Archive for August, 2007

There’s Nothing Like Being Daddy

Posted: August 16, 2007 in Everything

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RUSH in Houston

Posted: August 15, 2007 in music lyrics

Well the Rush concert in Houston is in the rear-view mirror and I am feeling it. There were so many things of note from my trip last night to Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion. First of all, the concert started on time. No opening act, just Rush and they hit the stage for the first set at 7:45 pm. On first seeing Alex, Neil, and Geddy, I thought, “Man, these guys look old!” Then I realized that I first saw Rush in concert over 15 years ago and one of the guys with me saw them first 21 years ago which meant we were all old. I mean, there were a lot of bald heads in the crowds and one bald head on stage. Nice Alex! Plus there were folks in button-down shirts and slacks, a clear indicator that they had just come from work. Second, throughout the 3+ hour show, (the band took a 20 minute intermission) everyone stood up the entire time — but nobody was jumping up and down. Too old for that!

Third, our seats were on the 6th row — the closests I’ve ever been to the stage — and I left the concert with a greater appreciation of Alex Lifeson’s guitar playing. Neil and Geddy have long been hailed as two of the greatest musicians to ever pick up their respective instruments, but now I consider Alex equally as great. Certainly this appreciation is aided by my emerging guitar playing.

Fourth, I never realized how much the music you listen to (especially in your formative years) shapes you. As I was singing lyrics I hadn’t sang or heard in years, I was struck by how deeply those lyrics have shaped the way I see the world (though I’m not an atheist, as are the boys in the band). However, it was Rush’s lyrics that urged me to be introspective, compassionate, and socially-conscious. I’m grateful for that.

Fifth, it was nice to see a band that is comprised of real musicians. Throughout the show there was no unnecessary hype (save 2 minutes of dancing girls which was kinda silly). Just music and good music at that!

Interestingly they played half of the“Permanent Waves” album, which was released on January 1, 1980.

All-in-all it was a great night. Fabulous show! Many thanks to my friend Andrew for the tix and great night. By the way, I did oversleep this morning. I went to bed at 1:30am, but made it to work on time, nevertheless.

Song That Didn’t Make The Set List That I Wish Had:

1. Anything from “Presto”

2. La Villa Strangiato

3. Trees

4. Mystic Rhythms (My high school senior quote comes from this song)

5. Force Ten

6. Stick It Out

7. Nobody’s Hero

Feeling Young

Posted: August 14, 2007 in friends

Tonight I’m 17 again! Me and a couple of friends of mine from church are headed to see Rush in concert. I’ve seen Rush three times live. Each time I was in my teens. In high school I was a huge fan, but I can’t tell you the last time I dialed up Rush on my iPod, though their music takes up a considerable amount of gigs.

Anyway, my friend Andrew got tickets through his wife’s law firm. These are EXPENSIVE tickets. As a matter of fact, the cost of these tix is more than the combined price of what I payed for the other three concerts.

Hopefully, my ears won’t be ringing too badly in the morning. And hopefully I won’t fall asleep at my bedtime.

I’ll give a report tomorrow…if I can wake up!

The Big Easy

Posted: August 6, 2007 in books, movies

I’m in New Orleans this week working with Operation Nehemiah — an organization working to rebuild both the city and the people who were devastated by Hurricane Katrina nearly two years ago. Though  it’s been two years there is much still to be done here and some of the stories told are heartbreaking. Please remember the people attempting to rebuild and recover.

We went tonight to have stuffed sno-cones. They are sno-cones filled with ice-cream. Interesting. Fattening!

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Saw “The Bourne Ultimatum” last weekend (I’ve seen 5 movies this summer. A record for me, even though I wish I could get my money back for Transformers.) Bourne is a great movie. There can’t be 200 lines of dialog in the entire film. Wall-to-wall action! Gotta love it.

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Reading about 5 books right now. Sitting next to me is Mark Yaconelli’s “Contemplative Youth Ministry.”If you have or work with teens you should pick it up.

Rochelle and I have been slowly reordering our lives. What we mean by that is having a life and lifestyle that more closely resembles our beliefs and values than it resembles the American, middle-class death machine. Ro and I would define the death machine as rampant consumerism and protectionist concerns; the thirst for two cars, 2.5 kids, a house in the suburbs in a gated community, and all the typical trappings that come with it. Part of the machine includes what I would call the Christian over-concern for the individual and the individual’s family over and above concern for the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God. Rochelle and I are trying to resist the fast-food, slow-death, drive-through, TV-intoxicated, iPhone-lusting, Starbucks-energized, debt-riddled, God-distanced existence that most of us in the suburbs are drowning in.

To do that means reordering our lives. Truth be told, we don’t really know how to do that yet. We’ve made some attempts, though.

We celebrate Christmas differently, for instance. For us, Christmas is about Jesus being incarnate in us calling us to enter and face the world with love and vulnerability. It also means noticing all the cultures and nationalities that visit the manger and trying to urge the church to become like the manger; a place of welcome for all people. We’ve also reordered our eating. More and more we eat things that come from the ground and have as little processing involved as possible. That doesn’t mean that McDonald’s chicken nuggets aren’t good, they just aren’t the best foods for us. It also means that fast-food restaurants aren’t frequented very often and we check the menu at other spots before we go there.

Reordering also means that we are committed to not pawning our children off on others all the time. Our oldest daughter will go to school 3 days a week this fall (just down the hall from my office), but we are committed to limiting the number of hours she will spend there and she will have dedicated days each week with mom, a separate time with dad and time for the family to be together. Much of that time has been and will be spent baking for the elderly, collecting clothes for the poor, auditing toys and other belongings for what we should keep and what we should give away to the less fortunate. These kinds of activities are 2nd nature to our daughter, but they weren’t to me when I was her age.

We are also trying to figure out how to use less gas. Not merely for financial benefit to us, but for the benefit of the world God has given us. We are looking for ways — even in the Houston heat — to spend more time in God’s creation. One of our deepest wishes is that I lived close enough to work to walk or ride a bike.

But we have a growing, deepening sense that we are just scratching the surface, that there are more ways that we can simplify life and connect to God. So I’m asking you. Some of you are way ahead of us on this, and I want to know what you think. What are some ways you are reordering your life to reflect the gospel and your values? What are some of your ideas that we might be able to incorporate?