After Tyler Lowe and I spent some time discussing the state of the world over lunch at McAllister’s, I was back in my office listening to some music. As I scrolled through my iTunes, I noticed how ahead of the times A Flock of Seagulls was. They were talking about the middle east a long time ago, and most people just skipped right over it. Haven’t you heard the song "Iran (So Far Away)"? They even know that Iran isn’t just around the corner.
Here’s to you Flock of Seagulls.
Is there an athlete more dominant than Roger Federer? Don’t say Tiger Woods or Steve Nash. Not even that Japanese hot dog eating guy could touch the Swiss tennis master. He got rid of Andy Roddick like he was Mandy Moore. I’m also a semi-fan of Maria Sharapova, but she’s about to get waxed by Serena "I Am Way Too Out of Shape to be Winning" Williams.
Why wouldn’t ESPN film the Australian Open in High Definition? There are only four Grand Slam events a year, and the other three finals all end up on network TV (NBC I believe). If I was running ESPN’s tennis division, I would do everything I could to turn our broadcast into the broadcast to end all broadcasts. I would try and find some ultra-HD way of showing the tournament. But I’m not in charge of ESPN.
That title is a bit of misinformation. I have a pretty good idea of a few things that are sad at the moment. Debbie Adcock’s funeral was today. Carrie and Lindsay’s mom is gone, and Ron is a widow. I only knew Debbie for a small fraction of her life, but I was privileged enough to see many lives that she had touched. The funeral was filled with people who love her and her family. And now she’s gone. I am sad because of that, but there is something deeper.
There is this phrase that keeps running circles in my head: "This is not the end. Death does not win." I would love to say that I grasp that concept, but would that statement even be true? How can you grasp that death is not the finality that it seems to be without actually dying? My mind understands that God has designed us for eternity. I know Steven Curtis Chapman’s "More To This Life" backwards and forwards. But that’s just it…I understand that this life isn’t the end. But I don’t understand (extra emphasis) that.
And therein lies the cause of my sadness: my faith feels so small today. I can’t mesh together the image of a coffin in the front of a church with the idea of eternity. I want to believe in heaven. It makes today easier. But there is still some part of me that needs redeeming; there is a part that can only understand the end of this life.
But through all of this, I cling to the small faith that exists within me. I derive my hope from it. Because ultimately, death does not win. This is not the end.
While tuned into The Daily Show a few days ago, I briefly caught part of an interview with Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas. Huckabee was hocking his book, From Hope to Higher Ground. I hadn’t heard of it, but he said a few things that I took note of, particularly (and I am paraphrasing): The problem with American politics today is that everything has turned into horizontal politics. Everybody is either on the right or left or somewhere in between. But what people are really interested in is deeper, and it’s more vertical. They want to know if someone is going to help pull them up to a better life.
Wow. That encapsulates so much of why I can’t stomach much of the rhetoric on news stations and talking head shows and other types of reporting. Somehow, things have digressed to a point where events are relegated to liberal or conservative. What I really want to know is how is this going to affect life? Is life going to be better or worse because of our foreign policy? Is life going to change because we have a Democratic congress? How are things going to change life?
If I take these thoughts, and run them through the kaleidescope of church life, I feel that the same things could be said when people come to church. Sometimes we can tend to camp out on the sides of an issue. Women in Ministry. Predestination. Inerrancy. The list goes on. It’s easy to devote time to arguing the sides of these issues, but that may be missing the point.
When people step into the world of Christ followers, they probably aren’t looking to take sides. I bet they are trying to find out how is their life going to improve. How can they rid themselves of the loneliness and guilt that gnaw at them in the middle of the night. People are for more interested in the vertical than they are the horizontal.
Here’s to looking up, and not side-to-side…
For some reason, I don’t often listen to a lot of female vocalists. There is no deep-rooted sexism, most of the bands that I like are all fronted by guys. But here are three ladies that I could listen to anytime.
A :: Sarah McLachlan – I’m not talking about "Adia" or "Angel" or "I Will Remember You." Those are all decent songs, but my favorite Sarah songs are Silence and Sweet Surrender. For bonus points, check out Sarah McLachlan Remixed, a CD filled with her voice on top of techno beats. The best version of Sweet Surrender is on this CD. To find an awesome rendition of Silence, check out Paul Oakenfold’s Traveling double CD set. She’s got the perfect voice for techno music; it’s airy and light.
B :: Imogen Heap – Probably best known for her songs on Grey’s Anatomy or the song "Let Go" in Garden State with the group Frou Frou. (This song is in a 3-way tie for best song to capture a movie-moment. The other two are "Colorblind" in Cruel Intentions and "Battle Without Honor" in Kill Bill.) Her self-titled CD is my favorite music to listen to while I’m running. The Postal Service beats mixed with her computer-like voice is the oddest combination, but it works.
C :: Kate Havnevik – My latest find. I love her music! She’s similar to Imogen, but her voice sounds less processed. You might have heard her song "Brand New Day" in a Grey’s Anatomy episode a few weeks ago. You can get her CD on iTunes…I would definitely recommend it.
Honorable mentions :: Dido, Lisa Hannigan (Damien Rice’s co-singer), and Leigh Nash.
Your time in Dallas was certainly not without excitement. I’m not sure if I’ll miss you, but I am sure that you won’t play again with a star on your helment.