Sunday, July 29, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
So, I was really frustrated that Todd Agnew was at Wheaton College all week doing a youth conference, and he wasn't doing a "concert" per se for the rest of us. Cuz goodness knows, he NEVER comes on tour to Chicago.....
Dana and I were fortunate tho to hear him in Southern Illinois last year and it was a humbling and provocative concert.
Anyway, Kelsey found out he was going to be selling/signing his new CD (Which we already had..) at John's Bookstore tonight so she and I went over and got to hear a mini-concert of 5 or so songs and get our CD signed. (Front row baby. Check out the pix...... :) )
He sang, and talked - about denominations and divisions, about us all being brothers and sisters, about getting along even if we don't agree on all points of theology because we are still in the same family; he got in a couple
He also talked about his sneak attack with his new album, more upbeat songs that they will play on the radio because they sound good, and yet, they have his true, unvarnished, messy thoughts and questions in them. The things he truly wants us to think about. No answers. Nothing wrapped up in a neat little CCM package.....just songs to make one think....
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Sorry I haven't posted more. Give me a couple weeks.....I'm really busy getting Carissa ready to leave for Gordon in two weeks. That means tons of shopping and organizing and appointments. Bah. I'm tired - well tired of shopping, and tired in general. And I'm poor. Oh well. In the meantime, I'm still reading your blogs, but my brain can't put two words together, at least on any important subject!
Monday, July 23, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
When I was growing up, I don't ever remember hearing someone preach on their struggles or their questions. I never heard uncertainty from the pulpit. And so, I felt that I needed to hide mine. I felt like my struggles and questions were wrong and that I was the only one with them. But now that I'm on the other side of the coin, I know that's not true. Every one in the building was struggling with issues just as I was, even the people on the stage. But because I felt that it was wrong, I never shared them with anyone. And therefore, no one ever helped me or walked down those roads with me. I think sharing our questions is necessary not just to receive answers but also to create honest community. Now, I find it easier to follow a broken man or woman than a perfect one. Because I feel like I'm following an honest man honestly dealing with his weaknesses, faults, and questions, rather than someone who must have them but is not showing them. And this is the kind of leader I hope to be as well.
Monday, July 16, 2007
I believe that questions are a natural part of life, because we cannot know everything. It's strange how we've built a Christian culture where we try to have all the answers. Because God is a mystery. Isaiah says that His ways are higher than our ways. Ecclesiastes says that we can never understand all the ways of God. And yet we've built a model of religion based on performance and correct answers. I think God wants mystery in our lives. When God meets Moses in the burning bush and Moses asks Him His name, the response is "I AM THAT I AM." That's not a name. It's a sentence. God intentionally gives Moses an answer that is going to cause more questions, not less. Jesus does the same thing in the New Testament. He defines Himself with such descriptions as "I am the Door," "I am the Good Shepherd," and "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." They are all things that we must dig deeper into to understand.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Chris and Carissa got in from their 21 hour drive from Tampa around 5, and Jen got back from her long drive from Lubbock around 9:15. I think everyone will sleep well tonight!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Todd Agnew's new album, Better Questions, is being released in a week, and I for one, can't wait. I have heard him in concert, and he is the most humble and honest guy....a messy, vulnerable Christian, willing to share his struggle with others.
So far the fame hasn't caught up with him, maybe he won't go the way of other "Christian" recording artists who get caught up in their own press. The ministry and message he has is awesome. Take a look at what he has to say about the album. If you haven't had a chance to hear his stuff - take a risk - buy it. You won't be sorry!
Well, the release of the new record, Better Questions, better known in our circles as BQ, is only a week away. We are excited to finally share it with everyone. We have been working on it since January, and all the hard work has paid off. Well, I guess you will actually be the judge of that. So, anyway, it's called Better Questions. And that doesn't mean that I have better questions than anyone else. It doesn't mean we should ask better questions. As you will discover in the first line of the record, it simply means that I have better questions than I have answers.
Somewhere along the line, someone decided that Christian musicians belonged in the same all-knowing leadership position as pastors and the like. However, having been both a musician and a church staff member, I can tell you that neither group has it all together. We are all just human, struggling to find out what it means to love and obey our God. None of us has all the answers. I just wrote a song you liked. Or maybe not. But either way, I'm just a fellow traveler in this life who is willing to share what I've learned, but I'm no more of an authority than you on things spiritual.
