Halloween 08

I haven’t decided if this is a good thing or a bad thing, or just a thing.  A passage of time thing.

First year in many that I didn’t walk around the neighborhood.  The first wave went out from our house – the 16-year old Spice Girl with her un-costumed boyfriend and un-costumed best friend.  They went to one house and came home.  I think she was making one last stab at her childhood, wearing six-inch stillettos.  The 17-year old made no effort; she was taking a nap.
The second wave was 12-year-old boy as Tom Morello with nine-year old-brother as a cross between a pirate and an ex-con (thanks, Bill and Pat!), along with 16-year old family friend Robert as a punk kid, 14-year-old Sydni as a punk kid, 16-year-old Dylan as a “Hippo Lover” (don’t ask; I never did figure it out…)
That was it.
When they hit double digits, it’s just not the same.
I stayed home, handed out candy, and thought about my future grandkids.

Quite Simply, "Yes"

Marc Chewning, Robert Moroney, Elijah Schiarelli, Joseph Freeman, Andrew Basic
Last summer a team of students and adult sponsors went to Cherokee, North Carolina for a week of work projects and mission work.  Like most trips of this nature, those who went came back with much more than sore muscles and finished projects.  God dealt with people and, in one particular case, infected a group of five young men in an unbelieveable way.

Marc Chewning returned from Cherokee knowing that he wanted to do more to help others know and understand the love of God.  Shortly after arriving back home in Powhatan, he was mowing the grass.  A bird skeleton was lying in the yard; he noticed it and thought to himself, “That’s gross.”  He passed the skeleton again and was suddenly impacted by a powerful thought.
“How many times do we do that same thing with people?  Notice, think “that’s gross”, and turn and walk away…”

Marc couldn’t shake the thought of hurt and broken people who were ignored and left in need, often by those who claim to follow Jesus and his command to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
After a flurry of communication with some of his partners from the Cherokee mission trip, Marc felt certain that God was speaking, and clearly calling them to go.  They weren’t sure where they were to go, but the compulsion to act was undeniable.
With the strength of their conviction and the boldness that comes from an encounter with God, these five guys starting moving.  In spite of the fact that they weren’t sure exactly what was ahead, they unashamedly began to declare that God had called them, and they starting looking for the next step.
Their journey led them to the front steps of the International Mission Board in Richmond (in spite of several wrong turns and a brief period of being lost), where they simply walked through the door and made themselves available.  They were warmly received and graciously encouraged, and it was there that they received clarification as to the path before them.
Marc Chewning, Elijah Schiarelli, Joseph Freeman and Andrew Basic are going to spend their Christmas break in China.  They will work within the specific guidelines of a Mission Board project, but what they will do is not as important as the fact that God spoke, and they said, quite simply, “Yes.”
In response to the need for an adult chaperone, David Samuel also said “Yes”, and he will join them.  Robert Moroney will be unable to travel to China, but he said, “Yes” to the call to support those on the journey from home.
This trip is not inexpensive.  Part of saying, “Yes” includes a committment to raise funds for travel.  There are other basic expenses for the journey.
This is where we can help.  Quite simply, say “Yes” to the opportunity to support this team financially and with prayer.  There are a few specific upcoming opportunities:
  • China Mission Carwash at Brusters on Saturday, November 1st, 9:00 – 1:00.  This is a great time to actually meet these young men – and let them wash your cars!
  • China Mission Day at Allen’s Chinese Restaurant.  Tell the cashier that you are dining out to support the China Mission Trip, and they will donate part of your check total to help support the trip.
  • China Mission Ice Cream.  Bring your church program or bulletin (PCC or any other church!) to Brusters on Sunday, November 2 and Sunday, November 9.  Buy ice cream and give the cashier your church program.  In return, Brusters will donate $1 to the China Mission Fund!
These minor opportunities add up and can make a tremendous impact on the efforts of these young men to make this journey.  If you are unable to participate in this way, feel free to simply write a check and mail it to China Mission Trip, Powhatan Community Church, P.O. Box 834, Powhatan, VA 23139.  Every contribution makes a difference.
We are excited about the privilege of partnering with these young men who heard a huge challenge from God and said, quite simply, “Yes.”
Will you?

Sunday Setlist 10.26.08

I haven’t played Sunday Set List for a few weeks now; things caught up with me, and the past few Sunday afternoons required a nap instead of a recap.

But I’m back!  Briefly, we are still in our ‘Awaken’ series, going through the book of James.  Today we looked at a challenge in the fifth chapter:

“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.”  James 5.1-5

All To You – Lincoln Brewster.  Just can’t get enough of Lincoln.
Thank You, Lord – Paul Baloche.  Yee haw!
Video – scenes and sound bites from our ImpACT project last week, where he blitzed about 12 homes in a focused effort to help a neighborhood in our community.
Lifesong – Casting Crowns.  We sequed out of the video to this – the song said all that needed to be said.
When You Gonna Wake Up – Old Bob Dylan tune that really gets in your face about social justice and our sleepy ignorance.  I got to sing this one, which was a treat, and we had HORNS!  YES!  Three pieces of brass that made all the difference in the world.
Within Brian’s message, I wheeled out a cart full of fair trade items that I found in the Richmond area – coffee, sugar, tea, chocolate, etc., and I shared a bit about what I felt like I could do – as a mom and a consumer – to honor the spirit of James’ challenge in this scripture (which is, basically, to purchase fair trade items when I can find them).  We found some great stuff at Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s, and I also had a few items from Ten Thousand Villages.  It was practical and tangible, although it felt like a very different sort of service for us.  We learned a lot about Fair Trade practices, and we informed a lot of folks about something that they’d never thought of before – especially in light of the biblical mandate to do so.
We closed with Give Me Your Eyes and watched Patrick continue to grow spiritually and musically in amazing ways, as he sang and played this song with just the right amount of passion and precision.  
It was a cool day.  Very interesting, especially in this time of political labeling.  I have to confess that I always tossed ‘social justice causes’ in the box marked ‘liberal theology’.  You know, the Unitarians and the Methodists could handle that end of the gospel; we evangelical folks will focus on getting them saved.  I am so thankful that God has kicked my ignorant butt and shown me something important through this scripture.  There is much being done; there is much to do.  And we are ALL called to do it.
If you buy fair trade stuff, what do you buy?  And where do you get it?
*songs are linked to iTunes
*This is part of Fred McKinnon’s carnival.  Fred is so cool….

Latching On To Who You’d Like To Be

My brother is an artist, in the truest sense of the word.  The best and worst of him flows out of the rawness of his continual search for truth, the pursuit of a high melodic calling that clings to his soul and refuses to let go.  His faith informs everything about him with an authenticity that is as questioning and doubtful as often as it is passionate and reverent.  I am prouder of him than anyone else I know.  I love him fiercely, in the manner of love that an older sister carries for her little brother for a lifetime. 

He wrote some stunning prose on his blog this week that moved me, inspired me, and challenged me to think about music and art and worship and composition and even race in a new and unique way.  Here’s a snippet:

The acoustic guitars thump and sing, fat and gray in the company of angelic harmonies and archetypal melodies. We all know this music. It is written in the celtic, anglo-saxon souls of Caucasians. We have strayed and betrayed ourselves, attempting to leverage ourselves into the gladiatorial arenas of hip-hop and “modern” music, but we need to face it.

We are mountain people. Even the most mixed breed of us is stuck with the pipes and the drums from the highlands, pounding wild and distant in our hearts. The grouse and heather cling to our thighs as we run, as we flail to flee our past.

Emmylou, and artists like her bring those pasts back to confront our empty, unanchored eyes. We have drifted, for we have forgotten who we are, and when you can’t remember who you are, it’s even more difficult to latch on to who you’d like to be. It recedes in the distance, fleeing your reaching, outstretched hand.

You can read the rest of this post here.  When you do, say ‘hi’ for me.  And tell him I’m proud of him.

Perfect Music For An October Morning

Many years ago, Amy Grant recorded “If These Walls Could Speak” on Lead Me On.  I was captivated by the tune, and later discovered – to my pleasure – that the composer was the same guy who wrote “All I Know”, which I had discovered in the 70’s when I heard Art Garfunkel.

Then I discovered – to my surprise – that the same composer wrote “Galveston”, that anthemic tribute to the Texas gulf made wildly popular by Glen Campbell.  
Speaking of Glen Campbell, the same composer wrote “Wichita Lineman”.
Then I discovered – to my shock – that the same composer wrote “Macarthur Park”.  Yes, the ‘someone-left-a-cake-out-in-the-rain’, seven minute flurry of string climaxes and key changes.  Richard Harris.  Then Donna Summer.  Bad memories, anyone?
That was Jimmy Webb.
Let me say this:  put aside your preconceived notions of any of the afore-mentioned songs, and give this collection a try.  Jimmy Webb is one of the most profoundly perfect singer-songwriter’s I’ve ever heard, and this cd showcases the strength of the lyrics and melodies under the gentle hands of their creator.
Good stuff.
*Interesting note, for those of you old enough to have heard ‘Macarthur Park’; that song was originally written as part of a cantata.  Hmmm… It has been covered over fifty times, by the likes of Waylon Jennings, Frank Sinatra, The Three Degrees and the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corp.  When Richard Harris recorded it, he kept singing ‘Macarthur‘s Park’ – an incorrect possessive form.  Webb tried to correct him through several re-takes and finally just gave up.

(ain’t wikipedia grand?)

Thank You, John Ivins

I got to sit in with this band tonight for a worship event. 

It’s been a long time since I got to play, just play, for fun.  I didn’t even realize the extent of the ‘leader mode’ I go into when we do worship music – even on Sunday mornings, when I am, arguably, completely comfortable and in the ‘worship zone’, as my friend Steve used to say.
Tonight, the responsibility was on somebody else’s head.  I got to follow, play along, and sing my heart out.  As long as I knew what key we were in, I was good.
And it was so. much. fun.
Didn’t hurt that the other guys on the platform were top-notch players.  Solid musicians, every one, and great guys.  They knew their stuff.
Tonight was incredibly refreshing.
Thus ends the five days that I could not comprehend getting through.  
Me?  I’m blessed.