Month: March 2010

amazing…simply amazing

“my job was to awaken  possibility in other people…if their eyes are shining, you know you are doing it.” Benjamin Zander

i’ve watched this video about 5 times.  it’s an amazing journey.  if you have the time to devote to watching it, pay special attention to the end.  the musical explanations are brilliant, but to see how it applies to life is worth the time you will spend watching it.

you should really go and read this post….

at Ethos….

it’s a letter to the church that my distant mentor and friend Randy Elrod wrote.  Randy and the community he fosters has had an amazing impact on my life.

i really felt it’s also what i wanted to say to many of the churches i’ve been a part of in my life.  KNOW THIS.  i love the church.  i love the church i’m currently at, but that has not always been the case.

“Clearly the person who accepts the church as an infallible guide will believe whatever the church teaches” – St. Thomas Aquinas

Dear Church,

You have not loved me well. In fact, throughout our time together, I’ve felt used and abused. You use my talents to get people in the seats, but then you twist and “spin” the art I create for propaganda. You abuse by using me without any conscience whatever – for you tell me, “the end justifies the means.”

You have built a great wall between the sacred and the secular. Delineating worlds that were never meant to be separated. You have created a gray vacuum, a netherworld in between, and so I am homeless. I feel hopelessly rejected by both the church and the world. In fact, my entire life has been misjudged by parents, friends, teachers – and now you. Of all the places I thought I would surely find grace and acceptance, it was with you. But, you have not loved me well.

You value cloning, not originality. You value imitation, not creativity. You value programs, not people. You value the destination, not the journey. You value the story, not the telling.

Do you think I’m stupid? I’ll admit to being quirky, absent-minded, undisciplined, moody, depressed, to name only a few. But I’m not stupid. When I question, with an artists mind, the literal truth of the Bible, and you tell me I am not allowed to do so. Suddenly, I feel as if I’m in some sort of evangelical cult. So, if we are supposed to believe the Bible literally, then why aren’t we baptizing for the dead? Maybe that’s why the artist Madeline L’Engle said, “I believe the Bible is true, but I don’t believe it’s literal.” This coming from a Christian artist who was condemned by the fundamentalist church in the 60’s for writing science fiction.

And why do I meet so many disillusioned artists who have left you? They haven’t left their “first love”, they have just quietly left an illegitimate lover who uses and abuses them. The ominous number of artists without a church home is an ever-growing indictment against the church. As Cyril of Jerusalem was once said to have exclaimed, “The church is a whore, but she’s still my Mother”.

Thankfully, I’m finally beginning to understand that when I try to group the church and God together as one and the same – I get in trouble. God is perfect and the church is not. The church is composed of imperfect people. They are two totally different things. Apples and oranges.

And maybe I’m an idealist – I am an artist, you see. For over forty years, I have been continually disappointed by the church. But she’s still my mother. She has taught me scripture, bible stories, and songs. She has formed in me a foundation and belief system for truth. And despite the control she continually tries to exert over me, ironically, it is the very truth she has taught that has set me free. And for that, I’m thankful.


i’ve got one of these coming on Monday….

that is a jvc gy-hm100u i’m very excited to begin using it to film things like announcement, remotes, and just general footage for different things around the church.  i did pick up a lighting kit and green screen with that.

i also have this coming in a week or so.

that is a JagPro depth of field adapter that will allow me to shoot with any 35 mm lens.  it does some amazing things, and i’m excited to start experimenting with both the camera and the adapter.  watch out, i may enter that re:create film competition next year.


some people have it and some people don’t.

i’m not talking about eyesight.  i’m talking about the vision we would have for life and especially the church.  i’m astounded by the number of people who are extremely successful in their fields, and yet they want church to just stay the same.  maybe they had an experience when they were younger that moved them and so they want to stay in that place.  maybe they find comfort in the church.  i wonder how that same plan would work in their business life?  if they had no vision or ambition of being innovative or the best.  how long would they be successful?  why is there the need for church to remain the same.  i often think in a hectic life that people view the church as a constant.  a constant where they can come and be comfortable, but i don’t think that God ever promised us comfort.  but man will people ever fight for it, they even often demand it.

i guess it’s different for me.  i envision a church that is continually changing and morphing into something new.  i dream of fluidity.  where we are doing one thing one moment and then we discard it to do something different.  i’ve never really found comfort in any church, i’m comforted by my relationship with Christ, but the church has hurt me too many times to ever feel comfort.  and there in lies the problem, like children who just take their toys home because the rules or the game doesn’t suit them, we continue to fight the things we don’t like about church.  some church hop to a place that will meet their needs or pander to them temporarily, while others stick around and make others miserable with their complaining or bullying.

