Friday, October 31, 2008

Alanis Live (aka My Night of Bliss)

I said I would scream and I did...Alanis rocked!
My admiration...ok, obsession, begins with the fact that we share the same birth date. Not just the same date, but the exact same day. Sure...I might be making too much of that tiny fact but it's the music too. I've loved her music from day one. It reflects the complexity that I am: a perfect blend of anger, pain, love, hope, healing, gratitude, spirituality, surrender, and some great rock.

I was genuinely surprised by the intergenerational representation at the concert. There were folks in their late 50's if not 60's, and it was a sweet moment when the musicians handed some their paraphernalia (sticks, picks, playlist [playlist...?]) to what looked like an eleven year old at the edge of the stage. I look forward to the time when I am the designated 'concert parent'... yes, I actually want to take Joy (and no doubt a car full of squealing tweens) to her first concerts. I'll have to pack the earplugs 'cause my dear child is not a fan of loud (that she gets from her mother) and Alanis was L O U D. The exquisitely classic midland theater held the sound perfectly and drove it straight to the heart bypassing the ears. I had forgotten how sweet it is to feel the music before I hear it.

This was a tour promoting the new album FLAVORS OF ENTANGLEMENT. Some of my favs from the album were covered: Moratorium, Versions of Violence, and the achingly beautiful break-up ballad Not As We. But she also indulged her fans with favorites spanning as far back as JAGGED LITTLE PILL: You Oughta Know, Hand In My Pocket, Head Over Feet, and Ironic. Favorite crowd moment: changing lyric in Ironic as follows-"...it's meeting the man of my dreams, and the meeting his beautiful husband!" That brought the house down. And it was pretty brave in the conservative mid-west.

But was it brave enough? My only disappointment all night was that she didn't perform the lead track of the new album: Citizen Of The Planet (see video in side-bar). I waited (enjoyed) through two encores but no Citizen. Jen's theory is that the song is too political for performance. Political? The song is actually anti-political and really what we need now in a time of political over-saturation. I'd prefer to think the absence of Citizen from the playlist was for musical reasons. That's the story I'm sticking to.

And yes...I bought a t-shirt.

I am a Citizen of The Planet.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obama vs Webkinz

So I said I'd wait til next week to update but this bit of madness had to be vented now.

We continue to ignore the simple fact that our world is not going to change if we continue to model evidence of our ignorant insanity for our children. I say 'we' so I don't offend 'them' but I'm pretty clear I'm not one of 'them'...yes, I know we're One and all that but indulge me on this one.

Joy came home quite disturbed because one of her friends told her (as told by her friend's parents) if Obama became president he would shut down the Webkinz website! WTF?! WTF?! I know there's a lot Obama stands for and against, but I hardly think he's taken issue with hairy/furry stuffed animals and their online likeness (which often turns out more appealing than the actual toys...but I digress). Then another neighbor kid comes over to play and stomps on our Obama sign! Another hearty WTF?!

What are we telling our kids?! Now a bit of backstory: Joy's school held a mock election a few days ago. In her school McCain edged out Obama; Obama won among all the elementary schools combined. Do ya think some parents might have had a hand in making sure their kids cast their vote a certain way?

To be fair, I'm sure it's coming from both sides. Joy knows we are Obama supporters and we've tried to communicate what his presidency would mean historically without McCain bashing (which wasn't hard til he picked Tina Fey...I mean Sarah Palin as his running mate). Kids (at least younger elementary age) will tend to emulate their parents. But do we really need to start the fear-mongering before the kid can write cursive?

It's bad enough to lie to your kids, but using Webkinz as leverage is an all-time dispicable LOW BLOW!!

C'mon folks.... we can do better than this.

Our children deserve better than this.


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Still here...

It's been crazy lately...we've been doing a lot of sorting and purging, packing up Jen to get her moving tomorrow, extra family time, and there're still those pesky class assignments. So if you're one of the few besides myself following this thing, have a little more patience with me. I'll have a bunch of time next week to do some posting. Look for more political ranting and my Alanis Morissette concert experience (voice halfway back from the screaming).
Thanks a bunch.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Win or Lose

Obama's being modest, but with a 10-pt. lead 2 weeks before the election, let's have the fat lady warm up.
Which brings me to a another post-election concern: The OFF-DA-CHARTS PARTAY that will break out after his victory.
There's probably going to be:
1. People yelling and screaming
2. Things getting smashed
3. People getting hammered
4. Hammered people yelling and smashing things.
Come to think of it...it's probably the same reaction we're going to get if he loses!
Apparently jubilation and outrage look alarmingly similar.
Either way...lock your doors.
Election night's going to be one for the history books!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Welcome To My Yard - Part.2

No fear...the new yard signs haven't disappeared.
But I heard a pretty amazing story last night...

