Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The way Justin Dillon sees it.

So, I am sure most of you know the unnamed coffee giant who has spread bad coffee to the ends of the earth, well at least not everything they do is bad for your soul. ;-)

A friend got a cup of coffee, and on the side of that cup was a quote from former frontman of the Dime Store Prophets ( a great Alternative/Christian band from the mid 90's) Justin Dillon (Stevens).

Here is the quote from "The Way I See It" - Cup #153

"Is art entertainment?
Art teaches us about who we are.
Entertainment tells us who to be.
Art is a public service.
Entertainment is a private product.
Art opens our minds.
Entertainment thinks for you.
Art is publicly offered.
Entertainment is publicly traded.
Art is the words we wish to say, but lack the language to say it."

Friday, November 30, 2007

4 years! Eureka!

As some of you may know, Jenny and I take turns each year surprising each other with a weekend vacation for our anniversary (Nov. 8). We have gone to Victoria BC, Weston MO, and Herman MO. This year was Jenny's turn, and she had me fooled for almost 200 miles. I had no idea we were we where going until about 20 miles out.

We spent the weekend of Nov 8-11th in a small wooded cabin on a lake just outside of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Eureka Springs is a small historic resort town founded around some "healing" springs in the Ozark Mountains. The "downtown" is on a couple different streets that wind around through a valley and around some hills. Some of the buildings face one street where they are two stories tall, but the backs of them face another street where they are 6 stories tall. The whole town is built on extreamly steep grades in the late 1800's. It has many art galleries and other eclectic little shops.

The fall colors where out in full effect that weekend, providing some great photo opertunities.
Here is a link the the photo gallery.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Trying to find the gold tooth in God's crooked smile.

Okay, I have a ton of posts to put up in the next few days that I have been putting off, so if anyone still reads this, check back over the next week and there should be more.

Anyways, I wanted to let you all know about this amazing film Jenny and I got from netflix a couple weeks ago. Here is the discription from their website:

Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus is a thought-proviking road trip through the American South - a world of Churches; prisons; coalmines; truckstops; juke joints; swamps; and mountains. Along the way we encounter various musicians, including the Handsome Family, Johnny Dowd, 16 Horsepower and Dacid Johansen; old time banjo player Lee Sexton; Rockabilly and Mountain Gospel churches; and novelist Harry Crews telling grisly stories down a dirt track. The film is a collage of stories and testimonies, almost invariably of sudden death, sin or redemption: Heaven or Hell, with no middle ground.

And all the while, a strange Southern Jesus looms in the background. 'Alt-Country' singer Jim White reflects upon exactly what it is about this baffling place that inspires musicians and writers, whilst at the same time working through his own preoccupations with his muse — or, as he puts it, 'trying to find the gold tooth in God's crooked smile'.

Check out the trailer!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Site Feature!

Scroll to the bottom right and tell us who you would vote for.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Whiskerino 2007!

What do Zeus, John Lennon and Jesus have in common? It's the beard!

Whiserino 2007 is here! Check it out!

So, if you are man enough (or if you are a woman with good paper skills) I invite you to join me on this 4 month journey into manhood. Bond with me over our comman face hair. Go here to sign up.


The contest will officially run from November 1st, 2007 until least February 29th, 2008. Participants unable to fulfill this time period will have their accounts placed within the Whiskerino Hall Of Shame. Participation is still highly encouraged for any amount of time during these dates.

You must be clean shaven (see Figure 26). This rule is the foundation of a proper Whiskerino. Allowable hair types: eyebrows, eyelashes, sideburns, nose hair, ear hair. Sideburns must be trimmed to the earlobe (see here for a fine example). Banned hair types: mutton chops, goatee, neck hair, moustaches. No exceptions.

According to Parker Brothers Beyond Balderdash the definition of a whiskerino is "a beard growing contest." Participation in the North American Free Beard Agreement Whiskerino denotes that the participant will grow a beard. Refusal to grow a beard is not in the spirit of the contest. Note: Testerone levels differ in every male and all levels of growth, regardless of density and coverage, are encouraged. As long as the participant is not shaving the participant is growing a beard.

Trimming or shaping of hair growth is highly frowned upon. Participants are highly encouraged to let their beards follow their natural path. 'Sculpting' will be questioned and must be kept to a minimum.

By supplying a photo for upload and display during Whiskerino 2007 the participant enters into an agreement stating the following:

* The photo is, in fact, the participant
* The photo has not been altered by digital means in regard to enhancing beard growth, shape, or density.
* The photo may not contain added text, graphics, or clipart unless in participation with a themed day (this includes iSight camera effects, Photoshop filters and their ilk).

Images supplied by the participant must be in JPEG format sized no smaller than 500 pixels in width cropped to a 4 x 3 aspect ratio (see Figure 73). Photos may not contain profane gestures, nudity, hateful imagery, or turkey sandwiches.

Only one image per day may be submitted to the North American Free Beard Agreement Whiskerino 2005. Submission of more than one image per day will result in the previous submitted image to be overwritten and all comments and ratings for that image removed but do what chu gotta do breh.

Failure to comply with the North American Free Beard Agreement Whiskerino 2007 rules and regulations will result in the participants account to be sequestered into the Hall Of Shame. Participants placed within these shameful halls will no longer have access to their account and, thus, image upload will be forever suspended for them. Ridiculing members of the Hall Of Shame is not only allowed but highly encouraged.

Upon completion of the contest there will be official ceremonies announcing the winner. Winning beards will be determined by a variety of criteria including: Beard Official opinions, ratings, overall participation, attendance, beard style, and spirit. Note: Immense facial hair density, girth, and coverage does not neccasarily determine winner. Spirit and Beard Fellowship are the highest ranked criteria according to the North American Free Beard Agreement.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lots of Pictures!

I just updated my Flickr account with a lot of pictures from the last few weeks.

CLICK HERE for some pictures from waiting in line at the Over the Rhine concert at The Grand Emporium on Oct. 1. Unfortunatly I have not figured out how to take good indoor concert photos yet, so none of those turned out well.

CLICK HERE and HERE for pictures of Jenny's Birthday night. We got dressed up and went out to Pierpont's at Union Station, it was amazing.

CLICK HERE to see pictures from our church retreat. We went to Mount St. Scholastica, and Abby in Atchison, Kansas. It was beautiful. Unfortunatly I got too caught up in taking tons of pictures of the beautiful setting and not enough of the wonderful people we spent the weekend with. It was a blast.

More pics coming soon! The Tolson's visited last weekend, so those will be the next set.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wilco at The Crossroads

We saw Wilco on saturday night at downtown Kansas Cities coolest new outdoor venue, The Crossroads. We showed up early enough to get in the front row, right infront of Nels. What a truley amazing rock show. Andrew Bird opened, and he was pretty great too.

Set list:
Via Chicago
Company on my Back
You Are My Face
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
Pot Kettle Black
Handshake Drugs
Side With the Seeds
A Shot in the Arm
She’s A Jar
Impossible Germany
Pick Up the Change
Box Full of Letters
Jesus, etc.
Too Far Apart
I’m the Man Who Loves You

Encore 1:
Hesitating Beauty
Hate It Here
Heavy Metal Drummer

Encore 2:
Red Eyed and Blue
I Got You (At the End of the Century)
Casino Queen
Outtasite (Outta Mind)
Spiders (Kidsmoke) <-- with fireworks!

Here is a good review from Joel Francis of the Kansas City Star.

Here are some pictures I found on flickr taken by "willgorman".

Here is a myspace video of Wilco perfroming Hesitating Beauty, the camera man was standing probably 10 feet from where Jenny and I were.

And a video of "Shot In the Arm"

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Personality Type

Well, Jenny tagged me to take this personality test. I always come out the same, by far, and I even tryed to answer the questions a little more thoughtfully this time, and I still came out the same. I guess there is really no doubt I am an ENFP (The "Advocate"). But is Bob Dylan, so that's cool.

Also, turns out I should be an artist or a designer, so I don't have to change careers, that's cool.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

I tag Andrea, Telfer, and Missy

Monday, August 27, 2007

Lyric of the Day

I have had and enjoyed this song for a while now, but this weekend I heard it again for the first time in a few months and remembered how powerful it was. I get some crap about my Indigo Girls love every once in a while, but if you can't atleast appriciate their song writting, then I don't know what I can say to you about good music. It's amazing to me that these two can pull out more Biblical imagry and Christian concepts then most any Christian label band out there. Anyways, here it is:

"Tether" - Indigo Girls

Whatever it was, is wasn't manumission
To spill the blood, to pull the weed
You can bury the past, but it's a mausoleum
With the ghost of a fist that won't let us be

Can we bring it together,
Can we call from the mountain to the valley below?
Can we make it better,
Do we tether the hawk, do we tether the dove?

I kicked up the dirt, and I said to my neighbor
"We keep making it worse, we keep getting it wrong"
He tucked in his shirt, he stood a little bit straighter,
He said "We need a few less words dear, we need a few more guns."

But will it bring us together,
Can we call from the mountain to the valley below?
Can we make it better,
Do we tether the hawk, do we tether the dove?

Enduring love
Why so much and so strong, beyond this short existence?
So don't be still
You say there's a long line behind you
And it's hardly worth the mentioning
But I will
Cause we may flicker and fade,
But we never will be through with this
I see this world battered but not broken
There's a fallow heart, it's waiting on a sowing hand
You can grow what you want, But one day it's gonna rise up
So plant what you need to make a better stand

And we'll bring it together
And we'll call from the mountain to the valley below.
And we'll make it better
Let go of the hawk, we let go of the dove.

