Sunday, May 30, 2010

Looking For My Favorite Lines

What do you get when you watch an interview of Quentin Tarantino and Fiona Apple? Well...for me...some great song inspiration. (maybe watching inspired talent, inspires?)

I won't tell you what its about. Maybe that's not the point of art (or at least my role in art) - you bring it to your own conclusion and meaning.


Looking For My Favorite Lines
(c) 2010 Ross Christopher Donaldson

What's been created was Eden's beauty
And we cast it out for self
We wanted knowledge and god-like seeing
A mirror to see our being

Looking for my favorite lines
Despite the fact our broken lives
Have interrupted harmony

And given birth to grace

Our fall of distance brings us near
A mystery of grandeur
For as we're running, you are chasing
Bathed in unspoken tears

Looking for my favorite lines
Despite the fact our broken lives

Have interrupted harmony

And given birth to grace

Here it is

Here it is

You are near

Looking for my favorite lines
Despite the fact our broken lives

Have interrupted harmony

And given birth to grace

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Blinded My Eyes - LIVE @ CICERO's

hope you enjoy!

Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST & the Story of God


Last night was the LOST season finale. Kate and I have been devotees for the past few years; watching, dissecting, and postulating every single episode. As the final scenes unraveled we truly felt like we were losing someone (or at least something profound - maybe our time commitment...maybe more).

The story line has primarily been a spiritual/faith epic, from each characters perspective. And last night we got to see how it ended.

Consider most historical faiths, we know the beginning and the end (metaphorically at least). Its the middle though, that gets blurry. Its blurry because that's the part we reside in. Its riddled with doubt, belief, disbelief, mystery, struggle, joy, suffering, etc.

So as the story of LOST came to close last night, not every question from the blurry-middle was answered. But perhaps that's the point. Perhaps we need to struggle through the beginning and end just enough to help our struggle in the blurry-middle. Perhaps we're supposed to wrestle with the uncertainties because it draws us to (if not mandates) community.


Another theme from the show, not set apart from faith or spirituality - the communal aspect is as vital to the journey as the personal. I believe with all my heart that without true community, any sort of spiritual journey is a walk toward failure. Its not how we were created. And its not how the story ends.

Are there questions? YES
Will they ever be answered? MAYBE YES, MAYBE NO
Is that ok? ABSOLUTELY (if not even the point)

Faith and spirituality is not, and has never been, about empirical data and proof. It has always been about the rise and fall of community, remembrance, mystery, and faith.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Book Excerpt #11 (Creating an Orgainic-Rootsy-Network)

Here's another excerpt from my upcoming book, Outsourcing God. Enjoy!

© 2010 Ross Christopher Donaldson.

I’ll be honest; I get tired of hearing leaders explain their gatherings, groups, and organizations, as “organic” and “grassroots.” It’s nauseating actually. Not because the words are overused (which they are), or because they’ve become the cliché leader-words-to-use (which they have), but because most of my experiences have shown nothing organic or grassrootsy at all. Instead, most people use these descriptors any time the facility is less than appealing, old ratty couches are used for seating and considered chic, and the lighting is more than 80% candlelight.

I think these words, in the leadership sense, were intended to describe the ways in which delegation, creation, and implementation were handled. Not the former. I think something truly organic is truly natural. Organic-ness is sans manipulation, sans hype, sans gimmick, and sans fad.

For example, organic foods must be deemed completely natural. A truly organic, free-range, cow eats what grows naturally. It has never seen hormones to beef up the size and speed at which it matures. It roams through natural fields and pastures, and never sets foot in a manipulated feed lot. When finally butchered, the cow is typically smaller and cost more to produce; but the harvest is natural, sustainable, and good. The harvest is organic. (and now I’m hungry for a T-bone)

In the same way, a church, organization, or group that spends less time with gimmicks, manipulation, and hype; in the long run, will be more honest, real, and healthy. The truly organic church, organization, or group will build a network that works, because it will rise and fall together, experience triumph and pain together, and will win and lose together.

The real quest though, is how to create this type of organic-rootsy-network environment. As natural as it is, and should be to create (or re-create), is unfortunately something of a mystery. It’s a mystery because it has become counter cultural. The mainstream culture pushes hype and manipulation all day long. And they do this, because it works – for a while.

I recently read that the average American sees more than 3,000 advertisements each day. That’s 3,000 times each and every day, a company or organization is trying to push their products, goods, and desires (driven by stockholders, payrolls, and agendas) on you and I, the consumer. They have appropriately named this, push-marketing. However, you and I the consumer hate to be marketed to! We may not verbalize it, but deep down inside we want to eat a Krispy Kreme because we like and desire Krispy Kreme’s; not because an advertising firm duped us into consuming a days worth of calories in one mid-morning snack.

Now use that reasoning on your church or your organization or your group. How much money, time, and effort have been put in creating a marketable experience or program? Were there payoffs? Sure there were. Were they maintainable? Are they still sustaining? Some yes. Some no.

