Monday, January 30, 2006

Track 5: Twenty-Eight



This song was originally called Now I'm Twenty Eight. I wrote it thinking about where I am at these days, where I thought I'd be, and perhaps where others though I would be.

It's tricky trying to catch up with a man like Jesus... or Gandhi or Sidartha for that matter. But my eyes are fixed on trying to emulate this man who changed the world through love. But I find myself out of breath often.

My buddy Mike wondered if this song was about being 'born into the church'. I don't know whether it's about literal family, spiritual family, or metaphorical family. I've always felt a bit misunderstood, so perhaps it's all three.


27 years have passed me by
And I was just sittin' here
Tryin' to find myself

The best I can remember I'm the one
The smoking gun
Always the problem child

See I was born into family that was blind
Blind to the future
Blind to my searchin' heart

Reckon they don't mean me any harm
Just doin' what they're doin'
And I'm doin' fine now

Cause I found my voice
Saw I had a choice
And mine was not to follow
But what am I to do?
Am I just passin' through?

Well 27 years could not reconcile
Me to my searchin'
Never findin' what I'm lookin' for

Runnin' out of breath to understand
Catchin' up with a man
Who died all those years ago

And I'm not so strong
Hope you won't wait too long
Cause I'm so damn tired of waiting
But what am I to do?
Who am I to you?

27 years and I'm still here
Same scared kid
Lookin' for his freedom

But freedom's seldom what we think it is
Empty rhetoric
Freedom's often greed dressed-up

So I'll just move on
Find somewhere to belong
And wonder where you're comin' and you're goin'
And hope to see you then
My friend


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Thanks Chris...

...for this post.

Chris writes... I remember hearing about this air attack about two weeks ago and was speechless at what the CIA had done. I was not surprised, for I know that the CIA historically does whatever violent thing it wants (or thinks it needs) to steer the course of history. But something was so strange that this event was blatantly public as news stations were covering the random bombing of a building 'believed' to contain an Al Qaeda operative. The story is eerily mirrored in the recent movie Syriana. Just out of nowhere, a building in a village (Damadola) is bombed from the sky by the CIA. Imagine that happening next to your house...They found that the suspect was not in the house, about 13 (8 men and 5 women) people were killed, and three houses bombed. Here is a news story (AP/Yahoo) on the event.

Has anyone found the irony in the US saying that it will not deal with Hamas unless they 'renounce violence'???!!! Hilarious! This statement has been so true during this civilian-killing, terror-inducing 'war on terror': If you have one ship you are a pirate; if you have a whole fleet you are a prestigious navy.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Cornel West

You might want to option-click here to download an incredible speeh by Cornel West at Whitman College. (Here are some others including Gandhi's grandson.)

Jason Evans told me to hunt down any of this guy's MP3s. Thanks man.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Busy. Busy. Busy. Three words that define my daily rhythm right now. Finishing up the new Relational Tithe site. Booking shows for this upcoming trip. Managing a few jobs, estimating others, invoicing others.

I feel like I am full of shit. I have felt this way for a long time. My friend Troy says that we're all full of shit. Perhaps he's right. And perhaps that's the life of a prophet or an idealist or a conscious human.

All we have are best-attempts, right?

Here's a poem I wrote in Michigan last year and refined this month in Santa Cruz.

I need directions to Zion. How long will we drive around in our seclusion-capsules, searching circularly for the mountain of wholeness? Have we lost our way or do we only have best-guesses? Is there guidance in our chaos or are we doomed to the laws of the supposed material? Decay? Brokenness? Death? Can all be made whole as we climb Mount Zion?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Shows in CA

We're still booking and arranging our West Coast trip, but here are some upcoming CA dates to let you know about.

Please come out if you're in the area... For maps, go to THE COBALT SEASON website.

Feb 4th - San Diego, CA - Evan/Kimble Abode
Feb 11th - Mission Viejo, CA - South County United
Feb 14th - Los Angeles, CA - Lava Lounge
Feb 16th - Riverside, CA - O'Farrell Abode

Feb 23rd - Mountain View, CA - Red Rock Coffee
Feb 24th - Oakland, CA - Mama Buzz Café
Feb 25th - San Francisco, CA - House Show TBD
Feb 27th - San Francisco, CA - Brainwash Café

March 2nd - Humboldt, CA - Six Rivers Brewery
March 4th - Chico, CA - Café Flo

Monday, January 23, 2006

Track 4: The Bottom Line



This song was originally called A Short Essay on the US Armed Forces, the American Corporation, and the American Church, but that seemed too long and contrived.

Here it stands, The Bottom Line.


Little guns
Little kisses
Kiss them all goodbye
Hope they'll miss us

Wasted thoughts
More ammunition
The machine will have it's way
Despite our wishin'

Go back downtown
Grey stone and mortar
Cold calls to the poor
"Will you sell your daughter?"

Name your price
Get bottom dollar
Suburban afterlife
A lamb to slaughter

Too many times
No matter how high we fly
It goes around around around around
You will see
It's who you wanted to be
You think that you'll be free
But it goes around around around around around

An empty hall
A stained-glass alter
If you don't pull us out
We might falter

God need your goods
God need your money
To help us pay the rent
And keep it sunny
'Cause we keep it sunny

Too many times
No matter how high we climb
It goes around around around around
You will see
It's who you wanted to be
You think that you'll be free
But it goes around around around around around

Oh and you will see
It's not what you want to be
You though that you'd be free
But it just goes around around around around around again


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Yesterday and Last Night

What a day. Went to the Coppola winery. Had 2 complimentary glasses of $100/bottle wine. Mmm.

Then to Casa Burnett for a house show. Incredible to see so many some new people and reconnect with old friends.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Oakland, Baby, Yah!

Been spending a good deal of time in Oakland between the Petersen's and the Burnett's (and here.) Wonderful people. A wonderful time. Productive and inspiring. And it's been beautifully clear outside.

And today, lunch with Mr. Toy, a great conversationalist.

Some pics...

...and tomorrow (Friday) night is a house show at Casa Burnett at 7pm. Join us if you can.

And just before that we will go to the Coppola Winery.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Parker Palmer and Me

Parker Palmer will be giving a free lecture in San Rafael. If you're around the Bay this Sunday, you might consider connecting with some of us who are planning to go hear him speak.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Role I Play

I have been asking several people along the trip what they think the role of people of privilege is. I ask it, knowing that the term privilege is subjective and perhaps telling of the actual systemic perception of a off-balance, arrogant culture. Still, the question has been one that I have asked several people.

And it's led to some interesting conversation...most of the time frustrating my simple mind, shaking me from my simplistic understandings of the world and its systems.

I hear a guy say, "I aim to make as much money as I can so that I can help give it away to people." I stare at him and wonder if he's serious. And perhaps he is. And perhaps he's goodhearted about it. But I can't help but think people who gather riches are inclined to protect them. Perhaps I am him in more than a few ways. "What good is a poor man to the poor? The Gospel is good news to the poor." I wasn't quite sure what he meant, but he seemed convinced.

I heard a friend say that we as white people in America are not necessarily people of privilege. That perhaps, as some conservatives have suggested in converesations past, the scales are tipped not in our favor. Perhaps the liberals have slighted the common white man.

Is there a marginalized people? I think so. Do I think the poor should be bumped up to middle class, enjoying the things all normal American folks enjoy?

I hope that's not the point. I think the masses could learn something from the working poor...that you don't need everything you want.

But where am I in all this? I am among the richest by the world's standards. Ought I pull a Sidhartha and leave it all? Isn't that what Jesus essentially did? And perhaps what he commanded some folks to do?

Is it a command to all of us? It was for Sidhartha's early disciples.

Or perhaps my question of privilege doesn't have so much to do with money as it has to do with power.

What is the role of a person of power, I could ask. In our globalised world, do I make bigger decisions in the fate of the world than my Thai friends who are fine to live day to day, concerned with their families and country.

Is it American to be concerned with the fate of the rest of the world? A western thing? A Christian thing? A rich, white thing?

Or is it best to avoid money and power at all cost? To go away from the power centers?

My friend Hugh says, "Change yourself and you change the world." He might just be right...or is there more?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Track 3: Dream



This is the one pure love song on the album...for my beloved. To be able to travel this journey with the one I love has made all the difference, weighted all the decisions, upped the ante.

Every year is a bit of a cycle for us. In Winter we seem to lay dormant, and Spring provides new growth and life. Summer sits slowly sometimes. It seems that the advent of our year is October, in early Autumn, when the leaves are a changin' and our lives follow suit.

Looking back over the last several years, each fall has been a time of transition into the next 'thing' for us, whatever that may be. Large life changes have seemed to hover around the Summer/Fall break.


