This Blog Has Come to an End

This blog is now closed.  I will not be posting to again.  I have a new (hopefully permanent) blog at  Come on by, check it out.  I will even have a mobile app for it, hopefully by the end of 2012, if the Mayans were wrong.  And if they were right, it won’t matter.



What North Carolina Voters Decide is in Their Best Interest, Only Legally Affects the Residents of NC. It is That Simple.

Politically, a majority of North Carolina voters added something to their state constitution that they believed was in their own best interest.  While it may have a political and cultural impact in other states, it has no legal impact, except in NC.  This is the action of a majority of the voters in one state, not the US House or US Senate.  The vote in NC has no legal, binding authority on the vast majority of Americans.  Regardless of how you would have voted if it had been an amendment to your states constitution, your opinion on how the voters in NC voted DOES NOT MATTER.  Please, get over it.  The only opinions on the issue in NC that count are the ones held by the people that voted.  Chances are, you were not eligible to vote in NC.  I wasn’t either.  It is their state, and their responsibility to vote their conscience.  When the issue comes up in your state, you will have a chance to voice your opinion via your vote.  When your state votes on the issue, and if it hasn’t, it will, unless the state is TN, then my opinion of the matter is worthless.

If, more likely when, this comes up for a vote in the US House or Senate, my hope is that any bill on the issue of marriage will die a quick death.  The US Constitution does not give any branch of the federal government the authority to speak on the issue.  Per the 10th amendment it is properly left to the states.  If you don’t like how the voters of your state have decided on the issue, you have two choices:

1) Work to change the law, or

2) Move to a state where the majority of voters did vote in a way that you would have voted.

If you live in a state that the majority of voters voted differently than NC voted, and you disagree with it, you have the same options.  Change the law, or leave.

It really is that simple.  No, it really is.

Actually, no state or local community should be legislating in any way on marriage.  Marriage is not a function of the state, it is a function of the church.  Marriage is first, last as always a theological practice.  It preaches the Gospel.  The state has no ability to do that.  That a couple must pay for a sheet of paper so that a state can allow a marriage exist is a tax scam, and nothing more than that.

An individual church has the freedom to decide if it wants to preform a wedding ceremony for a particular couple.  There is enough diversity in American church culture that if one church refuses to preform a ceremony, you can likely find a church that will.

This rant is sponsored by my tiredness with the multitude of pontifications on the issue of marriage that are either only political in nature and are absent any constitutional, or 10th amendment considerations, and my irritation with the over moralization of a particular morality without the consideration of the larger point that the Gospel makes when it is communicated through marriage.

Book Review: The Great Emergence by Phyllis Tickle


This is one of those books that I read because I thought I needed to, not so much because I wanted to. 

The published premise of the book is this: “Every five hundred years, the church cleans out its attic and has a giant rummage sale.”  By this, she means that about every five hundred years, there a a great shift in church history.  In 451, the Council of Chalcedon lead to the Oriental Church splitting off from the rest of Christendom, being the first “rummage sale”.  In 1054, when representatives of Rome and Constantinople excommunicated each other was the second.  The third was in 1517, when a German monk nailed a 95 Thesis to a Wittenberg church door, bringing the Protestant Reformation.  According to Tickle, we are living in the fourth such “rummage sale” and she is labeling it “The Great Emergence”.

Tickle gives a broad view of the history of each of these major splits in church history.  She ties in certain shifts in cultural thinking, as well as advancements in technology as contributing factors in each of these events.

But this is not what the book is about.  The real point of the book shows up first on page 45, half way down the page.  She poses the question, “Where now is the authority?”  From there, Tickle spends the rest of the book deconstructing the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.  From pages 151and152 under the heading  “Networked Authority”

The new Christianity of the Great Emergence must deliver some authority base or delivery system and/or governing agency of its own.  It must formulate – and soon – something other than Luther’s Sola Scriptura which, although used so well by he Great Reformation originally, is not seen as hopelessly outmoded or insufficient, even after it is, as here, spruced up and re-couched in more current sensibilities.

Simply put, Sola Scriptura is a Latin term literally meaning “only the Scripture”.  As a doctrine, So0la Scriptura simply means that the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice.  While creeds, confessions, and catechism have their place, and are very useful in their places, ultimately Scripture alone is the definitive place we can go for the final word on matters of faith and practice.  There is no further appeal beyond Sacred Scripture. 

