Posted by: Rhett | November 22, 2011

Thoughts after “The Help”

I just returned from seeing “The Help” a film by Tate Taylor. It’s essentially about a young writer in the South in the 1960’s writing a book about the African-American maids point of view towards the white families in which they work, and the hardships they endure. I was moved on several levels. Here are a few scattered thoughts.

– Viola Davis (plays the lead maid character Aibileen) is a fantastic actress and I would be shocked if she does not get the attention of the Academy this Oscar season.

– One moment I was laughing and the next tears welled up in my eyes. Some of the characters are very over the top and there is tasteful humor through out. However, in the midst of this I found certain moments profound in what they said about our humanity, the need for story-telling, courage and speaking truth.

– In telling the stories of these women and the injustices surrounding, it reminded me of the need to take time to listen to peoples stories and our own. We need to remember where we came from, personally and communally.

– Stories awaken truth. They turn us on to the realities that we distract ourselves from. Most of us don’t want to deal with the pain or struggle that occurs on major and minor scales in our or others lives. But we were designed to endure together, stand up for one another, hold each other accountable, fight along side one another and risk it all, together. That shows more love then any of the amusements that bring us together.

– Words are powerful. The words spoken to a young child. Words of kindness, beauty and meaning. They shape profoundly how a person grows up to view themselves and the world around them. Truth takes no shape, color or size. You know truth when you hear it it, because it somehow mysteriously takes the pressure off our shoulders to be someone we’re not.

– There was a line that the authors mother said “courage must have skipped a generation.” That strikes a deep chord in me as I look at my father and see qualities I have received from him, that I hope I can flesh out and really be a good steward with. Rather than cash in the chips early, I strive to live a story I’ll be proud to tell my grandkids.

– This film sparked some thoughts about the stories that will be told about my life. The things I stand for. The people I stand for. If will I be known for what I am for more than against? Will my life serve to help others step closer into embracing a True love and a True identity? This film was more than about race or skin color, but the powerful influence another can have on a life. Through words, actions, and time.

Posted by: Rhett | October 26, 2011

A Few Scattered Thoughts

– Young folks are often asking the underlying question “who am I?” “where is my worth?” “Am I known?” Perhaps our faith communities are failing our young people when we teach them that what they do defines who they are. What happens when they don’t do it anymore? Or they have other interests? It’s easier to teach someone what & how to do something. It’s difficult to teach them to think & listen to their own heart and set them up to navigate (rather than avoid) the light & dark times, and what questions to ask in the midst. As leaders, if we’re not introspective, processing our own motives, decisions, and desires we’ll never be able to offer this service to another.

– How can I encourage you to do something beneficial for yourself, if I can’t use myself as an example of what works for me?

– Sometimes I’ve been told that I disclose too much to people. That’s fair. But if my beautiful & ugly parts that I’ve sorted through and come to peace with help another do the same… I’ll take that chance. Let alone, help someone know they aren’t alone, then it’s a disservice to withhold the story.

–  I used to be impressed by pastors who were really cool, articulate or gifted in ways I admired. Then you start to realize they’re normal people too, who think they’re entitled to share their opinion like me. And the romance dies. Since we’re just all scattered sheep in a pen, trying to discern the narrow path out we should just work together.

– I think learning to make decisions for yourself is one of the biggest areas of growth for those in their 20’s. Older people made it look easy, at least when they don’t tell us about the rocky times. There need to be more voices of truth that empower young people to stop trying so hard and relax. Your big dreams start with little steps of faithfulness today… so cut yourself a break. A lot of parents aren’t that helpful in this category.


Posted by: Rhett | April 3, 2011

Reflections on Singing & Songwriting

Since my teenage years and into my young adult life I have looked at myself as a friend of musicians and creative types. This typically was something I was ok with. I liked most of what my friends created and I felt a sense of confidence being a friend who tries to overwhelm them with support.

At the same time, the reality was I didn’t really feel confident that I really had anything to create myself. More so just being a supporter and glad when I got to hang out with people that had and did what I wished I was capable.

