Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Messiah Complex

A few comments the last few days have either indirectly insinuated or directly asked if I have a messiah complex. I'm sure it's true. I do. That is not really in question. What is in question is the validity and health of it.

This post really just follows the thoughts of the previous posts. I have wondered most of my life just how much of our world really depends on us. Not to overstate, but in my youth, I was primarily under the assumption that the important stuff that happens in the world is somehow dictated by God in either a direct or indirect way.

In college I began to ask the question of our active role in faith? Was it merely enough to have faith in God to bring goodness and healing and salvation into our world, or was it up to us, or was it some sort of partnership?

After college, I began to deconstruct the word salvation and have ended up with a much more robust understanding of the world that is much more all-encompassing than mere "life after death in heaven" mumbo-jumbo.

I wonder, as people of faith, who are mysteriously called this "body of Messiah", aren't we to have messiah complexes? Or is that missing the point?

Last Friday a friend and I came up with this phrase: "No one person is another's messiah; we are all collectively each other's." Yes. I believe this to be true. And it takes some of the pressure off. But it doesn't let us off the hook with little to no responsibility.

We are collectively the salt and light in our world, preserving it and helping in God's healing. We are messiahs (wasn't the early term Christian merely "little christs" or "little messiahs"?). This is all of our birthright and responsibility. It would seem that in order to embrace an approach to spirituality that is integrated and whole, we must embrace this...with it's far-reaching implications.

But still I wonder if that isn't missing the point. I wonder if that is merely "us getting in the way of God" as I used to say. I also wonder if the horrific things of our past (like manifest destiny or other forms of colonization) come from this very notion that we are God in our world.

Perhaps there is some tension to be found...that we are fully responsible–yet not fully capable–for bringing about goodness, beauty and life into our world.

PS - That is not me in the picture. It is a rendering of Jesus. Multiple people have asked me this. Ha. Oh, and Jenn has some good thoughts continuing this conversation here.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Update on our Hard Drive

Oh god. I just got this email.

The drive is attempting one last try. It looks like the heads at rest are ok. However, when scanning the whole drive, it fails to find data. It is recoverable but I suspect the heads will have to be replaced. The minimum for this is about $1000. The average runs about $1800. It could be much worse but I don't know if it is worth it to you.

Please pray/sing/send love/breath some goodness and health out our way. Please.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cause and Effect

I need some fatalism in my life.

I have come to see most things as simple cause and effect. We are in the situations we are in simply because of our personal and collective choices. To follow God or to bring forth his goodness, we must simply enact the very commands he offers us.

Climate change, war, bad relationships, inner anxiety...I have not seen these things as externally-willed things, but rather human decisions (indirectly or directly).

Still, I read passages that haunt me...about God setting up and disposing of Kings and such. Some folks try to remind me that God is God and I am not. And while of course I believe do not believe that I am God, I do not see the division so starkly. That is, God is not simply God, out there, and I am me, down here. We have the Spirit of the Creator within each one of us, the Image of God.

So I have opted to believe that it is a partnership. Our partnering with God. Is this foolish though? I am reminded by some authors of "how small I really am" yet Jesus told his disciples that, with faith, they could command a mountain to move. I am still stooped at this faith.

I think I need to just buy into some fatalism in order to experience a deeper Flow. This is gonna be hard.

Monday, January 22, 2007

What Are We To Have Faith In?

This is a question that has been rattling around in my soul my whole life. It is an honest, not playful question.

When I was young, I was taught that we were to have faith that Jesus is our Savior. In college, I was taught that we were to have faith that God has a plan and we are to surrender to it. Shortly after college, I was taught that we were to have faith that God could do anything and lead us in a direct sort of way.

A few years back, I learned to have faith in the idea and reality of the Kingdom of God...that it is here-and-now and will become more and more fully here-and-now. Recently, I have thought that we are to have faith in what Jesus spoke of and its truthfulness...believing that he really meant what he said...and that we are called to it. The implications of a faith like this seem to be that we will live as if what we do matters, that we are not to distance ourselves from the life and acts of Jesus, and that perhaps we hold more weight in the equation than we thought.

But I wonder.

Some folks recently gave their own ideas on what it meant to have faith in God...that perhaps he has some grand scheme being worked out, or that he CAN do anything, but won't necessarily do ALL the things we have faith in him to do, or that perhaps we believe that goodness is prevailing in spite of all the evidence.

I just don't know. What do you think we are to have faith in? Lord knows I've tried to have faith in God, people, sacred texts, relationships, ideals, statistics. All of these things seem to fail on some level in my own experience.

I'm looking for real, thoughtful interaction here...not some "Just have faith that God is in control" bullshit. Don't simply tell me something you heard. I want to know you're experience. What do you have faith in?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Unloading Some Music Gear

Hey yo. Are you a musician? You might be interested in this post.

I am thinking of unloading some of my music gear. If interested in any of the below, please email me for pics and prices and such.