I sing to you, all you true believers
With the strength to see this and not be still.
I'm telling you now, find the hope that feeds you,
Don't let 'em bleed you of your will.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Gillian Welch - "Time (The Revelator)"

We saw Gillian Welch and David Rawlings (the guitarist in the video) at Liberty Hall in Lawerance on saturday. It was amazing, I don't even know how to express how amazing it was. David Rawlings is one of the best guitar players I have ever seen, and Gillian's voice was perfect.

They played two full sets and 3 encores, the show lasted over three hours, and I could have gone for another thee. If she is coming to a town near you, you should go.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

We are offical!

We closed on the house Friday afternoon (I mentioned it in the post below). We are very excited! Yesterday we bought a used washer and dryer, a new fridge, and a yard sale lawn mower. The wood floor guy gets started tomorrow morning. Our maintance guy starts Wednesday, and we get to move in the 28th!

When we arived to sign the papers at closing there was this framed picture of our house from 1924:

It was two years old then. How cool is that? The only real difference we can tell is that the french doors on the den that lead to the porch aren't there, and the pergula over the garage has been mostly removed, the frame closest to the house is still there, it looks decrotive.

Our relator also e-mailed us these pictures from 1957 of the original owners:

In the last picture you can see the french doors have been installed by then. Also, that big ugly bush is atleast that old.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Shuffle Your iPod

My good friend Brian tagged me with this little iPod game. I am suppose to "List the first ten songs that come up on your iPod when you hit 'shuffle'." I have to start by saying that I have over 8,000 songs on there, some are from long ago.... very long ago. I am not responsible for everything that appears on the list.... so, on that note, here we go.

1. Radiohead - Bullet Proof...I Wish I Was
2. Over The Rhine - Anything At All
3. Death Cab for Cutie - Line of Best Fit
4. Starflyer 59 - Not Funny
5. Mutemath - Peculiar People
6. Depeche Mode - Sinner In Me
7. Coldplay - Shiver
8. Moby - Natural Blues
9. The Verve - Weeping Willow
10 . Dave Mathews Band - Crush
11. Bright Eyes - The First Day of My Life
12. The Call - I Don't Wanna
13. Alice In Chains - Again
14. Bruce Cockburn - Tropic Moon
15. Sufjan Stevens - Kaskaskia River
16. Bob Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone
17. Danielson Famile - Don't You Be The Judge
18 . Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Born Secular
19. Wilco - Panthers
20. REM - Try Not To Breathe

I think I was suppose to do 10, everyone else did 15, I did 20. I kept waiting for U2 to come up, I have way more U2 then any other band.... oh well.

Okay, I tag Kassie Ketchum, Lisa Allison, and Amanda Marble. Go for it!

Oh, and PS, the house is officaly ours as of 4:00 this afternoon, yay!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

We got a house!

Some of you probably have already heard, but we found a house! Our offer was accepted on it a couple weeks ago. Now we are just eagerly waiting out the time until closing (July 13th). After we close we are getting the wood floors re-finished and a bunch of minor things. Then we move in!

It is a cute little 1920's Bungalow near the Brookeside area of Kansas City. It has 3 bedrooms, 1 and 1/2 baths, a den, and a sunroom.

In the future we are planning on removing that ugly bush from the front of the porch, replacing the sink in the main bath, tiling the floor in the 1/2 bath, minor clean-up and repairs to the deck, maybe stipping atleast some of the wood trim, doing something with the fireplace (not sure what), and eventually remodeling the whole kitchen. Lots of work ahead of us, but it should be fun.

Check out our Flickr page for the rest of the pictures!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Vacation Pics!

Jenny and I drove to Tennessee last week, it was a great time! We got to see our friends Matt and Alissa Peppley in Nashville and then went on to Townsend right outside of the Smoky Mountain National Park. We rented a little cabin in the woods there. We did lots of hiking, hanging out on our porch, and eating good food.

I posted some pictures on my flickr page. Check them out!

Word of the Day... or decade.

I was watching the national spelling bee tonight (to those who read this blog regularly should find great humor in the irony of that) and I learned a new word. I think it is one of my favorites.

Kakistocracy, it means "Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens."

I think that may come in handy.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sky Blue Sky

I got the new Wilco album, "Sky Blue Sky" last week, and if you don't have it yet, you need it. I started out on Tuesday with it slightly disapointed with it's lack of progress building on their last two amazing albums "Yankee, Hotel, Foxtrot" and "A Ghost Is Born". To be fair, I had only heard it on an internet audio stream up til friday. Since I got it in the mail friday, I have probably listened to the complete album 6 times and I watched the DVD that came with it saturday evening. With each listen I have loved the album more. Like one of those charts you learn about in algabra with the curve that climbs higher and faster at each incerment, what is that called again?

