Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Blog Resurrection?

So I'm trying out this new app from Blogpress for the iPhone that let's you post from just about anywhere. In fact it'll even throw in your location to boot.

I don't think I have enough time to keep up the songwriting anymore, but I do enjoy getting my thoughts down on the ol' page. So here's hoping this helps.

Will the blog return from the grave?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Let Love Rule The Day

So after a short hiatus, we're back to songwriting. I do plan on finishing my thoughts on the Fall, but first lemme share this with you.

So the story behind this song goes like this. I've been thinking a lot about the kingdom of God lately. Which if you're not into the whole Jesus/Christianity thing goes like this... The story of the bible is pretty much summed up by the principle of Emmanuel, meaning God with us. The story starts with God being with humanity in the garden, and ends with God being back with humanity in a new heavens and a new earth. A lot of stuff happens in between, namely sin, which separates us from God.

The real problem comes for us today because of this. In a very real way, God is with us again, but in another very real way, He is not. On one hand, everyone in humanity has access to the Spirit of God which is alive and well in the world and has been (at the very least) ever since the day of Pentecost. But on the other hand, God himself, the father, the actual being, whatever form He takes, resides in the heavens and apparently if anyone looks on Him in our current state we would be undone.

So when Jesus came and talked about the Kingdom of God being near, it was a pretty complex thing to say. And when we talk about the Kingdom of God, its always in what my dad calls a "now and not yet" understanding. It's here and now, in one sense, but also not yet here in another. This is because the kingdom of God means a return to Emmanuel. God with us. Jesus was God, so his being on the scene fulfilled one part of God being with us. We got to witness the love, grace, and compassion of God first hand, and for all who saw Jesus, they also saw the heart of God the Father (John 14:9).

But at the same time, Jesus also talked about a time to come that was "not yet" He says in Matthew 25:31, "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory."

Currently, we are somewhere in between. Jesus came, lived, died, lived again, and now is alive in body in the heavens. But one day he will come back, and there will be a judgement and we will once again be reunited with God the Father. But even now we are in a period of Emmanuel. Jesus left us his very Spirit to interact with that comforts and guides us.

SO. The song. This song is about celebrating the fact that God is with us. And that in a very real way, as we let the love of God, revealed in Jesus, live in us... we bring the day that come the Father will come back and live among His people closer.

Because this is my thought. Fear is an wise and ancient enemy. Humanity has warred against it for millennia. It is because of fear that we take up weapons either physical or emotional, and fight each other to the death. We are afraid of death, of insignificance, and of failure and so we fight. But this is the truth. When Jesus died for humanity on the cross, he literally killed fear. There is nothing left for us to be afraid of and there is nothing left worth fighting over. But because the world does not know about this love yet, the battle goes on.

I'll leave you with the hope of what's to come. Isaiah foresaw the day when the world would know that love and he prophesied what it would look like...

"They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not rise against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, O House of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord." Isaiah 2:4-5

Special thanks to Ryan Roberts and Andrew Clough for their contributions on electric and bass.

Verse 1 was influenced by Isaiah 11 and Verse 2 by Luke 7:18-23

Let Love Rule The Day

the child of glory sleeps among our tents
the feet of heaven walking in our midst
the day has come

the dove descending, love has come to dine
the lambs are laying down next to the lions
the day has come

so come near and follow the son of peace
where the blood and water set you free
this perfect love will wash away your fears
the kingdom’s come and emmanuel is here!

So let the song rise
Hallelujah, God is with us again
freeing captives, breaking down the walls of sin
so drop your weapons, put your shields away
and let love rule the day

the cripple’s walking, the blind and deaf are healed
the dead are laughing, the leper finally feels
the day has come

the children beam and sit upon his knee
the rocks are shouting with the waves and trees
the day has come

Pre chorus


the chief priests are plotting in the night
the servant king betrayed for such a price?
the day has come

the son of god is lifted up at last
the prince of darkness tilts his head and laughs
the day has come

the earth is groaning, creation hold its breath
the grave is straining to hold on to it’s dead
the day has come

the stone is rolling, the hope that’s lost is found
the love of God puts both feet on the ground
the day has come
so come near and follow the son of peace
where the blood and water set you free
his perfect love has put death in its grave
the kingdom’s come, and his love is here to stay!

chorus 2x

Friday, May 01, 2009

Curiosity Killed Humanity?

