Friday, October 30, 2009

Excerpts from Orthodoxy

From my INTERN BLOG at

Currently Enjoying: Until June, The Damnwells, Trent Dabbs

This week I finally finished "Orthodoxy" by GK Chesterton. I will not pretend to understand everything that Chesterton says in his classic on his reasons for being a Christian. One thing is for sure, when he is understandable he often has brilliant, creative "duh" moments of logic. But man, reading a guy who wrote for the 1900's audience can be just as confusing as trying to read in a foreign language. Probably is part of the reason the book took me about two years to get through. I could only take it in small doses.

His last chapter was one of the most powerful and I thought I would take the time to share some of that with you. You can decide whether it is worth taking the time to read. Please excuse the lengthy excerpts but I hope you enjoy:

"Many a sensible modern man must have abandoned Christianity under the pressure of three such converging convictions as these: first, that men, with their shape, structure and sexuality, are, after all, very much like beasts, a mere variety of the animal kingdom; second, that primeval religion arose in ignorance and fear; third that priests have blighted societies with bitterness and gloom....The only objection to them (I discover) is that they are all untrue. If you leave off looking at books about beasts and men (if you have any humour or imagination, any sense of frantic or the farcical) you will observe that the startling thing is not how like man is to brutes, but how unlike he is. That man and brute are like is, in a sense, a truism; but that being so like they should then be so insanely unlike, that is the shock and enigma...Certain modern dreamers say that ants and bees have a society superior to our... Who ever found an ant-hill carved with the images of gorgeous queens of old?"

One of the brilliant things about Chesterton is that, much like CS Lewis (God bless those Brits), is that he is able to deconstruct common assumptions. To look at it from a different lens, seeing things not what culture tells us to see but for what they are. He goes on to state things in such beautiful ways as, when explaining the church's role in the Dark Ages, as "I read a little history. And in that history I found that Christianity, so far from belonging to the Dark Ages, was the one path across the Dark Ages that was not dark... How can we say that the Church wishes to bring us back into the Dark Ages? The Church was the only thing that ever brought us out of them."

Or perhaps, when talking about the reality of miracles, "The believer in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them. The open, obvious, democratic thing is to believe an old apple-woman when she bears testimony to a miracle, just as you believe an old apple-woman when she bears testimony to a murder...It is we Christians who accept all actual evidence -- it is you rationalists who refuse actual evidence being constrained to do so by your creed."

Or, when talking about the need to have faith: "If faith is one of the conditions, those without faith have a healthy right to laugh. But they have no right to judge...Suppose we were investigating whether angry men really saw a red mist before their eyes. Suppose sixty excellent householders swore that when angry they had seen a crimson cloud: surely it would be absurd to answer "Oh, but you admit you were angry at the time." They might reasonably rejoin "How the blazes could we discover, without being angry, whether angry people see red?"

On God being the one, true God: "It does not trouble me to be told that the Hebrew god was one among many. I know he was, without any research to tell me so. Jehovah and Baal looked equally important, just as the sun and the moon looked the same size. It is only slowly that we learn that the sun is immeasurably our master and the small moon only our satellite."

On reincarnation and original sin: "Theosophists for instance will preach an obviously attractive idea like re-incarnation; but if we wait for its logical results, they are spiritual superciliousness and the cruelty of caste. For if a man is a beggar by his own pre-natal sins, people will tend to despite the beggar. But Christianity preaches an obviously unattractive idea, such as original sin; but when we wait for its results, they are pathos and brotherhood and a thing of laughter and pityl for only with original sin we can at once pity the beggar and distrust the king."

On joy: "Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian... (Jesus') pathos was natural, almost casual. The Stoics, ancient and modern, were preoud of concealing their tears. He never concealed His tears; He showed them plainly on His open face at any daily sight, such as the far sight of His native city. Yet He concealed something. Solemn supermen and imperial diplomatists are proud of restraining their anger. He never retrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell. Yet he restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied it was His mirth."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Innovate or Die. Seriously.

Yet another published on, called Innovate or Die. Seriously. I am a fan of this because it gave me a chance to look into something that I love (music), interview someone who I have serious respect for their music (Billy Cerveny), and give props to the great website So if that interests you, head on over and read up on whats the latest. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is the Bible Actually True?

There is a great article entitled "Is the Bible Actually True" on RelevantMagazine today that I didn't write. It is thought provoking, something to wrestle with and engage in conversation about. We need to have our convictions nailed down. I am currently chewing on this article and would love to know what others think. I will hold my opinions until a little later this week, though I will do my best to say what I believe later.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Free Music Monday

Another weekend has come and gone much too quick. I am currently at work so I will make this quick. There is a quite interesting CD that has come to my attention that is available for free download. So check out Brian Lee and His Orchestra (CLICK) or if you want to preview it for free before downloading, head on over to The Drop at to listen to it streaming. Described as "americana flavored" and "likened to unreleased Beatles or Beach Boys demos" and "possesses a sound reminiscent to 1950's doo wop and soul music," I think it's worth you checking out. You may not like the style but it's worth a chance.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Marriage and Memory Lane

I just posted this on but here it is for your viewing enjoyment!

Currently Enjoying: NeedtoBreathe, Between the Trees, JJ Heller

Nothing really prepares you for your best friend getting married. This past weekend I learned that. My best friend Jeremy got hitched to his lovely bride Caitlin and it was beautiful. It was strange. It was everything I expected and wasn't prepared for. You see, when the kid you grow up with talking about girls goes and marries one, you know that life is a train hurtling down a track towards the unknown. It settles in that there is no going back to the days of neighborhood backyard football when the biggest care in the world was whether Mom was going to be able to get the grass stain out of your favorite jeans. Or let you wear them again if she couldn't.

As the best man in the wedding, it was my responsibility to try to plan a bachelor party, give a toast and... well most best men probably have other important responsibilities but J knew me well enough to leave it at those two and tell me to show up for the wedding on time. I was still there 10 minutes later than I was supposed to be (but still an 1:20 before the wedding). The bachelor party was the first step in me saying goodbye to the old days. As a bunch of us piled into cars and drove out to a farm with no electricity, to play capture the flag, drink and eat and tell stories, I thought about how many times we had done this in the past. How many freezing cold nights were simply amazing because I was with my best friends, doing manly things like running around in all black and tackling each other as we stumbled our way toward the flag or getting people out of jail. The only difference this time was when we got stuck in jail, we got to enjoy a cool brew while we sat and waited to be rescued.

I think it was towards the end of that night, at 2:00 am when my toes were frozen and we sat around the campfire singing worship songs that I realized how special my childhood really was. And how it is gone. I won't buy into the lie that "those were the best days" because I trust God has more adventures in store for me. But a time of innocence is gone, replaced by lessons learned, new friends made, and 15 extra pounds. And so we toasted J and his step in learning what it means to be more like Christ in loving a wife. We toasted what God had given us and where he had taken us. I thought that was going to be my emotional point, that that was my lesson that I wasn't prepared for, a goodbye to childhood.

Then came the wedding day. Caitlin was beautiful, J's eyes "leaked" as we prayed for him and then when she walked down the aisle as we all stood there grinning. And I realized that not all my little kid-ness had left, as I shifted from foot to foot, not being able stand still as I stood beside him and the preacher spoke. It was a surreal experience, yes, but beautiful. Things progressed well; pictures were quick, the food was excellent, there was plenty of fun yet to be had. But then it came time for the toast. I can't remember the last time I cried profusely... probably back in senior year of college, two years ago. But as I stood up there, honoring my best friend, what he had learned, what we have gone through together and the beautiful woman that he married, I was a wreck. My eyes started "leaking" in a quite unemotional part of the toast. By the time I was to the end, the "leaking" was out of control and I was reading my toast without looking at him, trying to hold it together.

It was a goodbye to something beautiful. It is a welcoming to something even better, something holy and right and good and true. What I had with J, as a best friend, is forever gone, part of what God had in store to mold us both and teach us what it means to follow him. He now has a best friend in his life that needs to take my place, probably already had taken my place. I will always be there for him and he will for me, but it is different now. And I praise God for that. For the ways we grow and change and learn. I once heard someone say that "God loves you too much to let you remain who you are." I am thankful that this whole growing up thing is a part of that, of God's plan.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Naked Dude in Virginia

Run and hide, people are naked in their own homes! A dude in Virginia was arrested (CLICK HERE for the news article) for being naked at 5:30 AM in his own home. Some lady who was walking across his lawn at 5:30 happened to catch a glimpse of this guy naked and making coffee in his kitchen. This is an absolute and utter crock. I realize there are a lot more things to get fired up about but this just makes me angry.

A couple points: IT WAS HIS OWN HOME! Are you kidding me? I can't tell you how many times I could have gotten arrested for something like this in a home, let alone outside of a home. Have you ever been streaking? How about skinny dipping? Those are outside in public spaces and this guy was INSIDE in his own private residence. And the lady didn't even see him from the sidewalk; she was trespassing on his lawn. It wasn't like he had his cheeks plastered against the window, he was a guy who just rolled out of bed and went downstairs to make some coffee. AT 5:30 IN THE MORNING!

I think maybe the reason that I get fired up about this is because this dude now has to go to trial and possibly, if some asinine lawyer prosecutes him well enough, have a criminal record. For making coffee naked at 5:30 AM in his kitchen. And that could have been me. I went streaking at 10 AM my senior year of college. I have gone skinny dipping who knows how many times. And for those, while maybe not the smartest, moments of being a goofy idiot I could have a much longer criminal record than this guy. And chances are you probably could to.

The VA police should drop this. They should apologize. This lady who called in the charge should bake him a couple dozen cookies and send them with a sincere apology. I am not all about public nudity but this isn't about public nudity or indecent exposure. It is about a guy who didn't throw on any boxers when he made coffee in the morning. To arrest him for that is the real crime.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why I Want to Grow Up

Today on, they published an article I wrote entitled Growing Up Is Harder Than Ever, which was my ode to feeling, well, actually not feeling grown-up. Prompting this is my sometimes present inferiority complex, the need to feel that I have arrived and am worth something. I know that is a big statement to make, I know I am worth something, but honestly, if you are 24 and working as an unpaid intern and living for free at your friends parents house (they are fantastic, by the way), it is hard to feel grown-up.

Does anybody else feel this? This inane or perhaps quite necessary need to feel grown-up? My girlfriend is quick to tell me I am, that I need to consider myself as an adult because I am one, but sometimes that is hard when I am at the bottom of the totem pole in both my jobs. And the job that pays my bills is part time at a mini-golf place (Congo River is sweet thought). Last year it was a lot easier to feel grown-up when I was living overseas and in charge of two teams of people, leading out into something significant.

Which is I think where this all boils down to; significance. Sure, there are a LOT of things that help one mature and grow up (responsibility being primary) but for me, the issue is where I find my significance. I have made strides to be responsible, to pay my bills, to take responsibility for my actions and their consequences, but what I need to do in the end is find my significance in God. Because jobs will change, economic situations will change, relationships will change, responsibilities will change, even physical abilities will change. But my relationship with God is a constant and something that is true. It is where I need to find my hope and significance, that I am a child of God, not because I do or don't run a company. Which is good, because right now I am far away from even pulling in a reasonable paycheck.

To read the article, if you haven't already, CLICK HERE

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm Famous... sort of

So in my RELEVANT highlight of last week, I got to interview a band named Reilly. You can check out their tunes that they played acoustic for RELEVANT and the interview that I did with them by clicking HERE. They have three songs there and have a rad cover of Buffalo Springfield, For What It's Worth. It was a good time, I really dig their music (the live version, at least) and their guitarist played slide guitar using a glass filled with Coca-Cola. And he drank the Coca-Cola from a straw as he played. That is rock and roll. So rock and roll. And their design is freaking sweet. Love it and it is all designed by their bass player. Below is their music video that won first place in the music video category at the San Diego Film Festival.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Temper Trap review

Hey guys, wrote a review of an Australian band called The Temper Trap for RELEVANT this week. I honestly don't think it is my best work but feel free to click HERE and read my review. If you are not interested in the review, at least check out SPINNER (click) and listen to the whole album streaming, free of charge. Enjoy!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Book Review: Brother West

Head on over to to see my latest published piece, a book review of Cornel West's newest book Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. It is a interesting read on a controversial intellectual, one who is unabashedly Christian and unabashedly left-wing socialist. Click HERE to read the review.

A Monday Treat

Because Mo
nday's are, well, Mondays, I figured I would post a little snack of delectable pop music for you all. Some college buddies of mine are in a band called Cavashawn and have been working hard to hit it big since we graduated. Currently situated and rockin' the Chi-town music scene, these guys are some of the hardest working musicians out there. Seriously, they work their butts off with promo, making new music, and connecting with fans. Hopefully it is paying off. This week I noticed they are offering up their ENTIRE music catalog (2 EP's) for FREE on their website. You dont have to give them anything, not even an email address. So head on over to and download what you like. My favorite is Friendly Fire, but all of it is enjoyable pop/rock.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ten out of Tenn

I saw these guys in concert last summer and it was and still is the best concert I have ever been to. Check out Ten out of Tenn, singing a cover of Bob Dylan/The Band's I Shall Be Released. If you like what you hear, head on over to their website to listen to more. Click HERE

See a Sermon

My Grandma Martin went to be with Jesus this past week. My Mom got to hold her for the last few hours before she died. I wasn't able to make the funeral but I gather that my Uncle Dean shared something from this poem and I heard that my brother Ben shared some thoughts even more profound (from the biased words of my Dad). But I read this poem and it was the kind of simple poem that just makes sense to me. So here it is for you.

Sermons We See
Edgar Guest
I'd rather see a sermon
than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me
than merely tell the way.

The eye's a better pupil
and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example's always clear;

And the best of all the preachers
are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it
if you'll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action,
but your tongue too fast may run.

And the lecture you deliver
may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lessons
by observing what you do;

For I might misunderstand you
and the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live.

When I see a deed of kindness,
I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles
and a strong man stays behind

Just to see if he can help him,
then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful
as I know that friend to be.

And all travelers can witness
that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them,
but the one who shows the way.

One good man teaches many,
men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noticed
is worth forty that are told.

Who stands with men of honor
learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language
which to every one is clear.

Though an able speaker charms me
with his eloquence, I say,
I'd rather see a sermon
than to hear one, any day.

Absolutely Insane Surfing

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Ten out of Tenn, a Brite contributor, rockin' last summer
I recently wrote an article for Relevant on new music distribution. It would be a lie to say that I did not write this article because I am a huge fan of this website So I am going to take a minute or two to tell you why I love it. And they are not paying me to say this, I just am a big fan.

First of all, it is a great deal. It is a subscription website, which means it costs $5.oo/month. Whereas iTunes would give you 5 songs for $5.00, on BriteRevolution, you will get more than 40 songs a month. And while iTunes won't let you do anything with their songs but play them on their products, Brite comes without DRM, meaning you can do whatever you want with it.