As for my complaint about the lack of "progress", the album seems to have a lot less experimentation to it then the last two, but I think upon further listen, there is alot of musical growth shining through here. The songs are definatly more straight forward, but as Jeff Tweedy said in the film that came with the album, "With how confusing and complicated the world is today, I think people just want to hear some ____ing songs!" (paraphrased).

Stand out tracks:
1. Either Way
3. Impossible Germany
4. Sky Blue Sky
6. Shake It Off
11. What Light

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Three Greatest Challenges Facing the Church (#3)

The third biggest problem facing the church is young members who can't follow through with things in a promised time frame.... okay, sorry it took 2 months to do what I promised in 3 days. The first two where easy, but for the third I have to narrow it down to one last thing.

This is kind of disjointed and not that well writen. I used a lot of quotes because others have said it better then I ever could, but you get the point.

Nationalism disguised as Christianity

I heard a quote once, I think from Tony Campolo, that went something like “We have reached a new level of idolatry in American when you can get in more trouble for removing an American flag from a sanctuary then the cross." Think about it.

In the past I have sat through "Memorial Day" and "Fourth of July" services where we sang the national anthem with slides on the video screens of US fighter jets and bombers dropping bombs. And as hard for that is to believe, this was a fairly large Nazarene church, a very "mainstream" denomination. The intentions of these services where to honor those who have fought for what we have, the intentions of the people where good, but is church the right place for that? Are US Christians really that self-centered? Do we really hold are selves that much higher above or brothers and sisters around the world? I don't know, maybe I am reading to much into it, but sadly the evidence is not in our favor.

Jenny once said, "You should be able to walk into any Christian church in the world and not be able to tell where you are". I think she is absolutely correct. As Christians we have a nation greater then anything defined by political boundaries, we are the people of God. We are here to live as the people of God, to live out His kingdom coming. A kingdom that knows no political boundaries. Our churches should reflect that. As a Christian, my only allegiance should be to the Lord.

Our Foreign policy is based on the idea that we, as a nation, are somehow set apart to be God's last line of defense in an evil world. That America is inherently good and that who we deem as evil is the enemy of God. How can a country whose ideals, attitude, and actions so differ from those of Christ think that we can speak for Him?

George Monbiot wrote, in an article for Guardian:
"It is not just that the Americans are God's chosen people; America itself is now perceived as a divine project. In his farewell presidential address, Ronald Reagan spoke of his country as a "shining city on a hill", a reference to the Sermon on the Mount. But what Jesus was describing was not a temporal Jerusalem, but the kingdom of heaven. Not only, in Reagan's account, was God's kingdom to be found in the United States of America, but the kingdom of hell could also now be located on earth: the "evil empire" of the Soviet Union, against which His holy warriors were pitched.

...The United States of America no longer needs to call upon God; it is God, and those who go abroad to spread the light do so in the name of a celestial domain. The flag has become as sacred as the Bible; the name of the nation as holy as the name of God. The presidency is turning into priesthood.

So those who question George Bush's foreign policy are no longer merely critics; they are blasphemers, or "anti-Americans". Those foreign states, which seek to change this policy, are wasting their time: you can negotiate with politicians; you cannot negotiate with priests. The US has a divine mission, as Bush suggested in January: "to defend ... the hopes of all mankind", and woe betide those who hope for something other than the American way of life."

Brain McLaren said in an interview:
"When we present Jesus as a pro-war, anti-poor, anti-homosexual, anti-environment, pro-nuclear weapons authority figure draped in an American flag, I think we are making a travesty of the portrait of Jesus we find in the gospels."

Why aren't churches across the country speaking out about this? It is an image that hiding the true portrait of Christ to a world that needs to know Him.

And, I am going to end with another Derek Webb song, because, again, he says what I want to say perfectly.

King & A Kingdom by Derek Webb
who's your brother, who's your sister
you just walked passed him
i think you missed her
as we're all migrating to the place where our father lives
'cause we married in to a family of immigrants

my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it's to a king & a kingdom

there are two great lies that i’ve heard:
“the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him


but nothing unifies like a common enemy
and we’ve got one, sure as hell
but he may be living in your house
he may be raising up your kids
he may be sleeping with your wife
oh no, he may not look like you think

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Intermission: Good job MNU!

Okay, I know this whole "Three problems" thing is taking longer then I promised, sorry, I have been very busy at work.

To throw in a little balance to this place I want to share an article that was brought to my attention about a homosexual rights group visiting a Nazarene college campus. It seems for as much as we try and screw things up Christ still uses His church in amazing ways. Thank God.

Here is the article.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Three Greatest Challenges Facing the Church (#2)

Suburbanization (Racial and Economic Segregation)

I am not sure if that is the right wording for what I am talking about here, but it's the best I can think of.

