News for October 2007

good ethics gone bad

Because I’m such a bright and scholarly CHRISTIAN with a wonderfully mature and capable hand on the pulse of my vibrant and contagious faith it seems only good right and salutary that I should take the fledgling faith of our church’s high school souls under my eagle like wing, and raise them in the straight and narrow for one hour every Sunday morning.  That’s right, I’m a sunday school teacher. 

Last week we were talking about Bonhoeffer and ethics and the plan was to do a little role playing, watch a clip about Bonhoeffer, and talk about how Lutheran’s aproach making ethical decisions.  My ingenious conversation starter was to leave a dollar bill laying on the couch, come in to the room a little late so the kids had already arrived and then see what they had done with the dollar.  Kept it?  Asked who it belonged too? Put it in the offering?  Buried it in a field? 

So during church I went up and planted the dollar.  After church I hung out for awhile and waited for the kids to head on up.  All the little kids went up to their sunday school rooms but the high school kids just sat around waiting for me.  So finally I figured if we were going to have any class time I’d have to lead the way and we could all deal with the dollar together. 

So we headed up to our room.  And the dollar was gone.  Some mangy little kid must of wandered into the youth room on their way to their class room and snatched it. 

It never goes as planned!

But it always goes.

Posted: October 26th, 2007
Categories: edumacation
Comments: No Comments.

God save the cool kids.

I don€™t go to the bank because it€™s cool.  I don€™t buy groceries because it€™s cool (although the co-op does have it€™s share of organic hipsters).  I go to an incredibly uncool dentist, and the daily vitamin I ingest has zero cool factor.
But I do go to the bank, I do buy groceries, I do go to the dentist (incredibly infrequently), and I do take a daily vitamin.
Sometimes I have cool experiences.  My bank sometimes has tootsie rolls at the counter.  Cool.  The checkout guy moved into our neighborhood and now we€™re neighbors.  That€™s cool.  My dentist€¦ Okay no cool factor there.  But my daily vitamin makes my skin look really good.  Okay, that€™s a total fabrication.  But if something cool did come out of taking a vitamin everyday I€™d be happy to let you know about it.
I didn€™t choose any of these things because they are cool.  In fact I would be skeptical at best if I felt like any of these things were marketed as cool to me.  I once walked into Target to buy an 1/8€ to 1/8€ stereo jack to plug my newly received ipod into the auxiliary jack on our car stereo.  (Target and ipod will both now be sending me endorsement checks.  Or at least patting each other on the back.) In a bright display for ipod-esque accessories I found the chord I needed.  It was in a slick white I-look-like-an-apple-product sort of package and it cost $14.99.  That seemed a little steep to me.  I walked around the corner and found the exact same chord in a cheap cardboard/plastic bag package with the same logo GE has been using since 1492 and it cost $6.99.  And it works great.  And that€™s precisely the reason I am suspect of all things cool. 
I don€™t want to be part of the $14.99 church model.  I don€™t want to be part of anything remotely emergent (Emergent is to Church as sports car is to 40 something white male.) I don€™t want to be part of big Christian rock concerts and I don€™t want to be part of flashy youth gatherings.  Or flashy adult gatherings.  Or any gathering that involves flashing.  Actually let me get back to you on that last one.
I€™m not saying these things are bad (Though really I am.  Which makes no sense seeing as I have been deeply and positively impacted by all of the above.  Except for the gathering that involved flashing.  That was less than positive.  But still very memorable.)  I€™m just sick of them.  I€™m sick of the glitz and glam of church.  I€™m sick of churches that market and call it evangelism.  But I€™m not sick of church.  I love the church and I keep going and will continue to keep going because I need it, and it needs me, and it needs you. 
And FYI, we€™re having an off the hook potluck next Sunday and you should totally come because we hired an awesome band and put up lots of posters and I might even dust off the trench coat I wore to that one memorable event that I€™m been blacklisted from.  Durn you promise keepers! 

