About Me

Christ follower, husband, father, minister, musician.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It’s been 3 months since my last blog.

No, this is not a confession. It’s a reality.  It’s been 3 months since my last blog and that’s ok.

So what’s been going on?  Well, first, my son Haden was born in June!  That’s about all you need to know, really.  It’s been an amazing adventure navigating the early twists and turns of parenting two kids.  The latest curve has brought us to the shores of Preschool.  Reese started today.  Between now and then we’ve figured out how to sleep, eat, play, and function in our new reality.

Haden has incredible eyes.  Nicole and I have been trying to figure out what the color is/will be.  Infants are born with this grey-blue eye color that eventually settles into their true color by six months.  Our daughter Reese’s eyes were a rich tootsie-roll brown from week 2.  But Haden’s been holding on to this blue tint for a while.  His uncle and grandma both have blue or hazel eyes, so it’s quite possible that he won’t have the chocolate eyes that the rest of us have.  And that’s awesome. 

But the color is not the most fascinating thing about his eyes.  Haden has those saucer-big, observe-the-whole-world, never-blink eyes.  At first we were wondering if he’d ever make eye contact with us.  (Don’t worry, he does.) He looks at colors, shapes, textures; he soaks everything in.

The only time his eyes soften is when he sees you.  He locks his eyes on you and slowly the corners begin to squint as simultaneously he gives us the biggest gummy grin you’ve ever seen. He’s a happy baby.  He’s almost laughing.

Exploring life for Haden brings him pure Joy.  It’s a blessing to experience the world through his eyes. It makes me think…

…If I didn’t move, talk, or worry, how much joy could I find in what’s all around me?
…If I slowed down to look, what detail would I be able to appreciate?
…If I smiled at everything that I found pleasure in, how many smiles would I get back?
…am I missing out on something here?

The past few months I’ve been thinking/praying/conversing about how to better experience/ retell/ relate to God’s STORY.  I think it starts with being STILL. Before we can say anything, we need to take it in – to SEE it, hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it.

Psalm 34:8 (NIV)
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”
Psalm 46:10a (NASB)
10 “Cease striving and know that I am God.”

It starts with Stopping. How do you take refuge if you keep going?  How do you cease striving if you aren't still?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Haden and the New Chapter at the Chilcotes

It's been a few days since my last post.  I've been a bit busy.  My son, my boy, my 2nd born came into my life on June 11th, 2011 at 1:04pm. Here is a recap of the timeline:

  • Went to Nicole's Dr. on Friday June 10th. The baby was still breech, like Reese was, so we scheduled a C-section for June 23rd.  Dr. Arbona joked that she was on call at the hospital for the weekend, so if Nicole wanted to go into labor, she'd be there. (hmm...)
  • Back Labor started early Saturday morning (2:30am) and I did all I could to help Nicole find some comfort. Couch, bed, shower, back to couch, bath, couch, shower, bed. We finally fell asleep around 6am. Reese got me up at 6:30. We called her Dr. at 7:30 when Nicole woke back up. By 9am we were heading to drop Reese off at a friends house and then on to the hospital.
  • In the triage room,
    Nicole was treated for dehydration and pain.  The initial diagnosis was a possible UTI.  But tests were negative. Nicole wasn't progressing while we were there, and contractions were barely showing up on the monitor.  They suggested "extreme late pregnancy discomfort," which I thought was LABOR.  
  • 11:30am Thank God Nicole's OB was on call! She came in and examined her, and overrode the in house medical staff. We were having the baby today. We just didn't know if it was going to be a Haden or a Hadley.
  • 11:45am I made calls and sent texts to parents, friends, and church volunteers. The baby was coming today.  I wouldn't be leading worship. Someone needs to watch Reese.  Everyone was ready to go!  Nicole took a nap, thanks to some pain meds.
  • 12:15pm they roll Nicole off to surgery prep and give me some nice duds.
    I hung around in the triage room for about 30 minutes until they came to get me.
  • About 12:50 they begin the first incision.  If you've not experienced a C-section, it's an fascinating procedure.   The medical staff was awesome.  The anesthesiologist gave me the nod when they were ready to deliver.  From a slot the size of a wallet, I see a leg come out.  Then they maneuver around and get the other leg from inside the mysterious magical billfold. "Did you see that?" the Dr. asks. "I think I did." Definitely a boy!
    After they got his hips out they began really working at getting his torso and shoulders out.  He was a big boy. Reese just popped out like a rabbit in a top hat.  Haden was more like uncorking a bottle.  But just like his sister, he had a nice scarf on - the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck a few times.  Probably due to his trying to head down and getting turned back upright. No worries, though!
  • 1:04pm 8lb 20oz Haden Philip was born!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

SHIMMER PART 2: "DISEQUILIBRATE & WORSHIP CURATION" - or two phrases you've probably never heard of...

