Friday, September 30, 2011

I Want My City Back

Just another progress report on my journey through my iTunes library. Finished going through the I's last night. Currently listen to the Mighty Might Bosstone's Jackknife To A Swan. Ska to kick off one's morning is a great idea. What've learned singe my last update...

I don't like the Cross Movement. Solid songs but not digging their albums. Daft Punk... Same deal. Both no longer have a place in my iTunes library. I do like Venetian Snares but when am I ever going to listen to glitch? The answer is never so most of their album have found a way out of my library and into the trash.

Next 5 records:

Value Pac - Jalapeno
Converge - Jane Doe
Jars of Clay - Jars of Clay
Jatun - Jatun
Scattered Few - Jawbone of an Ass

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm Going to Germany!

It's been a little over 10 years since my last missions trip. Having gone to NCC for the last 5 years it seems crazy that it's been so long.

In October I'll be heading to Berlin, Germany with National Community church on a new mission: To engage locals in discussions of faith through art.

There isn't an overwhelming physical need in Berlin, but the spiritual need in Germany is just as devastating. After German reunification in 1990, Berlin is re-establishing itself as one of the most influential cities in Europe. Berlin shapes the landscape of politics, arts and media, culture, and academics throughout Germany. Yet the controversial history of Berlin continues to affect the vibe of the city. It forms a society of vast diversity, open tolerance, alternate lifestyles, and an edginess that is uniquely Berlin. Berlin is no longer the land of Luther. It's a secular hub of atheism and agnosticism, but a place of great hope and potential. To contextualize the gospel in this post-Christian landscape requires creativity and imagination. This won't be your average church mission trip. We'll spend a few days engaging the city's social justice issues like human trafficking, drug addiction, urban poverty, and refugee issues. We'll then spend a few days responding to what we've experienced through art: music, photography, painting, etc. The trip will culminate in a two day art gallery where we'll engage locals in discussions of faith through the art we have created around these issues. We'll be partnering with John Hasler, an NCC staff member working with Reach Global who is preparing to launch a marketplace ministry.

An art based trip makes a lot of sense for me to be heading on as I've spent the last couple of months really being active in how the church can embrace the arts community. I've super excited to go over to Germany and use the talents and abilities God has given me to further his Kingdom and bring glory to his name.

Please pray for me and my team members as we travel on this journey. If you feel led to support me financially, it would be a blessing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Something Beautiful = Success

:Takes out life goals list:

Art show

Ok, well maybe we shouldn't cross this off the list completely...

The first Something Beautiful Art and Music show actually happened! And I'm calling it a success. Everyone who attended had a great time and I think any time you get a group of artists together and they can hang out and chat, it's challenging, inspiring, refreshing, and a kick in the pants to keep pushing forward.

I had an amazing group of people who came alongside me and took my vision and made their own and they are all very much a part of what I hope is something bigger then this one art show. I am still overwhelmed with gratitude for all the artists and musicians who showed their work and played, as well as those who were praying for me and this event.

Thank you for making this happen!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Something Beautiful

This coming Sunday I'm putting on an art show. It's a dream about 8 years in the making. It started when I was 19. I was trying to put on a concert for a touring friend of mine and myself at the church I was attending. After playing an open mic I was told by the guy in charge that he loved what I was doing but the church just didn't support it.

I've conversations with many people and while the particulars change of the situations change, the theme is always the same: Arts in the church is not a priority.

For a while I wasn't sure how to tackle this idea. I knew I wanted some sort of arts based community but wasn't sure how that would look. And to be honest, at various points in my life this wasn't a huge priority for me.

But 2 months ago, after another conversation with a friend who was looked down upon for their art, I decided it was time to do something. And thus, the Something Beautiful Art and Music show is born.

Something Beautiful is built off the basic idea that we are created in the image of God and I believe the image of God has more to do with the character and personality of God. So God is the creator and some of us have more of God the creator in us then others.

Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning God CREATED the heavens and the earth.

I want Something Beautiful to eventually be something where all creative people can come together and share their thoughts and ideas. From musicians, photographers, sculptors, painters, tattoo artists, fashion designers, cake makers, whatever, to be able to come together and use their talent to reflect God's beauty. For artists from all different backgrounds to come together and share their creations, their personal expression of worship, with each other and with others.

