Thursday, June 28, 2007

Running with Kites

Just finished reading The Kite Runner. Wow. Thanks to Lora or of you gave me this specific copy of this book.

I don't do much fiction though I could tell you why I think reading fiction is way better for life-imagination than non-fiction, but I don't practice what I preach, so I'll not.

This was a great story of pain, choice, heartbreak, reconciliation...all nestled into the context of current Afghanistan. It was a personal way to learn a nation's history.

It also acted as an interesting documentary on the misuse of religion. "This is not Islam," cries Amir. The book could have been written in Christian Russia just a century prior...or perhaps Christian Europe 400 years prior. But it was written in Muslim Afghanistan...from about 1970-2005.

I am reminded that we share a common heritage...we as human beings that is...of violence. It is not unique to the Muslim the Christian world (in it's own somewhat subtler forms now)...or to the non-religious world.

Dan and I walked Haight Street last week, reflecting on a fight Holly and I had had earlier in the week. I told him how my primal self seemed to be the last part of me that would allow itself to be redeemed. Still we realized that our primal self is what might be most truly who we are. We can talk about non-violence and compassion...but if my inner primal self cannot be transformed, what good is it? Sure it works in "controlled" situations, but what about "real life" when you're in the margins? That's when you can no longer keep the primal self caged.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Emergent Gathering 2007

That's's that time again. Sign up for the Gathering here.

As many of you know, this event get-together is a sort of advent for our year...a launching pad into new things, new places, new seasons. It's also a place where we have made some of the most meaningful connections in our life. That is not an exaggeration.

I was just reflecting the other day on the fact that so many of my best friends have something to do with this beautiful early-fall desert "family-style" retreat. Join us this year. I'll be heading up the hospitality team, so if you're interested in helping with that, email me.

Sorry, I meant to include details. Thanks to Rach for hitting me up for some. October 2-5 north of Santa Fe, New Mexico at Glorietta Conference Center. More info at Emergent Village.

Some pics from the previous years...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Growing out of Scarcity

Holly and I watched The Squid and the Whale the other night. Wow. I don't think I can call it a "great movie" because that makes it sound entertaining. It was "disturbing" in its authenticity and accurate portrayal of life. At least of a life I knew as a child.

This post isn't about that movie. The movie just stirred and crystallized a few thoughts for me and has had me thinking ever since.

I grew up knowing scarcity. My parents divorced early on...I believe I was in 1st grade. My mother worked a full-time job and the three of us kids were the token latch-keys of the 80s. My parents did the best they knew how, but it felt a bit like we were often in the margins.

I lived with my mother, older brother and younger sister. We ate simple meals, never stocked sodas in the fridge (except the Diet Dr. Pepper's my stepdad was fond of). I didn't get much of an allowance. It's not that my parents were stingy or anything like that...I just don't think the money was there. Still, we'd take family vacations...usually a weekend camping trip and the yearly trip down to the coast.

We saw my father every other weekend. His job took him away during the week, so we'd see him just a few days each month. He'd have us into his small one-bedroom apartment and we'd eat Wolf Brand Chili and SPAM. (Yes, in the 80s in Texas people actually ate that stuff.)

My father re-married shortly after my parent's divorce. My stepmother had two sons from a previous marriage. Time spent with that side of the family had it's own kind of scarcity...not as much economic (although there was that) as it was relational. Raising 5 kids in a mixed family was no simple thing. There was simply never enough attention to go around.

I got myself into all sorts of trouble as a child. Some said I was acting out to get my mother's attention (again there was an apparent deficit of that being that she was now re-imagining her own life sans-husband...and we just didn't seem to get along for a good part of my childhood). I stole from the neighborhood stores, always wanted stuff I couldn't afford, asking to borrow things from sordid friends and family members.

My stepmother remembers me referencing the price of any product that was ever brought up in conversation. "I got a new scooter," my cousin would say. I'd reply, "Oh cool. Those are like 50 bucks, right, at the mall?" I was always aware of money...that I never seemed to have.

I know that scarcity was a part of the recession of the 80s...and it was also a part of the Middle-Class American Way of Life. I wasn't necessarily alone nor am I writing now to bitch and moan about how bad my childhood was. I have just become aware of these thoughts/feelings recently. The movie, like I said, brought out some feelings I haven't dealt with in a long time.

As I am taking stock of my own life and the rhythms my family observes, I am fully aware of how I run around crazed by my world's scarcity. Never enough time, never enough energy, gotta do or die or the moment will pass and never come back, have I missed my chance?

And you know what people who live a scarcity-centered life do? They starve themselves and then they splurge. So, instead of having a healthy relationship with food or travel or spending or whatnot, I tend towards the hyperbolic from time to time. My scarcity tells me that there's never enough, so just go big from time to time.

I wonder if the story that our ancestors spun about God says something to this...that our world is not bound to scarcity, but is made for abundance...not abundance in some sort of "God wants you to be rich" sense...but that there is enough. That he provides for the birds of the air and the flowers in the fields...and how much more does he care for us?

I wonder. I feel like I am at the bottom of a pit of credit card debt, college debt, personal depression, bad life-patterns, and low self-esteem. I feel like I look around and all I see is scarcity. We're all just trying to "get by". Isn't there more than just that? Or is that the question of a privileged, educated Middle-Class American? Even as tears come to my eyes as I type this, I realize my own lack of sufficiency to live well. Is anyone sufficient?

