This Just In: God doesn’t care…….

….about how well you do when you are on a reality t.v. show.

I’m a sucker for reality shows like The Amazing Race and Survivor. I watch a lot of them when I have the chance and the amount of poeple who beg God to help them “find the next clue” or “avoid tribal council” seems to be neverending. These people are self-professed devout Christians and they treat God like a cash machine. Is it wrong when I scream at the t.v. to tell them all to just SHUT UP?!? Continue reading

Like Father, Like Son

I happened to catch the most recent episode of Costas NOW which is a show on HBO featuring Bob Costas that hits on many varied issues in the sports world. In the this episode he included an amazing story on David Robinson, who is Jackie Robinson’s youngest and only surviving child. After being raised and educated in the United States, David has returned to Tanzania to live and contribute to his native continent where he feels most at home and alive. After living there for several years, he has been adopted by a Tanzanian tribe and has immersed himself in the local tribal culture. He said this about what drew him to go back to Africa (this is an amazing quote):

“a sense……an actual smell of Ethiopia has been with me my entire life. It’s a feeling of peace and contentment…..the feeling that you are on the place in which you can make what will be your life’s contribution.”

In an attempt to create a model for community economic development, he helped form a cooperative of over 300 small scale Tanzanian coffee farmers. Although the coffee industry is a billion dollar per year industry, the local coffee farmers of Tanzania remain dirt poor and with little hope of creating enough space for themselves in the world of fast paced, competitive, american big business. For more information about this co-op, check out Sweet Unity Farms. If you have HBO, I highly recommend you seek this show out. Continue reading

Camping (In the Backyard)

[[image:52443307_be5bc491bc.jpg::center:0]]Ava, my daughter, has recently been asking about going camping. She’s just turned 4 and for some reason, she’s latched on to the idea that we need to go camping, make smores and tell “spooky stories” in the tent with the flashlight on. Ava is a very specific little girl and she expects the details to be met, but she never specified “where” we had to camp. So I took the liberty of arranging a little camping trip to the backyard. I’m not sure I’m ready to clue Ava in on the fact that camping traditionally happens in a nature setting like the woods or the mountains or the high dessert. For now, the backyard does the trick but I have the feeling that she’ll figure it all out and the backyard option will be trashed.

I have to say, it was a ton of fun and the whole family was in on the action. Even as our large dog, Rita, walked by the tent, we were able to imagine her shadow as one of a ferocious Bear ready to attack our tent.

Check out more photos of our first family camping trip right here. Continue reading

Karl and James Sitting in a Tree…….

When I read this, I thought to myself how great it is to know that James Dobson and Karl Rove are discussing Supreme Court nominees before the nomination even take place. Is the White House really that stupid? Man, the religious right really must have Dubya by the balls. I’m not sure I want the judges on our supreme court to be “O.K.’d” by a man who feels it’s necessary to call for all christians to boycott Spongebob Squarepants. The new cast of VH-1’s “Surreal LIfe” is starting to shape up nicely in my mind: Harriet Miers, George Bush, Karl Rove, Spongebob, Mr. Crabs, and Robert Novak. Maybe I’ll try to get the local church to petition that idea. Continue reading

The Sacred Way

Thanks to Mark Oestreicher, who I recently hung out with in Sacramento while touring, I received a handful of books in the mail just the other day. One of them is “The Sacred Way” by Tony Jones. I decided to crack this book open first because when I met Mark, I also met Tony. I appreciated the conversation with Tony and figured the book would be something I could latch on to and learn something new.

This paragraph in the first chapter jumped out at me and was also begging to be shared:

“Imagine thinking about spirituality in a time when the words of Jesus had not been picked apart and voted on by the Jesus Seminar; the veracity of Jesus’ miracles had not been analyzed by TIme Magazine; his sexuality had not been the subject of movies and plays. Having not experienced the cynicism of our postmodern age, the ancient saints pursued Jesus with a relentlessness we can hardly imagine-not all of them, to be sure, but enough of them to make the history of Christian spirituality on of the most fascinating fields in historical study.” Continue reading

Embracing the Shadow

This is lengthy, sorry, but as I reviewed some of my favorite sections of this book, it was begging to be passed on.

“Transformation is a radically unsettling. We prefer a static, predictable state. To achieve our resting place in “normalcy,” we tend to overidentify with one part of ourselves. We reject our weaknesses and we overwork our strengths. We all do. It makes sense. Whey do what we are poor at, especially in the first half of life when winning is so important? So we ignore our true character to accommodate to what society names as successful. Then we’re trapped. Ernest Becker calls it “the character lie” whereby we try to defy and deny death. I’m sure that’s the basis of much neurosis; many people are living out of the culture’s agenda, becoming who they are “supposed” to be instead of who God made them.
I’m respectful of therapy and make use of it, but i want to use it now as a point of comparison to transformation. Much therapy today is a needed way of dealing with our problems. On the level that we can solve our problems, most problems are psychological in nature. But, in fact, most solutions are spiritual. Therefore we have to eventually move from trying to solve them (which is good and needed) to knowing that we cannot finally solve them at the level that matters. Maybe we can only forgive them, embrace them, or weep over them.

This movement from the psychological to the spiritual feels like a loss in power. It is, for the ego-self. But it is not for the true self. To succeed in the first half of life we usually have to deny out shadow and unacceptable self. THe burden of the second half of life is often the reclaiming of what we have denied, feared, and rejected.

Therefore, the shadow for many of us middle-class, successful, first-world white people is not what the church usually points to. The church (and now lawyers and the media) usually point to sex. But that’s usually not the issue. Our shadow is failure itself. Look at what we scorn. We are desperately afraid of having no power and now looking good. We fear poverty, and we fear being ordinary. It looks like a failure in a success-driven culture.

Nonvoilence, nonpleasure, and nonaggression are also part of our American shadow. These are the things that we avoid to create our character armor. We lust after the kind of aggression that allows us to be dominant and powerful. We settle for a certain kind of pleasure that really isn’t joyous. Sometimes pleasure, as a luminoid experience, is the avoidance of joy. And poverty is the ultimate shadow for many of us. We cannot imagine being happy without our money. We would be petrified to be without our many options. We’ve substituted freedom of choice for the freedom of the soul, which alone gives spiritual joy.

We need to look for our shadow, what we dismiss and what we disdain. Look at what we’ve spent our whole life avoiding. We don’t want to look unsuccessful. That’s our shadow. If we fear looking weak, that is our shadow. I can see why my father, Francis, intentionally countered the way the West was moving. He moved entirely into the shadow self and said, “Here is where I will rejoice. I will delight in nonpower, nonaggression, nondomination, nonpleasure, nonwealth, nonsuccess.” He lived so close to the bottom of things that he would never fall very far. Now that is freedom!”

–Richar Rohr “Everything Belongs” Continue reading

A terrible year just got worse.

I got home from tour today. I’ve spent most of the day napping and watching t.v. I was channel surfing and came across Oprah introducing Ricky Martin’s musical comeback after 4 years of being away. Oprah called it “breaking news” but I call it just another kick in the stomach while we are all down. Just what we needed, right? First the Tsunami, then the hurricanes Katrina and Rita, then the Tom Delay indictment(actually, that was kinda cool), then an earthquake in Pakistan… it’s a damn Ricky Martin “comeback”. We don’t care Ricky. Go away dude and live la vita loca as far away from the rest of us as possible. Here’s to turning off the t.v.

Go Angels!!!! Continue reading