I Get It. And We Should Talk About It.

104633512Nashville mega-church pastor Pete Wilson recently resigned from the multi-campus Cross Point Church which he and his wife Brandi planted in 2002.

As the church celebrated its 14th anniversary, Wilson delivered a video message in which he said (among other things):

“Most of you in this church only experience what I do on Sundays, especially those of you who watch online. You just see me when I kind of come up here on Sundays but the reality is as leader and the pastor of a church, what happens in between those Sundays is just as important and it requires a lot of leadership and it requires a lot of leadership energy. And leaders in any realm of life, leaders who lead on empty don’t lead well and for some time now I’ve been leading on empty. And so I believe that the best thing for me to do is to step aside from Cross Point and so I am officially resigning as the pastor of Cross Point Church”

Wilson went on to say: “We’ve said that this is a church where it’s OK to not be okay, and I’m not okay. I’m tired. I’m broken, and I just need some rest. I love you guys; I love the vision of this church.”

Wilson then resigned from vocational ministry.

I don’t know Wilson.

But I get it.

In November, 2014, I discussed my own decision to resign from vocational ministry. In that post, I wrestled with what sometimes makes resigning from ministry different than resigning from any other career:

How do you tell people you need a break from teaching others when it seems like that’s what you’re gifted at? How do you tell people you need a break from your job when your job is to care for people? You can’t take a break from caring. How do you tell people you need a break from your job when your job is “Christianity”. You don’t take a break from Jesus.

There are many reasons a pastor might resign.Ministerial dropout rates continually hover around 50%.  The Tennessean quotes Lifeway Research, who in 2015, asked 734 former senior pastors why they left, finding:

that 40 percent left pastoral work before age 65 because they had a change in calling, 25 percent cited a conflict in a church, 12 percent left because of personal finances and 12 percent left for family issues.

Aside from unrepentant sin, the most controversial explanation of pastoral resignation seems to be the all-dreaded but ill-defined “burnout”.Though “pastor burnout” is often ill-defined, it is often equated with spiritual failure that could have been avoided simply by following the right formula.

Consider Thom Rainer’s post “Autopsy Of A Burned Out Pastor: 13 Lessons“. Rainer acknowledges that: “Perhaps the autopsy metaphor is not the best choice”, but the implications of failure (or maybe even spiritual death?) certainly stain his choice of words. In fact, in the “lessons learned” section (i.e. things you can do to prevent the same fate for yourself) includes such nuggets as:

  • Being a short-term people pleaser became a longer-term problem.
  • The pastor had no effective way to deal with critics.
  • The pastor did not have daily Bible time.
  • The pastor’s family was neglected.

You get the gist.

Any pastor who experiences burnout could have prevented it.

If only.

They’d followed the right steps.

This seems sort of like Donald Drumpf saying that soldiers who return from battle suffering from PTSD simply “couldn’t handle it.”

The Christian community has been frustratingly slow to to develop holistic approaches to mental health care. Popular counseling approaches vilify the use of antidepressants while many believe that pastoral burnout can simply be avoided if we check off the right spiritual-workout boxes.

Instead of acknowledging the complexities of mental and spiritual health, we have adopted a formulaic approach seemingly borrowed more from the world of self-help than from the Bible. Follow these simple steps and you too can live a worry-free life (Of course this is related to the self-help model of preaching many of our churches have adopted but that’s a post for another day).

Pastoral burnout is a complex issue that requires more than self-help steps (as is most of the spiritual life).

Pastoral burnout is often the result of clinical depression marinated in a culture in which it is nearly impossible to discuss job performance without suffering a critique  of one’s spiritual health (even though the two may not be related at all).

It is the result of feeling like you are alone. Even when you’re surrounded by people who may have your best interest at heart (and some who don’t).

It is the result of unrealistic expectations. From Everyone. Including yourself.

It is the result of feeling like you can’t confide in your “fellow leaders” because you’ve set yourself up to “lead” them. After all, there has to be a “first among equals, right?”

It is the result of feeling like it’s all up to you because the buck stops somewhere and the captain goes down with the ship and I just haven’t quite gotten to the point of true shared leadership yet . . .

It is the result of a culture which skips over some of the Psalms and equates depression with spiritual failure.

