Stick with it

Sometimes you’ve got to make a decision and stick with it. You’ve got to realize that there will be ups and downs no matter what you do. You’ve got to realize that you can’t weigh and balance all the options and come up with the perfect solution. You’ve just got to go one way or the other. You’ve got to take stock of what matters in your life, and go with what seems best. That’s never easy. But it’s life. Sometimes it means bearing some difficult burdens. It doesn’t mean everything will work out rosy and happy. But that’s also life. Sometimes shit happens. And sometimes it doesn’t

The Passion of Youth

Last weekend my youth group performed the passion play for Palm Sunday. Having some semblance of a beard, I was asked to play Jesus. Now that it’s over, the staggering scandal of what we portrayed has stuck with me. The bishops and cardinals of the day conspired to kill Jesus. The congregation — the people who only days before had cheered as Jesus paraded into town — turned against Him. The soldiers mocked Him with scorn and derision. All of that built up to the fateful cry, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?” All of that confusion and loss we so ironically call Good Friday. As blasphemous and unholy as it seems, it is necessary. But when the sun rises on Sunday morning, it is a new day.

Music Links

Evanescence Drops the F-bomb; Gets Dropped from Christian Stores – The female-fronted hard rock band Evanescence, whose hit song “Bring Me To Life” appeared on the Daredevil soundtrack, is featured in an Entertainment Weekly story peppered with the f-bomb (unfortunately, Entertainment Weekly is stupid and won’t let you read their magazine online unless you’re a subscriber or an AOL user). The behavior is causing the band’s record label, Wind-Up (home to Creed and 12 Stones), to pull the album from Christian bookstore shelves and end what had been a successful push into the Christian market. Despite expressing their faith in former interviews, the liner notes of the album, and agreeing to pursue the Christian market, the band now thinks that’s fucked up. I can only wonder what’s happened in their lives in the past six months to bring about the change.

You can now listen to “Sleeping Awake” online, P.O.D’s contribution to the new Matrix soundtrack.

Holy Week Link-O-Rama

Seven Sayings from the Cross – An interesting British site presents flash presentations reflecting on the words Jesus spoke from the cross. They seem to decrease in quality as the days go on (they post a new one each day until Easter), but it’s still pretty cool.

Christianity as the Dominate Religion in China? – “… the Chinese church believes that it is their calling to evangelize the Muslim world” — and they’d have a much better go at it than a U.S.-based effort would.

Samaritan’s Purse in Baghdad – Why We Should Keep Franklin Graham Out of Baghdad; A Faith-Based Initiative: “There were signs last week that Graham might be recalibrating his strategy. The Samaritan’s Purse website, which used to talk of preparing to help “thousands of suffering families in the name of Jesus Christ,” has dropped the last six words.” Or has it?


From “It looks like there may be another U2 tribute/covers album in production. The official website of the U.K.-based Christian band Delirious? mentions the project, and that Delirious (a band which often gets compared to U2) recently recorded its version of “Pride” for the album. They also report that P.O.D.’s cover of “Bullet the Blue Sky” will be part of the project.” Could there be a CCM U2 cover album in the works?! That could be interesting, given the love/ignore relationship in the Christian market for U2.

Not that U2 cover songs are ever any good. Though I can imagine a few songs that could be included:

dc Talk – “40” – from Solo
Guardian – “Pride” from Live (oh wait, we already have that one!)
Circadian Rhythm – “Gloria” – from Over Under Everything
Caedmon’s Call – “In God’s Country” – from Guild Collection Vol. 2
Newsboys – “Running to a Stand Still” – from live performances
Tree63 – “Pride” – from live performances (oh wait, don’t we have this one?)
Third Day – medley of “Give/Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus/With or Without You/Your Love Oh Lord” – from Offerings II (admittedly cheating since it only includes one line from “With or Without You”)
Michael W. Smith – “40” – from the Worship DVD (wait, another repeat!)
Sandtown – “Pride” – from Based On a True Story (yes, that’s the third time we’ve seen “Pride”)
Darlene Zschech – “Walk On” (hear a sample) – from Kiss of Heaven

And then there’s the U2 songs I’d like to see covered by Christian bands (though I realize this may be sacrilige to some of you):

Five Iron Frenzy – “Exit” / “Wake Up Dead Man”
Jars of Clay – “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
Justin McRoberts – “All I Want Is You”
Switchfoot – “Bad”
Relient K – “Out of Control”
Sixpence None the Richer – “Please” / “Where the Streets Have No Name”
Superchick – “I Will Follow”

Okay, that’s enough. What U2 songs would you like to see Christian bands cover?

Not this year.

So Long, Stanley. I can’t believe the Red Wings got swept in the first round of the playoffs. Triple over time? Double over time? 63 saves? I guess you can’t say they fell apart. They tried. The games were close. It wasn’t like the Colorado Avalanche last year that fell apart and allowed 7 goals. I think what hurts the most is that I won’t be able to spend my spring time desperately trying to find someone who won’t mind me borrowing their cable and their couch to watch a game on ESPN. It says a lot when you have to go to great lengths to watch a game. Even if they lose you at least have the joy of watching some games and having some fun. This year I only saw a few games, it was over before it started. So much for hockey in June–which always did seem like an oxymoron.

