December 11, 2008

35: a playlist

here's a little play list i put together for today, some of the songs have meaning, others i just felt like listening to...

1. Flight Test - The Flaming Lips
2. I'm Amazed - My Morning Jacket
3. It's A Shame About Ray - The Lemonheads
4. Constructive Summer - The Hold Steady
5. Light & Day / Reach For The Sun - The Polyphonic Spree
6. Five Get Over Excited - The Housemartins [Reminds me of the year I spent in Hull, where this band was from]
7. Waiting For The Great Leap Forward - Billy Bragg
8. Steve's Hammer (For Pete) - Steve Earle
9. One Thing Real - Dan Bern [Story on Dan here]
10. You! Me! Dancing! - Los Campesinos!
11. Love Shack - The B-52's [Cosmic Thing came out shortly before I turned 16 and started driving, it's one of those tapes that I'd drive around listening to again and again]
12. Common People - Pulp
13. So What'cha Want - The Beastie Boys
14. U-Mass - The Pixies [When I was doing college radio one of my favorite combination of songs was the cold end on "So What'cha Want" and that great guitar into to "U-Mass", I usually ran a tight board so it worked well (at least in my opinion)]
15. Waiting Room - Fugazi [Another song I associate with college radio]
16. Indian Summer - Luna [I really do enjoy music released in this decade, I guess I'm just choosing not to listen to much of it today]
17. Section 26: We Crawl - The Polyphonic Spree
18. Don't Stop Believin' - Petra Haden [Just because when Petra does these a capella covers they are so entertaining]
19. Tables And Chairs - Andrew Bird ["There will be snacks..."]
20. It's The End Of The World As We Know It - R.E.M.
21. We're Going to Be Friends - The White Stripes
22. Without A Trace - Soul Asylum [Soul Asylum was the first rock concert I attended, Vic Chesnutt opened]
23. Stratford-On-Guy - Liz Phair
24. U2 - Negativland ["I know it's around here somewhere, but I still have found it..."]
25. Rainbow Connection - Willie Nelson
26. Von - Sigur Ros
27. King James Version - Billy Bragg [A very good song, but I especially love the first line, "He was trapped in a haircut he no longer believed in"]
28. Hoover Dam - Blue Sugar
29. Stay Positive - The Hold Steady
30. Thou Shalt Always Kill - Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip [This is a song I know I shouldn't enjoy, but I do]
31. Thursday - Morphine
32. Another Sunny Day - Belle & Sebastian
33. All In Good Time - Pierce Pettis
34. One More Circle - Peter Mayer
35. Thank You Friends - Big Star

Rock over London. Rock on Chicago. Weaties, breakfast of champions.

become like children...

October 23, 2008


neither one of us is sure on the exact date, but i believe today marks the tenth anniversary of a certain toga party, that took place in evanston. it was at this party that i told my friend, abby about my interest in a friend of hers - beautiful, young woman from michigan. as the evening progressed, i found out she had a similar interest in me.

on that particular night we kissed for the first time, and have been kissing ever since. thank you, amy, for ten amazing years of laughter and love.

September 24, 2008


Mike Slaughter has some thoughts on the church as discipleship vs. cruise ship here.
And I love this idea from Small Ritural (via Jordon Cooper) here.

September 23, 2008

change the worldview

Seth Godin has some great thoughts on dealing with difficult (but not stupid) people here.

September 5, 2008

community organizers

jim wallis has some great thoughts on palin's comments about community organizers here.

September 2, 2008


this past week some fellow ministry-types organized our first family camp for ministry professionals. jeff and bridget have a great summary, and maybe i'll get to posting some thoughts of my own (in addition to acting on a few other ideas that i've brought away from the week), but in the meantime, here is a little reflection i put together from the week:

emmaus echoes
resound in my soul

companions –
all that had happened
sharing stories
and memories
of miracles and of the messiah
of blessings and of the betrayal
of companions and the cross

a couple of Christ-followers
talking, walking,
retreating, returning
a stranger in their midst
(but one they know so well)
in the sharing of story
in the breaking of bread

emmaus echoes
resound in my soul
knowing Christ still comes
in campfire conversations
and beach-side beauty
in mealtime memories
both shared
and being made

christ still comes
sometimes without realization
as strangers become friends
as companions
laugh, talk
complain, cry

christ still comes
and community is formed
in this humble
grace-filled gathering
where love reigns supreme

emmaus echoes
resound in my soul
as the children played
were not our hearts burning within us?
as the preachers preached
were not our hearts burning within us?
as good food fed our bodies,
and conversation fed our souls
were not our hearts burning within us?

emmaus echoes
resound in my soul
and I am thankful
for Christ-like community
each and every day.


as i was getting ready to put up some new stuff here, i realized that i never finished the rest of the story related to the iowa trip.

at the beginning of the week, clint and courtney talked about going to this community "variety show" that was about the flood. to be honest i wasn't expecting much, i figured there would be some nice, local talent, but nothing spectacular. thursday night comes and we arrive at this beautiful outdoor setting. we arrived just a few minutes before the performance was to start, so i grabbed a program and found a seat near the back.

a man behind me starts playing guitar and singing. and i start thinking to myself, "hey, that voice sort of sounds familiar..." the singer starts to move - now his back is to me.

i think some more "hey, they guy is trying really hard to sound like dan bern." followed by another thought, "why would that guy be imitating dan bern?!"

then slowly the gears start to turn. "you know, dan bern, grew up in eastern iowa... but that can't really be..." i quickly start to page through the program i'd been handed, and there i see it - "music by dan bern."

now i fully understand this means nothing to most of you who read (or have otherwise stumbled upon) this blog (even those who might share similar tastes in music), dan isn't a well known talent, but i've been enjoying his music for the better part of ten years (maybe more), he's someone i've always hoped to see perform live, but never had the opportunity to... and there is is - standing and singing - 15 feet in front of my face - in a completely unexpected venue or set of circumstances. so at this point, i basically start to freak out. my jaw has literally dropped open. and for the next couple hours i am in total musical bliss.

after the show (thanks to some prodding from clint) i go up to dan, shake his hand, my voice jumps a octive and i babble like a fool; and he was very gracious. (actually wil wheaton wrote a great post a couple weeks ago that basically captures my mental state during this exchange, and eric's imitation about what i'd be like meeting shane claiborne was pretty much dead on to this encounter).

anyway, it was a great way to cap off an amazing week. thanks clint and courtney for making this happen.

(p.s. in case you're now interested in dan's music, here's a sample, but i'll offer a general warning, for the most part dan's music isn't recommended for those who are easily offended - though this particular song is safe).

July 12, 2008

a homecoming (of sorts)

it's a week that can possibly be described as "good living" (to borrow a phrase from my friend, rudy), but in a particular sort of way. a few weeks ago a planned mission trip for a handful of youth took a radical change in course when the floods hit cedar rapids, our intended destination. e-mails were sent out, an invitation was extended from the pulpit, and adults were invited to come along for a week in july to help with flood relief work.
and people responded. some already had vacation time scheduled and cancelled other plans to travel to iowa. others made arrangements to be away.

then came the supplies, as word about the trip got around people started bringing in donations - money, supplies. enough to fill a 22' truck. i was overwhelmed.
we set off last sunday morning, 22 of us in total, making the journey along i80 to iowa. during the next four days we tore out drywall, cleaned out basements, and ripped up flooring, in addition to a few other projects. our efforts hardly made a dent in all the work there that still needs to be done, but we did what we could to lend a hand where it was needed, and the sweat and sore muscles felt good, knowing that at least a few people were helped through our work. the amount of destruction the flood brought is pretty incomprehensible, but there is hope and a commitment to rebuild - and to hear the stories of those who have been through it all is inspiring. to sheila, jose, courtney, and all those others who opened their doors and invited us into their homes so that we could help; thank you, and you continue to be in my prayers as you rebuild.

along the way i had a chance to catch up with some good friends i hadn't seen in years. and though life has changed for all of us along the way, it was good to know those bonds of friendship hadn't changed.

the week was capped off with an AMAZING performance called "moving home" at the brucemore in cedar rapids - this is a production they put together in a couple weeks - drama, music, and art - all about the experience of the flood. seriously if you are anywhere in the vicinity of eastern iowa, you should get tickets to this (available here, proceeds benefit the cedar rapids community foundation flood fund). (i actually have more to say about this, but i'll save it for another post).