Phineas Bresee founded the Nazarene church, a former Methodist minister who didn't like how far the Methodist church has strayed from Wesleyan ideals of preaching to the poor and needy. It was a church found for the "least of these". A church for the ones the rest of society had forgotten, a place where the last become first. The first Nazarene church opened its doors in 1895 in urban Los Angeles, California. From the begining it was an "intercity church". A church that faced the challenges of being an anchor for the neighborhood it shared.

Then in the 1950's when all the white and wealthy started fleeing the cities for the suburbs, for the most part the church did the same. Even if the church didn't change location, they still became either a commuter church or a financially drained, low membership urban church. New churches started being built by people who all came from the same social economic level, for their friends and families in that same category.

Now you can go to church and hear about the powerful message Christ has for the way we deal with the poor and not ever have to face that in our own lives. I can sponsor an impoverished child for $19.99 a month and put some food in the food pantry. It feels safer, it makes me comfortable to be around those who look, act, and think just like I do. But this is not at all what the kingdom of God looks like, a place where the first are made last and the last are made first. We tell ourselves that "rich people need Jesus too", believing this is just cause for our $5,000 sound system. And it is true, we do need Jesus, everyone needs Jesus, but I wonder how much the church is reaching out to people like us versus how much we are perpetuating a lifestyle that is anything but Christ like.

The church should be the backbone of social reformation. We are called to love others as ourselves. How can a church be that from 30 miles across town from the social problems facing the intercity? How can the church be a reflection of the kingdom of God when only a portion of the people are represented by it? I really do believe that losing the African American voice, the Hispanic voice, the economically poor voice, has made the church lose the message of Christ. The spirit of the church of the Nazarene cannot and will not survive without these voices.

When I read about our world headquarters moving out of urban Kansas City, from a neighborhood it has been in for nearly a century, to a corporate business park in a grass field in Lenexa, it breaks my heart. I wonder if this church still cares about the general principals laid down by its founder. I like to think the church is heading back in the right direction, but it is hard to believe this when the World Headquarters itself is symbolizing so much of what is wrong in our churches. Moves like this have no motive outside of our own perceived "safety" and comfort, and I don't believe in a safe or comfortable gospel.

As a member of this denomination, it is up to me to make these changes in my own life as well. Collectively, as a whole, WE need to do something about this for the church to remain (or become) as relevant to people's lives as the message we believe in.

Jenny and I have found a church home here in Kansas City that we feel more at home in then anywhere we have attended yet. Some considers it an “urban” church; it has a better mix of economic classes then any church I have attended, and leadership with a heart for social justice. But even there we struggle with the desire to be around those who look, act, and think like us. One of the things that drew us in was the abundance of young, like-minded, people. Luckily we have also had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people outside of that mold, but at the same time I wonder, is our small church to comfortable in it's statues as well?

We have been talking about the book "Can This Church Live: A Congregation, It's Neighborhood, and Social Transformation" by Donald H. Matthews in my Sunday school class. I highly recommend it. Hopefully this can get our church thinking about some areas where we can improve how we relate to the neighborhood around it.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Three Greatest Challenges Facing the Church (#1)

Prosperity Gospel

The idea that God wants you to be rich, and that with enough faith you will be rich. This has been one of the biggest issues the church has faced in the last few years, and I don't think the next few are going to be any better. It is easy to understand why this is such a popular idea, it is a lot easier to ignore the extreme poverty in the world around us if we believe that God wants us to be as rich as we are, it is comfortable to think God wants us to spend our money on ourselves.

The truth is, God does bless all of His faithful, just not all of them financially, and those He does bless financially, we are under a mandate to use those blessings to bless others.

All across this country their are churches growing rapidly in numbers lead by preachers preaching nothing more then "God wants you to be rich". These church's may be large in size, but they have yet to become the norm, and I think most mainline congregations would frown upon the teachings of these churches, but have we let prosperity gospel spill over in it's own way into our churches? I think we have and it seems like it's getting worse.

The popularity of books like "The Prayer of Jabez" shows how much this idea has really caught on. Anytime an entire book is written about one chapter of scripture I get a bit leery. "Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!" And God granted him what he requested." (1Chron. 4:10) This is the only time Jabez is mentioned, it does not go on to explain what, when or how God granted this request, but the author of "The Prayer of Jabez" believes that if you say this prayer often enough and with enough meaning that God will make you wealthy.

If living a Christ like life really means living selflessly, I cannot accept the idea that as long as there is one person on this earth with less then I have, that God wants me to keep more to myself. That does not line up with the words of Christ in the gospels.

The idea that there is any blessing that can be stacked on top the gift of salvation and freedom from eternal bondage that Christ offers us all is absolutly false. To beleive that there is anything more that can compare to that gift is to completely misunderstand or even reject the truth of the gospel. The more the church falls for this lie the farther we will be getting from being any sort of light or body of Christ on earth.

Okay, sorry about that, there are few things that get me more upset then prosperity gospel.

