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Nothing is Sound

I got a new CD the other day. I took it home from the store and cut it open to read the lyrics. I was blown away. I put it in the CD player to listen and just continued to play it over and over. I have been listening to it almost constantly.

Now if I was Brianne, you would know what the album was without even asking, since she talks about her passion all the time on her blog.

But this is my blog and therefore you probably want to know what CD I’m referring to. (Unless, of course, you recognized the title.)

I’m talking about Switchfoot’s new album, Nothing is Sound. I first got into Switchfoot with their Beautiful Letdown CD, so it’s not like I’m a long-time, die-hard fan writing here. But I was touched deeply by songs like “Meant to Live,” “This is Your Life,” and “Dare You to Move” (which is probably one of my most favorite songs ever).

So naturally I was drawn to the new CD, despite my brother’s warning that a friend of his hadn’t liked it as much. Well, I like it so much that I’m blogging about it, except I hardly know where to begin.

I guess what hits me most and hardest is the unrelentless honesty of their songs. They are singing about things like brokenness and wounds and what is life all about, anyway? They pick up on the absurd paradoxes and double standards of our culture in a way that keeps form being overly cynical by adding in hope, and they aren’t afraid to humbly admit they are as much a part of the problem as anyone else.

I love it.

The minute I began reading the lyrics, I was hooked. But now I’ve been playing it over and over, and I just went to their website. I read Jon Foreman’s
notes on how the songs came about and what the album is really supposed to be saying. I almost cried. Sometimes I’m afraid that the things I love so swiftly and deeply are things I will regret later. This is probably a lie of the Enemy. I told my family (and Brianne) that it felt like they had read through Ecclesiastes before writing the songs, and Foreman mentioned not only Ecclesiastes, but Psalms as well. He spoke with such honesty about the paradoxes in our world…I don’t know why but it was so refreshing.

This is the kind of CD I could put in at the end of a long, horrible day, when I’m angry with my life or myself or when I just don’t understand what is going on in the world. And it is the kind of CD that would make me feel better. It is like a lament: it starts with questions, with admissions of pain, loneliness, and wounds…and moves into an acknowledgement that there is still hope. It lets you cry, it lets you sing, it lets you breathe.

To keep this from sounding like an ad for Switchfoot, I just want to make it clear why I love it so much. I have felt for a long time that there is something lacking in our culture—and that it has spilled over into the Church. Call it what you want—honesty, openness, authenticity. We are afraid to be ourselves. We are afraid to let others see us struggling. Wait. No. I. I am afraid to let people know when I am hurting. I don’t want people to see me when I am vulnerable. I hate to cry in front of others.

I think the reason for this is that something critical happens when we share the vulnerable broken parts of ourselves with someone else. You can only forge a genuine friendship—or any other kind of ’ship—when you are real with someone else. And if there is one thing our Enemy hates, it is fellowship. He will keep us from being real if it keeps us from being connected.

These songs are about brokenness; they aren’t about how great life is when you become a Christian. They aren’t La-la-la-le-lujah songs. Those have their place, but we’ve made them the center. We have forgotten how to lament.

Sometimes when I walk into church, I want to turn around and walk right back out again. I hear the music: it’ another “It’s a Wonderful Day So Let’s Praise the Lord” song. Are you kidding me? I overslept and missed breakfast and got into fights on the way here. I had a lousy week at my lousy job. The highlight of my week was watching TV. And now I’m supposed to automatically turn on my smile and start singing? I can’t do it. Well, I guess I can…but I don’t like to. I need time and silence to get my heart right with God again.

These songs speak to that need. They speak to that place inside you that wonders while you sing in church, “Am I really satisfied? Am I really as happy in Christ as this song says I should be?” So if you’ve ever felt like something wasn’t right—with you, with the world, with everything—go get this CD. And go
read what they have to say about the songs. And don’t ask me if they are a Christian Band. Listen to it and decide for yourself.

And the next time someone asks how you were doing, before automatically responding, “Fine,” at least consider being honest. 



LOOOSSSSTTT. You have to say it in a dragged-out half-sigh, it is that good. Lahhsst.

I’ve been threatening to write a tribute post about my favorite show, and now I’m doing it. Actually, this will probably end up being more like "LOST, Part 1".... I watched the season premiere the other night…WOW. It’s like, it went away for the summer, and I actually started to forget how completely and utterly addicting it is.

This reaction, I think, alarms some people. Even my family, who all enjoy the show as well. I admit I am perhaps more than a trifle obsessed. I look for clues and hints in everything. But as with all my real “obsessions” there is a good reason for it. I don’t like LOST just because the acting is fabulous, it’s brilliantly written, and the story keeps you desperate for more. It goes deeper than that, I assure you. But I’m warning you, if you want to know, and you continue reading, you are venturing into deep waters. Most people don’t go as deep as I do. But…it’s what I do.

Speaking of that—how I look for meaning in things—I got into an argument with this guy on my art site about this very topic. He was going off about how art doesn’t have meaning, it’s just a display of talent and beauty and stuff like that. He was so arrogant that it really peeved me off. I don’t care if you don’t agree with me, but he had that “well I’m right” attitude. Well, no, he wasn’t. Art in all forms can have meaning. Key word: can. Does all art have a deeper meaning? No, probably not. But sometimes that’s in the eye of the beholder. He even went as far as to say that he just dislikes people who look for deeper meanings. This shouldn’t bug me, because I really couldn't care less whether he like me or not. But on some level, it does irritate me. I’ve just come to realize in the past couple of years that “looking for the deeper meaning” is something I do. Of course that’s going to come under attack, because the deeper meaning I find usually points to God. That’s why I do it. I don’t try to make things fit a theology; I find parallels and illustrations of how life is for us—not unlike how Jesus used parables to teach his followers.

In LOST, it’s been a little harder to find clear cut parallels. In one sense, it’s obvious. We are survivors of a devastating wreck (the Fall) and we are in a hostile and mysterious place that is out of our control. But it’s a little hard to go too far with this line of thinking because we (the viewers) don’t know everything that’s going on yet.

One of my favorite episodes, “White Rabbit,” is about Jack, the reluctant doctor hero and unofficial leader on the island. He has issues with his dad, and in this episode we get flashbacks that show us a little bit of why. The whole plot sounded to me like it had been ripped from the pages of John Eldredge’s “Wild at Heart.” Young Jack receives his “father wound” after getting beat up trying to help a friend and his father says “You don’t have what it takes.” Years later, after the crash, everyone is looking to him for direction and guidance and he shrinks back. Why? “I don’t have what it takes,” he tells another castaway, Locke. Locke tells him to finish his journey, his search, because “A leader can’t lead until he knows where he’s going.”

With the character of John Locke, there is the potential for a lot of parallels, but I’m just not sure what they’re going to do with him yet. Most people find him creepy, though he is oddly enough my favorite character. He begins a sort of island-worship, treating the place as though it has the power to give and take away. He would know: it gave him back the use of his legs after being in a wheelchair for four years. But whether or not his “island-worship” is a good or bad thing (much debated by fans), everyone on the island is worshipping or trusting something. Jack, the afore-mentioned hero, worships science and logic—a very culturally approved religion, especially for doctors. Most of the other characters rely on themselves so much it could be a form of religion. Others rely on another person so wholly that it ought to be considered worship. This is not so different from us: we all have things we turn to instead of God to see us through—including ourselves and those we love.

Then there is the whole theme of redemption. Essentially everyone is given a clean slate. They all have trouble making use of it and all fall back into old patterns. Kate keeps lying, trying to hide her past, Sawyer keeps conning, Shannon keeps on manipulating the men around her, Hurley begins to sound like an acquaintance from his stay at a mental institution, Charlie looks like he might go back to drugs, even Locke has strong traces of his temper underneath his new shaman-like persona. This is so like us. We have been forgiven and don’t have to be who we were, yet so quickly we go back to the things we used to do. We watch and we say “Why?” just like we do when reading through the history of Israel in the Old Testament, because we don’t realize it is also our story.

There is also a sense of destiny, of purpose to who survived the crash. Locke says plainly that he believes this, and again attributes it to the Island. But beyond that, we have seen glimpses of how each of the character’s lives and back stories connect and cross over. They are interwoven, without them even knowing it, like our lives are. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Rom. 11:33)

I could go on, really. Like I said, it’s what I do. When I love something, I like to figure out why. When it’s a good story, I like to look for glimpses of the Real Story in it. Again, you can thank Eldredge for that. But that’s another story for another time. For now, go in anticipation of next week’s episode of LOST. Y
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A Change of Clothes

Every Friday night I go to the Pittsburgh Chinese Church. For the past two years or so I’ve been teaching a class there—no, not English—a Bible class for Kindergarten to Second Graders. They’re good kids. (And, as you can tell, they really like it when I pull out my camera phone.)

The girls are really sweet and affectionate and always want to sit by me. They even went so far as to start bringing water bottles to class because I am notorious for bringing one every where I go.

The boys, on the other hand…I feel like I’m always telling them stop. Stop talking, stop running, stop hitting…you get the idea. It’s not that they’re bad: they’re just really energetic. And I just know that if I could keep their attention for more than thirty seconds, they might learn something. They are very smart. (In all fairness, I have to ask the girls to stop talking just as frequently. They just obey quicker.)

These boys are also really funny. I think some of them have secret aspirations for being stand-up comedians. They each like to try to crack everyone up. And more than once in a while, they end up cracking me up, too.

This week I was giving a lesson on telling the truth and how truth is important. For an illustration, I had a paper doll named “Joe.” On one side, Joe was frowning because he told his mom a lie. To emphasize his sad state, I colored his shirt blue and gray (not that I have anything against those colors; it’s just that sometimes my artsy, symbolic side gets carried away) and gave him green cords. On the other side, Joe is smiling because Jesus has set him free from sin. This time I colored his shirt bright yellow and orange—again, for emphasis—and put him in blue jeans.

Well, when I “freed” Joe (he was stuck in a “sin” envelope) I showed the class the happy side. I asked them why Joe was happy now.

And Andrew (who is in second grade) said: “Because he got a new shirt and new pants.”

Now Andrew is a very smart kid, and I know he knew the “right” answer. But I have to tell you, after a surprised pause, I burst out laughing.

“Well,” Andrew explained, “I like his new clothes better. I don’t really like green pants.” I laughed even harder. I had to borrow a scrap of paper from Joie, the girl next to me, so I could write it down that instant. It may not sound as funny now, but take my word for it. It’s just one of those things that happens in my class.

I shouldn’t be, but I’m always surprised when they come out with things like that. I’m not surprised when Andrew gives me the “Sunday School” answer; he goes to a Christian school and Sunday School and his parents are active in the church—in fact, Mandy, his mom, coordinates the Friday evening classes for the kids and teaches as well.

The truth is, though, if you ask kids a question, especially in a bible class they will either give you the “God” answer, or the most obvious answer. Most of my kids know the “Jesus” answers, so I usually try to get them to dig a little deeper and think a little more personally about it. I don’t know that I really succeed; they are, after all, only about six or seven.

I don’t get frustrated with them if they don’t use their reasoning skills. I just try to challenge them. But sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that not everything is deep. I mean, I’m big into symbolism and meaning, and I’m sure I could use the anecdote for a sermonette about how when we come to Christ, we do in a sense get change of clothes; we are told to put on things like humility and love like garments.

But that’s not what Andrew meant. He was speaking form that gut-level simplicity and honesty that somehow, I find myself admiring. The truth is, I wouldn’t really want to wear bright green pants, either. That’s probably why I found it so funny. He looked past my symbolism and got to what really mattered to him.

I don’t really want to go into the whole “child-like faith” thing. Even though I really believe it and it’s a big part of why I love working with kids, it’s become a bit cliché to bring that up when sharing a funny kid anecdote. That’s not really what this is about, anyway. It’s really about how funny kids are, and how refreshing their simplicity can be. It’s funny because we think we have the world in better perspective when we’re older and understand the “real world.”

I just think that sometimes, maybe it’s the other way around, and kids have the better perspective. Of course something more important happened to Joe than a change of clothes. But come on, now. Would you want to be wearing a blue and gray shirt with kelly
green corduroy pants? Especially after such a special and spiritual experience like Joe’s? I didn’t think so.


Pursuit of the Ideal

L.M. Montgomery (famed author of the “Anne” series) once wrote a short story titled “The Pursuit of the Ideal,” and basically it was about a guy who tells his best girl friend all about his ideal woman (nearly her opposite in every way) but when he meets her, he realizes that it was his good friend who was his ideal all along. Montgomery also wrote a similar plot line with Anne, who aspired to love a dark, melancholy and poetic man, but found that in the end, she preferred Gilbert, who was not melancholy or very poetic, but laughed at her jokes and appreciated her.

The moral obviously is that what we think we want is not always what is best for us, and I think we can see that in almost any area of life.

But what, I wonder, if our ideal is someone who were are friends with, someone with whom we can laugh with, among other things? What if our ideals are things we actually know would be good for us?

In my blog on
Singleness, I mentioned I’ve been single for a long time, and I briefly listed some things I’d (ideally) like in a guy. Having been single so long has a dual effect on me regarding these “ideals”: one is that I feel entitled to at least the majority of them; the other response I have is despair that I will ever find anyone who even remotely matches up.

If I were to list for you the things that I would like in a guy—The Guy—the length and elaborateness would stagger and astound you. It is the result of mentally calculating all the things I ever noticed and liked about guys I have known (whether real or *ahem!* fictional) and things I have observed in relationships. And…probably stuff from sappy chick flicks, too. I know. Shame on me for being out of touch with reality.

And some of the stuff—for example, being able to play the guitar, having an accent of some kind, driving a motorcycle—isn’t really important at all. It’s just fluff. Although…the guitar thing…….no, okay, really, I’m fine. I’m back to reality now. Not important.

Some things are only relatively important, like having the same taste in literature or music or movies. I don’t expect any guy (or anyone, for that matter) to like everything that I like. But at the very least I’d like to think he wouldn’t bash it, to my face, if he knows I love it. It’s okay to disagree on things, to have differing opinions, certainly. Everyone has different tastes. I’m pretty opinionated myself at times. Most times. But for example, tonight a guy was saying some harsh stuff about my
favorite band ever. Ouch. Right after I said they were my favorite band ever. Really ouch. Not scoring any points there. Not that he was trying to. But you get the point.

I have decided, however, that a few things really are important to me. Like, non-negotiable. I know, you’re thinking, he has to be a Christian, right? Yes. Of course. That’s a given. But more than that, I want him to be a deep, strong Christian. A
Ransomed Heart Christian. The kind of guy who’s read Wild at Heart by John Eldredge and has already gone on his journey with God to learn who he is as a man.

Why is that an Ideal? you may very well ask. Well, let me just say that Mr. Eldredge’s writings have been extremely meaningful and influential to me and my journey as a Christian, and as a woman. I will save further details for another blog at another time.

One thing I really liked about Wild at Heart (which I am currently re-reading) is that although the book was written primarily to give men permission to be men, in the process, it also gave me permission to be a woman. It told me that it was okay to want a strong guy who would fight for me. More than okay—it said it was good! No one had ever really said that before.

It’s a little embarrassing to admit in today’s culture of strong, feminist, “girl-power” women that I actually would like a guy to fight for me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am capable of fighting for myself. But I don’t want to always have to. I like it when chicks kick butt (hello,
Alias?  Princess Leia?) but I also tend to really love the heroes in the story.

Think with me now: William Wallace (Braveheart), Aragorn, Spider-Man, Han Solo…these are men who fight for what they believe in, they fight to free and help people. And they also fight for the woman they love. And deep down, I think every woman longs to truly be fought for—not necessarily in the physical sense, punches being thrown and all that, but to know that she is worth the risk. That’s not an Ideal, that’s a part of being a woman.

I know, this all sounds rather silly and perhaps a bit juvenile. The fancies of a girl who’s lost touch with reality.
Knights in shining armor and all that…who needs it today? Who even really believes it’s possible? Well, I don’t know how possible or probable it is for me…but for right now, all I have is my Ideal. It’ll Have to Do, as Dean Martin sang, Until the Real Thing Comes Along. 


...On Writing

I have to tell you, having this blog makes me feel a little bit like a journalist. I’m always trying to come up with a topic for my “article.” And it has to have a title, and it ahs to be short enough that people won’t despair of getting to the end of it while they’re scrolling down.