Tickle seems to see the role of the church to respond and change to the whims of culture. From page 162

Regardless of what its theology eventually matures into, however, there is no question that the Great Emergence is the configuration of Christianity which is in its ascendency. It is just as certain that both the Roman and Protestant communions in North America will have to readjust themselves to accommodate the stresses of such massive changes in the culture and in the Church.  (emphasis mine)

The combination of “Networked Authority”, where the Church derives its authority not from one infallible source, but from multiple fallible sources, and a Church that changes to the whims of culture is deadly.  The church will suffer until it regains its anchor.

A couple of interesting bits that help make the Emerging mess a little easier to understand.  Tickle views the current makeup of the Emerging church to be about 1/4 Roman Catholic, blended with Anabaptism, Charasmaticism, and Quakerism.  This is helpful in understand the historical makeup of the Emergent movement.

“Networked Authority” is dangerous, in a bad way. It allows me to find a group of people who will enable my sin, especially if they deal with the same sins I deal with.  It leaves no definitive, final authority that we can all point to and clearly see the will of God for His people.

I am not going to say not to read the book.  Read it.  It is helpful if you want to understand the makeup of the Emergent Church, and where it is most likely going.  Just don’t expect where it goes to be where Scripture would call us to go.

Guest Post by Pete Warren: Can Social Networking Replace Traditional Marketing When it Comes to Music Products?

Pete Warren is an engineer, producer, songwriter, and great friend.  Several weeks ago, he posted an entry to My Space about the proper role of social media when it comes to marketing music.  I asked to post it here as well.

Worlds ApartPete is the founder of Wave Alias Studio in Franklin TN.  It’s a state of the art Pro Tools studio that is on par with anything on Music Row. 

Check out some of Pete’s work, you will not be disappointed.  His recent solo instrumental CD, “Worlds Apart” and Merry Ellen Kirk’s “Invisible War” which Pete produced and co-wrote much of with Merry Ellen.

Finally, before the article, I have embedded a video created by Jonathan Ward, with Pete’s song “Paddy’s Jig”, the first track on “Worlds Apart”.




Can social networking replace traditional marketing when it comes to music products?

People keep asking this question: Will social networking replace the big machine of record label style marketing?
I say NO. If it were doing so, the question would not need to be asked. Period. But I’ll throw in my 2 cents worth, and let’s see where the conversation goes. Stick with me through this. I’m going to try to use some parallel examples within other businesses.
Typically, if you’re in any business, you are manufacturing a product to sell, or you are selling a service. Music is a bit of both. It’s a product and an experience that we sell. Clearly, there is decline in specific areas of the music industry. We’re at a crossroads that lacks signage. Meaning, you know you have to take one of the three roads before you, but which one? Who knows? There are no clear signs pointing the way. But I would propose that traditional business planning is a great place to start.
Let’s say that your friends come over for dinner, and when they do, you grill some burgers. They all tell you they are the best burgers they’ve ever had before. Now, some of those friends will tell you that because they’re your friends. Your mom will tell you you make the best burgers in the world too. Maybe you even serve these burgers at the church social, and everyone there says they’re fantastic. By the way, all of these people will quickly lie to you about your burgers because they feel good by doing this, and they know it makes you feel good. But they could also be telling you the truth. You can’t know yet, because you’ve never asked anyone to actually pay for one of these so called amazing burgers. Get the parallel here? This is why there are so many people on American Idol during the audition phase thinking they are really talented when they completely lack talent. They’re not idiots. They’ve just not yet had the experience of trying to impress someone who won’t tell them they’re talented because they love them.
So, back to the burger guy… You decide you’ll open a burger stand. You set up shop at a popular street corner. You start selling burgers. You go to Costco and buy the supplies. You’re not buying many supplies (like a limited run of your cd), because you only have one stand. You pay your business taxes, rent the spot to set up your stand, and you start, for the first time, flipping burgers for the public. You charge $5 a burger.
To your surprise, people decide they like your burger, and you become a local success. So much so, that you are now able to hire someone else to flip burgers because you’re getting caught up with dealing with accounting, purchasing, and taxes.
Next, you move to a more permanent establishment. You set up shop in a popular local strip-mall. Traffic increases. You’re next to a popular grocery store. You hire a few folks to work in the store. Suddenly, you realize that you’re being overwhelmed by issues such as payroll, people taking sick time, people quitting without warning, etc… And there’s one other problem. A big one. The chairs are mostly empty during lunchtime. So you decide you’ll do a little marketing. Yellow pages? Nah. Newspaper? Nah. How about printing menus and throwing a few coupons on it? That’ll work. You now, instead of hiring someone, go out and door to door deliver each and every menu to local businesses. Suddenly, you’re not flipping burgers. The guys you hired to do it, well… They’re not as good as you are. But hey, you can train them, right? Or you can hire someone to put out those brochures.
You start getting more traffic in the door. You have to hire more people. You open a second store on the other side of town. Things are working well. you’ve gone from a local success to a regional success. People are starting to say that you make the best burgers in town. It’s a reputation you deserve for your talent. But there’s a whole nation of people who have yet to experience your burger.
This burger stand is in Colorado. The two stores are there. People in California have heard about how great this place is, but yet, they can’t experience it. So you drop an add on the internet. But why would the people in California bother to order a burger they have to fly to pick up? It won’t happen. So, of course, you set forth an expansion plan for your business.
Being overwhelmed by the daily tasks of running the business, you’re no longer doing what you love to do… Flip burgers. It’s in your best interest to keep flipping burgers, ’cause that’s what got this whole thing started. Do what you do best. You outsource several aspects of your business. The first is HR. So now ADP is taking care of that. you have tons of free time now. You also outsource marketing. Now, there’s some bad firms out there. Or maybe they’re not bad, but they’re not right for you. This is a tough part of building a business. But there’s zero question that a burger flipper is going to be better at marketing than the pros on Madison avenue. So you hire them to put together a commercial, and you open your first burger stand in Colorado Springs. Then in Omaha. Then in Kansas city. Chicago. New York. Nashville. Orlando. Los Angeles. Etc…
Pretty soon, these ads start bringing people in. Each store puts out their own team of people who put menus on the desks of local businesses. They run contests. The local radio station comes by to get free burgers in exchange for doing a broadcast there.
Then you start a training center. Now you’re teaching thousands of people how to teach their people to flip burgers the way you do.
Along the way, your fixed and variable costs of doing business have gone from high to low. You’ve brokered deals for lower prices for the beef and buns you serve every day. You suddenly realize that now you can afford to do what you really want to do, and you stop training people. You let someone else take that over, and you go back to tour the nation. You’re going to visit every store in the country, and personally flip the burgers yourself. People show up in droves to get a burger flipped by the guy that started it all. And they have an "EXPERIENCE."
Does this all sound like rambling? Or is it clearly a parallel to our business?
So you’re an indie artist that decides to sell your product (not your experience) through the internet. You send notes to everyone on FaceBook and MySpace. You’re on reverb nation, t61, etc… People love your music. But they don’t buy it in droves. You’ll sell a couple thousand copies that way. Maybe 1 out of 1000 that try it it actually works for. But starting up a business in music, which is what an artist is, takes money, planning, and time. It takes new marketing methods AND traditional means of marketing and distribution. We like to think that there are a couple of "indie" bands and artists that have made it work on their own. I’ve yet to see any indie artist that, when offered a distribution deal, will say no. Why not? Because they have the opportunity to outsource their marketing and distribution efforts, which allows them to focus on doing what they do best. Making music (assuming).
I’m just seeing WAY too many people making albums, spending all their time on social networking, and wondering why it’s not working. I’m not picking on any one person. I’m just answering the question I see asked non-stop about social networking.
Advertising has two parts. Directional and Creative. Creative advertising gets people interested. Think you’re typical soft drink ad. It doesn’t tell you where to buy it. It just makes you want to buy it. Directional advertising and marketing tells people how to find your product once they have a desire to buy it. So any marketing plan must include an appropriate balance. Coke doesn’t need directional advertising, because it’s commonly known that you can buy it at any grocery or fast food joint. On the other hand, you don’t need a TV ad to tell you you’re having chest pain. you need a phone book to direct you to the local heart doctor. Hope that quick example helps clarify.
The success of an artist requires the correct balance of these forms of marketing and advertising.
In my opinion, if one is going to do this right and has any chance at all, it’ll look something like this:
1. Write great songs.
2. Record great songs using professional engineers, producers, musicians, etc… (spend the money on it, it’s worth it).
3. Make your packaging look great.
4. Develop a marketing plan that goes beyond social networking, but also includes it.
5. Make your website look great and easy to find. Blog often, as it drives traffic to your site and increases your Google scores (meaning you’ll show up at the top results faster).
6. Outsource marketing, distribution and advertising.
7. The most important one. Deliver the EXPERIENCE of your music. There are several ways to do this. Video Blogs, music videos, EPK’s and then the most important part of it. SHOW UP AND PLAY SHOWS! This is a lot like the burger flipping tour idea mentioned above. Deliver the experience. Deliver the experience. Deliver the Experience. I once knew a preacher that said everything three times so it would sink in. His 30 minute sermons took an hour and a half to deliver as a result. But you get my point, right?
SO, back to our question… Will social networking replace traditional marketing? NO NO NO! But it can help in the beginning. It helps get the ball rolling. It shows those traditional marketing outfits that you’re sold out at your shows, that you’re doing 100-200 dates a year, and that you’re selling albums everywhere you go.
What do you think?

