Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rural Delivery

This weekend I'm excited to head to Jefferson City, MO to catch the debut of RURAL DELIVERY.  Its a great play, written by a family friend, Keith Enloe.  I was fortunate to write and record the original soundtrack to it.  Its got an acoustic/Ozark Mountain feel, with lots of guitars, violins, and kick drums! 

                                CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO...

[about Rural Delivery]...A small town post office in Centertown, MO, where a single mother, Laura, serves as post master while trying to raise her children. A quiet giant, Richard, whose gentle ways mask his turbulent past. A shocking incident that binds them together forever. Rural Delivery, an original script by local actor, director and playwright, Keith Enloe, is a story about family, friendship, struggle and sacrifice all told by characters that might live right down the road.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Scorpion Girl w/ Dear Genre

Hey folks,

I spent yesterday in the studio with Dear Genre recording tracks for his new song, Scorpion Girl.  Its a cool summer tune that's gonna get some major traction!  We spent the bulk of the day on drums, telecaster, and bass.  I've got a day recording synth and mix-downs ahead of me, and then we'll have ourselves a song!

If you're an artist looking for a comfortable, professional, and reasonably priced ($250 - $750 p/song) studio to record your next project, contact me at SiloTreeSTUDIO:


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pan De Libros

Kate spent the weekend in Baltimore, MD with our best friends, the Schultz'.  There, she and Katie brainstormed and wrote a children's book that will be available in the coming months (much more info about that later). But more importantly, they dreamed and created a vision for changing a community in Anapra, Mexico.

 Though the front porches of Anapra look out over the Mexico - U.S. border onto the verdant lawns of the United States, many of the luxuries we take for granted are not readily available to their community. Paved streets, potable water, steady employment, safety, even education - none are guaranteed to our neighbors to the south - and neither are books.

Perhaps we can change that...

However, the vision is growing, taking root in the hearts of many in the U.S. and Anapra to provide more literature, a place for community, and HOPE. The next step in the good work being done in Anapra is taking shape, the shape of a library... and I couldn't be more excited!!! A location has been identified, supply costs are being assessed, and a plan is developing!

And in order to coordinate the efforts that will surely require the compassionate and generous contributions of numerous partners in the U.S. to empower these impacts, the Pan de Libros (Bread of Books) collaboration group has been formed. Our goal: to promote education, community, and hope by providing books to families across the border.

As we develop this initiative you can follow our progress:

There's a WHOLE LOT MORE that I'll be rolling out in the coming weeks and months, but for now, keep up-to-date via twitter and facebook.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Base Jumping

Friday's are perfect for creativity, beauty, and art.  This is a beautiful video - not to mention an amazing feat!  Enjoy and have a great Memorial Day...


Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Nights at Busch

I've spent this week at Bush least that's what it feels like.  Its been great seeing the Cards WIN!  By the way, I'm 5-0.  So all you Cardinals season ticket holders out there, you might want to invite me along to ensure a W!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Book Excerpt #23 (Outsourcing God)

It's been a while since I've posted any excerpts from my upcoming book, Outsourcing God.  I thought amidst the volatile political debates happening in the country, that this was an opportunity to connect some dots between faith and politics.  Because I believe that the Kingdom of God is unfolding before our eyes, by what Christ has done, what God is doing, and what Christ followers are doing as God's hands and feet, this is important.

Much of what people know, feel, and react towards God comes from the work(s) and behavior(s) of the Church.  Because we live in a consumer culture, where everything seems to be condensed to 140-character tweets and sound-bytes, we opt for consuming what makes us feel good and what buys power; power in the church, power in politics, power around the globe.  Its much more difficult to be, to honestly struggle, and to operate communally, rather than individuals responding to talking points.  Thus, we outsource God (to loud leaders, politicians that are supposed to be representative of "the christian right" or "the christian left"), and what the world perceives God as becomes blurred and sometimes even unrecognizable...

(c) 2012 Ross Christopher Donaldson - Outsourcing God.

...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.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Here's a new song lyric I'm working on...enjoy!

(c) 2012 Ross Christopher

Your smile's like a wrecking ball of grace / Like forty thousand pardons on my armchair to death /
You kiss my neck and split the veil / I breathe you in and I have life / And it is good / Again.


Monday, May 21, 2012

"It Is Good"

When landscapes become more than pretty colors; but instead texture, life, and creation surrounding me - I'm washed in, and part of "It Is Good!"


Friday, May 18, 2012

Opening for Gregory Alan Isakov

Last night I had the opportunity to play violin with Geoff Koch and open for Gregory Alan Isakov.  We played The Old Rock House in St. Louis (easily my favorite venue) to a packed crowd - even the balcony was packed!  So thanks to everyone that came out to the show!

If you're not familiar with his work, its brilliant!  Its atmospheric and folksy in just the right way.  Here's a couple pics and a video of Gregory doing his thing.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is Denominationalism Just a Friendly Word for Isolationism?

Today I want to talk about isolationism. 