1990's Red Sunburst Rickenbacker 330 Electric Guitar
Line6 Duoverb Amp (2 x 12")
Behringer V-AMP (POD type thing)
Small PA System (Amp Head Not Working, Speakers Are Fine)
Some pedals (Boss Digital Delay, DynaComp, A/B Footswitch)
Samick "Greg Bennett" Les Paul Rip-Off Electric Guitar

Lemme know yo.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ups and Downs

Sometimes I feel the weight of our life decisions. This morning was one of those. We got awful sleep last night. And this morning Pax was crying and grunting and I just couldn't get away from it except by actually leaving the house. Our small space sometimes seems to close in on us.

Yesterday something really bad happened. Our external backup hard drive died. Yah, the hard drive that was backing up Holly's hard drive that died a month ago...that one died. Right. The unfortunate thing is that we didn't have a backup for our you?!? So, after attempting some data recovery with some consumer-level software, we realized that we would need to call a data recovery place. I told him the symptoms and he said, "Well, be thankful that the drive is still spinning. Once it stops spinning, it could cost between $2000-8000." What the ?!?!?!?!?!? But since it's still spinning, it should be less than $1000. Wow. Wow. Wow. And we have to buy a new backup to replace this one (and perhaps a new backup for our backup?!?).

Wow. That made for a helluva day honestly. Followed by a really bad night of sleep.

I feel like we push ourselves to live in the margins. We host people 4-5 nights a week. We're attempting to get our lives rooted in a deeper, more cosistent spirituality. We take on more work and at lower costs than we ought to. But we do it because we love the people, hunger for a "good life", and need the money to pay off silly college debt.

The whole freelance thing is amazingly romantic...really, it is. We are our own bosses. If we need a vacation, we take one (but we don't get any PTO). If we don't want to do a project, we don't (although I cannot remember the last time we turned down a project). can be hugely taxing. Feast or famine, baby. And trying to get people to pay us what we're owed or to stay on schedule can be a bit painful. And neither Holly or I really like playing "Businessman" with our clients.

Here's the wild thing: 2 nights ago, the kid gave us an 8-hour stretch of sleep. And things seemed to be looking up. I passed off the new The Cobalt Season album to Dan to work on for a bit, so that was being tended to. We had a couple clients contact us that we really respect, asking us to do work for them. We had a little space here and there to think thoughts, read a page or two or journal here and there.

But this morning, I had no space. Neither did Holly. So I left to Martha and Brothers Coffee down the street and I sit here typing.

I am becoming more and more aware of my own limitations and of our limitations as a family. We've always prided ourselves on our life-flexibility and ability to do things that others have told us we couldn't do. I am coming to terms, more and more everyday, with the fact that I have limited finances, limited time, and limited emotional-social energy. Yet I continue to spend all resources as though I have an unlimited amount...I don't.

Last year, we gave away 25% of the money we made...that SharpSeven made. We didn't realize this until I crunched the numbers a few weeks back when we were working on our budget. We gave money away somewhat flippantly (although we called it generously and hoped others would, too). I kept calling to mind the Malachi passage about giving, and I was convinced if I could just give money away, we'd be taken care of.

It simply wasn't true. And there's nothing like cold, hard facts about personal debt to call this idealist to the mat. One friend says it because we were giving money away that we didn't actually have. I dunno. Maybe. Perhaps it's that I wanted to play the role of the "donor" which can actually boost one's ego. I dunno. I dunno. I dunno.

So, here's the deal (if you're actually still reading), if you have the little Holly and Ryan voodoo dolls, please put them down. Leave us alone. Let us try to get back to some sort of zero, please? Please?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Glad to Know the Guy

Craig just did an insightful (if not moving) podcast over at He potificates on the morality of the Iraq war in a way that is even-handed and non-politicized or reactionary. Definitely check it out.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Working on a New Album

I (and several others like Dan Dixon, Craig Burnett, Glenn Krake, and Charlie Wilson) have been working on the new The Cobalt Season album. The working title is "In Search of a Unified Theory". I am getting more and more and more excited about it. Not only do I feel really good about the songs, but I also have had the great fortune of getting Dan to co-produce the record with me. That's been wonderful. We're hoping for a Spring release to iTunes, CD Baby, and local SF stores.

We'll keep you posted. But for now, some photos...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

My New Favorite Photo

The caption of this photo?

i don't like track one of the cobalt season

For more of Troy's phone pics, go here.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Oh The Memories

Holly stumbled upon these images today. It was the Emergent Gathering 2003...when we found ourselves again. Thanks Michael for documenting this.

Some low-res photos from the gallery...

We all look younger and "lighter in spirit" then, didn't we?

Monday, January 01, 2007


Last night we discussed our "3 words of 2006/7" as we have done for the last 3 years. We ask each other to define the last year in 3 words and then look forward and find 3 words that will hopefully define the year ahead. The look back is generally sobering as they seldom line up with the proposed words...but the look forward is hopeful and helpful. (Here are my words from last New Year's Eve.)

Mine to define 2006 are...


Holly's for 2006 are...


Mine for 2007 are...

HUMILITY (without hostility)
CLARITY (without certainty)
STABILITY (without security)

Holly's for 2007...


There it is. What are yours?