Thursday, May 12, 2005


Jess and I
Posted by Hello

african flags
Posted by Hello

Posted by Hello

Hello, hello, I'm at a place called vertigo! Vertigo tour 2005 that is. It was definitely worth the 7 hour drive one way to not just see, but to really experience this show. A U2 show is so much more than just a rock band playing good songs. It really is a moving and inspirational experience. The reason U2 are so good and so widely accepted is because they are about something. They write songs that connect with people on a basic level. They also aim to inspire people to make a difference in the world. They aren't always 100% correct but they are extremely passionate about what they believe in. Bono and others in the group have what I believe is a true faith in God and many of their songs and actions flow from this. Their work in trying to end extreme poverty and hunger in Africa and other third world nations is highly comendable. I left the show last night inspired to want to make a diference in the lives of people who are hurting and need our help. Bono and U2 have been a strong voice for those people and have taken it upon themselves to rally troops to fight these crises.

As for the show itself and the trip, it was nearly perfect. We left early tuesday morning and drove straight to Chicago. Traffic was great until we hit the black hole of hell which is Chicago traffic. We decided to make a stop at Ikea because there isn't one near us and we love it there. It was about 30 miles out of the way but we had plenty of time and didn't think it would be a problem. Or so we thought. It took us over an hour to get back to the arena from Ikea which caused some serious stress on my part. I was worried we wouldn't make it in time to meet the girl we were buying the tickets from. My fears were relieved though when we found out the girl was stuck in traffic as well and it worked out perfectly that we both arrived at the arena at the same time. We paid the girl and then pinched ourselves to make sure we weren't hallucinating. We really were there in Chicago and about to watch the greatest band in the world do their thing. Our seats were not ideal but we could see everything ok. The only negative was that the sound was not so good at our seats but the show itself was spectacular. They did indeed film the live DVD that night so there were lots of extra lighting effects. The thing that i connected with most and enjoyed the most was when Bono talked about the Africa crises like i mentioned before. This show definitely gets a huge 4 thumbs up from me and my wife. We would love to go again and have better seats but I'm not so sure that lightning will strike twice for us. If you have the chance to see this tour definitely take it. Here is a link to some more reviews of the show if you care.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Beautiful Day

I’m a pretty laid back guy but every now and then I’m prone to do something wildly spontaneous. Case in point: this week as I was being lazy and surfing the net I decided to surf on over to ebay just for fun. I started looking up various things which I wouldn’t buy but in doing so I was passing time nicely. Then I came up with a great idea, which doesn’t happen too often, so I thought I outta run with it. Just for kicks I decided to see what tickets to the U2 tour were going for. Now let me quickly give some background here, I would consider myself a pretty big U2 fan, not in a crazy, pathetic way but in a healthy, admiring way. I actually cut my visit home in California short once just so I could fly back and see U2 play. So as you can imagine I was quite disappointed about not being able to get to go to this latest tour. That is of course until I found ebay.

To my utter surprise and delight I was able to find 2 decent tickets to tomorrow nights show in Chicago for cheaper than what the face value of the ticket is. I just bought these tickets last night and tomorrow, bright and early, me and my lovely wife will be driving 8 hours to Chicago to see the greatest band in the world put on the best live show there is. To say we are excited is an understatement. So I will have to give a detailed update of the trip and the show. It is sure to be an adventure and a great memory. It is my wife’s first time seeing them and my second. I think it is almost more fun to get something like this at the last minute that is completely unexpected than to know about it for months. There are two other cool things about all this, first it is going to be Bonos birthday tomorrow which should be fun and second, they are going to b filming the tour dvd that night. All we have to do now is wait a few months and buy the dvd and we can relieve the night over and over. It a little weird actually because this will be the third major concert that I’ve been to where they were filming the dvd. I guess I have a knack for being at the right place at the right time. Well I’m off to get ready for the big event but I will report back soon.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Show and Tell

Well my head is quickly swelling with a copious amount of fresh knowledge. Ok maybe it’s not from new knowledge maybe it’s the resurgence of my allergies since spring has arrived in full force. Either way I can give you an update on my insane reading challenge now. I didn’t think it was all that insane when I came up with it but that seems to be what everyone’s opinion is that I hear from. Be that as it may I will continue on undaunted by the skepticism. As of today which is about 2 weeks since the start of the lunacy I have successfully completed reading 6 books which is right on course. The good news is that for the rest of May I will be quite free to do more reading than deemed safe for such a small brain. We are fortunate enough in the band to enjoy a month off of the road to catch up or catch a glimpse of normal life. So other than a couple weddings at the end of the month I am free to read until I’m sick in the head.

I’ll give a quick run down of the current titles completed and maybe a brief description of them. I don’t want to go into exhaustive detail about each one because you probably really don’t care. I will try to just highlight some key issues in each book unless there is more that I feel the need to share. Hopefully I can be a little more current too in updating this blog so I can just write about 1 book at a time instead of 6 at once.

All right, the first book I read I’ve already blogged about which was The Last Days. The next two books I read were authored by the same writer named Thomas Cahill. They were The Gifts of the Jews and How the Irish Saved Civilization. Cahill is an historian but writes about religious movements. I can’t really tell specifically where he stands on his personal faith but he definitely sheds some interesting new light on the past. The Gifts of the Jews is a book which shows the development of the Jewish peoples as depicted in the Old Testament. This book was great at giving me a better general idea of how things progressed in a chronological way. It also developed the cultural events that were occurring during those times and how that shaped and influenced the way the Jews lived and the decisions they made. Cahill carefully shows how many of the ideas and values that we hold today came directly from the Jews. In the book How the Irish Saved Civilization, Cahill shows how the Irish went from a very warlike and barbaric group of peoples with no faith to a nation revitalized by the gospel and now known as the "isle of saints and scholars". It was the many Irish priests and monks who saved much of the ancient literature that we now have today. They devoted their lives to making hand written copies of thousands of manuscripts so that they could survive. Many barbarian groups were trying to destroy these documents and would have been completely successful had it not been for the Irish. So next time you read Homer or Plato or even your Bible, make sure you think of the Irish.

The next book I read was Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport. This book was given to me by a friend who works for the publisher and the title caught my attention right away. It is written by the president of Fuller Theological Seminary Richard J Mouw. I thought Mouw did a great job of making the controversial subject of Calvinism relatable to the 21st century in a tactful and loving way. It is obvious when reading it that Mouw has come to his beliefs by struggling with them and being open to all the ideas and possibilities. He doesn’t tow the familiar party line in the Calvinist camp. He challenges Calvinists to examine themselves and be sure that at their core they are acting in Christ’s love and grace. I thought he made some great points and I appreciated his insights.

The last book I read was The Ragamuffin Gospel. The book was just good for my soul. Brennan Manning’s aim in this book is to make you understand just how intense and complete is God’s love for us. Brennan is shockingly honest and frank with the reader in exposing how human he is. The point is we are all human and sinners but God is bigger than our sin. He shows how important it is to embrace the unconditional love of God. He also shows that once we embrace this love and accept that we are all fallen people we can view others differently. We can view them the way Christ does and hopefully love them the way he did. We can see that beneath the arrogance and anger of an individual is someone who is hurting and in need of the Saviors love just like us. We really aren’t too different from one another after all. This book is highly recommended if you haven’t fully grasped this concept yet. I know I needed to hear it.

Well that catches you up on my reading journey. If you read this whole post you were on a bit of a journey as well. This reading challenge has been a great experience so far. It seems that the more I read the more my eyes are slowly opened and I start to see the world in a new way. I also realize each day just how much I don’t know. What I do know is that God is sovereign and changing me everyday with his perfect love.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Who am I?

Do you ever feel like you live life as an actor, going through the day as if on stage an needing to perform for those around you? Why is that? What is it about other people that makes us feel like we have to live up to some unknown standard which really doesn't even exist? We say we don't care what anybody says or thinks about us but inside we know that's a lie. We live in a culture that tells us in a million different ways that we have to look a certain way or act like this guy if we want to fit in, but we know that's not really us. So what do we do? Put on a great show, of course, because we all know the show must go on.

So why is it so hard to just be ourselves, the good and the bad? I believe the reasons are many but would argue that it is perpetuated by a vicious cycle. Initially, I believe we all have a desperate longing to be loved and accepted. It is our desire to be loved that gets this ball rolling and when that desire is rejected, or even perceived to be, it takes an ugly turn. When we present our "true" self to someone and are not accepted we are left hurt and wondering what went wrong. If it is perceived that they are rejecting us, we would assume that in order to gain acceptance we would have to change. Once this change occurs we will be accepted and will have achieved our goal. However, we are still left unfulfilled, why? When trying to gain this acceptance we are giving up part of who we really are. The person who is accepted is not really who we truly are. The desire still remains for true acceptance and the cycle continues as we keep trying to adapt our personalities and likes to fit in better or be valued more.

