Monday, March 28, 2005

Flip the script!

I have been doing interviews for the last 3 days, and I feel like I’ve said the same thing over and over again. I know that when I write, I intend towards saying something a tad prophetic, honest, and compelling to those who click here. I may be repeating myself.

But, it seems there’s a cyclical nature to all of these stories. As if things repeat themselves in a manner that it’s really hard to distinguish whether it’s happened before, or if I’m just tired, and missed the moment previously. Hah.

A new friend, Robert, said something a few months ago that it’s taken some time to truly understand. It seems to make sense of that feeling, especially in regards to our skeletons, scars, or familiar haunts.

He said what draws him from those places is changing the script. As it’s prone to happen in such a familiar way, he has to introduce new characters into the story. This pushes against the nature of false security and the drifting into a life that gets barely lived and quietly fades away. If we don’t, he said, we’re destined to continue repeating the same unsatisfying medications. The same story.

Not long ago, I was given Elbow’s last record, “Cast of Thousands.” The song “Ribcage” taps this a bit.


“…we did a real thing, didn’t we?
gave ourselves a name,
and peeled away the shame.
I wanted to explode
to pull my ribs apart,
and let the sun inside.”

A striking image. In risking enough to write new characters into the story, and to be vulnerable in the story with them, it has a crazy effect. Whether it’s a bright, warm sun image or what I have mentioned as coming up for air and taking in pure oxygen, it gives glimpses of what life can be like when I give myself to the brokenness. Hold hands with sorrow and suffering, as Much Afraid does. Further they sing….

“and when the sunshine,
throwing me a life-line,
finds it’s way into my room
all I need is you.”

For me, this means moving from isolation towards community and relationship. Being a good friend. Which is messy. So, for the desire and courage to do that.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Team Fun, LA.

There is a movement coming to your town. Village. County. Etc. It's called Team Fun, and chapters are being added, well, weekly. Here's a photo of Team Fun LA. It's predominantly made up of west coast US citizens.


What does it involve, this "Team Fun?" Well, I'm not totally sure. But we end up asking people to arm wrestle for the hell of it. Also, it's a very social team. There's a lot of engaging conversation and hand motions used. It's a very verbal society. There are also drinks and snacks.

All we need now is a website, and this could turn into a license to print money.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Stationary, in motion.

I’m traveling a lot these days. Long, early days. Short nights. It keeps me from a faithful relationship to flibbityfluence. No excuses, though. No guilt here, either. I want this as a constant invitation from a friend.

I was reading something today in Newsweek about steroids and disgraced baseball heroes. An article on why/how Jesus became the Christ, or “anointed one.” There was a small side-bar about Jane Fonda’s history with some French guy that was really mean and abusive to her. Boy, did she try to keep him happy. Sandra Bullock is turning 40. She’s happy about getting older. Robert Blake has transitioned into O.J. land. He most likely killed his wife and his future. I don’t know why all that strikes me as it does, but it seems like no one is safe from life.

Looking back, I’m pretty sure that my heart has been under-grown by the constant flow of choosing to bounce from parent to parent through divorce, trips 3 hours up north to see the friends, the high school love interests and the mentors in the big city, a quick, theological mind-twister of a year at college, and falling into a business I found to be a fast track to an even more intense displacement. I don’t think I’ve ever really known home as a true, safe place to crash. It’s always felt in motion. Now, I’ve helped make a new home that isn’t a soft place to land for others. That makes me angry with myself. On my worst days, this feeling dismantles me.

Graciously, I see before me some opportunities to undermine a lot of those rickety beginnings. That’s probably what growing older means. That’s probably why so many parents freak out on their kids. Kids are a perfect target to bear a parent’s shortcomings and unresolved wounds. I want to raise children that know this world is broken, but are able to recognize authentic hope. Brokenness framed with compassion.

There is a lot of undoing to be done. It’s probably going to mean sitting in the awkwardness and emptiness more than would feel natural.

I want to know this pain in a way I can name it, and be present enough to emerge from it as someone still with something to offer family and friends. This feels like it might require getting a really good rocking chair for the front porch. Probably two, for communion’s sake.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

5 Questions from a fellow pilgrim.

From my dear friend, Jude. 5 Questions. We begin.

1) Where/what in the world do you consider your ’sanctuary’? Could be a place, room, city, persons, etc.

These days, I think there are a few places that I would call a sanctuary.

I meet with a group of fellows that have undermined my immaturity. A band of brothers, for sure. Truly, a community of men to be reckoned with.

I dwell in books more than ever, now. Reading of someone else’s process gives me hope for my own.

I like to play records. Something about all the formality of selection, the sleeve, placing the needle.

Oh, and there’s a guitar I love to strum. To name a few sanctuaries.

2) When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be Ryne Sandberg for the Chicago Cubs.
I wanted to be Walter Payton from the Chicago Bears.
I wanted to be Sonny Crockett from Miami Vice, carry a gun, wear a sport coat, and chase girls in bikinis, with my best friend who played “Tubbs.”
I wanted to be a rock and roll guitar player. I distinctly remember my first air-guitar/ hairbrush-mic singing to Greg Kihn Band’s “The Breakup Song.”

I still hope one of these dreams will come true.

3) Can you justify the existence of the Christian Music Industry?

No. But what fun is that.

It is for people who want to turn down/shut off their brains and hear (not all, but some) songs that are half-truthful about who Jesus is, and are half-truthful about the human condition. As an industry, it’s to provide music that is safe. Safe from thinking. Safe from entering the process of growing by risking what we believe; that there is more in the Gospel for us, in our weakness.

Again, though, in a word, no. Some days I can hardly justify my own existence. ☺

4) Who’s the funniest person you’ve ever met, and why?

Triumph the insult comic dog. Brilliantly executed, everytime. With a touch of O.T.T.ness.


Pupil and Master pictured above.

5) What is your guilty pleasure in life?

Hmm. Something I engage in that entails a certain amount of regret after the fact (physical or mental). For me, that would be Margaritas. Las Palmas. Bottom-shelf. Big headache. Oh so good.

Thanks for such great questions, Jude.