Here is a song by Derek Webb that says it perfectly:

Beloved by Derek Webb
beloved these are dangerous times
because you are weightless like a leaf from the vine
and the wind has blown you all over town
because there is nothing holding you to the ground

so now you would rather be
a slave again than free from the law

beloved listen to me
don’t believe all that you see
and don’t you ever let anyone tell you
that there’s anything that you need
but me

beloved these are perilous days
when your culture is so set in it’s ways
that you will listen to salesmen and thieves
preaching other than the truth you’ve received

because they are telling lies
for they cannot circumcise your hearts

beloved there is nothing more
no more blessings and no more rewards
than the treasure of my body and blood
given freely to all daughters and sons

Well, let me know if you have any further thoughts on this or if you just flat out disagree.

Three Greatest Challenges Facing the Church (Intro)

There has been a lot of talk going around Nazarene circles about a video of on of our church leaders delivering a sermon at the M7 conference. In the video the church leader lists three challenges the church has to face in upcoming years, they where listed as: Calvinism, The Emergent Church, and Reform Theology. I don't FULLY agree with the sermon, and I defiantly don't agree with the way the video portrays it, but to be fair, the video was taken completely out of context and missed the greater point of the sermon itself, but nonetheless, it got me thinking.

Over the next three (or so) days I will be doing a post a day on what I believe are the biggest challenges the church is facing (or will face) in the next few years (in no particular order). Feel free to write a comment whether you agree or disagree, I certainly don't have any more insight on this then anyone else, so tell me what you think.

My first post should be up later this afternoon. Thanks!

Monday, March 05, 2007


Great little music video, I will post a real post soon. For now, tell me your thoughts on the song and video.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My Most Important Theology Books in Past 25 years!

I got tagged for this interesting little blog game by my friend Scott, whom, I might add, is far more theologically studied then I. As a matter of fact I think I am the only non-seminary student (or grad) to be tagged on this thing so far, so despite the risk of showing up at the theological prom with my pants off, here we go. In no particular order...

My Most Important Theology Books in Past 25 years.

The Story of God: Wesleyan Theology and Biblical Narrative
by Michael Lodahl

I read this book the first time as a sophomore in college. Like many people at that time I was going through a pretty big theological shift, moving from a faith that had been handed down to me to a faith that was my own. Somewhere between rejecting everything I had grown up with and stay complacent with a stale formulaic faith was this book, show what it a relational God really looks like. It's was and idea of God I had seen lived out in the lives on my parents and in the lives of many who shared the faith I had been brought up in, despite not always hearing it from the more vocal "spokes people" of Christianity. It opened my eyes to the true meaning of holiness, for years I blamed it for making it so hard for me to leave the Nazarene church, now I am thankful.

A Woman's Place? Leadership in the Church
by C. S. Cowles

This is another book I read my sophomore year of college (I told you it was a pretty big theological shift in my life). I was taking a class from Prof. Cowles at the time and it probably had a lot to do with how much I liked this book and even more with where I am today theologically speaking. Not only did this book turn me into a feminist but it also changed the way I read the bible. I actually found the whole thing available to read on-line a few years ago too, so if anyone is interested in staring at a computer screen for 4 hours you should check it out. I am also going to credit this book for turning me into someone my wife could fall in love with, and into an Indigo Girls fan.

A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey
by Brian D. McLaren

Now, most of my seminary friends will probably laugh at me for this one. I don't know how much of a theology book it is, it is fiction, but still... I read this one about 6 months ago, and I really wish I had read it years earlier. I had been leery of McLaren, and I don't like the whole "emergent" "non-emergent" label thing, but this book felt like the book I would write if I had the ability to communicate how I felt about the church in written word, which most of you who read my blog regularly know I have no ability to do.

Okay, that's my three from the last 25 years. Now, my number one of all time.

The Giving Tree
by Shel Silverstein

Yeah, that's right, I did it! Sing it with me now: "Theologians, they don't know nothin' about my soul, oh they don't know."

I am tagging: Jenny, Chad, and Lisa.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Top 20 Albums of 2006 - Part II (10-1)

If you haven't already, check out Part I (20-11) of the list.

10. mewithoutYou – Brother, Sister

This could be one of the "hardest" albums to make one of my top ten lists ever, but there is good reason it's here. This album is a dark, introspective journey of doubt, struggle, surrender, and faith. Aaron Weiss' beautiful disturbed vocal styling fit the musical atmosphere and lyrical content perfectly. Driving guitars, heavy percussion, Weiss' screaming vocals accompanied by harp and accordion blend wonderfully to paint a landscape that is both dark and full of hope.

