Friday, July 23, 2010

Amazing Words of Wisdom About Fathering...

June 20, 2010 first published...
WORDS OF WISDOM ABOUT FATHERING... Several years ago I met an angry young woman named Nikki in an Aol chat room. She was angry at God and didn't trust the rest of us all that much either. As it turned out, she had a good reason to be angry. One day as she was walking home from her church youth group, not far from her house, she was abducted by a guy who beat and raped her repeatedly, drove her to the dump stabbed her repeatedly and tossed her lifeless body out like a piece of trash. Somehow she managed to crawl to road and lived. She went through a painful recovery period. In the long run her own father couldn't deal with her, and she went to live with family of one of his friends. I think her father's rejection was almost more painful than everything else that happened to her. One of our other online friends was a pastor and he asked her if she had a chance to say something to the father's of his congregation about how to be a good father, what would it be. Below is what she wrote him. It turned out that part of the reason she was so angry when I met her was a secret she kept from us for a long time... she had cancer and she was dying. But in the process of so many online encounters with several of us, she reconnected with the God she loved as a child, and experienced the real love of friends. When she died she as truly at peace and impacted countless people's lives, including the doctors, nurses, and other patients that saw the transformation and all her friends and adoptive family. I think of her often and the conversations we had. And every father's day I take out her letter, written so many years ago now, to that church and to us all. And each time I'm thankful that God is a Father to the fatherless and that he sees and knows our pain and is crazy about each of us, regardless of how our earthly fathers have done.

Date: 8/23/99 1:43:35 PM Pacific Daylight Time

From: Nikky

Hi Dennis, how are you. I am doing ok. and yes, just ok.

Now for a letter you requested. First I am no expert on how dad's or daughter should behave and everyone is different. but I will tell you what's in my heart and how I feel about things. My suggestions are just that. Take them like you would anything... How does it stack up to the word of God?

I feel very strong about fathers never abandoning their kids. But you know its not just a question of not being there. Sometimes kids are abandoned with the dad still there. They are too involved in their work or something else. Take time everyday to love them and show them they are special. Every girl thinks her dad is next to God. She see him as the smartest and strongest person alive. It makes us feel safe. What happens when we don't feel safe anymore? Where will we go and what will we look for? Remember that who our dads are is who we will look for in a husband. I think God has given men an awesome responsibility in being the head of the family.

Don't ever stop hugging us. The pats on the behind we may outgrow but we never out grow hugs. Talk to us about what you think. We are interested. We want to know that you are ok. That's how we know that we are ok. We will make mistakes. Help us to learn from it without having to be afraid of making mistakes. If we get hurt, we are girls. Let us cry and if we are moody, that's ok. We will not be that way forever. Make us laugh, that is the best thing u can do.

If you are hurt, don't hide that. Let us see that it is ok for you to cry. Again we will be drawn to what we see in you. Would you have your daughter want a man that had no emotions. And its ok to see that you are human. It's what you do with your emotions that's important. Above all, always protect us. I can go a lot of direction with that one. But always protect us. from strangers, from friends (not all friends are good ones), from ourselves (we don't always make the best decisions). If its not going to harm us let us make bad ones. And then lift us up and love us...

Back to friends... We will determine our lives by who we choose as friends so be involved with what we are doing. Make sure that you pick your girls up from school every now and again, even if they take a bus. You will be amazed at what you will learn driving home. Find those insights into our souls. There are a lot of ways to do that. Have a slumber party for your daughters, and just listen and enjoy them. When you get a few girls together you will be amazed at what you will learn. I'm not talking about being sneaky, but just to pay attention. Did you know that the best times to communicate about anything is 15min after an event? Talk about a movie on the way home. Let your girls talk after you pick them up at school. Take them out for a snow cone.

What I'm saying is be involved in their lives. Pray now for God to be raising up godly men for your daughters, and remember that someday you will lose them to another man. But make sure that they are healthy and they pick a man that is like you (examine yourself to see if you are good enough for your daughters). If so, then relax. You have done a great job. As for dating, let them date when they are ready and not before. Being interested in boys doesn't mean that they are ready for dating. But being mature does. It's not a question of age but of maturity. Learn to say no. If a girl knows that she can wrap her dad around her fingers, she'll no longer respect him.

Remember that we are emotional and we need to talk. We feel before we think. Hey, God made us that way. Above all never stop loving us and always be the example that we need. And don't forget to listen to us. Be all that God wants you to be... The kind of father and the kind of husband to your wife that God created you to be. Watch the way you treat your wife. Love her and make her the most important person in your life other than God. How you treat her is how we think we should be treated. God had given you a special ministry... Like the parable of the talents. When God comes back show Him you have made a wise investment. He will welcome you into his kingdom. Let your children be your glory and a testament to your life. They have their own minds and you can't always fix everything. Never tear down their self-esteem. It is so

fragile and harder to put back up. If you make a mistake, say so. It's who you are that counts not perfection. And it's as you have said many times to me... It's who you belong to. Make sure that they find and marry a man who loves the Lord more than them.

Be just the kind of man that I've known you to be. You will do fine and God will take care of the rest.

Love you in the right way,


I hope this makes some sense to you>>>>

It does Nikki... I miss you dear friend. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

What Are We Really Looking For?


When I'm with my friends who are involved in leading ministries, there's always talk about "attracting more young people" to get involved. A lot of times they talk about needing more youthful music, or programs blah blah blah. But I don't think that's really what the "young people" are after. They are after the same thing those of us who are older are after... they are looking for people who care about them. They are looking for real relationships. They are looking for a place where they can be themselves and where people will help them work through the questions they have and hunt for answers together.

There's a lot of talk about authenticity lately. I think it's a good thing. But there's a lot of confusion about what exactly that is. Some people argue that people use it as an excuse to sin and we shouldn't. Other's argue that if we really love Jesus we won't "smoke, drink or chew, or go with girls that do." That's not what I think of when I think of being authentic.

When I was young, I grew up in a pretty abusive home. I lived two lives... the hellish one at home, and the other that I tried to keep separate. I was afraid to let my friends get to close to my life at home. But the result is that I felt fractured. Part of the healing process for me after I became a believer was allowing God to integrate those separate parts of my life into one person. To me, to be authentic means to just be honest about who I am, how I'm doing and what is going on inside of me, as well as my relationship with Christ. That doesn't mean deliberately trying to get away with stuff I think or know is wrong. I just means that I don't try to hide my brokenness. There's a freedom in that. It also creates an environment where my friends and students feel more free to be honest with me too.

Most of my younger friends especially thrive in an environment where they don't feel like they have to hide their brokenness... where they feel like it's ok to come with their questions, and their anger, or their pain, and know that there are people who will still love them. In the midst of that we can heal together. I'm not interested in big, bitchin' worship, or zippy video. I'm not interested in great sermon delivery. I'm interested in sharing life with other people who I know will support and pray for me. I love it when the church functions as a family. Here's to more real connection going on.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Life Creative...

Tonight I'm sitting here thinking about living life as a creative person. I've pretty much made a living being creative my whole life. Even in high school I missed the job at Jack in the Box, serving up hamburgers and things that vaguely resemble tacos using my photography to make money. I learned early on that I could photograph all the people who tended to be self absorbed... i.e. the people in drama and the various music groups, and when I was really desperate... the jocks. Then I would make 8 x 10's of them and sell the prints to them. It beat the heck out of the alternative, and gave me time to pursue my other interests instead. I worked hard to become a better photographer and to become better at the darkroom work to support it.

I also went out of my way to get better as a musician. Since my parents refused to spring for music lessons I worked at playing the bass so I could play with guitarists that were better than me so I could watch them and learn from them. I went to concerts and watched the guitarists, trying to glean anything I could from their playing. I spent hours alone practicing... and slowly but surely I got better.

So many people I know are wanting to pursue music or other creative endeavors, but they don't want to put in the hours it takes to hone their craft. I see that all the time as a music teacher. A lot of my students want to be able to play well. Few of them are willing to put in the extra effort to go from being able to play through something, to making it great. It's the difference between creating like you are cramming for a test, or creating like you want to be able to play it for life.

We're a society of people who are rushing from thing to thing at a breakneck pace, with constant noise and stimulation. There's always the T.V., or the iPod or the cell phone... something to distract us from just being quiet in the moment. The creative process needs time to happen. We need to have time to think... to imagine... to write, to try different ideas on our instruments. I want to continue to improve as a musician, as a photographer and as a writer. To do that I have to step away from the distractions and make the time to actually do it.

You can open the entertainment section in any paper in any city and look at the ads for people playing locally. A lot of them will not be that good. But they are there playing because they had the creative work ethic to take the time to rehearse and show up. If we are serious we need to take the time pursue the creative part of our life and not allow it to get sidetracked by all the other things competing for our time.

Heather Youmans, one of my bass students, is a great example of being willing to work hard to pursue her creative dream. In the midst of a crazy academic load in high school, she's faithfully plugged away at honing her craft creatively. She's spent years developing her voice and her acting and dancing talents. She's really applied herself to the nuts and bolts of bass playing as well. She's taken the time to do the "hard boring part" of it all. She's worked at the scales and the music theory. She's spent the time working at developing her ear and learning to read music. Along the way she's become a good bass player who can actually sing, front a band, and play bass all at the same time. She's been doing soundtrack work for several years and her own album is releasing soon. It hasn't been easy. She's spent a lot of hours practicing. She's spent a lot of hours in the studio and rehearsing. But she's ready. I have other students who want to be musicians or singers that I've been teaching as long as I've been teaching Heather. They are no closer to their dream though because while she's been hard at work they've been busy with other things and spending most of their down time partying.

Over the years I've known a huge number of incredibly naturally talented people who've gotten no where because they weren't willing to put the extra work in to achieve greatness. I've also known a lot of people who've developed into really good players and have had success creatively because while they were less naturally gifted, they had a hunger... a passion to develop their art and they took the time to perfect their craft.

I want to keep creating. I never want to rest on what I've done in the past. God save me from the incessant noise and distractions that go on all around me. Help me to take the time to work at my craft as well. May I continue to find ways to encourage my other students to be more like Heather and put elbow grease to their dreams.

Here's Heather's current music video:

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Life Is Not Twitteriffic

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 (1:13am)
My Life Is Not Twitteriffic...

Yes, I have a twitter account. I actually check it every few days to see what my friends are doing. Normally I sit there trying to think of something to write in 140 letters or less, or however many they give you to make a definitive statement about your life. Normally the best I can come up with is "gee, nope... I still got nothin'" Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't have plenty of things going on that are meaningful to me. (Although about 90% of what some of my friends post I would file under T.M.I. I don't really need to know about when they get their nails done... or in the case of some of the guys... the details of their bowel movements. It's like we've all reverted to being back in summer camp.)

I do think it's interesting though that there's some kind of built in desire in most of us for connection, even if it's just quickly touching base. Twitter is great for that. Sometimes these wonderful little gems slip by just when I get a chance to look. Tonight one of my friends was writing a mutual friend there she had this great quote for her: "The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain."That quote from Khalil Gibran was just what I needed to read at thatmoment.

Normally the real stuff my life is made of just doesn't work on Twitter.A lot of the stuff I look at as really eventful has to do with relationships. They are quiet moments that don't condense well.Twitter is great for action stuff... "I'm going here... I'm doing this... I ate this... I just saw... etc." All those things can be fun for me to read. The truth is that I spend about 12 -14 hours a day in my teaching studio with a steady stream of people coming in and out every half hour. All of them are these amazing, unique individuals that I get to interact with. Part of what happens here is that I teach themhow to play an instrument. The greater thing that happens here is that we effect each other's lives.

For some reason, many times people start lessons with me at major turning points. They are looking for something that will be fun and entertaining and will help take away some of their stress andhelp them focus on something else for awhile. Some of them show upwhen an important relationship has just ended. Others come because they are care givers to someone who is very ill and they need a break.The teenagers I teach normally just want to have fun playing music.Still they always have the daily stresses of trying to navigate a worldthat isn't always friendly to them, while they are trying to figure outwho they are. I love watching them grow. There are always so many stories.

Sometimes life gets overwhelming to me. My work schedule is brutal and I just get exhausted. But I love my students. I love who they are. Ilove their stories. I love getting a ring side seat to watch their livesunfold. A couple of things happened recently right when I wasdoubting my sanity at choosing my current profession. Neither makes good twitter material but both were wonderful in their own way.

I got a phone call from one of my old students wanting to come back and do some more lessons. She left a message on my answering machine. She said "I don't' really remember that much about the guitar part of our lessons, but I do remember that you helped get me through a really dark season in my life and I'm doing a lot better now." It's easy in the midst of the tiredness to forget that how we interactwith each other can be life changing. (It also turns out she remembered a lot more guitar than she gave herself credit for too.)

The other incident involved one of my old students. When we met,she had just ended a long term relationship with someone she lovedbut who wasn't good for her ultimately. She was questioning if shewould find someone else she would be really compatible with. As timewent by she did meet someone and fall in love. They were married and after a series of miscarriages had a healthy baby boy. She's hadan amazing journey. We were having lunch together. She was holdingher son, who's just getting strong enough to hold himself up. His back was leaning against her. In the middle of our conversation he reached over incredibly tenderly and put his hand on her cheek and put his head next to hers. At that point we both got teary eyed. I could tell that for both of us that one gesture on his part summed up her life journey. I'm so thankful to have the chance to be there to witness it.Such is my life. But for twitter... "nope... still got nothin."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

New Life for a Rock Star...

Brian "Head" Welsh was the guitarist from the rock band Korn. This is his story in his own words...

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

15 Albums That Influenced My Life... The Cheaters Version...


This is one of those surveys that has been making it's rounds on facebook. I decided to post it here too because music is an important part of my life. Most of this list contains material that helped shape who I am as a musician now during my "formulative years." Music was a great outlet for me when I was young, and one of the few safe places to express what was really going on inside of me. It helped me to deal with the the trauma I experienced as a child and as a teenager. Here's my entry as it appeared on facebook:

Think of 15 albums, CDs, LPs (if you're over 40) that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life. Dug into your soul. Music that brought you to life when you heard it. Royally affected you, kicked you in the wazoo, literally socked you in the gut, is what I mean. Then when you finish, tag 15 others. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill. Get the idea now? Good. Tag, you're it...

Ok, so I’m never good at playing by the rules, and you can’t expect a music teacher with a bizillion albums to be able to hang with 15 albums. I decided to divide stuff up by musical grouping part of the time with the stuff that shaped and formed my life and the way I play. There could have been a lot more.

Motown - (Early 60's) Some of my earliest memories in California were hanging out with my next door neighbor listening to early Motown, especially Diana Ross & The Supremes.

The Beatles - Life as we previously had known it would never be the same after they showed up. For me it was not one of their albums it was the total package and the way they kept changing and morphing and creating such an amazing variety of really good music. I wanted to play the guitar after that. I learned about the power of a great melody from them. So many of their songs had these out arrangements on the recordings, but most of them still work with one acoustic guitar. It was because of the Beatles and The Beach Boys album, Pet Sounds that I became interested in multi-track recording.

Led Zeppelin - (1969 - 1980) I was blown away by their creativity and the sheer variety in their music. I think all of them were amazing musicians individually and together I don’t think there’s ever been a rock band that’s quite that strong as a unit.

Great guitarists, most who died too young. These guys totally influenced my life and my playing just a few of them were Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, BB King, Buddy Guy, and Bonnie Raitt. (On a side note I would love to have her voice.)

Singer/Songwriters: Cat Stevens - Tea For the Tillerman (1970) Helped me see the power of the song. Simon & Garfunkel -Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970) All these years later I’m still blown away at the power and beauty of these songs. Bruce Hornsby - The Way It Is (1986) That album, and especially that song, still powerfully resonates with me. That was the theme song for my life for a long time. The basic idea... people say this... "but don’t you believe it."

Carole King - Tapestry (1971) The first album I ever saved up my own money to buy. I loved the lyrics and melody and the percussive piano playing. I wore it out from playing it so much. It was the album that helped me survive middle school, my mother’s death, and the sudden death of my childhood.

Neil Young (All the early stuff) I loved his rawness and crustyness.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - The guitars! The Harmonies! (Especially Deja Vu)
David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name (1971) I was stunned by the harmonies and the music.

ZZ Top - Tres Hombres (1973) La Grange and Jesus Done Left Chicago Robin Trower - Bridge of Sighs ( 1974) Both of these bands made me want to play blues rock in a big way.

U2 - Their early albums were so passionate. They are still a great rock band. Every worship guitarist on the planet owes a debt to The Edge.

Progressive Rock - At the same time I was starting to play blues rock I was also drawn into progressive rock. Some of the first stuff I played in bands in high school was in weird timing etc. Some of the bands I loved to listen to and play on guitar were early Genesis, Gentle Giant, Yes, Emmerson Lake & Palmer and later Dream Theater and Rush.

Christian Artists: 2nd Chapter of Acts - With Footnotes (1974) Raw Christian music with good lyrics and amazing vocal harmonies that would go from "pretty" and almost too vibrottoy to edgy screamy rock. When Annie Herring sang "He took away my sin and shame," I knew it was true for me too. Seeing them live a bunch of times was amazing. They did a tour that was them, Phil Keagy, Barry Mcguire, David Souther and some other great musicians that made me want to get better on my instruments. KEITH GREEN - His whole body of work (1975 -1982) Keith was an amazing songwriter and musician. I loved seeing him play live and at home in California during the early days of what would become Last Days Ministries. I think his death in a fiery plane crash in 1982 was the catalyst for a much needed reevaluation among many in the contemporary Christian music industry. A lot of people didn’t like him because he was so extreme... but I did notice that a lot of the artists that had been straying away from their original ministry goals did refocus after that. RICH MULLINS - Such a great songwriter and odd guy who didn’t give into the system and wasn’t perfect... a good role model. DANIEL AMOS/DA - These guys were way ahead of their time and were one of the most creative bands to ever get pigeonholed into the CCM category... Alarma and Doppelganger are amazing.

Stevie Wonder - Innervisions (1973) and Songs In the Key of Life (1976) - Completely amazing. The rhythms.

Heart - Dreamboat Annie (1976) and Little Queen (1977) I grew up in a world without many female rock roll models. Here were women who could sing like crazy and play too. It’s sad that I was a senior in high school before these guys showed up on the scene.

David Wilcox - Once again it’s not just one song or album. It’s the entirety of his career. David’s not that well known, but he’s an amazing songwriter and guitarist. He’s that rare breed of musician who’s not interested in being a rock star. He wants to practice his craft and be able to support his family. He tackles tough issues and sings about faith in a way that makes the gospel live without cramming it down peoples throats. He uses weird tunings, and makes the acoustic guitar sing.

