Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bits and Pieces

Well, I feel bad about what I wrote about yesterday only because New Orleans is completely devastated. I suppose the churches and seminary in that area need ministering to and not the other way around. I know that teams of folks are mobilizing all over the US to join the relief effort in New Orleans. I knew if a hurricane ever hit there, it would be bad. Can't say I'm sad about the destruction of the casinos though.
Today I meet with Randy for a bit and then tonight I have praise band rehearsal. Trinity passed away last Wed. and I know that it will be an emotional day for Sarah and I. We miss our little kitty cat.
I've been job hunting but to no avail. I am getting very frustrated. God, if you are listening, I need help. I need you to intervene in this situation. You might use the words that Jesus used when confronted by the sick and hurting, "What would you have me do?" Specifically, I need not just to find a job but to make a living. I want a job that means something. Something I will enjoy and will not be a giant stress machine. So, tall order I know but you are the God of the entire universe. I guess you can handle it. Plain and simple, I need help and I want you to help me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

In or Out

It is highly disturbing how much the church of today is focused inward instead of outward. I am thankful that Sarah and I are a part of a church now that reaches out (because I have a lot to learn in that area). They have a non-profit coffee house that sponsors community events, raises money for community charities and just out and out ministers to people on a daily basis. Next month, the church is sponsoring a benefit concert for Zimbabwe. But I find that this church is the exception and not the norm. Sure, churches are willing to raise money to send members to some faraway land to ministry but what about right outside the doors? And it seems the bigger they are, the more selfish. As I think about Hurricane Katrina, I wonder what churches will do to help? I wonder what New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary will do? Last time I was there, it struck me that here's this institution dedicated to educating ministers and it's in the middle of an impoverished neighborhood surrounded by a 10 foot wall. What kind of message does that communicate? Here are some other examples:
- Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, is in the middle of lower to middle class Latino neighborhood. While I was there, I saw nothing being done to reach out to the neighborhood. In fact, the one time I saw a homeless man on campus, he was driven away.
-Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida has been the site for one of the largest (so-called) revivals in recent history. The church is located in the midst of a rough area of town surrounded by No Tell Motels. During the revival, the church harrassed those who parked in it's lot illegally yet took up all the spaces of the surrounding area businesses for it's revival. The neighborhood has not been revitalized at all. Prostitution and drug use are still rampant.
-The Rock of Asheville (North Carolina) had a Christmas program for the community last year. All through the program, they stated that this was their gift to the community. At the end of the performance, they begged for a love offering. If it was a gift, why expect money? Isn't a gift free with no expectation of reciprocation?
So, what's to be done? I don't know. I'm just as guilty as the next guy when it comes to being selfish. I just think it would be wise to remember what Jesus said before he headed on out to be with the Father. "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20 The Message)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Mo Says

A long time ago in an ancient land,
Where pyramids rise from the desert sand.
A newborn babe floating in a crib.
Sounds unbelievable? I ain’t tellin’ no fib.
Plucked from the deep by Pharoah’s daughter,
“I’ll call him Moses ‘cause he came from the water.”
Mo was lucky to be rescued that day.
God was with him in a special way.
He grew up tall and he grew up strong,
And he soon took a stand for what’s right and wrong.
Pharoah’s guard was whipping the slaves,
So Mo got mad, put him in his grave.
Mo nearly got caught for killin’ that man,
Pharoah got after him so Mo just ran.
Now Mo got to wanderin’ to the land of Midian.
There he met a girl with eyes of obsidian.
Her name was Zipporah but we’ll call her Zip,
Pronouncing that other ties a knot in my lip.
Well Mo got married and he watched the sheep,
Then one day things really got deep.
God called Mo from a burning shrub,
Said, “Got a job for you Mo. Better listen to me, bub!
Pharoah’s got some nerve enslaving my folk.
He may think it’s funny but, to me, it’s no joke.
I need you to go down to Egypt land
Tell Pharoah off, really make a stand.”
“But God,” said Mo, “I’m not a good speaker.
I stutter a lot and there’s no one weaker.
Find someone else. I gotta tend lambs.
Nice to see ya. Stop by when you can.”
Now, God got ticked for being put off.
When God gives an order, you ought not scoff.
So God taught Mo a lesson for his own sake.
Turned Mo’s rod into a hissing snake.
“Mo,” said God, “You won’t be alone.
“I’ll give you the power to get things done.
As for speaking, we’ll let Aaron serve.
He loves to talk. Boy’s got some nerve.”
Well, God made an offer Mo couldn’t refuse.
So he headed to Egypt to free the Jews.
But Pharoah wasn’t buying what Mo was sellin’,
Got red in the face and started up yellin’.
That was okay though, it fit the plan.
God was gonna show Himself to Egypt land.
He sent some plagues to show his might.
Blood in the river and day turned to night.
Locusts and frogs and flies in the kitchen
Cows all died and folks skin started itchin’.
God sent more bugs and it hailed real bad.
Egypt’s people were gettin’ real mad.
Pharoah still wouldn’t let the Lord’s people leave,
But God had one more plague waitin’ up His sleeve.
He sent the Angel of Death to walk through town.
That short little stroll brought the first-born down.
After that night, Pharoah let ‘em withdraw
Every boy and girl, every ma and pa.
Mo lead the Jews out of Egypt land
But Pharoah wasn’t finished, had an evil plan.
“Gonna follow those Jews, gonna bring ‘em all back.
Make ‘em all sorry they ever gave me flack.”
So Pharoah’s army went after Mo’s gang
With chariots and horses, they left with a bang
Meanwhile, Old Mo’s hanging out at the shore
The Jews are all whining, they thought it a bore
“Why did we leave? We had it half good.
We ought to head back to Egypt’s neighborhood.
The Red Sea is huge. There’s no way bridge it.
The kids are all hungry and starting to fidget.
We shouldn’t have listened to Mo and his whim.
Now we’re stuck by the sea and none of us swim.”
But they soon changed their tune when they saw Pharoah’s men.
“Oh, save me, “ they cried. “Save me and my kin.”
Mo stretched out his stick and God did the savin’.
The surf stopped it’s surfin’, the waves stopped their wavin’.
The water pushed back and the folks went through.
Not a soul got wet, not one single Jew.
But Pharoah’s men didn’t fare so well.
The people crossed over then the water’s fell.
Every man, horse and chariot was lost that day
While Mo and his entourage went on their way.
They found a nice place to do some campin’.
They were hungry and tired and their feet were crampin’.
God sent food, some manna and quail.
It filled them all up but they were still feelin’ frail.
Mo went up the mountain to talk to God
But while he was gone things really got odd.
They built up an idol, a solid gold calf.
I guess they didn’t have enough to make a giraffe.
Meanwhile, God’s giving Mo the law.
The Ten Commandments, better listen up ya’ll.
He hiked on down to share the news
But the people were dancin’ and drinkin’ booze.
They were worshippin’ the cow, “Hail Luminous Beef.”
The things Mo saw filled him full of grief.
He broke the stones that proclaimed God’s rules,
Then he pitched a fit, reprimanded those fools.
God replaced the Commandments that Mo had thrown.
Chiseled with fire, hewn right out of stone.
Then the people went wanderin’ day and night.
For forty years, what a terrible sight.
God made ‘em wait for the promised place.
They had acted so bad, was a total disgrace.
And Mo, old Mo didn’t get to spy
The land God promised to the Israelites.
He wrote some books and passed on, poor Mo.
But he left young Josh in charge of the show.
Josh finally took the people to the land of glory.
But goodbye for now, that’s another story.