My own experience has led me to find many of the discussions of either depression or pastoral burnout are shallow at best, superficial in the middle and outright judgmental at worst. Burnout is nearly always equated with spiritual failure.

No wonder why more pastors aren’t honest with their struggles until the best option seems to be the last option of resignation.

This is as much an issue of mental health as it is the result of ill-defined and unrealistic expectations. We have set up our pastors to be entrepreneurs, salesmen, counselors, managers, public speakers, accountants, human resources specialists and nearly everything in between. And we have created cultures in which, despite our best intentions otherwise, it’s not OK to not be OK. Especially if you’re a leader.

I hate that Pete Wilson and his family have to go through this season. But I am thankful that the issues surrounding the spiritual and mental health of pastors and all Christians is having a moment of national conversation. I am thankful that more and more people are opening the public eye to this much-needed conversation.

We must commit to fostering environments of acceptance. Many of us simply don’t feel safe to say that we’re not OK. If that’s true for many Christians in general, its certainly acute in our leaders. We need more leaders who display the humble confidence to demonstrate the multi-faceted tapestry that is the Christian faith. Some times are good. Some times are bad. We must be honest enough to voice both. We must be caring enough to accept others.

My prayer is that Wilson’s resignation sparks a worldwide discussion of how we structure our churches, what we expect of our leaders, what we expect of one another and what an authentic Christian life really looks like.


summershimmer (A Late Summer mix)

coverHere’s a late summer mix based mostly on a mood I like to call “summershimmer”. Some old songs, some new songs and some in-between songs.






  1. Can’t See At All by Woods
  2. Wonderful Wizard by Guggenheim Grotto
  3. LA Lately by Israel Nash
  4. Out of My Mind (On Cope And Reed) by GospelbeacH
  5. On The Road Again by Canned Heat
  6. Vibration & Light Suite (edited) by Chris Robinson Brotherhood
  7. Paths by Seryn
  8. Heavy Sails by Steve Gunn
  9. Greens of June by case/lang/viers
  10. That’s How by Mike Cooper
  11. Dagger Bones by Los Halos

Download other mixes I’ve made:

  • Download Music From the Dash
  • Download three volumes of He Shines In All That’s Fair
  • Download a mix of my favorite 2015 songs

External Processing, Thoughtful Dialogue and Pride

dialogue-tagsI find myself in the curious cultural position of being an external processor. I think out loud and I learn by considering other viewpoints and talking through ideas. I sometimes put ideas out in the public sphere specifically to facilitate discussion and learn from others. But I have been accused of “trolling” (I had to actually Urban Dictionary the phrase the first time it came up) because this sometimes means posting about controversial topics. I am offended by the trolling comment because it assumes ill-intent in my motives for posting about controversial issues. As if I’m simply wanting to incite people. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I guess I can see where the accusation comes from. It’s our natural bent to avoid controversy. Unless you’re a power hungry reality television star, who believes that all press is good press. But I digress. After all, it is considered impolite to discuss religion and politics at family functions. But why? Well, because faith and politics are issues held with the head and the heart. Our beliefs become convictions. And we often can’t seem to really figure out how religion and politics go together in the first place, can we? Much less how to thoughtfully discuss issues without becoming needlessly offended or needlessly offending.

When you disagree with my political position, you also disagree with my religious position which also means that you’ve attached me personally (or so we think). Emotions are the track for these roller coaster discussions. Tempers flare from crests of emotions because to disagree with my convictions is to disagree with me. And how could any sane person believe what you just said. I’m saying you’re a moron. But . . .

Cultural Arrogance, Christians and Political Independents

Arizona_flagOver the past couple of months I have had two nearly identical situations in which different Christians have said nearly the exact same thing to me. I won’t say what it was but I will say that the nearly duplicate events set me to some thinking. Each situation centered around the other person offering their (unsolicited) opinion that (I’m paraphrasing here): “Of course all Christians in America think like I do and I’m going out of my way to point out that you don’t think like I do”.

I don’t think either person meant to really insinuate that they thought I am not actually a Christian but that was certainly an unintended implication of their statements. Either that or that they think I’m less intelligent than them. Or both.

