Monday, June 29, 2009

Wait For It

I drew this during a time of reflection with the CVP community, in a notebook reserved for such things:

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I drew this while watching the Boy in the Striped Pajamas and reflecting on how easy it is to devalue human life.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Decisionmaking Questions re Issues, Ideas and Causes

For me (and maybe some of you) these are really important questions:

How do you decide:
1. What issues, ideas and causes you take a clear position on?
2. What issues, ideas and causes you admit you don't know the answer to or are reexamining your position on?
3. What issues, ideas and causes do you prioritize -- either to study and understand better, or to promote a certain answer or approach to?
4. As a leader how do you balance the need to be a. consistent or b. growing and changing?

In deciding this, which of these decisions do you make:
1. alone (or with God)
2. with your spouse or family
3. with some form of community
4. by default (because you've been taught it or you're part of a community that has a "required" viewpoint on the subject)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lyric Book

Zac Garver, a friend, is into small press publishing and limited run editions, among other things (like poetry and marriage). I like the idea of small press. I like the idea of making and collecting something unique that there is only a certain number of.

Zac and I created a collection of JRL lyrics. It's b&w, 28 songs, one poem, and an afterward. No fat.

We did a short run. There are still some signed, lettered editions available for collectors, and some that aren't. We made less than 50 total.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Labyrinths, Weddings, Catholics and Power

I mowed a very simple prayer labyrinth in my yard to walk and pray and listen on.

I've been reading Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton. It's been a bit like walking a labyrinth: tiring, confusing, repetitive, good.

A friend of mine recently blogged about the movie Doubt and her experience in Catholic school which was not so good.

Another friend is working on a recording including catholic exorcism prayers read aloud.

Suddenly I'm bumping into catholicism. It's strange. I haven't been around it much since my early years in Latin America.

This weekend I was supposed to be at a Texan wedding, but got sick and one of my traveling companions backed out so we cancelled (the trip not the wedding -- it's going forward without us). I'm writing a song for the bride and groom, based in part by the idea of marriage as a "sacrament" (which I discovered in Merton).

A sacrament (according to wikipedia) is "a rite or event in which God is uniquely active", or an "outward sign of an inward grace"). I never heard about the "marriage sacrament" growing up annabaptist, but I had some feeling about its value to which has been added a depth of beauty, mystery and holiness through this recent bumping into Merton and co.

That's great, but If I'd been force fed theology growing up-- or taught it forcefully with little love -- I'd probably be writing something very different here, although love and patience can unwind the ropes that keep us wounded and afraid.

My big question regarding Catholicism (and most religious groups) has to do with how they build or relate to power structures, economics and politics, and what (if anything) that has to do with Jesus who lived and taught some crazy and beautiful stuff in that department.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

False Alarm

Here's another clip and lyric excerpt from the current CSM download:

"This life
In time
You find nothing where you thought it was
A statue of a god of love
Can you wake love buried beneath this stone,
Alone till the winter ends?
Can you bend love, wrap it around these bones,
Connect them from end to end?"
(From False Alarm)

The first version of this song -- which the clip is from -- was called Eight Something. I straightened it out a bit, slowly building the arrangement and adding lyrics and renaming it "False Alarm". The Eight Something recording is messy, raw and captures the initial spark of the song.

Community Supported Music is a way for friends of an artist to support them, get a glimpse into their creative process and regularly download work before it becomes public. More info at or click on CSM at
If you join the CSM this month you get a free cd.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Quoting Ben

Quoting Ben

My friend Ben and I talk about ideas regularly, and I always grow and change because of it. Recently he wrote me this:

"In watching Rivers and Tides (Andy Goldsworthy) I was really struck by how many times he mentions how he is “trying to understand” the environment and the materials he is working with and then from that “trying to understand” life in more depth. Towards the beginning of the film he is creating a rock sculpture near the ocean… as he works it collapses several times. He mentions that each time it collapses he learns a little bit more about the stone … He also mentions that the ground beneath the sculpture is different than what he is used to…

Later on in the film he mentions how much his work is often on the edge of collapse.

What if we started our work (by) trying to understand the community we’re in… trying to understand the work already in progress… trying to understand what is going on in the kingdom, what God already has done… what he has provided for us and our work…

I wonder how our work would change if we allowed the collapse to teach us… if we took the time to understand “the stones”. Andy mentions that the stones he was working with were much different than the stones he worked with back home (he was in Canada for a commission)… so with each collapse he learned a little bit more about the stones. Ultimately he was able to build a sculpture that withstood the oceans tide. As you watch the tide come in you’re absolutely convinced its going to collapse, because you watched it collapse several times as he tried to build it… the ocean completely covers it eventually. As the tide moves out the sculpture stands fully intact."

Ben was talking about this in regards to starting or developing communities of faith, but I think it applies to many areas of life.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Misquoting Ben

My friend Ben and I talk about ideas regularly, and I always grow and change because of it. Recently he wrote me this: