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Monthly Archives: August 2007

We [shouldn’t] live as exegetes.

Rustin linked this interview from his blog. He highlighted a different part, but this jumped out at me:

“The importance of poetry and novels is that the Christian life involves the use of the imagination, after all, we are dealing with the invisible. And, imagination is our training in dealing with the invisible, making connections, looking for plot and character. I don’t want to do away with or denigrate theology or exegesis, but our primary allies in this business are the artists. I want literature to be on par with those other things. They need to be brought in as full partners in this whole business. The arts reflect where we live, we live in narrative, we live in story. We don’t live as exegetes.”

-Eugene Peterson, interview here

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Posted by on August 29, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

week #1 accomplished

I know many have asked how my first week of teaching went. I don’t have time to go into any big stories right now, but I feel really good about it.

I think that I’ve got a great bunch of students. There’s a couple that may end up being handfuls, but nothing that doesn’t seem manageable at this point. I think they’re understanding that I mean what I say and that I’m going to hold them to the expectations I have for them. But I also think they’re understanding that I’m as much about getting the work done so we can play as they are.

I’ll keep you posted.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

36

Today, I begin leaving my “mid-30’s” and start heading into my “late-30’s”. This morning, Holly said, “I remember you being depressed on your 20th birthday…” I said, “Oh really? You mean 16 years ago?” Wow. I’m a whole driving teenager older than 20.

For a lot of my life, I measured my age and my level of success by that age by comparing myself to the late Rich Mullins. He put out his first non-independent record at about age 32. I’ve stopped using that as my measure of success for a number of reasons. 1) I didn’t make it. but, 2) by the time I was 32, I didn’t want to put out a non-independent record if it meant putting it out to feed the Christian bubl-I mean sub-culture. 3) Rich died tragically at 42. Not a good omen.

Even though I’m not rolling in $$ from music royalties, and few of my CDs have ever gone much further than my own hand, I’m still pretty proud of some of my accomplishments in music.

-2005 NAMA award for best singer/songwriter
-Individual Artist Fellowship from the Arkansas Arts Council for music composition in 2003.
-Gypsy Heart earned me a lot of respect as a songwriter and producer from a (non-christian) community of songwriters/musicians that I look up to and respect immensely.
-I’ve put out a number of other CDs that have spoken to different people at different times and I’ve actually heard back from those connections.
-There are a number of CDs that I’ve produced for other artists that I’m very proud to say that I produced. Not least of which would be my sister’s CD.
-Any boxes containing unsold CDs that I have in my garage are completely paid for. There are plenty of independent musicians that can’t say that.

These are just some of the musical accomplishments that I hold onto in my life. But, I’m even more proud of the fact that in following my musical aspirations I have still:

-built a number of long lasting friendships and relationships in my life. Some of the BEST experiences I’ve had in making records have been because I’ve been able to make records with really outstanding people to hang out with. I don’t have any regrets of promoting myself or my music or putting those desires over relationships with others. I don’t have to regret how I treated people to claw my way up the ladder.
-been faithful to and built a solid relationship with a beautiful, wonderful wife of 14 years. Even in spite of most of that time traveling and working together 24/7, we still have fun and enjoy each other’s friendship and company.
-had a beautiful, healthy, baby girl to raise and love with my wife.
-succeeded in taking on the challenge of actually changing careers and have even survived a whole week in my new position as 7th grade teacher.

It seems natural to me that I should take a birthday as opportunity to look at my life and consider how I feel about what I’ve accomplished so far. This is an abbreviated list, but it still makes me feel pretty good. Now, if about 20-30 lbs. would just go away…

I know that when I was in 7th and 8th grade, I dreamed of being the next Michael W. Smith. I can honestly say, thank heaven that dream didn’t come true. (That’s actually my friend, Mark.)

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

14 years !?

The day I gave H a ring and we announced that we were getting married, I was a wreck. All day long we were getting congratulations and “Oh, I knew it!” “You belong together!” blah blah blah. I tried to smile and act like I was excited, but I was scared to death.

I was 21 years old. I liked girls a lot. I liked to flirt a lot. To be honest, I thought maybe I was too young and thought maybe I should keep myself untethered and sow a few more wild oats before settling down. What if somebody else came along later who was better? Hotter? ?

These are the thoughts/questions of an idiot; A very lucky idiot.