Essentially, the bigger picture made manifest in these two conversations is that many Christians seem to believe that there is only one way to think. Of course this tendency to sweep entire groups aside is not isolated to Christians. This is the heart of what the two-party system now engenders. But, Christians, of all people should resist such urges. And yet, we seem as susceptible as anyone. Consider, for example,  Arminians and Calvinists continually nipping at one another. I have known people in both camps who have said that if you were in the other camp, then “of course you can’t be Christian”. Poppycock.

Perhaps one of the areas where see this tendency made most evident is with politics. “Of course a Christian belongs to “X”  or “Y” party”. The problem, of course, is that there are Christians in every political party who believe this (Google here or here).

There is a certain type of cultural arrogance on display here. We forget or ignore that, in some theological areas and in politics, we are dealing with interpretations and opinions. Your worldview leads you to believe that political approach “x” is better for society but that doesn’t necessarily mean that those who hold approach “y” are wrong, just that you hold different viewpoints.

We (Christians included) have come to believe that, if only the other group were smarter or would think more critically, then of course they would agree with me because, after all, “I’m right”. But we forget that this arrogance of opinion is no less present in the other group. Instead of admitting that we hold certain opinions, even if we hold them strongly, we turn our positions into “facts” which cannot be disputed. The two-party political system was designed so that those holding differing views would compromise and meet in the middle. Yet both parties now decry centrists as somehow being weak on the party line. The result has been that the far edges of each party controls the narrative and is left with nothing to do but simply denigrate the other resulting in gridlock and a broken political system.

Instead of working together, we demean and belittle the other side of the aisle (no matter which side you’re on) instead of striving for compromise, we dig in our heels. Welcome to politics (and theology) in America.

Christians have no place in such shenanigans. I’m not saying that Christians should not be involved in politics. But I am saying that Christians should never stay with a party of our “party loyalty”. This is fine for career politicians but not for Christians. When Christians pledge party loyalty, we give up our prophetic voice.

We are to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). We add flavor and preserve but we are not actually part of the main dish. We’re there to make it better. We are supposed to be in but not of the culture. We are to strive first and foremost for the kingdom of God and proclaim our citizenship in the kingdom of heaven. We are to work for the good of our cities and this require that we rise above political bickering. We are to call out evil and injustice no matter where it exists and that includes every political party. Ours is a calling above partisanship and ours is a family with people on both sides of the aisle.

Christians should avoid divisiveness. We should find plenty to disagree with in every political party and we should remember that our allegiance lies with none of them. We must stand above the fray and speak the Truth and lead with love. We must demonstrate humility that is demonstrated in a willingness, especially, to work with those with whom we disagree.

It seems to me that Christians should nearly always be political independents. I understand that you believe that your worldview (as biblically-minded as you insist it is) lead you to support one political party or the other. But, remember, it is possible to be a Christians and belong to the “other” party. And Christians should avoid “party loyalty.” When any political party feels like it can “count on” Christians for our support, we are no longer holding them accountable for the betterment of society, we are nothing more than voting blocks (i.e. pawns).

This current political season is a vital time for Christians in America. Many Christians who should be holding hands, praying together and working for justice and peace are more than willing to simply sweep aside those who disagree. May we regain our prophetic voice and shirk the yoke of political loyalty.

Will You Help Us Plant A Church?

o-SUPPORT-FRIENDS-facebookIt’s an interesting phenomenon that asking for help is often seen as some sort of weakness by our culture. We mythologize figures like the Marlboro Man, the independent spirit who don’t need nobody. We idolize the “self-made” man who didn’t have to rely on anyone to get ahead. But we forget that even the “Lone Ranger” didn’t actually travel alone. Tonto was a faithful companion.

We instinctively know that life was not meant to be lived alone. This is revealed to us time and time again in God’s redemptive story. God created a companion for Adam. He promised Abraham a family. He worked through a nation. And, though He saves us as individuals, He saves us into a family. The Christian life is fullest when we bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-2). We weep and rejoice with each other (Romans 12:15). Following Jesus is a community endeavor. We are to “speak the truth to one another in love” (Ephesians 4:15), and it is by our love for one another that the world will know that we belong to Jesus (John 13:35).

Though Christians come from every culture, we are brought in to a new community. We are expected to do good to everyone, especially fellow Believers (Galatians 6:10). Not only are we called to be sensitive to each other’s needs but we must also speak up when we have a need ourselves.

