Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I'm reading Barack Obama's book The Audacity of Hope. I bought it on a flight to see my family at Christmas a few weeks ago. I hadn't planned to read it, but the F. Paul Wilson novel I'd brought with me turned out to be one I'd read already, and -- as it's a series -- it made no sense to read it again (yet). So, I found myself staring at the man of the hour on the cover of this tastefully minimal paperback cover. Sure, why not? Maybe I'll see what all the fuss is about.

I did not vote for Obama. I am one of the most cynical people I know. My trust in government faded a long time ago. I had been certain, during the campaign, that Obama was just a prop for the Democratic Party and, in spite of the cool factor of himself and his wife, and the historical impact of a black man running for President in America, it was all just a papier-mâché hat to go with the tired old slogans. Then I started the book.

I'm not one of those who has trouble saying I was wrong. I have to do it a lot. I am also not easily lied to. It's unusual for someone to lie to me without my knowing it. I can't explain how, but I sense it. What I found in Obama's book was the most refreshingly honest assessment of the tired politics of this country that I've ever read. He is an eloquent man, not just charismatic. I know good writing, and he has a gift. But I was struck mostly by the clear statement of what he believed about the potential for Americans to do great things, a power that has been gathering dust for a long time. I found myself agreeing with him on page after page. I began to be suspicious that I was being played by the author. He is, after all, a politician. But further reading only brought more agreement.

I am not a liberal. That's why I didn't vote for a Democrat, even though I always found Obama to be a likable guy. I vote on ideology when I can. McCain's campaign was a disaster, by any measure. I admire him greatly, but it was painful to watch him reciting his scripts. I thought his concession speech was the most gracious and supportive of any I've ever heard (given over the rude behavior of many in the crowd). Honestly, I thought his best face through the entire campaign was the one he wore that night. Sad.

Obama is a sharp politician, better than Clinton I think. And as distasteful as it is for me to say this, sometimes that is a good thing. One of the arguments we always have is over the balance of power in Washington and what color (red or blue) is the Congress. Recalling American Government 101, the President doesn't really "run" the country, though we all fall into that kind of thinking. A President's most important job, the one he (or she, someday) must do well is to lead by example, to cheer on the hopes of the people, to inspire us to pitch in and participate to get the job done. None of that happens if we distrust and oppose our government. That's the problem Obama is talking about in the book. And it's a problem I believe he is more than capable of fixing. It's one he started fixing a year ago when his campaign exploded with volunteers and donations. Now I find myself, like millions of others I once thought were "drinking the koolaid," to be hopeful. I can't wait to see him sworn in today. I am expecting great things from Barack Obama.

By the way, Max Lucado is calling for prayers today. Consider joining us.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as expressed in one of his most famous speeches, looked forward to a day when a man would be judged by the content of his character instead of the color of his skin. Though some who continue to operate under the mantle Dr. King was asked to wear contend that there is still much to do, I think much of what Dr. King longed to see has come.

I was born in south Mississippi in the 50s. That was a culture where the "N" word was the accepted vernacular for any dark-skinned person. I used it too. I remember a time, around first grade when I first realized that it was a word that could be used to hurt people. My family moved to Arkansas a couple of years later and as the 60s began to turn everything upside down, we struggled to let go of that word and the kind of thinking that went with it. My dad went along with the change too and taught me that God, who made us all and sent His Son Jesus to die for us all, judges us all alike. He would often remark that "there are 'good' and 'bad' in every race." That was his way, I think, of teaching me that racism was wrong and I'm glad he did.

There's a million things I could say and that have been said about this business of race and I'm just writing a blog entry, so I'll let it go with this...

Our country has a shameful mark on its history. We may never be able to look at each other without the shadow of that shared memory filtering the space between us. But considering Barack Obama will become our President this week, from my perspective, our culture has come a long, long way. And I'm happy to have seen it.

Friday, January 16, 2009


A little backstory first... I'm a performing musician -- guitar, mostly. Used to write a lot, but that's a post for another day. Spent a lot of years gigging "on the side" and a few years making my living at it. (That's me at Kerrville, Memorial Day 2000) Now to the present, where I devote all my music time to praise and worship music in mostly contemporary settings for my church (PBC) and related venues. It's something I was meant to do. And where I do it mostly (see previous link) has a very controlled and highly organized approach to rehearsals that I sometimes find antiseptic. Well, I used to. I've come to realize, after a number of alternate venues that hailed back to my earlier, less structured days, that the way the folks at PBC do it is a real treat.

I'm usually the guy mouthing off (mostly for comic relief). Guess now I'll have to find another outlet for my sarcastic wit. Maybe I'll write a blog...

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Blogging? How ridiculous.

Blogging epitomizes the n
arcissistic "reality" culture in which I live. So, here I am. Heaven help me.