Thursday, April 27, 2006

time's a revelator...

I've spent the last 8 or so months in my house with a sort of mystery looming over my head. My roomates and I have sat in our curtainless living room wondering why in the heck the house across the street was visited by a plethora of strange cars all throughout the day and evening. We've had our speculations; brothel, crack house to the middle class, off-track betting ring. You know, shady stuff. We've schemed as to how to find out such as walking across the street, knocking on the door and saying, "Uh, I'm here for the...uh...", hold out some cash, and hope they fill in the blanks. But today, it was all made clear.

Keith, Scott, and I sat by the window and watched as two people walked into the front yard. My first thought was, "Is that a nun?!?" but I quickly realized she was wearing an apron of the beautician variety. A quick search of the yellow pages revealed a salon at the address across the street. What do you know...I kind of hoped it was a crack house to the middle class.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Honkeytonk Badonkadonk.

Wildhorse week is in full swing here in Nashville. Randy and the band, of which I am one, played our first show tonight to a surprisingly active and receptive audience. We were encouraged by the response and by the way we played together on our first time out. I was encouraged by the fact that I passed myself off as a country guitarist for three hours and that we got done earlier than expected. To me, playing country is sort of like swimming in Jello. You can do it, it's fun because you're swimming in Jello, but you're not really that good at it and certainly can't do it for very long. Ok, so maybe that's not the best example. What I'm saying is I'm a fake when it comes to country and I've never had to fake it for as long as I had to tonight and it went better than I thought it could.

The air is pleasantly cool tonight, lying under the windows in my living room. Our air conditioning blows, but not in the way that it should, and I've slept on my bare mattress for the last two weeks to aleviate the heat. Our landlady has ordered us a new air compressor to hopefully fix the problem. I feel a slight sense of irony over this as it was the air compressor that exploded and burned my last residence down. Fun times. Seriously, it was kind of fun. I can explain sometime if anyone really wants to know why.

You know when you get pre-occupied with something and it makes you worry about insignificant things? This isn't something I normally deal with but right now I feel a bit elsewhere. I don't really like carrying things around like this but I don't really feel like I have any other options. Sorry for being vague. I initially thought about the title of my blog, that sometimes I'm better off not saying anything, which has often been a long-standing policy of mine and not one I care for. But I guess that's out of context. The quote it comes from reads, "I will walk without noise, I will open the door in darkness, and I will." It's from Jonathan Safran Foer's "Everything is Illuminated" and implies a sort of silent obligation which was the whole appeal in the first place. I like the idea of working life and its impending uncertainty with total willingness. It implies a degree of humilty I could pray to one day possess.

Feel free to come see us at the Wildhorse this week. Thursday from 8 til close and Friday from 7 till close. Cheers!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Mr. Whit Goes to Washington...

I finally got connected to the internet after a few days web isolation. It's not that I can't live without the internet but for once, I actually needed to check my email something important, which as of right now, hasn't come. Oh well.

So, I'm in Richmond, helping a friend lead worship at the training center for the International Mission Board. Getting here was a bit of an ordeal as my traveling companion never really confirmed the flight information and when we arrived at the airport at what was believed to be the appropriate time, we discovered our flight had already left. Fun times. They moved us onto a flight through Dallas, which makes perfect sense, and we eventually landed in Norfolk, about five hours late. It was all pretty funny, really.

I went to Washington yesterday and spent some much needed time of solitude wandering the mall. I stopped in at the new World War II memorial, paying homage to people such as my grandfather who understood courage and honor in a way my nihilistic and narcissistic generation could never understand. I felt inspired standing in memorial of people who fought for something important, for life and its integrity. My grandfather was in the Air Force, was shot down twice and received the Purple Heart for his service; we miss him.

After a couple of hours seeing all things related to the mall on Washington, I went to the National Geographic Museum and saw a fascinating exhibit on the Gospel of Judas. There was also this great photographic journal about the restoration of the North Western Archipelago of Hawaii; basically the part of the islands tourists don't go. The photographers took portraits of the wildlife, from crustaceans and fish to birds and the such, in the same way portraits of people are taken. Basically, they were isolated behind some kind of solid background and photographed. It was one of those moments in which I was completely taken in by creation; truly remarkable.

On another note, I confirmed some summer plans yesterday. I am official going on the road with Plumb for close to thirty shows in May and June, starting May 3 and ending June 24th. I'm excited and a bit anxious as I've never been out on the road for that long before. It'll be fun but I've got a lot to do between now and then. That being said, if you read this and want to hang out next week before I leave, let me know. Cheers!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

Today is Easter and I am lying on the couch in my house with the windows open because our air conditioning is busted. This is the first time I’ve ever spent the holiday away from my family but another family was kind enough to take me in and serve me lunch. I’m not really feeling separation anxiety or anything, especially considering I was home last weekend. If anything, it marks a new stage of independence in my life which is certainly exciting.

I’ve spent much of the day thinking about Easter, the theology behind it all, and its significance to my faith as a Christian. I guess that’s what you do on Easter every year, but this year, I couldn’t help but feel a sort of regret over the way I often treat today. Every year, I devote all kinds of thought, time, and money to Christmas, to birthdays, to myself in general and I think; Is Easter not worthy of the fullest of my attention? Without Easter, my faith would be nothing! I would be better off living as a nihilist passed out in somebody’s pool. I would certainly be hopeless.

But today is the day of my hope! Not that this day in particular is special from any other but the reminder is certainly beneficial and extremely valid. It’s nice to have a day in which I am constantly reminded of the hope I have been given. Death is certain and life would certainly be pointless if I did not have faith in something better, faith in purpose, in love and in hope. I received victory over this hopeless death in Christ and his triumph over death. This is not a celebration fit for candies and greeting cards; this is a celebration of abundant life!