So rather than record another album of attempts at answering spiritual issues, I decided to treat you as my family and share an album of my questions. Well, actually, the Lord planned the album. These are just the songs I have right now. To be honest, when I started writing them, I assumed the first few would just stay in my closet, the way "My Jesus" did for 8 years. But as I continued to struggle with these things and continued to write songs, I realized that God was going to display my closet for all to see. So we deal with some real issues in this record; death, divorce, peace, church, sin, and a lot more.
But don't go buy the record to find the answers to your hard questions, because they're not there. I'm not informing you of my opinion. I'm just sharing my own struggles. And I believe that we can take this journey together. A journey of Better Questions.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Ginormous is now a word in the dictionary?
• adjective Brit. informal extremely large.
Um, yeah. Here's more.....
n. (US informal) a person's buttocks
-origin 1960s: of unknown origin
n. a child's term for an elephant
origin 1920s: coined by A.A. Milne in Winnie the Pooh
n. (US informal) a car, especially an old or dilapidated one
origin 1960's origin unknown
n. a person who is advised, trained, or counselled by a mentor
n. a weblog that consists of pictures and other content posted from a mobile phone.
This week ‘chill pill,’ ‘argh,’ ‘bikini wax,’ and ‘problemo’ are among the almost 2,700 new words that were added to the OED.
“The revised range of the OED contains 2,693 entries, bringing the
total number of main entries to 260,154,” notes John Simpson,
Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford English Dictionary. “They are illustrated by
2,827,811 quotations and represent 697,324 different meanings.”
Some of the other new and revised entries to the OED include:
scratch and sniff
that’s not my problem
Doesn't it make you just want to make up a word and see if you can make it common enough to end up in the dictionary?
But for now - argh is a word, argh is a word!
Friday, July 06, 2007
I was very involved in Student Government in high school. Secretary of the Student Council my sophomore year.
I was a band geek. And proud of it. Played the flute.
My first love tho was choir. High School and College. Survived the college auditions – and didn’t really realize what an accomplishment that was. To this day I still love being in a choir.
I was a business major in college. I absolutely hated my computer classes. So where did I end up? Computer lab of an elementary school. LOL. And I love computers now….
The beach, any beach, but preferably Caribbean, is where I am the happiest. Well, a beach on the ocean – lakes don’t count! With a book, a sea breeze, warm sand and a cold drink.
I am a huge history buff. (With the exception of the civil war era. Hate it.) I tried watching the history channel one night when I couldn’t sleep hoping to bore myself, but that was a big mistake. Hours later I was still totally engaged.
My college room mate and I married brothers…..
Now I'm supposed to tag 8 people, but I don't wanna. If you feel like playing - feel free. I'd love to learn more about you. I just don't want to make you feel obligated.
I'm playing cuz turn about is fair play and I've tagged Mike many times......
Here are the rules. Just write down the first 10 songs that your iPod plays when it’s on shuffle. My songs -
1. Reservoir - Hem I love this relatively new, indy group. Check 'em out!
2. Nobody Loves Me - Derek Webb Derek has a NEW album out - The Ringing Bell and I just got it! Soooooo excited!
3. I Wouldn't Take Nothing for my Journey - Ricky Van Shelton A hold over from my country days. And when I wanna hear some good ole fashioned country gospel.
4. All For You - Big Daddy Weave They also do one of my all time favorite songs - Fields of Grace. I use it as my signature line! I'd use it for my ring tone if I could get it!
5. The End of My Pirate Days - Mary Chapin Carpenter MCC is my traveling companion. For night driving when I am feeling in a mellow mood. Love this girl!
6. Here Comes Suzy Snowflake - Rosemary Clooney This is a fun, fun song that takes me back to Christmas time and Garfield Goose when I was growing up.... :)
7. Somewhere North - Caedmons' Call This song is good, but you have to listen to their Share the Well Album....
8. Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival What can I say? It's Creedence!
9. On the Street - Rent Soundtrack
10. Any Moment; Moments In The Woods Into the Woods Soundtrack
And, can I just say, how unlikely is it that not one single James Taylor or Todd Agnew song showed up on these 10? Not ONE??? James Taylor is - and always will be - my man. And I have already pre-ordered Todd's new CD - Better Questions.
BTW while I'm on my Todd Agnew soapbox, THIS is why I like him.....
