Saturday, April 26, 2008

Family

At one of my favorite coffee shops. Listening to them dream. Seeing their faces as they realize the legacy that precedes those dreams. Feeling the same flame that burns within my heart. Hearing and knowing what God has already done, and is doing as we speak.

It brings a renewed meaning to the concept of coming full circle.

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What a lovely, significant evening.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah...

This is epic. I mean it.



This, along with David Cook singing "Music of the Night" on Idol last night, has pretty much wrecked me. I love it when fellow musicians dig deep and sing from the depths of their being. Seriously...I'm not sure I can take anymore. Wow.

[HT: Daley, then Phil]

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Spark of the Divine

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“In every man there is the spark of the divine. The spark may be allowed to almost flicker out, or it will burn brightly as our faith and understanding permit...Nothing can hold back an idea whose time has come."
-Lee Braxton

It seems as though, lately, I have been learning how to dream again. I find myself surrounded by a bunch of wide-eyed dreamers, passionate about their purposes and discovering the path that God has for them. Up until recently, I was afraid to let my dreams be too big. It seemed like they were limited to some self-imposed reality...a cautious approach, to say the least. Then a friend said something that changed the way I thought.

"Who is the Maker of our dreams, anyhow? Who put them inside us?"

God has woven these dreams into our DNA. They are buried deep in our hearts, but are revealed in due season. I have seen things come about that I would never have imagined in my own life and in the lives of people around me. Some may write it off as the enthusiasm that often marks our years as twentysomethings. I beg to differ. I know plenty of people that are just as passionate now as they were when they were my age. God never stops instilling His passion and love into us...so why should we stop responding? If anything, the "spark of the divine" should turn into a blaze, growing stronger with each passing year in our lives. There is no stopping the Kingdom if we all would realize this and begin truly living out our purposes and passions (which inevitably intertwine).

I would like to say I have arrived, but I really have not. I am learning. I am growing. I am stumbling through it. But somehow, in His infinite grace, He is teaching me how to walk. How to breathe. How to dwell.

How to dream.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

An Aching Heart

Today, my heart hurts.

I can scarcely find the words to capture it. It goes beyond an emotion. I cannot even find the music to match my mood (a rare occurrence). All this is the result of a dangerous prayer—Break my heart with what breaks Yours, Father. And He did. It seems as though it is more than I can take.

It hurts for the precious baby boy who died of SIDS in his crib a few weeks ago. He was adopted just a few months before that by a couple that is preparing to break ground for an orphanage in Belize. There is simply no way to make sense of a situation like this, but hope it seems hope is in their midst. A good friend of mine arrived on the scene the next day for a three-week visit he had been planning for months. The timing of his presence there is impeccable.

It hurts for the people of Haiti, who protest and riot in the streets, empty plates in hand, because rising food costs have forced them to go hungry. One protester said, “If the police and U.N. troops want to shoot at us, that’s OK, because in the end if we are not killed by bullets we’ll die of hunger.” Shaun's brief yet potent take on the situation stopped me in my tracks as I read his blog today. He has a way of doing that to me.

It hurts for the injustice of a mega-corporations making millions and even billions off products we can fully live without, and would more than likely be better off without. Our system is upside down, in a horrifying way. I picture a homeless man starving and feeling without hope in the streets while someone walks by him, engrossed in the bells and whistles of their new iPhone. The finger points squarely back at me—at each of us—although there are many things we can do (and many of us have done) to reach out to the less fortunate around us.

All this is perplexing, to say the least. So much in our world is out of order and does not make sense. I don’t consider myself as one who has a flagrant or excessive lifestyle, but I still sigh at the thought that there is so much more that could be done to make right the tragedies like the one in Haiti.

I sponsor one child in Uganda, but I wish I could sponsor all the kids in the world. Or maybe just build a massive house and feed and love and provide for all the hungry, hurting, homeless folks. That sounds a lot like Heaven, doesn’t it? I guess that’s evidence that eternity is in our hearts.

And even though my heart feels heavy inside me on days like this, I would not ask for anything different. There is so much more I would like to say, but I’m not quite sure how to do this justice. For once, this writer is at a loss for words.