Copyright 2005 Marty Gordon

Hurricane Katrina Part II

My parents called tonight and all is well. They are staying at Uncle Terry's again due to the electricity being out. (unfortunately, it went out at Uncle Terry's as we were talking on the phone) The house is ok. The water came up to the shed but not beyond that. I will be so glad when they are able to make plans to move up to the property they've bought...away from the flood area. These hurricanes are making us all crazy.

Hurricane Katrina

Well, as if the Gulf Coast hasn't seen enough hurricane action, here comes (and there goes) Katrina. Pensacola didn't get the worst of it but there's still some flooding. I haven't heard from my parents yet. Their home is prone to flooding. (It flooded during Ivan in 2004) Here's hoping and praying they made out ok. They went to stay with my Uncle Terry so I know they are safe. It's the condition of the house that has me worried.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

A Weekend of Theater

This weekend, I saw two productions at Taproot. On Friday, after I spent some time with Randy, Sarah and I watched the teen acting workshop perform "Les Miserables." I wasn't expecting much but it was very good. The kid playing Jean Valjean was excellent. This group of teens worked for two weeks and put on a great performance. I was impressed.
Today, Sarah and I escaped the absence of Trinity by going shopping. After that, we stopped by the small town of Edmonds. It's a quaint little place near Puget Sound. The ferry runs across to another town named Kingston. We sat by the water for a bit, enjoying the salty air, then drove thru town briefly and returned home. We hope to return to Edmonds next weekend to enjoy it more fully. Perhaps we'll ride the ferry to Kingston. Being on the water would be nice.
Tonight, we saw "The Fantasticks" for the third time. It's the final performance and Sarah had to stay behind to strike afterward. I need to get to bed soon because I am singing at church tomorrow and I have to be there at 7am. It's been a while since I've sung but rehearsal went well. I hope I do okay. It's nice to be back in the saddle again.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Shake It Up, Baby!

From our friend Deanna in Asheville comes this bit of news.

And here’s a bit of news to distract you for a moment. Wednesday night, a little after 11:00, we had an earthquake. People are still talking about it, and it’s still on the local news. It measured 3.8, which is a big one for this area. It woke me up out of a sound sleep! There was a boom, which did the initial waking up, followed by a shaking that lasted quite a few seconds – felt like at least 30 seconds, anyway, because I lay in bed wondering what the heck was going on and when it was going to stop! Poor Mom had a real fright, though. She was headed into the bedroom and was passing by the china cabinet when the quake hit. She could feel the floor shaking beneath her feet, and all of her dishes were rattling. She yelled for John, who had also woken up when it hit. It was all very exciting.

I've never experienced an earthquake. Three months after I leave Asheville and they have one. I guess I should be thankful but I've always wanted to know what it feels like. I'm actually reading a novel about earthquakes right now. They say Seattle gets them once in a blue moon. So, I've experienced the whole hurricane and tornado thing in the south. Out here, it's earthquakes and volcanoes. Shake, rattle, and roll!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Biblical Halloween Costumes

Since Christians are against celebrating Halloween, they put on little carnivals at their churches and call it a "Halloween Alternative." Most proclaim "no scary costumes" or say outright "only biblical costumes." This is a big mistake. If there were someone out there with enough brain power to realize that the Bible has it's own share of scary and offensive characters they could have a barrel of fun at one of these carnivals. Here are just a few suggestions. If you think of any more, share them with me.

Adam and Eve
Noah (drunk)
Bathsheba (in the bath)
Egyptians (famous exhibitionists)

Jonah (after being thrown up by the fish)

Jael (drove a tent peg thru a guy's head)
Cain (killed his brother)

Scary or Weird
The Nephilim
Any beast described in Revelation

The Oldest Profession

Life is Fleeting

Life is fleeting
A heart that is beating
Can grow still in an instant
Death is fleeting
'Til our next meeting
Where love resumes in an instant

Copyright 2004 Marty Gordon

A Message from Heaven

Speak not of death
for there is no such thing-
there is merely a parting of the ways.
I will walk on a little while
and wait
for you to count the sum of all your days.
And when you come
you'll find me waiting
with shining eyes
and silken well groomed fur.
You'll take me in your arms
just as you used to do
and angel choirs will be
drowned out by purrs.
-Helen Mack

Take Away My Pain

Take away my pain
Let the cold inside
It's time to let it rain
There's nothing left to hide
Take away my pain
I'm not frightened any more
I'm learning to survive
Without you in my life
Til you come knocking at my door
-John Petrucci

Trinity: A Memorial

My beloved cat, Trinity, passed away last night. Details are unimportant and it's just to hard to think about. The vet said she probably had a heart attack. She was gone long before we got her there. Man, did I love that cat. She took up outside my apartment in Columbia and, after a few days, I just couldn't resist her feline charms any longer. I took her in. I tell people that she adopted me because she knew to hang out on the doorstep of the biggest sucker in the universe. We never knew how old she was. Best guess was somewhere around 12. Sarah and I will miss her terribly. She was a great cat. Sweet and quirky, with her own unique personality. She had the biggest eyes...very expressive. When she looked up at you and meowed, you just couldn't resist her. It's amazing how attached we get to our pets. I wish I could hold her and pet her one last time. Trinity, you were my baby. I love you.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

What the Church is Not!

The Country Club
Welcome to the Country Club…the right place for the right kind of people. Here, you will find that we cater to your every need…for a price, that is. Once you have passed our membership screening process and paid your dues, you will have access to the finest facilities to be found anywhere. At the Country Club, our motto is "If you pay the price, we’ll make everything nice."

The Stadium
Good morning, sports fans. Paint your face, wave your pennant and get ready for the event of the week. No sitting on your hands in this stadium. We’ve got spirit…yes we do! We’ve got spirit…how about you! It’s time to give it all you’ve got. Jump, shout and let it all out…we gotta root, root, root for the home team. Let’s get ready to rumble!

The Gallery
Thank you for attending our opening. Within these walls you’ll find the greatest collection of human accomplishment ever assembled. We take great pride in our massive compilation of past achievements. Quite frankly, even though we deserve it, it’s difficult to pat ourselves on the back for all we’ve done because we’re too busy resting on our laurels.

Boot Camp
Hut-2-3-4. Hut-2-3-4. Platoon, halt! You are now entering the most secure facility known to mankind. We have the strongest walls, the sharpest barbed wire and the most dangerous weapons in the world. Our standards are the highest anywhere and we only accept soldiers who have received the correct training. If you do not meet up to our standards, you will stay outside of these walls until you are ready to be one of the few and the proud. Is that understood? I can’t hear you.

Border Patrol
Welcome to the Border. Please move to the right, empty your pockets of all valuables and prepare to be searched. Please place all your bags on the table, open them, then step back in line for the inspection process. Our methods may seem a little harsh to you but we cannot allow just anybody to cross our borders. If, after our screening process is complete, you are found to match the criteria for citizenship, you will be allowed to enter. If you do not match, you will have to turn around and go back to where you came from.

Copyright 2004 Marty Gordon

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Sam and Dee

Now, Samson was a mighty man
Strongest dude in the entire land
The Bible tells his heroic story
But it’s not a tale of fame and glory
Samson failed, he messed up bad
At times, his exploits made God sad
But in the end, he made things good
By razing the Philistine neighborhood
I’ve jumped ahead and that’s not right
So let’s go back to the fateful night
When Sam was born to follow God
Some things he had to do were odd
To cut his hair would bring disgrace
Even though it hung in his face
His locks would be his source of power
God’s strength in him to make men cower
But as Sam grew, girls caught his eye
He was on the prowl, a ladies guy
His biggest goof in choosing dates
Was picking gals his family hates
The Philistines were the enemy
And dating them was wrong, you see
But stubborn Sam, he didn’t care
The Philistine chicks were fine and fair
He picked one out and started wooin’
And that began his road to ruin
Each Philistine girl he tried to court
Had plans to cut his tresses short
The worst of all was Delilah dear
A scheming little shrew, I hear
But dumb old Sam, he loved his Dee
And by his side was where he’d be
She twirled his hair and stroked his chin
She learned his secret and with a grin
Conniving Dee, put Sam to sleep
Then had him shorn like a stupid sheep
As if being bald wasn’t bad enough
They poked his eyes out, man, that’s rough
No longer was he strong as steel
But they set him turning a heavy wheel
They whipped him, beat him, gave him flack
But as he turned, his hair grew back
The strength returned to his buff bod
And he had one final mission for God
The Philistines, those lousy bums
Placed Sam between two large columns
He put his hands upon the stone
Pushed them down and crushed some bones
The Philistines died and Sam did too
It’s sad, I know, let it out, boo hoo
But don’t you mourn and grieve all day
Samson’s up in heaven, yay!
In the end, Sam was the man
He got it right, he did God’s plan
So stay on track and don’t you wander
God’s got things for you to ponder
You may not crush Philistines to goo
But God’s got work for me and you
So be real good, don’t be a ham
And learn a lesson from the story of Sam

Copyright 2005 Marty Gordon

Monday, August 22, 2005


There Are An Awful Lot of Weirdos in our Neighborhood and Here Come the Aliens! by Colin McNaughton - I discovered this guy because I found a copy of the aliens book at the local thrift store. He writes some wickedly funny verse for kids (and adults) and the illustrations in the Aliens book are wonderful. He seems to draw inspiration (somewhat) from Shel Silverstein which is just fine with me. What a great poet to be inspired by. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for more books by McNaughton.
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl - I must admit that this is the first Dahl book I've read but it won't be the last. In this one, he distorts fairy tales to suit his darkish sense of humor. It's all done in rhyme so it's a hoot to read. I've been on a real rhyme kick lately. Must be a phase or perhaps it's the moon. I'm rhyming in August when it should have been June.
Fantastic Four Visionaries: George Perez Volume 1 - Not sure if it's adult to list comics and children's books in my reading list but - dog gone it - they are just too cool! As a kid, the Fantastic Four was one of my favorite comics and George Perez did a brilliant stint on the book. The good ones are reprinted in this collection. I love it when my childhood faves appear in volumes I can collect. My comic collection disappeared years ago. I sold it off to go on a mission trip.
Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne Volume 4 - Byrne is, by far, my favorite comic artist of all time. He breathed new life into the X-Men and then branched out into other books. His run on FF was beyond fantastic. I am snatching up these volumes as I can find them on the cheap. Half Price Books is one my favorite Seattle haunts.
Young Justice: A League of their Own - Yes, more comics. The local library has graphic novels in their collection and I check out a few at a time. This one is about all the young heroes (Robin, Impulse, Superboy, Wonder Girl, etc) striking out on their own with the older Justice League breathing down their necks. It was juvenile but entertaining. Not near as good as George Perez's run on Teen Titans by in the 80's, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Walked awhile today
Two point eight miles and that's far
Thinking it's just two

Made some art today
Cut and paste, glued images

Stir fry for dinner
Yummy chicken and veggies
Ice cream for dessert

The day is finished
I must rest my weary head
Goodnight all, goodnight

Roald Dahl

On Writing

"When you're writing, it's rather like going on a very long walk, across valleys and mountains and things, and you get the first view of what you see and you write it down. Then you walk a bit further, maybe up onto the top of a hill, and you see something else. Then you write that and you go on like that, day after day, getting different views of the same landscape really. The highest mountain on the walk is obviously the end of the book, because it's got to be the best view of all, when everything comes together and you can look back and see that everything you've done all ties up. But it's a very, very long, slow process."

On Momentum

"I never come back to a blank page; I always finish about halfway through. To be confronted with a blank page is not very nice. But Hemingway...taught me the finest trick when you are doing a long book, which is, he simply said in his own words, "When you are going good, stop writing." And that means if everything is going well and you know exactly where the end of the chapter's going to go and you know just waht the people are going to do, you don't go on writing and writing until you come to the end of it, because when you do, they you say, well, where am I going to go next? And you get up and you walk away and you don't want to come back because you don't know where you want to go. But if you stop when you are going good...then you know what you are going to say next. You make yourself stop, put your pencil down...and you walk away. And you can't wait to get back because you know what you want to say next...If you stop when you are stuck, then you are in trouble."

On Characters

"I find that the only way to make my characters really interesting to children is to exaggerate all their good or bad qualities, and so if a person is nasty or bad or cruel, you make them very nasty, very bad, very cruel. If they are ugly, you make them extremely ugly. That, I think, is fun and makes and impact."

Riding the Fence

An accident occurred in front of Sarah's apartment today. We heard it through the window. Apparently, a woman ran the redlight and a man swerved to miss her. He ended up through a fence, perched precariously on a tall curb, halfway in someone's yard. The poor residents. The man who lives there has spent the last few weeks erecting a fine, wooden fence. He just finished it not 2 weeks ago. Now, 2 whole sections have been mowed down. It's funny that a fence would evoke such emotion but it seems many of the neighbors had taken notice of his home improvement project. Many were heard to say, "That's too bad. He just finished that fence." Not one mention of concern for the vehicles...just sympathy for a fence. It just goes to show you that riding a fence does you no good. The fence will tumble and you will find yourself on one side or the other...whether you wanted to or not.


John is at the zoo
A monkey takes huge offense
Flings it's poo at him

What to do today
Shower, shave, write, make some art

Gas is expensive
Going broke getting around
The bus is cheaper

Where, oh where, are you
I looked north, south, east, and west
I'm sad and alone

Friday, August 19, 2005


Shining in the blue moonlight
Some are pink and some are white
Heavy metal, what a sight
The robots have come out tonight

Big ones come to pick a fight
Tall ones love to show their height
Tiny ones just fly a kite
The robots have come out tonight

Alloysius likes to read and write
Klamp can make things shine so bright
TinFin just might take a bite
The robots have come out tonight

Sir Copperbot's a noble knight
Cobalt Walt will show his might
Arson Nick is a fiery fright
The robots have come out tonight

SpringWing has the power of flight
Tongue Stan's words are a delight
There's even one who's name is Dwight
The robots have come out tonight

When morning comes they seem contrite
Some were rude but most polite
Next time they play, they may invite but
The robots must go in tonight

Copyright 2005 Marty Gordon

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Emergent or Submergence

Coming into view, existence, or notice.
Rising above a surrounding medium, especially a fluid.
Arising or occurring unexpectedly.
Demanding prompt action; urgent.
Occurring as a consequence; resultant.

To place under water.
To cover with water; inundate.
To hide from view; obscure. v. intr.
To go under or as if under water.
[Latin submergere : sub-, sub- + mergere, to plunge.]

The word "emergent" came up tonight in a conversation concerning using the arts in church. "Emergent" is a somewhat new term to me in regards to the church. (I'm way behind) This may be a difficult subject for me to address because it goes against everything I stand for and have stood for in moving the church out of the dark ages. I just wonder sometimes if the "dog and pony" shows we've cooked up for church are what God wants? Are the fundraisers, worship teams, dramatic vignettes, slick video presentations, and polished preachers what it's all about? In the end, the answer I come up with is NO! It's all about Jesus. Simple as that. When was the last time you entered a church and actually heard someone preach the love and blood of Jesus? When was the last time you witnessed an altar call? It's been a long time for me. Please don't get me wrong. I've made it my mission in life to push the church, challenge it to be better than it is. I'm all for the rock music, the drama, and the video. But, the question Jesus in the center of all this? Is he the crux for what's being done in the church? Now, back to my beginning thought. Should we be concerned with being the Emergent Church or should we be pointing to an Emergent Jesus. Referring back to the definition at the beginning of this post, it is Jesus, not the church, that should be coming into view, rising above, the ultimate result. It seems to me that most churches are not doing this. We are a church that submerges Jesus under the depths of all that other "stuff" that, in the eternal picture, don't matter. I have always told people that I would do anything it took to reach people for Christ and I still mean that. I have always tried to be one who is on the cutting edge of ministry and yet trying to keep Jesus, and not myself, in the spotlight. I have had successes and I have had failures. So, where am I going with this? I'm unsure because it may take a whole lot of thinking to wrap my head around this. All I know is that if Jesus is not in the center of things; the music, the drama, the video, the preaching; it's all for naught. As usual, my ramblings are just a bunch of gibberish. So, I'll let the Bible do the talking from now on. Here are a couple of scripture passages that came to mind. I included all of Matthew 7 because it's so good. The bold sections are the ones that hit me the hardest.

Amos 5:21-24 (The Message)
"I can't stand your religious meetings.
I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?

Do you know what I want?
I want justice--oceans of it.
I want fairness--rivers of it.
That's what I want. That's all I want.

Matthew 7 (The Message)
"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults--unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, "Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
"Don't be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don't reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you're only being cute and inviting sacrilege.
"Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn't a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we're in. 9If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing. You're at least decent to your own children. So don't you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?
"Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get.
"Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life--to God!-is vigorous and requires total attention.
"Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don't be impressed with charisma; look for character. "Knowing the correct password--saying "Master, Master,' for instance--isn't going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience--doing what my Father wills. I can see it now--at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, "Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.' And do you know what I am going to say? "You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don't impress me one bit. You're out of here.'
"These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit--but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.
"But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards."
When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying--quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard.

John Piper on Worship

I rarely rip-off things I find on other blogs but this post on Matt Tullos' website caught my eye.
For thousands of people, and many pastors, the event of “worship” on Sunday morning is conceived of as a means to accomplish something other than worship. We “worship” to raise money; we “worship” to attract crowds; we “worship” to heal human hurts; to recruit workers; to improve church morale; to give talented musicians an opportunity to fulfill their calling; to teach our children the way of righteousness; to help marriages stay together; to evangelize the lost; to motivate people for service projects; to give our churches a family feeling. In all of this we bear witness that we do not know what true worship is. WORSHIP is for the sake of magnifying God, not ourselves, and God is magnified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. The essence of worship is heartfelt satisfaction in the glory of God. - John Piper

Job Interviews: The Aftermath

Well, underwhelming would be a word I might use to describe my 2 interviews of the last couple of days. Daniel Smith, the art supply store, doesn't pay worth a squat. It's strictly retail meaning crappy hours and crappy pay. The upside is they do have benefits after 90 days. But, job or no, I can't live on what they pay...not in Seattle. If they offer me the job, I don't know if I'll take it or not. The DJ gig...well, it's strictly an extra money type of job. They said they would love to talk to me after I get established in a primary job. So...there you have it. 2 interviews, 2 not-so-great situations. There's got to be something out there for me. I just wish I could find it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Job Interviews

I have 2 job interviews in the next couple of days. The first is with Daniel Smith, an art supply company here in Seattle. The second is with Sounds Unlimited, a company that supplies music/DJs for weddings. We'll see what happens. I'm just happy that I'm finally hearing back from some of the applications/resumes that I've sent out. For a while there, I was beginning to think I might be invisible or something.

Downtown Dinner

Sarah and I had dinner downtown last night with her friends Adam and Heather. She knows them from Asheville. Adam is now working for Amazon. They are staying in a temporary apt. downtown. It was a nice dinner. Adam grilled steaks out on the terrace and we ate in the courtyard. We talked until late last night. It was quite fun. I know Sarah is happy to have some friends here in town that are not connected with the theater. Thursday night we're supposed to go see "The Fantasticks" with them at Taproot. Perhaps have dinner at Gordito's beforehand.

Monday, August 15, 2005

If Life is a Performance...

"If life is a performance and I am not an actor am I supposed to lie down and die?" - Juliana Hatfield

Every time I hear this song (Dying Proof from the album Only Everything) the words printed above strike me in a different way. Most times I do feel as if life is a big performance and I'm not doing too well as an actor. As an actor on stage, I do pretty well. It's always been pretty easy for me to act like someone else...on stage. But in life, I gotta be me. In the immortal words of Popeye the Sailor Man, "I yam what I yam." I find it difficult to be something that I'm not in everyday life. All the lies, deceit, and hypocrisy that assail us make me ill. I am not perfect but many people lie, cheat and steal their way through life and it seems society is bent in a way to allow this to happen. So sue me for wanting honesty and integrity to accompany me on my journey. Being a Christian (and not a very good one at that) I know that the answer lies in sin. We are born sinful and only through Jesus can we begin to live a life that is exemplary. I know this. But I also know that, in my experience, the worst behavior I have seen displayed has come from fellow Christians. Somehow, they have brainwashed themselves into believing that it's ok to lie to cover your butt. It's ok to cheat as long as the end justifies the means. Well, I don't like it! When God called me to ministry (also something I'm not doing too well at) I felt as though he wanted me to be a catalyst for change. But I don't know how to do that. So, in rating my performance as a actor in this play we call life, I don't think I'm doing too well. But I'm not ready to lie down and die just yet.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Busy Day

Today was a busy day. Started out by attending a special service at Sanctuary Church. It was outside at Greenwood Park. Nice day...a little warm...nice service. It was followed by a picnic...all the burgers one could eat. I ate too much. Sarah made a new friend. Gal named Jennifer who is moving here to be with her husband. They are both in the service. (Army, I think) During the picnic, some guy named Rob set up a bunch of equipment to play music. He was primarily a guitarist but had all kinds of gadgetry to record and overdub himself. It was a bit much. I just wish he had stripped down to basics and played. Just play the dang thing! After the picnic, Sarah and I went back to her place to rest. I actually took about a 10 minute nap. I'm not a napper so that was quite an accomplishment. We then got ready and went to the zoo to meet my friends Chuck and Andrea Chase. I haven't seen them in at least 10 years. They live on Whidbey Island. They have two cute kids, Tommy and Chrissy. We had a nice afternoon. Hope to hook up with them again. After that, we picked up some pizza and ice cream and watched "Pieces of April" on DVD. Strange flick but pretty good. So, a busy day but good day.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Dumb Artist News

"The Miami muralist who misspelled Shakespeare, Michelangelo and nine other famous names on a mosaic outside the Livermore (CA) library slipped into town to correct her errors -- at a cost of $6,000 to the city. And this time, city officials promise they have checked her work before it gets set in stone." (San Francisco Chronicle)

Remember back in school when you'd sit in math class and say, "I'll never use this in the real world." She must have said that in english class.

"Everything You Presume Is Wrong"

A quote from Robert Williams, vanguard of the "lowbrow" art movement.

"When I was the art director for Roth Studios, one of the top-selling T-shirt designs was a cartoon image of a knight in armor, holding a lance with a banner that read: "DO UNTO OTHERS AND THEN SPLIT." The shirt design was a favorite and sold in the thousands. The next logical step in the design was to make an improved version, depicting a new knight image, this time in accurate period-perfect Renaissance armor which stressed the manliness of the figure. This shirt was produced, and the sales proved it to be a flop. The earlier crude design was put back on the market, and to our surprise, the sales once again climbed. What was the charm of the original retarded design? It show how people think in symbols. This was very disappointing to me. I came to see successful art as the consequence of popularism - stupid sells."

This is something I have known for a long time but Mr. Williams has reminded me. To appreciate art requires an educated mind. To simply say, "That looks like a monkey could have painted it," shows ignorance of art and what it's all about. Picasso said, "It took me 4 years to paint like Raphael, but a life time to paint like a child," meaning it takes a lifetime to regain that childlike way of painting. To use the imagination unfettered, uncluttered by years of adult responsibility and maturity. Society educates the creativity out of all of us and we're lucky, as adults, to regain any portion of it back. Robert R. McCammon, author of that great novel "Boy's Life" said, "We all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. The truth of life is that every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us." This is so true. I battle daily with the constraints of adulthood and it's war against my soul of creativity. I continue to try and approach art with the eyes of a little child. May I be just the tiniest bit successful.
Then again, stupid can be fun sometimes. What do I know?

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez - Earl, a vampire, and Duke, a werewolf, are travelling through Texas when they come across an old diner where supernatural activity is nothing new. After dispatching a horde of zombies, the two friends stay on to help rid the diner, and the world, of the threat of Armageddon. This was an entertaining read. Very funny in a weird sort of way. Granted, it had it's moments of gore and fright but, at it's core, it's a comedy. Not sure a sequel is in the works or not. If so, I may visit Gil's again.
Hunted Past Reason by Richard Matheson - A novelist, doing research for a backpacking book, is taken on a wilderness hike by an actor aquaintance. As the trip goes on, the actor reveals his mental instability and begins to hunt the novelist. This book could have been better. I wanted it to be better. However, it wasn't great. The breakdown of the actor was not believable. After all, the two men debate religion and the existence of God and how God let's bad things happen to good people and then, all of a sudden, the guy goes nuts. Give me a break. The unspeakable acts the actor perpetrates after his breakdown made me ill. (and I have a strong disposition) All in all, I'd have to say this was not worth reading. Glad I only paid a buck for it at Dollar General.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Boats, Planes and Life in Seattle

As I piddle around in my temporary home here in Seattle, every once in a while you can hear a boat whistle out on the sound. It's very interesting to hear that. I've lived near trains all my life and am used to hearing a train whistle blowing through in the middle of the night...but not a boat. It's pretty cool. If I stand out on the balcony, I can see many types of ships pass by. Most interesting are the cruise ships. They leave the Port of Seattle and pass here on their way to the ocean. They are huge! Sarah and I hope to be able to do an Alaskan cruise for our honeymoon. It's nice to be near the water again after being landlocked in SC and NC. Some mornings, I can go outside and smell the salt-tinged odor of the sound. It makes me think of Pensacola and I feel at home. Another thing that made me feel at home lately was the presence of the Blue Angels. They flew a show over Lake Washington last weekend. I saw them practicing their routine from a distance on Friday and Saturday. We used to go to Pensacola Beach the day before a Blues show and watch them practice. Less crowded, same show. Seattle is nice. I know I'll like it here.