Patty Griffin - Living With Ghosts (1996 ) I’m overwhelmed by the power of one focused voice and guitar with passion and great material. I never get tired of listening to this album... or any of her stuff for that matter. I want to be like her when I grow up.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Welcome to My World...

I am a fortunate woman. I get to do something I love for a living. More than that, I get to do it as a vocation. Every week I see an amazingly diverse group of people who show up at my door ready to learn how to play different instruments, or how to write songs, or lead worship, or a variety of other music related things. Each one of them is unique. Each one of them brings something different into my world... that's for sure. It can be a noisey, messy, crazy time. It can also be aggravating at times challenging. But I still love it. I love watching kids eyes... their whole faces light up when they get something the first time. Anyway, enough yammering. In December, a bunch of my students... aged 6 - 60 played Smoke on the Water while I videotaped them. We edited all those together so everyone could get their 5 seconds of fame. I think you'll enjoy it. Proving once again that music is a lot about just having a good time.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More of the Best of the Next Generation...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 (2:10am)
More of the Best of the Next Generation...
One of my favorite things about teaching is having students who are like sponges. I can teach them the mechanics of what they need to be able to play their instruments... but they have the passion and the fire that inspires them to push forward and use that knowledge to create something beautiful or significant.

Rachel is someone like that. She wanted to be able to play worship music. She’s worked really hard to learn her chords and her strums and all that stuff. But more importantly, she’s internalized the songs and made them live for herself and the other’s she plays for. She’s only been playing for a little over a year but she has tons of songs memorized already.

More than anything I love the purity and the innocence of what she’s doing. In a world that tries to take music and warp it into something ugly, it’s beautiful to see it in such a pure form. It is such a gift for me to be able to see that. It’s my prayer that it always stays that way for her. When I was in 7th grade I began a relationship with God that was new and foreign to me. I was never raised around faith at all... quite the contrary. But the main reason I wanted to pick up the guitar and play it was to express something to God that I was having such a hard time expressing with words. I had a profound sense of gratitude and awareness that my life would never be the same. In Rachel I see myself at that age. The bottom line for me is that sure I love to rock n’ roll. I love to play rowdy music... but there is nothing I love as much as sitting alone with my guitar and doing exactly what Rachel is doing here. Welcome to a glimpse of what is best in my world.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Some Opening Thoughts On Christmas...

Sunday December 14, 2008 (11:39pm)
This has been sort of an interesting Christmas season for me. The economy and the resultant unexpected loss of students, and the recent due date of property taxes pretty much nixed any monetary celebration of Christmas this year. But that really hasn’t bothered me that much. When I went to pay the property taxes I found myself very thankful to be able to pay them one more time. All the recent upheaval with the economy has made me more committed than ever to work towards living more simply and being thankful for what we do have.

We live in a country with so much abundance. It’s easy to loose sight of that with the news blaring at us and the incessant advertising trying to convince us that our life will be less fulfilled without those new granite counter tops. I realized recently that one of the benefits (and pitfalls) of being self employed is that I’m always aware that we live in a world where very little is certain. There is no guarantee that our money and health, relationships and employment will remain the same. I’ve found myself turning off the news more, and trying to be in the moment with my husband, my friends, and my students.

Traditionally Christmas is a tough time of year for me. I’ve had to learn ways of dealing with it other than just slipping into depression. To celebrate the season in a more meaningful way I decided it would be fun to do something special for my students. I’ve been video taping them for the least week and will continue this week. Instead of doing one of those dreadful recitals that kids dread and parents hate finding time for right before Christmas, I’m putting their videos on a special youtube page that can be found at lindabstudents You’ll find a wacky bunch of videos... some by people who’ve only been playing their instruments for a few weeks. What I’ve loved about it is how they just enjoy playing for the joy of it. All of them played a simple version of smoke on the water... Ken is editing them together into a wacky video Christmas card that will be up later this week. I’ll start putting up some videos here too for you to check out. I dare ya to throw yourself into something like these students. They always inspire me. When I post the videos I’ll post a little about them too.
In the mean time, in the midst of all the running arounding, I’m thankful again for a place to live, family and friends who love me, a job that lets me be a part of so many kids lives to learn from them, and the tender care of a loving God who chose to come be part of our world. Merry Christmas.

A Christmas Gift From One Of My Students...

One of my favorite things about teaching is watching my students take the raw material that I give them and then bulid on it to make it something different, and a lot of times better. Here is a video of one of my students... Ryan Palmer. He was working on one of my arrangements of Silent Night. He changed some of the chords to give it a slightly darker feel. I love what he did with it. That's one of the things I love about him and his music. I think you'll enjoy it too. If you have a youtube account, stop by and give him some feedback.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Something Good And Meaningful...

Here lately I've been posting some pretty silly videos. I'm always amazed at all the horrible things around on youtube. But there are some real gems too. I personally really enjoy Lifehouse. We do a few of Jason's worship songs at the church I go to. There is a vulnerable quality to a lot of his song writing. Here's an acoustic version of their current video to help cleanse your mind from the horror fest below. Enjoy

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reflections on Election Day

This was originally published on Myspace on election day...
Tuesday, November 4, 2008 (10:02am) Election Day

Ken and I went and voted this morning in the pouring rain. Somehow that matched my mood. I'm thankful for the pouring rain however. This has been a very divisive election. Here in California, not only with the presidential race but with the propositions. I personally was not all that thrilled with either choice for president.

But it is my hope and my prayer that in the aftermath of this election... however it turns out, that we as people, more than democrats or republicans, conservatives or liberals, will be able to come together again showing mercy and forgiveness to each other and move forward. May we as individuals and together take responsibility for our country and our world and not leave it to the professional politicians to shape the outcome. Our leaders can't save us, and they can't control our destinies. We can choose to love and care for each other.

Those of us who live our faith can choose to faithfully pray for whoever is our next president. He is going to need all the help he can get! Lets choose to love and care for each other as family and work together in the midst of this dark season. I am hopeful that in these trying times we as a people will remember what's really important, which is caring for each other, more than our "stuff". May God help us all.

And whatever you do, don't forget to go out and vote.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Brought to you by the You Spin Me Right Round Guy...

Ok... so I found out the guy's name is Rick Pino... a fairly well known worship guy. But once again I ask... What WAS he thinking?????????

Saturday, October 04, 2008

For Those Of You Who Missed The Most Horrible...

A lot of you have said you missed the last wonderfully horrible video... unfortunately the cult that made it keeps pulling it... but if you type in The Renewed Mind it's liable to pop up again. This video is from the comedy show TALK SOUP where they did a story on that video and might actually be better because it has the highlights... or lowlights. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Most Wonderfully Horrible Video Of All...

Ok... maybe the worst so far. This was the one that got me started down this road of musical dreck. I was saddened when the cult that actually filmed this yanked it when it was going viral. Some other wonderful soul reposted it on youtube for our listening pleasure... or comedic amusement. Any way... enjoy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wonderfully Horrible Part 2 ...

Ok, so I can't wait to share this amazing tidbit with you. It's got horrible buzzing at the beginning as he's pratteling on about stuff... if you can fastforward to the singing... just know at the beginning he suggest that people make themselves comfortable and find something to spin around like a sock or a shoe or their keys... nothing better than a thousand sweaty bodies with dirty socks bouncing around... once again make sure you experience the full clip or jump through it in small increments ... you wouldn't want to miss the holy ghost hoe down or the rest of the medaly. I do confess that this might just be the worst worship ever as it's youtube name implies.

The scary thing to me is that rather than looking at the guy in disbelief, all those people dutifully did exactly what he said to do. Anyway that's a subject for another whole blog. Enjoy this one! For those of you who are older... WARNING: 80's flashback may occur.

Wonderfully Horrible...

This is the reason people who are not in the Christian subculture think we are nuts. This video is wonderfully horrible. To appreciate it's full horribleness make sure you watch it all the way through to catch the lyrics. You might be thinking to yourself... "self, this is the worst worship video I've ever seen!" But you would be wrong... wrong I tell you. I'll try to post the next one soon too. I'll give you a preview though... think bad 80's secular hit songs... some of the lyrics to that one are "you spin me right round Jesus right round." and "throw your hands in the aa---ya and wave um like you just don't caaa----ya"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 (8:30am)
And Now For Something Completely Different...

A couple of days ago I was looking at one of my student’s blogs. She had put her ipod on shuffle and then picked obscure lyrics from the songs that were the first 10 and put them up to see if people could identify them. Most of them were from bands who’s members are younger than most of my guitars. The only one that probably should have looked vaguely familiar, given my ancient age was "the girl with kaleidoscope eyes" (Ok you old farts... certainly you know this one.)

The scary thing was not only did I know all the bands, even if I was fuzzy on a few of the titles of the songs... but I actually knew the lyrics. Of course this particular student has a similar brain to mine and it’s not too surprising that she would have written those particular lyrics down. Hopefully she will be able to mock her friends sufficiently that the really old chick knew more than they did.

But the bigger lesson for me was a reminder about how much I learn from my students and how much my life is better because they almost force me to continue learning. I had lunch with one of my former students the other day... she’s a senior in high school now and she asked me if I ever learned things from my students and it made me start thinking about it.

I think as we start getting older we tend to fall back on the familiar, partially because it’s easier or we’re too tired to care. What was it that Bob Dylan said...???? "I used to care, but things have changed." But my students show up with new music week after week they are excited about. Sometimes at first listen my brain screams "why in the world would ANYONE like this stuff?!????" But because I care about them and most of them do have functional brains, my next thought is... let me listen to this more and see what it is about this that is making them so excited. I start listening with different ears. Thanks to them I definitely have eclectic taste in music now. Some of the music that is being produced by this generation is amazing for various reasons. Disco was the soundtrack of my generation in our teens and twenties... how horrible is that? Granted, some of the music being produced now is horrible either because of it’s lyrical content or it’s annoying music (don’t get me started on most rap and hip-hop) but some of it is wonderful too. So on the music front I decided to put up some music on my myspace page occasionally that might be different for some of you who are a little older, but is an example of what your kids or younger friends might be listening to. Visitors to this blog can find my myspace page at :

For me though, the take away for today is that my students ... your kids ... their generation ... is so worth listening to. Our relationships with them are so important. We need to take the time to dive into their worlds more and find out what is important to them and why and to assume there might be value in it because we value them. It’s not just music... it’s their other interests too. This generation more than any in a long time has really embraced their parent’s culture in a lot of ways. Most of my guitar students love some of the same things I loved when I was in jr. high and high school musically. And while those of us who are products of the 70s are still pretty much the "ME" generation in a lot of ways... preoccupied with our lives and our interests, and not very interested in investing in their lives... a lot of their generation actually believes they can make a difference in the world and each other’s lives. It does my heart good to see that.

So if the music on my myspace page seems a little weird from time to time, take a few minutes to listen. And whenever you get a chance, take the time to listen to and enjoy your own kids too with fresh eyes and ears. They are an amazing bunch. You can tell them I said so.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Friday, September 12, 2008 (12:16pm)
Bringing the funny back...

Most people who hang out with me would tell you that even at the worst of times I can still almost always find something absurd to laugh about. Life these days can be more than just a little challenging with the 60 hours plus a week work week, the medical bills, etc. Sometimes I get more than just a wee bit overwhelmed. I have to shoo away that little pack of violinists who try to follow me around playing that annoying melancholy music. But even with all that and even though I spend most of my time in my teaching studio, life overall is pretty stinkin' amazing. The older I'm getting the more I'm convinced that when it's all said and done, our encounters and relationships with each other and with God are what really matter in this world. Crap happens. Life happens in the midst of the crap. Life is good.

I can laugh about almost anything. But I realized recently that even though I do have some pretty sinkin' funny stories about all the weird things I've experienced with the Christian subculture, there are some parts of it that I just find painful and infuriating. I've had a few too many encounters with people (including some I've worked with on staff at different churches) who used their power and circle of influence to wound the very people they were there to lead and serve. That is a place of profound pain for me as I've spent years with the people who's lives have been devastated in the name of Christian ministry. On my better days I know that any time you stick a bunch of humans together, you are going to get some amount of nastiness. Lately though I've found that when I think about the subculture (which is completely different in my mind than Jesus) the first thing I feel is grief, when I see the countless faces of friends who's lives are in turmoil currently.

Just recently I found a few blogs written by people who have also been immersed in the subculture who are pretty good being able to laugh at the weird part of it while still embracing the good that's there. I also like the fact that they have a similar snarky sense of humor and are willing to be honest about life in their worlds.

You can find two of them at the following places....
This site is often really funny, and sometimes really moving. It's also worth reading some of the archives... make sure you read the comments though... they are sometimes the best part. He nails the weird quirky part of the subculture. Thanks Jon... razzle dazzle... razzle dazzle.

I love Stacy's take on life and faith. Her blogs can be funny or moving (or both) but they are always well written. She's good at pointing out the weird part of the subculture too... plus she's been to Bible college which is a whole other source of material. I love her snarky sense of humor.

For those of my friends who patiently put up with my dogged participation in Christianity, hoping I'll grow out of it, I think you might enjoy these guy's blogs too. It's a good reminder that all "Christians" aren't joyless, mindless morons. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

As for the above mentioned bloggers, as well as some of you on myspace who write about your life and faith with humor and raw honesty, I'll have to take the time to thank them and you too for reminding me again that there are a lot of weird, funny things about life, faith and it all. In the midst of the crap, there is a lot of good too. Who knew something that funny could also be good for my soul.


Yes, it's good we can laugh (good-naturedly, of course) at the weirdness and wackiness in the world. It's a reminder to not take ourselves too seriously. It's good to take the time to for amusement when all of us are so busy busy busy with work work work. I think it is necessary in order to keep sane. Sometimes when I need a laugh I will watch something like "The Farting Tilton Preacher" to cheer me up. For those of you who, like me, find fart noises amusing (I even own a remote control fart machine), you can watch "The Farting Tilton" on youtube....just type that in the search box.
Yes... both of us own remote control fart machines... alas there's nothing quite like farting preacher humor. ;)

I have been enjoying stuffchristianslike of late... he makes me laugh! And I'm with you about finding ways to laugh at all the nonsense while holding onto all that's relevant.You are a wonderfully dear woman to me and I am so glad our spaces bumped into each other!
I think you would enjoy the other one too. I like her writing... wind her up and watch her go. :)

For the record, I hope you never "grow out" of it. PS: I think I need to start writing again.
You are correct madam... you do need to start writing again... perhaps a little anti-penguin rant to get the process started again. You write... you write with penguins!

Thank you for this! And it is a great reminder that in the midst of all the crap life can fling at us, life is good.:) "I have to shoo away that little pack of violinists who try to follow me around playing that annoying melancholy music."...Hee! What a wonderful description. Thank you for this.
It's good to have other people to romp through the sucky parts with... or cry through the sucky parts... or sometime just laugh at the absurdness of the sucky parts.


"... I have to shoo away that little pack of violinists who try to follow me around playing that annoying melancholy music..."Linda, I am SOOO SORRY! I'll really truly try to learn some non-melancholy songs. But you know I don't do as well with the fast stuff. I'll try to work with that distortion pedal more.....
Ok... I would have choked if I was drinking anything. I'll make an exception in your case... as long as you also play some jaunty fiddle music... I know I'll play the accordian... don can play the tuba... lee can sing as a woman... oh wait we already did that.... doh! :)

am really wanting to play rhythmic guitar in a corner with poultry. I would even welcome the melancholy violinists, but only if it was Juanita who is always up for a jaunty jig as well.

Or one of those hellish over the top "women's" retreats/luncheons/horrors we've done in the past!

Friday, September 05, 2008

A New Day Dawns In California...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 (1:55am)

A New Day Dawns In California...

Today, California's new hands free cell law goes into effect. For those of you who aren't from around these parts, it is now illegal to drive with your cell phone plastered to your ear. If the cops see you they can pull you over and give you a relatively hefty ticket. I do find it slightly ironic that you can still hold the phone in your hand or TEXT while driving, which seems like one of the most stupid things anyone could possibly do. I've noticed already since people have been getting ready there is less of the weaving around while talking thing going on. But I've read about several studies that have shown that driving while talking, even hands free drops your functional I.Q. to that of a slug. I wish people would quit using the phone as a hobby while driving and just drive their stinkin' cars.

One of the side effects here is that everyone now has blue tooth and they are wandering around everywhere while they are not driving talking on the phone. And, as I've said before they look at me like a crazy woman when I answer them when they would appear to be asking me, a complete stranger, a question when there is no one else around... and when I do answer them they jab their finger at their ear and point like they have some kind of worm boring into their brain at that particular moment. It's a weird world we live in.

So it will be interesting if it helps much with people driving so distracted... of course with gas at 4.69 or more a gallon around here perhaps just less traffic will help things a little bit. In the mean time I'll have to ignore the crazies wandering around talking to themselves like a bad scene out of a zombie movie.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Previous Blog Posts...

For quite some time I've blogged mainly on Myspace. I would like to start using blogspot more in the future, so I decided to transfer some of my blogs over here so that anyone who would like to dialogue would at least have more of an idea of my history. There are some things I would like to be able to write about that I don't necessarily subject my younger students to that stop by my myspace page. Life can be brutal. Faith can be brutal sometimes too. Sometimes it's good for me to write about what's going on inside of me. Some of the blogs I've transfered so far are pretty grousy. I'll try to post some of the goofy ones here too.

Jesus was NOT a Republican...

This Blog was originally posted somewhere else on Sunday, June 18, 2006. Some things just never change though and I've been thinking about this topic again lately. I admit that I'm not too happy about either presidential candidate the more I find out about them and their policies.

Jesus was NOT a Republican...

My liberal friends are convinced that I'm really a liberal and just don't know it yet. My conservative friends probably just worry about me. I actually am a moderate conservative in most areas. But I find myself disenfranchised by the republican party in this country and appalled at the state of the national government currently.

I know I'm not alone. It's been hard to stand by and watch our personal rights eroded in the name of national security. It's painful to watch all the partisan politics stalemating the possibility of anything being accomplished in Washington. I must confess I'm about one step away from getting a "who would Jesus bomb?" sticker for my car.Within the Christian subculture there's almost an unspoken rule that we shouldn't be negative against the government. It's OK to criticize any democrats in power, but we need to just "prayerfully support" the republicans.

Last time I checked Jesus wasn't a republican... or a democrat. He didn't get sucked into the corrupt system that was functioning at the time. I think we need to wake up and use our minds and not just get sucked into politics as usual. We should be willing to question stupid decisions that come from either side.

A couple of weeks ago was the primary election. Once again I found myself to be disturbed by the whole process. When I was young I was excited to finally be able to vote. I wanted to be a part of the whole process. Now that I'm older and more cynical, I realize that most politicians... democrats, republicans or any other variety, are not to be trusted. Too many years working in media and seeing the ugly yellow underbelly of American politics up close left me with the realization that to be a good politician in this country you basically have to be a good liar.

