I think the AC is broken in my house. It was cool earlier, and then about 4 o’clock, the house began to heat up. Slowly, the temperature rose and rose until Erin and I decided to bug out for a while. We ended up going to Tyler and grabbing dinner and spending entirely too long looking for an ironing board hanger in Target.
Like I said, I think the AC is broken. I feel like there’s something I could’ve done, but I don’t know what it is. As I type, I’m realizing that there is no way I could’ve forseen or prevented this situation. You can do some type of maintenance like changing the filters (which I’ve done), but you’ll never know exactly when the proverbial poop is about to hit the fan. I hate that. I want to know what’s coming. Sucker-punches are the worst because you have no time to prepare for them.
I don’t watch a ton of boxing, but I like what I’ve seen. Guys hammer on each other for a while, and then out of nowhere some dude lands a punch and the other guy goes all kinds of limp. It’s not that a knockout punch is so much harder or placed better, the knowckout punch is the one you never saw coming. You can’t get your defense up and it catches you at the worst possible moment.
So as I sit here in the warmness of my home, having been sucker-punched by the AC, I am grateful that my biggest worry is perspiring while I try and sleep.
I have a bunch of posts brewing in me right now because the past 7 days have been a whirlwind of activities, feelings, and experiences. For now, I have this to say:
Erin Humphries just told me she likes the Cookie Co. Cake that has 2 Cookies with icing in the middle because, and I quote, "It’s so sweet it makes my face tingle."
I can’t believe the Mavs-Heat series. I’m really bothered by the NBA and it’s complete lack of self-analyzation. I really am not a hater towards the officials, I just don’t think they should be able to swing a set of games the way they did (the Heat had a +48 margin in free throws for the series)
Camp was great. I’ll write more.
The Breakup was funnier than I thought it would be.
Rick and I haven’t really discussed it seriously, but I really liked doing the PodCasts last week. Maybe we’ll do some more. What we need are some topics to tackle. What should we talk about?
As I’m listening to the Coupe Du Monde Station (XM 148) on the way home, there is an interruption for the Small Business Report with Dave Such-and-Such. Mr. Such-and-Such gives out a few pointers and then says "Remember, fill your store with what customers are buying, not what you’re selling." Dave was making the point that a person’s inventory should reflect what customers want to buy, not what a business wants to sell.
As a minister, some red-flags went up in my head. I thought about that statement as it relates to the church, and I was thinking "No sir, I don’t care what customers are buying, I have what they need." God’s truth should be what be present everyone, no matter what they "want," right? I mean, could you imagine if a church just bent towards the will of every attender? It would be chaos, right?
I drove home smugly thinking I had the best blog post of the day (behind Mark Driscoll) and then it hits me: I’ve got it all wrong. The moment that I start giving a church what I want and not what they are asking for, I am going to be in trouble. For instance, suppose that I love soccer. Suppose that it is my favorite sport, but I keep it buried deep deep down for fear of ridicule. I have this radical idea one day that what our student ministry needs is a soccer ministry. We need to theme our building with the flags of the world and every time someone joins the church, we all yell "GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL!" I’ll stop using my hands when I teach, and turn the pages of my notes with my feet. Instead of being called Chris or Stapper, people will call me "Cristobalito" and I’ll bleach my hair blonde with brown polka-dots. I do all of this because I think that soccer will inspire people to learn more about Christ.
I’m guessing that would go over like a lead balloon, at least here in Athens. If I were in Sao Paolo or Barcelona, it would be stellar. But the students of Athens want soccer like they want Ivy League Prep or Homeless Man Chic. And that’s a small example. What about a real issue: What if I really think worship happens best with newer music, but the church overwhelmingly agrees that hymns are where it’s at. Should I give them what I want, or what they are asking for?
I would say there are some non-negotiables that always need to be stocked in a church’s cupboard. We always need to preach the love and grace of God, the fact that salvation is found only in Christ, and that we will never be fulfilled until we put others before ourself. But beware of things that are outside of the realm of non-negotiable. Just because I am a minister does not mean I don’t need to know my audience. I would say that being a minister charges me with knowing a context better than anyone else.
Tom DeLonge has started a new band called Angels & Airwaves. If you had asked me a month ago what new DeLonge band would sound like, I would have pointed you to Boxcar Racer or Hawthorne Heights or Yellowcard or some other "I hate my Dad and so I play loud music" sort of pop-punk band. If you had actually asked me, which you didn’t, and I answered you that way, I would be completely red-faced right now. "The Adventure" is the first song from the new project and it is absolutely stellar. But here’s the real reason for this post…
On MTV2’s rock countdown today, there was some blurb about the fact that AAA are making a movie about the songs from their CD to "deepen the understanding of their music." All of a sudden, the gears started to turn. What an interesting concept: A single self-contained album as the soundtrack for a movie. Immediately I began to scroll through the memory banks trying to find some albums that could rise to this new, awesome level. I have only come up with one:
Jimmy Eat World’s
First of all, this is one of my favorite all-time discs. But, as it pertains to this discussion, I think this one CD could be the soundtrack to a movie. It would probably be some coming-of-age tale about friends finishing high school (opening credits: "Bleed American") and moving on ("The Middle") and dealing with tragedy (cue "The Cautioners"), and at the end of the tale (as "My Sundown" builds) the guy and girl that have been just friends confess their undying love.