And that’s where you come in.Mosaic_Church_logo-Stack

In July 2008, after serving as a lead pastor in TX, I planted Church of the Cross in Glendale, AZ. We planted a church because we believe that church planting is vital for the gospel health of any city. By God’s grace, we saw exciting Gospel growth and God transformed an initial plant of 12 adults and 16 kids into a thriving, multiplying group of gospel communities on mission. We saw lives transformed and people grow closer to Jesus.

After adopting four children at once (putting us at 8 children), I made the difficult decision to resign from the church I had poured my life into. We had grown with our church plant but our suddenly expanded family deserved our full attention. We spent most of 2015 focusing on family stability but towards the end of 2015, God began to tug at my heart again.

Now, after nearly eight months of praying, planning and imagining, we are excited and humbled to announce that we are moving to Gilbert, AZ to plant another church. We will be joining our friends Steve and Christine Valero who are also experienced church planters. Mosaic Church was birthed from convictions regarding the importance of applying the Gospel (our need for Jesus) to all of life. This leads us into community where we share one another’s burdens and joys and then overflow in sacrificial love for our communities.

We are raising $100,000 of start-up funding. This will ensure an initial salary base and cover launch costs (such as a quality children’s ministry, insurance, etc.) for the first year as we become self-sufficient. Your one-time or recurring gift will help ensure church stable for the long-term. We need to raise at least $15,000 by the end of July in order to move. Any help is appreciated.

You can give online via PayPal.

You may also give by check. Checks made payable to Mosaic Church may be mailed to:

19619 North 67th Drive

Glendale, AZ 85308




We know that you don’t need extra incentives to give. The warm feeling under left rib and knowing that you’ve helped is enough. But because we are so grateful we want to offer a token of our appreciation.

If you give $350, you will receive your choice of one of Brent’s original drawings in a frame. See a sampling of the drawings available here.

If you give $500, you will receive one of Kristi’s original string art pieces. You will have your choice of a “Home” sign in which the “o” is the state of your choice or a “gather” sign.








If you give $750, you can have one of each.

We can’t thank you enough for your support in helping make this new church a reality.

  • Read the story of our adoption.
  • Read the story of my resignation from ministry.
  • Read some of our spiritual journey in 2015.
  • Read about my call to plant another church.
  • Visit the Mosaic Church website.

Striving To Be Consistently Pro-Life(?)

deathpenaltyI have not read it yet but Christianity Today‘s review of Shane Claiborne‘s new book Executing Grace has much that resonates with me. My views on this issue have changed drastically over the years. I used to believe that capital punishment was not only justified but required because murder is the taking of a human life which is made in the image of God, therefore it was not only a de-valuing of human life but blasphemy (Genesis 9:6, etc.).

I now believe that it is more consistently “pro-life” to oppose the death penalty, precisely because all human life reflects the image of God. When the Supreme Court approved the modern death penalty, they declared that

capital punishment is an expression of society’s moral outrage at particularly offensive conduct . . .

For a Christian to defend capital punishment, it seems to me that we must argue from a theological perspective. It is worthy of death precisely because murder attacks the image of God. But we do not live in a theocratic state. Christian or otherwise.

Instead, the Supreme Court basis its justification of capital punishment on “society’s moral outrage.” A major problem with this, of course, is that society’s moral compass can sometimes seem like Jack Sparrow’s treasure compass in the Pirates of the Carribean movies. Wonky and ever-changing, especially when it comes to “society’s” norms. It wasn’t that long ago that we put suspected witches to the “swimming” text and burned heretics at the stake. What might have earned capital punishment at one time might not at another. Without the Christian under-pinning, there is no consistent ethic with which to decide which cases deserve death and which do not. In short, we cannot be trusted to be consistent. Since all people bear the image of God, we owe ourselves more than this. The taking of a human life cannot be left up to the shifting winds of “society’s moral outrage”.

Our justice system is not only deeply flawed and often unreliable, it is infected with systemic racism. Even if we agreed that murder is the consistent base-line for capital punishment, our application of any standards are not only inconsistent but often unjust. The ACLU argues:

the evidence from the past 33 years demonstrates that capital punishment remains arbitrary and that society’s moral outrage continues to be expressed loudest when wealthy white people are homicide victims.