More Pics from Story Theatre

Fairy Tales and Fables

Jericho Productions will present 'Story Theatre' in Thomas Auditorium

Rob Lamb, left, and Ashley Wellman star in the Robber Bride Groom Tale, part of the Jericho Productions and Blue Ridge Community College's production of Story Theatre. (MATT BORN/TIMES-NEWS)

Jericho Productions will begin its sixth season with Story Theatre, a collection of Grimm's Fairy Tales and Aesop's Fables. In many ways the company has come full circle. Six years ago Jericho produced Saul, an original play by the company's artistic director, Franklin Harris. Just as with Story Theatre, Saul used a story telling narrative as its central thread. With a minimum of props and costumes it relied on the actor's skill and improvisation to entertain the audience and create the make-believe impact of the production. Both the current play and the first one used a Blue Ridge Community College venue. Both productions featured Robert Moore, a Brevard College drama graduate and a Poetry Alive participant. The cast of 13 features several other experienced actors. Both Rob Lamb and Jeannie Glosson, freshman drama majors at BRCC, have extensive experience in local high schools. Sarah Burch, of Asheville, has acted, written, directed and costumed for 20 years. Denise Crowell, of Hendersonville, directed at East Henderson High School, acted at University of North Carolina at Asheville and produced at Flat Rock Playhouse Theater for Young People. Marty Gordon and Tom Mangano recently moved to Asheville from out-of-town. Gordon toured with "The Company" for three years and has published scripts. Mangano has 16 years of experience in community theater, musical theater and improvisation. The cast includes three other BRCC students: Misha Schmidt, Daniel Trimmer and Ashley Wellman as well as three young teens: Harrison Best of Fletcher; and Alicia Mitchell and Molly Tollas of Asheville.

Sarah and I were in this production back when we lived in Asheville. It was directed by our dear friend Franklin Harris. I post it here as a memory.

Pray for Rain

They say it rains in Seattle
Well, I say let it rain
The trees, they all look thirsty
And the grass is brown with pain
No rain clouds come a callin'
No summer tempest storm
I thought this was a wet place
I thought that was the norm
So, God in heaven, listen
Bend ear and look on down
Refresh the streets and people
Of this bustling, groovy town
A drink is all I'm askin'
Refreshment for the soul
It will not dampen spirits
Just fill an empty hole

Monday, August 08, 2005


Last night, Sarah and I attended a staged reading of a new musical called "Magdalene." It's written by Allison Metcalf Allen with musical assists by Michele Pillar Carlton and Chris Eaton. The reading was done by Taproot performers. It tells the story of Magdalene (fictional) as she grows up, what led her to her life as a prostitute. During the first few minutes of the story, I was beginning to feel like I was at a typical Christian church performance. Cheesy, happy, la-la-la kinda stuff. But the story soon turned dark and the realities of life through painful experiences began to be revealed. In the story, Magdalene is raped by Roman soldiers thus ruining her innocence and her life of future marriage to Nathaniel. She moves to Jerusalem and is taken in by a group of prostitutes. She later gets revenge for her rape and then meets Jesus. The story was incomplete since the second act isn't completed. We got a glimpse only of what it will become. I believe it has potential. It is supposedly headed for a tour and run on Broadway. I hope it is successful. I don't really see a musical about Magdalene lighting the world on fire but with all the interest in the "Da Vinci Code" perhaps it has a chance.

For Rockers, Christian Blessing Can Be Fickle

Rocker Sufjan Stevens frequently channels faith through his music, but falls short of the standards of the Christian Music Trade Association -- a key U.S. gatekeeper in deciding what music is "Christian."
The association's seal of approval can mean lucrative exposure in a hot segment of an otherwise stagnant music market, and provide a stepping stone to broader success.
Stevens' ode to Jesus Christ, "To Be Alone With You," was heard during an episode of the popular and racy Fox TV teen drama "The OC."
An appearance on such a show would not necessarily hurt an artist's standing with the group, said president John Styll of the CMTA, which represents music labels specializing in Christian music.
"I would love to see more Christian music in venues that need it, so to speak," he said. "We love to let the light shine where it is darkest."
However, Styll said, Stevens lacks adequate distribution through Christian channels and has not shown a desire for the association's imprimatur. "He just doesn't want to play the Christian music-market game,* and that's OK," Styll said.
According to CMTA's Christian SoundScan arm, U.S. album sales of Christian rock grew around 125 percent from 2003 to 2004, expanding to 8.25 million from 3.66 million. During the same period, total U.S. album sales grew only 1.6 percent, rising to 666.7 million from 656.2 million.
Christian SoundScan data, collected with Nielsen Media Research, is publicized through Christian charts in Billboard magazine. Nielsen and Billboard are the property of Dutch media group VNU NV .
Hot groups on the Christian-music charts include Jars of Clay and Relient K. Jars of Clay sold 6 million albums last year, including many outside the CMTA's tracking.
To qualify, CMTA's Styll says albums must receive some national play on Christian radio, 25 percent of sales in the first week must be in Christian shops, and lyrics must have "Christian content."
Lyrics must be "in line with the principles taught in scripture," Styll said, a definition he acknowledges can be "a little loose."
Other factors might also play a role, he said, such as the venues an artist plays, or one's willingness to appear at Christian events like the twice-yearly Creation Festival. "You just kind of generally know" if someone fits in, he said.
Sufjan Stevens' growing appeal is not reflected in the Christian charts, despite songs like 'To Be Alone With You' and often strongly spiritual lyrics ("Oh Lamb of God!/Tell us your perfect design").
A favorite of the secular indie-rock scene, Stevens plays at edgier, smoke- and beer-choked venues, and his lyrics occasionally veer to off-color.
Lowell Brams, a manager at Stevens' label, Asthmatic Kitty, said most of the label's artists are Christian, but care little for the association's certification.
Other artists do care. The benefit of certification can be their first widespread publicity on Billboard, catching the eye of bigger retailers and labels.
"It's worked fine for us," said Jeff Risden, an agent representing Relient K.
The group got its first national exposure on the Christian charts in 2000, and eventually signed a recording contract with major label Capitol Records.

*Tell me...what is a "Christian music-market game"? Is that like "Monopoly". Sounds more like "Balderdash" to me

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Jeep, jeep
Hill too steep
Get in my way and I will beep
Miles to go before I sleep
Jeep, jeep
Hill too steep

Love, love
Rise above
Fly to me just like a dove
You're the one I'm thinking of
Love, love
Rise above

Hope, hope
Can I cope
I am quickly out of rope
Dangling here just like a dope
Hope, hope
Can I cope

Fear, fear
Drawing near
Will you go away from here
Vision's dim, will it clear
Fear, fear
Drawing near

Rain, rain
Liquid pain
Falling from the sky again
Black my heart with inky stain
Rain, rain
Liquid pain

Kiss, kiss
Two lips bliss
Nothing quite as good as this
When you're gone I really miss
Kiss, kiss
Two lips bliss

Gloom, gloom
Fills the room
Pressing down with weighty doom
Hits me like a sonic boom
Gloom, gloom
Fills the room

Light, light
Shining bright
Shatters dark and fearful night
Gives me strength to win the fight
Light, light
Shining bright

Sometimes I wonder if it's inspiration or snacks too late at night.

