Archive for June, 2007

Come listen to some good music at the High Dive!

June 27th, 2007 No comments

Calling all Seattleites! Tomorrow night (Thursday, June 28th) at the High Dive (location) at 9:30pm for a mere $6 you can come to a rockin’ show put on by my fav, The Lonely Forest. This is a CD release show for Lacey Brown whom I have never heard before, but listening to a few tracks on her MySpace it sounds like she has a pretty good sound (I could easily hear her music being played on Grey’s Anatomy).

The Lonely Forest is on right at 9:30 so get there a bit early for the show! Josh Ottum is next at 10:30 and then Lacey Brown at 11:30.

For $6 you can’t go wrong! What else are you going to do on a Thursday night? Oh, this is a 21+ show, so no youngins! I hope to see you there! If you see me, say hi! Check out the various MySpace pages (or check out my Lonely Forest blog page or their Virb page) to listen to a few tracks from the artists, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

I’m serious. I had better see you there.

Categories: Meaningful Song Tags:

Griffey is welcome in Seattle any time.

June 25th, 2007 11 comments

Ken Griffey Jr. returns to Seattle.

Ken Griffey Jr. returns to Seattle.
Dressed in street clothes after the game, Cincinnati Reds’ Ken Griffey Jr. talks to reporters. Two home runs hit by Griffey moved him past Mark McGwire to seventh place in all-time home runs at 584. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) Source

Ken Griffey Jr. has been my favorite baseball player since he started with the Mariners in 1989 so the three game series that Seattle played against the Cincinnati Reds was fun to watch as Griffey hadn’t been back to Seattle since he signed to the Reds after the 1999 season. It was quite a thrill to see him batting and taking the filed at Safeco again.

Had Griffey not been injured I think he could have been one of the best players to play baseball. Even now, I think he is right up at the top. Especially when it comes quality of character and growth as a person. From being “The Kid” in Seattle to the 38 year old father of three, he has come a long way and often with a huge smile on his face. And no steroids. Forget you Bonds.

Ken Griffey Jr. returns to Seattle.
Cincinnati Reds’ Ken Griffey Jr. poses for a photo with his wife Melissa and children as Griffey Jr. is honored Friday, June 22, 2007, at Safeco Field in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) Source

The big question now is “how do we get him back to Seattle?” In an interview, Griffey hinted that he wouldn’t mind coming back to Seattle to play. His return was quite emotional; multiple standing ovations, signs of support, and dusted off #24 Griffey Jerseys were seen all around Safeco Field. Griffey hit two homeruns in today’s game which brought on more cheers and standing ovations. How often does an opposing team’s player get such acclaim? Players on both teams said it was an exciting series and great to be a part of.

Project 365 - Day 46For today’s Project 365 photo I decided to pull out my box of Griffey cards. My dad and I collected lots of baseball cards in the early and mid-90s and Griffey was, by far, my favorite to collect. I still have every one I have acquired and I imagine I probably will for a long time… even if I sell off the rest of my collection. And yes, that entire box of cards is filled with Ken Griffey Jr. cards, although only five (or so) are from his time with the Reds. If you happen to have any of his cards that you don’t want any more, please feel free to send them my way! ;)

Griffey has a few more yeas as an outfielder. Right? He is 38 and is slowing down a bit (although he can still make some awesome plays!) so he cannot last there forever. This means he needs to switch to DH because he can still hit like mad. This cannot be done in the NL so he will have to be traded to the AL in a few years… why not the M’s? Seattle would gladly welcome him back! Come on over!

Categories: Sports Tags:

The Stranger: A Month of Sundays

June 22nd, 2007 3 comments

Fairly recently The Stranger put out a piece titled A Month of Sundays wherein 31 reporters (and I do use the term somewhat loosely) took to the streets of the Seattle metro area to attend 31 different churches of various flavors.

Seattle is godless.

We are, rather famously, one of the least churched cities in North America. It seems that most of us have better things to do on a Sunday morning than go to church. Seattleites would rather take a hike. Or nurse a hangover. Or fire up the bong.