I just hope next year I still get to watch the toothless grin of Darren McCarty and the puck-weaving of Pavel Datsyuk.

Help a Poor Kid and His Homeless Family

My time is now. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. A little pep talk now and then is always helpful. If I’m ever going to dream big, now is the time to do it. There’s the practical approach, work towards your dreams in your spare time, trying to scrape together the minutes here and there, always feeling guilty for holing up in your office instead of spending time with your loved ones. That’s the slow way to achieving your dreams, and it doesn’t work.

I think you have to jump off a cliff if you want to chase your dreams. You’re either going to fly or you’re not, and there’s only one way to find out. Not exactly the kind of talk your practically-minded parents want to hear, but it’s not their life. It’s my life. And why should I spend my life doing less than what I want to do?

My generation is motivated to live life on our terms. We’re not interested in serving corporate America if we don’t have to, and so we won’t. We’ll find our own way, thank you very much. So we could probably use a dose of reality, but that’s our mindset.

Chasing dreams sounds so romantic. Idealistic. Perfectionistic. And maybe that’s what I’m talking about. Hope for things unseen and unrealized. My dream involves writing. I want to write. A book would be ideal, but I’m more realistic than that right now. I think I want to freelance. I like the idea of being my own boss, working at home, setting my own schedule, writing about what I want to write about. Obviously that’s the glorious side of it. There’s also the endless tax forms, the pitiful income, the lame assignments, the endless clamoring for new jobs, and the joy of rejection.

In some ways it’s a toss up, but I think I can handle rejection. And lame assignments are par for the course when it comes to the real world. A pitiful income is what I have now, so it’s not going to get much worse. Well, it could, but that’s what unemployment is for, right?

So if you’re out there and want to make someone’s dream come true you can make things easy on me and write me a check for a decent yearly salary. I’ll spend my days freely writing, maybe even work on that unrealistic book. Consider it the [insert your name] Fellowship. You’ll be famous. And you’ll have helped a poor kid. Did I mention I have a family? A poor kid and his family. Did I mention we’re trying to buy a house? A poor kid and his homeless family.

So what if random donors don’t fall out of the sky? I can try, can’t I? The least I can do is look dumb. Done and done.

I’ll probably keep looking for that 9 to 5 job. Sometimes you have to play your cards anyway and see what happens. But we’ll see if we can’t pursue the glamorous freelance career. I’ll have visions of working in my underwear dancing in my head. Hopefully you won’t.

It’s easier to carry your heart on your sleeve.

We’re selfish enough to think the world revolves around us. My opinion is right and true, and I’m too thick-headed or blind or smart to even consider the other possibilities. I have the truth, and my truth is the only way it is. Unfortunately, the world can be more complicated than that. Not everything is black and white.

There are multiple sides to every issue, but we’re so focused on only seeing it our way. Then we accuse everyone else of being misled and misinformed, when we’re just as confused. We see only the sides of the issue that help our cause, we taint what we say and we hear what we want. Then we claim the other side is disillusioned, when in reality, we’re all led astray. None of us really knows what’s going on.

The world is too complicated to be boiled down to a protest poster. It’s not all about blood for oil, and it’s not all about liberating Iraq. We do a disservice to our brothers when refuse to consider the multifaceted world we live in.

Debate becomes impossible when we refuse to be open-minded. We’re too stubborn to admit that maybe we’re wrong, maybe we’re being misled, maybe we don’t know it all. Sometimes it’s just easier to be stubborn and angry and carry your heart on your sleeve. Coming up with real solutions and real compromise and real results is so much harder. It’s just easier to be a voice of dissent, and opt out–or to just go along with the crowd and wear your ribbon like everyone else. Either way we’re refusing to acknowledge that things are more complicated. There’s a space in the middle. It’s not any more right or wrong, it just acknowledges so much more. I’m certainly not there, but I wish I could be.

The Why Chorus

Why why why. That’s my chorus lately. That’s always the question, isn’t it? Or when. Or how. Or even what. I suppose I’m wondering that now as well. What am I supposed to be doing? Some days your job is in the toilet and you’re looking for something else and nothing is coming. Some days happen more often than others.

And some days I want to start a commune. Maybe stay home and make money off the Internet. Because that works. Or maybe I’ll write a book and all my money woes will disappear. That’s how it works, right? I’ve got one shot, one chance, I’ve got to do it myself and make it happen. It worked for Eminem, right? Somehow I don’t think so.

It can’t be that simple. It can’t be that easy. Or maybe it is and I just don’t have the guts to try. It’s not so easy when others are relying on you, when there’s a long-term plan at stake. It’s easier to take risks when you’re on your own.

I’m just tired of business as usual. I’m tired of reading memos, of hearing rumors, of knowing how dumb things really are. Maybe I’m not always right, but I know when something is definitely wrong. The ship is sinking and I want off. There’s just nothing around but icy water, and it’s none too inviting. I don’t see the rescue ships, I don’t see the cavalry, I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.