Here's the problem, we're chasing our tails. We're going after the wrong thing and we can't even see it because we are so intent about catching that darn tail. Now here's the truth, in this case less is truly so much more. Millions of people cheering your name because they think your swell is not going to fulfill you, but there is One who will. The love of Christ is the only thing in this world that can give you what you're chasing after. The irony is that it's chasing after you but you're too busy putting on the show to see the real masterpiece. If only we could just give up the act and lay all our cards on the table. The truth will set you free and the truth is that Christ is so completely in love with you. His raging love is unstoppable. He knows what the real you is like with all your faults as well as the gifts which he gave you. The love and acceptance that he gives is not conditioned on what we do but only on what He's done. That is why His love is perfect and completely fulfilling, because we don't have to do anything. We can give up the act and rest easy in his love and grace.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Please read

So here is my second foray into the blogosphere. I'm still not totally used to this but that's ok right? I went to the library last week to find some books to read while we are home this week. While I was there I decided to give myself a little challenge, throw down the gauntlet if you will. The challenge I came up with was to attempt to read 50 books by the end of August. That's roughly 3 months, which turns out to be about 3 books a week. I haven't specified what types of books or how long just 50.The main reason I've challenged myself is because I won't do it if i don't. I do love to read and I already read quite a bit, but I think with a little extra motivation I can read a lot more and who knows maybe even learn something. A little eductation never hurts right? Another possible perk to all this is that it just might actually make me turn the stupid TV off.

So I've already jumped head first into my challenge, eager to impress myself, and finished my first book. Though I must admit, it wasn't exactly a work of scholarship or anything, but it was fun to read and perhaps a good kickstart. It was a book titled The Last Days by Joel C. Rosenberg. This book was a sequel to a book called The Last Jihad, which I read last summer. I really enjoyed that one so I was interested in reading this one too. Now I know what you may be thinking, Dave your not really the type of guy who likes to read those hyped up eschatology books which spell out the doom and gloom of the world. You're right I'm not, in fact I pretty much refuse to read the Left Behind series. It just feels too much like bad propaganda for bad theology to me rather than a well written story with Christian themes. This book is different though, Rosenberg does a good job of writing an intense action packed story with great detail. He is also able to very subtly slip in the gospel message by making it plausible in the story. He isn't being overt and trying to hit the reader over the head in a blunt way about the gospel or speaking in "chritianese". Instead he has been very creative and tactful. He has written an interesting story that engages the reader even if they have no faith because it is a story anyone can relate to. Then he very subtly works the gospel into the story in a creative and believable way that makes sense to the reader.

I haven't read too many books that can do this without being in your face and over the top. I think that is a flaw in too many Christian fiction writers, they want to write the gospel in there so bad but they completely give up all creativity to do it. The result of this is another cheesy story with unbelievable characters and in implausible situations. God calls us to be excellent in all we do and this most certainly includes the arts and writing. We need writers who will use the creative minds that God has gifted them with and write inspiring stories that are relevant and original. We need to be setting the standard for excellence in writing as Christians, not mimicking pop culture. So I applaud Mr. Rosenberg on a job well done and hope to see more Christian authors doing the same soon.

My next book to read will be on a more educational level and non fiction. I will fill you in when I finish it, which should be soon. 49 more books to go and counting. You're welcome to join me in this endeavor as well. I throw out the same challenge to you. If you choose not to accept it than maybe at least you will read this blog and perhaps a book or 2 when you can. Until next time happy reading.

p.s. Joel Rosenberg has a very informative blog on events happening in the middle east and around the world, so check it out here Joels blog.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I surrender!

Ok so i give up. I'm finaly writing a blog. I've fought this for quite a while because honestly i thought a blog may be a waste of my time, and maybe it will be, but i figure it can't hurt and i certainly don't want to be the last guy to do one. I know that doesn't sound like the most noble reason to start a blog but it is the most honest one i have right now. So what can you expect from this blog and what the heck is Fika? Well let me answer the second question first as it directly relates to the other. I was in Sweden last summer with the band i work for (downhere) and i was introduced to a great tradition they have called Fika (pronounced fee ka). Even the swedes had a difficult time fully explaining what it was but basically it is having a light snack such as coffee and biscuits but the key ingredient is good conversation. So what i hope to present on this blog are some good conversation points which in turn others can respond to if they feel so inclined. I'll also be writing about the many experiences i have daily while either on the road with the band or at home or any number of places. Hopefully the posts here will inspire more good Fika. I think we've lost that a lot in the american culture. It's too easy to stay at home and watch tv than to go and have a cup of coffee and just talk with our friends or even heaven forbid a stranger. I think good conversations with others is quite healthy and can lead to a greater impact on society and culture when we can encourage each other and challenge each other on different ideas. This is how growth happens, iron sharpens iron. So here's to many more posts and hopefully something on here will be somewhat stimulating and interesting. I guess if nothing else my parents will get a kick out of it so that's not all bad right? Ok so until next time enjoy some good fika.