We’re just not that into Him.

It’s true. I don’t contest that at all. It seems like this could have been an extremely interesting and insightful piece. But it wasn’t. Those of a skeptical nature may say that I feel that way because I am of a religious sort and happen to disagree with the large majority of the authors and what they reported. Well, that may be the case, I don’t deny that I have a bias. That being said, after reading the article I didn’t feel that the churches were necessarily doing anything wrong, but that Seattleites aren’t as open to spirituality (or any of the things of God) as they let on to be.

Liberal Seattle: open to beliefs of all kinds… unless you have to actually pick one and live by it. After reading each entry I was left with the distinct impression that the majority of the writers went in with this: “I am going to find this absurd, irrational, mockable, and a waste of my time.” You will be shocked by their conclusions: “This was absurd, irrational, mockable, and a waste of my time.” Now I am being somewhat harsh as some did have some decent insights and humorous moments, but by and large, they went in with some preconceptions and, low and behold, they were confirmed.

I was hoping for more. The premise was sound. But where was the open mind that people claim to have? Let me share the entry on Mars Hill because I think it exemplifies the article as a whole.

I have only been at Mars Hill for 30 seconds and already I’m laughing. The house band has just started playing, signaling to everyone mingling in the lobby to come find a seat, and the opening bass part to the song sounds almost exactly like Bush’s mid-’90s hit “Comedown.” I haven’t heard that song since Endfest 1995. Hi-larious.

Pastor Tim gets on the mic�wait, Pastor Tim!? What the fuck!? Where’s Mark Driscoll? Where’s that round-faced dude who blames infidelity on fat wives? Where’s the Jesus-loving blogger who once compared homosexuality to cancer? That’s the dude I wanna see! If I’m gonna mock anyone, it ain’t gonna be some half-assed Pastor Tim who’s too busy pimping his band’s upcoming CD to lead the crowd in prayer!

Lucky for me, Tim was just doing the morning’s introduction. Phew. After a few more shitty worship songs, they beamed Driscoll in from West Seattle via live video feed. He was flashing across five large projection screens.

Driscoll wasn’t as insulting as I thought he would be�he basically said men are the backbone of America and men need more God in their lives in order to lead, teach, and love their families. Because, you know, women (who are more likely to be Christian, he says) aren’t capable of that shit. “It’s good to be a man,” Driscoll preached to all the young, single dudes in his congregation. “To get married and make babies.”

At that point, Pastor Tim’s worship band got back onstage and they started the whole booze and crackers thing�but I bolted. I could see all the single guys scanning the room for single ladies�and the last thing I need is some sissy Christian boy trying to knock me up.

So where to begin? Personally I don’t have a big problem with them mocking Driscoll, I am not a fan, to say the least, but the writers have a few hundred words to enlighten people about the church. How was this reporting? How was this going into the church with an open mind? Shouldn’t the goal have been to try and understand what the church was about? The last part made me laugh (because I know how true it can be), but was it really helpful?

I know I shouldn’t expect more from The Stranger, it isn’t like it is a high quality news source, but I was hoping for more. Essentially the article confirmed its initial statements and said that “those crazy Christians [or other various religious folks] are still doing their crazy religion thing, since we suffered through the services, now you don’t have to.” Not that I would suggest ever using The Stranger as a positive source of information on any topic, but what if someone was actually curious what the religious life was like for those that did attend church on Sunday mornings? Is this representation anything like reality?

Well yes, I suppose it is. If someone is completely opposed to religion, of course they will have a negative opinion of a religious service the went to. The fundamental nature of religious services (even liberal ones) is that statements are made about the nature of truth and reality. By definition, religions are exclusive. The problem is that non-religious don’t seem to understand that, while exclusive, Christianity is also completely inclusive. But I suppose that is a discussion for another time.

Until someone is willing to actually seek for answers (and not just giving lip service to that pursuit), they will never feel anything close to comfortable at a church of any kind. And honestly, I don’t know if there is anything a church can do to be “relevant” to folks of that ilk. It is one thing for a church to be “seeker sensitive,” but someone has to actually be seeking before we can even talk about how to reach out to them. This article was not a representation of those seeking at all. What I would like to see is an article written with the same premise but by 31 people who are actually actively seeking answers to the fundamental questions of life and hear about their experiences.

There were a few authors that seemed to get something out of the experience. They weren’t profoundly changed by any means, but there did appear to be hope. From one author’s experience at Bethany Presbyterian:

The magnitude of devotion in the hymns was daunting. But when the time came to get up and sing, I stood. My voice emerged from its lair and blended with the other voices. Everyone was singing�I mean everyone. The Presbyterians were emphatic about participation. The prompting was warm and welcoming but impossible to ignore. Earlier in the program, everyone was urged to get up and greet the people sitting nearby. The sense of community was acute. The detachment I had brought with me, and was so carefully trying to preserve, detached, and hung around my ankles as I arose to sing “Open the eyes of my heart.”

I feel like that person at least was trying. They were at least trying to see what the church was actually all about.

I would say that you should read the article, but take breaks if you need to get away from the Seattle godlessness. There are insights there to be sure, I am just not impressed by the “reports” from around the city.

I think I had more to say about the article, but it is nearly 2 here so I will leave it at that. Does anyone else want to chime in here? Are you a seeker? What have your experiences been? Are you an atheist that went to a church just the see what it was all about? What did you think? How did the experience compare to your preconceptions?

Maybe I could challenge a few people to go to a church service this Sunday and report back about your experience! Any takers?

Categories: Religion, Social Commentary Tags:

Who do you say Jesus is?

June 18th, 2007 1 comment

Bill Berger over at All Saints Church gave a great message on Mark 8:22-30 yesterday that caused me to reflect a bit on a few things.

Jesus heals a blind man… after two tries… and then shortly after asks his disciples who they think he is. (And in a rare occurrence in Mark, Peter was spot on.) A few points, notes, and questions about this passage.

  • Why does Mark place this miracle before Jesus’ questions to his disciples?
  • Why does Jesus’ miracle seem to fail the first time?
  • We are all spiritually blind and in need of Jesus’ healing touch (more on this later)
  • Jesus’ miracles are not to display his power and greatness, but to show his love and to teach.
  • Spiritual sight is a gift from God, so why should we be impatient with someone who doesn’t have it (yet)?
  • Meeting Christ is asking him to help us see.
  • Other religions strive towards the divine by means of particular actions, Christianity asks Christ to come meet us where we are at, and save us.
  • Who do you say Jesus is?
  • Let me unpack a few of these items (and leave some for your to mull over). N.T. Wright has this to say about these verses:

    Both stories tell of a two-stage process of illumination. The blind man sees people, but they look like trees walking about; the crowds see Jesus, but they think he is just a prophet. Then, as it were with a second touch, Jesus faces the disciples themselves with the question. Now at last their eyes are opened. They have understood about the loaves, and all the other signs. ‘You’re the Messiah!’ Peter speaks for them all.

    There are those both within the faith as well as those external who think that conversion is (and should be) always like that of Paul’s: magnificent and instantaneously life changing. Of course that does frequently happen: people have an experience and they instantly belong to Christ. But what about those who are Christian and didn’t have an experience like that? What about those who are headed in the right direction? What about those that need to struggle and work through what it is they believe? This story with Jesus seems to indicate that Jesus doesn’t always change things instantly but will continue to walk along with us to finally bring us to clear sight.

