Friday, December 31, 2010

How Circus Peanuts Killed My Resolutions...

Well, they didn't exactly kill my 2010 resolutions. After all, what is a resolution list without one that includes weight loss, which will never be met. Of course the circus peanuts didn't help either. I didn't successfully "complete" my resolution list (or GOAL list as I called it - that seemed more do-able), but I was able to check off more items than usual (not to mention, I was able to take on a few extra, unplanned, projects and ventures). Enough chit-chat, here's what I did actually complete...

saved 6 months living expenses

recorded my EP

raised and donated enough money to build wells for 100+ people in the developing world (through Charity water and fan support!!!)

2 vacations (1 family - we went to Michigan and spent a week on the beach; 1 K&R vacation backpacking Rocky Mountain National Park)

said "need" less - worked on my understanding of "need" vs. "want"

we built genuine community with our neighbors! (I love our block)

launched RE{stl} at Cicero's
(hypocrites in transition community to discuss faith and spirituality)

Here's what WASN'T on my list, but were exciting projects...

enroll in Fuller seminary
(1 semester complete!)

produce, produce, produce!
(Brendan Bradley, Dear Genre, Lost Narrative, Convergence, etc)

What a year...what a year!

Until 2011, PEACE!!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top 5 Albums of 2010

This week seems to be the week everyone in the blog-world is putting forth their TOP 5's & 10's of 2010.

2010 was a good one for interesting and thought provoking music. A couple days ago I looked at all of the albums and new artists I added to my shelves, and took on the task to narrow my collection to just 5 stand-outs.

Today, my TOP 5 Albums of the past year. Drum roll if you'd like...

Thanks for reading,

p.s. rather than giving a brief synopsis of each album, I decided a link would be better served (for you and the artist); this way you can write your own synopsi and be your own critic.

Friday, December 24, 2010

From My Home To Yours

I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas! I hope you all have a wonderful time with friends and family and I hope you'll all eat to your hearts content and laugh 'till you cry. Watch your favorite flicks and dance to some great tunes. But most of all, take a few minutes and thank one another for blessings and all of the good times!

Until we talk again, peace.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

97.98% = Oreo Coma

Yesterday I received my final grade for my first semester in seminary. (If you didn't know I was in seminary, I am enrolled in the Masters of Arts in Global Leadership through Fuller Seminary)

The course was great, and I was able to network with about 25-30 students from all over the globe. It was fairly intense - lots of reading and writing, all of which ended with a 27 pager!

But in the end I got a 97.98% in the class!!!

So to celebrate, Kate brought me home my greatest weakness, or strength - depends how you look at it.

Me and Oreos have a weird relationship. I dominate them. I can down an entire pack, and not realize it. I have been known to make Oreo shakes that are so thick and delicious, that they land people in the hospital to get their gall bladder's removed (true story).

Last night, I was the victor.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Things are interesting with little ones...

Things are interesting with little ones...

2 weeks ago, Cora got a nasty cold, and kept it for a week.

Last Monday, Kate got the cold, and kept it for a week.

Last Friday, I got the cold, and I still have it.

2 days ago, Olive got the cold, and still has it.

Thanks a lot Cora!

Just kidding.

Kind of.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Excerpt #16

Here's another brief look inside my upcoming book, Outsourcing God. I hope you enjoy it, wrestle it, and chat it up!



What is it about the weekly encounter we label “worship,” that causes such a stirring, such life change, or conversely nothing at all?

I believe that in our consumer-driven, materialistic society, we fall prey to the habitual re-creation of an entertainment encounter. And just because I use the term “entertainment,” doesn’t mean I’m referring to a particular style of encounter; contemporary, progressive, traditional, post-modern, blended, etc. Rather I’m referring to the fact that we try and dish out what gives “our people” what they want.

We spend an amazing amount of time calculating what will drive the numbers up and try and meet those expectations unequivocally. If that’s a rock band or pipe organ, we’ll do what brings in the numbers. After a season of positive encounters, we say that things are going well, budgets are in the right place, staffing is secure, and things are generally healthy. However, when these encounters leave us uneasy, we quickly blame the ministry staff, begin questioning the church’s stewardship, and eventually go down the road of, “oh, remember how things used to be…”

It’s a natural place to go. This line of thinking is very normal. However, the fact that we got there in the first place illuminates the real failure. The fact that we can, (in one week and one worship encounter), determine the encounter’s success by the ministry staff’s hard work, excellence and spiritual maturity, and the next week call it a failure, without any hesitation that just perhaps the encounter has something to do with how we arrive, the preparedness of our hearts, and the willingness of ourselves to be challenged, moved, and disrupted, shows how far the church has gone and how we’ve allowed the gods of culture to infiltrate.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Black Swan : Swirling with Artistry


What a performance!

An epic film that should require a dose of Dramamine before it begins...

Darren Aronofsky did a fabulous job telling, and vividly showing, the ballet Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky). Aronofsky is also noted for The Wrestler and Requiem for a Dream (one stand-out flick in my opinion). Black Swan is filmed and told in similar fashion - drugged out, and swirling with artistry. In an age of SAW and Hostel-esque movies, I am surprised people still squirm. Yet he was able to get the entire (sold-out) audience squirming and uneasy by the simplest act of Natalie's character clipping her fingernails.

Natalie Portman was beyond good. At no point did I doubt she was truly the Swan Queen, actually performing the ballet, consumed by her art and search for perfection.

This has been the first movie I've seen in a long while that left this long-lasting, art-filled, impression on me.

If you haven't seen it yet, go!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Homemade Boats & The Yellow Submarine

Yesterday we bummed around the house all morning having fun in homemade boats and singing Beatles tunes (one of Cora's new favorite things to do).

After that we went to The Magic House and played for a few hours. 'Twas an eventful Friday.
Today I'm rehearsing, but mostly looking forward to this "2 hopes" shall come true!


Friday, December 17, 2010

2 Hopes

This week has been nuts. I'm worn out and Kate's got a cold, so there's really only 2 things I hope to do this weekend. I know its not a lot, but stillness sounds good!

1. grill some "fancy" cheeseburgers
2. go see Black Swan

End scene.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Christmas TOP 5 (tunes & movies)

Its that time of year when every publication is pumping out their "best-of's." So I figured I would follow suit and give you a list of my TOP 5 Christmas tunes (recent) - its hard to top Bing and here's what the kids are listening to :-) and movies (of all time).

O Holy Night - Shane & Shane
What Child Is This - Sleeping At Last
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel - The Civil Wars
Little Drummer Boy - Jars of Clay
O Come All Ye Faithful - Pomplamoose

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (1966 version)
Christmas Vacation
A Christmas Story
Home Alone
White Christmas

Please comment & share your own favorites!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It Began With Toy Guitars...

So today I thought I'd tell you the story behind the new EP. First and foremost was the process of developing these songs. I can truly say it was one of a kind...

Cora has a toy guitar with only 5 strings. It won't hold standard tuning, but I can get it to hold an open tuning. Most nights we spend 15-20 minutes before bed playing, singing, and laughing in the girls' room. Per Cora's request, I end up rocking out as she and Olive dance and add percussion of sorts. All of the new songs were written and developed in these 15-20 minute sessions (over the course of 6 months or so).

The lyrics and theme developed second.

You know (from previous posts) that I don't separate the spiritual from the secular - rather its all connected. Lately I've been surrounded by folks that typically fall into one of two camps. Camp one sees the world in black and white, those that are in and out, right and wrong, and that the in's are part of a "providential select." Camp two resides in the gray, more grace-filled, conversation oriented, and less motivated by the need to be right; they seem to embrace more mystery, mysticism, the permission and necessity to doubt, and something bigger than any systematic theology can describe.

This concept is why I wrote the line, "boxes and human fog." It's a phrase from the song Doubt Brings Hope, and is also the title of the EP. It's basically the notion that we (both camps 1 & 2) draw lines in the sand as to who's got it right, and put God in the box of our own understanding, which effectively creates in us (and culture) a fog that blinds and often misdirects us on the concept and size of God.

This is of course my commentary on the subject - and I could be wrong (again, something that's hard to say when you're in camp #1). But its what's consuming me these days and it worked its way into these songs.

I hope you're excited about this!

Get the EP for $5 and help spread the RC love - click the link below to download a FREE track of 'War on War' and PRE-ORDER the whole EP today!


Monday, December 13, 2010

our weekend in pics...

This weekend was packed with Christmas-y goodness plus our first rather than writing about it, I'll let the pics & vid do the storytelling.


Friday, December 10, 2010

iPad Christmas Magic

I saw this yesterday and had to share it. I know its kinda' dorky, but it's also pretty dang impressive!

Have an excellent weekend,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

2010 Projects & French Toast

This past year has been studio project after studio project. I have absolutely LOVED each and every one; working with artists to create fresh music that is pushing each of their limits respectively, and making really beautiful and thoughtful art.