Wired for Sound

Word of mouth is the counselor
There is no need for proof
In a world that’s wired for sound
The tongue becomes the mighty sword
That battles the truth
In a world that’s wired for sound

Wired for Sound by Michael W. Smith & Wayne Kirkpactrick


“The Big Picture” is the best record that Michael W. Smith has released.  He has released several great records in his 20+ year career, but he has yet to top “The Big Picture”.

I am attaching the song below, for your enjoyment.  Think about this song in the context of the way the media covers American politics, and how American politicians handle the media.   Enjoy:)


The Tyranny of the New Year’s Resolution and the Freedom of the Gospel

I gave up the New Year’s resolution about 4 or 5 years ago.  New Year’s resolutions, for me, became a cycle of promising things that I usually gave up in a few weeks, felt guilty about it for a while, and forgot about it until the next new year, felt guilty for failing and then rededicating my rededications.  I finally gave up the vicious cycle, when I realized that I was just driving myself mad.  Maybe you have the same frustration.

Let me give you a list of resolutions I have made in years past, all of them failures.

  1. Get better grades in school
  2. Read the Bible in a year
  3. Be a better Christian (I still don’t know what this one really means.  Does it mean I follow the 10 Commandments better, evangelize more, pray more, work harder for Christ.  All I remember is that I thought it sounded really spiritual in Sunday School, however, I am sure someone saw through the facade)
  4. Write a book
  5. Be a better dad
  6. Be a better husband
  7. Go back to college
  8. Loose weight

While this is not an exhaustive list, you get the point.  I don’t think that I have ever really kept any New Year’s resolution I have ever made.  Which is why I abandoned the practice altogether.  And for the last 4 or 5 years, I have not been satisfied with that either.  Something wasn’t quite right about completely disengaging from considering the past year, and giving no thought for the coming year.

A couple of weeks ago, I began, again, to consider New Years resolutions, still convinced that they were a useless waste of time, I had another idea.  Instead of rededicating our rededications, better would be to remember how the Lord has been faithful in spite of us, and ask the Lord to continue to make us more willing, more faithful, and more ready to preach the Gospel in word and deed.  Since He has already prepared good works for us in advance (Eph 2:10), they are not our works anyway.  Therefore, it is Him that does the work (1Th 5:24). 

In this new year, let us have done with lesser things.  Run from the tyranny  of trying, yet again, to live right, to try harder, to think that maybe if I give it one more shot that maybe this time I can get it right. Let us instead, run to the Throne of Grace, repenting of our efforts, and asking Him to expand the Kingdom in us and through us. Let us ask our most merciful Savior to free us from trying harder, being better, doing more, for all of our trying, doing and being is at best filthy rags (Is 64:6). 

If you still must do the traditional New Year’s resolutions, first read a recent blog entry by my friend Bryan Entzminger.  He has some excellent thoughts on goal setting in general, that apply all year long, not just when we rededicate our rededications.



World Orphans Day – November 9

The Stars Foundation will be sponsoring “Students for World Orphans” in the Nashville TN area this Monday, November 9.  Gathering will begin at 4 pm at the YMCA in Franklin (map is here.)  The marching will start around 4:30, and end in the parking lot at the People’s Church.  We would like at least 250 students to march with us, but do not let not being a student in the way.  If you have a heart for orphans and adoption, please come.

T-shirts will be available for a $15 donation.  The dot art to the left is the image that will be on the shirts.  I saw the original artwork a couple of days ago, and the image you are looking at now on your screen does not do it justice.  It is an amazing piece of work.

At the end of the march, there will be a candle light vigil and candles will be passed out when we reach the People’s Church.

As believers, the doctrine of adoption is central to the Gospel.  From Ephesians 1:

1  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
2  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
4  even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
5 He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will,
6  to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.

God makes us sons and daughters when we were outcast and orphans, and at great cost.  We are far more loved than we should dare to hope or imagine, let us in turn share the only Love that will not let us go, Jesus.  Let us go to the least and the lost, and by God’s Spirit, work to bring the orphans and outcast home.