Fast forward to this past Friday night. I had the true honor of being the first act to play at this new local venue in downtown Canton called The Auricle. Not only was it this places first night, but it was my first time ever playing a real gig apart from open mic’s.

In the weeks leading up to this opportunity I said several times how weird this felt to me. I was actually preparing for something that only a couple years ago I admired others for doing. I’ve been uncertain whether actually doing something like this would embarrass me or others who give me the opportunity. But I’ve been blessed to have many instill confidence in me.

Sometimes I guess you have to trust what others see, rather than believing how you see yourself.

About two years ago I bought a cheap guitar. Uncertain whether I would stick to it, it ended up serving as quite the therapy for me, while I navigated through some real odd waters, trying to figure out who I was and where I was going. At the same time feeling a deep amount of emotion built up inside, but unsure how to express it in a healthy manner.

There were points where I could just strum the only two chords I knew and the emotion in the strumming seemed to be the only true expression that brought restfulness.

Then I moved to Canton. Once I started working with some great students I began feeling even more comfortable trying to get better at guitar. As I figured out how to move my fingers a little easier along the fret board, I felt like I needed to put some words down. That was the next logical step. I felt that there were songs inside, but I hadn’t an outlet to express.

So, about a year ago I started writing some words down and trying to sing them. I wrote from a place I knew. Experiences, people, or themes that are familiar to me. I know little about the structure of music or even what key I’m changing into when I put a capo on, but I know what I feel when I express the words.

It’s an odd thing to be flirty with thirty (27) and only now be picking this up. The musician folks slapping me five’s and giving me encouragement are 5-10 years younger than me. I feel old.

I can say that whenever I observed someone expressing something they created, it was always inspiring. It moved me somewhere to try to be more in tune with the things on my heart.

I’ve believed without articulating it much, that somehow when we wake up more to the rhythms of our heart we’re not finding a self-created pattern, but one that’s been there since our conception. And to neglect that rhythm is to put to death a part of ourselves that was ment to be active and free.

Maybe it’s not music. Maybe it’s photography, writing, using ideas to create redemptive change in your community, maybe it’s the art of speaking the language of children, maybe it’s a gift on stage to depict a story that brings people hope, maybe it’s using your speech to express words of life, beauty, and truth of the Creator that works to make all things new.

If I’m honest with myself and if we are honest with ourselves, I don’t think we want to be misunderstood. I suppose the songs I have are a personal experience, and if you hear them you get a piece of that experience too. Because when I play them I want to feel what I felt when I first played it alone in my apartment.

Much of the songs I’ve written I don’t look at has being very creative or fancy. They’re more less just me, having an outlet that makes me feel more normal, more alive, more human, and more beloved.

I hope my songs sound honest and true. I hope that if something happens to resonate with some folks that it gives them courage to find their own source of expression that makes them feel more at peace with themselves and the rhythms in their heart. And I hope if you hear one of my songs you know that you’re creative, loved and have what it takes to make something beautiful.

Really, if I can do this. So can you.

Just try it.

Posted by: Rhett | February 21, 2011

The 26th… A Distinct Moment in History

About 90 minutes ago my birthday ended and I just looked up the word “age.” The second definition I read says “a distinct period of history.” Some might refer to the Enlightenment, the 60’s or the Crusades. I guess the past 365 days could be called The 26th… as in year. Since I just began my 27th year of life.

No big deal, I’m 27 and I’m getting flirty with thirty, as I like to say. (Usually when I say that, someone asks how old I am. Upon finding out my actual age, they roll their eyes at me… but do smile. So, victory is mine with that joke. Not without being told that I’m still not that old.)

When I was a teenager I decided for some reason that life was only going to get better the older I got. I wanted to fast forward through my 20’s and land as a seasoned adult who was wise, responsible and making memories with his family. Of course, this was before I started to realize how much fun life could be. At the time of making that decision my body was awkward, my acne was booming, I tugged on my XXL t-shirts constantly and I had no distinct jaw line since I couldn’t grow whiskers yet.

I’ve since adjusted my idea and have settled on the fact that each year can only get better. Now I certainly have lived through a few different years that were more full of regret, shame and lacked grace & peace. However, those were necessary chapters that have since concluded… but still have a distinction in the greater narrative.

I suppose the question is “was The 26th a distinct period?” Of course it was… I’m a little wiser, a little smarter and nobody got hurt this time around (at least I hope not). Perhaps The 26th was distinct for taking a 5 week road trip by myself. Or playing some original songs live for the first time. Or becoming a regular at a coffee shop. And maybe even for some areas of intentionality as I try to flesh out into the man I trust that I’m becoming.

This idea of distinction is tough though. If you’re reading this, you may have read other stories or listened to people’s tall tails or seen people’s Facebook pictures that make you think “wow, what an extraordinary life.” Then that little feeling creeps in that says “your life is less than extraordinary.” Leading to ideas that becoming older is dreadful. It’s all downhill. You’ve missed your best opportunity. Your body is sagging, hair changing color and you’re running out of money to do the things you would like.

Worse yet, you feel like you haven’t made the community around you a better place.

By no means do I think my life is extraordinary. I doubt myself and lack faith often to do as much as I envision doing. And what I envision are actual things I could do. I just don’t and need to resist comfortability.

However, The 26th was distinct. Sure there are a few new experience in the mix… but I’m a bit more seasoned. I engaged new people around me. I asked questions. I had my eyes open to redemption all around me. And most importantly I feel more of myself has been deposited in the communities around me for the better.

Maybe the distinction of another year of life starts in our mind. Maybe it’s deciding that we are going to look for it. Then offer something more of ourselves, rather than take it for ourselves.

Rather than dwelling on what’s been, perhaps we need to accept what IS and trust that beauty can come of it. It may be difficult. It may be more stressful than you like at times. But it may just be worth it. Since it’s forward… not backward.

I’ve sat in some pretty dark moments. I’ve tasted the bitterness of defeat that cripples you to the core. But I’m still standing and I know many others that are too. Each new year of age brings a new beginning. Maybe I won’t do everything I want. But I’m taking shape. I’m a little more at peace with my tension and the tension around me.

So, may we see our own age increase in yearly increments less as a dreadful sign of what we haven’t gained or achieved but as a refining process of how much more we can give.

Then we will see our birthday celebrations as distinct periods of history, with a few gray hairs along the way.

Posted by: Rhett | January 1, 2011

Fine 9 Moments of 2010

I was reflecting on the year that we just left and it was quite the year, end to end. As my mind wandered I started thinking about the various great moments I found myself in at different points in the year and thought I would try and narrow them down to a Fine 9.

I’ll do my best to describe how these moments were special to me. The list is in no particular order, they differ in significance. So it’s simply a collection of 9 wonderful moments.

9. Weddings
In 2010 I had the blessing to be a part of 3 wedding parties. I brought in 2010 with my buddy Nate, concluded the summer in Tim’s and had my first DJ gig at Chris’s. Since I started being involved in friend’s wedding in college I always feel humbled & honored to be invited to be involved. It’s a pretty awesome moment to see 2 guys like Nate & Tim who have been pals since they were in 8th grade and I 11th take that step of commitment with the woman they love. It’s a testament of friendship over the years. And Chris tells of how friendship & bond can grow quickly & naturally. What a gift it was to help create a fun & joyful reception for all attenders. It’s a thrill to have a front row seat to his life on the day to day.

8. Nike Air Band
When I started at Malone I learned quickly of this grand on-campus program in March that was an incredibly big deal. And I happened to be the RD in charge. I was excited and nervous, since I wanted it to be as great as could be. It was incredibly rewarding to sit with my Mom and watch the final product. From the various acts, videos and hosts. What a great night it was. Not to mention my RA’s routine actually won the contest. Extra bonus.

7. Point Lobos Nature Reserve
Going on a road trip was a series of Fine moments. However, the afternoon I spent at this reserve, just south of Monterey, CA was a point of relief. As I sat on a rock, looking out over the Pacific Ocean, it was a breath of accomplishment. “I made it to the Pacific.” I could drive no further west. The trip wasn’t even half over, but it had deep meaning as I overlooked the ocean and soaked in the sunshine. It was a great moment of revelation for me. Read more about that here.

