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Ink Between the Lines

Not a day goes by that I don’t look down and see it. Every day, at least one person asks about the symbol tattooed on my arm.

“What’s your tattoo mean?” I never know how to answer that question. Well, that’s kind of a long story . . . it’s from this book I read . . .

Fin Button (the protagonist in Fiddler’s Gun and Fiddler’s Green) is an icon of my own passions and fears, my own wounds, my own desire to voyage out into the world to do something with my burning heart. She embodies some of the most fundamental aspects of our human existence: the need to love and be loved, the yearning for a place to belong, the burning desire to be who we are in the world and to nurture and protect the places and people we hold dear. Every time I return to Fin’s story, I hear the last stanza of Christian Wiman’s poem, “And I Said To My Soul Be Loud”:

For I am come a whirlwind of wasted things
and I will ride this tantrum back to God
until my fixed self, my fluorescent self
my grief-nibbling, unbewildered, wall-to-wall self
withers in me like a salted slug

Fin’s journey through pain and into beauty is, like our own, dizzy with light and darkness, joy and suffering. It follows no pre-determined formula for traveling from Point A to Point B and takes on the non-linear and wildly free traveling pattern of a ship at sea—destination in mind, but swept along by the breeze of life. There are enemies and allies, tragedies and victories; mistakes are made, and lives are taken. The smell of gunpowder is strong, but there is music floating across the deck of the Rattlesnake. In the transformation of pain into beauty, what is calcified in us is softened; what is artificial and grief-stricken finds its way to joyful authenticity; what is confined and lost in wonderlessness recovers the innocent eyes and imagination of childhood.*



Monday Music Update – 4/21/14

Don and Lori Chaffer recently put the kick in Kickstarter campaigns by raising over $40,000 toward a brand new double album from Waterdeep. The total more than doubled the original goal, which means the Chaffers plan on delivering the music twice as fast. That last part is not true.

Randall Goodgame will be playing two free Slugs & Bugs shows this weekend. The first is on Friday, April 25 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The second show will be on Sunday, April 27 in Vincennes, Indiana. Check the S&B tour page for full details.

Andy Osenga will play a special Stageit show on Tuesday, April 29 at 7:00pm. Appropriately titled “Andrew’s Reverse MidLife Crisis Eve,” it’s Andy’s last show before joining Capitol Records in his brand new full time job as A&R for their Christian music division! The show begins at 7:30 CT.

Andrew Peterson spent two days with Ben Shive in the studio recording his version of the Rich Mullins song “Calling Out Your Name.” The track is for an upcoming CD release related to the film Ragamuffin. Several familiar faces contributed on vocals, including Jeremy Casella, Andy Gullahorn, Andy Osenga, Eric Peters, and Jill Phillips.

After a hugely successful Northeast Spring Break tour (eight shows in eight days thanks to you, Rabbits!), Son of Laughter is currently scheduling another series of living room shows throughout the country this summer during the months of June and July. While he is starting to line up shows in the Southwest and Midwest, he is open to just about anything. If you’re interested in organizing an event, contact Chris Slaten at sonoflaughtermusic@gmail.com.



New Beginning

I’ve wanted to be a musician since I was a kid. Had posters on my walls of Jars of Clay and Steven Curtis Chapman (before I discovered Pearl Jam). I dreamed of playing arenas, being in a recording studio, making music with my heroes. It has been an incredible gift and honor to, one by one, put little checkmarks on each entry of the dream list.

It’s also let me see the reality of touring/musician life, and that being “bigger” or more successful is not something I actually even want. It would mean more travel and more things pulling me from my family, which to me is a much deeper calling.

I’ve come to a place where it feels I have to choose between providing for my family on the road or being with them at home. This past year I’ve found myself praying for a way to keep working with people I love on music I love, while coming off the road and being with my family.



Garden Tomatoes and Rocket Ships

If all goes according to plan, in the fall I will be filling in for my colleague on sabbatical and teaching the course “Sustainability in Action” at Point Loma Nazarene University. The purpose of the course is “to equip us as scholars and citizens of the United States, the world, and Christ’s Kingdom to be effective champions of the changes humanity must make in order to live sustainably within the ecological and social limits of earth.”

In preparation for the class I have been brushing up on my agrarian readings. Today I have been enjoying Norman Wirzba’s edited volume, The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land: The Essential Agrarian Essays. By itself Barbara Kingsolver’s “Forward” is worth price of the book.

Yet, this afternoon I took a break from reading agrarian prescriptions for sustainability to watch the livestream of the SpaceX Falcon launch to the International Space Station. It was killer! And yesterday’s news from NASA that the exoplanet Kepler 186f orbits within the habitable zone of its star was awesomeness on a Perelandraic order. Perhaps this is as good a time as any to confess I am secretly writing a sci-fi story.



How It All Ends: A Poem for Holy Saturday

I have to admit… Christmas is everyone’s favorite holiday (mine too), but something about the Lenten and Easter season feels deeper, more profound as I get older. Yet what do you do with Holy Saturday, that single dark day in between despair and hope? Last year, I did my best to capture the tiniest glimpse of what it might have been like for those left behind who didn’t yet know for sure how the story would end…

She used to say she loved
those TV movies about Jesus,
but hated the crucifixion scene

even though it was toned down
in the grains of 1970s film,
palatable to the eyes of those
eating dinner in front of
a flickering screen.

This is us, now, knowing
how it all ends, knowing
in three days the lungs of God
would reinflate.

Knowing the ending, could I
ever comprehend the blackness,
ever imagine the darkest
Saturday in history?

A King’s body shrouded in spices
and linen lay withering
behind stone,

The budding bloom of salvation,
crushed
careless
trod by
His creation.

Oh my God

today the sun scatters clouds
the sun that once turned away
at your final earthly breath
as the lion lay shorn and still.

May I never forget
the darkest day of history,
spring stopped, waiting,
pressing her face
at the tomb’s door.



Lenten Trilogy

Lent I

On Noah

In your dreams
you saw water and death.
In your days
you saw darkness and evil.
How far we have come
from the gates of paradise,
spewing a wretched trail in the wake,
vomiting the rotten fruit of our first sin.

And yet
how does this horror of water and blood
manage to be our sole salvation?
I run to the secret place and hide,
resolving to cling to the dark mystery of grace.



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