There’s an axiom that should apply in so many areas where we live our lives, be it classroom or boardroom or family room.WOW! All that from a meme!!!!!
“There’s no such thing as a dumb question.”
But there’s one place where this idea tends not to apply. So many -- young and old, male and female, seeker and believer alike -- run into opposition of asking the tough questions in the one place they should feel most free, the church.
Todd Agnew wants to help put a stop to that. Through his travels as a recording artist and performer, he has seen it start to happen on its own.
“I’m just finding more and more people who aren’t fooled by the ‘everything’s fine’ version of Christianity,” the Texas-bred Memphis resident says. “I’m just trying to just get some of those questions out there, the questions people are afraid to ask in church, but also to get the questions asked sincerely and without anger.”
Which brings Agnew to this place in time and art, using his platform and talent to get to the core of who we are as humans, to get to that moment where we’re able to ask the Better Questions:
What happens when you die?
Why do we define people by their mistakes?
How does God still care for us when we keep messing things up?
Todd Agnew’s willingness to stand up and provide perspective and voice to this and more doesn’t come from a place of anger or defiance, but rather from the experiences of a man continuing to wrestle with the very questions he poses.
From his debut Ardent release Grace Like Rain to the sophomore explorations of Reflection of Something to the epic nature of last year’s seasonal effort Do You See What I See? to the present-day realities of Better Questions, there is a deepening lyrical maturity displaying confidence while still maintaining power and edge.
This set of songs came to Todd with a clarity with which even he was surprised.
“We had planned to do a live worship record next after the Christmas record,” Todd says. “But after taking some time off, I’d written a bunch of new songs. I went into the management office and said, ‘Um, I need to tell you about some things.’
“I went in with my pitch that I needed to do a studio record, to be called ‘Better Questions,’ here’s the reasoning behind it, and here are the songs, all of it,” he continues. “They said, ‘Well, we were going to tell you we thought you needed to do a studio record, too,’ So I thought, ‘Wait, then, I didn’t need to do all this work leading up to this?’”
“We started with the idea of doing a real simple record, musically. I’d just finished the Christmas record and it was so big; there was orchestra on every single song, and it’s just this epic thing,” Todd notes. “So my thought was, ‘Let’s do a record with a drummer, a guitar player, a bass player and some keyboards.’ So that’s how we started...but we definitely strayed from that. As we started meshing the creativity and the simplicity together, sometimes the simplicity fell away.”
That creativity, that exploration of various sounds and styles -- be it rock of “Still Has A Hold,” the groove of “Least of These,” the lightheartedness of “Funny” or the reinvention of Rich Mullins’ piano-driven “Can I Be With You” -- weaves in tightly to the singer/songwriter nature of some of the other tracks, giving Better Questions a sonic diversity that holds the listener’s attention while maintaining that reflective thread the overall theme requires.
“For me, it meant going some different directions sonically, like having more keyboards on a record than ever before. We used loops for the first time, which had always been a real ‘anti-Agnew’ kind of thing, like ‘I don’t need computers to play music for me!’” Todd laughs.
“That’s the great thing about working around these guys who’ve been in the studio for so long. You put in a CD and play something, and they’ll go, ‘Aw, man, that’s a Gretsch hollow body through an old Vox AC30,’” he continues. “So where the second record was about exploring and learning how to make all the music that had influenced me, this time it was about leaving that stuff at the core and doing a lot of creative stuff around it.”
For Todd, the merging of the project’s theme and the creative drive behind it manifests most noticeably in the song “If You Wanted Me,” asking a litany of questions within an approachable musical habitat. “It may be my favorite song I’ve ever written, because I got to the last line and it wrapped it all up in that one line, ‘If You wanted me to be like You, why did You make me like me?” Todd notes.
“Musically, it’s a unique combination. For example, the drummer played all her parts with her hands. She’s on a regular drum kit, but she’s tapping the drums with her hands and hitting the cymbals with her fingers, so it’s this little, intricate rhythm that she ties in with the bass player,” Todd says. “But at the end of recording the song, we got the guitar player to go in and create all these feedback loops, then we put that behind their simple rhythm. So you hear the feedback and expect the rhythm to come crashing through, but it just subtly comes in and moves you along.”
