Saturday, December 30, 2006

DL4?

Anyone looking to unload a Line6 DL4 in working condition? I might be interested.

Hit me up, yo.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Peace On Earth

This is a little video I put together using Dan Dixon's haunting rendition of Silent Night. May the birth of the Savior bring about Peace by us following in his Way.



Don't despair. Do something.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Big 3

Just felt the third earthquake in 72 hours. All based just east of Berkeley. While they have been 3.7, 3.7, and 3.5, we have still felt them. Are they warning us of something larger? Oh geez. The last two have kind of freaked us out. The frames on the wall that hung over our heads have been taken down.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Knowledge ≠ Power

Man that is disheartening to write. But after much deliberating, I think it is a universal truth. Take that postmoderns!

Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set ye free.

Al Gore, in his film, An Inconvenient Truth, makes the statement that people generally move from ignorance to despair whence informed, feeling that they can make no difference given the new information. I get that.

It's not that knowledge cannot lead to change or empowerment, but it has become an end of the line for a great many of us. Being "aware" is kind of a last stop before the train ride gets terribly scary, racing around corners in the dark. So it seems that most of us opt there. Well at least I'm informed. I'm not sure that's enough.

I watch the cigarette TRUTH ads and read the emails from ONE or Sojourners...but still people are not changing in really "significant" ways...or it at least appears that way. Sure people are changing their minds about the war by the dozens, but are they changing their own lives?

I wonder if this is why the message of Jesus has been so domesticated and weak in our modern world (or perhaps for all time?). I wonder if we have attempted to disseminate information instead of embodying a new Way of Life. Now don't get me wrong, I believe that paradigm shifts can help people understand things in new lights, but I wonder if information, even if leading to a paradigm shift, is still less potent, life-changing, and integrative than embodying an alternative Way.

Anyone?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Consciencious Living

I am convinced that In-and-Out Burger is to McDonald's what Target is to Wal-Mart. It feels so much better to buy goods from the former, but the difference, in reality, is quite minimal.

But please God, don't ask me to give up In-and-Out and Target!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Apocalypto and the Mayan Collapse

Travers and I saw Apocalypto last week. Wow. It's taken me this long to process (and perhaps recover) from the film experience. It was that intense. I'm gonna share a couple things about the plot, so you might consider this post a spoiler.

People have asked me if I'd suggest that they'd see the film. I've found that difficult to answer. Also the question of, "Did you like the movie?" is hard to respond properly to.

Mel Gibson (in my opinion) is an incredible director. I still think of Braveheart as one of my favorites of all time. And while I wasn't any huge fan of The Passion of the Christ, I did think the movie was a bold move for him...and I really applauded the use of Aramaic instead of English. I could have even gone without subtitles.

Anyway, Apocalypto followed by using it's own indigenous language...Mayan.

Well, I have to say the movie wasn't what I thought it'd be. After recently reading Jared Diamond's Collapse, I thought this for sure was going to be a film about the Classic Mayan Collapse...and it would perhaps be a warning to our own society in our own time...about treading heavily upon this earth and warring over natural resources.

Nope. It was a movie about a guy...who was pumped up to be this sort of Chosen One...who basically ran away from being captured...and because the gods were on his side, he lived. Hmm. I mean that's cool and all, but it wasn't what I had hoped for.

I kept wondering what Mel was trying to say with this film. Certainly the follow-up to his last film would really say something. I'm just not sure what it was.

Was he pointing to the purity of the indigenous, disparate tribes amidst the vulgarity of this Mayan Empire? Was he trying to remind us that all empires were built on the backs of slaves? Was he critiquing the use of power by the religious? Or showing the hypocrisy of using "God" to justify anything? And when the Spaniards arrive near the end, did they symbolize hope for this savage continent? Or further oppression...perhaps that empires build off of collapsed empires? Or was it kind of one evil canceling another out?

And what of this Chosen One? Is he advocating a sort of Essene withdrawal to "begin again" while letting the world go to hell in a handbasket? Ignore the oppression of the empire?

I dunno. I am still scratching my head, wondering why I sat through what might be the most disturbingly violent film I have ever seen.

After this and the last film, I'm pretty certain that Mel is enamored with violence. (I know you're saying Duh.)

So, all in all, it was an interesting film, but too violent for me...and not macro enough. The whole last half of the film was a chase sequence with the Mayans dying in interesting ways. What's up?

Anyone else see this film?

BTW, here is an interesting take on the film by an anthropologist with some formed opinions.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Simplicity Revisited: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

We just finished a revised personal budget for 2007. Wow. It meant taking into account how much we made last year and how we spent it. There is nothing like an honest accounting of how we spend our dollars and time to put this idealist up against a wall. Mark says, "This is where we really live."

"How we spend our (dollars and) days is indeed how we spend our lives." - Annie D (and me)

We discussed our proposed budgets as a community, and man, it was a heavy night...really thick. Money is something seldom discussed on a real personal level. It's far too risky really. But when has that stopped us before?

For all the ways I rage against the philosophy of the American Dream, I sure seemed to profit from it this last year. As it stands now, we bring in the bulk of our income indirectly from Rupert Murdoch (that's right, the FOX News guy...or the OJ Simpson book-show guy). And we speak of divestment.

This last year has been hugely enlightening to us, but most changes we all know that we should make are hard to do...I know this. Still, the Master calls us to embody another way...and he reminds us that it will come at the very cost of our lives.