Sorry, no song stuff to post today, I've got other stuff "on the bean", as my good friend Alan Kemper used to say. What's churning is this... I've been thinking about the fall lately. That cliff dive from the heights of grace and love, into the pit of supposed self sufficiency and vacant promises. As I muse, I'm just struck by the sheer insanity of it all while at the same time, trying to reconcile the fact that given the opportunity to walk between the trees, I'd be making apple pie soon enough as well.

So I guess to be more clear let me lay out my thoughts....

It seems to me that being with (as in close proximity to) God solves all of our problems inside and outside.

Our problems on the outside are that we need food, water, air, protection from sharp objects or blunt objects moving at rapid speeds, etc, etc. Our problems on the inside are that we need love, stimulus, purpose and knowledge (and probably some other things but I'm just too lazy to think about what).

But God being on the scene with us solves these problems. He can create food/air/water, he can ensure safety, being our creator he can imbue our souls with love and purpose, not to mention endless stimulus and knowledge. So that certainly begs the question, "What the crap was the problem?"

Why in the face of all that, did obtaining "knowledge of good and evil" seem like a good idea?

NOTE: This is not an attempt to enter the debate as to whether Genesis is literal or figurative, so if you have doubts or questions about whether or not there was an actual "tree" or "garden" I'm asking you suspend your disbelief for a moment for the sake of... whatever, do it for my sake.

Anyway, my take on the above question is this. I think curiosity + imagination + time will always lead us back to the tree eventually.

Let me explain. You see, like they say, cats are curious. Our two stupid cats are hilarious. We've been getting lots of boxes lately. Cribs, swings, car seats, 75 pieces of clothing of which I will have to return 72. So anytime we get something that is housed in cardboard, its only a matter of time before one or both of the cats are in the box exploring its every crevice. They MUST know what's in there. I made the mistake one time of letting them climb up the ladder into the attic with me, and now they sit in the hall under the pull and moan like shamu until we either let them up there or spray them with enough water to drown them.

They are curious creatures, but they don't have imagination; meaning they are not creating nonexistent scenarios within their minds of what could be in the attic. It's not like they are looking for ancient cat artifacts or canned tuna. They just know there is unexplored, uncharted territory, and they want to explore it.

We however are not so fortunate. If I ever want to surprise K8 the LAST thing I will ever do is to give her any hint that she will be surprised. Because if I do, she will invariably create some amazing scenario that ends up making what I actually do look like frickin bread crumbs in comparison. Our ability to imagine and create things that do not exist are in my opinion a huge part of what actually separates us from other animals. It could be the evidence of the image of God within us. But I believe it was also what brought all the pain and despair into our world.

Explanation: I believe that pre-fruit we were simply observers of our surroundings. Much like other animals, we took in our surrounding. However, we obviously had the ability to communicate with language and exercise creativity. On all matters of judgement between what was morally good and evil, we simply looked to God for the answer and trusted his judgement.


God: Hey Adam, its not good for you to be alone.

Adam: For real? I'm not really alone, I mean you're here... I like you.

God: Oh. Right. Yeah, that's a good point, but sometimes I like to go do my own thing. You know, go grab a beer, shoot pool, dive through black holes... its really not your "thing". It's not you, its me, honestly. I'm just going to make someone for you to hang out with when I'm not right beside you. Trust me, you'll like it... her.

Adam: But I think I like beer...?

God: Go to sleep kiddo.

I'm not saying at all that we just observed EVERYTHING. In the same what that animals learn from their mistakes, I'm sure we did as well. Ouch. That hurt when I stuck my hand in the leopards mouth. That is a bad idea.

But in regards to questions of intent, meaning WHY something happened, or the motive behind it. We were incapable of making those judgements.


Adam: Hey God, why is there water falling from the sky? Eve said it was you crying because of something I did...

God: No buddy, that's just rain. There's a whole cycle that I put in place that makes water fall from the sky, pretty cool huh?

This is a bad example for several reasons, but you I hope you get the point.

But can you imagine that? Not wondering, or asking why life's events happen to you, but simply observing them and being able to ask God what the other persons motives were, instead of attempting to judge for ourselves?

And I imagine that life was so sweet and peaceful and fulfilling there, but unfortunately, time was rolling on.

God said, "Don't eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because if you do, you will surely die."

And in that moment a seed was sown. "Oh, I wonder what kind of tree that is." "Hmm. I wonder what part of the garden its in." "Interesting, I wonder why God would make a tree we weren't supposed to eat from?" "I wonder what the fruit tastes like?"

But all of these questions and wonders, were A. void of any moral judgement [i.e. this is good or bad] and B. 100% answerable by God.

So it came down to a matter of trust. Would the humans use their freedom of thought and choice to trust God, or would their curiosity and imagination get the best of them and eventually lead them to "just try it" for themselves.

And don't forget they had help. Sure the serpent lied and misled Eve, but more than that he piqued her curiosity to an insatiable level.

Genesis 3:6: When the woman saw (observed) that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom (she had no way of know that, so at this point she used imagination), she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

And the important thing to note is that Adam and Eve were not condemned because they made the "wrong" choice. They had no way of knowing what was good and evil in and of itself. They were condemned because they specifically disobeyed and did what God had already told them was wrong.

So what changed?

Well, I imagine it went something like the change from how Kenneth sees the world, to how Jack sees it...

Well, not exactly with dollar amounts on everything. But I imagine there was this sudden onslaught of feelings and emotions that were all tied somehow around value. All of a sudden they had been put in the judgement seat. And the world would never be the same. They looked down at their own bodies and were ashamed of their nakedness? Why? They were probably flooded with all of the thoughts that we have about our bodies. Does this measure up? Is my butt fat or just round? Why do I have so much chest hair? Is it normal to have that much chest hair? Surely it can't be normal for your chest hair to connect to your armpit hair. Sick. I'm an animal. I might as well have cloven hooves.

And their first inclination was to hide. I sure know what that feels like. Hmm. I've got more to say but this is too long already. But what do you think? Does that make any sense?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Story of Stuff

Do you ever stop and ask why? Why is our planet so messed up? Why are people so unhappy? Why can't we make a dent in poverty in spite of all the apparent effort?

Well the answer is that we need more of Jesus everywhere. But practically speaking, there are some pretty good explanations for how the lack of Jesus in people's lives has created a pretty messed up system. For a very interesting and illuminating 20 minutes give this a watch...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Trading Trivialities

I'm pretty close to reaching the end of my song stockpile. There are a few left, but I haven't posted them yet because I'm not really 100% happy with them. I think after working on Life's a Beach I realized that I might have a shtick. Mid-tempo songs where the verses ended with drawn out notes and have a tendency to be "rhymey". Sure rhyming isn't terrible in and of itself, but I'm learning that you have to be pretty careful with rhyme. It's great if it allows your music to be memorable and catchy. It's bad if it makes it cheesy, saccharine, or expected. And I guess as I'm going back and tweaking stuff before I try to post it, it feels rather expected.
Of course this could also be due to the fact that after you work on something for a while, it becomes impossible to discern if it is original or inspiring at all because of the sheer weight of repetition you have to go through when editing it. The best metaphor, most clever lyric, and the most original rhyme sound tired and expected the 30th time through. But anyway, I just finished the song for Judah and I posted it on the baby blog, but I'll put it here too just to consolidate all of the music in one place.
Writing that song though has been kind of eye opening for me though. I mean lets be honest, its kind of gooey. And this is not a bad thing because I really do love the dude and the point was to saturate the song with theme of unconditional love. But its certain
ly a different side of me. I've been wondering a lot lately about what sort of shift is going to go on as we make the transition to parenting.
For example, today I was reading a blog (that was actually excellent) and the girl was talking about laundry piling up and the stress of trying to manage three boys clamoring for attention and peppering her with requests for juice and chocolate, and all the while struggling to find simplicity or any sort of quiet time for reflection and centering on God's love. And as I'm reading I find myself nodding along like all of this is so very expected. I feel at home now in conversations about mortgages, lawn techniques and stain removal and it worries me slightly.

And maybe it shouldn't because maybe I'm just trading in the boring trivial things that I used to talk about for a new "parenting" set. Is there more redeeming value in talking about great beers and 30 Rock, than the benefits of breast feeding and whether cloth diapers really are worth the trouble?

I don't know. I imagine it doesn't matter as long as we eventually get around to what really matters. It's all part of the dance of human interaction that creates the environment where we can dangerously expose what's on the inside to one another under
go the risk of being known. It's so dangerous because when we are known we share all the crap that has blinded and crippled us all and when we share that we can either receive healing or find agreement with the lies that we tell ourselves to cope with the pain.

I guess that's what I'm worried about though. Being buried beneath the weight of preschool and soccer practice and our constant lust for more/better stuff and somewhere along the line ceasing to do the things that matter. Tending our own gardens and insuring that what grows is all together lovely, not just shiny or new.

Anyway, here's to the idea of a garden that is so showered with love and grace that it gives birth to a oak. A child who never has to doubt wether God or his parents adore him and knows in his deepest parts that nothing he can do for good or for evil can change that.