What do I want? I want to just once in my life, vote for someone I can really believe in and support instead of voting for the lesser of two evils. I want to see elected officials who will put aside partisan politics and put the real good of the nation above their own private agendas. I want us as people of faith to not just buy into politicians rhetoric, but hold them accountable based on their actions and not just their propaganda.

What am I going to do? I'm not sure yet. One thing is for sure I don't want to just give lip service to conservative politics. I need to stay informed. I need to be willing to question bad decisions no matter who are making them. I need to be willing to speak up against troubling trends... whether they've been propagated by the left or the right. I need to be careful to not be like the Christians in Nazi Germany who ignored what was going on around them. And I need to dialogue with others and not be afraid to question authority. I'm guessing that there are legions of people who are in the same boat as me. Any comments?

A More Excellent Way...

This was origionally a blog published on May 8, 2006 in another place but I wanted to include it here.

A More Excellent Way

Every once in a while I google my name to see what pops up. (when did google become a verb anyway?) It used to mainly bring up album covers I did the photos or graphics for.

Last night I did it and was surprised to find something quite different showing up. One of my old music students, who is away at college now, and who I still spend time with when he is in town, had me listed as one of his heros on his My Space page. Nothing could have made me happier.

For years I did photography and media projects that were seen by literally millions of people. But the more I spent time with teenagers at my church I realized that a lot of them didn't have adults outside of their immediate families that were commited to investing in their lives and their futures. More and more I began the shift away from doing media for a living towards teaching and also mentoring. It doesn't pay as well. But I know that ultimately, what I'm going to leave behind is a lot more valuable. I don't think God cared all that much for the big, bitchin' media projects... but I know he cares for the lives of my students.

The students I invest in will go on to make a difference in their worlds long after I'm gone. If I do my job right, the kid's they invest in will go on long after them. Long live that kind of legacy. Long live my students who are out to change their worlds!

The Space Between...

Hey gang it's a looooong one, but it has some great news for me.

Sunday, June 8, 2008 (5:01pm)
The Space Between...

The older I get the more time seems to fly by. Part of that is due to my somewhat crazy work schedule. I get up every day and work at making it through. The next day I do the same. I try to really live in the moment while I'm there with each person I encounter. But still the months race by... the years race by. More and more I'm becoming convinced that time is the most precious commodity of anything we possess. To be continued.

Sunday, June 29, 2008 (1:05am)
Ah... see what I mean. 21 days went by... in a heartbeat. For me, the lack of writing normally doesn't mean "no news." A lot of times it's because there are so many things going on that are so meaningful, that I can't figure out how to condense them into a few phrases. My private journal is considerably more full. Even there sometimes it's hard to put into words the inner working of my warped brain, or my spirit. I looked back and realized that for the most part, since February, there's been only silliness in my blog with the exception of a heartfelt prayer for peace and a remembrance of a dear friend.

I think we all have those things that occupy the space between. They make their presence known late at night when we can't sleep, or we are weary... sometimes they are fleeting memories that show up in the midst of great joy. Sometimes for me they happen in one on one encounters here in my teaching room, late night at Barnes and Noble or out to eat with someone. Sometimes it's triggered by reading someone else's blog.

So many times lately I've had those kinds of people encounters where I wished that I had a video camera running to record the moment. Some of those moments I wish I could share with all of you. There are times when the things that come out of my students mouths (especially the young ones) take my breath away at how they see life... how they get what's important about living and God and loving people.

There is one little boy whose father has to travel a lot for business. Most of the kids I teach like that are almost always angry at their fathers for their not being around. This little boy loves his dad though... and more than that, he knows how much his dad loves him. Every week he tells me about the stuff they do together and the trips they make together. I hear stories of his dad moving heaven and earth to get back early from business trips to make it to his talent shows and activities. I wish his dad could hear him talk, and I made a mental note to call his dad and thank him for being a great father and let him know I see it all over in the life of his son.

This time in the space between, something amazing has happened in my life. That's what originally caused me to start this blog back on the eighth. Anyone who's known me for any length of time knows my sketchy church history. I'm like the Typhoid Mary of Churchdom. I've been in more churches that have had horrible things going on... both dealt with and swept under the rug... with sin and corruption and pain and pastoral flameouts... you name it... I've been there right in the middle of it. At the end of the day, much more than being angry or bitter, it has left me on one hand with a lot of grief for all the brokenness and loss, and a sense of thankfulness on the other hand for the mercy of God and His ability to bring new life out of the pain.

There aren't many things in my life that I deeply regret... but there was one that has let a huge pool of grief for years. In the early 90's, due to some circumstances out of either of our control, I felt like the best and most loving thing I could do was to step away from a relationship with one of my best friends, music partner, and also a partner in ministry. For me, and other women in our close knit group, it was hard because we so wanted to be there for her and her son. Through all these years I've continued to pray for her and her family and I've missed her. I've missed having the chance to see her son grow up. Every time I've gone out to play, I've thought that she would have totally loved what we were doing. And for all these years I've hoped that one day there would be a way to make it right.

Recently, I heard that there were some major changes getting ready to happen in her life... and I knew that I knew that I knew that it was time to contact her again, although I had no idea how she would respond to that. When I called her, she called me right back... and on June 8th, at nine in the evening at Barnes and Noble, we saw each other for the first time since around 1993.

In all these years we never ran into each other. To me when I was contemplating calling her I was blown away by how long it had been when I stopped to do the math. For me the space between 98 and now has been one huge blur or work and medical bills. It seemed like yesterday when I saw her last. It was like the years just melted away and we had a great time catching up on a lot of missing years. We are both older and grayer and more tired, and yet, even with everything I think we are both at a point of looking forward to this new season in our lives. Last night we went to dinner at a place I eat at all the time... and it turns out her son, who's now in his twenties works there and I have talked to him before. I remember looking at him and almost asking him. So perhaps I'll have a chance to spend some time with the young man I loved so much as a young boy. There's so much more to the story, but it's still in process... to be continued.

All of it though has made me really stop and think about a lot of things, including why we who are a part of the "Christian subculture" will allow things from pastors we would never allow from people who were just showing up on Sunday mornings. Pastors these days only get canned if they get caught in some heinous act. The last few weeks have made me think that maybe we should start with really looking at how they love and care for their families. If they can't do that, then maybe it doesn't matter what a "gifted speaker" they are. Perhaps instead of bowing out, I should have stayed and with the other women, became an even bigger pain in her husband's back side. There's no way of knowing for sure. But I did apologize to her for not being there. I know too that I need to write her son too and apologize for not finding a way to let him know what was going on and for disappearing out of his life... and to apologize too for all the crap he had to go through at the hands of the church.

I am so thankful for that opportunity. I'm happy to be able to see her reconnecting with other old friends. I know they are so glad to see her too. In the end, real church is about being family... and continuing to love.

So, I've rambled on long enough for now. There's so much more I could say... and probably will somewhere down the line. Let me just say that I am one thankful girl. And such a weight has been lifted.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite portions of the Bible, that has been so true for me in Psalm 126...
1 When the LORD brought back the captives to

Zion, we were like men who dreamed.

2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."
3 The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.
6 He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

What I Long For...

This was first posted on a strange Bible disussion group I have on myspace called Bible Blah Blah... it is quite the wacky group of people who participate This is a subject close to my heart though so I thought I would post it here too. I would love your feedback... thanks!

Sunday, February 17, 2008 (3:56pm)

What I Long For...
Hi everyone... this will be long... sorry about that... but if you can, please read it though and see what you think...

Here it is Sunday afternoon. I slept in this morning. Frankly, I didn't have much choice. Sometimes the combo of the 60 -70 hour workweek and the chronic illness I have wins out over waking up bright eyed and bushy tailed to go to church. Exhaustion will do that to me. I was thinking today that it's been who knows how many months since I've actually made it to the church that I call myself a part of. I like the people... heck I love some of the people a lot. The music guy I consider a good friend who's like a little brother that I love and pray for, and try to help when I can. In the last few months there have been a precious few weeks where I woke up early enough feeling good enough to go. I even got ready... and I sat here and evaluated. When I really thought about it, I just couldn't bring myself to go again to a big building, hike in from the parking lot, and sit there with a bunch of people listening to one guy talk and then leave again without any real human contact. Lest you think I'm just being some anti-social curmudgeon standing around waiting for someone to make the effort to talk to me Me ME... that's no the case. Anyone who knows me knows that complete strangers tell me their whole life story on a regular basis and that I know half the people on the planet. There's just not a lot of place for that to happen. There's not a culture there that says that maybe we should really enjoy hanging out with each other.

One of our Bible blah blah gang named Laura wrote a great blog a little while ago about going off to church and ending up sitting somewhere listening to music and reading instead. Laura often writes blogs that are wonderfully raw and poignant at the same time. In her quest to connect with God in a more real way she manages to put her finger on so much of what's been rattling around inside of me for a long time too. I'm thankful that sometimes she manages to give voice to something that is such a part of me but hard to communicate.

I think when it comes down to it, Laura and I, and probably some of you too are really longing for a sense of community... of family... of having some people that you can just be yourself with and talk about those things that really are going on in your soul. I have some friends I've known for years. Some of us have gone to hell and back together... horrible church experiences... normal life things... we've grown up together... we've suffered loss together... we have shared funny or bizarre experiences together. We've fallen flat on our faces... or even run away from God and/or each other... and yet there's that bond that's still there. It's probably stronger because of all the crap. When I see their lives, I'm reminded of a good God who still holds on to both of us. I see the depth of their lives and our lives together because of all the good, the bad, the horribly painful, and the wonderful and crazy things we've shared.