June 26, 2008

matthew 25

this is a video clint put together, showing the effects of the flood on the matthew 25 ministry hub. again, if you can make a donation, please go here. in addition, i'm continuing to get a trip to cedar rapids organized; right now we have around 20 participants, if you can make a donation of money or supplies, it would be more than welcome.

June 25, 2008

come away with me

for the handful of friends that have stumbled upon this blog - you are invited to join me in Cedar Rapids, IA for a little flood recovery work, July 6-11. right now we have a team of about 17 adults and youth, but can make room for a few more. can't make it, but want to help? we're going to need money and supplies as well and donations are always welcome. contact me for more info.

June 20, 2008

i keep faith

this song has been stuck in my head the past couple days...

June 19, 2008

flood (pt. 2)

i found out today two of my friends from college, courtney and emmy ball, may have lost their home to the flooding in cedar rapids. courtney is the co-director of the Matthew 25 Ministry Hub, which is a project he and his brother clint have started in a pure leap of faith, and as i've said before have already done some amazing things. if you could keep courtney, emmy and their children Anyssa and Aidan in your prayers i know it would be appreciated.

June 18, 2008

is it worthy?

i've gotten better about reading seth godin's blog on are more regular basis (thanks to scott). and thought this one was especially good.

seth offers this thought that i probably should remind myself of every day:
"The object isn’t to be perfect. The goal isn’t to hold back until you’ve created something beyond reproach. I believe the opposite is true. Our birthright is to fail and to fail often, but to fail in search of something bigger than we can imagine. To do anything else is to waste it all."


i've been in northern michigan on vacation and away from tv and radio for the past week, so i'm just getting caught up on the flood situation in iowa. naturally my mind went back to 1993. based on what i've seen this seems to be much more extensive, especially for cedar rapids. for those who have asked, all my family members in iowa are doing fine. several friends from college are now living in the cedar rapids area, and i don't know if/how the flooding has impacted them. (in one video i watched, i did notice that the apac building in cedar rapids, which is where i worked as a dj for kdat, and now also houses krna (another radio station i worked at) was flooded).

amy and i are actually scheduled to take the youth on a mission trip to cedar rapids in july, where we are going to work with the Matthew 25 Ministry Hub. a good friend, clint twedt-ball has been doing some amazing community based ministry there, but i found out today their office is currently under water. my hope is to still go, but my guess is the nature of our work will be significantly different than what we planned 6 months ago. i have some ideas brewing in this regard, but need more info before i say more, though i will offer a plug here - if you want to donate some money to an organization that will actually use it to help people, please go to the Matthew 25 web site and make a contribution.

i know prayers are needed, especially because many of the people most effected by this flooding are those who are the least financially able to handle such a disaster. may God be at work in us and through us, entering into the hearts and lives of those who are impacted by this latest disaster.

May 28, 2008


“Faith is rooted in clarity, not certainty; magic is rooted in certainty”
-Doug Anderson

April 29, 2008

General Conference

I've been trying hard not to get too hooked into the politics of General Conference this year; there is just too much for me to fixate on and agonize over in terms of where the United Methodist Church might be headed. At the same time, I don't want to ignore the reality that like it or not, this is an important time in the life our the church. To that end, I've found Adam Hamilton's reports from GC to be helpful and insightful, and for those interested in the General Conference, I'd encourage you to check it out.

March 26, 2008

mmmm... cadbury

i'm torn - i love this video, but i hate seeing all those cadbury eggs go to waste.
(via soupablog)

March 20, 2008

mandatum novum

An old meditation I wrote about this day...