Our court system simply cannot be trusted to always be impartial and “just” when it comes to this issue. The ACLU article continues:

empirical research across the country consistently demonstrates that a defendant who kills a white person is far more likely to receive the death penalty than a defendant who kills a person of color, and the racial configuration most likely to result in a death sentence is a black-on-white crime.

Amnesty International argues that “the single most reliable predictor of whether someone will be sentenced to death is the race of the victim” even non-whites are just as often the victims of murder. Time magazine comes right out and says it: “there is significant racial bias in the administration of the death penalty.” If we believe that all men are not only created equal but that all people are created in the image of God and therefore human life always has intrinsic value, then we must oppose the death penalty as it is currently practiced.

Capital punishment also carries the idea that certain criminals do not deserve even the possibility of rehabilitation. It simply negates some lives based on norms that we’ve already seen are shaky at best and likely to soon change.

Though there is more to be said, this serves as a brief summary of why I’ve changed my mind over the years. I’ve come to believe that the pursuit of wisdom necessitates that we are willing to sometimes change our views. I’m not saying that if you disagree with me on this issue that you are unwise but that my pursuit of wisdom has led me down this path. As I grow older and understand perspectives which my own experiences never provided, many of my views change.

I know that many of you will disagree and I look forward to hearing from you. But remember to express your views with humanity and kindness. After all, we are all God’s image bearers and deserve respect.

The Long Strange Trip Continues (We’re Planting Another Church!)

church_planting-400x300In 2008, my family and I moved from TX where I was pastoring back to AZ to plant Church of the Cross (which has since become Missio Dei Peoria).

In January 2015, a year after adopting four kids at once (putting us at 8 kids), I resigned from ministry in general and specifically from the church we planted in 2008.

2015 has been a whirlwind with a consistent theme from Psalm 46:

Be still and know that He is God.

When I resigned, it was important for Kristi and I that “vocational ministry” not be a career option for an unspecified period of time. With over ten years of lead pastor experience, I probably could have been hired at an existing church. But that just wasn’t right. Throughout 2015, I applied to more than 153 jobs (I stopped counting at 153). Most of those were jobs for which I was well qualified (at least on paper). But nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Bupkiss. A big goose-egg.

That’s not to say that I haven’t worked hard during this time, just that God has not provided full-time employment. Kristi and I both have worked part time for our friends Mark and Jill at Twigs and Twine. This has been a great experience. We’ve learned a lot but we’ve always known that this was not a long-term solution to our situation. It has felt like God was arranging our circumstances so that we would rest in Him even without knowing what was next. To be still. And know that He is God. And we are not.

This is a difficult lesson. It is often uncomfortable but it gets to the very heart of faith itself. Following Jesus means submitting our wills to His and trusting. God has been teaching me this tough lesson over the past year or so.

As I stated, it was important for us to have an unspecified period of time during which full-time ministry (at least in the pastoral sense) was not an option. Not only did we want to see what else God might have for us, we knew that one of two things would happen:

  1. The “indefinitely” would simply progress and we would not ever return to vocational ministry and we would be OK with that, or
  2. God would change our hearts and the “call” to ministry on our lives would return.

As 2015 wore on, the latter happened.

Before I explain what this means, I want to pause for a couple of side-notes.

First, my wife Kristi and I have been remarkably on the same page for every major decision throughout our relationship. This has helped serve as a natural form of discernment for both of us. Believe me, Kristi is not afraid to tell me when she thinks I’m wrong. It is important to me that my wife is on the same page. And she is.

Second, the idea of a “call to ministry” is fuzzy and nebulous at best. But I can say is that our decision to once again consider full-time ministry was not motivated by the fact that I had trouble finding employment. I hope that this goes without saying but I wanted to say it regardless. I have a healthy respect for ministry which requires that it be more than just a job.

In late 2015, not only did I start to miss vocational ministry but Kristi confirmed that I was once again being called to return and that we as a family wanted to give our lives in this way. As we wondered what this might mean for our family, we began talking with my friend Steve about planting a church together in Gilbert.

Steve planted a church called Ekklesia in 2009. Through mutual involvement with the local Surge Network, Acts 29 and Soma Communities, Steve and I became good friends. Around the same time I resigned, Steve shut down his church plant. However, because he’s so awesome, Steve has maintained great relationships with the people of that church, retaining a core group ready to plant another church.