Of course, my audience is much smaller than any newspaper or magazine; but I still appreciate you taking the time to read my humble, rambling thoughts. I hope you also know that I LOVE getting comments about what I write, hint hint.

I always like to get feedback on my writing. For one reason, I like to feel connected to my readers, and knowing how people respond helps me to be a better writer. I can only write so much (on one of my twenty ideas) before I make someone read it—usually a member of my family, like my brother
Kyle, or my good friend Brianne.

Right now, however, I have a couple of other people reading my “
Found Phoebe” manuscript. I want to get all the errors caught and confusing parts clarified before it goes to press with Red Lead. I want it to be the best it can be…and I’ve already been revising it for two years. It’s always different, though, when someone else reads your work.

About a week ago, the pastor of
North Park Church came by the house with my dad after lunch. Pastor Hopper mentioned to me that he had read the first chapter of my book online, and that he enjoyed it. He was very encouraging and shared with me some advice from a class he had taken on writing for publication. He told me that his teacher said not to identify too strongly with your writing. Authors who do that have a hard time with criticism because they feel like they themselves are being edited and judged. It’s called “Red Pen Syndrome” or something like that.

I had my first real experience with that (outside of school) earlier this week. A friend of my dad’s is one of the people editing “Phoebe” for me right now. Mr. Lesher sent me the first two parts of “Phoebe” edited in such a way that you can see what was changed as soon as you open the document in word. The changes are marked in red. Naturally. When I opened the document to the first page, all I saw was a mass of red.

Now, I’m not saying that his revisions weren’t helpful; they were. And I really do want my writing to be the best it can be. It’s like…if you watch a craftsman at work—A
potter for example, or a glass blower or metal smith. They take a portion of their material, work it, shape it, and the next thing you know thy destroy it. It is a formless blob again and they are starting the process all over. They saw a flaw that needed to be fixed. It would be silly for one of them to let his pride in his talent keep him from making the best objects he can.

In the same way, I know that the kneading and melting processes are necessary for my work to be its best. Is it hard? Heck yeah. But it’s worth it. 


Simple Pleasures

When I was in high school, my best friend and I bought pins from Claire’s that said: “Of course Blondes have more fun; it takes so little to entertain them.” Melissa and I thought this was hilarious, and we were blondes. Normally I don’t go in for blonde jokes, but it was true: it did take little to amuse me. The fact of the matter is, I’ve always been relatively easy to please.

When I was a young child, before my brother was born (so, zero to four) my parents could leave me alone in my room for hours playing with legos or my stuffed animals and dolls. I would draw and make little booklets, read, and make up my own songs. I could entertain myself very well.

Things haven’t changed that much. In college, I could spend hours with a stack of magazines, a pair of scissors, a roll of tape, and my favorite sappy movies. I did collages and watched videos on my roommate’s TV. (Yes, videos. Believe it or not, DVDs were very rare when I was in college....does that make me old? Wait, don't answer that) I should have been studying, but that’s beside the point. And it wouldn’t have been entertaining or amusing.

Today I am also feeling rather pleased, and it’s not because I spent part of the day on the computer and part of it shopping. It’s because of what I got. Now I know, money can’t buy happiness…but it can buy it for a little while. At least for thirty hours or so, enough time to watch the entire first season of LOST and some of the bonus features available on the DVD. And another twenty some hours to watch the second season of
MacGyver. (*sigh.*)

If being a bit of a Drama Queen means I am sometimes prone to making a big deal out of things that really aren’t so bad once put in perspective, then the flip side is that I also get easily satisfied by small things. New clothes, new haircut, a good book, a good movie, a good song, a purring cat in my lap: all make me happy. I was happy yesterday because my CD player in my car started working again and I got to listen to Nichole Nordeman on the way home from work.

Maybe it’s flippancy; maybe it’s shallowness; maybe it’s being easily content. All I know is I enjoy life’s simple pleasures, and I like that I enjoy them. I’m not saying that anyone should let his or her happiness hang on material goods or their circumstances, but I do think if more people derived happiness from the little things, maybe we’d all be happier more of the time. I know it does sound flippant to be so happy about a TV show, but if you read my post about
Alias, you’d know that at least some of my guilty pleasures have good reasons behind them.

But right now I’m so tired that the thing I’d get the most enjoyment from is going to sleep. G’night.


Creative, or Crazy?

Yesterday I decided to take stock of some of my store of ideas. These are thoughts that have come to me out of the blue, or have been rolling around in my head for a while, that I start to scribble down on scraps of paper. I finally organized these scraps last week into folders for different story ideas.

Yesterday, however, I went through and actually made a list of all the story ideas that are actively floating around in my head at the moment. These are things I think of through out the day and ponder how to expand on, clarify, and complete.

Would you believe my list had twenty items on it??? I was a little shocked. Now, some of them are at most a few lines I jot down to convey the ideas behind the book I intend to one day write. And some are just a few pages or paragraphs to get me started, but still!! Twenty?

As of yet, I have only completed two of those twenty, and yet they are still on my list because I am forever revising them. As for the rest…I’m having trouble prioritizing them. What should I work on today? What should I try to finish next?

Found Phoebe was the first really solid story idea I had, that I was able to see through from beginning to end. And Jagged Edge came next; it was something I had to write. That was one of the ideas that had been rolling around in my head for a while and finally I had an insight on how it could all come together. I barely worked on anything else while I wrote it, because I was so set on getting through it. (I’m now on my second draft. It is a ridiculous 243 pages—the 81/2 x 11 kind, 12 pt. font, single spaced. Whew!)

But now I am starting to wonder if I am creative, or just crazy. How on earth do all these ideas fit in my head? And how am I ever going to get around to all of them? Believe me, I want to! I love telling stories. That is something I am so passionate about. Even if it takes me the rest of my life to get out jut the ideas I have right now, I hope to do it. But I hope to be writing stories for the rest of my life anyway.

And after all, the human brain is an amazing thing. I suppose if I was made in the image of my Creator, who had the ideas for things like giraffes, kangaroos, pandas, mountains, waterfalls, sunsets, stargazer lilies, oak trees, monarch butterflies, Hawaii, Scotland, and, oh yeah, every single human being that has ever lived or ever will live in the history of the planet, then I guess my brain should be able to hold the ideas for a couple dozen books.

But I still don’t know which one I should work on today.

(P.S.:In case you're new, I'd like you to know that I love getting comments. That way I know you've been here.)


Community Worship

Last night a woman asked me for my autograph.

Not because of my writing. Because of my music.

I am not a “musician.” My friend Brianne? She’s a musician. But I like to play the guitar, and I like to sing. And because of those to interests (notice which one came first) I volunteer in my church’s worship band a couple times a month. Sometimes more.

We have a contemporary service on Saturday night called “Community Worship” (link just added on the right). I like being a part of it, getting to teach new songs to the congregation. (After singing and playing them at least once a week for four consecutive years, I am little tired of songs like “Holiness,” “Open the Eyes of My Heart,” and the especially overplayed “Better is one Day.”)

Anyway, this week, there was a problem with the schedule: a shortage of vocalists. So since I was already scheduled to play guitar, Alycia (the Coordinator of CW schedules and one of the worship leaders) asked me to also be a vocalist. I normally sing when I play; I have a microphone in front of me. But it is harmony. Even when I sing the melody, there are usually at least two other voices singing with me. You can’t really her me. I know this because my family has complained, “We can’t hear you!”

A woman who also plays the bass was going to do vocals as well. But she, too, usually does the harmony part. And we are both altos. So you can see this was going to be tricky. It ended up that we both sang lead on different songs…but I did the majority. At first I was a little annoyed. I like singing harmony. But then I thought, maybe it is a bit too much in my comfort zone.

In practice I was relatively fine. No big. And in my room…well, I usually belt it out there anyway. But it is a completely different thing when there is a microphone in front of you, and a monitor pointed in your direction so you can actually hear yourself, exactly as you sound. Add in an audience and…you get a bundle of nerves. At least, I did. I was a basket case before we started. I’m always a little nervous, because I don’t want to screw up. And just so you know, it takes coordination to sing and play guitar. Rock stars make it look easy, but it’s not.