Posted: October 22nd, 2007
Categories: fact
Comments: No Comments.

consumer culture sucketh nate 3:16

So the other morning my daughter goes downstairs to wake up visiting grandma who is watching a little morning TV.  14 hours later as she’s eating her bedtime snack and getting ready for teeth brushing she informs us that she’s getting a thing to put on her teeth to make them white so that she doesn’t have to brush anymore.  Given that she never watches tv other than the occasional video from the library it’s safe to say that she soaked up that little nugget of marketing while waking up grandma.  So what other commercials did she see?  What else did her little sponge brain absorb?  Kids don’t know a commercials motivation, it might as well be their sunday school teacher telling them the gospel truth.  And this wasn’t even a commercial aimed at kids.  Let’s pretend this is a portals of prayer and close with a prayer.  Dear God, please smite the shitheads that prey on our children.  Give them yellow teeth and bad dandruff that knows no cure.  Amen.

Posted: October 19th, 2007
Categories: fact, family
Comments: No Comments.

grandmas rule churches drool

my last post came courtesy of the public library and the kind grandma that cooed and chortled for elsa while i wrote.  I should’ve got her name and sent her a gift basket – which i’ve been told is the origianl im.  this e-mail comes courtesy of jodi’s mom who is in fact elsa’s real grandma and who i offered to buy coffee for but somehow had my coffee bought for me instead.  sign of a real grandma.

I had two church gigs this last week (i’m trying, but i can’t think of any dorkier pairing of words than, ‘church gig’) and though one was so-so and the other was all right.  actually one of them sucked and the other was a step above all right and in relationship to the other one was freakin’ awesome.  My conclusion: after the next 4 church shizows (better than gig?) i have in the next 2 months I’m going on a performing at church sabbatical.  I really love the church (maybe that’s why i’m so critical of it) and i write a ton of stuff that is church appropriate but I’m sick of personalities in front of the congregation.  I’m going to try and figure out what exactly it is, but whenever i go/participate in ‘cool’ church services/events i leave in a pissy melancholy mood.  So once again, church has become detrimental to my faith development.  Which is kind of special needs as it is.  My faith rides the short bus.

Posted: October 16th, 2007
Categories: fact
Comments: No Comments.


i bought two pairs of headphones.  not because i grew an extra pair of ears (i’m sure that’s what you were all thinking)(and it’s not too off base considering my proximity to 3M and lets just pause for a moment and think of all the great chemicals that 3M has given us.) I got ’em ’cause i got hired to record a band over at Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church.  Rock and roll.  Over the course of two nights we recorded a little dity they’re using as part of their capital campaign thing.  It felt good to be hired as a mobile studio, and the end product turned out real nice if i do say so myself.

in other vocational affirmations:

Wtih Steve A. (drummer of saints and sinners) I converted a porch from no season to 3 season.  we even levelled it with the aid of 2 carjacks, just like the manufacturer intended.

The honest folk practiced, with its newest member Erin Deboer-Moran on keys and lovely voice.  We’re putting together another batch of neo-protest third party rock folk lullabyes.

I practiced with the band that will be debuting a new liturgy at a NE church.  I get to play lapsteel and banjo, and most importantly sit next to the Martin Marty.

And this weekend I get to sing songs for a bunch of 8th grade confirmands.  yippee.

rock and roll is alive and lives on in our hearts, in our minds, and in a little trailer park outside of hugo MN.

Posted: October 11th, 2007
Categories: music
Comments: No Comments.

let it all go

in the continual post move angst under the weight of my posessions i’m clearing myself of more stuff.  so yesterday I piled 20 journals into a box to recycle.  but i haven’t recycled them yet.  the oldest one dates back to 92 when i was at boarding school in cote d ivoire. in recent years my journals have been much more random and turn into boxes of odd paper – less organized – fewer dated sheets – more envelopes/bulletins/napkin fodder. 

half the entries are song ideas the rest is bipolar musing on life love and music.  flipping through the pages i found a lot of songs that i had forgotten but know i won’t ever get around to touching again.  i found chords for a song that i couldn’t remember the progression for.  i found recording notes from the twang twang sessions.  sketches for a whole line of furniture using old tires that i drew up in northern togo.

one second i feel like this is the perfect move to get a fresh start on songwriting – clear it all out!  but the next i feel like this was my entire foundation as a song writer and someday my biographer will wish he/she had it.

if you plan on becoming my biographer call me now so i can make an informed decision before the recycling comes around on friday.

Posted: October 1st, 2007
Categories: fact
Comments: No Comments.

Like Nate on Facebook

Purchase Reform Follows Function on iTunes