Mandatum Novum

A New Command
To love and to serve
Of course it isn’t really so new
We’ve heard it before
Preachers and prophets proclaimed it
Telling us it was God’s Word, God’s will
To love, to serve
We’ve heard it before –

In the commandments
carried down the mountain by Moses
In the words of Micah,
“Seek justice, love kindness, walk humbly with God”
In Isaiah’s invitation,
“To loose the chains of injustice… and set the oppressed free”
We’ve heard it before
But never really understood it,
never really lived it

It’s a new command
That isn’t so new
Only revealed in a new way
When the Master acts as the servant
When the King takes on the cross
When the great reversal is revealed
And peacemakers prosper
And the humble inherit
And the persecuted find a place in the kingdom of God
When mercy, not might, reigns supreme
And in death, new life is revealed

This is the moment
The new commandment takes new root
Shattering our assumptions
Opening our ears
Transforming our lives
A new command
Given to us
By the One who lived it
By the One who loves us so much
Anything is made possible

Even we – with hardened hearts
Even we – ready to employ every excuse
Even we – are loved
Even we – are forgiven
Even we – are called to live like he did
Loving and serving
So that all may know
Of the grace
of the greatness
of the glory
Of our God.

March 6, 2008

geldof and bush

If you were to tell me that Bob Geldof was on Air Force One with President Bush, I'd assume you were setting me up for a rather elaborate joke... instead it is the basis for a fascinating interview found here.

For those of you who aren't '80s pop-culture geeks Bob Geldof is the guy who did this:

and this:

February 27, 2008

Pew Study

The Pew Forum Religious Landscape Survey has been released and has been getting some attention. Here are a few different looks at it:
Brian McLaren
Adam Hamilton
Marta Aldrich (UM News Service)

I haven't had a chance to study the survey numbers myself, and the fact is there are people much more knowledgeable than me who can make better sense of what they actually mean, but I think as United Methodists the bottom line is we can't keep doing what we've been doing. As McLaren notes the question that needs to be before us isn't "What do the customers want?" but "What does God want?" and how will the church be in mission to make that happen?

There is a big challenge before us, because it means a significant shift in the mindset of the institutional church. While the data is sobering in terms of what it could mean the future of the UMC (or potential lack of), I also think there is great opportunity. Part of what the data seems to imply is that people haven't given up on God (atheists and agnostics only account for about 4% of the population); they are just dissatisfied with church. How we address this dissatisfaction is a tough question and I'm not even going to try to suggest an answer, but there is room for hope. We can hope, as long as that hope entails a willingness to seek out God's will and a commitment to doing God's will, especially as it calls us to ministry with the least, the last and the lost.

February 13, 2008

February 10, 2008

lent - fasting and feasting

David Warkentein offers this wonderful prayer for Lent:
Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling within them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on nonviolence.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on truths that uplift.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.

Gentle God, during this season of fasting and feasting, gift us with Your Presence, so we can be gift to others in carrying out your work. Amen.

via Mike Todd

January 24, 2008

bishop white's letter to martin

can be found here
a powerful reminder of the progress that's been made, and the work still to be done.

January 9, 2008


Jim Wallis: "... political leaders in Washington have changed America less often than social movements have. America is signaling it is hungry for change again, and we will need to build the kind of spiritual and social movement that can deliver on that hope. Last night, Barack Obama said, "it's also about what you, the people who love this country, can do to change it." And he's right; it is really all about us."

January 6, 2008

i'm in the right camp

What's your theological worldview?
created with
You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan




Neo orthodox


Roman Catholic


Classical Liberal


Reformed Evangelical




Modern Liberal




January 4, 2008

thoughts on the iowa caucus

The Two Earthquakes (NYT)
Jim Wallis
Diana Butler Bass
My friend Rudy's take on it (love the Happy Joe's reference!)

I find myself a little doubtful about some of the hyperbole surrounding the caucus, suggesting that it could set the stage for a "referendum on the Protestant political soul" seems a little much for me. But I am glad Obama did well in my home state and take some comfort in David Brook's thoughts re: Huckabee.

January 1, 2008