3. Wolf Am I! (and Shadow)
6. Nice and Blue (Pt. 2)
11. O, Porcupine
13. In a Sweater Poorly Knit

[check them out]

9. The Flaming Lips - At War With the Mystics

After two brilliantly artistic concept albums (The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots) The Flaming Lips have returned to a more guitar driven, psychedelic funk with At War... Content wise, it seems they are growing up a bit, moving from stories of scientists and robot warfare to explore more political subjects such as war, terrorism, and even pop-stardom. But don't fret, they don't take themselves too seriously, they are still The Flaming Lips, still whimsical, ironic, and just good fun indie pop-rock.Overall though, it's not as great as The Soft Bulletin or Yoshimi.

1. Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
3. The Sound of Failure/It's Dark... Is It Always This Dark?
8. Mr. Ambulance Driver
10. The W.A.N.D.

[check them out]

8. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

This is my first experience with Neko Case other then a few New Pornographers tracks a friend gave me a few years ago, and I am sure glad I didn't miss this one. Neko and her band make me think of what it would be like if Wilco fired Jeff Tweedy and hire Loretta Lynne to replace him. All I heard anyone talk about was her amazing voice, some people have even labeled her the voice, but personally, it wasn't her voice that captured my attention the most on this album. The songwriting and the band stole the show in my opinion. Her voice is beautiful and hunting, but not overly powerful in my opinion. However, every track on this album is exceptionally well crafted.

1. Margaret vs. Pauline
7. John Saw That Number
10. Maybe Sparrow
12. The Needle Has Landed

[check her out]

7. Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche

I have become a huge Sufjan Stevens fan over the last couple years. Last years Illinois was my album of the year. What I didn't know at the time was that Illinois was originally going to be a double album. The Avalanche is what was left over from the Illinois sessions. But don't dare write this off as a b-sides collection. This is, in and of itself, an amazing album. If it weren't for the 3 separate versions of "Chicago" (the original on Illinois is possibly my favorite song right now) you would never even know this is an album of outtakes. Sufjan proves once again that he may be one of the best songwriters of this generation. Who else can make a beautifully poetic and deeply touching song about his friend Bobby getting a shad fly caught in his hair?

1. The Avalanche
6. The Henney Buggy Band
14. No Man's Land
17. The Perpetual Self, or "What Would Saul Alinsky Do?"

[check him out]

6. Indigo Girls - Despite Our Differences

The Indigo Girls always know exactly how to say what is on their minds and make it sound so beautiful and so powerful, this album is no exception. We find the girls at their most Dylan-esqu in years on this one, the opening track could have been penned by Bob himself [lyrics], well, maybe if he died and came back as a woman's rights activist. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers song writing abilities are as great as ever. In a way ...Differences is a return to their earlier sound, but without sacrificing the guitar driven rock edge they have picked up along the way. There is even an unexpected appearance from P!nk (I think you are required to say it with the explanation mark) of all people.

1. Pendulum Swinger
2. Little Perennials
4. Three Country Highway
12. They Won't Have Me

[check them out]

5. Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther

I was just introduced to this band last month and in that short time it has warmed it's way into my heart and more importantly, my top 10. ...Occupanther is full of lush, melodic songs and beautiful multi-part harmonies that bring to mind 70's era Fleetwood Mac mixed with a little The Shins. Tim Smith is an extremely gifted song writer and I am excited to see what the future holds for the 5 part band from Texas.

1. Roscoe
4. Van Occupanther
5. Young Bride
9. It Covers the Hillside

[check them out]

4. TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

If you haven't already figured it out, there are few things in music that get me as excited as creativity or originality. Return to Cookie Mountain is like nothing I can think of that I have heard before, maybe an super-urban Bowie or something but not really. I don't even know how to describe it. Rolling Stone said "The disc might be the most oddly beautiful, psychedelic and ambitious of the year...Consider your mind blown." I think I have to agree, and my mind is officially blown. It's a odd, beautiful, funky, hip-hop, avant-garde, abstract, poetic, jazzy, experimental piece of art for your ear. Just give it a try, I don't know what else to say.

2. Hours
3. Province
5. Wolf Like Me
11. Wash the Day Away

[check them out]

3. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

Over the last few months no band has gotten as much play time from me as The Decemberists. Colin Meloy is brilliant when it comes to singing a folktale and he is in top form here. There are two separate stories woven through the tracks of this album, one is an old Japanese tale (The Crane Wife). The other is based on Shakespeare's The Tempest. These elements (which some call "Lit-Rock") are classic Decemerists, but this album shows they can do much more. In "Perfect Crime #2" they show they know how to bring the rock with an up-beat riff filled groove number. Followed directly by "When the War Came" a hard, guitar driven rocker. I am starting to believe that well of talent that is The Decemberists may be bottomless. And if you like this you should also checkout their masterpiece Picaresque.