After nearly eight months of prayer and consideration, Steve and I believe that the time is right to move forward with planting a church made up of Gospel Communities on Mission. We are humbled to announce that we are in the initial stages of planting Mosaic Church.

The Thomas Ten is in the process of moving to the Gilbert area so that we can devote ourselves to this exciting new gospel work. Since our ministry conviction is based on relationships and everyday life, it is important for us to be where we minister. We are currently raising the necessary funds to launch this new church and we appreciate anything you can give towards this goal.

Once we can get to that side of town, we will move forward with forming Gospel Communities and launching a Sunday gathering. Our goal is to move as soon as possible so that the kids can transition schools smoothly.

There’s still a lot to figure out and I’m sure you have questions. Feel free to ask them. And please pray for us. Please pray for wisdom, for discernment, for joy, for clarity and conviction. Please pray that God would provide the necessary resources and prepare hearts.

  • Visit the Mosaic Church website.
  • Visit the Mosaic Church Facebook page.

Reading, Listening, Watching, etc.

book-eye-glasses-ipod-love-music-Favim.com-1342041Welcome to this very irregular series where I chronicle some of what I’ve been reading and listening to lately. I like to be very intentional about the things I spend my time with and I also try to be very intentional about reflecting on those things. Yes, you might call it nerdy. Whatever. Don’t be mean. I’m a very sensitive soul.

Anyway, here’s what’s been going in lately:


Several new albums have worked their way into my earholes this week:

SturgillSimpsonArt_zpsk5o3to2rA Salior’s Guide to Earth by Sturgill Simpson.

Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music was one of my top-five favorite albums of 2014. Having already established himself as one of the top voices in “outsider country” music, Simpson could have repeated himself and very few people would have batted an eye. Instead Simpson builds on his foundation with strings, horns and moody hooks. Perhaps what strikes most people is the cover of Nirvana‘s “In Bloom”. A well-done cover song is not only recognizable but becomes something new. The song takes on new life as its sung with a different voice and Simpson definitely has an ear for picking the right cover. His cover of When in Rome’s “The Promise” blew as many people away as his Nirvana cover has polarized. But trust me, it works exceedingly well in the context of the album as a whole. Themes of fatherhood, life, death and the days in between provide the groundwork for an artist clearly pushing himself and his audience. Highly recommended.

Check out the Nirvana cover in question:

Check out ‘Brace For Impact (Live A Little)’ live on Colbert:

woodsCity Sun Eater In The River Of Light by Woods

Woods is one of those bands that I’ve always thought highly of but never listened to deeply. No reason why. There are just some of those bands in our worlds, right? I’ve listened to a couple of their albums but never really spent significant time with any of them. That’s changed with their newest release, City Sun Eater In The River of Light. Highly influenced by Ethiopiques series, especially Ethiopian jazz, not many bands could make the jump from psychedelic folk to world music quite so seamlessly. In the words of Pitchfork, “Turns out Woods is one of them.”

Here’s the lead “single” “Sun City Creeps”:

tmr339_front_550Midwest Farmers Daughter by Margo Price

Reminding us that the resurgence of “real” and/or “outlaw” or “outsider” country (whatever you want to call it) doesn’t just belong to men, Price has fashioned a timeless album full of all the heartwarming heartbreak a great country album should deliver. With tales of personal struggle and sometimes victory, Price reminds us that country music is far from dead, despite what the charts tells us is popular.

Here’s “Hurtin’ (On The Bottle)” live at the Grand Ol’ Opry:

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 2.57.13 PMMix From the Dashboard by Various Artists

Read my post about this mix that I happened across in my dashboard crap-hole. Featuring Anathallo, Ramsay Midwood and others, it’s a mix I have no recollection of making and seems to be a fairly random collection of songs. But I dig it.


9780312373511_p0_v2_s192x300The Time Quintent by Madeleine L’Engle

So, for some reason, I never read L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time when I was younger. I don’t remember it ever being assigned reading though I always remember being aware of the book. So, I finally decided to read it and lo and behold, it’s the first of a five-book series! So I read the whole series. A great young adult fantasy/science-fiction series with lots of theological fodder for reflection. An entertaining and worthwhile read if you haven’t.

