July 21st, 2004


Personal/Theological Notebook: Recording; Why I Study Theology

Hey folks--This is just a quick note to apologize for those of you who have been asking for an account of my trip: I'm going to get to it in the next day or two, but I needed a bit of down time first, away from it, as it were. And I got totally obsessed in a bit of recording today: look for a new demo of my song "The Right Dreams" to be up tomorrow. So if I owe you a story, mail, or a sustained argument on the proper interpretation of the First Amendment, I promise: I'm getting to it! :-)

In the meantime, I was just responding to a bit of unusual mail where a stranger in Boston wrote and asked why I was studying Theology. I thought I'd toss the paragraph I wrote here as well.

That's it for tonight, so Peace.

Briefly--and I'll only answer in brief right now--the true answer that "God is so cool" is probably best augmented by saying that I'm the kind of person who is always asking questions. And I'm pretty much asking questions about everything, as there's very little that I can't get interested in. When I was a kid, I was mostly drawn to the physical sciences, but as I began to feel that the questions about people were even more interesting, I found myself becoming a student of history during my undergraduate. History seemed to be the best choice as it was more-or-less "the study of everything," with even the history of the sciences coming under that umbrella. It had become evident to me that Christianity was true, and over time those questions--the questions concerning God and our relation to God--were the most fundamental questions of all: they were the questions that gave all other questions their meaning. Next to that, for me, nothing else was particularly worth spending my time on. So while I may not be doing something "profitable" in the business sense of the term, I found that there was nothing that was of such value to my life as to pursue God with my entire being in this way. Anything else would be a waste of a great opportunity--a waste of my life.

Musical: Recording "The Right Dreams"

As I said last night, a new demo recording is now up on the net: "The Right Dreams" is available for a listen here if you have a taste for such things. The one has an odd origin as having been originally conceived--on the musical side of things--as the "outro" to my song "Tunisian Blue." After I'd come up with the lyrics to "Tunisian Blue," though, as Erik Goldschmidt and I were flying back to the States from Tunisia, it no longer seemed to fit. I decided to check it out when I was back in the Bend, so one night when Mark and J.P. were over I played and sang "Tunisian Blue" to them and then moved on to the outro part. Mark, who listens to the lyrics, said it didn't work; J.P., who doesn't listen to lyrics, said it did. And so the outro was scrapped. But I found myself playing it and humming the melody at times, so three years later, I decided to give it life of its own as a song, and this is the form it took.

I've been working on this recording for a few weeks, at first being thrown merely by the tempo (a fairly frantic 166 beats per minute), and after an incredibly obsessive and sweaty day locked in my apartment and recording yesterday, I think it's ready for public consumption. The thing that was very strange about this recording was that this wasn't entirely how I imagined the song when I started recording. I kept being surprised by new directions that the song went in, even though I was the one doing it. When I was recording Life and Other Impossibilities in Nashville, that happened on some songs, but I thought of it more as part of the group dynamic of inspiration. It was sometimes disconcerting to have it happening to me alone. But then, it could be fun, too! Collapse )