I think I mentioned earlier that I like to sing. I do. I’m not someone you would hear and go, “Wow! Someone get her a recording contract!” but I’m also not someone you hear and go, “Is a dog dying somewhere nearby?” Still, I had no choice. I had to usher the congregation into worship. I took a breath, closed my eyes, and let it out.

Afterward, I had people tell me we sounded good. Note the “we,” that’s important. A leader without a band is just…lonely. And the woman who asked for my autograph? No, it wasn’t my mom. But it was a friend of mine. And she really did make me sign a piece of paper.

I guess the point could be that it’s good to stretch yourself; that it’s good to get out of your comfort zone. Or not to care too much what “everyone” thinks. But actually, there is no moral here. Sorry. I just wanted to tell the story of how I had to sing at CW. That there were people actually listening to my voice and they didn’t boo or leave or throw rotten fruit. You can be told that you’re okay at something, even that you’re good, by people. But when they’re family or friends, I think we all just kinda go “yeah, right” in the back of our minds. Even if the person is a ferociously truthful person. But until you go through a public trial, you never really know.

And so I’m still waiting to be asked for my autograph in my novel.


"Christian" Fiction

I am an aspiring author. That’s what it says in my profile to the right. Basically it means that I really really like to write (hence, the blog that I pound away on for a very small audience) and that I hope one day to be published and recognized as an author. As opposed to a girl who works for a dentist and at a coffee shop and writes in her spare time.

I have actually written a book; I hope to be self-publishing it in the next couple of months. You can read a little more about it on my humble web page, listed under my links to the right. I’m not going to synopize it right here. But if “Found Phoebe” does get taken on by Red Lead Press, you can be assured that I will also add a link to where you can order it online.

A lot of people have asked me, “Is this a Christian book?” The answer is: yes and no. First of all, no, it is not an explicitly Christian book. By this I mean that Phoebe does not go to church, have a conversion experience, nor is there any mention of God. But at the same time, yes, it is a Christian book because I am a Christian, and I am the author. My worldviews are inherent in my writing, just as “The Lord of the Rings” was not an explicitly Christian book, either, yet is loved by many Christians because of the deep theological themes found there. I am not comparing myself to J.R.R. Tolkien; I am just using his work as an illustration. Although my book is not exactly an allegory, there are parallels and Christian themes in the story; furthermore, my book does not endorse any unscriptural activities.

But as a Christian Author, and even just as a Christian Philosopher in college, I have wrestled with this question: what makes something “Christian Art”? I actually took a whole class about it my senior year, thank you, Dr. Wilson.

I think as Christians, we have a tendency to separate ourselves so much from the mainstream culture that we have created our own little bubble of a sub-culture. There was a time in my life when I thought this was good, but I don’t any more. Part of the problem is that the mainstream market has become so liberal that there isn’t a lot of market for Christian religious art. To compensate, we created publishing houses and media companies that would produce Christian art. But to whom? Not to the world, who needs it the most. But to us, so that we could be surrounded only by what is good and theologically sound.

Yes, I know the verse in Philippians where Paul tells us what things we should think on. And I know we are called to be set apart, to live in the world , but not be of it, and certainly not to love the world or anything in it.

But if Christian musicians are just singing about God’s love to Christians, and Christian authors are just writing books about living life as a Christian and selling it only in Christian bookstores, how are we changing the world?

I am not ashamed that my book does not have the plan of salvation in it. I think God uses all things to draw men to him. I think he uses people who don’t even know Him to spread truth, without them even knowing it. I think His truth can be found in very unexpected places, because it is His world, and He is sovereign, and He has put truth in our hearts. I think you can find elements of the gospel everywhere: in movies like Braveheart and Star Wars, in shows like LOST and ALIAS, and in books like Susan Cooper’s “The Dark is Rising Sequence” and yes, dangit, even in the Harry Potter books.

I still haven’t finished “Heaven is Not My Home,” but I do agree with Dr. Paul Marshall that it is our responsibility as Christians to redeem the world, and to bring to light those truths we find. “Found Phoebe” is about fairies and fairy tales. Why? Because fairy tales (as John Eldredge and even C.S. Lewis would say) present a deep view of reality. They show us what is really going on. As does all effective art, Christian or not.