71qLnZuj5SL_zpsaqyp1mmzThings Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

I actually picked up this book at a garage sale only to find out later that its considered a classic by many and was in fact, assigned reading for many. Another case where the Glendale, AZ school system failed me with their assigned reading lists? Maybe I’m just too old and I was in school before it became assigned reading? Anyhow, I’m about half-way through it so far and its quite a good read and does what much of the best fiction does, draws you in to a world unlike your own.

gutierrez-theology-of-liberation-9780883445426-crop-325x325A Theology of Liberation by Gustavo Gutierrez

I don’t question the validity of penal substitutionary atonement nor its importance (and vital place) as a theory of the atonement. Perhaps even the primary theory but I am not sure it is the totality of the Gospel. I have long wanted to read authors and viewpoints outside of my normal traveling circles on this issue for quite some time and I’m starting with what many to consider to be a classic. Have you read it? Thoughts?

downloadBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I’ve heard great things about this book for quite some time and I’m finally getting a chance to read it. Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” it just shows to go you that its never too late to get around to all that “required reading”.



91d053F2aKL._SY445_Kristi and I don’t get to watch a whole lot of television or movies for ourselves but sometimes we do like to watch something at bed-time. We watched Parks and Recreation all the way through and loved the characters. So it wasn’t a stretch to go back and watch The Office. We’re in season three and we’ve seen most but not all of the episodes up to this point but not much beyond that. As with any good television show, it’s the characters that keep you coming back for more. The Office is no exception, though you get a good idea pretty early on of what the characters are like, they are allowed to grow and grow on you from there.


Mix From the Dashboard


Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.00.37 PMAs you, my friends are well aware, I love music. You, of course, are aware of this precisely because we are friends. And friends know one another.

This morning I had to take three of the boys with me on some errands and NPR was playing the weekly round-up edition of the Diane Rehm show. Now, I know that lots of people really like Diane Rehm. But I wanted to listen to some music. If you live in the Phoenix area, you know that radio was not really an option. So I reached into my dashboard’s crap-hole, you know that big gaping storage area where you throw all your crap? No? Just us? Well, in that crap-hole were several blank CDs. I grabbed one, popped it in and was greeted by a mix I don’t remember making.  It’s like Christmas for your ears when you have a mix of music you know you like (because you made it) but you don’t know what’s next!

I’m pretty sure I did in fact at some point make this mix because I’m not sure who else would put together this particular collection of artists. There doesn’t seem to be a real theme or even significance to the order of songs. The best I’ve got is that the most recent songs on the mix are from 2014 so it was made some time after that. Maybe for a roadtrip? I don’t know. I don’t know where it came from. But I liked it. I liked it enough to pass along to you. You know, for fun.

Download the mix with art and tracklisting here.

Here’s the tracklisting:

  1. Hanasakajijii (Four: A Great Wind, More Ash) by Anathallo
  2. Franklin’s Tower by the Grateful Dead
  3. Who Built the Moon by Shinyribs
  4. Rosalee by the Chris Robinson Brotherhood
  5. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking by the Rolling Stones
  6. Prophet Omega Riff by Ramsay Midwood
  7. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) by Talking Heads
  8. Excursions by A Tribe Called Quest
  9. Move On (Bloom Like The Sunlight In My Song by Mike Doughty
  10. Southern Grammar by Hiss Golden Messenger
  11. Homestead by Northern Hustle
  12. Walking On A Pretty Day by Kurt Vile
  13. Water Wheel by Steve Gunn
  14. Time To Move On by Tom Petty

Download the mix with art and tracklisting here.

the Weekly Town Crier

towncrierWell I’m not sure what you expect. This is the Weekly Town Crier, where I collect and pass along links If interest from the past week. Don’t call it a link-dump. Well, I suppose you could but that sounds so crass, now doesn’t it? I’d like to think of these links as somewhat thought-provoking.

R.I.P. the library card catalog.

R.I.P. Doris Roberts.

R.I.P. Prince.

Read as The Atlantic considers “The Unexpected Pleasure of Doing Things Alone”.

Read NPR’s coverage of “First-Ever Official Pastafarian Wedding”.