As in my case, an Obama sign was stolen and the culprits left the wire frame/stake behind.
This obviously evolved individual put a white card on the frame and simply wrote:

I admit I was instantly jealous when I heard this...why didn't I think of that?
My petty human response to my theft was anger, and now another petty response...jealousy.
But the jealousy quickly graduated to its light-side-of-the-force counterpart: Admiration.
Admiration for the ability make, I think, an even more powerful statement.
It is a statement that reflects the better part of us, that part to make a stand yet not give over to chaos when things aren't going our way.
For all the faults of the democratic and electoral process in this country, things to deteriorate to bedlam.
Granted, the McCain-Palin rallies have been getting a little crazy, yet no matter who becomes our next president, I'm sure there won't be violence.
(There may be some outta-this-world celebrating when...I mean if...Obama wins, but that's another story)
I'm holding firm that the better part of us will emerge triumphant.
We owe it to ourselves.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Obama's Moment

Sent to you by Ogun via Google Reader:

via Rolling Stone: Features on 10/14/08
Photo The Democratic nominee for president talks about how George W. Bush screwed up, why John McCain turned ugly and what he's learned from Bill Clinton.

It's the morning after the vice presidential debate, and Barack Obama strides onto the football field at Abington Senior High School in suburban Philadelphia as Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising" rings out over the loudspeakers. The bleachers on both sides of the field are packed with cheering students and their parents, and the crowd has spread out onto the lawns beyond the goal posts. Abington is one of the swing districts where the presidential race will be decided on November 4th. It's...

Things you can do from here:

Friday, October 17, 2008


so it took me a while to come up with a response to the presidential debate on wednesday.
it's an overwhelming IS IT OVER YET?!
i'm pretty much done...cooked...fully saturated...can't hold another drop.
i love obama and his ability to not get ruflled - last thing we need is a short-fuse on the mythical button.
yet in some ways he's sounding more and more like the politican he purports not be.
and mccain...well he just looked like he was having petite seizures all night.

we expect obama to perform a miracle.
truth is the country is in a hole so deep neither candidate can probably get us out in four years.
i believe obama's direction is the right one and so does the rest of the world (jump to http://www.rd.com/your-america-inspiring-people-and-stories/global-poll-how-the-world-sees-the-2008-election/article102257.html to see what i mean).

i truly believe obama will win in the next agonizingly long 3 weeks.
then it's up to us.
let's not forget what he is inspiring us to realize that we, not he, have to make the responsible changes on an individual level.
let's not forget things often get worse before they get better.
let's not ask how much worse things can get.
i don't believe in fate but let's not tempt it just to be on the safe side.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Welcome to my yard

Last week our Obama yard sign was stolen. I was honestly surprised, then pissed, then surprised I let myself get pissed by the actions of some moron who thought stealing a sign might somehow affect anyone's voting decision. So today I went to my local Obama hq and bought not one, but two new signs. There was a woman also buying new signs because her's were also stolen. The guy in charge said over 200 Obama signs were stolen from Lee's Summit. 200?! Couldn't even wrap my mind around that one! I get the country's divided (thankfully leaning towards Obama now) and some deluded soul will actually vote for McCain, but do we have to resort to petty theft?

I guess some folks out there choose to resort to petty theft to avert the sense of powerlessness they might feel in face of the approaching tidal wave of change. We all sense it. Obama represents our chance to catch up with the rest of the evolved world who have released the attachment to leaders looking the way they've always looked and thinking the way they've always thought. But admittedly many fear change. Even after we've experienced change and come out better for it. Well change can't be stopped. The question is how little resistance will we put up to make this an easy and graceful transition.

So go ahead...steal my yards signs...I've got more. And when they've all been stolen, change will still happen.

Welcome to my yard.
I gave a 3-min talk in my Homeletics class today centered around our camping experience. I griped enough about comping before, but I admit I had a great time this weekend. So while a 3-min talk (2:40 to be precise) doesn't quite encapsulate the experience, it's a pretty good relfection on what I came away with. Plus, I'm just to lazy right now to type a whole new thing about it.