Friday, April 11, 2008

"New" Journalism

Disclaimer: I do not usually comment on my own industry (the media) or the trends therein, but this is something that has been on my mind lately. If you'd rather not hear me rant a little bit about the media and the trends of new journalism...feel free to stop reading here. Otherwise, welcome aboard.

Let me start out by giving you a little background.

Just last weekend I edited a friend's senior paper, which dealt with the relationship between the blogosphere and the news media. Oftentimes, bloggers act as whistleblowers when they see something that is not legitimate in a news story, or the act as "citizen journalists" that comment on the events they deem worthy to cover. I won't get into my views about bloggers acting as journalists (that could be lengthy and mostly unnecessary), but I will comment on something that I noticed just now in a headline news story.

Increasingly, I have noticed the voice and opinion of reporters in news stories. In essence, this trend of "new journalism" or "civic journalism" occurs when a reporter submits his or her opinion into a story or spins things in a way they see fit, but that may not be fair. Sure, it's been going on for years in the way media authorities have chosen to tell stories or what stories they have chosen to cover...but lately it has filtered down even into the newsroom, all the way down to the work of staff writers. In other words, the traditional journalistic value of objectivity is trumped by the view of the reporter.

At first I thought this trend was mostly constrained to local or smaller papers that are not as professional, but today I read something on CNN's site that made me raise an eyebrow. I noticed it in a story about a mother who learned that a few years ago that her son was planning a Columbine-style attack at his high school. She acted quickly and got him help, very possibly preventing another horrible school shooting. It is not the story itself that I take issue with, but the way the reporter sets it up.

In telling about how this young man wanted to kill his high school classmates, the reporter wrote: "It would be a fitting payback to his high school classmates who Richard says relentlessly bullied him."

Excuse me? First of all, that is opinion. And second of all, a fitting payback?

I don't really know what to do with this trend, since I must admit that I too have allowed my voice to work its way into a story. However, I make it a point to take my opinion out of my stories and to qualify other opinions in the stories with at least one or two sources. It is a very fine line to walk, and there are multiple issues I could delve into here...but I will refrain for the sake of keeping this to the point.

[addition]

Travis mentioned that this writer may just need an editor, which is very true...it may have been a simple mistake where the writer failed to attribute the idea to the source. Nonetheless, the issues of new journalism remain in the industry.

Any thoughts? Or did I just lose all 3 of my dedicated readers with my little disclaimer at the top?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Positive Post Tuesday [round 1]

My "blogroll friend" Brody started this tradition, and I thought to follow suit. I cannot say I will manage to do this every Tuesday, but I would like to give it a try today. For those of you unfamiliar, Positive Post Tuesday is when some of us in the blogosphere dedicate a post to talking positively about someone we know. I think that today I will start with Shaun.

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I met Shaun in the summer of 2006 when I did an internship out in Nashville. At the time, he and Brian led up Ikon, the college and career program at The People's Church. I attended all throughout that summer and really cherished my time with those folks. I hope to move back to Nashville...eventually. I remember leaving Ikon many nights and trying to wrap my mind and heart around some of the words Shaun said. He is truly one of the most remarkable teachers I have ever encountered, and he has never been afraid to provoke us to deal with the issues of today's society. He also happens to be a soft rock star, whose music I first encountered long before I met him. Need I say more?

During that summer, I was also researching my senior journalism project on Christians in the music industry. I interviewed Shaun and a few other dynamic folks in the process. He gave me very honest answers about his take on the church, the music industry and the trends and issues therein. The project turned out well, and I was glad to have Shaun as one of the voices in it.

Sadly enough, I haven't seen Shaun and most of the TPC/Ikon crowd since I left Nashville after that summer, but I've kept up with his blog fairly regularly and have enjoyed hearing what he has to say and seeing what he has been up to lately. In fact, when he and the Compassion Bloggers went to Uganda, I kept up with a few of their blogs and ultimately decided to sponsor a beautiful little girl named Christine. I am grateful for the inspiration, most certainly! Shaun is a passionate advocate for Compassion International and travels regularly to play shows, with the purpose of getting more kids sponsored. If you have not already, you should check out his blog and see what he has to say. He updates almost every day.

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So there you have it. I am sure all 3 of my dedicated readers will appreciate the positive words. Thanks for reading along, guys!

Pass it on and link to your post here!