6. DeVol Lobby Show
When I learned that I was going to be switching buildings for the 2010-2011 school year I began to brainstorm about some cool stuff that could happen to establish a new identity in the dorm. I bounced the idea around about creating some sort of stripped down live music venue in the main lobby of the building. The idea was well received and I was able to present the first DeVol Lobby Show on September 10, 2010. Not only does it create an opportunity for Malone community members to play some music, but also for attenders to enjoy & be inspired by the artistic creativity of others. I’m not exaggerating when I say I stand in the back, with a grin on my face, delighting that I get to do fun stuff like this as part of my job. Here’s an example of the first ever performer. John King.

5. Be:Justice 5K
I decided within the last year that I wanted to run a 5K at some point in my life. But since I said it out loud, I felt I needed to really follow through. So, I did it. It wasn’t fun. Until it was over, but I was victorious to overcome the ways my mind tried to trick me into not doing it. I didn’t run a great time, that wasn’t the point. The point was to do something I had never done before and believe that I can, indeed, run for that long. Maybe I’ll do it again… sometime.

4. July 4th, 2010
I originally planned my road trip around the chance to go out to Los Angeles and spend time with one of my best friends, since pre-school. We spent that 4th of July on the roof of his apartment in Hollywood. From there we watched half a dozen firework shows that were going on all around the sprawl of Los Angeles. It was a special moment to finally be with my friend, after 3 years. And it was only the beginning of a profound couple weeks. More about that here.

3. First Open Mic
I bought a cheap $100 start-up kit guitar a couple years ago. At the time I was uncertain about whether I would stick with it. Long story short… I have. At the beginning of 2010 I found some special inspiration to practice more routinely. I decided I wanted to be able to write some songs and express myself, in a way I never had before. I started scratching some words to paper in May, and that was a good feeling. However, I was out in Indiana one weekend in November for a friends wedding and another friend spontaneously asked me if I wanted to play some of my songs at a restaurant bar, where she & her husband were playing some music. I was incredibly unprepared. I hadn’t any of my songs and couldn’t hardly remember the words. But, I got through it. What a step of accomplishment that was.

2. Meeting Cole William Edwards
I love being an uncle. A few days after Christmas I got to meet my 4th nephew. It’s a special moment to see the joy on his father’s (my brother’s) face. Holding a person when they are 2 days old is a pretty special experience. I hope he remembers it. And if you stare deeply into his eyes… he’ll see to your soul. 

1. 6,900 Miles to my Mom’s Driveway
Probably the longest route to my Mom’s I’ll ever do. That moment I pulled into my Mom’s driveway in July, I concluded my 6,900 mile road trip that took me out to Los Angeles and back. Over those 5 weeks I experienced a variety of moments that I will forever remember. I felt & saw God move in new and special ways. I tasted some culture that was unfamiliar. I experienced a depth & meaning in relationships with others that refreshed my soul. And saw some beautiful landscapes. I took that moment to let it sink in that I drove around the country, by myself for 5 weeks, it made me feel pretty good about myself if I’m honest. It was sobering and empowering to really see something through that I set my mind to. I’d recommend it.

Posted by: Rhett | December 27, 2010

Fine 9 Albums of 2010

I was browsing through my iTunes and I realized that 2010 has been one heck of a year for music. (In my humble opinion of course). I may have bought more albums in the last 12 months than I have any other year. It certainly helps when you pay $5 or less on Amazon or take advantage of deals on eMusic.

I decided it would be fun to rank my top albums in order. I’ll preface that I claim no authoritative voice. Take it or leave it… but if music was a gal that was out of my league I would simply state “I like you aaa lot.” (Lloyd Christmas– Dumb & Dumber)? Anyone?

I respect that everyone has different reasons for the music they like. Associations are big for me as well. I also know there is a lot of music I’ve left out. Suggestions are always welcomed.

Welp, here we go…

Honorable Mention. (Still totally worth checking out.)
American VI: Ain’t No Grave- Johnny Cash
(Will always love Johnny, so awesome.)
Volume II– She & Him
(Love the Zooey & M. Ward combo. Round 2. Just feels happy listening to them.)
I And Love And You– The Avett Brothers
(Make me want to move south & learn the banjo.)
All Day– Girl Talk
(Never heard a mashups album, this was impressive, thoroughly.)
God Willin & The Creek Don’t Rise– Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs
(Easy listening when you’re making your coffee & thinking about the day ahead.)

9. The Suburbs– Arcade Fire
Before I got this album I kept hearing… “Have you heard the new Arcade Fire?” “The new Arcade Fire… it’s AMMMMMAAAAAZZZZING!!!.” etc. etc. I then became a little hesitant to pull the trigger. Can it be as good as everyone seems to say it is? I get a little skeptical when I start hearing excessive hype about nearly everything. Well, I saw the interactive video for “We Used To Wait.” And I couldn’t get it out of my head… which led to listening to the whole album through. Frankly, I feel it has a timeless sound, all the way through. I have a difficult time finding much that sounds similar to Arcade Fire. I can’t listen to this album again and again… I have to let myself chew on it for a while. Give it some space before swallowing another dose of The Suburbs.

8. So Runs The World Away– Josh Ritter
I was driving back from camping with a couple buddies and I decided to listen to this album start to finish on the drive back. I felt like I was being sung a story… or several really. I was a big fan of The Animal Years and I felt like Ritter dug deeper into his creativity and expanded his musical arrangements to follow it up. It feels a bit bigger and has some surprises along the way. Delightful surprises that is. Like the extra chocolate at the bottom of your mug of hot coco. Mmm… tasty. Drink it up.

7. Sigh No More: Mumford & Sons
A resident in my building last spring suggested I check these guys out, he thought I would like them. And… he was right. I listened to one song off this album and  was hooked. Before I knew it these guys blew up… not only around campus but all over the pop charts. It takes a certain brilliance to write incredibly catchy tunes… for a whole album. There’s something that has to be special about an album that so many people respond to so quickly. Whether they intended to or not, it seems they’ve made their folk genre incredibly trendy. For better or worse is up to you. Regardless… one of the surprise and best albums of the year.

6. Contra– Vampire Weekend
When I first saw these guys perform on Saturday Night Live, I was not that impressed to say the least. I remember looking forward to it, since I had heard good things but at that moment I didn’t quite get it. Maybe it felt too poppy, or maybe I was too much on a Mumford & Sons kick that I didn’t have an ear for anything else. Then I began to look up more of their stuff and like Edward Cullen to Bella, wanted to sink my teeth in. But like Jacob Black I didn’t have to hold my desire back. This album makes me look forward to more of what they have in store for future records. Catchy on several levels, as well as an album I would pop in for a pick-me up along my road trip travels of summer 2010.

5. Broken Bells– Broken Bells
March 2010 came around and the snow started melting. Spring Break was on the horizon as well. Some medical issues involving my father had just surfaced too. I had heard of this band through my following of Derek Webb on Twitter. He was all praise… so I checked them out. James Mercer of The Shins & Danger Mouse?? Should have recorded with Lil’ Wayne because this album is Cash Money. It was the perfect sound as I traveled back and forth to my hometown several times over that Spring Break. The pleasant mix of catchy melodies & beats that you can sing along to. The seasons we’re beginning to smile again as spring was around the corner and listening to this record again & again only broadened the grin.

4. My Beautiful Dark Fantasy– Kanye West
I’d been tracking Kanye for months as he released a single from his  G.O.O.D Fridays album weekly. I appreciated some of the tracks but wasn’t totally sold. Then I watched his 35 minute short film centered around this record. Say whatcha say about who the man is in the spotlight, but the dude knows what he’s doing in the studio. This is not a record for the easily offended, it’s crude, raw and honest. Not pretty. One night I noticed that the album was being released for a discounted price before it’s actual release date, I took the chance. I knew this was one of the best of the year when I started on Track 1 at approximately 1am and had to listen to it all the way through. I don’t remember the last time I sat listening to an album, waiting to hear what would be next. The creative sounds, transitions, and flow of the whole album is spot on. I can’t say there is one track that stands above the rest as as much as it’s a push play on Track 1 and listen to what happens.