That's the way I feel about pretty much everyone here, except for the few of you who I haven't had a chance to get to know yet. (And I'm sure that's only a matter of time.) When I think of the church I think of that kind of group... that's lived through so much together that they are more comfortable being with each other and being human. I love my friend that I know will love me regardless of how screwed up I am at any given moment and who, as it says in 1 Corinthians 13 "hopes the best" from me. I personally think you are all amazing people for a bunch of reasons. You're bright and creative. Most of you have lived through a lot of stuff and still have amazingly good senses of humor. A lot of you, like me, have sort of a tenuous relationship with the traditional church at best. But all of us have a hunger... a desire to connect with God in a real way... and with other people as well.

I would like to propose that we ARE the church when we meet each other... whether it's on each other's myspace pages or late at night at a restaurant, or at Chuck E. Cheese with a giant rat running around, or in the parking lot after some get together, freezing out butts off but enjoying our conversation and laughing with each other... or on the phone... or via email... or... or... I would like to propose that here on the Bible blah blah page we can discuss anything that is stirring in our hearts or is troubling us. That can be stirred up by the Bible reading or not. As most of us talked about... I don't expect any of us to be up on the reading, although we can always discuss that too. But I would love to be able to meet here and talk about the real concerns of our souls and to enjoy each other's company.

So, what do you guys think? You up for that too? I just know that you guys would enjoy each other as much as I do. Anyone else feeling sort of adrift in the church department? I know that for me, when I do have that sense of connectedness with some people, it's easier for me to brave the institutional church a little more too.

Many times my little music students will ask me what church I go to. I always find myself telling them about the church I go to. What I would really like to tell them is that I get to be a part of the church each week, here at my house with some of my students, online, etc.... Anyway, I would love to hear from you guys about all this too.


Hey Linda B - thx for the blog mention. :) Raw and poignant - I'll have to use that in my press release. ;) Seriously, glad you dig it.I've joined Bible BLah Blah but have yet to make a contribution, I know. Be patient...I'll get to "church" eventually.... :) I am still working out my connectedness issues on many levels.

This was Rhonda's quote on the blah blah page:"Linda, I feel exactly as you do. I rarely go to the traditional church these days even though Dennis was a priest who served faithfully until his death. I find more Christian community in my online and in-person friends. For me as the token Anglo-Catholic of the group, my biggest reason for still going to the Big Building is to receive Eucharist. (It was easier when I was married to my own personal priest!... lol) But as for community, I don't find that at all "in church." Yesterday was Sunday, and I found myself at a jazz in the garden concert here in Phoenix. Some of the musicians are God-oriented and I found them weaving bits and pieces of hymns into sections of the music. Sitting outside, surrounded by nature, listening to people offer up the gift of their creativity to God, I felt like there was more heartfelt worship taking place in that setting than inside the Big Building."I was thinking about how much I enjoy that kind of thing. I was thinking about the church I'm a part of. I love the music. I enjoy the sermons. I like the leaders. I think the leaders really want more interaction taking place too, and for people to connect more. Maybe it has to do with the culture we live in some and how we view large meetings. Also, because I go to a church that's primarily gen-x, the whole way they do connectedness is different... they've grown up connecting via technology. I'll see if maybe I can have my friend Jobey, the music director join in the discussion and see what he thinks.

Linda,I agree that church is not only more than the music and sermon, I argue probably that it is NOT the music and sermon, but human interaction to spur us to interaction with a living God. That's why I concur with you that we are the church no matter where we are. I do, however, believe that without some tangible human touch, we don't stand a chance just to be the church ourselves. Where people can help us with our troubles, push the enemy of our soul away, and encourage us to engage in this life of enjoying our heavenly Dad. In this kind of interaction, we find many things probably too deep to discuss here right now. I don't get to myspace that often, but I will try to throw my 2 cents worth in. Love you, Brian

It's true that we do need that tangible human touch too. There's nothing better than being able to really talk and communicate... especially face to face... especially with people that you have a bunch of shared spiritual history with. There are some of my online buddies that I would love to be able to just sit with for hours and really discuss things... since the nature of blogging especially is limited to choppy communication. Although sometimes I do communicate better in written form, especially with topics that are raw or painful. The best of both worlds I guess is both.

"longing for a sense of community", "just be yourself" -- YES!! and AMEN to that. that IS church. "we" ARE church, wherever we may be. but it's definitely not what i've found in the buildings with the big signs out front. i'm walking right beside you in the "tenuous relationship with the traditional church"... i'm meeting up with more and more of us, and finding encouragement there. we are NOT alone, and i believe we are growing in numbers. the "business" of "church" and the status quo won't hold up much longer. i'm believing in/for that, and looking forward to what is to come...

I agree that there are a bunch of us who are all in that process of transitioning. For me too I think that it's not even a matter of either or... I think there’s a place for a traditional gathering too. The thing that's great that's come out of people's discontent with the status quo is that people are beginning to realize that they don't have to wait for a church organization to structure some "program" for them to take responsibility to seek out real fellowship and connectedness that is more organic. I have real, heartfelt communication all the time here on the net and on the phone with people I've never even met face to face... but with some we've known each other for years and talk just about every day. With the expansion of the net and cheaper phone rates, our world has expanded. Our band of oddballs has grown and we've had more chance to find each other. I look at that as a great gift. :)

it IS a GREAT gift! i've been more and more thankful to find that i am not alone in how i feel about it all, nor am i alone in the journey of discovering the balance. thanks, linda b...

Tag.. I'm It...

Friday February 1, 2008 (12:22am)

One of my myspace buddies tagged me and this was origionally published there...
Tag... I'm it....

Rose has tagged me and now I'm "it." from her blog:

Once you have been tagged, write a blog with 10 weird, random things, or goals about yourself. At the end choose 10 people to be tagged, listing their names and why you chose them. Don't forget to leave them a comment (tag, you're it) and to read your blog.

and you can't tag the person who tagged you.

Rose just tagged me. Those of you who don't know her would really enjoy her. She's another creative/techno person who writes great grousy blogs, and is really a very tenderhearted softy. All of that I find very endearing. So here are a few rambling thoughts in no particular order...

1. As a child I loved the cartoon Gigantor, and wanted a multi-ton Robot as my best buddy... thus began my love/hate relationship with technology.

2. From the age of 5 to about 10 my next door neighbor and I would put on shows for the other neighborhood kids, complete with functional curtain. We did a lot of Motown songs and Beatles stuff. As an adult, I've done a disproportionally large number of gigs playing in corners with poultry (either live or on the menu) involved.

3. My mother had short stubby toes. My father's two toes next to his big toe were grown together. I have short stubby half way grown together toes that are funny to look at and probably resemble hobbit toes. As a child I saw a drawing of an Eohippus, a prehistoric horse and my toes resembled theirs.

4. I repel technology. I can kill off technology just by being near it, especially during a hormonal swing. My techno geek husband didn't believe me at first and now agrees it's downright creepy. I need to figure out how to hire myself out to do industrial espionage. Things I kill off on a regular basis includes, but is not limited to, a bizillion cash registers, multiple voting machines, airline ticket machines, video cameras, audio equipment and COMPUTERS. Needless to say this causes a lot of problems with my chosen profession where I'm using technology every day. On a related note, I have to wear a digital watch and not one with mechanical parts. I stop regular watches. (It must be my magnetic personality.)

5. I attract organic life forms. Animals and small children love me. Even wild and feral animals with normally hang out with me. "Vicious" dogs will normally also be perfectly tame with me. Even highly trained agility dogs will break from what they are doing and come over to hang out with me. It's very odd. I actually ran a children's ministry at a church for awhile and the kids would follow me around like I was the pied piper. I also was able to instantaneously get the screaming babies to stop and calm down.

6. I am the goose whisperer. Even though they are the thugs of the bird world I love to go feed them. They come up and stand around me calmly waiting to take the food out of my hand, which tends to freak out anyone else around who might be trying to feed the birds at the local pond. (Please see my photo album titled blog illustrations or journal illustrations for proof.)

7. When I was a small child I wanted to leave home as soon as I could to go live on a farm and raise animals. By the time I was starting middle school I had my whole life planned out... I was going to either become a psychologist or a sociologist. As a fluke I took a photo class in high school because I thought it might be a good tool in case I did field studies etc. As it turned out I had a very high aptitude for it and did my first album cover when I was 18 or 19. I still end up doing a lot of lay counseling / mentoring etc. .. even more now teaching music than I did working and counseling at a church... go figure. One of my friends calls it teaching guitar- har -har -har.

8. In teaching and in mentoring, I love working with middle school students. .. especially the really bright ones. I love the way they are still inquisitive and are engaged in figuring who they are and what they want to accomplish in their lives... and they aren't completely cynical yet! One of my favorite things is having the privilege of being in my students lives long enough to watch them grow into adulthood. My goal is to encourage them to be their own people, to be as creative as possible, and to stand their ground for what is true and important and to make a difference in their worlds.

9. I believe it's great to do a major career shift every decade or so. It keeps life interesting and makes for a lot better batch of weird stories. Who knows what I might do next... or again.

