Archive for August 2009

A True Story: Got Any Biches or Virgins?

August 19, 2009

Somebody mentioned the guitar company B.C. Rich today, and it reminded me of this very true story (I was a personal witness).

First some background: B.C. Rich is a company known for catering to the metal and hard rock music scene. As such, they make guitars with wilder styles, and pretty juvenile names. Their top seller is the Warlock model, pictured below:
sm_warlock_blk

Well, several years ago, they introduced a couple of new models, named the “Bich” (yes that’s the correct spelling) and the “Virgin”, pictured below:
sm_bich_master_transredsm_virgin_blk

I was working at a small town music store in the midwest. And one day my boss, Carl, calls up our distributor and – in his typically playful and easygoing personality – says,

“Hey – you got any biches or virgins?”

“Pardon me?”, the young male voice said on the other end of the line.

“I want to know if you got any biches or virgins for sale” repeated Carl.

“…” silence for a few seconds, and then…

“I…uh…I think you’ve dialed the wrong number sir…” said the young man.

Carl’s face instantly turned very red and quickly hung up the phone. He could hardly get the words out as he replayed the conversation for us all…we were all laughing so hard.

Had an awesome time!

August 9, 2009

Had a great time playing with the boys this weekend. We did an instrumental adaptation of a Wilco song called “Impossible Germany.” I was really excited to get to do this and had a blast playing with my friend Eric Foust! Here it is on YouTube:

In case you’ve never heard them before, Wilco is an awesome band that many of the musicians at Oakbrook really admire. Lead guitarist Nels Cline is someone all the guitarists love! Here’s Wilco performing the original song:

Ode To Artsymom

August 7, 2009

tatt

I love it that you speak your mind
I love it that your fashion is one-of-a-kind

I love that you share the dark cloud couch with me
Even though it means we’re somewhat lacking in mercy

I love that you love God with all of your heart
I love you that you love 400 different kinds of art

Although you’ve recently become a DMB fruit
I love that you also love your country & folk roots

While it’s embarrassing you didn’t know who ZZ Top was
I love that you’re a freak for Aerosmith fuzz

I love that I’m not so sure about that “tat”
But I love the depth of the story behind that

I love making fun of your overactive pits
And that I can’t even get you to eat bacon bits

I hate that it’s taken this week’s occasion
For us all to vocalize our appreciation
Of you…Artsymom…our friend, full of passion!

I’m seeing about 3:1

August 6, 2009

3-1

This post is the 6th in a series about addiction recovery. If you are not an addict or married to one, then this probably won’t make much sense. To see a list of the entire series from the beginning, go to this page.

In the months since Mandy and I shared our story, we’ve had the opportunity to meet with lots of people who are facing similar, if not identical issues. The struggle with pornography and sexual addictions is rampant in our society, and sadly, the percentages are not that different in our church congregations.

As Mandy and I meet with these couples – sharing our story with them and walking them through the steps to recovery – we’re seeing a ratio of about 3 to 1. There are 3 individuals or couples who either will not or can not do what it takes to walk through recovery for every individual or couple that does.

A lot of men can’t bring themselves to be completely honest with their spouse. They fear rejection. They are ashamed. They can’t face it. And a lot of women just can’t bring themselves to go through it. They think they aren’t strong enough. They feel too betrayed. They don’t think they can ever trust anybody ever again.

But sometimes I get to have a great conversation like I did this past weekend. I talked with a guy who just got his 6 month coin from his 12-step group. This means he has gone 6 full months without any pornography in his life. He told me that this is the longest he has gone without it in years. He also told me that he has never felt closer to his wife, and that the love he feels for her is so strong he could hardly describe it. You could see it on his face. He had gone from shame to grace. He was walking the steps. And he was finding freedom.

I wish I could hear more stories like that. Why couldn’t it be 1:3 instead of 3:1? What could we as individuals and churches do to make that happen?

What I Appreciate About Artsymom, Day 3

August 5, 2009

For you to get where I’m coming from on this one, you need to know a few things.