    Each and every one of us is spiritually blind and are in need of healing. For some, they will be healed like Paul, for others, it might take a few tries, like with this blind man. Regardless, none of us can see without divine intervention. We simply cannot do it on our own. Spiritual healing is never over at the first experience; it requires more than one interaction, it is an ongoing relationship. I have never been a big fan of the saying “Christianity isn’t a religion, it is a relationship.” While I understood it, I also disagreed because functionally Christianity is a religion. Bill helped shed some insight here though. It seems that religions are a set of rules, things I can do, things that give me control. This is not Christianity. Does Jesus want you to be a better person? Yeah, of course. But He wants you as you are. He is here to redeem us from the hell we deserve. Because of Him, we no longer deserve hell, but heaven and eternity with God. That is grace.

    This healing, this clearing of our vision that is given to us is fundamentally related to our answer to who we think Jesus is. Our answer to that question will, obviously, influence our relationship with him. The real Jesus might be offensive to some because his claims were big. If you say that Jesus is the Christ, people might not like it because to them it means you are being exclusive. Just let them know that they are welcome to join the journey.

    Healing can come if you allow it to. If you already know that Jesus won’t do anything for you, then you are right, he won’t. That isn’t how He works. How about you just open your heart to change and seek truth? Healing comes in stages; it can be a long process. Healing comes in community; the blind man couldn’t find Jesus on his own. And healing comes through confidence; Jesus wants you to be part of his kingdom!

    Categories: Religion, Theology Tags:

    The Lonely Forest at the Fremont Fair

    June 17th, 2007 3 comments

    It had been a while since I saw The Lonely Forest (see my Lonely Forest blog page or their new demo music page at Virb) perform; fortunately I remedied that problem yesterday by walking down to the Fremont Fair where I met up with my sister and Bekah to catch the trio live once again.

    Bekah, Erin, and me. With John and Eric in the background… my giant head blocked Braydn, sorry!

    There were worries that they might not be able to perform because John’s keyboard was not functioning (which caused great sorrow), but fortunately they were able to borrow one and off they went. There ended up being a pretty decent crowd there and the last minute change of keyboards didn’t seem to prevent the rock from happening. They have done a really good job with the stuff off Nuclear Winter so I am eagerly awaiting its release.

    I will be posting some video clips from the show (as well as one from the quick set at The Vera Project the other night) sometime tomorrow… or Tuesday… I’ll let you know. To see more of the pictures I took, check out my flickr set: The Lonely Forest @ The Fremont Street Fair. I have included a few below that will take you to larger versions.

    The Lonely Forest’s youngest fan?

    Categories: Meaningful Song, Photoblog Tags:

    The House

    June 14th, 2007 10 comments

    I feel like I am finally moved in. The large majority of my stuff is where it should be. I have once again started exploring around the Wallingford neighborhood. I am back in Seattle.

    Yep, I am even back to lounging.

    I suppose it is somewhat odd that I am actually writing this entry at the Bellingham Public Library on one of my numerous trips back up north (I believe it has been 5 days out of 13!) to take care of business up here. After tonight’s Young Life (the last of the year!), I will be done until August… the 180 round trip miles will not be missed. But again, I digress.

    When two great friends bought a house (which has become “The House”) to use for their ministry, I was more than excited to live there for its first two years. It was a great experience. The friendships built there are some of the strongest I have ever had. When Greg and Angie mentioned that I would be welcome to come back when I returned to Seattle, it was something that I took to heart. Now that I am older and (hopefully) more mature, my role will be somewhat different. I won’t be learning what it means to live in a community, but I will be learning to help sustain that community and build up others who are learning what it means to live together with other believers. Plus I get to be around baby DiLoreto a lot! :)

    The House is a beautiful old home (built around 1920ish) that sits about five blocks north straight up from Gas Works Park in the heart of Wallingford. A few short minutes from the University of Washington as well as Seattle Pacific University makes for a great location. While the upcoming year will probably be busy and stressful, I am happy to be back where I am. It’s a good place to be. If you want to see a few more pictures of my room at The House (and of course my books!), check out my Flickr set: The House. How I fit (nearly) everything in my room, I will never know, it is hard moving from a full apartment down to a room! Also, I will try and add the two group pictures from my first two years living here.

    Categories: Daily Life, Photoblog Tags: