i read a really interesting article online that I would like to share. i commented on it, because it really impacted me. would be curious of your thoughts--especially those of you living with me (but the others too :)).

read it here.


i'm going to jackson

well actually i'm already there. i've had the crazy good fortune to visit the John M. Perkins Center with a group of people from Kansas City. If you don't know who John Perkins is, take a look at this, or this organization he started. the man is legit. i got to listen to him a little this morning and i already have had my world sufficiently rocked.

it is a really amazing opportunity to be down here with just people from kansas city, all of whom are participating in some sort of kingdom work in kc. we are discussing what it is God is up to in the city, what challenges we are facing, what has been working and what hasn't, as well as a host of other questions and ideas. at the very least it is great to meet all these people and form relationships with other groups in the city.

we have several discussion times with perkins and his wife, and the small group atmosphere is way better than any sort of conference. i'm a little sad i am only here two days and wish i could be here longer--but at the same time i miss my community and what is going on there.

i'm sure i'll have a lot of processing to do after this, and probably some of it will find it's way onto here. this is all so incredible. time for another discussion!


the guillemots

"the rising tide"


a joke

i've fallen in love in the coffee shop.
just now when we made eye contact,
below your stylish bangs that match
your stylish bag.
you look a little like zooey deschanel.

and now the curve of your finger
as you hold a double-spaced paper.
are you a teacher?
and won't you please turn your hand
just a little more?
oh good--
no ring.

i'm jealous of the man by you--
the worker sweeping by your table.
it's getting close to that time
when they'll start dimming the lights.
you put on your cardigan
and give me one last glance.

unaware that i'm writing about you,
you walk out the door
and out of my life.
should i try to come back this time next week?
or cut my losses
and let my heart mend?
softly saying,
better to have loved and lost...


white noise

i've tried to write several entries lately on the deeper level but have had a hard time following through with those thoughts. it's like there is a level of engagement that i am finding difficult. even as i type this now a sort of haze comes over my mind. i'm not sure why--but i'm wondering if it has anything to do with the neighborhood. i've heard a lot about the spiritual weight of living in this part of the city from people who have moved here, but at first i didn't feel like i felt it. more lately though i have been noticing some things that seem different. but is it really this neighborhood that is the cause?

i'm a little challenged by this idea that this neighborhood is a place of darkness, that there is a spiritual weight of oppression and violence here, that evil is on the loose here. those things may be true to a large extent, but what makes that any different from the suburbs or the country? is there not just as much fear there, only under a different guise? is there not just as much sin there--it's just polished and below the surface. is it not arrogant to assume that just because there is money in a place so it looks nicer that there is less spiritual oppression there? maybe this "weight" of oppression is just simply our own discomfort at the difference and loss of some comforts.

granted that crime is much higher here, and i think yes, the devil is at work here in some visible and outright ways that are frightening and destructive. but so too is there destruction and fear deep in the heart of the suburb or small town, and other evils too.

of course the need down here is great, and that is why we are here. there are lots of reasons why we are down here and not in the suburbs--not that there's anything wrong with that--but i don't want to get into those reasons now.

it's been difficult in this early time, wondering what it is that we are doing here. it is a season of introduction and preparation, but still it is hard not to wonder what it is we are down here to do exactly. or what things are going to look like, how the heck we are going to relate with anyone or what difference we are going to make. that's not to say that i don't have a lot of hopes and dreams for what God could do. and i understand that it is a long and hard road down here. perhaps my fear though is that we would just be white noise down here. a little flash in the pan and/or just some sort of insignificant drop in the bucket.

i want to see true change and transformation take place. not for my sake or our community or any sort of notoriety. but truly to see lives rescued and people made whole and brought to a salvation of the most holistic kind. that this would not be some good experience where i learn a lot, or some personal growth exercise. i want my hope to have real substance--to see the hand of God move and the kingdom break in.


not because i want a big church. not because of any sense of accomplishment or obligation. not to try to bring about my own inner fulfillment or dispel my own doubts or fears.