Now consider your closest inner-circle of friends and family. How long have you been tight, real, and authentic? How many dollars did you spend to win their affection? What types of programs did you create and morph to sustain these friendships or kinship's? Most likely (and hopefully) none. Rather, you gave your all – your secrets, dirty laundry, honesty, and ear – and the outcome is priceless and irreplaceable.

These are the types of organic-rootsy-networks that are needed. They begin with you. You must become more transparent, more willing to relinquish power and fame, more honest and vulnerable, and give more time. You are now (as an individual) part of the collective. It will not all be up’s, up’s, and more up’s. But it will be honest, real, and sustainable.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thanks Walt!

What can we learn from Walt Disney?

Mind you, this/he isn't my normal litmus test for learning or leading or dreaming or anything really. But today I heard a story about Walt (can I call him Walt?) that resonated and really hit home.

Apparently when Walt Disney introduced a new idea to his board, if at first there was no big push-back, he dumped the idea. That was his cue that it wasn't bold enough!


How easily we fall into plateau and mediocrity, because we're afraid of conflict, ruffling feathers, and the unknown. This stale-ness of inaction and limited dreams is intoxicating and cripples us day after day, week after week, and year after year. It slowly lulls us into an abyss of comfort that we'll never recover from.

So, unless we dream big, vision-cast exponentially, and are willing to take big risks (even at the cost of failure), we will fail to live truly bold lives. I don't know about you, but plateau, mediocrity, and status quo kill me, and leave me empty and robbed.

Thanks Walt!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2 Words.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Cora Sings "Doe-A-Deer"

Sunday, May 16, 2010

concert week...

This week was concert week...

I played St. Louis on Tuesday, Chicago on Friday, and Milwaukee on Saturday. I love being on the road for a number of reasons: the music of course, but also the new foods, and cool places to visit.

On the visiting front, we checked out the Harley Davidson museum. It was very cool - I think I was made to ride...perhaps not. And on the food front, I have a rule: NO CHAINS! So its all local, all the time. We hit up Nancy's in Chicago - AMAZING PIZZA!!! The next day in Milwaukee we went to Water Street Brewery. And to top off some great brewery-food, was the fact that in the booth next to us was John Rzeznik (lead singer of The Goo Goo Dolls).

The shows were great. Good times had by all! Plus, i learned that it takes EXACTLY 1 tank of gas for me to get my Honda from Milwaukee to St. Louis. I filled up at the hotel and drove into the driveway with my car's LOW FUEL light staring me in the face.

Aahhh, now its time to relax!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Catch a Show!

If you're in Chicago or Milwaukee, I hope you'll plan to come out to a show this weekend!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Minimalist. (part 2)

Here's another installment of minimalism for your Tuesday viewing pleasure.

This time its coming from an amazing artist, Josh Boston, out of San Diego (you know what that means).


Saturday, May 8, 2010


I like minimalism.

I like its succinctness and clarity.

As a music producer, I always tell musicians that if the song isn't strong with an acoustic guitar and vocal, then its not a good song. Basically, if it needs a lot of production to make it good, then it needs more work.

This past week a friend helped me stumble across some fantastic minimalist art. Check it all out here and you'll know why i HAD TO POST IT!

Here's a few stand-outs:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Book Excerpt #10 (Replace Yourself)

Here's another weekly excerpt-installment from my upcoming book, Outsourcing God. Enjoy!

© 2010 Ross Christopher Donaldson.

I was on staff at a church a few years ago that had the mantra, “replace yourself!” At first, you’ll agree that this is crazy-talk. No one settles job-security nervousness with that phrase. But the staff had it 100% correct. The act of replacing yourself works on many levels.

First, it tells you that the Church is bigger than you are as an individual. And even though you add your own unique gifts, abilities, and character, should you disappear from the scene, the Church will remain. This isn’t said to slap you in the face and take away your worth and purpose. It does keep you humble though. It is you and me that get to join the ride, the conversation, and the beauty of the Church. The Church was here before us, and will certainly sustain once we’re dead and gone.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Leadership & Celebrity Apprentice

If you're currently a leader, training for a leadership position, curious about what makes a leader lead, then you should do yourself a HUGE (and fun) favor by watching Celebrity Apprentice on NBC.

To begin with, its a fun show - humorous, catty, and somehow the likes of "The Donald," Cindy Lauper, and Bret Michaels can weekly put me at the edge of my seat. More than that, its a great magnifying glass into what makes and breaks a leader.

In my opinion, the leaders emerged during the first episode. But weekly, we see different tasks bring rise to unique strengths brought by each celebrity. What's key though, is no matter how plugged into the industry represented by a specific task, the leaders still lead. There's a slew of different leadership styles. Some work, and some go home at the end of the 2 hour episode.

In the end, its a fun show, and I promise you'll learn a little something about leadership.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Turkey Hunting 2010

Welp, I'm back home from a weekend of turkey hunting. I came home empty-handed, but it was a pretty nice weekend nonetheless. Thursday night gave us wind gusts of 40-50 mph, which is a lot when you're camping. But I stayed upright, had a great campfire, and smoked my fair share of cigars.

And now i'm pooped and hitting the bed...