On top of that, I want this to be an encouragement to young artists. I want artists to be encouraged by those around them and to know that their art is important and has a place in the body of God. A place where older artist can help younger artist refine their craft. I want young artists to be lifted up and inspired. Not discouraged and questioning their passions.

I'm excited for this art show and excited to see where things go from here.

Create: Something Beautiful

Let's Just Drive

:Takes out life goals list:

Drive across country

It took me 3 days to drive my Laguna Hills, California to Damascus, Maryland. It might not have been the most adventurous trip but I did it.

I have two regrets on this trip (aside from the obvious not having more time to take my time and do more awesome things). The first is doing it alone. One goes crazy in a car by themselves for that long. I think I cried at one point. I'm not sure. I do know that making the 20 hour trip from Tulsa back to Maryland, at around 1 in the morning I found a pop music station that didn't play commercials and yes, listening to Katy Perry became acceptable at that point in my trip. Friends don't let friends drive across the country by their lonesome.

My second regret is not having enough music.

Here is where all my Cali friends turn against me. I didn't think I-N-Out Burger was all that great... It was good but the hype machine failed me. The fries were ok, the burger was tasty but nothing mind blowing, and the chocolate shake was one of the worst shakes I've had in a while. Glad I tried it but something didn't click with me. I was expecting more...

"God must be a painter. Why else would we have so many colors?" That line from A Beautiful Mind ran through my head as I traveled through the desert. I also understand why Donald Miller called his book "Through Painted Deserts." Driving through the Mojave Desert and into Arizona and New Mexico, I was just in awe of how beautiful the desert was. Coming into New Mexico on Wednesday morning with the sun coming up over the hills and the clouds resting right on top on these beautiful purple and red hills... Its the kind of sight that makes you just wanted to worship God for his creation. Amazing.

Sadly the middle of America is just as boring as I remember. Once you get to Texas, its flat dusty plains. Not that exciting.

One thing that did make me sad was while driving through New Mexico. Basically every exit in New Mexico is a giant tourist stop to by Native American jewelry, clothes, whatever. And it made me sad. All this rich culture reduced to tourist bullshit… It was frustrating for me.

I did find my favorite radio station, Radio U, was being broadcast in Oklahoma City. That was an awesome surprise.

Some good Christian rock stations all throughout the country, yet DC has none…

My intent was to buy blank cds and create a bunch of killer road trip mix tapes to jam to while I crossed the country. Due to the trip being slightly up in the air for a moment (and mostly my own general laziness) this didn’t happen, so I quickly through together some cds to listen to. I didn’t grab any metal/hardcore or hip-hop. Major fail on my part.

My playlist for the trip:

The Arcade Fire – Funeral
Audio Adrenaline – Until My Heart Caves In
Audio Adrenaline – Worldwide
Caspian – Tertia
Jeremy Enigk – Ok Bear
Jeremy Enigk – Return of the Frog Queen
MxPx – Favorites Mix
P.O.D. – Favorites Mix
Thrice – Beggars
The Make – This Box
The Hawk in Paris – His + Hers
Crosses – EP
Dashboard Confessional – Dusk and Summer
Jimmy Eat World – Futures
mewithoutYou – Catch For Us the Foxes

Friday, September 9, 2011

Life Goals

I don't have a super long list of life goals, which is a little sad, but I'm adding to it every day. This coming week however, I get to cross off the goal that started my list!

Back when I was 21 or so my best friend and me had talked about a road trip across America. Getting in our car and without any plan or set destination taking off across the country, just because we could. Sounded like a great idea. My girlfriend at the time thought we were dumb and couldn't wait for me to grow out of my "college phase".

Well this upcoming trip isn't a get in my car and just drive with no plan or destination in sight, I do get to drive from California to Maryland next week.

I'm flying out to California to pick up a car for my buddy whose wife just had a baby. The trip doesn't allow for a ton of time to take side detours and do a bunch of cool things (I leave Tuesday morning and need to be back in DC Saturday afternoon) it does give me the chance to get in a car and drive across the country, something I've wanted to do for a while now.

I'm super excited about this trip. I'm burning road trip mixes, googling cool places to check out along the way. I'll get to see friends I haven't seen in way too many years, will sleep on some couches and will probably spend a night in my car.

It might not sound very glamorous but I'm excited to cross this one of my life goals list.