Still, the old language of "just grace" and "let go; let God" doesn't cut it. It doesn't. If it works for you, great. It just doesn't for me. It gets people off the hook too easily.

But I don't know what to do
Is the Kingdom even breaking through?
God I hope it still is true

And so I play the hypocrite
'cause I can see that new world
But cannot live in it
And I would take you there
Yes, I would take you there

How can we help each other to move beyond seeing life as scarce? Or is this a demon of my own making? Is this something I must face-down myself?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Thanks Lisa

...for posting this.

I beg you...

to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.

Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them.

And the point is to live everything.

Live the questions now.

Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

[deep breath]

Thursday, June 21, 2007


The Cobalt Season MySpace just got a beautiful face-lift, courtesy of StarMileDesigns and Jessica Fairchild...and we just added the SNOCAP Store so that you can purchase a song at a time if that's what does it for you. We still suggest getting the whole album on the website, but do as you will.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

[Deep Sigh]

The original secondary building / house / home of our friends at The Simple Way has burned down. You can read a short article here. Everyone made it out okay, but the 7-alarm fire destroyed / gutted the building.

[Deep Sigh]

Thank you God that our friends are safe.

[Deep Sigh]

Dammit, why does stuff like this happen?

[Deep Sigh]

The website is still up. I have a feeling that Jamie, et al will be keeping us updated. There are photos, videos, and reflections posted there now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Some Days

Some days seem workable
Some days seem free
Some days remind me
Of who I ought to be

Arrogant bastard that I am
Fraught with complication
Laz-i-ness and stubborn-ness
Stewed in with my frustration

A longing to wake up
To help us find our way
Make sense of all this maddening mess!
Don't lose another day!

Love your enemies! I stand and shout
But love your family, too?
What is love? I ask and sink and shrink
And wonder what to do

Who have I become?
A monster in a button-up shirt?
Or perhaps a Type-A-hippie-consumer-waster
Just a Kingdom-flirt

Do I really want to change the world
By starting with here with me?
Can't I hide behind a microphone
And just tell others how to be?



Monday, June 18, 2007

The O'Farrells

I love Jenn and Damien and have admired their lives up close and from afar. In an email that Jenn sent to me this evening, I found some clarity. She borrowed a quote from Mr. Wendell Berry.

The past is our definition. We may strive, with good reason, to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it, but we will escape it only by adding something better to it.

Thanks Jenn. Thanks Wendell. Goodnight.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Divine Intervention

The day before we left on tour, we noticed that our cable was all fuzzy. No station came in clearly. When we came home, it was the same.

We have had an interesting relationship with cable. We got it for free when we signed up for high-speed internet. I wonder if Comcast is tightening up their ship.

Anyways, it's all for the best I'm quite sure. Holly and I both started reading novels. I am reading The Kite Runner and she's reading The Time Traveler's Wife.

Our TV has helped us get through the first several months of parenting, but perhaps it's time for us to step away from it for a bit. And all with a little help from Comcast.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


We were all over the place this last week. Some good folks documented it.

Jared's Photos
Daley's Photos
Jess's Photos
Pictures of Pax

Ryan Wissink's Blog Entry
Glenn's Blog Entry
Another Ryan's Blog Entry
Damien's Blog Entry
Jenn's Blog Entry

And my favorite photo from the trip...

I'm sure I'm missing others, so if I left you out, please comment with your blog/photo address below...or email me photos, yo.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I'll Try To Be The First To Tell You When I'm Wrong

Yes, those are exactly what they look like...a Starbucks cup and a McDonald's cup. Backsliders that we are.

Our trip across CA was wonderful, but there is a wasteland of nothingness between LA and SF.

We arrived back home last night, picked up some friends at BART, did a podcast, ran them to the airport, and went to sleep. Today was catch-up...and then SEVEN...and a reconnecting with some friends from Texas.

Thinking of watching "The Science of Sleep" tonight. Mmm.

Friday, June 08, 2007


We're on the road right now. It's been beautiful and crazy trying to keep up.

Michael just finished uploading videos for most of the songs for the Album Release Party we had in SF.

Here's a link to the entire list.

Thanks so much Michael and Bryan.

Holly's Latest Work

We just posted 6 of the pieces from Holly's new painting series over on her blog. Do check them out. We'll post titles and dimensions when the series is complete.

My favorite one right now...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Road Trippin'

If you're around, come out yo. It's your chance to meet Paxton!

Locations, maps, and times here.

Thanks Michael and Brian

...for shooting and editing this video below from our SF Album Release Party. Enjoy.

If you cannot see the video, click here.

Under the Knife

Yesterday Holly got her single wisdom tooth taken out. It was part of a 5 or 6 part dental fix from the tooth she split on our anniversary this year. Bummer, right?

But the procedure went as well as it could. The pain afterwards has been difficult, but she is managing. Dan and Bethany watched Pax for us and even got us dinner. Zante's pizza...yum.

Tomorrow we leave for a short trip south, playing shows along the way. So if she seems a little lock-jawed at shows, you'll know why.