because i long to see people freed from the death that permeates their lives. i don't know why people voluntarily continue to live there, without asking what they are living for, why they are doing what they are doing, settling for lesser things. missing out on the love they could know. denying the freedom they could find. more than just a better standard of living or a few steps higher on the socio-economic ladder. to be free of the horrible oppression of the american dream and the addictions we create in ourselves to try to amass the stuff or numb ourselves from the pain of the emptiness of its lack. all that and so much more.

may eyes be opened and freedom be found. and may the fight to get there be fought well. may we all start to pick up our swords and charge forward a little more, that we might get closer to those gates which we are supposed to one day overcome.



i've been struck recently by a few conversations and then a few personal observations all pertaining to the same sort of topic. the general idea is that there are a lot of people out there who are very different on their blog compared to how they are in real life. do you feel that's true? what about other social networking sites? facebook? twitter?

sure certain aspects of people's personalities come through in different degrees--but people are also given the time to filter what they say and display. is this persona we put out there an intentional projection to make people think x, y, or z about us? i think often it's not always intentional. i know several people who at least seem in some ways different on their blog than real life, which makes me wonder about the prospects of online-only friendships or relationships.

so, to go completely narcissistic on you, and since commenting is generally a rare occurrence in which you can indulge this once--

how have you noticed i am different from the person who comes out through my blog?

i have some guesses, but i'm interested to hear.


review: david bazan's curse your branches

i've never really quite understood people who can listen to an album or watch a movie and then instantly write a review about it. maybe i am just a little dense but usually i feel like it takes a few times through to really process and absorb what it is that i am taking in. of course if it is something horribly shallow then you can write it off rather quickly. but something with true depth and meaning--that requires reflection and time to unfold. curse your branches is just such an album.

"when we fell"

bazan's albums with pedro the lion have always required such an investment. they are not easy to listen to, but something always brought you back to them. it was the depth of the lyrics. it was the molding of the sound with the action of the story. but perhaps more than anything at least for a lot of young christians it was the prophetic voice that called out against hypocrisy in the church and looked at the painful realities of life as opposed to the church's frequent smiling veneer. he gave an expression to the young christian's angst. he was the evangelical's kurt cobain, and as per usual to christian culture about a decade behind (more the culture's fault, not bazan's).

but bazan's path led him to a declared agnosticism. his "break up with God" left his fans with confusion and uncertainty. even with a slightly better explained and less commercial explanation, many of bazan's christian fans are still left wondering if they can continue to listen to his music. will it lead me down the same path? and what's more it could change your perspective on his music previous--are those questions and critiques really a healthy endeavor?

perhaps the answer to those questions lies in the decision to not hate bazan for the same reason we loved him. as he declares in the previous song, he "followed his heart." will we turn away and not enter the deeper wrestling? will we only appreciate a certain depth and then walk away in fear because now there are eternal repercussions? ignorance and avoidance were never appealing characteristics of bazan's fans--no need to start now. you can disagree with him, but walking away from him and his music may only prove him right.

do we only accept doubt to a certain point? or can we admire and appreciate a true wrestling--one that a person will follow with courage no matter where it leads them? i think we must.

the album is a deep wrestling, and in that i think it is still at least something very close to prophetic. it may not be from God, but it is the cries of a wounded prophet turning his back and walking away--not too unlike some of the hebrew bible.

perhaps what it reminds me of more than anything else is a painting i saw in europe of jesus being taken down from the cross, very limp and lifeless and devoid of color. it showed a Christ defeated, destroyed by the cross. and the power of the painting was crushing, except for the realization that that painting wasn't the end of the story--and yet it told a vital aspect of it vividly. it almost dared you to find your own belief in the resurrection.

"in stiches"


bird song

no photoshop used.

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.

from adam

apology to steph for the birds


untitled poem

and so it was seen--
a crack in the black rock
that poured forth lined light,
a streak of hope to dash toward.

and then a sprout--
a few leaves on rusted sand,
months and miles evaporated
for a root somehow soaked.

but it was you pulling that plow--
and your pores the sprinkling spout,
sweating life into arid doubt;
you've been here before.

the greatest treasures lie underground--
you bring them to that slit,
passing through jewels for others to find
strolling along swept streets.