Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Why "Indie" Christian Bands Struggle

This isn't a nice post. It's sarcastic and bitter. It's also how I feel. The Jesus lover in me is keenly aware of doing things simply for His glory and that I might get struck by lightning for this rant, but if I'm already thinking it, I might as well put it in writing. Right?

About a year ago a band was invited to do a couple of concerts in San Francisco. "It's strictly ministry." we were told. Ok.?. why else would someone be part of "Christian" band/music ministry? Why did they have to make that disclosure? Maybe to make it clear we wouldn't be getting any money from it. That's not unusual and something we've grown accustomed to.

It was A LOT of work. Not for me. Once all the communications had been made, meetings and details arranged my part is pretty much done. The work is left to my husband and his bandmates. Part of our effort in this outreach meant bringing our truck and trailer into San Francisco. Crazy. Where would we park, unload and park again? If you've ever been to San Francisco you understand what a mess that was. We were told we'd have all the help we needed. Not true. We had a little help but certainly not "all we needed." The "helpers" had a good time catching up with each other, though. That was nice. It was an unusually warm day for San Francisco and my husband (and other band members) were hot, sweaty and tired and they hadn't even started playing/singing.
Yup-MHR band sets all that up before most every show.

Don't get me wrong...once the music started it was great! People were stopping in the middle of the Embarcadero Center and Union Square just to hear what was going on and hearing about Jesus in word and music. I know God was at work that day.
Mars Hill Revisited at Union Square, San Francisco
We were only one part of the three music ministries taking part. The other groups offered no assistance. They used all our equipment and didn't help at all. What? Where's the community in that? No wonder independent bands struggle. (At least it wasn't as bad as the guy who "helped" our band and then promoted his own band during the break.) I just don't get it. In fact, it just makes me mad.

Seven years of one to two weekly practices, loading and unloading the trailers. It's not for the faint of heart. It's for those who feel they are fulfilling a ministry that God has put in their hearts to do. It's only by His grace, mercy, and strength that an indie Christian band can continue for that long.

After a while is it any wonder the "Christian" music industry is stuck in the hamster wheel of music. You've got your gold category on radio and the worship bands that are now writing music for churches. Who's taking the music to the people in San Francisco that need to hear a message but refuse to step inside a church? And how can indie bands even consider going into the cities if they have no support? No wonder independent bands get burn-out and quit.

I love concerts as much as anyone! I'm not knocking it....I'm just saying the family who wants to bring their neighbor to a Chris Tomlin concert can't afford the $40 ticket to cover the promoters $45,000 budget he needs just to break even. So, they try and invite their friends to their church barbecue. That's not awkward at all. People crowding the new guy wondering how long it will take for him to make the famous "walk to the front with all heads bowed and all eyes closed."

This is just a rant. An anecdotal story I'm sure no one else understands but those in the thick of it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Guest Post by My Husband, Will Clark

I've never done a guest post before, but I've read a lot of them. So here's my first and perhaps my last. Will originally created this as a status update on his Facebook Page but I loved it so much I had to share it with you.

Yesterday Elaine Clark and I spent some time helping our 8th grade daughter decide what classes she will take in High School! This is one of those days you think is so far away when you're buying diapers and car seats, only to turn around and find that the little girl whose crib you used to lay next to so you could hear the beautiful sound of her breathing as she slept is now taller than her mother and strong enough to lift her 220 lb daddy a foot off the ground. As we sat there strategizing about her high school classes, thinking ahead to college admissions and hopes and dreams, I couldn't help but appreciate how beautiful the moment was, and how beautiful the girl is. Yet there was also a tension in my bones, the subtle unease generated by the heart of a protective father who sees on the other side of this transitional benchmark the inevitable reality of the harsh toils and troubles of this world. This paradoxical experience, the mixture of joy and heartache had by every caring parent, awakens within us the reality that we live our lives for these moments when we can look back at what we've done, observe where we are now, and plan for what we're going to do next. The past teaches us nothing if not that we must plan for the future while adapting to the present. We must be adept at both the planning and the adapting. Fifteen years of working in a manufacturing environment and 13 years of being a father has provided me with a wealth of experience at this kind of thinking. So as we filled out the forms, talked about high school and planned for the future, I gave my little girl four pieces of advice: 1) Faith: You can't neglect your spiritual self without consequence in the physical, mental, and emotional. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. 2) Friendships: The kind of friends you choose is almost as important as the kind of friend you choose to be. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Choose your friends wisely. The right people will respect you for doing the right things. 3) Work Ethic: Learn how to work hard, to persevere, to set goals and then achieve them resourcefully. Plan well, adapt brilliantly. 4) Choices: Think about consequences and rewards. Delayed gratification is the "secret" of most successful people. Never dig a hole with a tractor that must be refilled with a shovel. Never make permanent decisions in temporary circumstances.