Thoughts Continued...

I do love you.
I want to be with you.
But I want to be a man you want to be with.
And I am not.
Life has broken me and I don't know how to pick up the pieces and keep going.
Until I can figure it all out, I need patience.
But I'm afraid patience is wearing thin.
You want me to ask God to help me.
Well, I have.
But it's hard since I feel like God let this happen.
And I don't trust him like I used to.
When will he open a door and let there be a light at the end of the tunnel.
I've never sought riches.
I've never sought fame.
I just want to be fulfilled.
I want to live a life that means something.
I want to love and be loved.
If that's too much to ask, then I don't know what to ask anymore

Modern Maskil Moment

Hopeless, Etc.
by Gene Eugene

I'm hopeless
Hopeless and tired
Will you give me the sign I'm looking for?
I am mired with the earnest and the sight-inspired

I'm helpless
Helpless and silent
Can you return my voice?
You left me mute and defiant
But I can't get my hands untied

I'm useless
Useless without you
It's my fault
I am withered, I am weak
And about to find out why I'm so into being
I feel this way.
Hopeless and tired.
Looking for a sign that never comes.
Surrounded by seemingly happy people while my world seems to crumble.
Wishing God would return my voice, my ministry, the life I was comfortable with.
And now I am mute and defiant. Silent and angry.
Hands tied unable to act.
Useless, yes.
But more useless without you.
There was a time when I could be alone.
Now I can't imagine life without you.
It is my fault.
Nobody's fault but mine.
But I am withered, weak, tired and fed up with life.
I am afraid I am becoming too comfortable being weak.


Anger is danger(ous)
But it's burning inside
I have to be gentle
In public
Amidst all the rudeness
The inconsiderate horde
I call the world
Is it righteous
My anger
Or is it the temper tantrum
Of a whining child
I want to lash out
Release this beast inside me
So I can feel some peace
But in the bottle it must stay
Else I offend someone's delicate nature
It fights to be free
This furious wildfire
Devouring the inner parts
Of me
I can't control it
It finds ways to escape
And it attacks
Not the ones guilty of injustice
The ones I love

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Night of the Iguana

Sarah and I saw the play "Night of the Iguana" today. It was a freebie since Taproot gets comps to other plays sometimes. It was at ACT Theater. The play is by Tennessee Williams. The plot involves a defrocked Episcopalian minister who is guiding a tour of Baptist women in Mexico. Not a great position for him to be in since he is defrocked due to fornication and heresy. They stop at a hotel run by a woman named Maxine, someone from the ministers past. He also must deal with a young woman he slept with on the tour and another spinster painter who sees him for what he is. There's alot I could say about the play and it's content. It brought up some interesting theological issues. Perhaps another day. All in all, the play was good but I didn't care for the actor playing the minister. He played the part too whiney...too fragile...too prissy. He didn't seem like the type of man who would have women wanting to bed him. I just wanted to slap him and tell him that life is rough and you've gotta play the cards your dealt. Doubts about God are fine. I've had those myself. But don't whine. After the play, we drove down the street to Utrecht, an art supplies store. I didn't find anything but Sarah bought some canvas. We then checked out a little gallery on the fringes of Capitol Hill called Bluebottle Gallery. They deal in lowbrow art. Pretty cool stuff but a small place. The neighborhood we were in was quite eclectic. I wouldn't mind strolling through there another day but we were tired so we came home. Sarah fixed jambalaya and we watched "Open Range." Now, it's time for bed. Goodnight.

20/20 Piece on Art

You Call That Art?
Observers, Artists, Critics Rank Children's Paintings With the Masters

Mar. 14, 2005 - This story was originally broadcast March 11, 2005
People got very excited this year about Christo's massive public art work, "The Gates," in New York's Central Park. For two weeks in February, 7,500 metal gates draped with orange fabric were staked along 23 miles of the park's footpaths. Some people called "The Gates" a masterpiece. Others called it an ugly nuisance.
New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser said all the orange fabric on "The Gates" made it look like an ad for Home Depot.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) was annoyed by the criticism. "Nobody's criticizing this. Everybody likes it. And this is certainly art," he said.
It is? Well, I kinda like it, but how does the mayor know that "The Gates" is really art, and not just shower curtains on poles? Do people really know what's art and what's just stuff?
We ran a test.
On, we showed four reproductions of art works that are considered masterpieces of modern art along with six pieces that will never make it into any museum. We asked viewers to decide which work was art and which was not.
I assumed the famous art would get the most votes if only because art lovers would recognize them, but they didn't. Most got far fewer votes than the winner.
The one that received the most votes as a "real" artwork was a piece of framed fabric "20/20" bought at a thrift store for $5.
We also conducted the test with New Yorkers at Manhattan Mall. We asked people to tell us which artworks they'd expect to see in a museum. We included copies of the famous paintings, plus some other items.
How do critics and curators decide which is art?
How do they determine that Damien Hirst's embalmed shark and sliced cow carcasses are art?
Why is Willem de Kooning's "A Tree in Naples," which we included a reproduction of in our quiz, worth millions, when a more realistic looking landscape, done by elephants with paintbrushes in Thailand, is worth much less?
I asked an art historian: Why is De Kooning's "A Tree in Naples" art? The work doesn't look like a tree, let alone Naples.
"But if you look closely, you might say this brown part is the bark of the tree. You might say the blue is the sky. Maybe that's, maybe that's the case and maybe it's not. But you bring to it whatever feelings that this evokes," said Samantha Hoover, an art historian at New York's School of Visual Arts.
What about Kasimir Malevich's Black Circle, which we also included in the online quiz? "He was saying I want to free art from telling a story," said Hoover.
So it's just all in the eye of the beholder?
"I wouldn't say it's all in the eye of the beholder," Hoover said. "I think you need to know the story behind the work to understand its full impact and meaning."
OK, I can get that concept. Watching Ed Harris' performance in the film about famous artist Jackson Pollock, I learned that Pollock's creative genius came from his tortured soul. That led to a big breakthrough in modern art. But do the people who pay millions for Pollock's work really see the difference between his dripping colors and a child's painting?
Four of the art works in our test were done by 4-year-olds, and when we showed their artwork on the Web, and showed it to people at the mall, the kids' work ranked ahead of most of the masters.
I assumed real artists wouldn't fall for the trick, so we invited some to take our test. Most of them also put at least some of the kids' work up there with the masters.
One artist, Victor Acevedo, described one of the children's pieces as "a competent execution of abstract expressionism which was first made famous by de Kooning and Jackson Pollock and others. So it's emulating that style and it's a school of art."
When I told him the work was done by a 4-year-old he said, "That's amazing. Give that kid a show."
Actually, it was a collaboration. Maybe they should give Hannah and Haley, the two 4-year-old girls who painted it, a show of their own. More than 1,800 people said their work was great art.
And even Hoover, the art historian, ranked one of the children's paintings among the real artworks. When I told her who did the work she said, "It has good composition. I think it has good depth and space."
So can anybody explain to me why people want to spend millions of dollars on abstract art if any 4-year-old could create something great?
"There's some art that's validated by the establishment or by the media and then there's the rest," said artist Deborah Gilbert.
But maybe the establishment is out to lunch.
An artist who calls himself Flash Light told me, "The function of art is to make rich people feel more important."
Well, if rich people want to spend their own money this way, fine.
But whether you think it's art or junk, the real deal is that you're contributing your money too.
The politicians may say they're starved for funds, but they're still giving your hard-earned tax dollars to museums that exhibit these kinds of things.
Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Modern Maskil Moment