The cynicism falls from my eyes
As I lie here with you, my love
And this beauty surrounds me
Your beauty surrounds me
Your beauty confounds me
So I drink it all in

Seems it's that time of year again
When dark clouds give way
To brighter passages
And this feeling I notice
This feeling I know it's
The one that I've waited for
All my life, I've waited for you

Now you're here with me
Would you pinch my skin
If this is just a dream
Don't wake me up

All those who came before me
And those who were before you
They all are behind us and memory reminds us
Why we are who we are
Who we are
Love, who we are

Everything within
Leads my heart to you
Words cannot begin
To show you


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Welcome Mr. Samuel Hoff

This afternoon, at... wife and her parents jumped for joy...

...because this little fella was born...

Sammy Hoff, my nephew.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Mark's Story of the Sharps

Señor Scandrette recounts our week with them here. As we left their place this morning to head to what has become our local coffee house, we saw that the Scandrette's rear car window has been smashed to bits and their stereo was gone. That's no good.

But aside from that incident, it was a good week in the enchanted town of San Francisco.

Why Canada Might Be A Good Fit...

Check it out. Thanks to Bob for the link.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Remember 3 Things

On New Year's Eve (my beloved's birthday), I sat at the corner of a table with my sister and my wife, drinking Fat Tire from the tap. Man that beer is so much better from the tap!

We attempted conversation amidst the crowded sonic space. Irish bars are notorious for that I guess. Still, we tried out a liturgy together that Holly and I did last year: Write 3 words that defined 2005 for you and write 3 words that you hope to define 2006 for you.

I remember last years experiment with this, sitting in Heath and Rhianon's living room, squeezed into their new couch set. Friends shared their 3 2004-words and their 3 2005-words. I only vaguely recollect mine...

My words for how I hope 2006 to be are... centered (which I think is a repeat of last year), reconciled, and actualized. I hope all 3 of those define this year.

CENTERED - I tend to operate things in a sort of chaotic, external sort of way sometimes, with the inner-life being neglected. I want to operate out of a very deep core...a developed sense of self and clarity in my vocation.

RECONCILED - 2005 has made me all the more aware of my own need for reconciliation to myself, my past, my family and friends. Most of you have shared in conversations about this very thing. If I want shalom to come into the world, let it begin with reconciliation in my own world.

ACTUALIZED - I an an idea-consumer, deriving energy from concepts and ideals. This year, I hope to place these ideas in real, living contexts. I want my life to be an ongoing experiment with truth, actualizing the things deep within me, discontent to just sit and talk about things.

I aim to remember these 3 things this year. Yes, I do.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Oh San Francisco

Holly and I are in San Francisco this week. Walked the town last night with some friends. Went to MacWorld today.

I had thought January would be a sort of month of processing for us, but it's been hard to flip the 'input' switch to the 'off' position. Some folks have asked us what the difference between our pilgrimage and this month is. I guess I had hoped for some sort of digestion and writing and real processing this month, but perhaps that was a kind of romantic, compartmentalized notion.

Perhaps the pilgrimage doesn't stop when I tell it to...

Monday, January 09, 2006

Track 2: American Empire



The American Dream operates as a hook for so many folks. It's the idea of having anything you could want or need: security, wealth, nice things, more stuff. Most people that get on that track can't seem to find their way off. I know it's been hard for us to take our name off that secede from the American Dream. But we're trying.

It's allure is hollow and shallow and worthless on some levels. A way of life supported only be the colonialization and oppression of 'weaker' peoples throughout the world. The American way of life is not sustainable.

Perhaps you've wanted to secede as well? To get off-track? Take heart. There's a whole group of us trying to do know that you're not alone. Not alone...


Well you take me out and you drag me around
But I'd do anything 'cause all I've found in you
In you
You broke my heart with my soul laid bare
But you didn't know, didn't care, now did ya?
Even care?

Still I followed you
'Cause you promised me
More than I ever really wanted

Well damn this American Empire
We all overpaid to be sure I know it
But even still
All these needs and wants and toys and taunts
They follow me everywhere

But still I followed you
'Cause you promised me
More than I ever really wanted and now

I wanna get my money back
I wanna get my life off-track
I wanna find my one true friend
If I could just begin again
I want to find my way back home
I want to find I'm not alone
And I'm not alone
Not alone...

Well the money's in the plate and your life's in my hands
And you wonder if I'd even understand your situation
In this great nation
Where the sick heal the sick and us blind lead the blind
Maybe together we can find what we're looking for
What was it we were looking for?

So don't follow me
'Cause I'd promise you
Nothing more than what you need and

You'd wanna get your money back
You'd wanna get your life off-track
You'd wanna find your one true friend
If you could just begin again
You'd wanna find your way back home
You'd wanna find you're not alone
Friend, you're not alone
Not alone...

