Month: February 2010

i was looking over at my bookshelf…

and saw this subtitle to a book. (btw, my bookshelf doesn’t look like that)

“A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas”

that kinda started me thinking.  are we as the church a curious people with dangerous ideas, or are we satisfied with the knowledge we already have which is safe and predictable.  i mean that’s the message i’ve gotten from the church pretty much my whole life.  just simple pat answers or cliches.  nobody would admit if they had doubts or if they had questions because they might seem weak or less “holy”.  it’s a shame that our piousness holds us back from the mission we’ve been given by our Lord.  i don’t think that Jesus ever promised us safe, all questions answered religion as His way.  in fact we tend to gloss over the dangerous ideas from the bible.  when Jesus presented things to people that they didn’t find palatable, they walked away (John 6:60-66)

so what do we do with this?  how do we become curious people with dangerous ideas? i just point you to the 8th chapter of Romans.  i can’t say it any better than that. we live by the Spirit and ask God to give us His dangerous dreams and to make us curious to know more about Him.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

what dangerous idea or burning question do you have today?

i don’t always write about….

church or the Christian life in general.

i think so many people compartmentalize faith and worship and life.  i fight not to do that.  i mean i work at a church….there are so many directions i could go with that, but i won’t.  instead i will treat you to a passage from one of my favorite authors Chuck Klosterman.

The best response to a police officer who’s just asked the question, “Have you been drinking tonight?”

“That’s a great question, and I totally understand why you’re asking it.  I can see where you’re coming from, sir.  I realize my behavior seems a little erratic.  I smell vaguely of alcohol.  I’m in a motor vehicle, and it’s three o’clock in the morning.  It’s a unique circumstance.  But I’m not intoxicated.  I’m distraught.  I’m a hyper-emotional person who can’t accept the inherent unfairness of the universe.  Have you ever read Arthur Schopenhauer?  You know, that dead German pessimist?  He once said that the vanity of existence is revealed in the form that existence assumes:  in the infiniteness of time and space contrasted with the finiteness of the individual in both; in the fleeting present as the sole of all things in which actuality exists; in the contingency and relativity of all things; in continual becoming without being; in continual desire without satisfaction; in the continual frustration of striving of which life consists.  Crazy, right?  I don’t really get what he’s saying.  But I do know this, officer:  That’s how I feel all the time.  And to make matters worse, I’m an insomniac.  I haven’t slept more than two hours in any given night since I was sixteen.  That’s why I’m awake right now, wandering the roadways of quasi-reality, living my wretched, vampiric existence.  I suppose you could say I was suicidal, but too depressed to kill myself.  And then, when I saw the rolling blue lights of your squad car in my rearview mirror, I realized nothing I could say or do would reflect positively on my condition.  The game was over.  I’ve lost.  Why fight it?  I pulled over to the side of the road, depressed the parking brake, turned off my vehicle, and imbibed one full shot of Bombay gin, which I happen to keep in the glove box of my car, precisely for this type of situation.  That is the alcohol you smell.  In fact it’s still coating the inside of my mouth.  Which also means if you give me a Breathalyzer right now, the remnants of the alcohol will still be there, so I’ll fail the test, even though I’m not intoxicated.  So–to answer your original question–yes.  I have been drinking.  I’ve had exactly one drink tonight, thirty seconds ago, in response to the hopelessness of existence.  Do I still need a lawyer?”  Chuck Klosterman from Eating the Dinosaur

so, do you think that would get the driver out of the DUI?

one of my favorite things that i got to see in Nashville…

was Hatch Show Print

since 1879, Hatch Show Print has designed and printed posters for the biggest names in music. they have
also supplied the Ryman Auditorium with event posters for over a century. they still make these posters using a printing press.  it was really cool to actually go to the store and see them in process.  the designs are a little more modern, but they still have an amazing timeless look to them.  i’m so glad that i got to see this art form in action.  there is a whole display of their work in the Nashville Airport too. i hope you enjoy it too.  of course i put some posters of some of my favorite artists.

here are some samples.

a quote….

“If leading worship is just about bringing a group of people into a room so we can get goosebumps and sing songs together, there’s not much value in that. But if leading worship is a means to an end, that we leave this place as a different kind of people, as part of a new humanity that God wants to create – the people that are caring for the widows and orphans, that aren’t bound by the systems of this world but becoming free, becoming fully engaged in our world – then that matters.” Michael Gungor

the Lenten season…

yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, the 40 days leading up to Resurrection Sunday.  i grew up in a denomination that did not celebrate Lent.  i don’t know if we were so afraid of Catholicism that we just ran the other way or what.  we also didn’t talk too much about the Holy Spirit(i guess the charismatic gifts are scary)

i remember my Episcopalian and Catholic friends having smudges on their foreheads.  i asked what it was about, but nobody could really explain it.  i just knew they gave up things that they probably shouldn’t have been doing anyway for a month or so before Easter (the only holiday where it is perfectly acceptable to dress the whole family in pastels) oh, and because of Lent, we had fish patties on Friday at school.

yesterday, i took part in my very first Ash Wednesday service.  our pastor placed the symbol of the cross on my forehead with ashes made from last years Palm Sunday palms.  it was a very solemn service.  i had been praying about what to “give up” for Lent and the day before had decided to abstain from Facebook and Twitter for 40 days (even though Lenten rules let you break your fast on Sundays, i will not be doing so).  this was difficult for me as i keep in touch with many of my distant friends through both of those mediums, but i wanted to give up something that would be difficult.

a lot of people don’t understand that, they say things like, “I’m going to DO things during Lent, not give things up….Jesus was about doing”.  they seem to forget that very same Jesus went into the desert for 40 days to fast, and that He was probably in the practice of fasting and self-sacrifice.  i think the beauty of giving something up is replacing it with something else.  i for one am going to read all of the Gospels during this 40 days.  i’m going to spend my time WITH Jesus.  reading His words and applying them in my life.  and i’m going to put my phone down since i removed all of the FB and twitter apps from it and spend that time with my family.  i’m hoping this time will give me some perspective on better use of my social media time.

here is the reason for Lent from our service yesterday:

Preparation Meditation:

Long ago Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem with crowds shouting praise and children waving palms.  Yet the crowds quickly turned against Jesus.  Likewise, our Palm Sunday “hosannas” welcoming Jesus as our Savior are often followed by our rejection of Christ as Lord of our lives.  We betray Christ to the derision of the world.  Our actions condemn Christ’s chosen way of saving the world through love instead of force.  So, today and in this season of Lent, we repent.  With the ashes from our past failure, we turn once more to be marked by Jesus’ cross in the hope that Jesus Christ will forever be both Savior and Lord of our lives.  Welcome to this time of self-examination and prayer.  God loves you and wants you to turn in faith to receive powerful life in the Holy Spirit.

All are invited into a deeper commitment to Christ through this Lenten season. We invite you to consider how you might observe this time with intentional discipleship. You might want to participate in a fast from particular luxuries, material consumerism or various forms of entertainment, and take each opportunity to refrain as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice.  You might want to add a spiritual discipline such as morning or evening Bible reading or daily prayer for our, church, community or world.  Lenten disciplines also focus us outwardly in actions of service and compassion. What might you do this season for others?  Please prayerfully consider your call for this season and offer your commitment to God in prayer.

Hear No Evil

this is my review of Matthew Paul Turner’s book Hear No Evil.

Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a chance to win a copy of the book.

if you follow @JesusNeedsNewPR on twitter, or read his blog, you are no stranger to his biting sarcasm and wit.  my first exposure to MPT was following him while he tweeted American Idol last season and then every subsequent award show where we would often trade comments back and forth about how horrid Taylor Swift was in that performance.  you can imagine how excited i was when i found out his newest book was about his own musical formation.  i was expecting a tirade about the fundamentalists that kept him from good music.  a Jonathan Swiftesque satire akin to the Jesus pictures he periodically posts on his blog…

what i found was a book about real people tendered with much grace.  there is the occasional barb at his upbringing and some of the people he was raised around and with, but mostly it’s a very honest look at how music is essential in his and other people’s formation as human beings.

from the stories about “Christian Rocker Adam” who didn’t know who a certain big name star was, to MPT’s own big name non-recognition in Music Business at Belmont, the book is full of very candid and honest moments.  i’ve read a few other reviews where people have asked questions or attacked things Matthew did or didn’t do, but i can’t judge his story.  it’s just his story.  he lived it.  i’m sure there were things he’d change and other things he wouldn’t.  a few of my favorite moments include Matthew’s story of getting in trouble for possessing a certain artist’s tape, him flirting with Calvinism and basically the whole chapter Chasing Amy.

his story is the story of countless AWANA kids who have come up to me at camps over the years and told me i was wrong for playing the guitar(so loud) and singing “those” songs.

it’s a fun book with lots of truth, humor and honesty.  i highly recommend it.

so thanks MPT for taking me on an honest, enjoyable, sometimes painful (for you) trip through your childhood and young adult years.  other reviewers may only give you 3 stars, but i give you 4 1/2 stars (said in my best Ed McMahon voice)

I’m giving away a free copy Hear No Evil to one lucky reader.  Leave a comment telling me one of your most formative musical moments and i will randomly select a winner

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

To learn more about or purchase these books at

this past week at recreate…

i had the honor of meeting a few of my distant mentors.  some of the best moments i experienced were in the presence of Ian Cron.  I posted some thoughts from his book Chasing Francis last year.

Ian took time to teach us about being present.  being essentially where we were instead of distracted and distant.  our first meeting was actually at a Super Bowl party where we discussed the influence of Led Zeppelin in modern music and then enjoyed The Who’s half time performance.

the highlight of the week for me had to be the Holy Eucharist that we received on Wednesday morning.  amazing art on the table by JVo

what a beautiful liturgy.  what wonderful songs.  what amazing instruction on what communion should really look like.  i wept as i received the bread and wine.  it was possibly the most spiritually profound moment in my life other than my own conversion.  i give great thanks to God and i’m thankful for the contemplative life of Ian Cron.

God is the One whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.

i had the privilege of…

seeing a live performance of the new Gungor (formerly known as Michael Gungor Band) album “Beautiful Things” on Thursday.  it was one of the most amazing and surreal performances i’ve ever had the honor of seeing and hearing.  i’ve seen U2, James Taylor, Willie Nelson, etc.  this ranks up as one of the tops if not the top.  it moved me in ways that i can’t explain to you.  it is literally indescribable. you would need to see it yourself.  you need to own the record.  i’m on my 6th listen through and it is definitely in my top 5 of all time and that is saying a lot.  here is an acoustic version of the title track.  it is no comparison to what we saw, but it’s still pretty amazing.  enjoy….