Isolationism is the policy or doctrine of isolating one's country from the affairs of other nations by declining to enter into alliances, foreign economic commitments, foreign trade, international agreements, etc., seeking to devote the entire efforts of one's country to its own advancement and remain at peace by avoiding foreign entanglements and responsibilities.

Simply replace "country" and "nations" with "denominations" and "churches."

For much of my upbringing I participated in a church who held certain denominational beliefs, doctrines, and methodologies closely at its core.  It only participated with other churches of the same denomination, studied from similar denominational curriculum(s), participated in missional efforts only sanctioned by the larger denomination, etc.

Isn't this a form of isolationism?

The fear I have today of denominationalism is that it puts up blinders to anything different.  It assumes that YOUR world is THE world.  It sees things in rather black and white terms. 

But isn't the world a diverse and incredibly grey?

As a Christian, I feel as though to assume that Baptists or Lutherans, Presbyterians or Methodists, Catholics or Pentecostals, have "it" figured out, I build unnecessary boxes that limit my ability to see the massiveness of what God is doing in, and throughout the world.

Today the fastest growing movement of Christianity is in the global South.  The global South doesn't represent many of the similarities of the Western church.  They are much more mystical, pentecostal, embracing of miracles, etc.  Suppose that the Western church writes off this movement by isolating itself into our preferred denominations, we will certainly miss out on the massive Christian movement going on throughout humanity.

I hope that as you peruse your studies, literature, curriculum, and missional work, you will work to never become isolated to your preferred denomination.  Conversely, may we be diligent in always assuming God is bigger than Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, etc.  May we be diligent in the fact that there is a beautiful mosaic of denominations which each shed light on varying aspects of Truth.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

LIVE from The Duck Room (a closer look at LOOPING)

A couple months back, I had the opportunity to play Chuck Berry's venue, The Duck Room (St. Louis).  I'm an artist advocate for the good folks and causes of VIVE, and they brought out their professional film team and shot the show...thanks to Dan Mirth and Pat Kohm for capturing the making of a very layered LOOP-SONG.  Lot's of people ask just how I am able to layer everything together.  This video gives you insight and shows each step along the way (guitars, percussion, violins, vocals).  Enjoy!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day, and I had the wonderful opportunity to spend the whole weekend with my Mom, Kate, and the kids.  It's good to slow down and ponder the reasons to be thankful for a mom. 

I celebrated my mom for teaching and laughing, caring and trusting, molding and loving, raising and releasing. 

I celebrated Kate being an amazing mom to Cora and Olive.  I celebrated her teaching them grace, compassion, solidarity, and empathy, from day one.

We celebrated at the Tower Grove Farmer's Market on Saturday.  And Sunday, we feasted until we could feast no more at Vin De Set.  Wow!

I hope you had the chance to celebrate your mom too.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Connecting Dots : Google Robot Car, Journey, & Kingdom...

I'm always looking to connect dots.  On Tuesday I read THIS, an article about Google's first ROBOT CAR being licensed in NV.  The technology behind the new Google Robot Car allows for safe navigation to one's destination. 

Once you get past the cool sci-fi images in your head (think The Jetson's, Total Recall, iRobot, Minority Report, etc.), you have a new way to travel: safe and destination-bound.  Its an instant gratifying mode of transportation that eliminates the white-knuckles and attention that's required of driving, right?

But like a lot of technology (and I LOVE innovative technology!) we're working towards instant gratification - in this case destination.

Here's a few other totally random examples (and I'm really trying not to demonize any of these, but rather just point out how we're a culture of "destination.")

Facebook - when you lack true visceral community, it provides a virtual destination

Discovery/Travel Channel - I have actually heard people argue, that they don't really need to travel anymore, because they can just watch Discovery or the Travel Channel

RockBand - when you don't have the motivation, time, or finances to learn to play an instrument or take the lessons, you can simply strap on the 5 color guitar and wail away on your favorite Zepplin tunes!

Pornography - sexual intimacy without the relationship

The common missing factor I see in each of these, is the journey.  Relationships take time, energy, pain(s), and effort.  Travel requires planning, money, learning new languages and cultures, and potential dangers(s).  And intimacy requires a great deal of relationship, trust, and vulnerability.  These are all hazards of the journey.

Now going back to the Google Robot Car, we literally eliminate the journey.  Where I used to dread the night drive in the rain, the white-knuckled journey up a snowy pass in Colorado to get to a music venue in time for sound check, or the navigation it would require to make it through a big city I'd never traveled before, I can now conceivably enter my destination coordinates, sit back, and enjoy a DVD on my iPad, or have a virtual conversation via Facebook.

But I have a feeling that I'll miss the adventure and the attention it requires to participate in the journey.  I believe that it's in the journey that we really grow, and become who we were created to be.

The earth is an amazing place.  I believe that in this earth, the Kingdom of God is breaking-in all around us, and I'd hate to miss it, because I simply phoned in my coordinates.  (Ah-ha, another dot being connected)

The journey is one reason I refuse to sing "I'll Fly Away" anymore.  It's a song about leaving, being gone, hoping for the destination, and not embracing the kingdom-journey, here, now, and today.  There's harm in destination language, without being coupled with the trials of the journey.