Ian Cron - www.thomasclark.com
“A good book, good art always destabilizes [people’s] egos…it knocks them off their equilibrium. It bring them into a counter-imagined space…suddenly you’re caught off a little bit…it de-centers the self and helps us to acknowledge, and even enter in to, the chaos of our life and think about who we are and the ultimates of life…”
-       Ian Morgan Cron, http://vimeo.com/24286777

I think this is one of the big “shimmer” nuggets for me.

Many conversations at the Gathering revolved around the concepts of beauty, art, ritual, and mystery.  It was good to hear some of my personal curiosities articulated and clarified.  (Don’t you love those “YES, EXACTLY!” moments?)

As worship leaders we are challenged with the task (as seen by most) of “creating an experience” for others to attend.  We all know it’s beyond a concert or performance.  Yet the truth is, it rarely reaches the level of sacred.  But isn’t that what our gathering are supposed to be? Sacred?

A second tension we navigate is one of authenticity and manipulation.  We don’t want to affect people’s emotion and perspective simply by the music or setting.  I’ve always wanted to hopefully anticipate where God might be moving and add a soundtrack, lyrics & melody, to help articulate and express where we would be as a congregation.

There’s an entirely new conversation going on in the worship circles right now regarding “Worship Curation.”  Ever hear of it?  Probably not (Apparently Microsoft hasn’t either because “Curation” has a little red squiggly line underneath.)

"We are starting to see a shift away from a linear, programmed approach to leading worship towards a multi-layered, nonlinear approach where environment is valued as much as content.”
A Guidebook for Visual Worship, Stephen Proctor http://worshipvj.com/store/a-guidebook-for-visual-worship/

I’ve been taking my own steps on a journey to mine for the deeper gems available in our worship services.  Over time I’ve adopted the vision/mission/purpose of our Worship & Arts ministry:
            to create an ENVIRONMENT where
             people can ENCOUNTER God and
                              ENGAGE Him in worship.

I’ve always been leery of the word “create” because I’ve felt that God ultimately is creating the environment.  If we are the soul creators, then it will always feel superficial or forced. Maybe Co-create is a better phrase.  But I’m liking the word “Curate.”  It seems to be more true.

So getting back to the other word of this post, “disequilibrate.”

My SHIMMER came when I realized that part of curating the environment is making sure beauty and mystery are part of what is presented. While there is definitely a place during our gatherings for a 3-chord rocking worship song, there is also the necessity for music that is more appreciated than understood.  And by understood, I don’t mean that it is impossible to understand musically or technically.  But there is a mystery, a deep source of wonder at the foundation of the song.  This is the Soul of the Creator, the sacred heart beat that has been passed on to all of us who create in His Image.

We can choose songs that accentuate people’s emotions – often, that’s part of what we do. There’s an emotional, spiritual, psychological journey that we’re taking with them.  We have happy moments, pensive moments, times of reflection and times of revelation. Beyond that, I’m feeling led to find music that tells the story on multiple levels. Let the lyrics direct the mind and the music – the tempo, timbre, tonality, harmony – direct the heart, and the art and beauty direct the soul.  They all need to be there.  God’s Story is a mystery unfolding.  It centers us and disequilibrates us simultaneously.  It reminds us of the reality that we live in a now/not yet reality – a spiritual and mortal world – a Kingdom present and still yet to come.

Could music, our worship services, our time together help that mystery to resonate?  Could we create (or curate) moments that de-centers us while simultaneously draw our plum line to God’s center?

Before I event went to the Gathering, God began bringing me thoughts about how to more completely tell the Story.  Beyond music, what other forms of Art can be used?  What artists exist that are telling the Story?  And does it have to be ART that brings us into this mystery?