Posts in the Road Journal series
- Road Journal – Day One
- Road Journal – Day Two
- Road Journal – Day Three
- Road Journal – Day Four
- Road Journal – Day Five
- Road Journal – Day Six
- Road Journal – Day Seven
- Road Journal – Day Eight
Thursday, June 28th
I-40, West of Seligman, Arizona
We just stopped for a potty break in Seligman, which was allegedly the inspiration for the movie, Cars. It’s kind of spooky, actually, how much the main drag reflects the film, or vice-versa, as it were. The town seems to be enjoying the connection. They’ve lined the main street with vintage cars, some of which are painted to look like…
I-40, Kingman, Arizona
…the characters in the film.
Well, it’s my birthday. I’m 31 today. 31 seems like a lame age to me, I dunno why. I guess it’s because 30 felt like such a significant milestone, and 31 just sounds well… older.
I have sort of mixed feelings about spending our birthdays on tour every year. It’s sort of tradition now, but invariably I find myself wishing we were alone, somewhere, near a beach with a couple of fruity drinks with umbrellas in them. Oh well.
All tour long, we’ve been grappling with whether or not we want to continue to provide musical leadership for this group after my paid employment ends on Sunday. Did I mention that next Sunday is my last as a Professional Christian? I may have. Well, anyways, it is.
On one hand, I have a real heart for this ministry. These kids grow a lot in the time they’re in this group, as musicians and in character. Choirs are a dying breed, and I lament that reality, and wish to not go quietly into that not-so-good night. It’s a rare and wonderful thing to see upper middle class suburban teens giving sacrificially of their time and energy. It gives them a little perspective. Parents tell me over and over that they see changes in their kids for the better every time we go out on one of these tours. I happen to know that you really need a unique gift mix to make this work. It requires knowledge of choral and group singing, endless patience for and tolerance for teens, and incredibly low standards for your own personal comfort. The last one has taken me a few years to develop.
I have an advantage in that I participate in the much of the same media they do. I am engaged in pop culture. No Borat reference goes over my head. Sometimes I catch them offguard, as I complete the lyric to Justin Timberlake’s last hit or talk about why I think OSX is superior to Vista, or why I like the Wii vs. Microsoft or Sony’s boxes. I’m basically an overgrown child.
I’m extremely comfortable improvising, making it up as we go. I learned this at APU, and have honed it for years as a worship leader. There is no amount of craziness that can phase me, except perhaps our concert experience yesterday, during which I felt more direct spiritual oppression then any of the other 100+ concerts I have led in my time with this group.
We’ve had some crazy stuff go down. One time, at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, I had a drunk, homeless dude in a wheelchair roll up and start conducting along side me. The kids looked panicked, wondering what I was going to do about it. I, of course, sat down and let him “conduct” them, with a huge grin on my face, until (to my sadness), one of the workers came and removed him, apologizing profusely. I had thought it was kind of sweet, a sincere expression of flattery.
We had two women nearly get into a fistfight just as a concert was starting at a shelter in Oakland last year. I actually think having a 200 pound black woman shouting, “You better sitchoass down and listen to these chillen sing, cause you need Jesus, BITCH!” is a great way to begin. Maybe that’s just me. I just looked at them, cocked an eyebrow to tell them that it was ok, and started the first tune.
In many ways, I was just straight built for this gig, and Erica’s a heck of a wingwoman.
On the other hand, Erica and I have a clear sense that it’s time to focus on three things, and three things only, in order of priority: our marriage, our kids, and our music. Maybe it’s a seasonal thing. Maybe it’s the only ministry we’re supposed to do for the church.
I don’t know. I’ve been praying a lot about it, and have not felt a strong sense about it. I was dead set against doing it again earlier this year, but am feeling like I want to keep doing it now. Erica has reminded me that this is the typical pattern for me with Agape: despise the rehearsals, love the tour.
No matter what, the structure has to change. I’m not committing to Sunday afternoon rehearsals 9 months out of the year. That is simply not going to happen.
Meh. It’s too soon to call, I fear. I need to get through the weekend, log a few miles on the other side, and then reconsider.
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