Saturday, January 31, 2009

Right now, I'm taking a break from recording. Yes, Matthew Clark is here with his traveling recording equipment ("Where did you record?" - "Suitcase Studio," I reply.) It can be quite exhausting to record, and though I've been looking forward to it for quite some time, in some ways I'm looking forward to it being completed. I don't dislike recording altogether, but I don't love the way it has you look at your music, with a painfully critical ear, making you nervous and overly conscious over every single note that escapes your mouth. I miss more guitar chords and squeak out more off-notes than usual. Yes, I prefer house concerts and living room praise choruses and shower-singing. 

Yet, I've also discovered something else today, that recording is like a spiritual discipline. 

Not in the sense that you are doing it all the time, but in the sense that sometimes you don't want to; it is hard, and it is necessary. Matthew said today that when we write songs and play them live, they are developing... changing and forming into their best form. Then, we are ready to record them, to make them solid and complete. They've been tried and tested, and so we need to do "finish" them (though they live on and on and we continue to play them over and over and over...) This helps us even move on in writing more, to change and grow, to see new experiences through the lense of song-writing. I can often feel an experience even more fully by putting it into a song, singing it over and over makes it even more real to me.

I am resting right now, as Jeff is in there putting drum tracks over my vocals and guitar. Matthew will go home and add some bass, some harmony vocals, etc.


Together, we'll make this music complete. What's best about recording is the togetherness of it all. I need Matthew; I need Jeff. We do this together.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"What is the Church for, if we don't reach out and hold the hurting?" (j. casper)

It's easy to forget what we, the Church, are for; it's easy to stop digging through the junk we call "church", to stop doing what it is we are to be doing and love like we're supposed to be loving. I won't even pretend I have a perfect paragraph or "how-to" for us... I just know that we're so often not doing it. But I try not to sit around and complain about what we're not doing, and instead work towards helping my brother and sisters (and myself) become betters lovers of God and people.

It doesn't take long, though, to start giving up, to let our posh, American, selfish lifestyle suck the life right out of us, and almost quit altogether. It's easier to start picking out carpet colors and song styles that better suit our tastes, than to tear down walls of racial divide and sit on the curb with a homeless drunkard who is lying to my face and still see the face of Christ in him.

It's easier to just suffocate than keep gasping for air.

Ah, but tonight I was so encouraged. It takes one conversation, one soul to help you get going again. We are not alone. Josh is easing through Memphis on a road trip that's just beginning, but he's come into our home with his quiet smile and given us new hope, that our Love is not in vain and that all over the world people are wrestling and struggling. I love it that our brothers and sisters stand with us in solidarity and give us nudges and keep us going.

Sometimes I feel like I'm just climbing a sand dune, taking one step, only to slide back down, maybe even further back than where I started. We are a hurting and broken people, us world-dwellers, and very few of us have felt the spark, fanned the flame, and lived into the Love that put on flesh for us. Very few of us rest in that. And so we sit on curbs and give away some money and move into the abandoned places; we take risks and open our homes and put an extra place setting at the dinner table. We give ourselves away.

Friends, it is so much more than the style of music and order or worship at the 11 o'clock hour on Sunday. We've got to know that.

thank you, brother.