Podcast Fridays: This Song

There are few good radio stations left. I love music but rock station DJ's are the worst. Brooke laughs at me as I start yelling at the radio when a DJ spouts wrong information about an artist or talks over the best part of a song.  With few exceptions, stations no longer hire fans. Just people that love the sound of their own voice. One exception is KUTX in Austin. On a recent trip to Texas I discovered this station and wished I could take it with me everywhere. Smart DJ's and the widest variety of music I've heard on FM radio in ages. Thankfully, they've got a few podcasts! My favorite so far is This Song. Similar to KCRW's Guest DJ Project (which I talked about here), on This Song an artist talks about a particular song that moves them. It's awesome. Check it out.

Weekend Listening: Secret Space - New Heights

This is off of their EP released last year. Secret Spaces also had a great split EP come out in March on Memory Music, on which the track "The Window Run" is amazing.


Fans ensure the doors stay open



If you know me, you know I'm a music fan. Every time I'm on a trip to a new city, I try to visit a record store. Having done this for years, I have favorite record stores across the country. Lou's in San Diego. Grimey's in Nashville. El Suprimo in Baltimore. Waterloo in Austin. Amoeba in San Francisco. Everybody's in Cincinnati. Whenever I find myself back in these cities, I make time to stop in and support their business.

I've visited other record stores in many of the towns listed above. And I've visited shops in other towns–Phoenix, Seattle, LA, DC, New York ... the list goes on for awhile. But I wouldn't list others as my favorites and I likely won't go back to the others. The reason why I always visit those listed above when I'm in that city is because fans run these shops. Nothing is worse than visiting a record store run by snobs like the one played by Jack Black in that scene from High Fidelity. It's a hilarious scene to watch but never fun to experience. Record stores run by snobs don't survive. Record stores run by fans can survive.

None of the shops I love are the same. Some are small. Some are huge. Some only sell vinyl. Others sell used and new CD's, cassettes, t-shirts and more. What they all have in common is that they employ people that love music and want to share that love. Their favorite artist may be Pig Destroyer and yours may be Tom Jones. It doesn't matter. They are glad that you are there. They are happy to share their passion. They want to help you find more music to enjoy. Fans create fans. Fans ensure the doors stay open.

In the church world, we call fans "evangelists." You need them. Don't let record store snobs greet people. Don't put them on the hospitality committee. Put your record store fans (aka "evangelists") on the front lines. Knowledge base is not a requirement. Fans are always learning, always growing.

As a side note, there's a difference between snobs and purists. Snobs are usually purists. But not all purists are snobs. Purists can be fans. They are the fans that are excited to elevate the tastes of those that love Led Zeppelin but encourage you to dig deeper to appreciate the genius of the Jeff Beck Group.

Okay, now I'll stop before the metaphor breaks down completely!

There's nothing special about Christians ... Or is there?

My friend, Scott wrote an extensive response to my post, "There's nothing special about Christians." It's a great read:
"I agree with Jason that it is important to remember that we Christians have much to learn from others. But I hope we also remember that at times, we may really have a unique and necessary truth to proclaim."
Read the rest.

Break the rules

This morning, I met a really nice young man while getting coffee. He asked me about my work. I told him. He had only been to DC once. He’s a vet. He was there to receive medical care. Along his left leg, near the back of his knee was a massive scar. It looks like he nearly lost his leg in battle. He has clearly experienced some trauma. He has no ID. Last night, he slept behind the IHOP down the street.

I’ve walked beside too many people like him. The system will not help him. A disability(s), no ID and a criminal record (trespassing, assaulting an officer, public drunkenness). He will not get a job, housing, medical care. He won’t. Without ID, lacking the emotional and mental fortitude to endure the mind numbing forms, lines and interviews … it’s virtually impossible for a person with a roof over their head and a college education to overcome the hurdles required simply to get a menial job, subpar medical care or temporary housing.

Unless he hits a low that is worse than the horror he has already experienced on the other side of the world, he won’t get help. Of course, there is a system in place to help people in his position. But the system relies on a particular process. If you do not fit into the process you will not get help. That is, unless someone believes that delivering on charity, justice is more important than the process that exists to ensure that charity, justice is distributed fairly. Unless someone breaks the rules.

This applies to a lot of things. Not just ending homelessness–which my daughter and many others are on a mission to do. The housing first model broke the rules. That wasn’t how the process was supposed to work. But the process wasn’t working. Now, slowly but surely, housing first is becoming the system. But they had to break the rules first.

There are those that believe the process is more important than the end result. And there are those that believe the end result is more important than the process. Processes are important. But let’s be clear: they don’t change lives. Sometimes you have to step outside the process, in order to do that. Find the spot in your system where change is most tolerated. Start there. Asking for forgiveness is often easier than asking for permission. That’s how systems change.

Break the rules.

There's nothing special about Christians

There's nothing special about Christians. We're human beings just like everybody else. Shocker, I know. We learn the same way. Breath the same air. We sleep, eat and defecate the same as everyone else. Our struggles are the same. The same movies make us cry. So why is it that Christians too often find it so difficult to learn from others?

We can't learn from artists, activists, musicians, scientists, composers, journalists, marketers, politicians, athletes or business leaders, because, well, we're the Church. That's special. It's different here.

Not so much.

Our inability to look outside of our own experience and learn from others ensures that we keep making the same mistakes generation after generation.

The irony of this problem is that this problem is a shared problem; a human problem.

We all do this. We think our group, our tribe is special: We don't make the same mistakes as the others because our people are better. Why not? Because Church. Because America. Because we're us.

Wrong.

Another way we do this is generational: We won't make the same mistakes as people with curiously similar experiences in the past. Why not? Because Internet. Because space travel. Because we're us.

Wrong.

Think of Abraham's journey–all the different people and cultures without which we would not have the story we do. Was not God at work through them shaping the Hebrews? Think about Jesus and the woman at the well, Peter and the Roman centurion, Paul at Mars Hill.

Be humble enough to learn from as many sources as you can. From the past, from what's around you–near and far. Be that leader that can see God working through all aspects of the created world. Become that person that can see the threads connecting one experience, one group, one lesson from one arena to the next.

Hybridity always wins.

Weekend Listening: Deep Creep - Black Baloon

I can't believe I'm just finding out about Deep Creep, which features members of Pretty Girls Make Graves and the Murder City Devils. Fantastic!

My Latest Newsletter Went Out

Every month, I send out a personal newsletter via email. It's where I share the stuff I am working on. The latest on what I'm doing at work. The music I'm listening to. Books I'm reading. All in one place. In your inbox.

My monthly newsletter just went out again. You missed it this month. But you can subscribe here and get it next month. I hope you do!

Weekend Listening: Alice Cooper - School's Out (summer break edition)

Last day of school for my kids was this week. We're now on vacation! This one's for them: