Monday, October 31, 2011

Throat Ulcers.

About a year and a half ago, I was in the ER with the worst stomach pain I'd ever felt. It turned out to be 4 severe ulcers. The Dr. prescribed some meds and all was well, until about 3 months ago. This time however, the ulcers were in my throat. It felt like swallowing razor blades. The Dr. put me on steroids for a week and the ulcers went away. Welp, today I was back at the Dr. with what I thought was strep, but the ulcers are back - and bad. My whole throat is covered with them. Its pretty nast.

Anyway, I must say goodbye to all of the spicy foods that I adore!

Until next time, peace!
-Ross

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Outsourcing God - book excerpt #20

Yesterday I found myself in a conversation/debate about leadership styles. I argued that a true and healthy leader does not provide 100, 80, even 50% of the answers for those following, but that we must push back with more questions to create a desire and make the vision that of the person questioning (so as to not live out the other man's faith). My friend argued that we must present our position with certainty and confidence; that anything short of it is un-true, and does no good to the one asking. I could go on and on, but I thought that this section of my book spoke to the subject:

(c) 2010 Ross Christopher Donaldson

To those of us that currently call ourselves leaders…here’s permission to not always having the answer. If you don’t feel permission to leave things a bit unhinged and untidy, I’m sorry. It’s the nature of the beast – plus it feels good when we/I have all of the (right) answers. I quickly gain public persona and become the _________ answer man (you fill in the blank).

I tend to believe however, that Christ came to demonstrate a new type of leadership. His new leadership is completely counter-cultural that it leads people to scoff terms like radical, crazy, otherworldly, revolutionary, and un-realistic. But what we know of Christ is that he rarely did things in the assumed way.

When He should have ridden a stallion, He rides the colt of a donkey. When He can raise a legion of furious militant angels, He turns His cheek and remains silent. When He has the power to assemble the most just and righteous government known to man, He instead compels young fisherman to take up His cause. Jesus does little in the likeness of your standard leadership self-help books and gurus, but Jesus taught a better and holy way.

Jesus, our model leader, was asked a slew of questions throughout his three-year ministry, and from the four gospels, he responded over 50 times with questions – not answers. Jesus spoke often through the use of parables: quick, pithy, succinct questions or stories that strengthened the community by fostering deeper thought and conversation. Perhaps our response should be similar...

...It seems like in a world where people gravitate to either black or white; Jesus poses a question to blend the two. We all know our friends that see the world in total black and white. There’s no middle ground. It escapes nothing. Not politics. Not sports. Not foods. Not entertainment. Not religion. And in this world that is painted in stark contrast, Jesus is leading out of the gray. For it's in the fog of gray that we truly search for our way(s) and discover truth.

Peace,
Ross

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Consuming the Gospel


A few weeks ago, I asked the question if it was possible to turn The Gospel into an idol. You can read that post HERE.

What prompted that post was a negative conversation that occurred by someone saying that they didn't hear "their gospel." This statement has at its root many layers of problems that are facing the church today.

Is the gospel personal? Absolutely.
Is the gospel social? Absolutely.

But when we make it one over the other, we have changed the transformative power of the gospel and made it into a commodity of religion. We are of course a consumer culture. But the gospel is never something to be consumed.

As soon as the gospel has its limits, the transformational power of the resurrection has been co-opted for personal interest, comfort, tradition, power, and consumption.

Consider this very real scenario...what is emerging in Christianity is the church of the global South. Primarily, the global South is made up of developing nations and third world nation states. The church and Christianity is exploding in the global South, whereas it is disappearing in the West. The version of Christianity however, looks very different. Its very tribal in its existence. It appears much more pentecostal in nature, as the spiritual aspect of faith is heightened in these parts of the world. The notion of prosperity is also gaining ground. And even though much of the West does not participate in these "types" of Christianity, does it mean that the global South isn't teaching gospel? Is it possible that the gospel is JUST THAT BIG?

Gospel is defined:
1. The proclamation of the redemption preached by Jesus and the Apostles, which is the central content of Christian revelation.