  • Sarah is in a small group with my wife and I…and we have an awesome group! Our group has experienced life together pretty intensely together in the last year – sharing each other’s joys, sorrows, victories, and losses. There is very little that happens in our lives that we don’t share with the people in our group.
  • My wife and I have been through some pretty intense struggles in the last few years, and so has Sarah. It’s something we have in common. It’s good to be able to share with others who have been through something similar.
  • When you go through personal, marital, or other major turmoil in your life, especially in Christian circles, there will always be sideline observers who don’t understand your actions. They hear the 30-second version of the story, but they don’t really understand the context, the emotions, the process, the heartbreak, or the 5,000 conversations and action steps that brought you to this point.

Therefore,

I appreciate the way Artsymom has squarely faced adversity in her life.

She didn’t hide from it. She didn’t bury her head in the sand. She didn’t just look away or bury it under the rug. She didn’t play the victim. She didn’t use it as an excuse to withdrawl from life and from ministry. She didn’t blame God and use the occasion as a reason to fall away from Him. She dealt with it head-on and square-in-the-face. With godly counsel from others. And time. And prayer.

You can tell a lot about a person’s character by the way he or she responds to adversity. Sarah has done it well. Nobody’s perfect – we all have things we’d like to do better or differently – but the important thing is that we learn and grow through these experiences – and stay close to God through the process. I really admire the way Sarah has done it.

What I Appreciate About Artsymom, Day 2

August 3, 2009

sarah_tambourine

Today’s post is short and simple, but something I really value.

I appreciate Artsymom’s tenacity. She’s just not the type to give up and let life roll her over. She’s feisty. She’s a fighter. She clings tight to her values and will fiercly protect them. There is a general “do or die” spirit in her that I really admire!

What I Appreciate About Artsymom, Day 1

August 2, 2009

sarah_eyes

My “Dark Cloud Couch” Friend
Sarah and I both serve on the Programming Team, which is the team that selects the music, drama, and video pieces which will be used in our weekend services. We’ve been doing that together for over a year. As luck would have it, we just happened to sit on the same couch in the programming room the first few times, and never saw reason to switch it up, I guess.

Over time, this couch came to be known by the other members of the team as the “Dark Cloud Couch.” This was done with affection, but with good reason, too – Sarah and I just tend to be on the darker side of life sometimes. Whether its our temperament, personalities, past experiences, or social aptitudes that led them to give us that name, I can’t say for certain – but I do know we all sure have a lot of fun with the name.

Sarah and I have learned to accept the name, and not fight it. We’ve actually gone further and now consider it a badge of honor, for the reasons listed below. We love the dark cloud couch because, to us, it means:

  1. We champion ideas that are based in reality, in tension, and with less “shine”. We are the Anti-Chicken Soup For The Soul.
  2. We highly value honesty in our art. We want it to be done with integrity, with excellence, and for the right reasons.
  3. Some may think we’re pessimistic or cynical, but that tendency drives us to try harder to reach people. We expect people to put up a fight, to be somewhat resistant to putting God in the driver’s seat, to not “get” things right out of the gate – but that view causes us to be passionate about words, about songs, about ideas, about aesthetics, about excellence – we don’t want anyone to miss something because we didn’t try hard enough.
  4. We are not afraid to speak our minds when we feel passionate about something.
  5. Mercy may not be one of our top gifts, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care. We care DEEPLY about things, and want the absolute best for our ministries, for our teams, and for our church!
  6. We cringe when Christianity is presented as a cure-all fix for your life…that Jesus came to make your life problem free…that being a Christ follower means you are now supposed to live in unspeakable joy 24/7 – that if you do X,Y, and Z, then God will grant you health and wealth. Instead, we want people to realize that with God in your life, down times aren’t eliminated – but you now have someone who will go WITH YOU through the ups and downs of life – and that God is inviting you to go on a journey with Him. It is not about Jesus making our life all better. It is about laying down our life before God and asking Him what He wants us to do with it! Following Jesus is not about US – it is about HIM!
  7. We’ve both been through some hard stuff in life, and that does tend to affect the way you see things!
  8. I can’t say whether this has anything to do with it or not, but Sarah LOVES the color black. LOL.

P.S. This is not to say that others on the team don’t agree with us on the points above…didn’t want anyone to misunderstand that 🙂