(Disclaimer: The talk had to follow a particular format, so if it seems rote and repititious and non-spontaneous [i.e. so NOT me!] it's not my fault...i promise)

During the summer of 2006 I had a camping experience I would just as soon forget. I was part of a wilderness adventure in the Wind River Range outside Lander, WY. After trudging through mosquito infested woods and mud for 4 days with 9 strangers at 10,000 ft while carrying a 40lb backpack, I developed High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (or fluid on my lungs), and I had to be evacuated and hospitalized. So when my wife said we were going camping I thought my objections were well justified.
But after my camping experience this past weekend, I realize that camping is an invaluable family experience.
You see, camping creates unbreakable bonds.
Camping creates unbreakable bonds in two ways: first, it creates opportunities for cooperation, and second, it promotes a sense of belonging.
Many aspects of camping call for cooperation: assembling the tent, gathering firewood, building a fire, cooking, and cleaning up. These tasks are accomplished with greater ease and speed when done together, leaving more time for another valuable cooperation opportunity: fun & games.
I say again, camping creates unbreakable bonds.
Camping promotes a sense of belonging through the working, playing, and sharing together as a team. As she sat on my lap during share-time around the campfire, my 8-year-old daughter made me feel like father of the year when she said, and I quote, “I feel appreciated here…like I belong.”
Through camping, your family can experience cooperation and a sense of belonging that will remain long after the trip.
Because, camping creates unbreakable bonds.
So make some time to go camping. It just takes one weekend.
I may want to forget my Wyoming experience, but I can’t wait to make more camping memories with my family.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008


The ministerial student's experience includes times of internal transformation. These times have been affectionally referred to as THE HIDDEN CURRICULUM. It's what helps to define us and our ministry, and perhaps we on the path of spiritual exploration all go through it. It's more of a concentrated event in school as we unpack, examine, throw out, replace, repack our Selves and meet ourselves again for the first time...and maybe a second and third time too.

My major piece of unpacking & examining is around my belief in God. I think I've released the last vestiges of God being anything other than myself (and you too) and haven't decided what, if anything, to replace it with. There's both an empty-grief feeling and completeness all at the same time.

I just finished reading (listening actually) A YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY by A.J.Jacobs. Jewish by birth, agnostic by choice, he lived the laws of the bible for one year-literally lived them; the obvious easy ones (not killing) to the inexplicable (not wearing clothes with mixed fibers). I highly reccomend it...the book, not the mixed fibers thing-that would put a serious dent in anyone's wardrobe. At the end of the year, he didn't believe there was a God, but that there was something sacred and neccesary about religion and spirituality and custom. He called himself a REVEREND AGNOSTIC.

I liked the idea, but not the terminology. It seemed minister & agnostic didn't go hand in hand. Yet that is where I am-not able to prove or disprove God's existence yet still believing. In what? Maybe nothing. Maybe it's just faith in our inherent divinity contrary to all earthly appearances. Perhaps Divine Nature is the God I can believe in now, but where is that divinity is those who commit the acts of unspeakable horror? Buried so deep that it's never seen the light of day? Perhaps the balance between divine inspiration and human psyche shifted too far over on the spectrum. But I digress...that's another rant for another day.

REVEREND AGNOSTIC...I'll try it on for a while see if it fits.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

after today's funeral i am all the more grateful for every moment with joy.
i'm going to be saying YES a lot more now.
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don't ask god why: insights from a funeral

i'm still shaken by the funeral today
a 4-yr-old accidentally shooting herself in the head
the gun belonged to a family friend
it was in her purse
forgive my innocence, but is kansas city the kind of place we need to walk around with guns in our purses?
is any city that kind of place?

how does anyone explain the senselessness?
how can anyone still demand the right to bear arms?
they say people, not guns, kill people
guess what?
sometimes it's the guns

we ask why does god allow this to happen?
it's the wrong question
god has nothing to do with this
this was tragic human stupidity and carelessness
this was the cycle of fear and violence claiming innocence

why is a pointless question
what do we do now is maybe a better one
will that friend still carry a gun in her purse?
i don't know
will joe schmoe still be able to walk into a store and buy a gun?
when will we truly learn from our mistakes

my heart breaks for that family
i imagined my joy in that coffin and i was paralyzed

what do we do now?
what will we do to break the cycle of violence?
what will we model for our children?
more violence through yelling and hitting?
when will we model forgiveness and patience and love?
when will we treat children with the dignity and respect every life deserves?
when will we stop hurting our future by hurting our children?

why does god allow this to happen?!
gimme a break
why do WE allow this to happen?

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

believing in believers

one of my friends who applied to ministerial school was redirected.
that's their way of saying 'you're not ready'
it think maybe there's a little of them not being ready too
this friend of mine is here enrolled in classes at the institute-stepping out in faith
a risky and admirable move all at once-i did the same
what makes a person ready for anything?
can someone else really decide that for them?
the further i get in this program the less ready i feel yet someone thought i was ready enough to be hear
i got another friend about to give up on her singing dream
hurts me 'cause she's got magic pipes, but she doesn't think she's good enough
those who push on in the face of adversity succeed, even when the biggest enemy is themselves
it's how i get through the day
i stop listening to myself
i trust others are right about me
i believe in my believers
hopefully one day i'll catch up to them
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