rights vs. responsibilities

I own a gun. I like it and I wouldn’t mind getting handgun to carry when I’m out hiking in the Alaskan wilds. But for this season of my life, I am in the middle of Seattle, so I keep it locked up in a friend’s gun safe, 2700 miles away from me. I don’t plan on doing any hunting down here and it seemed irresponsible to bring it, especially since I have children and no way to keep it secure. Even when I lived in Alaska I kept it in my friend’s safe.  It seemed like the responsible thing to do.

Already, it seems like shock of Sandy Hook is wearing off and while some people are starting to talk about gun bans, others are starting to talk about their rights. Rights are important. I believe in rights, but to talk about rights without talking about responsibility is just childishness.

There should be gun control debates in this country. Whenever tragedy strikes, we should stop and mourn and reflect on our values. We should talk about it. It is good for us—but the conversation shouldn’t be just guns or no guns, as important as that discussion is. It should also be about responsibilities.

Just thinking about this tragedy there are considerations of responsibilities to single parents, responsibilities to the mentally ill, responsibilities to those that are different, responsibilities to those that are isolated, responsibilities to those in our families, responsibilities to those outside of our family, responsibilities to our neighbors, to our neighbors’ children, responsibilities to our cities, states and countries.

I think that instead of framing our discussions about the things that are our rights and that we are entitled to; perhaps we need to learn to discuss how to be responsible stewards to the things and people that have been entrusted to us. Let’s talk about guns too, but lets do it in this context… responsibly.

some thoughts about rocks

“Maybe we should build a pile of rocks in the yard,” was where the conversation led us. We were discussing how we remember the things that God has done in our lives. Continue reading

seeing Jesus in the new year

Last September, I saw a group of raggedy, disheveled men in front of the grocery store. They were holding signs asking for food. So while I was buying my groceries, I slipped in a couple sandwiches in my basket. After shopping, I chatted with the men, and played with their dog, as they ate their sandwiches. When they were done I got in my car and began to drive home feeling pretty good about myself.

About a minute and a half later, I stopped at a red light. There was a man standing on the corner with a tattered cardboard sign. Still feeling pretty good about myself, I said, “Good afternoon.”

Continue reading


I’ve been reading Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics, by Samuel Wells, in my theology class. So far (I’m only on chapter 3), I love it. The basic point of the book is that we are called to live a life, rooted in the community of the church, in which God cultivates us in certain virtues. Our life and interaction in/with the world should be as a people shaped by these God-cultivated characteristics (basically a Christian virtue ethic). Continue reading

constructing reality

My son is constantly pointing things out to me: “Airplane!” “Bus!” “Flower!” “Dog!” These are things that I often don’t notice. There are lots of reasons I don’t notice them… I’ve seen it before. I don’t need it now. It’s not important to me.

This is the world I live in, the reality construct around myself. Things are only there if they are of use to me. Those are the concrete things. The real things. Continue reading

Time Out for Terry Taylor – Please Read and Forward (via CCM’s 500 Best Albums Of All Time)

Terry Taylor is a legend. His music was a formative part of my Christian development… and it didn’t (all) suck. Another health care tragedy…

I am taking time out from the countdown for this important message for fans of CCM and Terry Taylor     To any and all who been blessed by the life and gifts of Terry Talor, It is with much regret that I come to you with a desperate prayer. Our dear friend and brother, Terry Taylor, is experiencing one of the direst personal struggles of his life. Since the cancellation of Catscratch, his financial situation has been dismal to say the l … Read More

via CCM’s 500 Best Albums Of All Time

bonus track

Here is an extra song I recorded during my late night practicum recording. I was frustrated working with new stuff, so I went back and played around with some of my old stuff. It was written about  two years ago and my wife thinks it’s my best…

click on the link to download the song: what i’m wearing

what i’m wearing

i could use a new suit of clothes

cause i don’t like what i’m wearing

when i cruise around all over town

step back into the background

and i see your face you don’t turn around

you don’t like what i’m wearing

hey the clothes make the man

the man that i wish i am

and i don’t like what i am wearing

i could use a brand new car

a new car could take me far

i could finally leave this place

go somewhere and find some space

instead of trying to see your face

stuck in orbit around your space

and astronaut stuck in place

a stalled wreck on the interstate

and i don’t like what i am wearing

i could us a new pair of shoes

a pair of boots that have been finely tooled

embrodiered with the finest threads

with the finest lines you have ever read

and maybe when i walked

i could see those shoes and talk

and maybe they would hold the words

the finest words that you’ve heard

and i don’t like what i am wearing




Ok, I admit it.

I have cheated on Lent. This is particularly embarrassing following my previous Lenten post. I have cheated in two ways. Once was completely accidental… initially. The second was completely willful. Continue reading


feigned apathy

This is my favorite song of the bunch. I love that it locates the material within a narrative structure instead going straight into exposition. This was both the hardest and the easiest song to write. There are a lot of bits of songs that I couldn’t quite developed tucked away in it. Those bits were time sinks, I had specific ideas I was trying to reference, but I couldn’t develop the ideas. Continue reading

get up and walk

This song also took shape from Christ the Center (I am constantly drawing ideas from Bonhoeffer!) and a lecture.
Basically the idea is that all the gospel events took place in real time at a real place, and the disciples didn’t really know what to do with it. Even after the Resurrection, they were still going back and saying, “oh wait- when he said that he meant this.” Some of these theological concepts (such as the notion of trinity) took hundreds of years of reflecting. There had to be a discussion as to what constituted Scripture. The Creeds and Confessions were birthed out of prayer, contemplation, and discussion (and a lot of argument). Understanding takes time. Revelation often does not happen all at once.

Continue reading