The second, perhaps more important, reason to love BriteRevolution is the quality of the music. I joined the website when it first started and I knew probably half of the fantastic artists on the site. They were favorites like Andy Osenga, Matthew Perryman Jones, Billy Cerveny, Katie Herzig, Randall Goodgame, Andy Davis, and Griffin House. I was exposed to a dump-truck load of new goodness, to the point where now I am swimming in too much new music and I like it. New favorites include Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors (perhaps my current FAVORITE artist around), Andrew Belle, Adam Agin, Joy Williams, and Ben Rector. And that is not the only people that are added. There is a great variety of artists that are handpicked by the people who run the Revolution, including the funky sounds of Space Capone (weird 70's vibe), experimental rock of Heypenny and Milktooth, the newgrass sounds of Sean Watkins, and sweet soul folk of Stephen Gordon. Click on any of those links to see what I mean.

The third, and last reason I will give you, is that BriteRevolution gives back. 10% of their gross revenue (not profit, revenue) goes to charities of the artists choice. I love the fact that that is built into the business model. So head on over to Brite and see what all the fuss is about.

** I stand corrected on iTunes having DRM. It doesnt. Brite still kicks its butt

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

CRACK House article

New article up at Relevant. Head on over the the website and it is on the revolving menu at the top. It is called Finding Jesus in the CRACK House. Or just click HERE

Friday, October 2, 2009

Life and Death

I wrote this for my INTERN BLOG at Relevant Magazine, but I wanted to repost it here. Hope you don't mind.

Unexpectedly Enjoying: Jeremy Riddle-The Now and Not Yet, Steven Curtis Chapman-Beauty Will Rise (heartbreaking, beautiful, releases Nov. 3)

Today, while sitting at a stoplight lost in my own world of music and waking up on my morning drive to work (40 minutes), I thought I was going to die. That might be a little dramatic, but a semi-truck was taking one of those BIG turns and looked like it was going to plant it's cab squarely into my drivers side door. The fact that I am writing tells you that I made it out alive and it was probably a pretty safe distance from me, though in my zombie-like trance, it startled me. And call me morbid, but it made me think about life and death.

Last week a girl that I worked with at Kofenya Coffee died of the swine flu. Her name was Kimi Young and she was 23, a year younger than me. I saw her a month ago when I was visiting Miami University. I am not going to lie and pretend like me and Kimi were the best of friends, but we had a good time working together. I liked being around her; carefree, a modern hippy, she loved people well. One day she was ok, a week later she was dead from swine flu and pneumonia and hundreds (literally) of people miss her.

My scare with the semi, Kimi's too-soon death, and now listening to Steven Curtis Chapman's newest cd that is profoundly influenced by the death of his 5-year-old daughter put me in this introspective mood. After the semi swung by this morning I started thinking about what would have happened if that semi had given my a one-way ticket to heaven? Not whether I would have gone to heaven; because of my faith in Christ and his atoning sacrifice, I am sure that is where I am headed. But how would people react?

How have I made a lasting impact? What are my relationships like? Have I had a fight with someone that hasn't been resolved? If ever there was an impetus to resolve conflict, it is the frailty of life (and that God commands it). I don't want to go and have the last memory someone has of me that we had bitter words. I want the last words I say to my family, my girlfriend, my friends to be "I love you" and not words in anger. I want people to look at my life and say, "That kid lived all out for Christ. He loved God and loved others well." When it comes down to it, it doesn't matter if I am remembered as a great writer unless I wrote for a purpose. It doesn't matter if others thought I was good looking, but what was the shape my heart was in.

This is not some call for empty sentimentality. It is a call to consider how "you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. (James 4:14)" That isn't a call to check out, it is a call to live out short life well. The worlds oldest man, Walter Breuning, turned 113 a couple days ago and gave an amazing speech. CLICK HERE to read it in its entirety. But one of the things he said was "Life is short but the influences of what we do or say is immortal. There needs to be much more of the spirit of fellowship among us and more forgiveness."

More than ever, I pray that as you contemplate this, you meet Jesus in a more real way. I will end in the words of Kimi on her profile before she said goodbye to this world: "I found myself in the one who made me. The one that knows who I really am. Behind everything I hide, he knows exactly what makes me tick. He knows more about me then I'll ever think about, he knew me before I had a name. He sees everything... and still has a plan for me." Amen