Alright, I know that sounds slightly cheesy, but the point is that JEW’s album is so diverse and goes so many different places that it could be a complete movie soundtrack.
What album fits a movie in your world?
I sit here in my creaky dining room chair amazed. I know I’ve only been alive for a score and four years, but I still can’t believe the Little Dallas Mavericks are about to tip-off in an NBA Finals game. Let me clarify my amazement: I was amazed by the Detroit Pistons two years ago because they came out of nowhere and beat better teams. I was taken aback by the Lakers of 2000-2002 because they were toying with opponents. And I was completely flabbergasted by Jordan’s Bulls because I really think other teams considered not showing up. The Mavericks now rank somwhere between the Lakers and the Bulls, and here’s why.
Growing up, the Mavericks were the NBA equivalent of Lima Beans. Lima beans are in the mixed vegetables but you wouldn’t realize if they left them out…they are completely irrelevant. And so were the Mavericks. Even two and three years ago, they weren’t really a top-tier team. They were good, but nobody was delusional enough to root for them in public. Last year’s heartbreaking loss to Steve "Benedict" Nash was the last game played in Maverick Irrelevance Land. This entire year belonged to the Mavericks. Through injuries, losing Michael Finley, Avery coaching his first full season, they were consistently a better team than anyone (yes, even my beloved Spurs). How in the world have they moved from Obscurity to PrimeTime?
Dirk = Unbelievable. Avery = Excellent Coach. JET / Josh Howard = Consistent and Necessary. But I don’t think any of these ingredients have led to the Mavericks’ success. Good players have been in Dallas (Rolando Blackman, 2-time MVP Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Michael Finley, Jamal Mashburn…ok that may not count). Dallas has also had good coaches. What Dallas has never had, however, was a winning culture. Like I said, they were irrelevant and they needed a spark to ignite some passion about that team. I truly believe that Dallas is in the Finals because of Mark Cuban. Which leads me to my conclusion that Dallas had better hope they lose this year.
In case you hadn’t heard, Mark Cuban is King Midas. It is amazing how much this guy has accomplished (and yet he still dresses like a 6th grader). Most notably he started MicroSolutions and sold it after it was huge, then he started Broadcast.com and then sold it to Yahoo! when it was huge. Logic seems to say that Mark loves to undertake some enormous task, become the best at it, then move on. If that really is the case, then he may not be the Mavericks owner for too much longer. Barring injuries and crazy circumstances, the Mavericks could emerge as one of the best teams for the next 5 years. And once his project is the best, Mark tends to look elsewhere.
Mark has never shot a basketball in an NBA game. For all of his complaining about officials, the Mavericks still have things called against them. But he has somehow made the Mavericks matter. The AAC is the best arena I’ve ever been to. The Mavs have tremendous players. They are a well-coached and respected, albeit nouveu-riche, franchise. This stuff doesn’t happen on it’s own: you need a catalyst.
Here’s hoping the Catalyst sticks around.
John Mayer. And here’s the disclaimer: I really like John Mayer. Beginning with the Summer of 2002, I thought that John Mayer was the best thing about music. In about two weeks of listening to Room for Squares, JM totally eclipsed the DMB and U2. How could a pasty boy from Connecticut topple two established bands whom I loved deeply? By working harder than anyone else in music, that’s how!
John Mayer walked a path that no one else even considered. He somehow meshed being a completely talented musician with being popular to the masses. John could write great pop hooks on top of complicated chord structures (see No Such Thing). And then, as if he hadn’t already proved his brilliance, on Heavier Things he showed off his solo ability. Think of another artist who had TeenBeat Popularity while maintaining Musician Credibility.
The wheels started coming off about a year ago when the John Mayer Trio was formed. JMT has all of the talent that JM-solo had, but they have lost a crucial element: the singable hook. John has dropped pop music for blues; that sounds admirable, but I think it’s a step backward. I’m not sayin anyone can play blues, but I think it’s easier to play 15 minute guitar solos as opposed to getting a 15 year old girl to sing your songs. The great thing about old John Mayer was that he could do both. The terrible thing about new John Mayer is that it’s like he’s trying to convince me his new role is tougher. He tries to plead with me "I’m getting back to my roots and my first love" and I say "You’re being lazy" and he says "You don’t understand me. I NEED to do this!"
The fact is, John can play whatever he wants. He doesn’t have to listen to me. He can play his Hendrix-ripoffs all the livelong day. But I’m done with him until he gets back to writing music that’s worth listening to.