In the book of Psalms, some of the poems are referred to as "maskils." Maskil is thought to mean a song or poem that teaches. With that in mind, from time to time, I would like to share a few Modern Maskils.

Reservations to Live
by Steve Lukather

Never should rush into things.
Shouldn't spill the wine before its time.
Wait and see what fortune brings.
Waste away till you can't see the signs.
Always taught to play it safe.
Wouldn't stick your neck out if you could.
Everything is in its place.
Might as well be chiseled out of wood.
And your time's running thin.
It's slipping through your fingers.
With your chance to begin.
Forever again.

Don't know what you're waiting for.
Don't need a reservation just to live.
You might be expecting more.
But you won't get more than you have to give.
And that's just the way it is.
Everyday it rains somewhere.

You've got to make the best of what you have.
You could tie a train out there.
You better get some sunshine while you can.
But you've heard this before.
It's ancient information.
Just walk through the door.
It's not that complicated.

Repeat Chorus

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Woodland Park Zoo

Sarah and I went to the zoo on Sunday. Turned out to be a great deal to get a year pass for the zoo and the aquarium so we did. For the price of parking, we now have some great options for fun dates over the next year. We haven't been to the aquarium yet...probably this weekend. It's a nice zoo...not the best I've ever seen but with the shady trails and wonderful Seattle weather, it was nice. I really loved the bears! There's a window that shows the bears in the water. It was fun for me to watch this enormous brown bear swimming and having a good old time in the water. Sarah liked the otters. Most of the animals were napping when we got there. We never saw any lions and all the other animals were sacked out for siesta time. Later in the afternoon they started to get active. The other wildlife present on Sunday was kids. Man, there were a bunch of rugrats running around. And gosh...I've never seen so many strollers in all my life. The annoying thing was that people would just push their stroller (with kids in them) up under me while I was watching something and then I would go to move and trip over it. I nearly squashed several children due to the ignorance of their parents. I wish there was an adults only day at the zoo. Then us big kids could enjoy the animals without all the little ones underfoot. Not sure how many times I can hear, "Monkeys! Look at the monkeys!" without going bonkers.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter continues his quest to find out more about Voldemort and his role in destroying the Dark Lord. I must begin by saying that I enjoyed this book less than some of the other recent ones, however, the last part of the book is very exciting and emotional. The book takes it time in the beginning to build up steam. It's a couple of chapters before we even pick up with what's going on with Harry. The first chapter about the new Minister of Magic and Prime Minister of England was slightly interesting but unnecessary. It didn't drive the book at all. Merely an aside which is, in my opinion, a bad way to start a book. Later, as we get into life at Hogwarts, we begin to see Harry struggle with the part he must ultimately play in the destruction of Voldemort. To add difficulty to his life, he and Ron both have begun the whole "teenage crush" thing and must deal with their feelings for the gals in their lives. As Dumbledore and Harry team up at the end to solve another piece of the Voldemort puzzle, the book picks up the pace. In the end, a battle ensues at Hogwarts and someone very important dies at the hands of someone unexpected. Harry ends the book realizing his life has changed and he has a mission to that may or may not include returning to Hogwarts. As I've said before, this is not my favorite of the recent books but it certainly opens up great possibilities for the last book. I am sad that the rumor is that Harry will die. This is possibly a necessary step for the climax of the story but I will miss the world of magic that is Harry Potter after it is all complete. It's been a most satisfying ride.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Pike Street Market

Sarah and I visited the Pike Street Market today. This is the place where they throw the fish. The picture to your left is quite serene compared to what we witnessed today. After driving downtown to the 5th Ave. Theater to pick up some costumes for an upcoming show at Taproot, Sarah and I decided to stay parked and walk a bit. We headed down Pike Street toward the water and there was the Market. It was packed today. I think every tourist in America was there today. Inside, the first thing we saw was the "fish throwers." Then we walked around a bit among the several floors of shops. On the main floor there is mostly produce, seafood and flowers. Pretty good prices on most. On nearly every corner there was a street musician. After about an hour, Sarah and I had had enough so we headed back to the jeep which we had parked 3 levels above Hell. I kid you not, this garage went down, down deep into the bowels of Seattle. I swear I could feel the flames of Hades lapping at my buttocks. The amazing thing was that after we left the garage, I was able to find my way out of downtown Seattle and back on 99 to get us back to Sarah's. Seattle is an interesting place, but I do not like the traffic.

Mars Hill Church

Sarah and I attended Mars Hill Church a couple of times over the past few weeks. I had heard great things about it over the years and wanted to see what the hype was all about. The services were ok...well done and slick. The music was really good. What turned us off was the preaching. The pastor delivers a good sermon but it's way too long. He preached well over an hour both times we went and what he said could have been boiled down to 30-40 minutes tops. A friend hinted that the pastor there likes himself too much and I understood his comment all too well. It's been my experience that pastors become full of themselves, using the excuse of presenting the gospel as a way to get their stage time. In some of the churches I have served in, the pastor won't give up his sermon time for anything. In one particular church, the pastor told me that it isn't a service unless the gospel is preached. Well, the gospel can be preached in many ways, through music, drama, etc. To me, it's just arrogance and self-importance showing through. St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words." Enough said. Another thing about Mars Hill we didn't like was the lack of creativity. No drama, video or anything. Just the same old contemporary church fall back order of service. Worship, preaching, etc. Nothing new. So, Sarah and I are attending Sanctuary. It is true they are not using creativity to it's fullest either but the pastor really ministers to folks. His heart is to reach the community not to build a grand megachurch. After all I've been through, I can relate to that. Outside the walls of the church is where it's going to happen these days. It's just like a drama I saw presented one time. Two old guys are fishing in their driveway and one comments that they have been faithful and one day the fish will just come to them. Yeah, right! You gotta go to the lake, people! For now, Sarah and I will continue at Sanctuary and hopefully God will show us what it is He would have us do.