So there you what you will with this insight. Maybe his advice for our daughter is something you needed as well.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Our (Mini) Trip to Fort Bragg 2012

One of the things the kids remember about Fort Bragg was that at a restaurant we visited, there was a fly in the salt shaker. That pretty much sums up their opinion of the place. The beach was pretty but it was too cold to really enjoy the water.

All in all it was a quick trip and the memories we made were the most important part.

Shutterfly photo books are the new way to preserve your memories. Create your own today.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Stitch Fix

 I hate shopping. I don't like trying things on, I hate finding the perfect shoes and accessories. I just don't like it.

That's why I was so excited when I heard about Stitch Fix.
You fill out a "style profile"

You enter your height and weight and get as detailed as to whether your arms, torso, hips, etc. are short, average or long.

Then it shows you samples of particular styles and you tell them if you like some or most or love it. 

Then comes the big day! The day your "Fix" arrives!
Inside you'll find a note that doubles as your invoice from your stylist. Five items that usually includes one accessory are neatly packaged.

I'm on my third fix. You get charged a $20 stylist fee that gets applied to what you keep! What you don't want gets sent back in a postage paid envelope. It's so easy and for those who love to shop but don't have time it's just as exciting. I know because that's my sister and she loves it too!

This is a sample in what came today. 
This is pretty but I just got one in my last fix that's's dark too but with birds instead of polka dots.

This one surprised me. I love it. I thought the detail would have made it too bulky, but it was perfect. 
Each item also comes with a helpful card with descriptions of the item. It's beautiful.

I absolutely loved the next blouse! It was exactly what I was looking for in this fix. However, the lack of give/stretch in the fabric made it very uncomfortable. So sad!! 

Finally, you get to tell Stith Fix what you're keeping and why and what you're not keeping and why. This is a critical step because they will review this for the next time you request a fix. You can request it at any time or you can have it delivered monthly.

If you decide you would like to try it out, I encourage you to click on the links throughout my post...if you sign up you will likely be put on a waiting list. Once you get your first fix ordered I get a $25 credit. You can get the same thing for anyone who signs up with your link as well. Trust me, I've had plenty of comments and opportunities to share my love for Stitch Fix

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

School Called (Kind of)

This post is a response to my recent moment at the pulpit, where I shared that social media can often make people feel inadequate because of all the "successes and praises" that people share.

I thought I'd share one of those things that rarely gets mentioned on social media. Those things we aren't proud of but happen every day! I'll go first and maybe you'd like to chime in on your [not so] shining moments as a parent.

I went to pick up the little guys from school today and encountered the teacher of my older son. They had their annual swim day so I asked if my son came home with his towel. She said, "I don't know, but did he tell you what happened at the pool?"

"No." I replied, "What happened?"

Pride started welling up inside me. "I bet he jumped in to help someone who was struggling in the pool," I thought. I even stood taller as she began to share the story.

Isaac had been in the bathroom with a group of boys who were attempting to flush someone's underwear down the toilet.  

As each word exited her lips, my shoulders slumped a little more.

No- he didn't actually participate in the flushing, but became "guilty by association" for being in there while it happened.


That's it. My shame for the day. What else is there to say?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Friend Indeed

I have an amazing friend.
Though many miles separate us, she has always been a blessing! Always making an effort to call me despite my lack of reciprocation. Not because I don't want to call her, but because I feel I have nothing new or exciting to say. My life is boring. Busy but boring.

I can't count the amount how many times I've called her and her first response is, "what's wrong?" She knew. She just knew I needed her friendship.

For a week she has been on my heart. I passed her old house and didn't call. I saw her mom in an old photo and didn't call. I found an old picture of us together from days gone by and I STILL didn't call her. I told my husband I needed to call had been to long since hearing her voice and STILL didn't call her. All within seven days. What is wrong with me?

Finally, this afternoon I called her. What a joy welled up inside me, hearing her voice. I may not have had anything new or exciting to share with her, but maybe it wasn't about me. Maybe she needed to know that I was thinking about her. How was she to know I'd been thinking and praying for her for a week? I had to tell her!

My prayer life often is lacking for a similar reason. I don't have anything needy or pressing to share with God. But he already knows the details of my life. Is it possible that he just wants to know that we know? He just wants our attention. He simply wants us to want Him.

This song makes me think of her every time! I love it and I love her!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hands and Feet for the McGowan Family

Sometimes stories come our way and we think, "how sad," offer up a quick prayer and move on with our day.

I get it! I'm right there with you.

Today was different. I was struck with the story of Ryan McGowan. In part because I went to high school with his mommy, in part because his big eyes gripped my heart.

We can never imagine the pain and heartache a family deals with minute by minute when dealing with a sick child. We may not know how to help or what to say.

How about being the hands and feet of Jesus in a tangible way? There are countless hospital costs, hotel charges, meals on the road, etc.

I'm sure every dollar matters to their family. Please click the link to the left and help however you can! I know they will be grateful. If you can't give financially, please pray. Not just a quick prayer but commit to praying ever day for their entire family as they trudge through this time!

Thank you

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