I have budgeted this next year for us to get out of all consumer debt (save student loans of which we owe $60-100k depending on lenght of time we repay) this year. It is going to be tight, but we're going to try it. It may seem like a "no, duh" to a great many of you, but a budget is a fairly new idea to me...not that it's never been suggested to us, but that we've never done one for real.

I am tempted to post our proposed budget here to the blog for transparency's sake, but I think the info might be best exchanged person to person. If for some reason you want to see it, let me know.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

This Past Weekend

What a great, tiring, wonderful weekend.

We had our friend Daley up for the weekend. That was swell. He's an incredibly talented photographer (amongst other things), and we had the pleasure of showing him around the City. In exchange, he took a buttload of photos for us...family photos, band photos, random photos...and he posted some of them on his blog.

The Cobalt Season (which these days is Holly, me, and Dan Dixon) played a couple shows...one in Sacramento and one here at our place. Good times...playing some new stuff and old stuff. Lots of later nights, but Pax champed it for the most part. He was obviously tired though because he then slept really long stretches at night.

We had almost 3 dozen folks packed like sardines at our house show...wow, was that tight...er, intimate.

It was great to hear Deccatree...and really great to meet Brett Bixby and hear his tunes. It was also wonderful to have Dan playing with us...and to have Katherine in town.

Adam threw down some mad poetry.

All in all it was a great weekend. God, we love this city, this community, this place in life...when we're getting enough sleep and our computers are not dying on us.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

This is Your Life. Are You Who You Wanna Be?

Geez life has been chaotic as of late. And there's been all this talk about simplicity and man, it feels false in some ways. Our life these last few weeks has been anything but simple. The house just began to quiet down today. We were planning on making Christmas gifts and getting some work done...and Holly's computer crashed. And I cannot seem to fix it myself.

All I could think of doing was singing, "I'm so excited. I'm so scared." ala Jessie Spano.



(For those of you syndicating this blog, you'll need to click here to get the full effect thanks to YouTube.)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Christmas Ideas

I'm happy that so many folks are attempting to re-imagine what Christmas could be this year. It is such a tricky time of loving sentiment and gross materialism. How have these two merged so? And what are we to do in the thick of it?

Will has some good gift-giving ideas here.

Another friend sent me this link.

Also, my friend Melvin sent me this in an email. I thought it was worth posting here.

In this Advent season the hearts of those who follow in the way of Jesus can't but feel ambivalence as we celebrate the coming of the world's lord and saviour to bring "peace on earth" and "goodwill to all humanity" and then must acknowledge our shortcomings in not doing all we can to make this dream of God, which God has entrusted to us, a reality. The Love Your Neighbor Advent Campaign is just one small way we might make God's missional hopes come true.

Two summers ago I met a young man, Elias D'eis, at a Peace Workshop. Elias is a 20-something-year-old Palestinian from a town you might recognize, Bethlehem (of Judea). He is working to bring about peace in his homeland through his social service work with children and entrepreneurial work with young adults. Peace is more difficult that most of us are even capable of imagining when everyday those who live in the region must wake up and face the very real possibility that some member of their household will not return home that evening. Can you imagine? As I heard him tell his story my heart broke. We were sitting in a circle sharing what we were grateful for as we brought our Peace Workshop to a close. I will never forget that Elias thanked us for giving him a brief space in time where he could feel safe and know hope. I want to invite us to help Elias provide moments of safety and hope for other Palestinian and Israeli children.

The concept is simple, yet unique. I am inviting you and your constituencies to give a monetary gift that is a multiple of 12 ($120... $240... $360...). Why 12? Because for every $12 dollars, $6 will purchase a gift for a Palestinian child who frequents the YMCA where Elias works and the other $6 will purchase a gift for that Palestinian child to give to an Israeli child. Imagine with me the goodwill that might be engendered should the next generation of Israeli and Palestinian children grow up giving gifts to one another. Imagine further how the cause of peace would be abetted should these young people become pen pals sharing their lives with each other. The opportunity to be a small part of embracing Israel and Palestine in the peace and goodwill that the birth of Jesus was intended to hail brings tears to my eyes.


If you'd like to donate, go to his Kid's Cultivators site and scroll down to the donate link.

Monday, December 04, 2006

On Simplicity

So we thought this would be a good season to practice the art/discipline of simplicity. As a community, we wanted to engage in a counter-cultural Way that would seem truer to us. We decided that we would observe some common rhythms and really check in with the grit of life.

So here's what we did/are doing...

• Sharing income statments and budgets with each other
• Inventorying all that we own
• Learning the art of giftmaking
• Giving away as many of our possessions as we can (or selling them at a community garage sale and giving away the proceeds)
• Experimenting for a week without any media (TV, books, magazines, etc.) and only wearing 1 or 2 sets of clothes and not purchase anything for ourselves

This has all been good/hard stuff. I am in the same shirt I was wearing almost a week ago...and you know what? It doesn't stink so bad. And the need to shower once a day? Yah, might be a made up thing.

Each of these things has helped to reveal what is truly important to us. It's been hard getting rid of things that we only wear once every couple of years, but it's been freeing all the same. One of the other community members pointed out that simplifying really just means clearing away the clutter so that we can devote ourselves to what is really important to us.

I like that definition.