Monday, March 31, 2008

superdrag! 28 weeks

Today Amelia was putting her mischief into action and she not only touched the rotating cd tower but she actually pulled out Superdrag's Regretfully Yours, proving that good taste does indeed pass from parent to child. I suppose this would also explain my dad claiming that U2 has always been his favorite band...haha, love you dad. All of that to say, I am overtly and openly thrilled in a very geeky way about the NEW Superdrag album currently being recorded. See the videos posted below.

Despite Bekah's advisements to not bring that "demonic craziness into my house", I watched 28 Weeks Later tonight. I have been a fan of the zombie genre for quite some time and I enjoyed the sequel for the most part. Although I though Danny Boyle's gritty DV original was far superior to the glossy big budget part 2. As with most franchises, 28 Years Later looks like it's shaping up to be the worst of the trilogy. (that is if they make it, I can be relatively sure a third film is already in production without even checking IMDB)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Resurrection Day, myspace, waking up

Turns out that if you leave one leg up on the desk for an hour and a half while surfing the web and reading emails, your leg and foot will feel dead. "Dead", in this case, being defined as the state that exists immediately following "asleep."

I have to confess, I that I sometimes read the blogs of random myspacers that I stumble upon when viewing a band/artist page of someone of whom I would consider myself to be a fan of. (sidenote: I am very wordy on Mondays, I can't speak because I used all my words up at our 5 Easter gatherings but now, I most definitely can ramble on and on)

Sometimes, I visit people's pages and then am overcome with despair, both for the sad sorry state of popular culture and also for what I imagine the increasingly slim chances of said culture turning around. However, I must say, that more often than not, I am actually encouraged by the communities of faith, affirmation and spirituality that I encounter, unexpectedly, in the craziest places. Some of these characters are part of a local church, many appear to not be. If nothing else, it's good to know that on the web, a place that certainly provides ample space for the darkest of dark corners and spaces, that there is still a good deal of life to be found.

I don't point that out to marginalize or de-emphasize the importance of gathering together in traditional faith communities or to be a part of an outpost of the Church, capital C. I love the church and I agree with Rick Warren that the Church is the hope for the world. I also think that it's really The People who are part of The Church that are the hope for the world. It seems to be pretty popular these days (from within and from without) to talk about what's wrong with the church, just visit a bible bookstore's "emerging" section to see what I'm talking about. Many of these critiques are valid, many people who claim to "hate" church and christians also carry with them valid pain and confusion. But until we are able to move beyond critiques and trendy apologetics and get down to the business of actually "being" The Church, we will continue to miss an incredible opportunity for a rebirth, for a resurrection, for an awakening.

I pray for a resurrection in culture, for things like hope, purity, kindness, self-control to return. I pray for an awakening in myself, for me to learn to get off my high horse ass and start actually living like a follower of Jesus, a member of His Church, and a human being. I affirm the resurrection of Jesus that we celebrate to be the turning point of all history. Over time, though, we tend to lose the plot and God has repeatedly, relentlessly, intervened to bring us back. The problem here is not orthodox Christianity, the problem is US. My prayer this Easter is that we will see another move of God. Not another self-proclaimed "movement" but something that is true, pure and undeniable. I believe that this is already happening, that God is already calling us to repent, to change our course and to remember the outcast, the poor, the marginalized and the broken. I want to be a better listener.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Community, the poor, either or both and

This past weekend, at the Non Con (or non-conference for the uninitiated), I was confronted with the reality that I don't have many meaningful relationships with poor people. I often advocate for the poor, I practice activism on behalf of the poor and support causes, but I don't take enough time to get to know individuals or to get involved in their lives. It didn't use to be this way when I used to be one of the poor, as opposed to one of the educated lower middle class struggling to hang on to what I've got.

I used to spend a lot of time working with teenagers who'd suffered abuse and neglect. I used to spend time talking with homeless people. Now, I spend more time talking to other people about working with poor people, foster children and the homeless. Clearly, it's not an either/or proposition but a both/and. And if our little community cares for the poor the way Jesus did, than we can't just serve the poor but we need to worship with them as well. They need to be at the center of our community instead of benefiting solely from times of intentional outreach. Ministry (what we do inside the church) need not be separated from Evangelism (what we do outside the church) because they are both part of Mission.

Community can be hard though. It requires a lot of each of us. Maybe the hardest part being that we have to accept others if they are to accept us because if we don't accept them first than we will never be open to allowing them to know us, which is the first step toward acceptance.

"God’s love sets me free to enter into community with other people—even when the community is a very limited one and is not the total communion that my heart desires. Only when I live in communion with God can I live in a community that is not perfect. Only then can I love the other person and create a space in which we might be quite distant or very close, but we can still allow something new to be born—a child, friendship, joy, community, a space where strangers and guests can be received."

- Henri Nouwen
Lecture at Scarritt-Bennett Center

Thanks to Sojourners Verse and Voice for pointing me to this quote.

Friday, March 14, 2008

downtime in downtown

Except for the brief Chuck Norris post, the blog has been silent for awhile due to a few projects and duties that have required much of my time. However, now I finally have a chance to write you from my seat on the Pacific Surf Liner headed south from LA to Santa Ana. This weekend, I’m attending the Non-Con, a conference for people who hate conferences. I’ll definitely keep you all posted on the interesting conversations happening there as I’m able. I also have a few thoughts on LA from my time at Union Station today that I’ll write later.

