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???