Thursday, October 30, 2008

have you seen these before?

finally. children's music i can stand. you can even listen to samples for each album. very cool. check it out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

i found this outside of my apartment this morning. beautiful.

for any who are inteested in this sort of thing, there is also a tiny zaavanco. update.

Monday, October 27, 2008

spiritual truths from unexpected sources

first off, this is not meant to induce nostalgia or make you say "i remember that!" as with so many other posts where i pull out some golden oldies. this is different.

i'm going through the weekly house cleaning routine. rowyn is following me around undoing most of what i've done. but we're listening to madonna's "immaculate collection", so it's all good, you know? we're singing and dancing and playing in between chores and having a good ol' time. then we sit down for lunch. as we're sitting there eating together, "papa don't preach" comes on. (i already have an interesting history with this song, as it was one of the first moments where the spirit manifested itself to me outside of a church service and left me wondering, what the hell are you doing bearing witness to kelly osbourne singing a madonna cover at the VMAs?)

but this time, some things came into focus for me about the story of this song and WHY god would want it out there and even bear witness to it. it is the story of a young teen girl who has, presumably, fallen into the exact kind of situation her father has warned her about getting into. what's interesting is that the only real character in the song is the girl. she is the only one giving narative. she's the only one we actually know anything about. but from what she says, we can glean a lot about this situation.

first off, although she HAS gone out and done something she knows her father didn't want her to do, instead of trying to lie about it, or keep it to herself, when she knows she's in over her head, she goes straight back to her father and offers him the truth. she tells him everything. what a right picture of our relationship with THE father. when we fuck up, instead of running away, he wants us to come to him and tell him about it. not so he can beat us up or heap on the guilt, but so he can help. and this is what she is doing. we don't get her father's response, but it makes me wonder...

what would the father's response be? if we view this as a picture of how god is with us when we fail, how would you expect or hope this fictional father would be? would he accept with loving arms and offer help? will he instead rage and belittle? will he offer help? will he be able to overlook what she has done in this single limited instance, and recognize the greater things at work in his daughter? such as the fact that not only did she come straight to daddy when she needed help, but that she has also decided that she wants to have her baby instead of aborting it or giving it away. you would HOPE that seeing how, even when making mistakes, his daughter is level-headed and concerned about doing right, would make a father proud.

but sometimes we can be self-righteous pricks about stuff, you know? how would i respond to my daughter if she offered such a vulnerable and honest heart cry to me?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

that voice

tami had just dropped by to visit for a spell. then we started talking. just as a natural matter of course, since sh had arrived so quickly from across town, we started talking about driving & safety. tami revealed that she never used to wear her seatbelt until one night, as a young teen, she was riding in a pick-up truck with another friend who was driving. a voice nudged her inside and said "put on your seatbelt". she did. less than a minute later, they crashed into a tree and the airbags didn't deploy. unless for that voice she would certainly have gone through the windshield and almost certainly died.

tami then revealed how that voice doesn't come often but it does come every once in a while and when it does she always obeys. and as a result of her obedience she has avoided terrible disaters on a few occasions. which then lead to my wife and i also revealing that we have had similar experiences with that voice. first off, that we have both experienced that voice, but also that when obeyed it has helped us to avoid something unpleasant.

the conversation was so open and vulnerable but yet amazing. i was tempted to record some of it for posting here. (how weird is that?) in the end, i figured it would be best to just let things play out naturally and relate the tale later. it seemed so strange that it would be something we all had experienced but had just never talked about before. btw, tami is by no means a christian, was never raised in the church, and doesn't really believe in any of it. yet apparently, she obeys that voice that voice each time it speaks to her.

so, since the three of us that night had had similar experiences, i bring the question to you... have you heard that voice? that voice that just cuts through the rest of the bullshit voices in a moment. not often, not all the time, but once in a while just cuts right to the heart of something or offers advice or help in a situation you may not even know is coming?

do you obey or just shake it off as being a crazy thought? or both depending on the day? what is YOUR experience with that voice?

Friday, October 17, 2008

a retrospective of parties

you know, i recognize this is a lot of pictures. and if you don't want to look at them, don't feel obligated. but i thought it would be nice to give a look back at many of the parties that have taken place that i haven't shared. since we started this, it has been one insane non-stop roller coaster. we have had good times and bad and MANY roadblocks. one of the most of which was my falling out with the IC. it damaged my faith in several ways and it really shouldn't have. but it did. and for a long time i was not as intentional about this as i think i should be. but what's done is done.

it is a very strange thing to invite people to your home for congregation and enjoyment. especially when several of the people have never met each other. but i have found that when the spirit is right, it doesn't matter. the place becomes filled with all of the fruits of the spirit as a natural matter of course. not ALWAYS, but often enough to make you go "hmmm... that's odd. these people are not normally like this." it is interesting to simply bring people here and when gathered together, witness the spirit work things out in them. or have them spill their most intimate secrets to be met with love and acceptance. or find a new friend. or any number of positive things. i know this fills a specific need within the younger post-christian generation of people who will NEVER set foot in a church outside of a the random holiday when begged by a parent. i still don't understand it very well, or if it is going to gel into something more in the future than what it is now, but i'm going to let god worry about that now. i'm just going to do what i know he wants me to do and that's invite people over and play games as a springboard for social interaction. but i have noticed, more recently, that when those hwo have met before gather, the games are needed less and the evening is filled more with direct conversation and interaction. which, to me, is good. and a sign that these young folks are growing.

now i bring this to you, my dear brothers and sisters to look upon and ask for your support. it is a hard going out here and at the very least we could really use your prayers. whatever gets laid on your heart. people, healing, space issues, wisdom, guidance, and courage. all of the above. that was one thing my IC leadership couldn't understand. i wasn't asking for permission or criticism to do this. i was simply alerting them to the fact that i had been genuinely SENT. i can't explain it shortly any better than that. i have been sent and i need to be at my post. and this is what my post is. so please, please pray for us. it will be much appreciated.

i hope you enjoy seeing some of the faces that have gathered together over the past 2.5 years.