10. I dream in cinematically in mixed media. Sometimes I dream in a mixture of live action and cartoon. Sometimes my dreams have a narrator. Sometimes they are very movie like with different camera shots and angles... and sometimes I have dream sequels at the same location.


11. I have a very weird mixture of friends... so weird in fact that some of you guys probably couldn't stand to be in the same room with each other. I love the diversity. I love the different ways you challenge my thinking. I love the things I learn from you about life, and relationships and God and what's really important in life. By nature I'm actually pretty shy and pretty much of an introverted loner. I'm incredibly thankful that you guys help drag me outside of myself and remind me again and again that we are family.

The Flip Side Of The Coin...

January 7, 2008

The Flip Side of the Coin...
(Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation)

Anyone who knows me knows I don't get much down time. As a matter of fact, the last time I had any time off without someone dying, Ken and/or I being sick, or some major natural disaster/crisis was about ten years ago.

I had two weeks off in a row for the first time since then. And, while I did spend the first week feeling pretty sick and horrible, it was still nice to just have time to rest and recuperate in peace. I had a chance to just sit and read for long periods of time. I got to work on learning to run my new multi-track recorder. I had a chance to input the music/lyrics and chords for about 30 new songs into the computer, which is very time consuming but wonderful to have. I got a chance to just hang out and goof off with my husband. We had a nice, peaceful, calm Christmas, which was a wonderful thing. The second week I felt better and I got to see some friends that I have been missing, and have some great meals with them.

Nancy and I got a chance to record and work on music, which has been good for my soul. I got a chance to just go outside and breathe the air and stare blankly. We also got a chance to go feed the geese (more about being the goose whisper in another blog) and enjoy nature. Those things might not seem like a big deal... but they were very precious gifts to me. Given the new year, it's probably good I got a chance to rest up some.

I also got a chance to read A Widening Light, a poetry anthology put together by Luci Shaw of wonderful contemporary poets writing on the Life of Christ. I think that, mixed with all the good and bad Christmas memories brought back for me just how thankful I am for God's mercy and redemption in a real way. Some of us have been reading through the Bible this year together... and this verse from Matthew 4:17 in "The Message" version jumped out at me...
"People sitting out their lives in the dark saw a huge light;
Sitting in that dark, dark country of death,
they watched the sun come up."

It's late and I'm way too tired right now to adequately describe just how much that is my story. When I was young I lived in the middle of horrible darkness. Even then I knew that there had to be a better life for me. Hopefully one of these days I'll find the words to explain. But I was reminded again how thankful I am to be alive and to know the mercy of God... even in the midst of breaking, dripping things. I know I'll get through the other stuff. I'm thankful I have some help along the way.

Backhanded Thankfulness...

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Backhanded Thankfulness...
Current mood: grateful

It's been too long between blogging...
Thanks for stopping by to read this.

Most people who know me well know that I'm a grousey realist at best, and sometimes downright cynical when it comes to my trust of the human animal. But no matter how many times I've gotten the snot knocked out of me over the years from an unexpected source, there's still that part of me that remains very hopeful when it comes to humans banding together to do good. My husband normally finds that aggravating. Even thought it is certainly formulaic, and shamelessly panders to people's emotions, there's something about the Sunday night show "Extreme Home Makeover" that I enjoy. Of course the show makes my husband want to vomit, and I do use the DVR to record it so I can fast forward through the precious annoying bits. Ken always retreats to the man cave when the show comes on. Even with all the contrived preciousness, there's something about it that resonates in a really deep place for me... almost in spite of the show. Tonight I figured out in a deeper way what it is.

At the core of my being I do believe that we are on this planet to make a difference in other people's lives. That we are called to be connected and to dare to care for each other. Sometimes that caring means to wade into the pain and the suffering of others and to share it and find a way to make it a little better somehow. Recently some of my friends did a home makeover themselves on a smaller scale for a family who needed a little extra help. Not only was the family blown away and touched... but so were their neighbors and friends. The people who helped make it possible were incredibly touched and energized by it all. My friend said they felt so alive while they were working on the project and doing exactly what they needed to be doing. I believe she was right.
There was a family here locally who received one of the extreme makeovers. When it came time for the show to get volunteers to help, they got a good majority of them from their church. This deserving father with a bizillion kids who's wife had died ended up with a new beginning for his family. We can come together in big ways and small ways to bring hope and healing to each other. We can choose to show up for our lives and really live them in community.

Maybe I'm more sensitive to how important that is because it's so hard for me to get out of my house at a normal time to see anyone. Somehow though, a heck of a lot of living happens here. A lot of connecting and a lot of mutual support. I have dear friends who stagger out to the few places that are open late and meet me for dinner and great discussion from 9:30 to 11:00 pm on week nights when sane people would be sleeping. But I'm aware that love motivates them to do that... to loose a little sleep and to be family for me... in the same way the Extreme Makeover volunteers are probably pooped at the end of their week, but there lives are fuller for the experience.

Traditionally this time of year is hard for me. I have to fight back the inner demons of depression and a lifetime of painful memories... but each year I'm reminded in a million different ways of how much I am loved... and that family isn't just people with shared genetics... family in the truest sense is really those people who you share your lives and your experiences with. It grows with each of those encounters and shared experiences... and the history we share together as it unfolds.
I'm thankful for how rich my life is and for the people who make my life richer and who help hold me up when I'm weak. I've had some amazing conversations with longtime friends lately and I realized how thankful I am for them and to see them living through their own struggles and tragedies, and through it all growing stronger and becoming even more amazing people.

On a different note, the other day I had to go pay my property taxes... and as I was standing there, forking over 1500 bucks for six months, I was suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude to have the money to pay it and to have a home to live and work in.

There's so much else I could write about tonight but it is almost 2 in the morning and I have a full day tomorrow. I know I've said it before, but I can never say it enough. Thank you all for being a part of my life. Don't forget in the midst of all the holiday busyness that your life makes a difference to the people in your world. You guys do ROCK!


Your definition of family certainly resonates with me. Thanks for being a part of my own family... my life is the richer for it!

I've meant to say it since Thai.. but, thanks for being my sister where otherwise I have none :-)
And P.S. You Rock!

You rock with penguins and I don't see how anyone can top that. Interesting I just had a talk with my sponsor telling her I was grateful to have enough money to pay the locksmith and the heating guy today (the house was broken into the other night...will explain later).The more we try to do good for others the more we grow. At least that's what I'm told.

I can almost remember the moment I met you. Everyone in that place became instant family. Brian,Gin,Patty,Janet and so on. And to this day with everyone all over the place you, they, are still, family. Sending the thanks right back to you. Love you. J.

Ahhh, you do so have a way of speaking my mind...:-) Thank you, my dear Voice of Reason!

You rock more. I'm on your side--I so want to believe that people at their very core are awesome and just let life put up too big of a wall (and sometimes pretty damn ugly one, at that). I've missed you. I hope your holidays were well.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Grousing, Part Two...

November, 13,2007
Grousing Part Two...
Religion... Current mood: Determined

As an addition...

Don't get me wrong with the stuff about the pastors and people in authority in the church. I do believe in mercy and redemption. I do believe that God can forgive them, and they might be able to change... Just like I'm sure that if I murdered someone, and asked Him to God would forgive me too. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't spend the rest of my life in prison for what I did.

Trust has to be earned. When trust has been violated, it takes a lot longer for it to be earned again the next time. I think it was Spurgeon who said that a man shouldn't be allowed back into a pulpit until their repentance was as notorious as their sin. And even then, I think if I guy (or a woman) has a severe enough problem with inappropriate sexual involvement where they are having to step down, perhaps they should decide to no longer do ministry with people of the opposite sex. If a worship leader gets involved with women who are not his wife, then let him ONLY do worship with men for men in the future... and even then not until he's proved without a shadow of a doubt that he's ready with a system of accountability in place.


i think my head just exploded with your last two blogs!!!!i love it. i have to process it and then i'll post more. keep grousing. grousing is good!! :)


My only caveat is that trust and respect are given unconditionally to kids until they unearn it.Adults are a different matter (and I'm sad to think this, but I do). Adults have to earn it. Don't get me started about those in power (whether it's a minister, teacher, parent) who misuse it or violate it. Abe Lincoln had the best words for the issue: "Any man can handle adversity. If you truly want to test a man's character, give him power."

Good Naured Grousing Part 1

Monday, November 12, 2007
Good Natured Grousing... Current mood: Grousy Category: Grousy
From my myspace blog.

Monday, November 12, 2007 (11:01pm) Veterans' Day
Good Natured Grousing...
It's been almost a month since I blogged last. It's certainly not for lack of material. Since the last time I blogged, half the state of California has been on fire and I've seen up close the impact it's had on all of us in one way or another. Several more dear friends have lost their parents, or have recently found out they are very ill. I've lost some students due to the state of the economy out here and people's lives being impacted by the high cost of gas and housing etc. I've also had to spend a huge amount of time and energy reorganizing my work schedule thanks to all the lovely kid's sports programs which I will grouse about later. In the mean time I have some great new students to go with the great bunch I already have. Once again I've learned a lot about life, and faith and not being afraid of creativity from the younger ones. I've learned to keep pursuing my own creative dreams from my older ones. I've written songs and poetry. I've experienced my own share of grief, and relief and have several epiphanal moments along the way. I guess you could say it's been a time of toooooo much stimulus overload and too much stuff to process. And since I haven't had a chance to process it all yet I thought I would just whine about a few things and just dump what's rolling around in my head at the moment and hope I'll be able to sleep when I'm done. I'll leave the quest for deep insight for a time when it's not 11:00 pm and I'm not exhausted. Hopefully soon I'll be able to develop some of these thoughts more. For now just some quick random thoughts...

