News for February 2014

Clean Up Your Crap

I’m spending the morning in piles of paper.  I really love organization.  I really hate paperwork.  I would rather write songs and bake bread but this is all part of it.  To make it easier I’m listening to great music (Lucinda Williams live at the Fillmore) and throwing as much paper as possible into the recycling so that I don’t have to deal with it again in the future.  Less crap = More fun.

A couple things I won’t throw away.  I’ve got a pile of scraps of paper where I’ve written down quotes from books or heard spoken.  So here are a few that keep me going, get me out of bed, inspire me, console me, what have you.

“Acedia is a danger to anyone whose work requires great concentration and discipline yet is considered by many to be of little practical value.” Kathleen Norris, Acedia & Me

“The fastest way to do things you don’t think you can be done is to surround yourself with people already doing them.” Scott Dinsmore

Love, peace, and revolution,


Posted: February 26th, 2014
Categories: Uncategorized
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That Thing You Said On Twitter Really Ticked Me Off.

I quit using facebook last November.  I still have a Nate Houge page so that I can keep the Nate Houge Propaganda machine rolling, but as far as a personal page?  Adios.  Why?  Everyone was always so shiny happy and successful on FB that I went around feeling like I’d never add up.  It depressed me.  So I quit it.  Do I miss the cat pictures?  Of course.  (Not really.  Cats are dumb.) (And readership plummets.)

But, since we all need a time sucking divergence in life, I’m still on Twitter.  @housewithag, to be exact.  I have found and others have confirmed that Twitter seems to carry less baggage.  Maybe it’s because I don’t know how to use it properly, but whatevs, it’s working for me.

Except for when someone says something stupid.  Which happens.  And 140 characters is never enough to set them straight.  So I fume.

But I’ve also got a blog.  Which is like a bad diary that 12 of you read and lets my mom feel like she’s still part of my life.  (BTW, Happy belated B-day Mom!)

So with this blog I will now respond to some dude’s tweet that went kinda like this:

“Stop getting your theology from christian authors and musicians and look to the Bible and the church”

I replied, “Worst advice ever.” But what I wanted to add was:  Are you freakin’ nutz?  Nobody should limit their sources when it comes to understanding God.  Yes, the Bible should inform your thelology, duh.  And yes, you’re going to learn stuff about God at church, again, duh.  But guess what else?  Those authors and musicians (by which I’m assuming you include songwriters)?  They have something to say too.  And not just the Christian ones.  You should be getting your theology from the Atheist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim etc… writers too.  I’m not saying that you should necessarily believe what they believe, but I am saying that what they have to say is valid in shaping your own understanding of God.  Or more importantly, in God’s revealing God’s self to you.
And this will come as no surprise, God is going to shape your theology thru other disciplines too.  My theology is shaped by the arts, by VW mechanics, by ninjas, by children, by old farts, by skater documentaries, by surf magazines, by night skiing and by idiot tweets that get me all pissy about limiting God – to name  a few sources.  Stop limiting God.  Incarnation happens.
Theology done in a vaccuum keeps God in a vaccuum.

I feel better now.  Thank you.

Character Count: 2425

Posted: February 19th, 2014
Categories: Uncategorized
Comments: 1 Comment.

Shade – New Song

This song was funded by my Patrons at Patreon. It’s a song written about grief and grieving. I wrote it at a time when a number of my couple friends were mourning miscarriages and dealing with the pain of either keeping it quiet and having nowhere to mourn the loss, or sharing it publicly and dealing with everybody’s well intentioned but nearly always worthless and often hurtful take on the situation. (Next time you have a hankering for bad theology try posting something death related for all your christian friends on fakebook. They generally say everything – including Praise the Lord – except the one thing you generally want to hear, which in my case would be: That sucks. I’ll drop off chocolate and whiskey.) The hospital imagery comes from my own experience of spending days at and near the hospital when my father in law died several years back. A lot of uncomfortable hours doing puzzles with strangers and extended family.

I really love this song. I think it’s beautiful and when I first wrote it I couldn’t sing through it without stopping to cry. There are few things harder than watching friends suffer and being incapable of doing anything more than being present. What’s more, this recording features my friend and neighbor Erin DeBoer-Moran. She showed up and figured out how to play a piano part that fit my make believe chords in open D tuning. And those harmonies. I love this song all the more for her additions. Plus, I got to use my Cascade Fatheads to mic our upright kindofintune piano.


Here’s a sample from the chorus:

To hear the entire song click here and join my awesome Patrons. For $1 you get to stream the entire song and for $3 you can stream and download it. Patrons are what make it possible for me to give these songs away down the road… (So yeah, if you wait long enough this song will be available for free.)
w/m Nate Houge (c)2012 Lutefist
Nate Houge – Guitar, Vocals
Erin DeBoer-Moran – Piano, Vocals.
These have been the worst days
full of doubt; questioning why
say you got some good news
But I don’t need your laughter, I need someone to cry
In the shade of God, there is hope
but for now, I need to fall apart
I read every word that you wrote
In these words, you hold my broken heart
All the waiting rooms
fluorescent lights, bad magazines
picture life together
and even through the tears, there is love in every seen
All this life has given
memories, hold them so close
death may be a season
but no one wants to say goodbye to the ones we love the most


Posted: February 12th, 2014
Categories: Uncategorized
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I’m listening to Damien Jurado’s new album as I write. I’ve been listening to it a lot. It’s fanatastic and you should buy it. You should also buy a time machine and go back to last Friday and go see Damien with me at the Turf Club. Then on Sunday you could come to church with me and listen to Matt Arthur and Don Bratlander sing their songs and old gospel hymns. And then you could head over to Shamrock’s on Monday night and listen to amazing stories interspersed with songs by Communist Daughter. That’s what you could do if you bought a time machine.  (That and zing people with all those witty comebacks you thought of hours after the fact.)

All three of these artists/bands are terrific in their own way. They’re three of my current favorites and that I got to see them all over the course of four days is pretty flippin’ amazing.

I love live music. I love live albums. I love the risk involved in turning off the digital fixery and laying it all on the line.

I can pinpoint in each of these three performances where the artist broke through to the audience, and each break through occurred when the artist was most vulnerable/obviously human.

Damien Jurado – His connection was about 2/3rds of the way through when he opened himself up to the questions and answers. You could ask him anything. And he might answer it. Or he might shrug. Or he might make fun of you.

Matt Arthur – Matt is blind. He stops and sways when he swings and at one point had rotated till his body was facing away from the people. His sideman, Don, reached over between songs and rotated him around to face the group once again. “We have to do that a couple times during each show.”

Communist Daughter – This was a storytelling event held every few months at Shamrock’s, put on by Humble Walk. This month the stories were pretty heavy. They usually are. Loss, divorce, abandonment… And Communist Daughter’s music isn’t exactly light hearted either. Which made it a perfect match. And then half way through a song Johnny forgot the words. Not just fumbling and carrying on, but music stop, come to a halt, no words. It broke all kinds of tension, let a bit of release into the room, and as soon as Molly whispered them into his ear there were smiles, laughter, and the song started back up.

All three performances were amazing and professional, but the human and vulnerable moments… That was the space that let the rest of us in. That’s where we connected with the performers and with each other. It’s a gift to be human.


Posted: February 5th, 2014
Categories: Uncategorized
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