Same “tension”, new direction

Since I’m still getting some regular traffic on this blog, I thought I’d highlight something new that I’m up to: music

Here’s a little blurb from my new site:

Some days, I’d be perfectly content to just enjoy all the amazing music that’s already out there.  There’s so much of it, what else could I possibly have to add, right?

But other days, it seems like if I don’t create my art, if I don’t make my music and get it out there, I’d be missing the boat on something really important.

So, here I am.  Making my music and sharing it with the world.  I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t care whether you like it or not…  I really do hope you like it, and that it strikes a chord, or a nerve, or something.

A little detail on the name, the Tension.

I’ve always been kind of an idealist.  Which you might think would mean that I am a pretty optimistic guy, but I’m actually not at all.  I’m pretty critical and pessimistic, actually.  That’s what seems to happen when the realities of life come crashing down into the hopes and dreams of an idealist.

I find myself constantly torn between the amazing things that we could do in this life, and the reality that the day to day can be a struggle for many of us.  The heights of human achievement, and the depths of our dysfunction.  Our unfathomable capacity for healing and love, coupled with our seemingly inescapable tendency to destroy and hate.

This is the tension we find ourselves in.  This is where our dreams and reality meet.

This is the Tension…  welcome.

So, thanks for stopping by my blog.  But I’d love it if you’d join me over at my new site as I continue to wade through the tension…

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Bright Eyes – Four Winds

A little while back, my super-hip-sister Nicole sent me a track by Bright Eyes, called “Four Winds”, from the new-ish album called Cassadaga.

Aside from this being a musically fantastic song (a little folk, a little rock, a little bluegrass/country fiddle), the lyrics are continually bowling me over with layers and layers of interesting themes. Here’s the part that hit me the most:

The Bible’s blind, the Torah’s deaf, the Qur’an is mute
If you burned them all together you’d be close to the truth still
They’re poring over Sanskrit under Ivy League moons
While shadows lengthen in the sun
Cast on a school of meditation built to soften the times
And hold us at the center while the spiral unwinds
It’s knocking over fences, crossing property lines
Four winds cry until it come

Setting aside Conor Oberst’s (the singer/songwriter) obvious disdain for religions and their texts… I think he makes some really profound points, if I’m understanding him correctly.

He’s pointing out that all our studying and searching of ancient texts is causing us to ignore the increasing problems that are all around us (the shadows lengthening).

While I would disagree with him a bit, and say that I personally believe that the Bible is life-changing and life-giving (when read properly, as a narrative of the history of God’s involvement with man and not a science textbook), I absolutely agree with him on this point. We’re stuck in our religions while everything is unwinding around us (“And hold us at the center while the spiral unwinds”).

God wants to bring his Kingdom/Heaven to Earth, here-and-now, and start making the world more like it was intended to be. We can’t do that if we’ve got our heads stuck in the sand.

Here’s another quote with a similar theme, it’s the opening of the song:

Your class, your caste, your country, sect, your name or your tribe
There’s people always dying trying to keep them alive
There are bodies decomposing in containers tonight
In an abandoned building where
A squatter’s made a mural of a Mexican girl

This seems to be an indictment on the fact that we’re fighting/killing over stuff that doesn’t matter (class, caste, country, etc.) while there are people dying simply because they’re trying to get to America to start a better life (people from Asia dying inside shipping containers as they’ve traveled on a boat across the Pacific, Central/South Americans coming up to America and squatting in abandoned buildings, etc.). Regardless of what you think about illegal immigration, I think (hope?) that we can all agree that people dying for any reason is a problem…

You can check out the rest of the lyrics here, along with a lot of people’s thoughts and ideas about what else the song might mean. Also, you can watch the music video for the song below, if you’d like to hear the whole thing. Really cool idea for the video, by the way. Since he’s (obviously) saying some fairly inflammatory things in this song, the video is staged as a live performance somewhere, and people gradually get more and more mad at him as he’s singing, and they start booing and throwing stuff at the band while they’re playing. It’s pretty cool.

new look

I’m not sure what I think of this new one yet…  but all I know is that I was starting to think that my old theme was a little hard to read.  I really dug the dark look, but white/gray text on a black background was just starting to wear on me.

This is basically the POLAR opposite of what I had, so we’ll see.  I may get sick of this one too.

Since the WAY you say something is equally, if not more so, important than WHAT you’re saying , I thought that in this virtual “conversation”, what I’m “saying” might be better “heard” if it was easier on the eyes.

Let me know what you think!

The Voice

Has anyone heard about this yet?

The Voice

It’s a new Bible translation…  but from what I can tell, the word “translation” doesn’t come near to doing it justice.  I think they’re calling it “a retelling of the Story”, but don’t quote me on that.  It’s not going to just be text either, apparently there’s going to be music and art that go along with it…   Very interesting if you ask me…

Check it out for yourself.

integers and fractions

This is a departure from the types of things I normally talk about on here, but I don’t care cause I thought this was cool.

I was listening to the radio on the way to work (WAMC, the local public radio) and there’s this bit that they do called the Writer’s Almanac. I don’t always catch it, but it’s usually fairly interesting. So today the guy read this poem on the air… And being an engineer/geek, as well as someone who believes in God, it really struck me. Here’s the link (scroll down to Friday the 23rd), but I put it all here as well (I hope that’s legal)…  If you have any geeky inclinations then you might enjoy this as well.

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FRIDAY, 23 FEBRUARY, 2007
Listen (RealAudio) | How to listen

Poem: “The Invention of Fractions” by Jessica Goodfellow, from A Pilgrim’s Guide to Chaos in the Heartland. © Concrete Wolf Chapbook Series. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

The Invention of Fractions

God himself made the whole numbers: everything else
is the work of man.

—Leopold Kronnecker

God created the whole numbers:
the first born, the seventh seal,
Ten Commandments etched in stone,
the Twelve Tribes of Israel —
Ten we’ve already lost —
forty days and forty nights,
Saul’s ten thousand and David’s ten thousand.
‘Be of one heart and one mind’ —
the whole numbers, the counting numbers.

It took humankind to need less than this;
to invent fractions, percentages, decimals.
Only humankind could need the concepts
of splintering and dividing,
of things lost or broken,
of settling for the part instead of the whole.

Only humankind could find the whole numbers,
infinite as they are, to be wanting;
though given a limitless supply,
we still had no way
to measure what we keep
in our many-chambered hearts.

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