Friday, March 30, 2012

Bazan + Dark = Brilliant Conversation!

Take a few minutes and watch this brilliant conversation with David Bazan and David Dark. I think it sums up where lots of people are in their spiritual journey. Its does a fantastic job asking the critical questions we shouldn't be afraid to ask. The moment we assume to have all the answers and stop asking these questions, is the moment our assumptions become a danger to our faith, and the faith of others (my opinion).

video

Peace,
Ross

Thursday, March 29, 2012

When We Were Young

It's been almost a year since I played violin on the live DVD with Stacy DuPree (Eisley), Jeremy Larson, and Darren King (Mutemath). It was quite the experience! They're super talented, humble, and very generous folk. So, if you haven't heard of Sucre, you need to! Here's their first video:



Peace,
Ross

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Underdog-Theology


Nearly every epic tale takes an underdog and makes him/her defeat the powerful and mighty. The stories are numerous...from Greek mythology to Aesop's fables, and even scripture. David kills Goliath, Jesus enters Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey to disrupt the political elite and save all of humanity. This underdog tale resonates throughout culture and times. It's prompted civil rights and suffrage movements, and even more recently led to the uprisings in Syria and Egypt.

Today we highlight and exalt the underdogs with our Occupy Movements, NCAA tournaments, and movie The Hunger Games. We love an underdog, and we love to see power and might brought to its knees.

Peace,
Ross

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Island-theology


A month or so ago, I posed the question "what would be created if someone with no musical influence, history, or knowledge, was placed on an island with a handful of instruments?" Would they create truly unique pieces, or would we hear commonalities from music which has already been produced?

Taking that same scenario, what would an individual take from the Bible if that were the only book and reference to anything of faith on the island? This individual has never had human contact, or experiences, outside of his isolated island.

Here's 1 thing we must assume:
- the individual can read

So what would his/her response be to Scripture?
- would any of it make sense without community?
- even though it says, "in the beginning was the Word...," would that resonate to be true?
- without human interaction, would law make sense?
- without human interaction, would Jesus make sense?
- would it matter if this person was Calvinist or Armenian, or any other brand of "Christian?"
- could he/she ever be a Christian without following the Great Commission?
- would the Holy Spirit have a more involved role?


All of this makes you ask questions about essentials versus the accoutrements and bits that seem contextual.

I'd love some of your thoughts and more questions!

Peace,
Ross

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

SPACE

I was greeted by 1,000 freshly pressed and packaged albums today, which means that as of now, the new album SPACE is available! For the next few days you'll be able to download the album for FREE on NoiseTrade.com Please enjoy it and help spread the word!



Peace,
Ross

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Woes of Too Much Mulch


Last week I ordered mulch from the city. Recollection told me that I'd ordered a "full-load" in 2011. But as the following events unfolded, I believe I must have ordered only half, or quarter, or perhaps a smidge of mulch in the past.

Friday morning, University City arrived at the front of my yard with a heaping dump truck full of mulch. (I feel that it's also important to remind the readers that it rained the previous night) The truck raised its back straight into the air, but the weight of the now-wet mulch kept it from sliding to the street. The driver started and stopped the struck several times until alas, the mulch fell. It fell, kept falling, and in my nightmares continues to fall.

Now I'm faced with a mountainous pile of mulch that rivals the size of my suburban. I am beginning to sweat. My yard is not that big. No one's yard is that big. The White House wouldn't need this much mulch. But it was mine - all mine.

I asked how much mulch that was? 3 tons. Dry. So now I was left with over 6 thousand pounds of mulch. What could I do with it?

For the next several hours I took wheel barrow full after wheel barrow full of mulch to every inch of my yard. Kate had told me that she'd read we should only have our mulch 2 inches deep. Let's just say it's closer to 12. And after my back and aching arms could take no more, I looked out to the road to what looked like a pile that hadn't even been dented. I'd somehow distributed nearly 150 wheel barrows full of mulch throughout the miniscule yard of mine, and the pile stands like a beacon of back-splitting-mockery.

I encouraged ALL of my neighbors to help themselves. Heck, even the neighborhood kids decided it would be fun to climb the mountain and jump into the flower bed. No worries, the flowers beneath have a foot of cushion to pad the impact.

Since then its poured rain every night onto the ominous pile of mulch, and I can only imagine how many more back-breaking hours of work (not to mention creativity as to where I can hide and stash the remaining mulch) lie before me.

Who knew mulch could be so filled with woe?

Now I know.

Peace,
Ross

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekend in Photos

This was a crazy whirlwind weekend full of a NEW NIECE!, ballet, mulch, gardening, music, and more mulch...







