Thursday, May 21, 2009


I woke up yesterday morning to colorful post-it notes on my bedside table reminding me that life is shorter than it used to be. I followed them around the apartment, they were everywhere; the bathroom mirror, the coffee maker, the computer, wishing me a happy birthday and showering me with compliments. These were courtesy of my lovely wife, of course. As I type this I'm looking at a neon green post-it note next to the computer that says "You are really good at what you do. <3"
I know, right? Lucky me.

This birthday has been strange for me. Last year was different. As I turned twenty-five there was a record ready to be released and I was in love with our new direction. We had plans as a band. Slowly we watched our hard work crumble as the label lost interest, we lost one of our managers, a booking agent, a publishing deal and our A&R person. Now we're in limbo a year later, with very little earthly reward for our hard work. Not that I care much about material things in general, but there's a natural want in a man to make a name for himself, to support and provide for his loved ones, to do something that his peers respect. It's tough to come home empty handed six week tour after six week tour. Talk about leaving it all out on stage. But when those are gone you realize the six week tours are blessings and that life can be much harder without them.

So here I am after twenty six years on this earth wondering what I've done with my life. Have I wasted potential? Have I missed opportunity? Probably, and that is what frustrates me about time. It only moves in one direction, once its gone, its gone. Life is much shorter than it used to be and much more difficult. However, I find myself completely satisfied when I thank God for my blessings.

I have a beautiful wife who happens to be my best friend, and who happens to understand how crazy I am and loves me anyways. She listens to me ramble, laughs when I'm sarcastic and makes compromises without batting an eye. We are truly in love and for that I am thankful. We are poor by societies standards, but we eat three meals a day and good ones at that. We have a place to call home in a neighborhood we love. We have friends who love us in a community of like-minded people. We have hobbies we enjoy together. We both long to be more like Jesus, and we both fall short, but we do it together. I can hardly believe we've been married four years, sometimes I still feel like an obsessed teenager around her.

Gratitude is what makes my life better. The choice is mine; I can think of all the things I have not accomplished in twenty six years, or I can think of what I've been blessed with. I've lived long enough to know that when you live a life aware of your blessings, you are more apt to bless those around you. The small stage I've been given for my art is an incredible blessing, one that most musicians never experience. Sure, it doesn't pay the bills, and sometimes (I'll be honest) it does seem like a waste of time, but whenever I step back I am incredibly grateful to have made it this far. When I take a step even further back to take a look at the grand scheme of things, if even one person is blessed by our music than it makes it all worthwhile. What matters on this earth is not what people think of you or what you accomplish for yourself, but what you do for others. 

I am reminded of my own lyrics from a song I wrote six years ago: "I have come to the realization that life is more than what I have accomplished, and life is more than the realization that we have accomplished nothing at all." 

Its funny how I keep learning the same lesson over and over. I never would have dreamed this life ten years ago, but here I am living it. I am blessed.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Human Knowledge

Scientists are funny. They're always throwing around numbers too big to fathom and spewing units of time too long to comprehend. They speak as if their meager calculations and estimates are fact; 450 million years this, 150 thousand light years that. How petty and insignificant is the dawn of man compared to the vast and timeless universe. Even the simplest cell is far beyond the limits of human ingenuity. A very basic yeast cell contains as many components as a Boeing 777. Even if we could fit a Boeing 777 into a microscopic cell, we could never convince it to replicate itself and multiply as all cells do. Yet people devote their lives in some fatalistic attempt to understand it all, and once they settle on their answers they quickly start to lobby for their beliefs. This peculiar condition is not found in any other living creature. It is inherently human.

The fact is we can scientifically prove very little of anything, yet we still search desperately for the absolutes. It's odd that in the face of such staggering confusion every human being longs to know ultimate truth. It is almost as if we have this ancient memory of a time when we understood the truth, but now there is just a void where it once was. It is as if we're all desperately trying to fill truths void with principles, morals, science, religion and meaning. We long for something we've never experienced, but for some reason our hearts still cry out to know these great mysteries. Unfortunately, human instinct counts for very little in human science.

To me, at least cerebrally, the human need for truth and justice could be used as evidence of some inkling of the existence of ultimate truth (and with ultimate anything, there is an ultimate source). Could the source of our desires be from an ultimate designer? Some bearer of truth seeding our lives with a longing to know "it"? Would that be too far off base for any mainstream scientists to imagine? I may have limited scientific knowledge, but to me the idea that our universe was created by an intelligent force seems as reasonable an occurrence as anything that happens on the molecular level. With all we do not know, why is it so hard for the science community to theorize about the possibility of intelligent design? Is it because the whole idea would put Darwinian science books out of date? Possibly. Personally, the belief that this majestic, infinite, intricate, artful and completely functioning universe is a fluke accident requires much more faith, and seems much less probable than the belief in the existence of a creator. Considering that 99% of the species that have lived on our own tiny planet remain undiscovered, who are we to rule out any theories of things unseen? Are we not to trust our instincts, our notions or our convictions? Are we only to rely on the sense of sight? Even so, if you look around you'll find confusing and fascinating things that can only truly be explained with intelligent design. Modern science refers to this idea as a costly cop-out and one that would hinder the industry. It flies in the face of conventional science. It might ruin the common requirement for hard evidence in any field (when in reality certain theories are taken quite simply as fact on a regular basis already). I refer to the idea of a creator as a peaceful submission to a much more probable explanation based on both things seen and felt. On top of the hard evidence within creation, shouldn't we also hypothesize using our instincts and our nature? I suppose the evidence within ones life will never count for much in a textbook, but to me "the proof is in the pudding," so to speak. Darwin's evolution just doesn't answer enough questions, not even for science.

Why else do we cling so desperately to our metaphysical principles? Why else do we care? We all want to know the truth, and when we think we find it through science or faith or both, we tend to parade it around. Deep down we know that every human longs for it. We all want validation. We want the majority to agree with us so we can have assurance that what we believe is true. In this sense, everyone develops a sort of religion. Even atheists will try to convert and indoctrinate followers, sometimes more diligently than any church. I think our need for validation is based out of the fear that perhaps we're wrong. As much as we like to give lip service to the idea of everyone being right in their own way, there is something in our nature that screams, "There is only one truth and many lies!" It seems burned into our genetics. Once we've claimed the "truth" we try to fix everyone else's "lies." Maybe there is truth. Maybe there is a piece missing that perfectly fits that void in your life. I say maybe, but for me it is fact.

Some of you know my back story. I had a real life-changing experience when I felt the love of Jesus. This had nothing to do with stacking up evidence or studying the possibilities of Jesus or God. I saw evidence in my life and my heart. I watched as I became someone completely unlike myself overnight (this is not to say I am no longer a pain in the ass, its just to say that now I know when and why I am being one). I changed very thoroughly from my encounter, and that cannot be explained by science in any way. So naturally, I'm quicker than your average person to believe in the unseen world. However, I've never been a natural at faith, so for my minds sake I've done plenty of scientific research on the matter. The truth is you don't have to be an idiot to believe in God. In fact many of the worlds most famous scientists believed in the possibility of God, including Newton, Galileo and Einstein. On the contrary, I would question the creativity, objectivity and thoroughness of anyone who completely rejects the idea of a higher power. Most of all, I would question their motives.