so what does it mean to have vision?  how can you have vision in one area of life, but not another.  the bible says that without vision, the people will perish.  do you think it’s because people are scared?  they’re scared that if they truly give their lives over to God that it will take them out of their comfort level?  often they don’t seem scared to take a risk in business.  they seem to be adrenaline junkies in certain areas of life.  i guess it comes down to this TRUE GOD IDEAS are scary, because when God is in control, He takes away the comfort.  following His dream is really living, but it’s dangerous to dream God sized dreams.  it’s really easy to have a plan and be in control as a visionary when life belongs to you, but it’s not that easy when your life belongs to God and you give it over to Him.  then things get shall we say a little more interesting.  often to live that idea out we have to risk, and we are feeble creatures not willing to risk and relinquish control even when that control itself is an illusion.

i love this quote from the Ethiopian founder of WorldSpace, the company that created XM radio.  he saw his people dying due to ignorance and lack of information, so he left his job, his security, everything.

A dreamer….a dreamer who dreams of a better world.  a dreamer who dreams of a better world and risks everything to make it happen.  Noah Samara

so what about you?  do you have vision? do you have a dream?  is it a God sized dream?  can you see past the things of this world to the things eternal?  are you living for yourself and for your comfort? or do you see the bigger idea?  do you have  kingdom vision?

i’ve been a fan….


since season 1.

i think that Kelly Clarkson is still the best out of all the seasons (although Carrie Underwood has been growing on me lately)

there have been some seasons that were better than others, but this season by far has been the worst in my memory, and last night solidified that for me.

now let me set this up.  these kids could pick ANY #1 song from the Billboard charts, and with the exception of maybe 2 people, they all sang CRAP.  for goodness sakes this is a competition people.

so the real point of my post is this…every time the judges challenge song choice with “why did you pick that song”(and i’m not exaggerating when i say this) the contestants say, “i was just trying to have some fun”  FUN, really?  if i had the chance to sing ONE SONG in front of millions of people….

1. i would pick a killer song.

2. i would do an arrangement that didn’t sound like a karaoke cover of the original (there are plenty out there, ask David Cook)

3. i would make every effort to hit it out of the park

then when the judges asked me, “why did you pick that song” i could answer, ” i’m here to win this mutha”

but since i’m 38, the world will never see that.

so kids, lets not think about having fun, lets think about entertaining and connecting with an audience, then when the confetti falls you can play in it and that will be fun.

just to prove my point, last night Casey James sang “The Power of Love” and Simon commented that he sounded too much like the original, but what if he had sung this arrangement of the same song.  a #1 is a #1, you can sing whatever arrangement you want.

AND, speaking of amazing covers, you should really go pick up The Bird and The Bee’s “Interpreting the Masters Vol 1. (A tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates)”

check it out.

Late Have I Loved You….

i’m continuing to marvel at the lyrical and musical beauty of Gungor’s album “Beautiful Things”.  i don’t know that i’ve ever latched onto an album this long.  typically they sit in my cd player for about two weeks and then i’m on to the next thing, but this record just speaks to my heart first as sonic musical goodness and secondly due to the lyrical depth.  there are some amazing theological thoughts in each of the songs.  so much that i don’t even try to dissect them, i just let them stand for what they are.  as i listened again to my 3 year old sing ” You make beautiful things out of us” last night, God just spoke through that, then as we are getting out of the car he says, “Oooh Daddy, look at all the stars.”  I asked him who made the beautiful stars and he told me, “God put them there.”  wow.

this song might be my favorite one on the album.  it’s just a story of God running and shouting and revealing Himself to us….yeah!

Late Have I Loved You

Written by Michael Gungor

Late have I loved You
Beauty so ancient
So new

Late have I loved You
You were within me, but I was outside You
It was there that I searched for You
It was there that I searched for You

Late have I loved You
Beauty so ancient, so new

Late have I loved You
You were here with me
But I was not with You
It was there that You found me
It was there that You found me

You called and You shouted
You broke through my deafness
You flashed and you shone
Dispelled all my blindness

You breathed Your fragrance on me
You breathed Your fragrance on me

Late have I loved You
Late have I loved You

I drew in Your breath
And I keep on breathing
I’ve tasted I’ve seen
And now I want more

You breathed Your fragrance on me
You breathed Your fragrance on me

Late have I loved You
Late have I loved You

© 2010 Songs (ASCAP)