Durn phone. Not sure how to get my pictures from it to this. Technology. Bleh. Do me a favor and picture me playing a guitar in the idyllic black hills of SD. Look a bird just landed on my shoulder. Hey! Don’t give me that John Denver haircut! And take those ten pounds off while you’re at it. There. Beautiful picture. Now for the accompanying blog:
My family and I just returned from our third trip to Outlaw Ranch in Custer, SD. I spent the week as the artist residence. Mornings were spent writing songs with kids and young adults, afternoons were filled with arts, crafts, coffee, hikes, bike rides (one ending prematurely in the midst of more lightning than I’ll ever be comfortable with!), tie dying, and plenty of conversation and relaxation. In the evenings I did concerts for the adults at Outlaw Ranch or went over to Atlantic Mountain Ranch and played/hung out with the youth there – including some old friends from my days at SOTV.
Our family had an amazing time. And as a songwriter there are few things I love more than playing my own material and getting kids excited about writing songs of their own.
Now that we’re home I’m catching up on 10 days of e-mail, booking, and odds and end correspondence. Ah, the rock and roll lifestyle. But before I get too involved with looking forward I want to reflect a bit on two things: The role of camp in setting people free and your role in supporting artists.
First on camp setting free. I’ve got a theory. Lots of them in fact. Here’s one: We are most fully who God created us to be in the fullness of Christian community. That’s being free. When we practice Christian community we are defined not by human criteria (fame, fortune, ability, looks, blah, blah, blah) but rather by our baptismal identity (whole, holy, loved, made right just as we are, not by our work, by God’s). When we live by these terms we are free. People sometimes refer to time at camp as a mountain top experience. Maybe. But really I think it’s just a glimpse of reality. Of the kingdom of God breaking through. Of what real life is. We get a peek at what a new normal might resemble. And we like it. Because it sets us free. And free is good. Except in the case of hair cuts. That’s according to Jodi. I thought I did a pretty nice job. Oh well.
Segundo. I’m constantly amazed that I get to do what I do for a living. A lot of higher profile artists can show up in towns they’ve never been before and pack in a theater/club full of people and make thousands of dollars a night. They’ve got a whole machine behind them. Then there are artists like myself. We don’t have a machine. We’ve got you. I’ve got you. You like my music, you ask me to play at your camp, church, living room etc… We tell our friends, make facebook invites, blog about it, do what we can, cross our fingers, and say an extra prayer or two. Sometimes that looks like me playing for 1500 clergy at the festival of homiletics. Sometimes it’s playing for 12 people at midnight at the Terminal Bar. Sometimes I get hundreds of dollars. Sometimes I barely break even. If I did it for the money I’d have quit long ago. I do it because I’m surrounded by a community that gives me glimpses of who I am. It’s a scary glimpse at times but it always involves a guitar, paper, and a pen. Tools that set me free. And if I hold ‘em right maybe they’ll aid in your freeing process as well. Thank you for supporting the arts. Thank you for supporting me. I’ll do my best to reciprocate. And I’ll do it for free