“But this song also deals with the danger of the format we’ve been taught in writing for this genre: you can present any question you want, as long as you answer it 30 seconds later,” Agnew says. “I’ve started to think, ‘But what about the questions you can’t even ask in three minutes? And what about the questions you can’t answer at all? What about the questions you have to have God for? What about the things in our lives that are so devastating and so unexplainable that we can’t get our arms around them? Should we leave them out of our art?’”
“When we ask questions, God gives us answers, but they’re answers that are going to help draw you to Him, not answers that are going to help you be right,” he continues. “He’s not going to give you the answer that will let you think, ‘Oh, I’ve got it all figured out now,’ He’s going to give you the answer that is going to pull you in to Him, because that’s what you need.
“We’ve kind of developed this idea that says Christians can’t be challenged by art, they can’t be made to think about anything, we can’t have lyrics that are more than two syllables long, you can’t directly quote stuff out of the Bible because it’s going to go over their heads,” Agnew says. “But my thoughts are, if they’ve connected with some of the things I’ve done in the past, then they’re probably asking some of these same questions.
“And I can’t help those people by giving them the answer, because I don’t know the answer. But I can help them in letting them know that they’re not alone in asking the questions. The church, as a body, can ask those questions, and we may or may not end up finding the answers, but we can walk that path together.”
And for Todd Agnew, an artist willing to stand up and make the music he’s called to make while simultaneously making the points he’s compelled to make, just getting the questions asked in the first place is an encouraging first step down that path.
I'm tagging JEN - and anybody else who wants to play. Let me know if you do - I love getting to know people by reading there interests! And music says a lot.....
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
|Your Blogging Type Is Thoughtful and Considerate|
You're a well liked, though underrated, blogger.
You have a heart of gold, and are likely to blog for a cause.
You're a peaceful blogger - no drama for you!
A good listener and friend, you tend to leave thoughtful comments for others.
|You Are 16% Texas|
Damn Yankee! You think the sun comes up just to hear you crow.
ha ha. obviously not a Texan....
|You Are 27 Years Old|
Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.
13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.
20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.
30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!
40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.
ok - well that explains a lot of things.....
|You Are a Good Friend Because You're Accepting|
No matter what a friend says or does, you try your best to understand it.
And your friends feel like they can tell you anything. You don't judge.
You know that friendship is a journey - with a lot of ups and downs.
If you and a friend grow apart, you get over it quickly... and leave the potential for future friendship open.
You tend to have many friends from many walks of life. Anyone you meet is could become a friend.
In fact, you are especially interested in people who are a little different than you. Seeing life from another perspective is something you cherish.
Your friends need you most when: They can't turn to anyone else with their secrets
You really can't be friends with: Dogmatic, stubborn people
Your friendship quote: "Love is blind, but friendship closes its eyes."
But – catch this….
The beach does have one man.
"The lifeguard must be a man," Ravaglio said in a foreign newspaper interview. "You clearly need a man to save women in the sea. It's a question of muscles."
Kansas Shoppers Step Over Dying Woman
As stabbing victim LaShanda Calloway lay dying on the floor of a convenience store, five shoppers, including one who stopped to take a picture of her with a cell phone, stepped over the woman, police said.
Laws Require Flags to Be Born in the USA
….Violations are a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Witness. Ever thought about that word? You hear it all the time in relation to Christianity. And it often seems to come across negatively to unbelievers. Why? I think it’s because of how Christians have twisted the meaning. By witness, believers try to cram what they believe down some one else's throat. They witness about their belief. What they know to be true. They parrot what they’ve been taught…..
Uh, wait – would that be allowed in court? In court a witness is not allowed to use speculation, hearsay or belief when they testify. They are only allowed to speak of what they have seen, heard, or experienced firsthand. Wow. So, when we witness, if we use the accepted use of the word, this means we are only allowed to speak of what we have seen, heard or experienced ourselves. Experience is a scary word in evangelical circles. For whatever reason. But doesn’t it make sense, if we are speaking to others about Christ, that we need to recount our experience? Tell our story. Our story. How can we speak to things that we have no concept of? We can say “I have heard”, or “the Bible says”, but the impact is so much greater when we tell our story, our experience, how we have seen evidence of God at work in our world and life. It has much greater impact when others can see for themselves the working of God in our lives. Standing on a street corner yelling through a bullhorn, or brow beating a friend, pummeling them with verses and platitudes over dinner is not acceptable. That is not the way to make our case, prove our point, or win anything. In our courts or in God’s.
That’s just what I’m thinking about today…….