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…

“May God bless us with discomfort…”

A Franciscan Benediction
May God bless us with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that we may live from deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of God’s creations
So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless us with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with just enough foolishness
To believe that we can make a difference in the world,
So that we can do what others claim cannot be done:
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and all our neighbors who are poor.

Amen.

(HT: Brian McLaren)

Interview with Brian McLaren

Here’s a pretty good read if you’ve got the time; especially if you’re still not sure what you think about this Brian McLaren guy… it’s a pretty indepth snapshot of a lot of his thoughts/positions on things.  Very worth the read, in my opinion, so I thought I’d share it for those of you who are interested.

A battle cry for Christian reform – an interview with Brian McLaren

(HT: Emergent Village)

humility

I think I need to tattoo this one on my arms… or better yet, backwards on my chest so I’ll see it every morning when I wake up, and every night when I’m brushing my teeth before bed…

From the desire to be esteemed,
Deliver us, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved by all…
From the desire to be honored …
From the desire to be praised …
Deliver us, Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
Deliver us, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
Deliver us, Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten, ridiculed and wronged…
Deliver us, Jesus.

That I out of my riches may give to others in their poverty,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That I may know the depth of my own poverty
Jesus, grant me the grace to understand it.

That others may increase and I may decrease…
Jesus may it be.

Thanks for this one, Bob.

I have no idea where I am going…

My Lord God I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.- Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

Thanks, Perigrinatio.

This hits the nail on the head…

Bob, thanks for sharing this one.

Worship is an act that develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God that is expressed in an act of worship. When we obey the command to praise God in worship, our deep, essential need to be in relationship with God is nurtured. -Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society

This is a really meaningful idea (for me) as far as what Worship is, what it is not, and how we approach the whole idea of Worship. Especially when we think of the (small) piece of Worship that is a Sunday morning service at a church building, this is a good thought to consider. It’s not that we are necessarily overflowing with joyful thoughts & feelings about & towards God (although that would be great, ideally), and we’re just ready to rock. But instead it’s the idea that we are entering into something that will have an effect on us, will change us, will turn us back to God and provide the opportunity for us to (re)connect with God.

I know sometimes I’ve gotten freaked out by people that show up to church, the music starts, and by the first Chorus their hands are up and they’re just rocking out… That’s just not me… I come to church (at best) feeling just OK, or (at worst) feeling like this is the LAST place I want to be right now. But I know that something happens to me while I’m there, and the longer I’m immersed in it (scripture, music, prayer, life-stories, etc.) it’s like my barriers come down, and something inside of me softens, and I start to feel again… And now I’m actually ready to hear what God may be saying to me, and I’m ready to be changed by what I hear.

I want to do everything that I can, in any venue where I have the opportunity, to create a space and (enough) time for people to be immersed in God’s presence and thus to be changed by it. I think sometimes, we know that this is what can (should?) happen, but we either don’t create a space that is conducive to this, or we don’t give people enough time for their walls to come down, for them to drop their “bags” that they brought in with them…

A Christian revising their theology…?

wow

ok, this is really cool.  So, do you know the worship song “The Power of Your Love”?  I remember that we sang it a lot back in college at RCA.  I actually always really liked the song.  Anyways, so the guy who wrote that song, among many others, apparently has had some spiritual and theological break throughs, and has been pretty public about it.  He even re-wrote a bunch of his songs to reflect his changes, specifically about God’s grace and things like that.  I think this is so cool that someone would be so open about changes that they’ve gone through like this.  I feel like most people who are in the public eye would never admit to being wrong about something, or be so open about struggles/changes that they’re going through.

 Check it out here.