Sunday, April 27, 2008


After listening to Rick's take on the David and Bathsheba debacle, I took some time to reflect. It certainly forced some honest introspection. I highly recommend it. The reflection, that is; not the debacle. I thought I would share what came out of my exercise. I call it, "Ode in Fear of Man."

Oblivious. Desiring ignorance. Claiming ignorance.
Denying culpability...emphatically...pathetically.
Hypothetically begging the question. Change the topic of conversation.
Did you hear the news today?
Can you believe they? Did you see...? The audacity. The atrocity.
Please buy my glittering generalities. Here's another hyperbole...
But back to me? Back to you!

Why try to fight the fighter?
For fear of the fight or fear of the night after?
I know I'll lose...
My sense of security is as secure as my teeth.

It's a lost cause; lost in the shuffle of thought and word.
Why are we here again? Is this really necessary?
We're quibbling over two degrees off course.
"Straight sailing" is a crooked colloquialism anyway.
Quit crying criminal.

The Prophet speaks...
Can I listen through my tunnel vision? It blurs...

So I resign to change.
So I resign to change.

Still afraid of myself, my potential for pain.
Not mine, but theirs... their wealth, their health.
My pride must reside on the shelf.

If you missed Rick's talk from his David series, check it out here (April 27). But listen with caution; it's dangerous.
Sidenote: I was listening to The Doves while I wrote this, and while I didn't necessarily plan this while I wrote it, I was messing around, deciding to exercise my creative juices, and it synced eerily with "Firesuite" from the Lost Souls album, so I recorded it. Enjoy.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Medium is the Message

A crazy guy once said, "the Medium is the Message." I never understood that until Shane Hipps preached a sermon about it out at Mars Hill Bible Church last Sunday. I highly recommend giving it a listen.

Shane Hipps was an advertiser for Porsche and now is a Mennonite Pastor. He talks about how the Medium of a message is intimately connected to the Message itself and if the medium changes the message changes. He showed how Jesus recognized this. This is a concept I had to chew on for a while but it is extremely important for artists to have thought through.

What does my medium communicate? God chose a burning bush, stone tablets, Bahlem's ass. What does a burning bush say? Maybe, "I can't be contained." What do stone tablet's communicate? Maybe, "this is serious?" And Jesus was God's word become flesh. Jesus was the perfect Medium to communicate God's message. What does this communicate about God?

We all use different mediums to communicate all the time. It would be good to think about what our medium is communicating since that message is more powerful and sustaining then anything our medium carries.

Jon Collins uses the medium of video to squeak out a living and is blogging at

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Livin' In The Future

Taken from a review of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band live at the Rose Garden, March 28th, 2008.

Pausing on the first few bars of Livin' In The Future, Bruce silences the gathered masses. A reverent hush falls over the Rose Garden, it feels like Sunday morning, crouching on the edge of a charismatic revival. Springsteen the evangelist steps up to the mic and delivers his thought for the evening. Living in Portland, you find yourself subject to any number of political rants delivered from the wrong end of an electric guitar. Most of the sermonizing you hear in the local bars and clubs falls into the cynical and ashamed to be American category, every opportunity for critique is hungrily lit upon while optimism and genuine advice for the future are often sadly lacking. Tonight you find more positivity, hope and dare you say it, patriotism in the three sentence introduction to Livin' In The Future than anything you've heard in the last year.

Bruce Springsteen is openly proud to be an American in a way which most of us are incredibly uncomfortable with. His national pride is not a blinkered, unrealistic view of all the shortcomings inherent in modern American culture, but rather a strongly held belief in the constitution and what it once meant to be an American and hold true to the American values of freedom, independence and equality. During the forty five seconds Springsteen devotes to sermonizing this evening you find yourself incredibly convicted not of American cynicism, but rather of a deeply ingrained cynicism to all things Church-related. As Springsteen says he is proud to be associated with what it really means to be an American and call us to stop complaining and disassociating and step up to embody these ideals, you hear a similar call to abandon cynicism and step up to a fuller embodiment of what God intended the Church to actually be. "Good grief," you think, almost tearing up as he sings Livin' In The Future, "Why does God always get me with Bruce?" and it is weird because afterwards, on the long walk home, you talk to Nate and he has heard exactly the same thing. Maybe, just maybe, this is the best church service you'll attend this year.

Jan Carson blogs at