests, so give us a shout and we'll make a feast.

Continuing in the vein of cooking, my mother-in-law got me a small herb garden. So I am sprouting with fresh mint and chives, plus the Scarborough Four. Kat didn't know that song! The stuff they're not teaching our kids..... But we got this little full-spectrum light for the plants, so it looks like we're growing marijuana in our kitchen. But as long as I'm not smoking rosemary, I think deceiving looks won't be a problem.

I also developed a new roll of film, and I think my favorite shot is this one.

au revoir~

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Battle of Irmo

Ahh, Lent: that lovely post-binge time of year when many folks try their hand a second time at the fabled resolve of the New Year's resolution.

No. Kat and I had a conversation about why one might give up something for Lent, and here is proof of my wife's wisdom. She said that I should persevere in my fast from meat and alcohol in order to appreciate the sacrifice that is part of following Jesus Christ. So, I continued for another couple of days, and then gave it up because I had told way too many people about it - even though it's really supposed to be between God and myself - and because I was on a wonderful trip with some great folks - and this annual journey sees us getting paid to play music and eat. Besides, my pursuit of Jesus did not grow more diligent with this practice. So, I shall try again at another time, hopefully practicing more privacy and also hopefully with aid of a friend who might stand by me in mutual accountability. Not to say that my wife and friends would not, but they were not fasting from meat and alcohol, so the singularity of my position presented a difficulty. No excuses, though. But that's not what I'm here to tell you.

This past weekend, the sound of clashing swords in a Great Battle was heard a little louder behind the dim veil of blindness over this world. It was my fourth annual trip to Irmo, South Carolina to join in leading the Disciple Now weekend at First Baptist. It has always been a struggle of last-minute preparation - reminiscent of my college career - to get everything ready so that it goes off without an undeniably noticeable hitch. This year was not unique in that aspect, but in the aspect that we could see Satan fighting. Fighting with all the damned wiles of his way. I won't go into details, because some of it is personal to those involved, but let me suffice it to say that the whole world seemed against us. But there are whispers of a Life...

I can't really tell you exactly what happened in a large sense. Right now I just feel like a big rock star because I got to play music all weekend and people sang along and the sound was incredible! But the idea was not simply to make us all high, of course. I've brought a new perspective to the table every year, and this year, looking back on this morning and the previous two days, I can almost feel the hearts of the people worshipping Christ in song. I'm still jazzed off the high from the sound of the music, so I think that a truer sense of what happened will drift into my mind as the days roll onward. But we had a blast! And I can begin to see now the outline of a Battle taking shape, and the silent hand of a Savior in it. Who else could raise the bastard sons of sin as Knights of a Brotherhood?

So, we waded through countless hours of practice and preparation and stress and issues with each other. I call the whole experience a success. Let me not dwell on the bad. We learned about each other, spoke the truth to each other, came up with a fine selection of inside jokes, practiced and played well, and ate some dang good meals. If you're ever in Irmo, find a place called the Lizard's Thicket. Country-made meals; meat and three home-cooked veggies for $5.95 as I recall. But now, Kat and I are thankfully back home. So after a good quiet drive through the Blue Ridge Mountain sunset, and an evening of procrastination, I'm going to get the guitars, etc. out of the car and call it a night. Back to the Bux tomorrow, but I go as a knight much refreshed and reminded.


When the paycheck comes, a book on Jewish history is in order.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Just a quick update, as I'm way past my bedtime. I told you I would post some goals on here to keep myself accountable, so here we go.

1. Write three instrumental jazz pieces for an album a friend from church is putting together. Also, record said pieces. - due by June 1st

2. Complete that nagging press kit that's been hanging over my head. - due by May 1st

3. Get the necessary supplies to continue planning my novel (pending the next paycheck from this weekend). - ASAP, and that's the only clue you're going to get. Yep, I'm writing one. I've even considered a publisher.

4. Buy a 'little black book' to record all my gigs and business info as a performer. - also pending aforementioned paycheck

5. Listen to the White Album and learn the complete artistic value of all of the songs, not just "Mother Nature Son" and "Blackbird." - ongoing process

6. Relearn and study Jewish history prior to and during Jesus time on earth.

7. Buy a Randy Newman album and a Roger Miller album.

That's all for now. Tomorrow'll be a doozy...