Peace,
Ross

p.s. if you need some mulch, please contact me - i was delivered 3 tons...i've lost all creativity as to where to put the extra...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Passion for Compassion [a series in meditation]

Here's video #2 in the series. Enjoy!



Peace,
Ross

p.s. happy march madness!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sowing Seeds [a series in meditation]

I've been working on creating a series of meditative videos. These videos hopefully create stillness, solitude, and inward contemplation. I worked with Tom Janicik (author and poet) as I turned his texts into video shorts. Here's video #1: Sowing Seeds.



Peace,
Ross

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I've become doubtful of your LOL-ing...


Either we've drastically lowered our comedic bar, or we're over-using (and inappropriately-using) the term LOL. It is a rare occasion that I am laughing out loud (LOL - for anyone in the blog audience that may not have experienced the acronym) throughout a movie these days. Television is the same. It takes a real comic genius to make people laugh out loud or guffaw. Less comedic genius will make us smirk, chuckle, and even agree that it should be funny - but haven't gone to the audible LOL stage yet.

And yet, 50% or more of the texts I receive, or facebook comments, have a LOL in them. I doubt that seriously.

For instance, read this:
"Man, do I wish I had an iPad."

Are you LOL-ing?
No.
There is nothing humorous about that.

Say it again, and this time, force an audible, hearty, guffaw...
You just sounded ridiculous.

So let's up the bar a bit for humorists and people really working to make us laugh, and cut all of the LOL-ing.

Peace,
Ross

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sprung...

I hope you sprung forward nicely last night.
Is it sprung?
Springed?
Sprungded?

Peace,
Ross

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What is Space?



Peace,
Ross

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Can Habit Kill Faith?


Yesterday while listening to NPR over lunch, there was a researcher discussing the science behind habit. He talked about what parts of the brain control habits, and just how fast habits are made (and conversely broken).

The basal ganglia controls this function of habit. He explained that even functions like how we brush our teeth are habitual; that if one was to film an individual for a month brushing his/her teeth, that the individual would 99% of the time go through the same exact routine. But, if that individual had to explain the routine, most likely they couldn't; that our brains perform the functions innately.

I have on numerous occasions driven a good distance, only to arrive at my location to realize I couldn't even remember driving there - the turns, the yielding, the changing lanes, etc. Not that I was distracted or not paying attention, but that I was seemingly, completely focused on whatever was on the radio (like listening to habit forming science on NPR) or thinking about an upcoming meeting, lyrics to a new song, etc. Driving even a short distance is extremely complex. Yet over time, it can occur without known or perceived thought.

Let's extend this to faith...

What happens when our faith becomes habitual? Certainly there can be good outcomes. When we're faced with tragedy or suffering, and our first (most natural) response is prayer; that's good. But what happens when the way(s) we worship become habit? What happens when our routine causes us to participate in the same way we drive home from work without even really being there?

I can't give proof of the internal-negatives. But what I can produce, is response and reaction to worship where change happens.

When change is implemented into the worship environment, emails can flood the inbox with confusion and distaste. Even a simple change like re-organizing the seating can disrupt the routine that the basal ganglia has deemed "worship." When an extra song is sung, a prayer is skipped, a song you love uses new or different instrumentation, or announcements go too long, the basal ganglia is interrupted and "worship" is thrown out of whack. When I get these emails or am confronted with these conversations, it stirs me in such a way that I want to respond with disgust.

More appropriately, would be responding with programming and planning constant change in the worship experience. After all, we're supposed to be proclaiming a message of transformation. Not a one-time transformation, but constant transformation. That's what resurrection does. It transforms. And when we allow habit to define and control our faith, transformation comes to a standstill, resurrection loses its power, and worship becomes sterile.

Peace,
Ross

Monday, March 5, 2012

a-muse.

This is actually a RE-posting of something I wrote back in October, but it's come up time and time again in conversation, so I figured it might be worth another post. Enjoy!


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

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Weekend in Pics





Here's our weekend in pics...building birdhouses and spending some time in the woods!

Peace,
Ross

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I wrote a story

He's a walk-on stone
He's all alone
It's been a path to disaster
Falling faster and faster

Creeping towards zero
The rug's no longer there
He hits the bottom
And cracks the floor

Now he's looking right
And going left
The only light's
In the white of his eyes

So he grabs hold
Of whatever will hold him
Hoping he won't lose his grip
When he realizes he's still falling
Fooled and wrapped in disaster

But this fool won't cushion the fall
The final hit inching closer
Falling free to whatever will catch him
Only it's never there

No one was ever there

Except for you
But he didn't care
And no one showed him
To you