2. A similar narrative.
3. a doctrine maintained to be of great importance


So lets go back to the initial argument... is the gospel ours to claim, and ours to define when its not heard (as we prefer it heard)?

In the particular case I'm referring to, there was not a liturgical time set aside where the gospel (text from Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) was read. What did occur was a narrative approach to show how the gospel is interlaced throughout the totality of scripture.

The argument defined what equals gospel, and what does not equal gospel. The argument makes the gospel totally liturgical in its methodology and practice. The argument denies God's ability to speak gospel outside of the liturgical hour and outside of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. The argument limits God and is dangerous. The argument was made from the standpoint of something to be consumed during the liturgical hour.

That's my two cents anyway...

Peace,
Ross

Monday, October 24, 2011

Acoustic Performance of 'WAR ON WAR'

This past weekend I had 2 concerts. I experimented with some new, acoustic renditions, of tunes from the new album. Here's an acoustic (loop) performance of 'WAR ON WAR.'




Peace,
Ross

Friday, October 21, 2011

SiloTree STUDIO


I've been busy lately producing in my studio, SiloTree STUDIO. Here's the most recent writeups, updates, and info about the studio...


Ross Christopher provides various professional music services ranging from producing/recording to string arrangements, session player to remix artist.

Ross runs and manages SiloTree Studio in St. Louis, MO - a comfortable and creative atmosphere that puts out stellar recordings for artists of all genres.

Ross considers his services a one-stop-shop when it comes to recording, that includes producing, recording, mastering (via Ardent Studios - Memphis, TN), web design, and album artwork. His work produces national release ready albums and art!

He prices things VERY reasonably (by the song), starting as low as $250-500.
CLICK HERE for more information & book your next recording with Ross Christopher at SiloTree Studio today!



::Producing, Recording, Arrangement Work::

Ross Christopher has worked with many artists and bands in many various roles (producing/recording, string arrangements, player, etc). He's recorded over 30 albums to date with artists, selling 10's of thousands of CDs worldwide!

Stacy DuPree (Eisley)
Jeremy Larson
Darren King (Mutemath)
Dear Genre
Brendan Bradley
Convergence (AWAKEN)
The Lost Narrative
Todd Sarvies (Starmaker)
Caleb Travers
Lacy Adair
Lakeland
Harmony Grove
Harry Hinrichs
Maywood
Matt Peeples
and many more...


What people are saying about Ross' work...

"Atmosphere is the culmination of nine months of studio work, [it's] upbeat, diverse, and prolific" -St. Louis Beacon (reviewing Dear Genre's album, Atmosphere)


"I feel like I've made a good friend, and I know we will work together again. I am LOVING the CD! Good work my friend." -Jeremy Larson (singer/songwriter/producer & Mutemath)


"Ross' amazing talent, experience, and knowledge is paired with a fun and light-hearted attitude that made the recording process a great pleasure to experience." -Brendan Bradley (singer/songwriter)


"Ross Christopher is a minimalist epic!" -Performing Songwriter Magazine

"ROSS CHRISTOPHER is “intensely original,” creating gritty acoustic textures and delivering them with confidence and zeal." -Brandon Marowick (freelance writer & music contributor)


"The River Child is one of the more eclectically satisfying albums to grace the market in 2008...a watershed moment." -Wildy's World Publications



"There's a total involvement [Ross] seems to have in the music he's producing...it is pretty mesmerizing." -Violinist.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

a-muse.


I was reading something yesterday about the word muse and it got me thinking...

So first, I want you to consider the word "muse."

MUSE - verb (used without object) to think or meditate in silence, as on some subject.

To muse is to meditate and think, to ruminate, etc. This is a deep concept that takes something (an object) and uses it to project further meaning or action.

Ok, now consider another word - "amuse."

The prefix "a" means "non, not, none."
Think: asexual, amorphous, amoral.

When we are amused, we are not thinking, not meditating, and not ruminating. So consider your art and creativity in these terms. If your goal is to amuse, don't be surprised when people aren't moved and don't react to it. There is certainly a place for amusement (we all need to step back, exhale, and not take things seriously from time to time). But if your goal is action and contemplation, don't amuse.

I hope this will cause a stir and consideration. If not, I apologize for the amusing post.

Peace,
Ross

Monday, October 17, 2011

They did it!


Last night was proof that a team of people, when aligned with vision and will, can accomplish the (almost) impossible. The St. Louis Cardinals had virtually no chance of making the playoffs back in August, but decided they weren't going to give up like most ball clubs do. Instead, they started playing every game like it was game 7 of the World Series. Now, October 17th, we are indeed going to the World Series!

I'm pumped for them, the city, and the game!

Peace,
Ross

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tonight


If you're in St. Louis and looking for something to do tonight, come on over to Off Broadway for Caleb Travers' CD RELEASE concert. I'll be playing violin and singing backup. Its gonna be quite a night...heck, even the RiverFront Times named it one of the top events of the week (and that's a lot considering the Cards are playing for the National League Championship!)

Music starts at 8PM. We'll be on at 9PM.

Peace,
Ross

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What is Emerging? (Part 2)

Here's part 2 of the video...

Ding Dong the Church is Dead (2/2) from Aideen Johnston on Vimeo.



Peace,
Ross

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What is Emerging? (Part 1)

This is a video (Part 1) about the church...

The past.
The present.
The hopeful future.

It's more grey than black and white.
It's more than belief.
It's more than doctrine.
It's more than brick and mortar.

It's just more.


VIDEO DISABLED>

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Doubt Brings Hope

Sunday night, I had the amazing opportunity to open for the uber-talented Priscilla Ahn at The Old Rock House in St. Louis. Here's a video of my tune, 'DOUBT BRINGS HOPE.' It's the first time I've played with it as a loop, and I think it turned out well! Enjoy...


video

Peace,
Ross

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Old Rock House

Last night I had the awesome opportunity to open for Priscilla Ahn at The Old Rock House in St. Louis. It was a great venue with a great staff and sound! Thanks SO VERY MUCH to everyone that came out and supported! If you missed it, here's some pics from the show...







Peace,
Ross

Friday, October 7, 2011

The F Word.

This is brilliant!



Peace,
Ross

Thursday, October 6, 2011

RE:Post (Bye Bye Jobs)



I'm saddened and thankful for the life and creativity of Mr. Jobs. I thought it would be appropriate to re:post an entry from a couple months back...

Steve Jobs stepped down yesterday as CEO of Apple. So I thought it only appropriate to thank him for his enormous contribution to the music industry and overall artistry.

That's right, the music industry.

iTunes changed EVERYTHING!
The labels didn't (and still don't) know how to work like they did before the days of iTunes.

But what I want to focus on is how iTunes made us better song writers and producers.
Or it at least forced our hands...

Before iTunes, in the day and age when we went to the record store to buy a physical CD, (most albums) would have 2-3 top notch songs and the rest was mediocre and/or filler tunes.
*[there are VERY FEW albums that I listen to straight through without skipping a track or two]

iTunes essentially made every song a single. That's how we purchase them now. Filler tunes now will be unheard songs, and potentially millions of 99 cent downloads lost. And since consumer is still king (even Jobs can't change that), our song writing has been forced to put out an album of potential singles.

Jobs forced the hands of the artists to forget about the track 4 and 5, 11 and 12 that served to fill time and space (a lot of the time).

So Mr. Jobs, thanks for your contribution to the music industry, to artists, and to me personally.

Peace,
Ross

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

2 words.

In crazy political times of 24 hour news cycles, it makes you say...

video

Peace,
Ross

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

fences.


Yesterday I was sitting in the backyard with the girls and decided I wanted to write a fictional song from the perspective of an inanimate object; in this case, a fence. So here's what I came up with...

Fences
(c) 2011 Ross Christopher


You've built me for isolation,
Insulation, desolation, and instigation

We've held in our secret nights
And out our eventual fights

From me, you're half-spoken,
Never listened,
Judged in whispers,
And gotten bitter

You call me fences
You call me six-foot privacy
But I am speechless
And all I do is see


Peace,
Ross

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rabbits


Do you think there are rabbits in the jungle?

Peace,
Ross