Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Counter Culture

I think I am. I think I’m rock solid counter-culture.

The evidence?

1. I not only didn’t vote for Mr. Obama, I’ve actually not listened to a complete sentence he’s uttered since taking office. While not voting for him isn’t counter-culture (you may recall 60 million people voted against Obama), I think not listening to him read his teleprompter counts for something.

2. I’ve never watched a single episode of any reality TV show. No survivor, no Great Race, Biggest Loser, or anything else. Ever.

3. I cant stomach pop culture heroes or celebrities. On my short list of things I would get rid of if I ruled the world, celebrity shows and rags would be pretty high on the list.

4. I’ve never watched a full episode of American Idol. I’ve seen bits and pieces, and its just too painful to watch.

5. I believe in and support a few no-brainers: a secure border and immigration law, low taxes, a reduced federal government (by 50% or more) and reduced state government (by 30% or more), an end to most entitlement programs, the privatization of social security, and much more. Don’t tread on me baby.

6. I put God, family and country ahead of everything else.

7. I believe the United States of America is this worlds last great hope for personal liberty, peace and security…. And its about 60% gone as we’ve come to know and love it.

Friday, May 08, 2009


My little girl is getting not so little anymore. K is growing up fast, and she's developing several skills and talents. Among them is an eye for a solid picture, as well as editing digital images to pull out complex colors, shading and texture. Here are a few of my favorites. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Calling The Kettle Black

For more than 25 years I’ve been sitting at the intersection of faith and entertainment. I approached this joining of two “roads” when I became a huge fan of Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill and Keith Green as a teenager. These three gents did an amazing thing- they joined contemporary music and melody hooks to social commentary and faith messages in a way that challenged and grew me- heart, mind and soul.

This affected me deeply in various ways. It helped mature my faith, made me more self-aware as a follower of Jesus and how I relate and treat others, and also lit a flame inside of me to join in a movement. A growing chorus of artists and fans that were excited to engage faith and the arts at the same time.

I taught myself guitar and piano, and started to write songs. My goal early on was to follow in Keith Green’s artistic footsteps- piano-based pop/rock with lyrics that delivered a compelling and challenging message. As those skills developed it lead me to participate in a rock band during high school and land a gig handling all the music at a Christian youth camp. Fortunately it became clear to me early on that I wasn’t a good enough musician or vocalist to make writing and performing my vocation, but I knew music would remain a key part of my life.

There is no shortage of people that criticize faith-based music and film. One of the chief complaints, from inside and outside the church, is that the art is second rate, and becomes unpalatable when a “message” is shoved into a song or film and spoon fed to the listener or viewer. Another common refrain is that music and film should be more subtle, gently weaving a great story that may have a moral or thickly veiled message that we can draw from. And from outside the church, besides those types of comments, we also hear things like “I hate Christian movies- too preachy, always shoving values and morals down our throats.” And multiple variations of that, far too many to outline here.

There’s also great criticism of the marketing and promotional machines that are Christian music and film companies. That these folks put to much emphasis on packaging and marketing “MESSAGE” versus “ART.”

I’d like to point out a few items that have come to my attention in the last month- namely that some of these same types of people that despise faith-based music and film for using the arts to push a “message” or “agenda,” are genuine, good old-fashioned bona fide hypocrites.

From the NY Times, May 1st 2009:
“Seeking to Save the Planet, With a Thesaurus“ by John M. Broder

WASHINGTON — The problem with global warming, some environmentalists believe, is “global warming.” The term turns people off, fostering images of shaggy-haired liberals, economic sacrifice and complex scientific disputes, according to extensive polling and focus group sessions conducted by ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm in Washington.

Instead of grim warnings about global warming, the firm advises, talk about “our deteriorating atmosphere.” Drop discussions of carbon dioxide and bring up “moving away from the dirty fuels of the past.” Don’t confuse people with cap and trade; use terms like “cap and cash back” or “pollution reduction refund.”

EcoAmerica has been conducting research for the last several years to find new ways to frame environmental issues and so build public support for climate change legislation and other initiatives. A summary of the group’s latest findings and recommendations was accidentally sent by e-mail to a number of news organizations by someone who sat in this week on a briefing intended for government officials and environmental leaders.

Environmental issues consistently rate near the bottom of public worry, according to many public opinion polls. A Pew Research Center poll released in January found global warming last among 20 voter concerns; it trailed issues like addressing moral decline and decreasing the influence of lobbyists. “We know why it’s lowest,” said Mr. Perkowitz, a marketer of outdoor clothing and home furnishings before he started ecoAmerica, whose activities are financed by corporations, foundations and individuals. “When someone thinks of global warming, they think of a politicized, polarized argument. When you say ‘global warming,’ a certain group of Americans think that’s a code word for progressive liberals, gay marriage and other such issues.”
The answer, Mr. Perkowitz said in his presentation at the briefing, is to reframe the issue using different language. “Energy efficiency” makes people think of shivering in the dark. Instead, it is more effective to speak of “saving money for a more prosperous future.” In fact, the group’s surveys and focus groups found, it is time to drop the term “the environment” and talk about “the air we breathe, the water our children drink.”

“Another key finding: remember to speak in TALKING POINTS aspirational language about shared American ideals, like freedom, prosperity, independence and self-sufficiency while avoiding jargon and details about policy, science, economics or technology,” said the e-mail account of the group’s study.

Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University, an expert on environmental communications, said ecoAmerica’s campaign was a mirror image of what industry and political conservatives were doing. “The form is the same; the message is just flipped,” he said. “You want to sell toothpaste, we’ll sell it. You want to sell global warming, we’ll sell that. It’s the use of advertising techniques to manipulate public opinion.”

And, Mr. Luntz and Mr. Perkowitz agree, “climate change” is an easier sell than “global warming.”
And now to wrap this up, I present to you a few bit of “art” that recently graced the airwaves in an effort to shove a message and morality down our throats:

Watch just the first 2 minutes:

And here we see some of the priests and priestesses preaching the message:

And this is just downright painful to watch. Please- give me a tacky toupee-wearing sleazy televangelist over this tripe... at the end of the clip there's even a segment on confessing eco-sin. Do these people realize they have created a RELIGION?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Things I Look For In Friends…

Ten things I look for in guy friends:

1. Guys that mow their own lawn

2. Guys that would rather go out and play sports (even poorly) than sit and watch them (even excellently) on TV

3. Guys that would skip an important meeting to fulfill a family commitment

4. Guys that know how to run a good war (via board game or Xbox/Playstation)

5. Guys that, whether single or married, don’t ogle at or comment about other women and their physical assets while I’m around

6. Guys that greet with a hug rather than a handshake

7. Guys that have a dream and vision for their family

8. Guys that are engaged in politics and debate passionately, fairly, and never use pre-canned talking points

9. Guys that like very, very, very spicy food

10. Guys that care about the real dangers and threats to their family (kids peers that influence towards the bad, drugs, alcohol abuse, drunk drivers, predators, wealth that leads to indifference and selfishness, lack of passion, laziness, hyper-sexualized culture, and much more) versus the conjured threats (global warming, carbon, rising sea levels, fossil fuels, swine flu, etc)

Friday, May 01, 2009

And This Is The Problem With News...

It's been raining like crazy this season in middle Tennessee, but you won't see this headline: