I am going to Seattle in a week!!! Since I last posted I have found a place to stay and bought my non-refundable plain ticket. Turns out my wife has had family there this whole time! So I will be in Seattle from July 15th – August 6th, during which I will be doing a short term internship at Q Cafe. I am really pumped to learn how the cafe is run and just be able to get help and encouragement with some of my ideas. I am also going a few days before and staying a few days later than the internship so I am hoping to get around Seattle to a few more coffee houses, museums, a Mariners game, and maybe even one of the parks outside the city.
That is all the good stuff about the trip, now here is the negative stuff – my wife and I will be apart the longest we have ever been since we started dating in 2003! I will be gone for those three weeks, get back, and two days later my wife leaves for a business seminar in Atlanta for four days. Which doesn’t sound too bad but less than 24 hours after that she is flying back to AR to stay with family for a week. We figure we will see each other for only about 72 hours in a 5 week period. The thought hadn’t really hit us until this week. Probably because we have had a lot going on between going back to AR in June and moving last week – oh yeah, we moved into a house last week! So anyways, just the act of sitting here writing this is making me feel sad and a bit lonely.
STUFF I’M LOVIN’!
MUSIC – Two of my favorite artists/bands have just released new albums that really take their art in a new direction. I have always been impressed with Mewithoutyou’s and Derek Webb’s incredible writing ability and therefore will always follow them regardless of their sound. I say that because, at least in the case of mewithoutyou, many people will find the new sound remarkably different, but I welcome the changes!
- mewithoutyou – It’s All Crazy, It’s All False, It’s All a Dream, It’s Alright! – Everyone knows that mewithoutyou’s music is always passionate. Often, in the past, that has come in the form of hard crescendos and screaming, but the band takes a turn in this album, mellowing the sound into more of a hornsy folk album rather than post-hardcore. Ok, that sounds way to reviewish. Suffice it to say this album is awesome! As usual Aaron and the guys explore deep spiritual issues that are more than often lacking in any other form of music, “Christian” or not. “The Fox, the Crow, and the Cookie” show cases Aaron’s amazing story telling ability (which I have actually heard is adapted from Suffi folklore but am not sure). “A Stick, a Carrot & String” and “The King Beetle On a Coconut Estate” are incredible, deep songs exploring the incarnation and the mystery of God. As always, mewithoutyou pushes the limits of Christian music and this album does not dissappoint. With songs like “A Fig With a Bellyache” and “Allah, Allah, Allah”, I wouldn’t doubt if this album earns a ban from Lifeway!
- Derek Webb – Stockholm Syndrome – Derek just released his controversial new album on his website Tuesday; however, right now you can only buy it on his website as it will not be available anywhere else until sometime around September 1st. Anyways, this new album falls more in line with his One Zero Remix album and Moby that his acoustic albums as he has teemed up with Joshua Moore on the new record. So, if you are a fan of Derek’s acoustic and more traditional sounding work then this new album may not have much appeal. That said, if you are a fan of Derek Webb then I can assure you it does not disappoint as this may be the best produced of all Derek’s work thus far and, as always, the lyrics are always on target. Derek has a knack for offensive, incredible lyrics that expose the darkness of organized Christianity and the darkness of our hearts. This tradition can be traced from the beginning in “Wedding Dress” to “T-Shirts” in his sophmore album and on through too many songs to name in his previous two releases. Well, Derek has continued to strip his language bare to earn him a ridiculous explicit warning for dropping the *shit* bomb in one of the songs. In context the language is completely appropriate and I am thankful that Derek fought so hard to keep it in there. The song in question is “What Matters More” and is full of a righteous anger at the gap between what we say we believe and the way we actually live. He continues to explore certain themes from his previous two albums, including our relationship with the government in “The State” and our seeming need to substitute God for lovers less wild in “The Spirit Vs. The Kick Drum”. Unfortunately I have had the album for less than 24 hours and have not explored many of the other songs much more that listening to them a couple times. Other exciting news, Derek will be playing in Florida three times in October! Unfortunate news, I may only be able to go to one of the shows!
- Peter Rollins – The Orthodox Heretic and Other Impossible Tales – This book is incredible!!! It is both remarkable and unfortunate how absent parables are in today’s Christian writing and teaching, especially in light of how prevelant it was in Jesus’ teaching. So with this book Rollins offers us 30+ parables to chew on, wrestle with, or any other metaphor you want to use to describe book that requires a lot of openness and reflection. Rollins rightly comments that the reason parables are not used today is because they do not make faith easy or turn it into three bullet points that the mind can understand. Rather than challenging and changing your mind, parables challenge and change your heart. GREAT book that should be read slowly, carefully, and openly!