The night we made that announcement, after Holly had gone home and I was back in my room, I sat down and wrote a list all the reasons I could think of why we’d make a good married couple. Also, a friend who I looked up to a lot talked to me about what made him decide to get married. He said that he was really worried about the whole thing. He kept asking himself all these “what if” questions. The fact is, I probably have met somebody else in my life that I could marry and be happy with. I probably will meet somebody else in my life again. But that’s not the point of marriage. Marriage is a decision to commit and say, “this is it. This is the one. I’m going to stick with this one no matter what else comes along.”

This doesn’t seem particularly romantic in the way hollywood would have us understand romance. I can imagine some people reading this and mistakenly thinking: “wow, that’s really sad. What about passion? What about the breathless feeling that happens with infatuation? Why would I want to give up the opportunity for that by tying myself down?” And I’d say that’s part of the mystery of it all that’s not too unlike what I’ve been experiencing the last 15+ months with Ivy. The fact is what I have gained far outweighs any “opportunities” that I may or may not be available for anymore.

I don’t really think this blog is written very well and I imagine some could read this and think it’s particularly unromantic. But what I’m trying to say is that I have been so blessed by my wife. She’s smart in ways that I am not. She’s joyful in ways that I am not and helps me to be more joyful. She’s strong in ways that I am not and she supports me when I need it. She is loving in ways that I am not, and yet continues to love me even when I do poorly at loving her back in the ways that she needs.

I can’t believe that we’ve been married for 14 years now. That’s a long time. And to think that we still get along, we still have fun, we still work things out together, we still laugh and we know each other better than anybody else and yet still want to hang around each other. One of the most fun things of my marriage is to be in the same house as Holly while she’s watching America’s Funniest Home videos all by herself.

And now, we’ve made this gorgeous little girl who’s bound us together as 3 instead of 2. Add to everything else that she’s a great mom to Ivy.

I know that I’ve said it before, but I am blessed beyond measure or reason. I’m looking forward to the next 14 years and more.

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

I finally found it.

I’ve been looking for this quote for some time. I knew that Lewis said something like this, but haven’t read the book. I nabbed it from another guy’s blog (check out the link).

“Now as myth transcends thought, Incarnation transcends myth. The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact. The old myth of the Dying God, without ceasing to be myth comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. It happens–at a particular date, in a particular place, followed by definable historical consequences. We pass from a Balder or an Osiris, dying nobody knows when or where, to a historical Person crucified (it is all in order) under Pontius Pilate. By becoming fact it does not cease to be myth: that is the miracle.”

~C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, “Myth Became Fact” (1944)

I have to try to keep myself from reading what many Christians write about Harry Potter. I have never seen justification for condemning the books from anybody who has actually read them. Why? Because it would be even more ludicrous, illogical and/0r dishonest than the current ignorant condemnations.

I am also shocked and appalled to hear of people like Chuck Colson or James Dobson, who KNOW what kind of influence they have over so many people, would continue to berate these stories. Dobson and Colson have made comments that truly seem to indicate that they’ve never read the books either. If they have, I don’t know whether to be more disturbed poor thinking of these “intellectual” leaders, or the thought that they maintain this position in order to maintain the devotion of their “congregations”.

Oh man. This gets me so fired up I can’t stop.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

God Bless Brian McLaren

I thank God for Brian McLaren all the time. I wish that he would have been far enough along on his journey to have already shared his ideas by the early-mid 90’s. I wish that I would have been smart/mature enough to start asking those questions by that time instead of really running into them in the late ’90s early ’00s. If I would have asked those questions sooner, and he would have provided this new way of thinking sooner in my life, I can think of many conversations that would have gone very differently and I would carry way less regret for those same conversations.

I get sick to death of people trying to impress me with how “deeply” and “pervasively” they think about, read about, debate about, expound about theology. Frankly, it seems like a waste of time and energy and I really wonder if that’s really what God wants from any of us. I’m pretty sure it’s NOT what he wants from me. (he might want a little more of my consideration, I’m just saying…)

But, McLaren frames this whole life of faith in language I understand and agree with. I know that I shouldn’t read only one person and should expose myself to other people that would challenge my thinking, but the fact of the matter is that McLaren does challenge me in the ways that I want to be challenged.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2007 in Uncategorized