Monday, October 25, 2010
I had just seen "Secretariat" which is a great film by the way and was going to see it again when I turned right and happened to see a church just starting it's service.
It was called "Journey" I believe, and so I pulled in not knowing anybody and walked into the foyer asking a young man, "where is the service being held?" He very cordially pointed me around a corner and I heard it.
On the video screen was the pastor talking about "a million miles in a thousand years" By Donald Miller. This book is significant to me because my former band mate, Steve Taylor, is one of the characters in the book and I actually met Donald Miller last summer at a fund raiser I was running a Vid. Cam for S.T. at in Denver, and the two of them spend a lot of the first part of the book talking about his relationship with Steve and Ben Pearson writing the screenplay for "Blue Like Jazz."
I call them God moments, when I know without a doubt that God is talking to me....call me crazy. But I did NOT invent the internet.
Steve and I go all the way back to high school where we played in Jazz Band together in, uh...1976. It's just kinda weird how our relationship has weaved in and out, wait, did I say In-n-out? How 'bout a double double with cheese and those fresh cut Fries...never mind. Where was I? Oh yeah, The pastor is talking about the book and weaving it into Esther from the Bible. You see Esther had a lot of conflict to deal with. She was the Queen to Xerxes and back then if you ticked off the King you could be in a lot of trouble, as in, losing your head kind of trouble....enough about feminism....
So Esther figures out that This guy Haman is a bad dude, a Jew hater, kinda like Hitler only older, and he was also one of the Kings close advisers. That's bad for Esther because she's Jewish, and Haman convinces the King to annihilate all the Jews because he's like Hitler, only older.
So you may ask what does this have to do with Donald Miller and my Former Band mate? Well, In "A million Miles in a thousand Years" Donald and Steve keep talking about "Conflict" a lot.
In fact, as they're writing the screen play, a Teacher of screenwriting tells them that you have to put your Characters through Conflict, and Severe Testing. Because nobody wants to see a movie that has all nice people that are always nice to all other nice people all the nice time. Instead, great stories are about conflict and what happens to resolve that conflict. Sort of like Esther, who has to inform the King (her husband) that this guy Haman is deceiving his highness and is one slippery Jew hating slime ball.
Now just telling the king and approaching him in the wrong way can get her killed so she uses her charm and gets the King to agree to a few dinner parties where She exposes this troglodyte Haman and the Jewish people get saved....you can guess what happens to Haman and it's not good...
So all this just to point out that if you miss Church one Sunday (Something I don't recommend BTW), go check out some place you've never checked out before and see if God talks to you too.
You May be surprised!
Remember, I'm just the Sax Player...:) Copyright, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
The Director and friends were getting a "Bad Rap" and I'm sure he was thinking "Am I in Sync?" as the months and years went by. We were warming up to sing "Since I gave up hope I feel a lot Better" and wondering if "Jesus is for Losers", but thanks to the many fans of "Blue Like Jazz the Movie" has been given a "Second Chance" and the "Finish Line" is in sight!
However "I just wanna know" "If it all comes true" and there's a "Cash Cow" in hand that we don't get "Smug" just yet, 'cause the last thing we want is to be "Guilty by Association" to a mediocre movie or we'll be comitting "Murder in the Big House" in a rage of "Violent Blue" and spinning records at "This Disco" instead of playing "Blue Like Jazz the Sequel", a "Million Miles in a Thousand Years". But I'm confident this will not be our fate, and I'll even swear on "Jim Morrison's Grave" that this will be an amazing life changing film because everyone involved is a "Principled Man" and "It's a personal thing" to all of us!
Remember...I'm just the Sax Player. Copyright, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
And like millions of others that read the book, it captivated me. The whole story of Don and his christian college cohorts plotting how they were going to "reach out" to their peers at a very liberal college was intriguing.
Just the audacity of putting a "Confession Booth" in the middle of a pagan festival at their college was brilliant, but then reading on that they (the christians) would be doing the confessing was fascinating. I was caught up.
About a year later I was chatting with my longtime friend Steve Taylor who lives in Nashville and whom I used to travel around the country playing christian rock and roll with, and he was talking about writing a screen play for a book called "Blue Like Jazz". I was floored... My ex classmate from Northglenn High School, whom I used to ditch theory class with was going to direct and write the screenplay for a book I and millions of other people loved!
So, about every few months Steve would call me just to see how things were going because I was going through some serious life changes and "stuff", and I would usually ask..."Uh, how's the "Blue like Jazz" Movie coming along? and for months, which turned into years, Steve would say, "we're still raising the money", to which I would say, "how much do you need to raise?" and He would say..."about 1.5 million". "Oh, O.K. I'll pray about it" would be my reply, and then we wouldn't talk for another few weeks.
In the summer of '09 (No, not a remake) Steve called me and asked if I wanted to run a video camera for a cool fund raising event in Denver for some well to do really nice people that loved the book too, and I said "Ya, that sounds fun!" so I set up my little vid cam and shot video of some Denver Bronco type people, the ex Governor of Colorado, and Don Miller whom I got to meet! Wow! how cool was that! I got to meet the author of BLJ and film him, Steve, the lead Actor guy that would play Don in the movie! and some pool tables....
Fast forward to Sept. 2010 and I chatted with Steve and asked my usual "So how's the movie funding going?" and Steve said "Well, we're going to use this thing called Kick Starter to raise funds, and as usual I asked"How much?". "$125,000 in about 25 days" said He, To which I replied, "Where are the t-shirts?, I would have bought a t-shirt a year ago" I said in exasperation.
Now, on October 5th, 2010, Fans of "Blue Like Jazz the Movie", (including myself) have donated over $100,000 in about 9 days...
I, along with millions of generous BLJ fans are "Jazzed". Sorry, couldn't resist.
Remember, I'm just the Sax Player
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
What the "Gospel of social justice" means or, if you don't like my Marxist theology I'm going to call you a racist.
I've heard noise about "Social Justice" quite a bit recently mostly I think because we have a president that was a community organizer in Chicago before he became a Senator, and those that elected him president believe in the same type of "Gospel" that the presidents former pastor of decades Jeremiah Wright preaches.
"Liberation Theology" is a thelogical belief that we, as christians must work to free the poor, the oppressed, the underpriveledged, and anyone that claims to be disadvantaged or in an oppressed minority to rise up and resist, even to the point of using violence if necessary to set the captives free.
Any Christian worth his "salt" (sorry), believes that oppressed groups or the widow and orphan should be helped and brought closer to mainstream society's economic level.
Where most evangelical christians disagree with those who preach "social justice" is how we lift up the poor and disadvantaged. Liberation Theologians like Jeremiah Wright and possibly his former congregant, our current president, think that the "Game" is fixed so that the disadvantaged cannot rise up to the same economic level as mainstream America and so we must realign the social construct to help the disadvantaged.
Another way of putting this is "Wealth distribution", changing the game so that in the liberation theologians way of doing things wealth is taken from the wealthier members of society, large corporations, those that have done well in business or investing and redistribute the wealth to even things out some. The problem with this line of theological thinking is that in redistributing wealth you start taking freedoms away from people, freedom to start a business because there's too many taxes, freedom to raise capital because you know that the govt. looks down on such entrepernurial thinking, freedom to disagree with those that redistribute wealth (government) because they are powerful.
And who is to decide how the wealth is redistributed?, who makes those decisions?, surely it's not the voting population but an elite group of people in the government and thus you have classic Marxism, or communism.
A musician friend of mine started debating with me on a social networking site saying that "Well, the christian thing to do is to help the poor, and if I'm guilty of that, so be it". My argument was not that we should not help the poor, but how we do that. My friend believes like many marxist Liberation theologians that we must redistribute wealth through taxes on the middle class and wealthy and fund programs for the poor and needy. I believe that we definitely need to help the poor and needy but I choose to do it by donating through charities of my choosing, playing music for an inner city ministry (most of the time for no pay), and donating time and money in an unseen way ( do not do your works before men as the religious hypocrites do). This debate with my musician friend brought to the surface the difference between Americans that seek to help the widow and orphan, but are miles apart about how to do it.
In the words of one of my favorite columnists, Thomas Sowell. "Liberals have no problem with people that violate the standards of the society at large, but crack down on those that dare to violate liberals own inklings and fetishes". In other words, people that like to redistribute wealth are usually uber control freaks that don't like it that some have acheived success through hard work.
Remember, I'm just the sax player...
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Using Social Media to reach the unreachable in a "Facebook" age...Or how to use Facebook and twitter for the church in a post christian Era.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
So I find this law at work, when I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law, but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work in my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ! Rom. 7, 21-25
This verse is encouraging to me. Here we have the Apostle Paul, the greatest evangelist of all time admitting that he has the same struggle with sin that I do. What a wretched man that I am..! Mind boggling...
There's a Van Morrison song called "Oh I'm tired Joey boy" that describes a lot of what I feel as a musician with high mountaintops one year, and deep dark valleys the next..
"Ambition will take you
Ride you too far
Conservatism bring you
To boredom once more"
This little verse caught my ear the first time I heard it because it says exactly what my life as a musician has been for decades. Following my ambition to be someone, to make my mark, and let people see my God given talent and when I follow that to an extreme it sometimes has gotten me into trouble. And then I begin to go to the other extreme by going conservative, shutting off the "Me" as it were, completely to the point that I pretty much lost my identity as a musician and as a person.
When I look at the life of Jesus it's different than my own experience. I want to be like Christ, the teacher, the wise master, the miracle worker, the compassionate healer. And also the courageous Christ. The Righteous fiery Jesus that threw out the money changers, the Jesus that confronted the self righteous Pharisees and healed on the Sabbath. Here's the only human in history that lived a perfect sinless life. No self ambition, always able to set the perfect example. Always saying and doing the exact right thing. But I don't come anywhere near what Jesus was like.
I've had a lot of loss the last year. Lost my grandma, lost relationships, lost my job of 12 years, and I almost lost my life in a car accident and I'm still recovering from that. I'm not saying these things because I want sympathy but because at the same time I've seen God work in some amazing ways. My two boys were recently baptized and confessed Jesus as their Lord and savior. I've been praying for that for years. And the fact that I'm writing this right now is a testament of God's grace and power.
Maybe you've been going through a loss year as well, maybe you've made some mistakes and maybe bad things have happened to you that you had nothing to do with. And yet we can be confident that in this body of flesh that carries with it sin and death Jesus is working through us. Thanks be to God through his Son Jesus Christ!