Browse “Six Habits Of People Who Know How To Bring Out The Best In Others” at Fast Company.

Read Revolver‘s interview with Daniel Johnston.

Read Christianity Today‘s report that the Bible is now among the most challenged books at libraries and schools.

Read AV Club‘s report that Thomas the Tank Engine is being re-worked for adults.

Read BBC‘s report about the recent study finding that, for those over 40, a 3-day work-week is optimal.

Read Pitchfork‘s report that “Axl Rose Is AC/DC‘s New Frontman”.

Browse AV Club‘s profile of “19 bands that have plowed through 3 or more frontmen without a name change”.

Read Quartz‘ report: “It’s true. Every music festival is starting to look the same”.

Read Techly‘s report that Chuck Palahniuk has re-worked Fight Club for children.

Read Salon‘s piece: ““I am the human being that I am today because of the Grateful Dead”: Bill Walton shares life lessons from 859 shows”

Read as First Things considers “Faith In Fiction”: “’I’m sick of Flannery O’Connor. I’m also sick of Walker Percy, G. K. Chesterton, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, T. S. Eliot, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Dostoevsky. Actually, I’m sick of hearing about them from religiously minded readers. These tend to be the only authors that come up when I ask them what they read for literature.”

Read Pitchfork‘s report that Johnny Marr has announced his autobiography, Set the Boy Free.

Read/Listen to NPR’s profile of Merge Records.

Read as N.D. Wilson writes for The Atlantic: “Why I Write Scary Stories for Children”.

Read as Brain Pickings considers “The Psychology of What Makes a Great Story”.

See a vending machine for books at BBC.

Read The Daily Beast‘s report that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill

Browse Fact Magazine‘s picks for “The 30 best post-rock albums of all time”. Did your favorite make their list?

See “the dying art of the film projectionist – in pictures” at The Guardian.

Read Smithsonian‘s piece: “Why Women Bring Their ‘I Voted’ Stickers to Susan B. Anthony’s Grave”.

Read Consequence of Sound‘s report that Rob Tannenbaum and Craig Marks’ 2012 book, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story Of The Music Video Revolution will be adapted for the screen.

Go “Behind The Scenes At Karlie Kloss’s New Coding Camp For Girls” with Fast Company.

Read as NME considers the new study considering “why everyone hates Nickelback so much”.

Take “A Peek Inside Harvard’s Collection of 2,500 Pigments” at Colossal.

Read Quartz‘ startling report: “One in 14 Americans will grow up with a parent in prison”.

Read as the New Yorker considers “The Unoriginal Originality of Led Zeppelin“.

ReadJack Kerouac on How to Meditate” at Brain Pickings.

Watch “Steve Reich reflects on his most significant works” at CBC.

Read as KQED considers “Why Kids Should Keep Using Their Fingers to do Math”.

Browse Paste‘s picks for “The 50 Best Movie Soundtracks”.

Read as The Atlantic considers “The Limits of the Late-Night Comedy Takedown”. What is really accomplished when late-night truth-tellers shine their spotlights?

Read Flavorwire‘s report that “HBO Is Making a New ‘Fahrenheit 451′ Movie”. Let’s hope they remember that the theme of the controversial book is not censorship but television itself, which, sort of ironically works against the re-make itself. How’s that for meta?

See “what happens inside a vinyl factory” at BBC.

Browse “A Graphic Guide to Cemetery Symbolism” at Atlas Obscura.

Read Consequence of Sound‘s report: “Coachella organizers planning new festival with the Holy Grail of headliners McCartney, The Stones, Roger Waters, The Who, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young“.

Read “An Ode to Shakespeare from Kurt Vonnegut” at Signature.

Read/Listen as NPR considers why it’s time to put away the laptop and take hand-written notes.

Read the Los Angeles Times‘ report: “Under new Oregon law, all eligible voters are registered unless they opt out”.

Read as Quartz considers “Why the sweaty, crowded summer festival became the last sacred space in music”.

Read as Techly wonders “Is the Music You Listen to Affecting Your Brain Long-Term?”

Read: “Debunking the Myth of the 10,000-Hours Rule: What It Actually Takes to Reach Genius-Level Excellence” at Brain Pickings.

Browse “Six Habits of The Best Conversationalists” at Fast Company.