Saturday, January 21, 2006

public speaking

A couple of nights ago I had the pleasure of speaking to about 100-150 people about Blood:Water Mission and specifically my experiences in South Africa in fall 2004. A friend, Ashley Lovell, is headed to South Africa in February to work with our friends at the Living Hope Community Center as a drug and alcohol abuse counselor. The evening was an opportunity for friends, family, and others to hear great music and gain a little more insight into the work she is entering...and how to faithfully support her. Andy and Jill Gullahorn (Jill Phillips), Dave Hunt, Chad Cates, and Laurianne Cates provided the good to see these friends and hear some of their songs.

It had been quite awhile since my last speaking engagement, so I spent some of Tuesday and Wednesday preparing. First I read through a lot of my journal from my time in South Africa...this was a rich time of reflecting on a life-changing journey. Some of it is here in the Blood:Water Mission website. The next challenge was fitting my story/stories into the context of the evening...sharing what would be most beneficial and timely for this opportunity.

In my speaking engagements, whether in a room of 10 or 500, I have realized the importance of remembering and reminding. As I take the time to remember the weight of a moment or event in my past, I remind myself of the most important things in life...and I find myself reminding others of these things, too. My heart is still so tender, and sharing my transforming moments still brings shuddering from within and tears to my eyes. Unless I force myself to occasionally sit in these things, my heart and flesh are too easily wooed by the things of the world, far from the messy mix of joy and suffering, laughter and sorrow. But this is the uncomfortable glorious place of the Gospel and its hope.

I invite you to frequently check out Ashley's blog to keep up with her thoughts and experiences. We all have stories to tell, and each one is important for others to hear.

Monday, January 16, 2006

the fruit of one life

Today I honor my grandfather, J. Marion Rigg, who passed away last Monday morning. We were able to go to Roseville, IL this past week and spend days with family and close friends to mourn his death and celebrate his life. I rejoice that he left peacefully and anxiously, awaiting the opportunity to be restored completely and meet Jesus apart from the flesh. We will miss him so much, yet we will continue to see the fruit of his life for years to come.

Friday, January 06, 2006

still playing

We're finishing up the first week recording the next Jars project. What a week! We're blessed to be in a studio atmosphere that allows everything to be ready to play when needed. It is freeing and makes it easy to let the creative juices flow. Still no comment on the is all over the map, but honing in. We're about halfway through the songs, and having so much fun.

I just finished reading A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa by Howard French. He's a New York Times journalist who offers reflections and testimony from his years spent reporting from West Africa, particularly Nigeria, Zaire, DR Congo, and Mali. I recommend it to anyone wanting to get a sense of some of the faces and situations, as well as the distant and recent history that is a part of the Africa we know today. My only criticism is that the book ends without a hopeful picture as he leaves his assignment in almost have to read the introduction/prologue again in order to remind yourself of the hopeful intentions of French. A conclusion or some sort of epilogue would better propel the reader into action instead of paralysis.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year

We are new years eve bums, I admit. Once again, as the clock struck 10:00pm, we rang in the new year with those 2 hours ahead of us in Venzuela, Chile, some of Antartica, and New Brunswick. We had the excuse of driving 10 hours that day--and Sam only slept the last hour of the drive--but I have a feeling that we have begun a tradition regardless.

Sam was a joy throughout Christmas, really getting into opening gifts, looking at Christmas lights/decorations, and trying to understand that the point of Christmas is the birth of Jesus.

Today I'm starting about 2 weeks in the studio with jars of clay to work on the next good to be with these guys, and a perfect way to start the year. Gotta go play some bass...

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