Monday, September 26, 2005

In light of...

...the recent calamities in the world, the loss of young man, and Isaiah's most recent post, the following lyrics from songwriter Chris Rice came to mind:

None of us knows and that makes it a mystery
If life is a comedy, then why all the tragedy
Three-and-a-half pounds of brain try to figure out
What this world is all about
And is there an eternity, is there an eternity?

God if You’re there I wish You’d show me
And God if You care then I need You to know me
I hope You don’t mind me askin’ the questions
But I figure You’re big enough
I figure You’re big enough

Lying on pillows we’re haunted and half-awake
Does anyone hear us pray, "If I die before I wake"
Then the morning comes and the mirror’s the other place
Where we wrestle face to face with the image of Deity
The image of Deity

When I imagine the size of the universe
And I wonder what’s out past the edges
Then I discover inside me a space as big
And believe that I’m meant to be
Filled up with more than just questions

God if You’re there I wish You’d show me
And God if You care then I need You to know me
I hope You don’t mind me askin’ the questions
But I figure You’re big enough
I figure You’re big enough


This weekend (Oct. 1 & 2) I head into the studio to begin work on a trev diesel 5-song EP recording. It will take a number of months to complete, but I will certainly keep you all updated along the way. This has been a long time coming and I look forward to finally making manifest what has sat latent at the bottom of my soul for some time. Blessings and many thanks to those who have supported my music along the way (Amy, Tommy, Darrell, Kevin, Dan, and others) and encouraged me to finally make this disc a reality.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A Little Holy Humor

If you haven't yet seen the video clip of the hip preacher's faux pas, CLICK HERE. Freudian slip anyone?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Fog

Letting the dogs out this morning, I was surprised to see the landscape blanketed in a thick white fog. The entire world was emerging from a smokey gray screen that, rather than providing a panoramic picture, seemed to be a series of isolated objects arising from the haze. Suddenly I became aware of the magic reality of that tree over there. The fence in my backyard took on a dewy freshness. The moon welled up out of nothingness and peeked through the cloudy brume.

In meditation, we find ourselves setting the stage for the same kind of thing. We strip away all that we're used to seeing and knowing, returning to a primordial empty blankness where there are no longer any objects. This is the emptiness that was before the Big Bang. This is the emptiness from which all things arise moment to moment.

Then as we open our eyes to go about our day, the whole world springs forth piece by piece, object by object, and there is now again a dewy freshness. Everything is alive. Spirit is and has always been spinning forth worlds and worms, molecules and marsupials, life and love - but now, at last, we begin to notice.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Introducing Sufjan Stevens

About two months ago, Amy and I were driving in the car when a special segment came on NPR about a small town in the south. This town was blessed by being the home of a very rare type of bird nicknamed "The Great God Bird" (as in, "Great God, that's an interesting bird!"). Naturalists and tourists flocked to this novelty site to see the bird and the town made a name for itself. They then talked about a young songwriter who even wrote a song about this town and bird and had the track available for download on the NPR website (click here to listen to the song as you read the rest of this entry).

Fast forward about a month and a friend of mine named David was talking about this songwriter named Sufjan Stevens. I was told that, among other things, he writes songs about specific locations and has released an album about Michigan, one about Illinois and his lofty goal is to write one album for each of the 50 states.

Then fast forward to last night, David and I went to the University of Illinois to see Sufjan and his 8 member band perform tracks from his Illinois album. I can't say enough about this album and this songwriter other than that "Illinois" is literally a masterpiece. I highly recommend that you read the first two user reviews on for this disc, for they speak about the album in a way that is right-on-the-money. While you're there, listen to a few of the samples (my personal favorites being 'The Tallest Man,' 'John Wayne Gacy', and 'Chicago').

And then go ahead and do yourself a favor by ordering the disc. Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic. You won't be let down.

POST UPDATE: You can listen to that entire NPR story (which is a great listen) by clicking here and clicking the "Listen" button under the title.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


The sporadic nature of my posts as of late is not totally accidental. The truth is that my time in front of the computer is fewer and farther between.

My whole life I've been "victimized" by my own procrastination, inertia and disorganization. I am and have been a classic right-brain personality and had all but resigned to that lot in life. I assumed I would always bounce checks, sort through piles of papers for missing instructions, misplace my keys, have a messy house, not find time to really develop a relationship with my wife and others, and do only the amount of work necessary to not get into trouble. (...meanwhile always suffering because I felt I could never catch up)

But once again, the teachings of Ken Wilber (especially those about developing as a WHOLE being) have really opened my eyes to human potential. While I have certainly found myself progressing and evolving spiritually over the past 5 years, this was certainly the only developmental line in which I was evolving. I was deepening in meditation - in spiritual realization - in unfolding, but I didn't even consider that I could also be evolving in social relationships, in organization, in my marriage, in work, etc. And why not?!? Do we not all know people who are spiritual all-stars but organizationally, morally, or relationtionally crippled?

For the first time, I'm beginning to feel the freedom of having an organized and simpler life. It's almost like the purity and peace that I find within is starting to ripple outward into the various other outer spheres. (Which, as far as blogging is concerned, whereas I used to spend hours at work blogging and so forth, I now find that I'm getting things done, making a difference and living up to my responsibilities.)

It is certainly true that Spirit manifests itself as messiness, as disorganization, as chaos JUST AS MUCH as "cleanliness is next to godliness." But in a spirit of unattachment and through living out the precepts of Zen, I find that the more I develop and bring consciousness into the other areas of my life, the greater peace and space I find to BE and develop both spiritually and as a WHOLE being.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

So excited...

Call me uncultured or cliche, but out of all the shows that have hit the stage, my favorite musical is still RENT. I love the rawness...the honesty...the messages about community and living for the day ("There's only us/there's only this/forget regret/or life is yours to miss") and love in its many facets.

So of course I got excited when I finally saw the trailer for the RENT Motion Picture that's coming out in November. Check out the RENT movie site here (be sure to click on ENTER THE SITE, and then VIDEOS, then TRAILER).

"No day but today."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Teaching Spiritual Practices

Tonight, I begin teaching a 12-week class at our church called "Spiritual Practices." It will be an introduction to various spiritual growth practices such as meditation, centering prayer, journaling, labyrinth walking, creative arts, lectio divina (divine reading), and more.

I firmly believe that divinity meets us on whatever level or stage in which we currently find ourselves. This is certainly where the concept of Grace comes in. Spiritual practices are not for the aim of finding favor with God or "getting to heaven." There is a far simpler grace towards all in that respect. Rather, they are for the deepening and special knowledge and unity with God that is for those who seek it. In the old Exodus story, Moses had to climb the mountain to see God's face. While we are all allowed and welcome to remain at the base of the mountain our whole lives, there is a far more inclusive love, compassion, awareness and realization available that comes when we actively move toward God, rather than resigning to rest only in a passive spiritual state.