I’ve been feeling a bit crispy around the edges lately and have needed some downtime, hence today’s 7-hour train and bus ride instead of a white-knuckle 5 hour Friday drive down from Fresno. We just stopped in Fullerton, a town near to my heart since it’s where I finally settled down and went to one college for an extended period of time. Right here off the tracks at the Santa Fe Cafe, my friend Brett (also known as Anthony Archer) played a show we went to last April or was it two years ago? My memory is definitely getting worse.

A girl up ahead of me is reading Soul Cravings, by Erwin McManus…too bad I won’t have time to ask her about it since I get off in roughly ten minutes.

I’m 86 songs into my 259 track “train ride to orange county for the non conference” playlist. I’ve also been playing Worldwide Soccer Manager 2007, reading the book unchristian, working on a birthday video for my father in law, planning the completion of a web site, reading the Fresno Bee, and realizing that a whole hell of a lot of people wear sandals in southern California. To me, train station bathrooms and open toes don’t mix.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

chuck norris, google, humor?

ok, so sometimes i'm late to the game and you may have already tried this but if you haven't, i'd recommend it.

go to

find chuck norris into the search field

click i'm feeling lucky


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

come all you weary, wednesday is remix day

O.C. band Thrice released an ep called Come All You Weary + b-sides on iTunes yesterday. The title track is particularly good, it recalls the best of singer Dustin Kensrue's solo record from last year but seems to add the dynamics and creativity of the whole band. Of course, it sounds nothing like the band used to sound like.

I've long been an admirer of Thrice from afar, they are one of those bands that I have wanted to get more into but haven't, yet... however, "Come All You Weary" and "The Whaler" (included in the playlist) are reasons enough to take another look at the post-hardcore stalwarts.

today's playlist also includes a couple of remixes that I have playing over and over, AmpLive's Radiohead remix "Video Tapez feat. Del the Funky Homosapien"; "Hurricane (Camp America remix) by Athlete; and "This Time is the Last Time (Wave Remix)" by Mae. Anybody remember Mae before the overcooked, uselessly prog-y major label debut? The Radiohead remix is sublime and smooth and recalls Del's great work on the first Gorrilaz album. Athlete, well, I just love them, ok?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

RIP Larry Norman, other thoughts, celebration, fresno

I really enjoy The Grind, it’s a pleasant place to get some work done and decompress a little. Here, one can enjoy free Wi-Fi, drink decent coffee and even chat with friendly baristas. Only problem is, I took my headphones off momentarily and am now hearing Phil Collins dreadful “I Can’t Dance.” On another humorous note, when I misspelled ‘barisstas’, my spell checker suggested ‘barristers’ … maybe someone’s trying to tell me something about my habit of sharing RIAA-registered material with … my wife. Which is totally protected, so I’m good. I don’t really feel like using complete sentences today--anyhow.

This past Thursday, we had our second celebration at Northpark and it was a phenomenal success, no thanks to me. I have to give credit to God, all of our leaders and my wife, especially. Five minutes before it was to begin I was still trying to get the computer plugged in to the projector and the sound set up and was sweating profusely. Regardless, we had over 70 people turn up and it was mostly a big, noisy party but we also sang together and prayed and all around were able to celebrate the transformational changes that God is bringing to our groups and lives. I have some poor quality video footage that I’m currently trying to upload. I keep losing the connection…

Last week I had the privilege of meeting the Rev Dave Wainscott, who pastors a local church plant and who was has a phenomenal blog that you should check out … Dave also has more applications on his facebook account than anyone I know … I also don’t know of anyone else who can get theology, pop culture, politics and movies into the same sentence.

Here’s a funny blog that sort of relates to my soccer post from yesterday, but rest assured, I like stuff that white people like but I also really do like soccer.

My friend Joel Lang and I discovered Larry Norman’s Only Visiting This Planet on vinyl (I think, I suppose it could have been the 1990 CD reissue but I’m pretty sure it was the actual LP) and promptly dubbed it to tape in 1993. I must have listened to that record 500 times at least. Funny thing was, the other side of the 90 minute cassette (it was type II chrome=better quality) had Six Feet Deep, the hardcore geniuses who would later form Brandston. Norman would never make another album as good as that one but it was highly influential on both my budding 13-year old music taste and on the nagging feeling that the Christian faith should somehow not be confined to a Christian Bookstore Ghetto but actually be something that was lived out in the “normal” world. At the time, the “normal” world was something of a mystery to me as I had mostly known only the WWJD subculture. It was with great sadness that I read about Norman’s death last week, knowing that he was both a brilliant artist and an enigmatic, sometimes troubled man. Having seen David Di Sabatino’s documentary about Lonnie Frisbee, I look forward to his treatment of the Larry Norman story and hope for some more insight into this fascinating Christian/artist (which is different from Christian Artist, I think). I also am SO thrilled to learn that Norman was collaborating with Frank Black (The Pixies) and Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse) on a new album. Apparently, I’m not the only one who thought “Six O’Clock News” was ridiculously cool. Especially, the sample of the flight attendant.

celebration b rough footage

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Monday, March 3, 2008

the beautiful game; tottenham hotspur fc

During the last five years or so, I've progressed from an appreciator of soccer (or football in the rest of the world) to a full flown fan. Like I've said before, I believe if something is worth doing, it's worth overdoing. For some reason, I embraced Tottenham Hotspur Football Club as my English team and have watched them place 5th in the EPL the last two seasons. This current season started poorly and then a coaching change led to fortunes eventually turning around for the team to beat Chelsea in the Carling Cup. Here's what it looked like, on TV at least. Take that John Thomas.