I have learned a TON about the recording process and how to create and manipulate the sounds I hear in my head (i'm not totally nuts). Each record has increased in artistry and I can honestly say that each one I have wrapped, I have been able to say it was the best studio work i've done to date.

It's honed my playing skills (i did most of the instrumental and programming work), engineering and mixing abilities, but most of all my listening. 'Twas a fun fun year and I'm humbled to have been able to work with everyone!

Here they are in order...

ALSO...Cora asked me last night for french toast. Here's what was waiting for her this morning when she woke up.

She was a bit overwhelmed.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010



That was what Cora was shouting from the backseat last night as we drove the neighborhoods of St. Louis to check out the best-of-the-best, Christmas Lights and decorations (how can you go wrong with an 8 ft. snow globe inflated about 75%?)

Cora is what I would call excitedly-dramatic...and I love it! Her 2-year-old personality really comes alive, and advent has been a blast seeing her get pumped night after night for little special treats, trips, foods, and projects. She also has the uncanny ability to get Olive in a frenzy - cast & all.

Sunday night we all got Christmas socks - one of my personal favorites. Tonight, who knows...cookies, paint a Christmas picture, homemade'll just have to wait and see.

So to tide you over, here's a quick little video from the other night.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Post-Christian: why i have hope for that future...

I saw this video yesterday that succinctly describes the church in America, its influence on culture, and what the future looks like. I have written in the past on this topic, not as a sad cry to return to how things were in the past, but rather, as a hopeful mend to the consumer church culture of America in a post-Christian era.

Take a couple minutes and watch the video. Feel free to post your thoughts, hopes, fears, etc.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Book Excerpt #15

Here's another short snippet from my upcoming book, Outsourcing God. I hope this starts a conversation or 2. Peace!


...By now, this attitude of expectancy, commodification, and consumerism has engulfed the church and plays out no different than private companies. Our “church shopping” culture has somehow forced the hands of leaders to play into the power of the executive business models, where we now treat ministry as an assembly line. The more people we can turn on and turn out, the better off we are, the more successful our ministry, the bigger our staff and steeple. It’s a numbers game, and quantity seems to be the driver.

The church, unlike the rest of the world, has often turned the vision and call of being Jesus’ hands and feet to the world, into an executable machine, with certain 10-step programs guaranteed to grow your congregation, grow your collection plate, and if there’s money left over at the end of the month, we’ll even supply the visitors with Jesus mints.

But this isn’t completely a get-rich-quick scheme of the church. Its not an evil plot sought out by seedy church leaders. It’s a deep and interconnected problem that society expects and the church caters to.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Another Dinnertime Rock-out Session...

Hope this gets you through your Friday...have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

How Advent is Shaping Up...

A couple of days ago I posted a few questions about how you spend and celebrate Advent. Kate and I made our master plan and are 1 day into it with the girls (we made snowflakes and setup the nativity scene last night). So here's what we have so far (in no particular order):

Christmas Lights in Tillis Park
Bake Christmas cookies
Make ornaments
Wild Lights at the Zoo
Drive and see neighborhood lights
Lights at Lady of the Snow
Ice skating
Carriage ride
Watch Grinch
Watch Rudolph
Watch Elf
Watch Frosty
Invite friends over for dinner/go out w/ friends (1X p/week)
Homemade snowflakes
Set up the nativity scene
Outdoor fire w/ hot coco

So there's our list-in-progress. Please feel free to share your ideas!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Olive: Our Little Trooper

What a few days...

Sunday night, Olive was walking alongside the couch and plopped down to crawl to Kate. She started crying hard and didn't really show any signs of slowing down. We called urgent care and they said to give her some ibuprofen, that that should take care of it (doubtful of any injury from sitting). She fell asleep.

Monday, she wasn't showing any desire to crawl or attempt walking. That is weird for Olive.

Kate took Olive in to the Dr and they did an x-ray...fractured tibia!

Who breaks their shin sitting down???

Yesterday we went to the orthopedic Dr and got a festive cast put on her. She never cried (except for the time they pressed on the fracture), she was mostly curious of the casting process. Cora showed more concern. She held Olive's hand. Though I think Olive was doing the real comforting.

So what's next...3 weeks of the cast, then 3 weeks with limited movement. How exactly do you keep a 1 year old from moving???


Monday, November 29, 2010

Advent Plans?

Hey there ya'll...I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I ate and laughed a'plenty.

Advent started yesterday and I'm curious of your Advent traditions. This is the first year both of our girls are really at an age for Advent participation, so Kate and I want to do some special stuff and pull out as many stops as possible.

We're finalizing our calendar of to-do's later today, so i'll post what we decide in the next couple days.

What are you doing?
What should we do?
Anything specific to St. Louis we should not miss?


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thank You!

I just wanted to thank everyone that stops by the blog to read from time to time. Thanks to everyone that's helped promote a show or pass along my music. Thanks for being a friend. I hope you guys eat too much, watch too much TV, and laugh a little too hard this weekend. Have a great Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Some Beatles, Courtesy of Cora

Cora has been singing 'Hey Jude' non-stop lately (which is a MAJOR improvement from Bah-bah-black-sheep, in my opinion). Last night I caught a little of it for your viewing pleasure.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Putting Up the Tree

Here's a peek into our Christmas tree festivities. The girls had a blast. Though I think it was more fun for us, watching them...
Thanks for reading,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Queen of Hearts...

This weekend we went to KC for a kid birthday party for our best friends, the Schultz's. It was an Alice in Wonderland theme party and was quite cute (see more pics here). Cora has been talking about it for weeks (possibly months). Olive was the Queen of Hearts. It was perfect, red hair, un-proportionally large head, etc. 'Twas a nice little road trip!


Friday, November 19, 2010


Thanks for your support in spreading the word!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Barton Hallow by The Civil Wars

I've made the pledge to you in the past to pass along great music and artistry. So in my attempts to not horde greatness, here's a new song/video from a great Nashville band, The Civil Wars.

Watch it and love it!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Recording Vocals

Welp, yesterday I recorded 4 tracks of vocals - ALL the vocals on those 4 tracks (lead vox, double vox, harmonies, oooh's and aaahhh's, and a couple yeah's). It went great and the sounds are better than expected. A few weeks back I bought one of these sweet numbers (the Primacoustic VoxGuard) to help with acoustic treatment. Its a sweet $100 fix to a make-shift home studio. Well worth the dollars in my opinion.Now begins the grueling process of listening to the vocals line-by-line and phrase-by-phrase. I like to record everything 3-4 times to give me plenty of options on phrasing, diction, pronunciation, etc. Then I begin comping everything, figuring out proper eq's, and any effects that help the song excel.

You can click the link below and hear some vocal-less tracks and PRE-ORDER the record, BOXES & HUMAN FOG.

That's all i've got for now. Thanks for reading & PEACE!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Weeds = Survivalism

Last night was the Weeds season finale. From a season that (in my own opinion) started very slowly, ended with a solid 3-4 episodes. If you've not caught any Weeds thus far, you should. Because it's more than a show about a drug dealing mom. It's primarily a story of survival.

It tells the story from the perspective of a seemingly horrible mom, that makes bad decision after bad decision. But nonetheless, she lives with her choices and works the survival narrative episode after episode.

Here's what I've learned...

1. Don't sell drugs
2. Don't marry into a major drug cartel

3. Don't sell drugs

And there you have it folks. Check out Weeds on Showtime and thank me later!

Thanks for reading,

Monday, November 15, 2010


This past weekend, I had the chance to SLOW DOWN and be still. It's been far too long since I've done this; and the solitude was greatly needed. It allowed me the opportunity and freedom to consider time and the pace of life (at least my pace of life).

Especially since we've had kids, life has flown bye. I'm always surprised by the calendar year and how it catches me off guard. I realized that perhaps the reason for this was that I tend to live my life in cycles. I measure time by the week, projects, to-do lists, big annual events, etc. I think I forget to take solace in the day to day rhythm of things.

Maybe you're like me, maybe not. But regardless, taking time to remember each day, each small event that equals the whole, I believe is a pace worth striving for. It keeps you from always seeking the next best thing (whether it be a task, vacation, or season), and allows you to remain healthy and content in what's provided for you in the here and now - your daily bread.

That's my 2 cents...


Friday, November 12, 2010

Donald, Derek, Robbie, & Sandra

Last night the fam went to a cool event featuring Donald Miller, Derek Webb, Sandra McCraken, and Robbie Seay Band. It was a night focused on the narrative of love and all of its consequences. Donald Miller acted as narrator for the event and the 3 bands took stage as solo, duo, and trio acts. It was great seeing the combined creativity centered on love.

The high point was Derek Webb performing 3 tracks from his new release, Feedback. Feedback is an instrumental album of ambiance, beats, gritty guitar riffs, and soaring "oooh's," that walks like by line through the Lord's Prayer. The album does a very cool job of representing the singular lines, thoughts, and emotions contained in the most famous prayer (sorry Jabez). If this little tour is coming through your homestead, you should try and catch it!

Have a great weekend,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recording UPDATE...

This new EP (BOXES & HUMAN FOG) has been such a fun process for me (and it's not finished). 2 of the tunes I've played live now for about a year, but the others have never seen a stage. It's been quite a ride as I've composed layers that have never been heard on other albums to date.

This EP is showing a real raw beauty to it. At times its a swell of orchestra and a second later its driving drums and bass at 126 BPM (that might be the fastest song i've recorded). There's moments of folksy Americana (1 moment), and then there's an ambient quality that will keep you guessing.

I don't want to give too much away. I apologize that the teasers are just instrumental too, but that's how I roll at this point :-)

If you're interested & willing to help me promote this on your blog, twitter, or Facebook page, PLEASE PLEASE use and abuse this stuff (videos, links, etc.)

Here's the PRE-ORDER can't get much easier than that!

Thanks SO VERY much,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Book Excerpt #14

Here's another quick excerpt from my upcoming book, Outsourcing God. In this excerpt we can see the all-to-familiar problem of what outsourcing responsibility and roles within the context of the Church can do the body.


...It is far too easy for us to parcel out our ministry responsibilities, tasks, and voices to staffed, paid, professionals. We make no distinction between faith and consumerism. And if we’re not careful, we wind up treating our leadership positions as if they were telemarketing firms or IT consultants.

But this doesn’t happen over night. It’s a culmination of culture, movement, laziness, vision, and pace, all working in tandem over time to affect every single aspect of how people see and follow God. Because God is inextricably linked to the way the Church behaves, it ineffectually becomes the same.

This is a conundrum of the Church.


Monday, November 8, 2010


I hate being sick. I'm stubborn about it. Ask Kate. And I've been sick since last Thursday...

I woke up Thursday achy and running a temp. I tried to go into work, but Kate finally changed my mind. I went back to bed and didn't get out until about 10PM that night. I managed to watch The Office and The League before being exhausted (because I had done so much).

Around midnight, I started shivering so much the entire bed shook (Linda Blair style). I was running a 102, but was frigid. Kate fought me to get a stocking hat, long-sleeved shirt, and thick wool socks on. I did, and I continued to shake violently for a while. Friday I woke up feeling much better, but still sore and achy.

Sunday I led at AWAKEN and still just fought through it.

Alas, it's Monday and I'm still not 100%...

Hope you have a better Monday than mine's shaping up to be,

Sunday, November 7, 2010

'Hell' of a Debate

Here's part 2 of 7, of a great debate regarding Hell.
Is Hell a physical and literal place?
It's divisive, its rough, it angers folks, and I think this is a great talk.

I know it's long, but if you have some time, check it out...

Hell Debate Part 2 of 7 from Doug Pagitt on Vimeo.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Kate's Fair Trade Update

Today was the big day for Kate's FAIR TRADE CRAFT SALE, and it rocked! There was a solid flow of people from 8AM - 5PM and everyone left with full bags and smiles. And if you've read my blog before, you'll know I'm not one for promoting gluttonous consumerism, but today was an opportunity for folks to complete their Christmas lists and provide much needed support to women artisans in the developing world.

Thanks so much for all of the help and support!


Friday, November 5, 2010

how can that possibly be right?...

Have a yummy weekend,

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

This Weekend = Holiday Fair Trade Event!

Hey ya'll, this weekend my wife and a bunch of her friend are hosting an AWESOME event for an even AWESOME-ER cause! You should most definitely swing by and get all of your Christmas shopping done in 1 stop. Here's a link to where it's being held: CLICK HERE

Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 1, 2010


You can now PRE-ORDER the new album, Boxes & Human Fog, ONLINE! It's cheap, secure, and by pre-ordering it, you'll get it before everyone else!

I truly appreciate everyone's help and support throughout the years. I'm extremely excited about these tunes and I hope you all are too! Please pass this along to your friends and guys never seem to disappoint!

Peace & humbled-thanks,

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!Hope you are in the beginning stages of a sugar coma...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pics from The Gramophone

A couple weeks back I played a show at The Gramophone in St. Louis. It was a great venue, great crowd, and my buddy Tim snapped these pics. If you like these, here's some more...


Have a terrific weekend!