Judah's Song

shake the tree and the apple falls

not far at all

just far enough to know his life’s his own

so put down those roots and grow

cause right here you’re home

and nothing can change that

there’s a lion I love with all my heart,

it’s not what you do, just who you are

sleep in peace my child the only war

is over if there’s any room to love you more

A curly mane and a tale that grows

as we slip down these roads

that lead us everywhere from Narnia to Boles

through autumn leaves and the summer sun

we’ll laugh and play till evening comes

Then we’ll lay back down and sing that

There’s a lion I love with all my heart,

it’s not what you do, just who you are

sleep in peace my child the only war

is over if there’s any room to love you more

You’re teaching me about love so strong

that’s its power alone

can make a heart of flesh from one that’s wrapped in stone

so lets sing about the one

who made this love that keeps us breathing

our tameless one who’s singing

there’s a lion who loves with all His heart,

it’s not what you do, just who you are.

sleep in peace now child may fear be gone

because He loves you and His love will guard your heart

Monday, April 20, 2009

Going Home

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?"

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." - John 14:22-23

Have you ever met someone who had God living with them?

A remarkable idea if you really believe its possible. So much of our Christian understanding is that we suffer and trudge through life, but one day we will "go home" to be with God in heaven. And that is certainly true. But if that is all that is true, what do we do with Jesus' offer of life with God here and now?

Could it be that we use what we often call hope in the afterlife as a veil to cover that fact that we are afraid of beforelife? Maybe that's what Judas was asking.

Jesus, why are you bothering spending time with us? If you're God, just show yourself to the world and lets get this done with. We'll get everyone into heaven stat.

But maybe God is more interested in having followers who live now, lives that will last for eternity, rather than having to jump-start everyone's hearts when the end comes.

I say all of this because I met someone who was truly alive once, even though he was literally dying. His name was John Gronner and he died of cancer earlier this year. I only knew him for a very short period of time, but in that short time I was immediately taken by the incarnate juxtaposition of this dying man so full of life.

We met because Keight and I had gone one night to visit our dear friend Angie Stryker who had come home from Mexico to spend time with her father who was dying. K8 had told me a little bit about John but I really wasn't prepared for who awaited me that night.

I've only been in the presence of the immenitely dying a few times, but in my experience it had always been a somber, serious atmosphere. So I was not ready for the spirit of peace and joy and love that permeated that Gronner household when we walked in that night. What I found was a frail, bald, grinning man who immediately hugged us and welcomed us into their home. I was prepared to make polite conversation that steered away from any topics that would even brush his passing, but I quickly found him asking questions about ME. Wanting to know my hopes, my dreams. Lavashing blessings and words of hope and grace and wisdom throughout.

We stayed and ate and drank and talked and laughed and then left late that night. And as we were driving home I realized that I had made a friend. And that more than that, we were not only friends that night, we had been at home. John invited us into his physical home but also to the home that was built around the very breath of God and went everywhere that John went. He was a man that didn't just talk about grace, peace, hope, faith, love, compassion, justice and mercy, but someone who embodied them. And so it makes since that I felt right at home around him.

A several weeks later, John physically went home.

I went to his funeral and I shouldn't have been amazed, but I was. I knew in my head that I was not the only person that he had made feel as he did, but I marveled as I sat and I listened to people tell the same story over and over and over again.

John loved me. John listened to me. John was safe, He was kind, He was MY best friend.

And the truth is he was. He overflowed with the love of the God who lived inside of him, who made His home within him. And boy did it show.

So when Judas asks, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?"

John would reply, "Because through us he WILL show himself to the world. And they will feel right at home."

This was in memory of John. I can't wait to see you again buddy.

Going Home

I've been working all the day to finally go
to be home
I’m going home
It’s the price we have pay, you surely know
to have a home
I’m going home

I’m going home
I’m going home
I’m going home
I’m going home

My brother’s been away to sow his oats and roam
But don’t you know
He’s coming home
Sister made the trip to town all on her own
But now she’s done
She’s coming home

They’re coming home
They’re coming home
They’re coming home
They’re coming home

There’s a man who’ll come one day and take me home
Oh to be home
I’m going home
Joseph’s son is on his way to take me home
Oh to be home
I’m going home

I’m going home
I’m going home
I’m going home
I’m going home

I’ve gone and left you darling ones but don’t you know
That I’m at home?
Oh I’m at home.
There’s a race you’ve got to run all on your own.
But I’ll be there.
When you get home.

Oh you’re coming home!
you’re coming home.
you’re coming home.
you’re coming home.