The modern religious system in America...
I've seen way too many guys that I have known personally who were either pastors or worship leaders have to step down from their positions because of sexual impropriety of various sorts and degrees, end up back in pulpits, or given new churches in a few years or even months later. When I've questioned the wisdom of letting men who have MULTIPLE times proven themselves to be prone to falling that way, have access to people's lives in those positions, I've heard all sorts of justifications for it.. "but they are so gifted!" "God's gifts and callings are without repentance." "They are such a great teacher" etc... etc... blah blah blah. My response to that is when does "talent" and "gifting" and "annointing" trump character???? Frankly I think God's a lot more concerned about my character and how I treat the people that He loves and cares for more than the fact that I can play guitar and lead worship. What has happened to cause us to so casually condone that? What makes that any different than a Catholic Bishop moving a priest who's molested children to a new parish when people find out... so that other innocent kids can suffer the same fate. What kind of message are we sending to our children and to the world, when we don't even require any moral integrity from our leaders? Do we really want them to be the people our kids look up to as models for living their lives? Frankly I find it apalling. Anyone else care to comment on it?

The modern educational system and after school sports system...
Once again... I'm appalled. I teach privately and I see kids of all ages and from a bunch of different schools. The common denominator most of them have is that they are stressed out, exhausted, and are growing to dislike their school experience. Thanks in part to the "No Kids Left Behind" legislation, teachers are constantly playing beat the clock to just get through material. They assign way too much busywork homework, and most of the kids tell me they are up late desperately trying to just get it done. Added to that is the whole after school sports program. It used to be that kids on teams would have one or two practices during the week and a game. Now a lot of my students have practice 5 days a week mandatory for two hours plus one or two games a week. You mix that with way too much homework and suddenly you have a kid who has no life, who's grades suffer and who's family don't even see him except for schleping them to around. I thought my generation was the most neurotic, crazed generation ever but no... we are raising a new generation who is even more that way. I can't believe we as a generation don't intervene on our kids behalf and say like that guy in the movie Network "we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more!!!!" You can be sure if 90% of the parents promised to yank their kids and their money from the programs unless something changed and the craziness ended, things would change in no time. Same thing with the schools. It's going to take parents making a tremendous stink for anything to change. It makes me sad to see kids who have loved learning and who are bright with a bunch of promise tell me again and again that they hate school now.

Ok, it's much later now and it's time for me to get some sleep. I would love to hear your thoughts on such things... more to come.



oooooooh you really want my comment?I'm not perfect. I will be the first to admit that. I see myself as a David more and more each day. My heart is after God, but my flesh has issues. But I'm also greatful for the Nathan's in my life as well. Linda B. you are a great Nathan in my life. But thank you for not speaking in parables and telling me straight up that my sh!$ smells!!! So I guess the question is where are the Nathan's for those in positions?I feel as if we are putting on the wolves clothing ourselves or that we are clothing others to be wolves...anyway....I have so much more I could say, but my brain is scrambled and can't put it into sentences. Thanks for writing this Linda.....You Rock!!


agree Stacy... part of the reason it's a problem is that there is not the support network for leaders most of the time where they can really get help with stuff when they are first starting to struggle with things. By and large, the church could learn a lot from AA by creating a safe environment for people to say... I'm really struggling... and for there to be people who love and support them to make sure they get the help they need. I've spent a good deal of my ministry life helping people in ministry put their lives back together after they have been torn apart, either at other people's hands or by their own doing. That's one of the reasons I'm pretty willing to wade into people's lives sometimes with both feet and to really look at the tough issues and work through them with them. On the other hand though too, there are some guys who I think are more predatory who have no intention of getting help, or wanting to change. They abuse their power and their position of trust, and won't take responsibility for their actions or own their own crap. I personally know several people who had people who loved them including friends family, their church staff and the elders of their church trying to get through to them and they still chose to go their own way. Those are the kinds of people I'm talking about in my blog.I'm willing to go to hell and back for people who are willing to deal with the broken places in their lives. One of the things I also try to model is a willingness to take responsibility for my own actions, my own sins, and my own stupidity. I also try to be willing to live out my life in front of people in as honest a way as possible, so that they can see the broken places in my life, but also have a chance to watch the healing and the transformation that will continue until I die. When we let each other close enough to be family and to be able to be there for each other... both to encourage and to nail each other's butts to the wall if needs be... Then there will be good coming out of the brokenness and pain.


i think it's about time people started standing up for the kids these days. i have friends who have kids who are around 9 and 10 years old and they freak me out when they tell me how much homework they have. they're constantly complaining about how much stuff they have to do, some of the kids have trouble finishing it all. my friends are freaked out too, but they feel like there isn't anything they can do. what can a parent do to help this situation?


Hi Victor... thanks for stopping by! I'm not sure what the answer is. I think part of it is going to take parents being proactive, and I'm not sure it's going to happen. I think I would organize a letter writing campaign first to the school board and to our elected officials. Part of it too probably comes down to the parents making some tough choices. In the case of all that homework and the coach who won't back down on 5 2 hour practices a week, I think I would just have to talk to him and explain that my child still needed to have a life and that his schooling was more important than their particular sport. I do believe that if parents started pulling their kids out and not funding the activities, that the leagues would probably reevaluate. One of my students said something really interesting last week... he was currently dying from the home work at school and playing not one but two time consuming sports a week. He said... "I wish my dad would just let me play my one sport and then go to the park with me and play ball with me instead of playing baseball." What a novel thing. Out of the mouth of babes.


Wow... where to even begin with such a complex issue?! Candidly, I struggle with much of American evangelical Christianity. We hold our leaders to a higher standard, yet make it unsafe for them to seek help for issues they struggle with. If they recognize the warning signs and ask for help, their church boards look at them as a liability and find a reason to fire them. Even worse, there are few counselors who make it safe for a pastor to speak honestly about their personal lives. I know from firsthand experience that many "clergy treatment centers" claiming to offer "confidentiality," often share information with church boardmembers and fellow clergy under the guise of "accountability," often without the consent of the pastor/patient.As a result, pastors typically suffer in silence, trying to keep their churches, families, and communities together -- while they fall apart. When the private failures become public, pastors end up losing their churches, careers -- and often families -- anyway. Damned if they get help, damned if they don't. I've seen it happen over and over in the lives of far too many now-former pastors.I'm not sure what the answer is between accountability and authenticity. We absolutely need leaders that demonstrate ethical, moral lives. At the same time, we have to recognize that our pastors are people which means they are not perfect. Like us, they need safe places and people to be honest with about their own fears and foibles. In my humble opinion, however, until we stop treating our pastors as spiritual superstars we will continue to put them on pedestals only to relish knocking them off when they fail to live up to our expectations.As for education... I am going to leave that for another day since I've already pontificated enough about your first grousing!


You touched on a lot of what I was planning my next blog to be about. Like I mentioned above to Stacy, I do think a big part of the problem is the who dynamic of how we do church and what we expect. I agree that pastors are in between a rock and a hard place a lot of times. It would seem to me, after working at churches with all sorts of stuff going on that was unhealthy, that there is a fundamental breakdown of how to really deal with our broken lives bumping into each other. One of the local churches here has a very low tolerance level for pastors participating in illicit activities. They know going in that there is a zero tolerance policy. But they are also one of the most compassionate churches around when the pastors do fall or struggle... they make sure they get counseling help, they also have a transitional program to help them transition into another job, helping to provide for them while the process is going on. They also provide that for pastors who are fried and feel like they need a change. Rather than leaving them hanging and feeling like they have no other options but to keep things hidden, and keep pastoring, they help them walk through the stuff. They are also great about reaching out to other hurting pastors and their wives. In a perfect world, denominations or loose church groups would have pastors to pastor the pastors. If one of the pastors was exhausted spiritually, or struggling... they would take care of them financially while the pastor and his spouse could get the rest and help they need. They would provide someone to assist at the church if need be, and make sure the pastor and his wife got the counseling and any other help they needed to really deal with the issues facing them. Unfortunately, as Tonio K sang... "this ain't no perfect world."I agree that we need to have a realistic view of pastor's and their families as human just like the rest of us and in need of love and family and care just like the rest of us. That's the way I always try to approach my friends who are involved with ministry. I want them to feel safe and like they can just be themselves with me. I think most of them would tell you they do... (even if I am a bad influence on them.) With my current pastor, I expect him to be human, to do stupid stuff, to have truly inspired moments sometimes, and to not be sleeping with someone who's not his wife. (which thankfully he's not doing and he loves his wife like crazy.) He's young and still in the middle of his own pastoral learning curve, but he's moving forward and he's not afraid to let people see him in process... and I love him for that.Having said that, I'm torn a lot of times between loving my friends in ministry and caring for the very real people in the church who are impacted by the pastor's careless activity. I've seen first hand the devastation that kind of turmoil causes in the lives of the people in the church. I have scores of friends who won't go to church any more because of being in a church that was torn apart by scandal. I have seen several pastor's who saw the damage they were doing to their churches and their families, stepped down and found a job doing other things. Some of them never went back but discovered that a whole new world of ministry opened up to them while they were going about their business, living their lives like the rest of us. Some of them eventually really worked through their issues and ended up back in the ministry. And then I've worked with pastors and had pastors who refused to take any responsibility for anything and went on with the behavior. Those guys I have no patience for.