And that, my friends is why I enjoy connecting dots.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Some Recent Videos...

Earlier this week I recorded a very stripped-down version of 'How Deep The Father's Love.'  Enjoy!

Here's Cora rockin' some Civil Wars...

Here's Cora again, singing a little original piece of her own...

Ross (& Cora)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


If you've been a reader of the blog for a while, you'll know I frequently discuss leadership, vision, creativity, etc.  Today I felt it necessary to discuss 2 vital leadership components: VISION & FUTURE.

Future and vision, I believe, are the 2 most important factors in leadership.  Understanding these and making them the drivers of everything else deemed "leadership," will create an organization, business, etc that is vision focused, rather than management focused.

When a group or organization is driven by vision, it affects everything and is usually looking to create something for the future.  Vision is seldom worried about what happened yesterday, or how your past failures are affecting you today. 

From personal experience, I build vision that attempts to create culture.  By that, I mean if I see something lacking in a given community, I want to create something to fill the void.  When I dream something beautiful, I want to make it an experience for culture, so that the future is brighter by it.  But whatever that "something" is, that is my vision, it's partnered with a future thought of how its moving people, the organization, and/or culture.

Conversely, if you run your business or organization by pure management, you'll find yourself managing a response (both positive and negative).  You'll manage opinions until you're riddled with ulcers, trying to please people.  And being a purely response-driven group or organization doesn't create vision.  It manages expectations, and executes based on the feelings of any given day, survey, or angry/pleased email(s) that hits the in box.  It does get things accomplished - sometimes with laser like precision.  But I'm always more interested in vision.  The future is most interested in vision.

Vision will always drive management.
Management will never drive vision.

So make sure that the vision you're creating is future-thinking, and don't fall into the easy trap of simply managing people, tasks, and ideas.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Weekend in Photographs

It's Monday morning, and I'm tired from a very long and busy weekend.  Last week we found out both of our vehicles were totaled in the last hail storm that came through St. Louis, so I spent a decent time test driving new cars (leaning towards a new Honda Fit).  Saturday was the opening for the Tower Grove Farmers Market, which is one of our family's favorite outings - lots of great farm-fresh foods plus the girls get to play in the fountains. 

I played a Cinco De Mayo music festival from for 4 hours Saturday night.  It was hot and nasty, but a HUGE THANKS to the 2000+ folks that came out for a fun time!  Yesterday after AWAKEN I took a group of guys paintballing - tons 'o fun!  Then to our surprise, our good friends from Maine brought us back 6 live lobsters for a VERY impromptu lobster boil - yum!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Light Up (by Sucre)

Here's the newest installment from Sucre.  It's a beautiful song called, Light Up.  The vocal track was a "1 taker," and they were lucky enough to capture it in the video.  Enjoy!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bad - 25 Years Later

Pepsi announced today that it's releasing a 25 year anniversary can to remember Michael Jackson's BAD album It's hard to believe that was 25 years ago...It still is fresh, groundbreaking, and makes me wish I could dance.  Michael Jackson was (and still is) one of my biggest musical influences.  I can remember my parents taking me to an MJ impersonator when I was 3 or 4.  I owned the shiny vest, the sparkly glove, and could sing most of the songs.  I can remember getting the "making of" VHS for my birthday or Christmas.  I still remember the interviews, rehearsals, and the videos.  Good memories!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Vitality of Irrational Thought

Last week I was reading a book by Freeman, discussing the psychology of adult learning.  Given the history of adult learning throughout the Western world, one will find that the church was once the hub. It was pushing and leading a systematic approach, viewed as "just as necessary for development of human reason as revelation and grace were necessary for salvation and maturity." 

These assumptions and discoveries have informed adult learning paradigms which are still in practice today.  What I kept seeing as the focus however, was rational thinking.  It has become the teacher's role in helping students to "think rationally."  This however seems to add major hurdles to pursuing a biblical faith.

Let me elaborate...

True grace is not rational. It makes no sense. But yet, God's economy doesn't work like ours. Rational thought and understanding seeks judgement and punishment for offenders, yet God seems to work in other ways. The way of the world seeks redemptive violence, yet God works through restoration and reconciliation. Both of these are difficult and contrary to rational thought and practice. Even stories of miracles and virgin births become suspect when we pursue rational thought. Because God is increasingly mystical, works beyond the limits of understood physics and biology, rational thought becomes a hurdle in faith formation.

Even today, many across the country are celebrating the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden's death.  People are simply acting rational - good overcame evil.  But looking at God's economy and being irrational enough to suppose that my wishes, hopes, and desires are not greater than, or even equal to, God's, gives room to grace, restoration, and love.

So what now? 

As we're increasingly a post-modern culture, certain rational thoughts of the past are suspect. There's room for irrational thought in understanding and learning. And I believe, as teachers to adult learners, we must create environments that accept and produce irrational thinkers, to create new realities, and to move closer to the image we were created, and to tell better stories that include grace, reconciliation, virgin birth, miracles, seas parting, burning bushes, the Holy Spirit, death, and resurrection.