3. The Medicine– John Mark McMillan
Now this album originally was released in 2008 independently, however it was picked up by Integrity music and released this year. I can’t say that I have been much of a listener of music from the Christian music industry in recent years. However, my buddy Matt put a few songs on a road trip mix for me and I was terribly engaged. I was pleasantly surprised by the authenticity of the writing. Also, I didn’t feel like I was listening to polished worship songs, ready for a Sunday service. I can listen to this album through and feel that there is language & longing expressed that I don’t always have the right words for. Not to mention the music fits the mood. Reconciliation from repression. Beauty can prevail through darkness.

2. Saint Bartlett– Damien Jurado
Here’s a guy that floats below the radar. I just started getting into his music this year and when I saw he had a new album coming out I jumped in feet first. He’s an artist that has defined the music of my 2010. He doesn’t have the most exceptional voice, nor are his songs so complex that you listen over & over to hear all the nuances. But, he writes and plays from the heart. Listening & watching him play you can feel that he has to do it as much for himself as he does for those that listen. It’s as though he opens himself up to all who choose to listen. Also, as I’ve continued to play and write some songs, it’s great to have someone give permission, of sorts, to keep it simple as long as you throw yourself into what you are creating.

1. High Violet– The National
No album has gotten more plays than this one. Hands down. When 7 of the top 25 most played tracks on my iTunes are from this album, it made it easy to decide on my top album of the year. I hesitated to even give these guys much of a chance at first. I listened to some samples and felt it was a bit snoozy BUT then I really gave it a chance. My favorite songs from the album may vary week to week. One thing I find so captivating about these guys and this album specifically is that I listen to it again & again and pick new and interesting elements I didn’t hear the first 10, 20 or 30 plays. I can listen to this album and feel intellectually stimulated. It’s smart. It’s catchy. It’s easily complex. It’s creative. It’s not much like anything else I’ve heard. It places other albums 2nd, 3rd or 4th of the year.

Posted by: Rhett | October 21, 2010


Whenever I pull into Winona Lake, Indiana I’m overcome with a feeling of nostalgia. For 4 years I called this place home while I was a student in college. I was growing distant from my hometown and planting some temporary roots in this village by the lake.

Whenever I get into town I can’t help but drive by and through campus. Looking around, recalling memories and things life brought my way. It represents so much that is familiar but yet so much that is different. Even when I stand by the water, the fall breeze off the lake reminds me of standing there as a student, trying to figure out my life. With the wind blowing on my face and through my hair I didn’t usually get anywhere with that process, I usually just got cold and walked back to my warm room.

It’s interesting to revisit a place that holds so many memories, tears, and insights about who I was. When I sit on this couch in my home away from campus, the smells and sounds are just like they were when I would sneak away from campus and play video games. Or when we would have Sunday lunches or Friday night game nights. It was a community in this home… and one that still stands, with the unlocked door.

It’s easy to think back and remember the good times, but in doing so I’m neglecting to think about the harsher sides of the story. I find a little tension with this. This village named me, in many respects. Through my involvement at school and with people who were or are still around. It was a name that I’m to be a certain kind of man, friend and Christian. Maybe this was God, maybe it was a system, and maybe it was a lake.

It’s easy to remember who I was, at the cost of forgetting who I am now.

There are elements to that 4 year story that I’m not proud of. Decisions that didn’t always bring the best out of me or others. And things that I learned then, that I disagree with now. But it’s so easy to be owned by our past. Whether positive or negative, smiles or frowns, laughter or tears… it avoids the present. And can weigh you down.

This place represents a lot of vulnerability for me. The guy that was here then is no longer present in this place. I must admit, what feels good is to look around and to know that I got out and came back a different man.

The nostalgia reminds me of the freedom that exists now. It reminds me that I’m not who I thought I was. I’m actually more. And it reminds me that when I thought all there was, was that current experience… there’s much more to explore.

The nostalgia helps me remember the hope that exists when we move from our past to our present.


Posted by: Rhett | August 9, 2010

St. Louis, MO

The two and a half week journey with Brent came to an end that Wednesday afternoon, when I dropped him at the St. Louis airport. From there I headed into Highland, IL, only a 30 minute drive from St. Louis.

I arrived at the home of my buddy Jordan and his wife and new baby girl ready to be off the road for a couple days. It was a drastic change in scenery. Five days before I was in the hustle of LA and now found myself on a country road, surrounded by farmland.

And I welcomed it.

By this point in the journey I was pretty whipped. It was good to sit down at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, a crying 7 week old, and a beefy Old English Bulldog, which to my surprise would soon become my bedmate for the next few nights.

He snuggled, but could have eaten me while I dreamed.

While visiting we went into the city and saw the famous St. Louis Arch. Ate at Pappy’s (where the pulled pork literally melted in my mouth) and attended a Cardinals game. Not to mention a local ice cream & snow cone place in Highland and Jordan’s wife made some great dishes.

Shortly after I arrived it was brought up how Jordan & I are friends. We were college pals, just our senior year, really. And we had different friend groups and interests. However, our bond over a mutual interest in discovering what it means & looks like to follow Jesus. I was again reminded, as I was throughout this trip, the powerful bond that exists when people navigate through their spiritual lives together. Asking questions, praying and being honest about what they are learning.

It’s as though there is more power being together in the “Kingdom,” “Family,” or “Church,” of God through Jesus, than any other bond in this life.

There is much that is fussed about concerning Jesus, when maybe we shouldn’t. But if we can explore what His life, death, and resurrection means in the here and now and in our daily life then maybe we’ll understand more about friendship, community, fellowship or whatever you would like to call it.

It might just be a little more peaceful and restful than the anxiety created with trying to fit into social norms.


Posted by: Rhett | August 7, 2010

Oklahoma City

When Brent and I left Phoenix after the weekend, we made a long drive to Amarillo, TX and crashed. From there we drove in Oklahoma City and met up with a college friend of mine named Erin.

Erin and I were casual friends, sharing many mutual friends and it had been several years sine we had seen each other. It didn’t take long for us to catch up and begin enjoying each others company. She gave us the run around OKC and eventually we landed at the Oklahoma City National Memorial. A few pics.

This was a very sobering place to visit. I remember 15 years ago actually making those colorful tiles in my class at school. They received thousands of those tiles from schools all over the nation, and only put up a few. There are not a lot of tragic national moments in my lifetime that really stand out, but this is one.

There was a beauty in the place of this dark moment. It’s remembered as a place where 168 lost their lives, 19 of which were children and 3 unborn. Two gates of time stand on either side of the Reflection Pool. On one the time “9:01” on the other “9:03.” The bombing occurred at 9:02. It represents the last moment of peace on one end and on the other, the first moments of recovery.

Outside of each gate it reads “We come here to remember Those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.”

Walking around a place like that brings some perspective on things that generally have been far removed from my life. It is inspiring and helps create hope when you allow the beauty of the memorial remind you that just as their is brokenness, there is reconciliation.

Where a broken building falls, a mosaic can rise.

Where violence breaks through, so too does the joy of peace.

Where one life passes on, so another takes its first breath.

Where one life is broken, so many can find new life.


Posted by: Rhett | August 5, 2010

Phoenix, AZ

Upon leaving Hollywood, Brent and I cruised east towards Phoenix. Five years ago I spent two months learning from my friend Ed whom facilitates a church, which is styled around meeting in homes and multiplying churches in neighborhoods. Organic House Church movement, in other words.

It was refreshing to spend the weekend with him and his family and other members of their church family. It was a profound reminder of the natural functionality that the church should have. It’s not without it’s troubles because people have troubles, and they are involved in church communities. It’s quite the blessing to be around a group of people who are committed to one another as they try to follow Jesus. They truly flesh out what it means to walk through life with one another.

Demonstration seems to be one of the most profound methods that Jesus taught those who followed Him and I experience this by being able to watch a man love his family, love his enemies, and love his church family… all while allowing himself to be vulnerable and be as a much a learner as he invites others to be. It magnifies the truest values in community, before the nit-picky things that divide people.

Phoenix will always hold a special place in my heart because it feels like there is family there. Not to mention, I was able to have a delightful time with actual family since one of my sister-in-laws lives there and my brother soon to follow.


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