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6/30/2005

MANDY PATINKIN MOSTLY DEAD

Mandy265Mandy Patinkin (aka Inigo Montoya of "The Princess Bride") thanked the woman profusely for saving his life as my wife and her sisters looked on from their nearby table yesterday. Apparently Mr.Patinkin had choked on his lunch at Louie's in Manhattan and was snatched from the hands of Death by a five-fingered stranger familiar with Dr.Heimlich's maneuver.

At first the compassionate good Samaritan struggled to dislodge the lunch special from Mr.Patinkin's golden throat. Yet the stranger stayed calm, even smiling at times, causing Mr.Patinkin to ask, "Why are you smiling?"

"Because I know something you don't know," replied the hero,"I am not left handed."

Switching to his right, the stranger effortlessly forced up Mandy's meal to the applause of strangers throughout the eatery. Louie, the stranger and Mr.Patinkin were not available for comment.

Mr.Patinkin has given the world a handful of shlocky (not shloggy) CDs over the years but made up for it by first speaking the quotable one-liners "You keep using this word. I don't think it means what you think it means" and "You killed my father. Prepare to die." Mr.Patinkin, we're glad you're alive. Shalom.

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PSALM 104 (THE ZOO SONG)

kids

O my soul, bless GOD!
GOD, my God, how great you are!
beautifully, gloriously robed,
Dressed up in sunshine,
and all heaven stretched out for your tent.

iguana

You built your palace on the ocean deeps,
made a chariot out of clouds and took off on wind--wings.
You commandeered winds as messengers,
appointed fire and flame as ambassadors.
You set earth on a firm foundation
so that nothing can shake it, ever.
You blanketed earth with ocean,
covered the mountains with deep waters;
Then you roared and the water ran away--
your thunder crash put it to flight.
Mountains pushed up, valleys spread out
in the places you assigned them.
You set boundaries between earth and sea;
never again will earth be flooded.
You started the springs and rivers,
sent them flowing among the hills.

snake

All the wild animals now drink their fill,
wild donkeys quench their thirst.
Along the riverbanks the birds build nests,
ravens make their voices heard.
You water the mountains from your heavenly cisterns;
earth is supplied with plenty of water.
You make grass grow for the livestock,
hay for the animals that plow the ground.

turtle

Oh yes, God brings grain from the land,
wine to make people happy,
Their faces glowing with health,
a people well-fed and hearty.
GOD's trees are well-watered--
the Lebanon cedars he planted.
Birds build their nests in those trees;
look--the stork at home in the treetop.
Mountain goats climb about the cliffs;
badgers burrow among the rocks.

brushgoat

The moon keeps track of the seasons,
the sun is in charge of each day.
When it's dark and night takes over,
all the forest creatures come out.
The young lions roar for their prey,
clamoring to God for their supper.
When the sun comes up, they vanish,
lazily stretched out in their dens.
Meanwhile, men and women go out to work,
busy at their jobs until evening.

leviathan

What a wildly wonderful world, GOD!
You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.
Oh, look--the deep, wide sea,
brimming with fish past counting,
sardines and sharks and salmon.
Ships plow those waters,
and Leviathan, your pet dragon, romps in them.

All the creatures look expectantly to you
to give them their meals on time.
You come, and they gather around;
you open your hand and they eat from it.
If you turned your back,
they'd die in a minute--
Take back your Spirit and they die,
revert to original mud;
Send out your Spirit and they spring to life--
the whole countryside in bloom and blossom.

gresham

The glory of GOD-let it last forever!
Let GOD enjoy his creation!
He takes one look at earth and triggers an earthquake,
points a finger at the mountains, and volcanoes erupt.
Oh, let me sing to GOD all my life long,
sing hymns to my God as long as I live!
Oh, let my song please him;
I'm so pleased to be singing to GOD.
But clear the ground of sinners--
no more godless men and women!
O my soul, bless GOD!


(From THE MESSAGE translation)

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6/29/2005

THE WORK OF CHILDREN

My wife took the week off - from us, me and our two oldest kids. She lifted off two days ago to visit her sister in New York, eat anything she wants whenever she wants and sleep far more than anyone beyond college should. She'll be chowing on Junior Mints at a movie for the first time in months and savoring leisurely conversations about nothing weighty without the threat of whining or diaper changing to break the pace. She'll do no dishes, cook no meals, buy no groceries, declare no time-outs, clean no clothes and tidy no rooms. She's free to do nothing or everything she wants. It's Becky's week of jubilee.

And I'm walking in her shoes while she's away. Learning not to work. Learning how to be a kid again. My computer gets little face time. My cell phone isn't charged. And my butt hasn't hit a seat except to take in the usual episode of Sesame Street in the morning and Clifford The Big Red Dog in the afternoon.

I'm surprisingly good at being juvenile.

bowlfaceThe kids and I (Gabriella 4, Gresham 2) rolled out of bed a little later than usual this morning. And instead of a healthy flack seed and raisin cereal from the whole-food store wetted with soy milk (blech!) we took a field trip to the Donut Palace to learn about how Daddy ate when he was a kid. We stuffed our faces with chocolate donuts, the ones with jumbo sprinkles on top, and chased them down with some sprite.

Of course a resourceful kid who's good at her job can always find something to do with an unnecessary cereal bowl.

slide1And after the sugar hit our bloodstream we needed somewhere to run around. So we put on clothes that didn't match at all and headed to kid Heaven: Pump It Up. (Send free Pump It Up passes to POBox 680055, Franklin, TN 37068) This place takes the moonwalk blow-up box from the carnies of my youth, adds more color than a Toby Mac show and boosts it by a couple stories, creating the biggest softest easiest way to spend an hour with two kids in Nashville. And parents are allowed to play too.

slide2Though most parents today stood in clusters complaining about their husbands or the job market. Too tethered to cell phones or their age to get on all fours and do the work of children. Truth is for most of us old folks play is the hardest work - work that's avoided. But for now it's work I can't wait to wake up to.

Tomorrow Gabriella's promised to paint my nails blue and silver before we hit the Zoo and maybe the mall's carousel, with pretzels in hand of course. The next day maybe an art museum or a puppet show, or maybe we'll just sit around in our underwear eating Cheetos and watching videos or playing with Gresham's extensive collection of Matchbox cars. There's no dress code with this job. And no need to act my age.

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6/28/2005

DESIRE

After Man's aspirations to trump God's I.Q. tripped him into mortality, God mercifully spared him and Woman but left them forever changed. Cursed. Man's work became a tiresome burden and Woman writhed with agony as she pushed life from her body. Those were their yokes to bear alone. But they shared a curse as well; the curse of ambition and desire.

Genesis 3:16 God said to Woman, "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

80763-27Her desire to overthrow man is punishment for trying to overthrow God. This appetite for dominance paces like a lion within her, a bent lust for control born reaching out in attempts to subdue and undermine, to lure and drag around by the mind or heart. But instead of ruling she is ruled.

She is even ruled by theologians today who've argued that these words from God describe His ideal for the relationship today between Man and Woman - her under his thumb, him snapping his fingers to bend her will to his own. He is the ruler. She is the subject. "God said so."

But we are to "aim for perfection" today, for relationships and living resembling the days before the bite was taken and the heart of God broken (2 Corinthians 13:11). Man and Woman honored, loved, cared for, partnered with each other. Equals. Ambition is the puddle Man and Woman both fell into but don't have to stay in. Yet Go was right, the feud for superiority continues. It is the creature devouring both sexes, all cultures, from within.

"Your DESIRE," God says.

Man and Woman feel rejected, shamed, blamed and tricked. And the seed of destructive desire, desire to be valued over the other is born. The seed grows in the heart and is passed down to the flesh of brothers. One accepted by God. The other ignored.

GENESIS 4:6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

Cain is warned that there inside him prowls a ravenous desire ready to take him over if given the chance. The same desire that wars in his parents while fighting with one another over remote controls and household chores undone, over credit card statements and sexual stalemates, over in-laws and dreams unfilled. It's in him. The same wild poison. Growing, feasting on his brotherly envy. His need to rule over another now rules him.

It fans anger into action.

GENESIS 4:8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

It whispers guidance on covering tracks.

GENESIS 4:9b "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"

It dooms him to repeat the fall of his father. The same trajectory. He's cursed and mercifully spared all at once, a walking symbol of Yaweh's judgment and compassion for stumbling man, unable to leash the beast within.

More tonight at IKON from Chapter 4 of Genesis.

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6/27/2005

UNANIMOUS GROKSTER DECISION

court_gavelAccording to the Associated Press a unanimous decision has been reached by the Supreme Court in the case Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer -vs- Grokster. The justices say file sharing services like Grokster may be held responsible for illegal activities using their service. In other words, Grokster and other like services may now be sued by the entertainment companies for piracy perpetrated using their services.

  • Hear audio from press conference today regarding decision (Courtesy of eff.org)

  • Read another SHLOG.COM post on this subject.

  • Read the Supreme Court's ruling.


  • Got thoughts? Post a comment here or discuss SHLOG.COM on my message-board.

    THE GOOD, THE TRUE, AND THE BEAUTIFUL

    This is a thought provoking article I found this morning. What do YOU think?

    The Good, the True, and the Beautiful
    by Harry Lee Poe, from "See No Evil: The Existence of Sin in an Age of Relativism" © 2004 by Harry Lee Poe. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

    "Most people have made bad choices. Perhaps it would not be too extreme to say that all people have made bad choices at some time or other. Now why did we do it? Did we decide, “I think I’m going to make a bad choice today? Let’s see; I’m going to invest some money so that I’ll lose my shirt.” We do not normally, as a rule, decide at the front end, “I’m going to make a bad choice that will result in disastrous implications for the rest of my life.” Yet we face a real problem in making choices, and we share that problem with our ancestors. The first book of the Bible contains a case study in how we tend to go wrong in our choices. The story of Adam and Eve describes how a choice was made to take an action that would have disastrous implications. The choice was based largely on a faulty understanding of values."

    Click here to read the rest at cslewis.org.

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    "INDIFFERENT" - QUOTE ME ON THAT

    I was asked by my publicist to give a quote supposing Grokster will win and one supposing Metro-Goldwyn Mayer will win the P2P case currently before the Supreme Court. These quotes would be included in a GMA press release issued on behalf of Christians in the music industry.

    The problem is I see the Court's decision as irrelevant. Regardless of man's laws, Christians have a higher LAW to uphold. If The Court ruled that sex with children was permissible it would not overturn God's prohibition against it. It's wonderful when man's law makes it more difficult to break God's. But the Spirit of God, fear of God, scripture, community and Church history are the real barriers between Christians and corruption - not rulings by human courts. So I find myself indifferent once again to my government's attempts at morality because mine is guided by citizenship in Heaven not America.

    What do YOU think about the impending decision by the Court? When a law makes wrong-doing easier, are you more likely to do it? Let's talk.

    For now, these are the only quotes I can offer:

    IF GROKSTER WINS (And they will):
    1) While the Supreme court has ruled that Grokster may stay in business as a file sharing service, God has not yet ruled that Christians may use it to take what they do not own.

    2) In other words, the front door has been unlocked by Grokster and the Court but we Christians still cannot walk inside and take what is not ours. That is still stealing (Exodus 20:15). Copyright law and God's law requiring we obey it has not changed (Romans 13).

    IF GROKSTER LOSES:
    1) One door to the house has been locked now by the Court, but others will open. Regardless, Christians have an obligation to follow God's law of "Do not steal" which should prevent us from jiggling more handles in search of a new way to get in and take what is not ours.

    2) The court has made it more difficult to disobey God now, but not impossible. It is still imperative that Christians behave like followers of Christ, consider others above themselves and their temporary desires for free music, obey man's laws when they don't conflict with God's, and heed God's law not to take was is not theirs.

    Agree? Disagree? Post a comment here or discuss this SHLOG on my message-board

    6/25/2005

    FROM THE ROAD: GREENSBORO, NC

    VIKINGA2JPGVIKING2We got to sleep in this morning, leaving our hotel in Columbia, SC at noon headed to Greensboro, NC. Too many Carolinas. In fact I was so turned around that at the show in Greensboro I told the crowd it was great to be with the nice folks of South Carolina. When that happens in the first few minutes of a show it's tantamount to picking up a girl for a first date and calling her by your ex's name. Not good. I had to work hard tonight to win them back.

    But the crowd that gathered in Northwest Guifford High School's theatre tonight (home of the Vikings) was one of the kindest groups of people I've encountered in a while. Pleasant Ridge Christian Fellowship, a new church recently planted in Greensboro, has been using the school's auditorium for their services each week and brought me in to get the word out about their new ministry in town.

    HARMONICAHANNAHThey've never hosted a concert before. I love working with people who are new at the concert business. They often make mistakes because of their lack of experience, though the guys tonight made none, but new promoters are also the kindest most attentive and hard-working promoters we partner with as well. They're the most likely to give us great food instead of a bowl of chili and a row of Saltines (true story). They're the most likely to hire a great sound company instead of running my guitar and microphone through a set of computer speakers (also true). And they never under-promote a show, assuming a few posters around the church and an announcement in the Sunday service will draw hundreds of people. These guys gave us amazing food, which makes a huge difference on the road when often all we get is fast food, and they put posters everywhere for miles, mailed stuff out to churches, called churches, bought radio ads and much more. The gave us the best sound system we've played through in a while and staffed it with gentle and patient men who knew what they were doing. Everyone involved worked very hard. Thanks to you all.

    GNOMEBut no one, no matter how great of a promoter they are, can stop the crazies from tainting things. For instance, representing the great state of North Carolina well, Harmonica Hannah serenaded me using her miniature instrument and her nose. And then there was the gnome. You know gnomes, not content with sitting on a theatre seat like everyone else, always hungry for the limelight, pushy little suckers. This one made himself at home at my feet, the little guy lounged there in the warmth of the cable clutter all night. I wouldn't have even noticed him if he didn't keep shouting "WELCOME GNOME! PLAY WELCOME GNOME!"

    BRIANBRIANHAIRAnd on a random note, as if that wasn't, Brian, not content with his, um, condition began his Rogaine treatments today. Wow, that stuff really works! Hey, Rogaine guys! you know Brian works for a huge soft-rock star. What better advertising opportunity could you dream up? I'm talking endorsement deal, before and after shots on bus stops and billboards, commercials, radio, TV, sponsorship of my world tour.

    "THE WELCOME GNOME TOUR!"

    Shut up gnome.

    Anyway, have your people call my people and we'll work something out.

    6/24/2005

    FROM THE ROAD: GREENVILLE, SC/COLUMBIA, SC

    We drove from Knoxville this morning to Greenville, peeled ourselves from the Maxima's seats, and drug ourselves into THE WALK studios. The building houses a radio conglomerate which owns and operates five stations - everything from Top 40 and Rock to Talk and the unique THE WALK, a hybrid country/christian station. The entire sale staff crammed into the swanky conference room to hear Michael and I play a couple songs each and talk about why we do what we do.

    walkvanNot everyone on staff, behind the scenes, calls themselves "Christian" and few are familiar with this music by the same label. This meeting/concert was arranged by the station manager in part to help them all, from those selling ad packages to the talent on-air, better understand why "Christian music" exists in the first place. And that's a good question. One I debate with myself often.

    One side has begun winning the debate recently. I've come to realize that my being a Christian musician, a music maker whose tunes are "consumed" primarily by those who call themselves "Christian", is not all that different than being a preacher. No one shakes their head or finger at the preacher and asks,"Why do you only talk to Christians'?" But I point at myself from time to time and ask, "Why do you make 'Christian music'?" Why do I do that?

    A speaker who, because of his methodology or purpose or set of skills or message, pours the bulk of His words into Christian ears and minds is called a preacher. A musician who spends his melodies and verse in the same way is, well, me. I'm the same animal but with a guitar strapped to my middle. This is who I am. And I'm more and more OK with that with each trip I take and song I write.

    But on mornings like today's, worn out, torn throat, ready to see my wife and kids, even I, with all the mission statements and purposes stored in my brain, can begin to wonder in my heart why I do this. Sometimes it seems like there's no point and no progress beyond the entertainment of saints.

    restaurantAfter the conference room concert at THE WALK the staff and I met contest winners at a local restaurant for a meet and greet, some amazing food, and another mini-show. I was their prize. They got ripped off if you ask me.

    Then it was off to Columbia and a show at Columbia International University, an event sponsored by WMHK. Afterward a herd of folks gathered around me outside to talk and get autographs (weird). After almost an hour of meeting new friendly people and thanking them for coming out to the show a woman stepped forward, stuck out her hand and began to cry. I held her hand in mine and asked if she was OK.

    She tearfully told me about her husband Collin who was coming home soon from Iraq. He's been there thirteen months and has lost fourteen of his soldiers in that time. But before their lives were taken he'd played every man under his command my song Welcome Home. He tried to prepare them for the possibility of death and urge them to get their house in order.

    And while the nightmare of each man's life spilling out onto the battlefield while in his charge will replay in his mind for the rest of his life, he now takes solace in knowing he told them about his faith in Jesus and the peace it brings to the foxhole and the family back home. And he used my words to do it.

    Yea, that's why I do this. And that's why I'll get up tomorrow and travel once again from Columbia, SC to Greensboro, NC. I'll post more then.

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    CHRIST ON COPYRIGHTS

    pictureFor the last couple hours I've been studying, reading legal and ethical arguments swirling from the landmark case "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster Ltd." currently being deliberated on by the Supreme Court. I'm one of a handful of artists asked by the Gospel Music Association to speak on behalf of the recording industry to members of the media concerning all things related to music piracy. And with a decision coming down from on high before the end of the month, probably on Monday, my phone is expected to ring and I'm expected to be knowlegable and persuasive on behalf of music industry profiteers everywhere.

    In all this cramming I've learned what I already knew, what you already know. Peer to peer (P2P) networks and services like Grokster claim that they are tools designed for the easy transfer of digital files (music, video, documents etc). They claim to be as illegal as the user wants them to be but the networks themselves, Grokster essentially argues, are not inherently law-breaking. Networks don't break copyright laws. People break copyright laws.

    Music traders argue that the defeat of Grokster and services like it will only serve the interests of big business and diamond decked divas. These illegal traders maintain they are merely taking from the rich that which should never have been protected by law in the first place. Furthermore, they claim piracy sells records by piquing the interest of illegal traders enough that they eventually make a legal purchase of music they stole in order to "sample." Networks are the Lincoln of the entertainment world, emancipating art from the label's plantation.

    _38194011_mgmlogo300And of course labels and artists (only a third of artists actually) believe copyrights are crucial to sustaining industry, society at large and the creation of art tomorrow. Copyrights make capitalism possible. Labels assert that music piracy is responsible to some degree for the billion dollar profit drop they've experienced since Napster first ran amuck in college dorm rooms. Networks are leaches on an artist's body of work, robbers turned loose in the entertainment companies' vaults.

    But where is the Christian response? I've read much if not all of the materials the Gospel Music Association has printed or posted thus far on this issue. I've Googled for any biblical responses well and found very little ethic that was biblical at heart and untainted by self-interest, industry preservation or lectures about porn and viruses lurking on P2Ps. Yet the biblical position is an easy and right one for Christians to make, one which is applicable to more than music piracy.

    I'm indifferent to a nation's laws regarding copyrights. I benefit from the current laws but if they were revoked tomorrow my sky would remain intact. It would change but still remain. In fact, there is compelling argument that copyrights were never supposed to last as long as they do today (the life of the composer plus seventy-years). But whether copyrights are good or bad or too far reaching doesn't matter when forming a Christian ethic in response to music piracy.

    We as Christians are commanded, COMMANDED, to do two things that if lived out would eradicate music piracy and a lot of truly sinful junk from the Christian community:

    1.) OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND IN WHICH YOU LIVE. Romans 13 reminds us to obey man's laws. Christian ethicists I've read speak with one voice on this matter, saying that Christians are to obey man's laws until doing so interferes with obedience to God's laws. No exceptions or loopholes for instances in which man's laws are plain stupid or inconvenient, which copyright law, admittedly, often is. Christians are different from other citizens in that they are willing to obey man's laws at great cost to themselves but never to the detriment of their faith.

    2.) PUT THE NEEDS OF OTHERS ABOVE YOUR OWN. 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 says,"Everything is permissible" (talking about what foods we have a right to eat)˜but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"˜but not everything is constructive. 24Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others"

    0119ifpi2"Everything is permissible" was apparently a phrase used as often in Corinth as "I have the right" is used in America today. When deciding what we as followers of Christ should do or not do we shouldn't first assert our rights but instead think of the cost to others of having our way. And we should think about the wants of others, catering to those wants when they don't infringe upon God's wants.

    We have a copyright system enforced by law. Until that law is changed Christians must obey it and in doing so obey God Himself. Most reasons I've heard for flaunting this law center around an individual's perceived need for music or belief in a right to music that fails to take into account God's command not to think first about what we desire or what SHOULD be permissible but instead about the needs of others.

    grokster_screenThe law Christians follow above all others does not flow from a politician's pen, defined by Supreme Courts and backed up by fines and prison time; but Christian Law is found in the Word of God, taught by the Spirit and backed up by the author Himself working within hearts He's transformed and infected with a hunger for right doing. To urge Christians to obey man's law without invoking God's Law in the process is to place human reason and authority above biblical reason and authority. And to be shocked when non-Christians disobey any law, man's or God's, is to minimize the role of the Spirit of God in empowering the Christian to obey the law, man's or God's.

    Of course a Christ-centric argument against piracy and other lawbreaking won't make the average person more respectful of copyright laws. Of course not. But I haven't formed an ethic on music piracy around exclusively Christian teachings because doing so "works". I've done this because I'm a Christian. I think differently about essentials like ethics because I'm essentially different. I wish our industry's position on piracy was too.

    Got thoughts? Discuss this SHLOG on my message-board

    SPECIAL THANKS TO Adam Haynes, a SHLOG.COM reader who heard my cry for help and sent me a copy of this post he had saved when it was first published. Thanks, Adam. You complete me. I owe you one.

    "CHRIST ON COPYRIGHTS" GONE

    Due to some technical glitch the post I made yesterday called "CHRIST ON COPYRIGHTS" had it's back half deleted. I know it was linked to several times and I'm hoping someone reading SHLOG now copied it in full and could send it to me to be reposted. So if you somehow saved that post could you help a brother out and send it to me at: shaungrovesfanmail@charter.net

    Thanks,
    The Management

    6/23/2005

    FROM THE ROAD: KNOXVILLE, TN.

    NewCityThe last two times we played the New City Cafe in Knoxville, Tn (home of the Tennessee Volunteers) we packed out two shows each night. So we figured with students out of school and fleeing the city for the Summer we'd only be able to fill up the room once this time around. We were wrong.

    Approximately forty people braved the humidity and came out for the show. Yes, it DOES make a difference when the local radio station is playing your current single.

    ComputerBut while the crowd was small the good times rolled and great conversation ensued after the music faded and the lights came up. Knoxville is in the middle of their annual "Honda Hoot", a gathering of Honda motorcycle owners apparently deciding to meet at the New City Cafe for chips, chicken strips or a cup of joe. Tattoos and leather washed in tailpipe fumes came in and mixed with the freshly showered saints of Knoxville, discussing the menu and who the bleep this Shaun Groves character was.

    On StageMolson (Michael Olson), plagued by a sore throat and running nose on our last run, is back to singing at his full amazing potential. I, on the other hand, feel my throat tightening and my nose beginning to drip. The price I guess of shaking the hands of a few dozen fans every night kind enough to show up and listen to me. Small price.

    Now it's six hours of sleep (currently 11:25PM June 23rd) and then off to Greenville, SC for a lunchtime mini-concert for contest "winners" sponsored by a country/christian station. Interesting. And then on to Columbia, SC for an evening show. I'll tell the tales later.

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    WOMAN

    42-15277433 Genesis 2:19 So GOD formed from the dirt of the ground all the animals of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the Man to see what he would name them. Whatever the Man called each living creature, that was its name.

    Hippopotamus. Platypus. Rhinoceros.

    Orangutan. Elephant. Lemur.

    Dog. Cat. Goat.

    Fly.

    Genesis 2:20 The Man named the cattle, named the birds of the air, named the wild animals; but he didn't find a suitable companion.

    Cow. Salamander. Zebra. Not one he called Friend.

    Genesis 2:21 GOD put the Man into a deep sleep. As he slept he removed one of his ribs and replaced it with flesh. 22GOD then used the rib that he had taken from the Man to make Woman and presented her to the Man.

    This one God named. Woman, he called her.

    She was His final creation. The finishing touch on a masterpiece. What was missing. The world was not complete and neither was Man until she arrived.

    Genesis 2:23 "Finally! Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh!"

    And man said, "Wow! This is good! Really really good! She's more beautiful than Peacock, more graceful than Eagle, better conversation than Monkey. She's perfect. I don't ever want her to leave. I can't believe I ever lived without her. I must have been living half as much."

    Genesis 2:24Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh. 25The two of them, the Man and his Wife, were naked, but they felt no shame.

    One. Not by paper or principality.

    Naked. She stands bare before him, untainted by corrosive self-doubt injected by magazines and peers. She has no peer. She has no ideal. She is pleased because her Maker is, confident and prized because she is His.

    Then flesh rests against flesh. Relaxed. Valued. Belonging. What was separate, housed in two bodies, joins. The depths of two souls woven together in an instant. No shame. No lonely. No distance.

    Day and night, waters and skies, birds and cattle. All of this was incomplete without man and man was incomplete without her. And she is so treasured and essential that God couldn't pull His pen through even one book of His epic without her flowing from His heart and onto the page. There she is on the pedestal of Adam's adoration and God's provision.

    Before model's measured her and husbands forsook her. Before companies passed over her and children fatigued her. Before magazines dieted her and age bent her. Before religion veiled her and preachers silenced her. Before governments controlled her and fathers ignored her. Before the world fell and rose only to stumble for eons as a crippled amnesiac unable to recall her worth - she was Woman. Friend. Lover. Beautiful. Valuable. Essential. Completion. The final brushstroke on God's canvas.

    Got thoughts? Discuss this SHLOG on my message-board

    6/22/2005

    IF YOU BLOG IT THEY WILL COME

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    Yes, these are the top searches performed by Googlers right now, in no particular order. Posting them here is a little experiment/harmless deception of mine. Every post at SHLOG gets registered with Google as a separate web page. It's contents become searchable by Google's engine. Now, when anyone seeks "bob marley" or "free porn" (and hopefully not both at the same time. Ew) they'll get SHLOG.COM instead. Genius or just plain mean? We'll see. I'll let you know if it works.

    And hey if you're reading this because you Googled "tupac", "slipknot" or "50 cent" post a comment and let us know it worked. And sorry. Please don't hurt me.

    To see for yourself what everyone else is Googling the most these days check out Google's Zeitgeist.

    Got thoughts? Discuss this SHLOG on my message-board

    SHLOG.COM'S NEW ADDRESS

    Now you can access SHLOG by going directly to shlog.com. You no longer have to enter that ridiculously long readshlog.blogspot.com address. The new shlog.com address will hopefully make it much simpler to give directions to SHLOG to your billions of black and pink loving friends and fits better on a t-shirt.

    The old address will still work so no need to change any of your links to SHLOG.

    Thanks for Shlogging,
    Shaun

    6/21/2005

    WAITING AT THE LOGAN SHOW

    I'm sitting in the greenroom of the Logan Show in north Nashville. Actually painted green, this room is swanky, decked out in large overstuffed couches and leather chairs. A large TV sits in the corner entertainment center and on it is Taylor Sorensen, coming from it's speakers are his "la la la's" and "yea yea yea's". he's warming up for his live performance on the show with his band (now known as Trigger Code) and special guest guitarist Steve Mason of Jars of Clay.

    After his performance taylor and the boys will shoot their five to eight minute couch interview, a la The Tonight Show, and then it's my turn to look very unrockstar by comparison, banging out three tunes on my acoustic guitar. I'll let you know how that goes.

    Apparently this show's a big deal. It's beamed out to 120,000,000 homes world-wide, 60,000,000 of those in the US. I need to go to the bathroom all of a sudden. Shlog at you later.

    Got thoughts? Discuss this SHLOG on my message-board

    AT TED TURNER'S PLACE

    dy63No matter what you think of entertainment mogul Ted Turner, the man makes killer grilled chicken. I ate at Ted's very successful and busy Montana Grill in Nashville today with the retail marketing guy from Rocketown, a Provident Music Distribution rep and the new music buyer for all of LifeWay stores.

    Just a few weeks on the job, Mr Music Buyer's busy figuring out how many of my CD every LifeWay store in the country, from Dallas to Chicago, needs to have in stock on July 12th and after. Needless to say this man's an important link in the chain connecting my music to your CD player. And he seems to know it. Very open and cordial, Mr. Music Buyer spent a large chunk of his day explaining various aspects of his decision making process and his company's philosophy and frustrations with record companies and artists alike, as well as sprinkling a few compliments on our team along the way.

    Anyway, I probably ask too many questions at these kinds of meetings but I can't help it. I like to learn. It comes from something GI Joe used to say I think. Something about knowing being half the battle I think. I'm not in a battle right now but in case I ever am I'd like to know some stuff first.

    Like what can an artist do to get better sales at a particular chain of stores? How do we get better placement in stores: shelf space, displays etc? And he had some questions for me. Like why do record labels lean so heavily on radio play to market a record? And why shouldn't a retailer be upset at me for selling my music digitally direct to the customer, cutting the store out of the transaction? Why shouldn't a retailer be less than thrilled with me if I sell my music on my own website and not just theirs?

    These questions of course are all very selfish: How can I get what I want from you? And this realization made me pause and ask questions: How exactly is the Christian music business different from the rest of the music business? How do we do business differently than Ted? And another: What was it that Paul guy said about putting others before yourself? Of course that part of the bible isn't realistic in this marketplace. Besides, Paul wasn't a capitalist. And definitely not a capitalist soft-rock star.

    Thanks to Mr. Music Buyer from LifeWay for lunching with us today. I learned a lot.

    Got thoughts? Discuss this SHLOG on my message-board

    6/20/2005

    YOU DON'T NEED NASHVILLE #6: RECORD FOR LESS

    Reason #6 you MIGHT not need a record deal? You can record your music yourself for less than you think. BUT, and this is the biggest but in the series, it probably won't sound as good as a label creation.

    First of all, let's deal with the goal of the recording. There are two main kinds of recording I want to discuss with indies reading this blog:

    1) TO SELL AT SHOWS: This is a recording you want to best represent your music the way you hear it in your head. And you want it to look and sound as professional as possible because no one but your Mom is going to overlook that horrid cover and "indie sounding" recording of yours. You need this disc to sound and look as good as it can. That's the goal for type 1.

    2) TO GET A DEAL: At the end of this series, which we're almost to I hope, there will be some of you who wisely, after much thought, decide you DO want a record deal. It's actually a great thing when the right kind of artist and the right kind of label get married. So you want to make a CD that you can shop around for a record deal. That's the goal for type 2.

    Type 1 folks hopefully plan on touring on their own for a while to sell and pay off their CD. If you're not willing to work to pay it off (or pay that credit card or loan off) and if you don't have a "sugardaddy" (a benefactor who is giving you money to make a disc - often a dad) then you really should reconsider whether it's a wise use of time and money to make a CD right now. It's not cheap to make a great one and you often get what you pay for.

    Now, while it's not cheap to make a good sounding CD, it can be done for much less than labels often pay. A CCM disc can cast hundreds of thousands and as little as 30 thousand and still sound good. And the cheap discs sound good because they are often made around great songs using talented producers and musicians. It's hard to make talent and well written songs sound bad.

    My belief is that you can make a good sounding CD for less than most labels if you have good material, talent and a producer worth his pay. To do so there's no need to jaunt all the way to Nashville and pay a bunch of money for a studio. There are great studios here and if you can get one to give you a deal - the best time to record is the winter by the way - then you should take the opportunity. But even the best deal here could be beyond your budget. So if you can't afford a Nashville/LA/New York studio, consider using on of the better studios in a major city near you where you could record for less and be using the same gear.

    After a studio, the next things you need are an engineer and a producer. Engineers are very important and often come attached to a studio. Find a studio and they'll be able to recommend an engineer who knows his way around the place.

    The producer is the hardest item to procure on your shopping list of recording ingredients. That's because truly talented producers eventually migrate to major label herds and then refuse to work for indies. But there are some out there and you can find them. Listen to other indie records you like and read the liner notes. Pick up a phone book and call the guy. If he's unlisted don't stalk him. Producers are like wild turkeys, once spooked they will take flight and issue a restraining order. Ok, so they're not exactly like wild turkeys but my point is made.

    Like that indie band at Alivefest last Summer? Look up their producer. This step can't be skimped on. It will take time and you'll need to listen to their demo reel - a collection of songs they've produced. And if they're in demand you'll have to get in line. But it's worth waiting for the right person who can put the right clothes on your naked ideas. I sell records today in large part because I waited for Monroe Jones and the waiting, with his skills, made my music something worth listening to.

    Here's the bad news. There are very few indie CDs, regardless of budget and talent, that end up sounding like a nationally distributed record. But indies I meet have a hard time listening honestly to their own music. Many truly believe they're CD is Grammy worthy. But in the last four years on the road I've accumulated about three hundred indie CDs, handed to me at shows, and listened to almost all of them, and NONE of them were close to the production quality coming out of Nashville. I truly believe some of those CDs could have been amazing if they'd taken their time putting together the right songs and the right team.

    For those of you trying to get a label deal with a recorded demo my advice is much simpler. Don't record a fully produced record. I don't sign people to record deals, but I do know that bad production can distract from great songs - indie or not. And often times the bad indie CDs I'm handed became bad when a local guy wanting to make some money with his studio makes a "deal" with an indie artist and a lot of bad production choices circa 1982. It's next to impossible to hear the potential of an artist through Petra guitar squeals and Toto keyboards.

    So because great producers can be hard to find and can mess things up I encourage indies to make a live disc when creating something for label folks who are really more interested in the artist than the production anyway. The live recording is a better representation of the whole you. And for that reason much scarier to make. If you don't sound good live you just don't sound good. And you won't get a deal - and shouldn't.

    But if you are good at what you do then you have nothing to hide. Show the label who you really are. Labels are almost NEVER going to put your indie recorded disc on a store shelf with their logo on it. They'll almost always choose the songs from it they like, ask you to write more and better, and then send you back into the studio to record an entire CD of old and new material with a skilled producer and engineer. Rarely does it happen differently. So what labels seem to be most interested in hearing on a demo are the basics: voice, expression, musicianship, song-writing skills etc. So why not remove what they'll redo in time anyway and just give them more you - more of what they want.

    And the bonus to this approach is....IT'S CHEAP and often FREE! All you need is a club, school, or church with a soundboard and a geeky friend with a hard drive recorder or something of the same quality - something recording multiple tracks digitally. Mic' the crowd and everything on stage well and do your show. Do a couple shows that way to give yourself more options. Then all you have to hire is a mix guy. This is CRUCIAL. The good thing is mix guys don't care if you're signed or not, if you pay. So look at your favorite CCM recordings for mix engineer names, go on-line to the Nashville white pages, search and dial. That easy. If time is not of the essence you'll get a better price for waiting your turn. "I need it in three months" will more than likely get you a better deal than "I need it next weekend."

    One last tip on the live recording. Keep it simple. If you're a solo artist then consider recording you solo. Nothing's more powerful than a song standing on it's own. Johnny Cash taught us that didn't he? Why dress up the live recording with a full band? A band won't make you express better, stay on pitch better, or write better. And those are the things that matter most.

    Last thing. What makes a recorded project great (live or studio) is not just sonics. Songs matter. And labels and publishers really are better in general at helping writers craft great songs. If you're indie you don't have that irreplaceable tool in your arsenal but you do have a mp3 collection. Listen to it. It's your teacher. When I first started writing in Nashville a publisher held up a CD and said "If you want to wrote a hit song the rules are right here."

    He's still right. Don't rip off or copy but learn. CDs will teach you what a chorus is and how it's different in function from a verse, how long verses should be in relation to choruses, what a bridge is, how to use imagery and rhyme, what a musical hook and lyrical hook is etc. The rules are right there and if you learn them well you can write great songs. And great songs can shine through mediocre recordings and grab the hearts and minds of your audience and even turn the heads of label suits. But great songs recorded well is the goal so, to summarize, find a producer with a track record of making music you like, take your time making music with him while communicating clearly who you are musically, and don't let production (live or studio) come before or in get in the way of well written songs.

    Hope all that helps more than hurts.

    Got thoughts? Discuss this SHLOG on my message-board

    6/19/2005

    ON THE ROAD: DICKSON, TN

    Happy Father's Day to me. My three kids and my hot wife are at my in-laws this weekend while I'm on the road. We celebrated Father's Day on Friday actually when my kids presented me with a piece of concrete, a stepping stone with their hands stamped into it's face and their names scrawled around the edges. Weird how a piece of rock can make you feel when it comes from the right people.

    So today Brian rejoins the team and the three of us (Molson's coming too) head out, after I vacuum out the mini-van, to the metropolis of Dickson,Tn. I'll post more after the show.

    -----------------------------------------------

    Dickson TN(picture taken before we set up. We decided not to use the colored microphone afros.)

    UPDATE:
    The show went well, better than well. A few folks from the message board made the drive from Nashville bearing gifts: cookies, ear-plugs (don't ask), a gallon of sweet tea from Chick-fil-A and t-shirts. Free stuff is always good. Free stuff from friends who've done so much to support my ministry and music over the years is even better. Thanks Robyn, Godzilla and Lindsay for making the trip. (picture coming soon)

    The show was a kick off event for a week of missions at the church. Youth groups from all over the south gathered at First United Methodist Church in Dickson, TN to serve the poor in the area, building and repairing homes and a lot more. How refreshing. Instead of a youth camp, a mission week. Where was that when I was a self-absorbed teenager? And man was I?

    I was also short on attention span. these folks weren't. They sat and listened and responded all night and then hung around afterward to talk about it all. It was a great night. Thanks to everyone who came out.

    -SG

    6/18/2005

    FROM THE ROAD: CLEVELAND, OH

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comMy body was in Ohio tonight, on the stage of Seeker's Coffeehouse, belting out tunes and cracking jokes for a full house of fans. But my heart and mind were miles away standing helplessly by, unable to rescue people I love from the pain of betrayal and the fantasies formed by addiction.

    Two friends of mine, married with children, are fighting tonight to save a life and marriage and to do so while staying true to the teachings of Christ. Two days ago she called and tearfully told me the story of her husband's false remission and repentance from drug and alcohol abuse. "He never stopped," she said.

    I wrote the song "I Love You" from the CD Twilight for this friend when I thought he was on the mend, when his biggest hurdle seemed to be convincing himself God and God's people still cared, still forgave and loved.

    You're embarrassed and ashamed I can tell
    Living in your hand-made hell
    Well that's a place I know too well
    I do
    And I love you
    I love you
    I love you

    And those words are still true but harder to say tonight. Tonight I didn't want to represent God to anyone. I didn't want to play music about Jesus or talk about Him because I'm angry and hurt. I don't have fancier bigger language for how I feel. I'm at a loss for poetry right now. I'm ticked. I'm sad.

    We all thought the addiction had been beaten but it's not only back, it was never gone at all. And now we know the truth and instead of freeing it's holding us captive to emotions that tether us to our perspective and make it impossible to see a way out of this conflict and hurt.

    So I'm here, helpless, in a Comfort Inn, feeling anything but comfortable. Tonight was a blur of faked emotion and forced after show conversation. And I'm just glad it's over. It feels gross to have sung things tonight that I didn't fully trust in. And I feel weak for letting anything, even this, undermine that trust. But the show's over and tomorrow's another one so it's off to bed and an early flight out in the morning. But first I guess I should spend some time doing the one thing I can do for my friends - pray, even though I don't feel like it and don't know where to begin. And I beg you to do the same. You don't need names. Just pray for these people I love.

    Thanks,
    Shaun

    6/17/2005

    EAVESDROPPING: A CONVERSATION WITH MARGARET BECKER

    Margaret Becker is a singer-songwriter, speaker and author with two decades of experience in the Christian music industry, four Dove awards, four Grammy nominations, and 10 albums (and counting). She has been honored by American Songwriter Magazine with their "Songwriter of the Year" award, and by SESAC seven times with the same honor. She is also an in-demand speaker, the author of three books and a monthly columnist for CCM Magazine. In 2003 she received the most meaningful honor of her career: the first ever Lumie're du Monde award from the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe for her part in saving the lives of 500,000+ children living in poverty as World Vision's very first artist partner. Here's our unedited e-mail conversation:

    sgSo my manager Glenda brought you into my world about four years ago. We sat down, do you remember, at a grill downtown and talked about the two of you managing me. I said, "Heck yes," pretty quickly, so you helped form the big picture of my career early on, gave me pointers on live performing and gave me the occasional pat on the back that helped keep me going. So first of all, thanks for all of that.

    Glenda's never told me, how'd you guys get hooked up? Did she manage you or what?

    maggiebI met Glenda on and off over the years through Proper Management (Avalon, Nicole Nordeman etc . . . ) When ever she was at an event with her artists, she always got them what they needed. After a while, I learned to just to tag along behind her . . .

    I approached her about managing me. She's dynamic, proactive and strong. She thought about it and then, we moved forward. After that, we went into business together in a few different areas, and that's when we ran into you.

    sgAnd now I guess you manage yourself. Is that because you're doing less music stuff these days and don't need a music business manager or am I wrong about that? I know you've written some great books (plug) and you're an amazing speaker - thanks again for speaking at IKON, that was great - so I guess I've just assumed you've moved beyond music as your career focus these days. Is that accurate?

    maggieb :-) Let's just say that Glenda's talents would be wasted on me at this point. My "Career" or "calling" is about being "available" right now. That takes me across many lines and in and out of different situations than I have been in in the past.

    I still do music, but when it makes sense around other stuff. Before -- as you know -- from first hand experience, there was little time for any other interests. That was ok for a time, but eventually I felt like God gave me a choice --continue as is or take the "wild card," and become more spontaneous and intuitive in my life. I took the wild card. It means being more behind the scenes supporting others, as well as speaking and singing, writing etc. It's just enough "change" to keep things interesting. It's been an awesome time of life for me, as was the full time music thing. It all boils down to being in God's sight -- there is provision when He calls -- no matter what the calling is.

    sgIt's weird how many of us artist types go through times of similar emotions/thought patterns. I mean, so many artists I know have had this feeling that they've sold the rights to their own life in some sense, lost the freedom to change direction or priorities because of a contract..or maybe because they grew up and got a mortgage. Do you think your desire for more freedom to follow God each moment had more to do with your having been a contracted artist at one time or with simply growing up...or equal measures of both? Is that restlessness I sometimes feel a product of being artists or just being American, bored, adults, human, Gen-Xers or something else?

    maggiebWow, great question. I think for me it was more about feeling like it was "the cloud" moving, (the cloud by day fire by night thing ). I love constancy, so the only way God gets me to move is by making it very obvious. Unfortunately, for me that means making it very uncomfortable.

    I began to sense a level of "discomfort" in my life. Among other things, I felt like I had bumped into walls on all sides being a full-time recording artist. That, coupled with the fact that I had other things I wanted to try before I left this earth --and the feeling that I needed to use my resources (relationships, business structures, energy -- even placement) more responsibly (in a community/global way).

    Growing up --probably. Feeling the pressure of floating a spreadsheet within a big record company --probably that too. Bored -- never. Privileged --absolutely. One of my life verses is "To whom much is given, much will be required." That will keep you on the healthy side of "Fear."

    The Gen-X mentality is a plus in these things as well. That mentality forgoes linear approach in things in favor of a more spontaneous, internally driven path. In the case of leaving one sure thing for all things unknown, that kind of mind-set is an asset. And all these things under the umbrella of Christ are a true adventure -- with life giving results --not only for those who are doing it, but for those around them too.

    sgI think one of the greatest lessons you've taught me with words and modeling is how to achieve contentment - recognizing that God is meeting my needs right now even if it's not in the form I expected or prefer. It's hard for me to be content with you right now, honestly. (Check out this transition. Barbara Walters eat your heart out.) I'm a fan of Margaret Becker the musician but that seems to be something you're offering us less of these days. I've only recently become acquainted with Margaret the speaker and author and I love those parts of you but your music was what I loved first. You're meeting my need for something creative from you and my need to hear the truth in new ways, but at the same time it's not in the ways many of us have come to expect from you either. You're the first ever Christian rock chick! And I guess I'm drawn to that part of your communication "toolbox" the most because it makes me think and inspires in ways books just don't. Even if they're great books.

    So what kinds of musical endeavors do you have going on right now? And is music still something that scratches an itch you can't get scratched any other way? Is it something you still feel you HAVE to do - even if it's not for a living?

    maggiebMan Shaun. I feel like a slug right now :-) Let me go get my guitar and start slugging one out!

    Yes, it's still an itch. I must. It is something indigenous to my soul expression. I guess I've been trying not to be so presumptuous as to think that my commentary delivered in that way is sorely missed. But I miss making that type of commentary and as time would have it, I am writing a new body of songs for a fresh record right now -- just a straight ahead MB record. In addition, I've been co-writing with a lot of other artists as well. I enjoy the collision of 2 minds on creative things.

    What you said is encouraging to me. I don't take it lightly. I'll get to work! :-)

    sgI guess I was just that person who after my show comes up to me and asks, "When are you going to write another Welcome Home?" Hope I don't make you feel pigeon holed. You write, sing and speak very well. Keep doing all of it. But yes, your commentary on God and life in musical form is valuable to me...and I'm sure many others.

    The best way to thank you for your time is to not use all of it, so just a couple more questions alright?

    A passion you and I share is mentoring, or helping in some way, the indie artist. Many indies struggle with whether to sign a traditional record deal and whether, if they're Christians, to sign with a "Christian" label? I'm wondering if your own experience can help answer those questions for them. Why did you sign a record deal years ago and why one that would limit your audience to primarily Christians?

    maggiebYears ago, when I signed, there was no appetite for Christian commentary inthe general marketplace. There simply was not a lot of opportunity for -- singer/guitar songwriters, (remember, it was the fade out of the 80's where hair needed a building permit and everything had to be big and better)

    I knew that my music would always be colored by my relationship to Christ. That coloring wouldn't allow me to do or say -- or endorse -- certain aspects of what pop music at the time was focusing on. Sparrow was a company who made an industry based on Christ commentary, so it was a fit for me. In fact, they were the company I wanted to be at once I understood that
    record companies in those days had distinct "personalities." Theirs was definitively ministry oriented.

    The field is different now. The general marketplace is quite open to faith-colored content -- and in fact, I believe there is a unique hunger for it.

    When Indies ask me this question, I respond the same way I would respond to someone who is trying to choose a vocation or ministry organization to align with -- Let God lead.

    Simply this: open doors, chase down opportunities, use the lovely senses He gave you to navigate. Fast and pray. Be open to long silences, and lack of direct communication from Him -- rather, follow the "cloud" in your life. When you feel His pleasure on you, it is generally a confirmation. Be faithful to whatever he brings -- not with the intent of "moving on to bigger and better things," but with the intent of serving Him and His kingdom in whatever role He assigns you.

    I believe that whether or not anyone "signs," (which by the way means losing autonomy in many ways -- not that it's bad, but it can be tricky) is of no consequence when it comes to expressing art as a believer. The key to success is to understand what you were designed to do, and to do it for 10 people, 6 non-english speaking people, at a barbeque -- if that is the opportunity God provides.

    "Feed my sheep." It was a loving command He gave. It's what we are called to do, corporately and individually.

    sgThanks Margaret.




    MARGARET BECKER RELATED LINKS:
    *MAGGIEB.COM
    *WORLD VISION
    *HOPE INITIATIVE
    *CCM MAGAZINE
    *MARGARET'S BOOKS
    *BOOK MARGARET TO SPEAK OR SING


    Got thoughts? Discuss this SHLOG on my message-board

    6/16/2005

    GIVE: COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL

    Suzie and I first met four years ago on Bebo Norman's tour bus. It was my first time on the road and my first time to learn about the relationship between artists and Compassion International. Since that time we've continued to bump into each other on the road and here in Nashville, getting to know each other better and better with each much-too-short conversation. Today we sat down to finalize the details of my partnership with Compassion, finally committed to after all this time, and to celebrate.

    Loving the least as a means of loving the Most High has been a constant theme in my music and my life for years. And so I've searched for someone, some larger entity with integrity, I could direct people feeling the urge to "do something" towards when they e-mailed or approached me after shows. I've tried directing people willing to give or serve back to their own church - the ideal place to partner with in showing mercy. But so many of my "fans" are twenty-somethings or college students with little or no connection to a local church. So that direction from me was often met with "Well, I haven't really found a church I like yet." Sparing them a lecture about the ideal church not necessarily being one they would "like" all the time, I scratched my head and searched on for someone who could put feet and hands on their desire to help others.

    I tried other way of connecting people to service opportunities but none worked or were attached to the local church. That's a deal breaker for me. I believe God the only group God has entrusted the least to is His Church and the local church community can do more at deeper more eternal levels than any government program, institution or individual can.

    So for the last several months I've had no one to hand the willing workers in my crowds over to, no one to turn their zeal for the lowest into practical provision through a church community.

    Then Suzie bumped into me again and started talking about a partnership, something I'd not thought about in a long time. I visited their headquarters in Colorado, asked lots and lots of questions and even had lunch with members of their staff at GMA week in Nashville a few weeks later, including their founder. I learned a ton, including that Compassion works through the local church. Individuals or groups here in America help the Church in needy areas of the world help their own. the Church does the work and Compassion assists. I became convinced when I learned this that Compassion and I had the same priorities and goals in mind.

    Compassion has an amazing program in place but a constant stream of givers is needed to keep it in motion. So I've committed to helping sustain that stream by promoting Compassion International's child sponsorship program at my concerts this Fall. And we'll soon take a trip to Salvador together as well (if all works out), so I can witness first hand what Compassion looks like in the field and exactly how the money given by sponsors helps children escape poverty, and even better, displays the love of Christ and makes known the character of God.

    If you'd like to join us in this work TODAY by sponsoring a child, supplying his/her basic needs, you can click on the banner at the top of this post.

    Got thoughts? Discuss this SHLOG on my message-board

    SHAMELESS PLUG: WHITE FLAG VIRUS

    Concert JULY 12thI could use your help. WHITE FLAG (my new CD) comes out July 12th and so we're hitting the road with a band, lights, video, dancing midgets, stone hinge replica, and the whole soft-rock extravaganza that week to celebrate with the cities that have been the kindest to us the last four years. If you live in one of these great cities, or know someone who does, I'm asking, actually begging, you to download the e-card below for that city (by clicking on the link) and send it as an e-mail attachment to everyone you know within driving distance of that show. Thanks for your help.

    JULY 11th in Boca Raton, FL (no band, only solo show)
    JULY 12th in NASHVILLE, TN
    JULY 13th in MANSFIELD, TX (DALLAS)
    JULY 14th in BROKEN ARROW, OK (TULSA)
    JULY 15th in TYLER, TX
    JULY 16th in CORPUS CHRISTI, TX
    JULY 17th in SUGAR LAND, TX (HOUSTON)

    TECHNICAL STEP BY STEP:
    *PC USERS*
    1. Click on a link above, the e-card should fill your browser window, then right click the e-card, a menu will appear, choose "save file (or image) to disk."
    2. Attach the file or image to an e-mail, address it and hit send.
    *MAC USERS*
    1. Press the "ctrl" (or control) key while clicking once on a link above, a menu will appear, choose "save linked file",
    OR click the link above, it should fill your browser window, then ctrl click the image, a menu should appear, choose "save image"
    2. Attach the file or image to an e-mail, address it and hit send.

    Thanks again,
    Shaun

    6/15/2005

    GIVING MORE THAN THE BIRD

    SGgmaI visited GMA (Gospel Music Association) headquarters this morning. We gathered around a conference table strewn with napkins and Krispy Kreams just before 9AM. The staff, newly de-eye-crusted and caffeinated, sat amazingly awake and friendly for so early in the morning as I walked through the beatitudes with them. I gave them something between a mini-concert, a sermon, a morning devotion and a friendly casual conversation. I'm not sure if I was asked or if someone at Rocketown did the asking but I'm glad the asking got done. It was good to finally meet the people who give us artists the bird.

    The bird of course is a bronze statuette, a dove in flight, handed to the artists and other creative types each year at the Dove Awards - our equivalent to the Grammy. I even got to hold a Dove Award this morning, given in the category of best background noise to eat donuts by I think.

    But Doves aren't all the folks at the GMA do for you and the industry. Here are some quick links to their other endeavors and services:

    Music piracy prevention and education
    Contests and classes for musicians
    Re-emphasizing service in the life of the artist who is Christian
    Conferences and events like Seminar in the Rockies (I'll be teaching and singing there this year)
    Providing spiritual growth opportunities
    Providing professional growth opportunities.

    Basically, if all you know about the GMA is that they give out little faux metal foul, well, you could be missing out on something helpful or just plain interesting.

    Thanks to everyone at the GMA for feeding me and listening to me this morning. It went a long way toward removing the pain of losing the seven Dove Awards your members nominated me for once upon a time.

    Got thoughts? Discuss this SHLOG on my message-board

    6/14/2005

    DEAR APPLE COMPUTER, INC. PART 2

    imacthing

    Dear Apple Computer, Inc.,

    I'm sorry.

    See, I'm trying to break the strangle hold caffeine, in the form of Dr.Pepper, has on my life. I read once that it's addictive powers are equal to that of heroine - or maybe that was price or something. Anyway, my judgment is twitching and glitching from some sort of withdrawal syndrome I'm sure will pass. I'm not making excuses as much as I am explaining the science, the possible biological misfire, behind my last bit of correspondence to you.

    You can understand how a computer, especially a laptop perched and purring upon one's lap for so many years day after day, can begin to feel like, well, a friend. Can't you? So maybe I got a little emotional, the lines between reality and Dr.Pepper deprivation induced fantasy got a little blurred. I got caught up in the loss of a loved one I now am ready to admit is just a laptop - but a dang good laptop vital to my work and well-being.

    Forgive me. No hard feelings alright?

    After I wrote you I felt bad. I felt like I had wounded deity in some way. You're the guys who slayed the gray box of my childhood with the technicolor iMac of my college days and loosed the chains on my music with the liberating iPod. You've done more for artsy fartsy folks like me than Bill Gates ever could. How could I have let my little momentary disappointments come between us like that? Again, I'm sorry.

    I was so sorry that I went ahead and called you up again asking for a brown box. It arrived, I put my COMPUTER (not friend) inside for a quick ride to Apple Heaven where your geniuses replaced just about everything in it, buffed the scratches from it's screen just for the love of it and whooshed it right back to me in 48 hours.

    It arrived today, sparkly and faster than ever.

    Sure I hate that it broke so many times, in the same way, over and over and over again. That sucks. But at least I'm not stuck with a beige, ugly, always-crashing, slow, symbol of corporate conformity, style-lacking, Microsoft-dependent, innovationless, virus-laden, spyware-riddled, sorry excuse for a computer on my lap tonight. That would suck different. It would suck in a way I could bear about as much as losing a loved one without the aid of caffeine to numb my pain.

    So thanks Apple for sending my iBook back in working order again. And please accept my sincerest apologies for ever doubting your love for me or my little...laptop.

    Your repentant friend, customer, fan and regional Mac Mormon,
    Shaun Groves



    P.S. If you happen to stumble onto a replacement for my elderly iBook just lying around Steve's pad someday I wouldn't refuse it of course. That address again is:

    PO Box 680055
    Franklin, TN 37068

    Got thoughts? Discuss this SHLOG on my message-board

    THE LOGAN SHOW

    loganshow
    I'll be a guest on The Logan Show June 21st. The show is filmed with a live studio audience in Nashville, Tenn. in the afternoon (don't have exact times yet) . For more information on The Logan Show and to get tickets, visit theloganshow.com. See you there.

    Got thoughts? Discuss this SHLOG on my message-board

    E-BRAVE

    ebay

    WHITE FLAG (my next CD) will be in stores July 12th but can be pre-ordered for only $5 at my shows and pre-ordered on-line at various websites like shaungroves.com for a little more. OR you can buy an illegal "pre-release not for sale" copy (given to our "friends" in media, retail and radio) from this joker on e-bay. Only three days left to bid on this item. And my has the crowd pummeled this seller with a bevy of bids. A whopping none so far. Hope that's not a predictor of things to come for this CD. I have a SHLOG to fund.

    The seller has been warned that selling this CD is a violation of copyright law and that selling it for so little is a violation of my self-esteem.

    (Thanks to Amy aka. "Hopelives" from the message-board for the scoop on this infidel and his shady auction)

    Got thoughts? Discuss this SHLOG on my message-board