Monday, October 13, 2008

for your contemplation

"...greet no one on the way."

did you know this was one of the instructions that jesus gave his disciples when he sent them out? what do you think about that?

you're completely right, erin.

i HAVE had severe music on the brain lately. i don't know why, but i've been getting very nostalgic as of late for music from my youth. to "reconnect" with that time period of my life since music is the only thing i have left from that time period to connect with.

and, especially, i have been thinking about the form of music i was the most into in junior high. namely "glam metal" or "hair metal." i've simply been feeling things out, but now i'm coming to you all with a bonafide request. i deliver pizza for a living and i get to listen to LOTS and LOTS of music as loud as i want as i drive around. so i make myself many cd's for multiple listenings and enjoyment.

my newest project i have swirling around in my head is a series i call "glam chowder." and i need the names/songs of as many glam bands as you can think of! i don't want to miss anyone. so even the obscure bands like "enuff znuff" and "trixter" are welcome and wanted here. i don't want to miss anyone. let me know as many as you can think of, please. it's all appreciated!!!!!

thank you in advance for your help with this project.

we now return to our regularly scheduled programming...

this is in response to the question i posed a couple of months ago: WHAT NOW?! and since, it is a question i have heard echoed in several places.

most or many of you who come here on a moderately regular basis may not know this, but this blog was originally started to keep people up to date with the goings on of the things in my physical realm, as they pertain to what it is i feel god has for me to do. even the address of this blog reflects it. "somethingelsejtp" the J.T.P. actually stands for "join the party." at the time, i was just beginning to recognize the truth that tony campolo pointed out in his book of the same name "the kingdom of god is a party." this party is happening, all the time, in the here and now. and we're all of part of it, if we would only recognize.

i didn't know what else to do, but god kept reassuring me that this was the direction he wanted me to go, so we just began inviting people over for games and enjoyment and community. as this began to grow, my faith continued to grow as the moments were many that just, i don't know, helped me to believe. to believe that what i was doing was signifigant albeit completely different than what i had been taught. and in many ways, downright "blasphemous" and "heretical" against the mothership. (organized church)

for the next several months after, however, began a process in which the leadership of my CLB began to continually chip away and break me down. it was so hard. fighting near daily with the voices in my head screaming at me to "get back in line!" and "stop this foolishness that will lead you and all these people to hell!" but i couldn't stop. i was compelled. and it was growing. then came the time when the leadership's words began to cut, and cut deep. they actually began to cut the cords of my faith. in the end, after they had completely beat me and bruised me and crushed my faith, they left me for dead in an alley and have never come back since. which is good. but it left me with a lot of rehab and spiritual therapy that needed to happen before i could go on.

finally, i feel like i can do that. we have been having people over about once a month since. this is not to belittle that at all. but i think it's time to be a little more intentional about it again. to believe that what goes on here fulfills a need that just isn't being met for a great percentage of young people in a traditional church setting. and don't let me mislead you here. what happens here is not "house church" as so many would understand it. we don't have a "song time" or a "sermon time" or pre-planned discussions of a particular chapter of the bible or topic. we just invite people, they come, and we enjoy each other, whatever happens. we utilize games as a springboard for social interation and allow people to be themselves, whoever they are right now.

we are typically a motley bunch. but i love the fact that at one point or another, uproarious laughter generally happens. we DO have music going constantly, and there have been times where people have been moved to sing songs that play as a group. (i'll never forget the night that we all stopped what we were doing and sang "fuck her gently" by tenacious D. it was moving.) we have food and snacks. everyone generally brings a little something to throw in. and that's not to mention, that naturally, as a matter of course, god, and these young folks thoughts on god and the world, generally come up and get discussed.

which, if i'm not mistaking, has all the elements of a "classic church service." just not in any way that you would recognize it unless you were looking with inward eyes and not outward judgements. but even then, that's not what it's about. that's not my goal, nor do i feel like it should be. whenever i feel like i should be gearing up to "make this a church," things began to dim. they grow brighter when i say, "fuck it. the only thing i have been instructed to do is invite people over and party with them." because that's the truth. i couldn't believe it when i got my orders from the general, but this is where i've been stationed. and i should be at my post.

so, with full permission from guests to post these pictures, here is the night we had saturday. (i actually passed the camera around so we could record everyone's perspective) just a few people this time. one who has been around since the beginning, tami, and her boyfriend jake, and their good friend mandy. we played star wars monopoly for the first time in like a decade. and it was a very strange game like none other i have played before. the negotiations were much more complex than any i have witnessed before in said game. in fact, i captured one deal on film below, in which you see jake and erin embroiled in negotiations that lasted near 15 minutes. at the end of the deal, erin agreed to trade jake the last property he needed for a monopoly in exchange for (get this): cash, immunity from rent when she landed on that one space, and 50% of the proceeds from the other players who landed on the space. damn. now THAT'S negotiating! (there are a couple of pictures where i left the shutter open and you can see jake looking from erin, to his stuff, and back again. very cool.)

continue to think/pray about us. who knows where this is going, but it's about damn time we start heading that way again.