Friday, March 28, 2008


"Can you imagine what it is to cross an ocean? For weeks you see nothing but the horizon. Perfect and empty. You live in the grip of fear. Fear of storms. Fear of sickness on board. Fear of the immensity.

So you must drive that fear deep into your belly. Study your charts. Watch your compass. Pray for a fair wind. And hope. Pure, naked, fragile hope.

At first it's no more than a haze on the horizon. So you watch. You watch. And it's a smudge. A shadow on the far water. For a day. For another day. The stain slowly spreads along the horizon, taking form...until on the third day you let yourself believe. You dare to whisper the word "land." Land. Life. Resurrection. A true adventure, coming out of the vast unknown, out of the immensity, into new life. That, your Majesty, is the new world."

Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) from the movie "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"

I'm signing off for just a month. In my own way, I dare to whisper the word. Know that while we sleep, everything has changed.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thoughts from the air.

"…Love is a strangely circular process. For the process of extending one’s self is an evolutionary process. When one has successfully extended one’s limits, one has then grown into a larger state of being…" M.S.Peck

David Deida writes that I should stop considering that I’ll one day complete it. I will never finish the work. So I keep at it, as that is what defines me as a man. Bringing my unique gift to the world, for the richness it brings to my life and the larger community. Not to settle for small scraps and toleration of small robberies.

About 6 years ago I hit a wall, and all I wanted was to stop. I kept working just enough to get through. I put off many things. It was an important wall to hit, because through that process, I came to understand that what I was doing wasn’t getting me where I wanted to be. It’s like that wack-a-mole game. I kept holstering that silly hammer thing, and another mole would pop up.

There was great fear in that behavior. I didn’t think I had the ability to do more. And that pushed me further towards accepting the idea that I don’t have what it takes. It was a terribly adolescent way of operating. Living for the next moment that was free from demand, and pissing off every time something was asked of me that forced me beyond myself.

That is a sad way to love. A shitty way to live. There is so much of life to lose with that type of approach to relationships, vocation, spirituality. When I am still (like right now, as I’m on a plane, well aware of life’s brevity) I can get into the anger of it – but underneath is a great grief. Why did these lessons come so late? What have I done? And what has this cost me and those I love?

I see in Peck’s words and encouragement towards risking it all towards becoming more. A larger state of being. Thanks be to God for promising to make all things new. I cling tightly to that promise in this moment, and to the hope of the future…all the while, feeling the freedom to lean out past the cautionary lines.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Results not typical.

I love that phrase - usually accompanying some guaranteed-ground-breaking-change-your-life-patterns-for-the-best-solve-your-problems product. Only subtly. Like a mumble at the end. the way....don't get your specific hopes up that this will work for you.

The most groundbreaking thing I've heard in '08 so far, (besides Obama's "yes we can") is that life is difficult. Much of not only surviving life, but enjoying life, seems now pivoting on this truth, the choice to accept what it offers, and then move past it to the beautiful things that await such obedience.

A group of men I meet with every Monday night embody this for me. Tonight we spent a great amount of time trying to figure out how to care for some new additions to the circle. These new additions are men that went on a weekend retreat and encountered some of their most difficult truths, that cut through the old agreements and protections that a broken world has required of them just to survive. Now having seen this truth, there is a new freedom for most. A deeper conversation and a brighter hope in the midst of it all. Some men shake hands with their work and fade from it. Some stand tall in it, and catch a hopeful glimpse of what has always been waiting on the other side.

So. To consider such valiant people, fighting for good things in their do we care for them? How to shepherd them towards a lasting work, and that peace that truly passes all understanding? This hope can be accessed more easily in small numbers. Small numbers of people that are intimates of one another's stories. This pushes against the model set by most in our culture that growth is a good thing. I'm aware this week as we celebrate Easter, that growth in attendance isn't quite what Jesus was about.

It feels like there are moments I will tally up as my life flies by, where I am with someone and we connect in that cosmic manner of understanding a small bit of it at the same time, together. And in each's own way, we singularly shout back to God and the universe - in the passion of tears, anger, laughter, and love - that I am here and alive, and there's someone else who shares it with me.

The alleluia and the amen.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008


I am not who I was, even a few months ago. There's great relief in that. One of my fears is that I'll stop growing and just talk about growth. In my age, I'll be quicker to speak than listen...dispensing the same crap to everyone that will sit while I hold court. The edges of my life will get dull and cool. I don't want to get stuck and I don't want the fire of life to die down now, after going through so much. I don't want to be the same.

I don't know if there will be any fundamental change to my personality...and maybe that's not a problem. I'm discovering parts of myself that have always been alive, always been inside me, but quite asleep. I've been challenged by a few close friends to work that out in some new risks. Some new art. I've seen it already drawn out of me by others. Love and trust will do that.

Maybe rather than fundamental change, we can find that identity will be brought to a greater fullness. Again and again, in light of the life's seasons, new risks, and hopes that move from cloudy apparition to flesh, I will continue to become that new creation I long to be - for life and love's sake.

May God grant grant us eyes to see the becoming.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Chapter 5

Tom Shilder was bright. A young kid. Lots of energy. But he fiddled. Rory Steinbalm hated fiddlers. From his corner office on the 24th floor, he glared in Tom's direction, sending him hate from over his notes, across the room, through the glass door and into the receptionist's office. "Tom, get in here. And put that cup down."
Tom the intern made his way toward the office door, realizing that the hammer was about to fall. Again. But this is my time to shine, Tom thought. Every opportunity to assert his place in this dog make dog eat intern world of the music industry was a chance to prove them all wrong. Dad. That kid on the bus. His piano teacher. He put his hands on the cold metal handle and pulled the heavy glass door wide. It weighed like his conscience after deciding to take this job in London.
"We've got a problem, Tom. The studio is getting prepared as we speak. They are rolling in the cameras. They've got some good suits tailored. Everything is according to plan. However..." Rory paused.
Tom braced himself. His mind quickly racing to all the nagging questions that had no answers, as of yet. Sweat covered his brow. Oh God, he prayed. Don't let my face do that thing it does when I get really nervous. His face started to do that thing.
Rory continued,"We've got to get Phillip Bailey over the buildings and into this studio."
They sat in silence for a few minutes. Tom gathered himself.
"What about a helicopter?" Tom said instinctively.
"What the hell do you mean, a helicopter? You're insane." Rory glanced at his watch. "But it just might work."

Monday, March 10, 2008

New Adam.

I've just come off of another fantastic weekend where I got to help some men reckon with their stories. Some of the agreements and compromises they've made from childhood thru adulthood are pushed to the surface and embodied. Not unlike pushing an elephant up the stairs. Only no peanuts are involved. Maybe that would help this go faster. I didn't take photos of the event, but did grab some moments from the preparation and walk through that captured the shared love all the men that have been through the weekend previously. Love for each other, and the process.


The Holy Scott, closer than a brother.


Dan, new friend from a weekend I wasn't on, and Glenn, who is all about freedom and liberty...and has spoken truth to me for years now.


Ray, who should get an Academy Award for the way he embodies things in the work. Such a help.

There's more to say. For now, just a few images of what such work produces. Hope and community.

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Friday, March 07, 2008


It's raining steadily outside, and I'm waiting for a member of my unholy trinity to prepare for the weekend.

Rejoice in your sense of inadequacy. That's my Bunkerism for today. These are words I need to take to heart this weekend. We are all wounded healers. Glory in the need.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Rebearding, etc.

I'm so grateful for this week, and it's not hardly done. Some great conversation that doesn't lighten the load, but lightens the world around it. That's a beautiful thing.

I've had some great moments as we're writing and rehearsing material for the next batch of recordings. It's been a creative time, and I have met again the joy on the other side of pressing through difficult seasons. We got 2 songs today, and fixed another from yesterday. I anticipate the results tomorrow. I love the guys I work with, and I love to see little ideas come to mean big things. It sounds obvious to say, but we're currently finding the most powerful expression of our faith is in writing about relationships. Fancy that. Early reviews of demos from those I love and trust say we're on to something.

I'm preparing to staff a retreat this weekend. Retreat is not really the proper term. It is in all regards an advance. It's something I was a part of a few years ago, and I have found freedom in my life to live with great love as a result of the work that started there. In short, I experienced a life change. This is a gift that I get to help pass on to many others this weekend. Part of this looks like running around gathering last minute sundries, which I'll be doing tomorrow.


It's a bit of an unrefined time, and to celebrate or rather emphasize this, I've boycotted the razor. It's a fun thing to be lazy that way. And it will help me keep the edges hot. I will still find time to shower.

I hope for some insight to bring back next week.

Monday, March 03, 2008


(No. 4 of 'Four Quartets')
T.S. Eliot
Excerpt from IV
The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre—
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.
An excerpt from V
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Cute factor.

For those of you who love Star Wars. You know who you are. From Bunkerisms to this. Manic? Nah, just taking it all in from all sources. A 3 yr old read on Star Wars. Pretty much to the point.

I'm having a blast with the E team this weekend. We got to spend the night by the fire with the wonderful Marky McCleary, found here.