Monthly Archives: October 2007

a thought…

I know a number of people and check a number of blogs of people who like to populate their “recommended reading” lists with all kinds of books discussing theology, church growth, spiritual formation, spiritual disciplines and stuff like that.

It annoys the crap out of me. It just seems an outrageous waste of time and energy. (I must send out an apology to a couple of you that may read this. You know who you are.)

I mean, the people that I’ve known in my life that I have respected the most for their spiritual maturity and wisdom would never mention their personal theology. What impressed me about those people I can think of would be their humility, generosity, gentleness and honesty.

I just think most people don’t care if you’re 5 point Calvinist or Armenian. They don’t care if you believe every word of the Left Behind books or if you even believe there is an actual hell or not.

I also think that when it’s all said and done all this thought, study and discussion will be dust. It won’t matter. Why in the world would anybody be sitting around in heaven talking about this stuff? Why should any body worry about it now?

What will be talking about if we make it to that point?



Posted by on October 29, 2007 in Uncategorized


It’s An Audible Sigh: An Interview with Bill Mallonee (Part One)

Excerpt from my comment on the actual article:

I honestly think that Audible Sigh is the reason that I’ve never been able to embrace Wilco, SonVolt, or even Ryan Adams for that matter. Audible Sigh was really my first “alt-country” experience and all those other “alt-country” tagged artists/bands/albums just don’t even come close.

It’s also interesting and heart-breaking to read Bill’s assessment of his place (or lack thereof) in the music industry. I think his assumptions are spot on. For all their talking and posturing, posers like Derek Webb and Caedmon’s Call are not really as far removed from Casting Crowns and Mercy Me as they (or their audiences)would like to think. It’s just that they’re a little hipper about it.

For that matter, I recently read an interview with Don Chaffer (it may have been here) where Don even admitted that looking back, waterdeep was guilty of following the CCM money/fanbase a little bit and he seemed to carry some regret about where WD ended up artistically because of it.

What is even more abhorrent is the fact that the CCM community not only did NOT support true artistic endeavor like V.O.L., but that there was just enough of an association to hinder V.O.L. from making headway with the No Depression crowd.

It seems that now, with Magazines like Paste, and webzines like the ooze and relevant, there would be more people open to embracing sincere artistry like Bill. Unfortunately, if you spend any time reading those zines, you’ll find they’re just as likely to embrace mindless drek like Tomlin, Webb or Agnew.

Bill, like Mark Heard or Van Goh, seems just too serious and sincere about living out his art authentically to build a fan base that could sustain livelihood. This is not a criticism. It is an awed observation. I struggle to reconcile this with God’s design for art’s place in human existence. All I can can do is cling to the belief that God’s economy is not man’s.

The only thing I didn’t mention in my comment is that I do have to disagree with Bill on one point. His self-editing is not as stringent as he contends. Over the course of his albums, he’s got a number of filler. Especially over the solo records. I think I have 4 or 5 of them, and would say there might be one album’s worth of quality songs. His going solo and doing the “homespun” records has given him the freedom to release material quickly and easily. Unfortunately, if he were limited to 1 record every year or so, I think his output would be of higher quality.

What is it with alt-country guys? This is the same problem Ryan Adams has except that he’s yet to put out a masterpiece like Audible Sigh. IMHO

I love you, Bill. I wonder if you might be happier if you let your art be your passion rather than continuing to beat your head against the wall trying to make it your vocation. I only say that because that’s where I’m at and trying to be. It’s not easy and it’s not fun and I sometimes have severe doubts, but I’ve yet to give up on the possibility.


Posted by on October 25, 2007 in Uncategorized



quick blogs:

-This week is the 9th week of school. I have to turn in grades for report cards at the end of this week. I’ve got a lot of assignments that I need to get graded. I’m not as far behind as I would expect, but I am a little behind.

-Next week, after report cards, I have my first parent-teacher conferences. I’m not real worried, but maybe I should be.

-I played the first gig I’ve had in months. I traded sets with Brasher, but otherwise it was completely solo acoustic. Oh yea, mr. powers was in town, so I got him to come up and play on a few songs. Good news was that Brasher and I both got $100. Bad news is that there was next to nobody there. That’s what you get when you have a couple of 30-somethings playing folky-singer-songwriter material in a bar for 3 hours on a Saturday night. Oh yea, and the Razorbacks lost, so most who might have come out were too depressed. I had fun with Brasher though.

-I have really only 2 students that ruin my teaching experience. I’ve figured out how to deal with every other problem, but these two constantly fight me and I don’t know what to do with them. It’s frustrating because I really love the rest of my students and am enjoying teaching. I know that I’m lucky that it’s only 2, but I still have to figure out how to deal with those two.

-Read a NY Times bestseller that I’ve seen a lot of the middle school girls reading called “Twilight”. It’s a teenage vampire story. I can totally see how adolescent girls would get into it, but I thought it was pretty ridiculous.

-Started reading another book that I book for the kiddos called “House of the Scorpion”. It’s pretty good. I’ll let you know when I finish.

-Unfortunately, I’m not getting very much reading in.

-I’ve written most of two songs with another songwriter I know. This is exciting just because I’ve done something. One of the songs seems really commercial but kind of boring to me personally. The other might be pretty great, but it still needs finished.

-baby-shack is awesome. I love her so much and hate leaving her to go to school everyday.

-wifey-shack takes care of me beyond what I deserve.

-time is moving very fast.

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Posted by on October 14, 2007 in Uncategorized


the blogging english teacher (all lower-case letters are on PURPOSE!)

So, it’s kind of weird. One of the things that I’ve been working on today is grading some Narrative Essays that my 7th graders had to turn in last week. We don’t really have tests in that class, so these writing projects are pretty significant to their grades.

Anyway, after writing that last blog, I realized that I was being hyper critical and careful to use correct grammar and punctuation, etc. If you see something wrong, please don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. I also don’t want to become an english/grammar/punctuation nazi in general, and I REALLY don’t want to said nazi toward myself on my own blog.

In which case, i will not capitalize “i” with impunity.

Impunity…that might make for a good Word Of the Day for tomorrow…argh!

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Posted by on October 1, 2007 in Uncategorized


Fear Factor part II

Even after all my whining, Holly still took Ivy to Wichita for the weekend. (I know this weekend is a good time. I started my Saturday modules and so I wouldn’t have had as much time with Ivy anyway. But still…)

So, now I’ve not seen my girls since I went to bed Thursday night. What can I say? I hate it. Now I not only have to deal with irrational fear that they’re a long way away from me and I need them to come home to me safe, but I’m also lonely, bored and depressed!

To top it all off, after arriving in Wichita, H started feeling really crappy and running a temp. She’s been in bed at our friends’ in Wichita pretty much since Saturday evening. I’m torn because I REALLY want them to come home tomorrow and be here when I get home. But I also don’t want H driving if she’s feeling weak/sleepy/sick. argh!!! Damn these parental motivations! I lived so long without worrying about them.

It’s almost 10:30. I’ve spent most of the day alternately procrastinating and actually accomplishing some much needed grading of homework. Now, I should get in there and make my own PB&J for my lunch tomorrow….man this sucks.

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Posted by on October 1, 2007 in Uncategorized