I will always be amazed at the incomprehensible means by which this life has occurred. That a man could be abandoned by the vast majority of his friends and supporters, be offered up to the government as a criminal on par with a murderer and a terrorist. That he could be beat, mocked, and hung naked for the whole world to see. But it says in the Bible that God will not be mocked and even death would be limit for a man that would pay the debt for all of humankind’s inequities. “Sin has lost its power, death has lost its sting,” we sang today in church. How encouraging this is, that Christ would endure what he did, not for us, but for His glory, and in His love remove the debt that would keep us from God. I’ll repeat that. Christ died for because it was the method through which God would show His glory, not directly to save us. Our salvation is the result of Christ becoming a sacrifice and paying the debt for our sin. But God’s glory is the ultimate goal here, even in our salvation. We were never the point but God has chosen us to be redeemed, to be His hands and feet so that God may be glorified. Again, it’s all about God and His glory. A guy I know named David Platt once said, “If God is infinitely good and fully love, then the most loving thing he could do is give us himself.” Well said.

Why is it people of faith regard Christmas in the way that they do, as opposed to Easter, a day that should mean so much more to us? Is it because the whole world accepts Christmas, making the celebration easier? What would people do if we began treating Easter the same, or better yet, out did it? It is my sincere hope that I fully realize the gravity of Christ’s sacrifice and that Easter no longer live in the shadow of a day like Christmas, as great as that day is. Maybe then I will get it all the more. May I leave you with this lyric from a chorus my church closed our service with today. Blessings to all on a truly joyous and remarkable occasion!

“I praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead.” Amen.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

it's a nice day for a....

Well, it wasn't exactly a white wedding, but a wedding none-the-less and it was lovely. The blessed union of Eloise Stiles and Robert Blalock went through without a hitch; well, maybe just one. It was the shortest wedding I've ever been to, about five minutes; just the vows and the rings. It was short and sweet, as they say, and it was about freaking time.

Eloise, my grandmother, and Robert first met when they were in high school. For reasons I'm still not sure of, my grandmother ran off with my grandfather shortly there after. Many years later, after my father was married, my grandparents devorced, and Eloise and Robert found themselves together again and have been for what I guess is about the last 25 years. Hence the, "about freaking time" comment.

The drive home from Florida was something of an act of God. If anyone remembers the storms this past Friday night, I had the blessed fortune of driving from Pensacola to Chattanooga through the middle of it all. Dad told me to drive home through Atlanta to get ahead of the storm, which I did, and missed all kinds of tornados by a matter of minutes.

On the plus side, I love driving and while driving 7 hours through the night in the middle of a huge storm is not necessarily someone's idea of a good time, it is mine. I love to drive; it makes me think and leaves me refreshed, despite not getting home until 4:30 in the morning.

Home was also nice. I haven't been in forever and it was good to get time with my family, get outside for hike, and the such. Chattanooga is a beautiful place, for those who have never been, and I like to be reminded of that from time to time. We went for a hike to this place called Edward's Point (see picture) which has a remarkable view of the river and the Chattanooga valley. Dad and I rented Good Night and Good Luck, easily one of the best movies I've seen in a long time, and stopped to see the only Frank Lloyd Wright house in the state of Tennessee, which is apparently only two minutes drive from my parents. It's a pretty cool house, so I believe I'll post a picture of that as well. Notice the cantilevered carport, which is kind of visible to the right. Also, the trim is not wood but rather poured concrete. I don't know why the sudden interest in Wright but I think this is fascinating.

Finally, my friend Scott gave me some sweet Sharpie tattoos last night. In case these pictures aren't clear enough, one's a bald eagle riding a harley and wailing on a guitar. Notice the flag, the lightning bolts, and the flames. Sweet. The other is an homage of sorts to Dale Earndhart. Part of me is sad this will come off in the shower and the rest of me is grateful I don't have to live with this. Cheers!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

the rubber and the road

I had to get new tires today. Why is it that every time you get something done to your car they find some kind of impending catastrophe you need repaired? This time it’s suspension; does that mean car will eventually collapse onto the highway only to skid into some ditch and my demise? I certainly hope not. My hope is, rather, that new tires will provide me with a bit of stability and safety until I can get rid of my car, which is hopefully soon.

I sat in my living room this morning with another hope, that my father would call and upon hearing I was getting new tires today, would offer to buy them for me. And being the remarkable father he is, he did call and he did offer. I, of course, clung to my pride with white knuckles and declined, but simply the fact that he offered brings me comfort knowing my father is still very much my father.

I do the same to my mom. Whenever we talk, I fully expect her to ask various questions that considerately pry into my life. I rarely share details and her poking into my social life, as well as my friends, reminds that she is still my mother, still interested, and still loves me, no matter how closed she might perceive me to be.

I find it all to be funny but endearing.

The reasoning for new tires is that I have to drive to Pensacola this evening for a gig. Tomorrow, the guys and I will play twice and then I have to drive through the night to Chattanooga where my folks live. My grandmother, Eloise Stiles, is marrying her long-time boyfriend, Robert, on Saturday morning. I know him far better than I knew my actual grandfather, despite the fact he lived until the end of my high school years; I guess this has been a long time coming. It’s also my first time home since Christmas and I’m excited about it.

I guess that’s about it for now. Everyone have a good weekend. Get outside, go see a movie. Try Slither, it’s hilarious. Cheers!