1. The Crane Wife 3
2. The Island, Come And See, The Landlord's Daughter, You'll Not Feel The Drowning
4. O Valencia
5. The Perfect Crime #2

[check them out]

2. Starlight Mints - Drowaton

I had an opportunity to see the Starlight Mints earlier this year while they where touring for this album, wow, what a show! Anyways, about the album, the word that best describes this one is fun. From the classic 60's pop beats to the quirky lyrics, to the romping beats, and the driving guitars this album is all about fun. You can not listen to this without at least tapping your foot, but more likely flailing your arms around your car as if your steering wheel where some sort of drum set, or maybe that's just me... It seems there is a common mis-conception (and I apologize for any part I may have played in spreading it) that good music must be serious, or deep, or depressing. It's actually not true! It really can be fun! And that leads me perfectly into my next album.... (drum role please)

1. Pumpkin
3. Inside of Me
8. The Eyes of the Night
10. The Bee

[check them out]

...and now, the number 1 album of 20006.... (I never said you could stop the drum roll!)

1. Danielson - Ships

Danielson (Dan Smith, Brother Danielson, The Danielson Famile, whatever he is calling himself) has been around a while, making great, extremely creative music, but this... this is something completely amazing! I can guarantee you will either love this album or hate it, there is not much in between with Danielson, the things that make this album stand out are the same things many people will not be able to handle. For those who can handle it you will find a brilliantly creative piece of art, intelligent yet quirky lyrics, dark themes, bright sounds, and an album that just plain rocks. At times the songs build to a level where you just can't understand how it can get much bigger, then Dan and a cast of his 20-something closest friends (including Sufjan Stevens, all the members of the various Danielson Famile efforts, and many others) bump it up another notch, beyond the limits of what should be contained to a plastic disc.. LET IT OUT!

1. Ship The Majestic Suffix
2. Cast It At The Setting Sail
3. Bloodbook On The Half Shell
4. Did I Step On Your Trumpet?
9. Time That Bald Sexton

[check them out]

Saturday, January 06, 2007

My Top Ten (or 20) Albums of 2006 - Part 1 (20-11):

What an amazing year for music, I had to do 20. This year I will be counting down backwards (oh the drama!), starting with 20-11. The top ten will be posted shortly with more detailed reviews and album art, stay tuned! I will also include links to their myspace pages so you can sample some tunes.

20. The Stills - Without Feathers

This album probably would have been better if I had not alreay owned their previous effort Logic Will Break Your Heart. With this album The Still re-envented themselves, the results where not as good. It's still good, but get Logic... first.

[check them out]

19. The Raconteurs – Broken Boy Soldier

Just good ol' rock and roll from Jack White, Brendan Benson, and two thirds of The Greenhornes. It's a superband that actaully spent some effort writing their songs and assembling their album.

[check them out]

18. Matisyahu – Youth

A Hasidic Jew, hip-hop, reggae artist ... How can you go wrong? Seriously, it's good... Maybe you just have to listen to beleive...

[check him out]

17. Snowden – Anti-Anti

I have a love and hate relationship with this album. I love it because of it's hypnotic guitar, powerful rythems, and the brilliant combination of that slick 80's new wave feel and the grungyness of post-punk. I hate it because it may have ruined Interpol for me.

[check them out]

16. Ben Harper - Both Sides of the Gun

This is a two disc album, disc one is an personal, emotional, acoustic ballad record. Disc two is a political, passionat funk-rock record. A wonderful display of both sides of Ben Harper.

[check him out]

15. Half-Handed Cloud - Halos + Lassos

Wimsical synth-pop music; chipper, falseto, and delightfully off-key vocals; 19 short songs; and two of my favorite things, theology and sarcasim; all this makes for one great album.

[check him out]

14. Thom Yorke - The Eraser

While it isn't the overal mind blowing, eye-opening experience a new Radiohead album is, it is still a wonderful journey through a beautiful soundscape. If you find Radiohead unaccessable, you might enjoy Thom's solo album. It's easier to listen to and easier to understand, but not as interesting.

[check him out]

12. Ani DiFranco – Reprive

combines a strong sense of politcal and social justic with a creative brand of "folk" rock that only she can bring. Her passionate vocals make you believe she really could change the world. Reprive is no difrent on that reguard, but she has also turned a little more introspective with this one, and is even using some electric insturmentation!

[check her out]

12. Beck – The Information
is a creative genious, and this album may be his best. It seems he has taken everything he learned from Sea Change and Guero and melded them into something completely new. It's folky, psycadelic, electronic, and minimalistic all at the same time. Even the cd packaging screams post-modern. It comes with a blank cd booklet (with only Beck's name on it) and four sheets of stickers so you can design your own.

[check him out]

11. The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea

The Essex Green
pull off a 60's acoustic pop-rock in a way that sounds completly new, completly original, and still so familiar. The fun lyrics and the pleasant vocals of both Chris Ziter and Sasha Bell make this one of the most enjoyable listens if the year. To fully experience this one buy it, pop it in your car, and go for a drive.

[check them out]