Here's hopin' I find my way back to you
Here's hopin' that one day I'll follow through
Here's hopin' they read me between the lines
Until then I'm fine, I'm fine, we're all fine

So we don't get our money back
Let's get our lives off this track
Maybe you're my one true friend
Here we go, let's begin again
Maybe we'll find our way back home
Now that we know we're not alone
Not alone...


Saturday, January 07, 2006


Here is an interview with me and CraigBob in which we discuss a great many things that the album touches, love, politics, life, economics, relationships...and Holly and I do a couple live performances of some of the songs...

Craig is a good friend and if you do not already know about his podcast, it will be worth your time to catch up on the last 24 episodes.


Friday, January 06, 2006

Chris on Pacifism

Chris shares some great thoughts on pacifism here.

Oscar Romero: You do not pray anymore.
Revolutionary Guerrilla: Of course, I still pray Father.
Oscar Romero: Then why do you carry a gun?"

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Continued Journey

We left Santa Cruz a couple days ago to head to Oakland and San Francisco, where we'll be for the next several weeks. Traveling (even short distances) instantly energizes us sometimes. Strange.

There is a faint stinky smell in our car that we hope to get rid of. Geez.

If you're a Bay-Area-n and you're around Jan 20th, make plans to hook up with some of us in Oakland for a house show. Just email me for directions. It's gonna be at the Burnett's home. Should be a spectacular time of conversation and song. We hope to record this concert as the first of 4 or 5 shows that will comprise the new live album that we hope to have done in March or April. Be on the look out!

Not much else. Work. Sleep. Conversation. Reading.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Jack Up Your Perspective in '06

Some books to read...
The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile
A People's History of the United States
Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire
The Politics of Jesus

Some articles to read...
Peace Corps and NGOs
NGOs: Enemies of Allies?
Climate Options

Some movies to see...
The Corporation

Anyone have any other suggestions for having your mind/heart blown open? Resources to help see how we are all complicit in what is going on in the world...either by blindly supporting it or by saying that we have nothing to do with it? Feel free to respond.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Track 1: Like Jesus



This is probably the most honest song I've written to date. It is a vulnerable confession of how hard it is for me to live generously and lovingly. I find myself strung between hope and despair all too often, wondering how to do the most good with my life.

These words also stem from a feeling of failure from various attempts in life...and then coming to grips with those things and helping redeeming them without being cliché.

Sometimes tackling unhealth (socially, spiritually, physically, politically, ecologically, etc.) is so hard that it feels like no matter what you do, it will make no difference. It's maddening how easy it is to wade between beautiful pure idealism and thick base consumerism. Damn.

But alas, there is a hope for the cycles of history. If only our collective memory would incarnate goodness and honesty and generosity and, above all, Love. I think it begins by admitting that we are the problem as much as we are the solution.


Well yesterday seems so far from me now
Gotta close my eyes to see
I swear to God it seems I've been here before
Why'm I back again?

It seems out of fashion to be right
So I guess that I'll be wrong
And wear it like a badge across my chest
Let it bleed from my arm

When everything's for granted
Nothing is for sure
Let's take the Metro south of here
Search for something more
And all that was forgotten
Seems to crawl back into my head
And I'm wonderin' what's ahead

Well Mom, I only wanted to be like Jesus
But it seems that I keep fucking up
And Dad, don't write me off just yet
I think I might be onto something here

And friends, Romans, countrymen
Won't you lend me your ears
This Holy American Empire
Gotta tell you it's crumblin' down
To the ground

'cause everything's for granted
And nothing is for sure
So let's grab a Starbucks baby
And just spend a little more
Forget about the dreams we had
Just work and sleep until we're dead
Are we blind to what's ahead

When memory's for granted
Nothing is for sure
And history goes round and round
As we long for something more
We lie and wait for better days
With hope and fear and joy and dread
Or sheer ambivalance to what's ahead


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Album Notes

We have sold and given away about 350 of the new albums (The Cobalt Season - But I Tell You). Sweet. I have recouped costs (relatively speaking), so I thought I would post the songs individually on the blog with some notes so you can download them for free. I'll do a song per week, in the order of the album track list.

For those who have purchased the CD–either at concerts or on the web–thank you, thank you, thank you. Wow. Your support has helped to make this possible for me to now share these songs with others. Thank you.

The album will remain for sale on the web and at concerts in the case that you don't want to wait 11 weeks for all the tracks or in the case that you just want to support me, the artist. :)

Either way, enjoy! And Happy New Year!