Sunday, September 28, 2008

Let's Fight.

Our society looks so highly upon unity, acceptance, and tolerance which has, indeed, allowed us to jump mammoth hurls throughout our history. A nation that went through the horrific and aggravating events surrounding the civil rights movement, now has an African-American man running for office. In a world where men and women are shoved into the streets and murdered for their faith, we can worship freely. We are a nation in search of a perfect coexistence with those around us. 
While this "step-on-no-toes" mentality is one of the most important qualities in our nation and brings with it some great social change, I, personally (call me a heretic if you will), feel as if this is one of the most dangerous and destructive ways of thinking in our culture.

Stay with me here... 

We've become so enamored with peace, love, and happiness that now the greatest crime is to offend. 

The other day my faith came up in casual conversation with a coworker. You know, about God creating the universe and sending His son, Jesus, to die for His creation. This kind of stuff... 
My friend, who obviously did not share my way of thinking, told me that he saw a poster once with hundreds of world religions on it. In the middle of the poster was a phrase equivalent to Jesus' golden rule. He surmised that all religions hold the same golden rule, and the conversation came to a screeching halt as he simply (but kindly) stated, "Whatever works for you is good, man." 
I have decided that I would rather live in a world where those who disagree with my thinking would yell and debate to the death, because here is the key: 

If we are both disagreeing, then at least we can know one of us is right and the other is wrong. THEN, if there is an established right and wrong, there must be an absolute truth.

If we all say "whatever works for you is right" then no one is right. If 
everything is true then nothing is true. Perhaps those of us who are part 
of the church need to focus on a new point in our evangelism. Let's at 
least get people to disagree with us. At least this is a starting point.
The next time someone says to me, "Whatever works for you, man..." 
I'm going to respond,
"Ok, well, tell me at least one thing you don't agree with me on."
"Well, I don't like Christianity's view on homosexuality."
"Ok good! We can talk about that someday! But... you do disagree 
with me. So, if you disagree on something, then one of us must be right
and one must be wrong. So, NOW we can have a conversation, because 
NOW at least we're starting to seek truth." Let me live in a society where I'm in danger of a thrown stone as opposed to a culture of halted 
conversations ending in a lukewarm and tolerant shrugging of the 

I wish you would
Simply disagree
And walk away or even knock me down

As opposed to embracing me
And saying whatever flies
Then shutting your eyes

Cause I find myself
Hitting the stud in the wall
Just so I can feel
Something that's real

I don't know much but I'm amongst the wolves

And the beast from the sea
Grew his legs and climbed ashore
And he devoured you
While you held him close and cried, "More, More"

And I wept by your bones
As the tide slowly rose
And carried you away
You'll not be coming home today

I don't know much but I'm amongst the wolves

-Amongst the Wolves

* Obviously, though posting my thoughts on longing for disagreement, I do not think our 
intentions should be to get people riled up. Rather, let them know it is OK for them to 
disagree. This can still be done very lovingly.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gift Shop Girls, Patio Dwellers, and Chef Judges

There are so many new people that I want to tell you about. I could devote whole posts to each individual that I have met in the past two weeks ever since my move downtown. Its been a simultaneously fun and difficult adventure. As my first post mentioned, I don't enjoy sitting still in life, but do you ever feel as if you are learning so much and meeting so many people it seems you won't hold it all together. Its tiring. Its a great life.
Anyhow, allow me to introduce you to some characters that now play various roles in my new life:

There's my grumpy old manager, Jim, who is awesome. I've seen him rip holes through sales people, maintenance guys, and my own coworkers. If you didn't know any better, you would assume that he doesn't give a heap of crap for anyone. He's one of the most opinionated liberals I've ever met, but we've had some good talks in the mornings while I'm opening the store. He's friends with the guys down at WDVX and the Blue Plate. He found out that I play there, and the other day he got drink orders at a table for me since I was slammed. When I approached the table to take their orders, they started asking me about my music. By the time they left, I had written down my website for them. Jim had told them about my musical career. It was a little act that showed me he cares about my music, and he's proud that I am pursuing it...

Yesterday, I was the only server left on the clock from 3:00-4:00, so I had to take some orders at the bar. I don't know nothin' 'bout no bar service. So,  I was a little stressed, and yeah... I messed up an order. Everyone was super nice about it, but I reached a point after the long day, that I thought to myself, "I gotta get outta here." 
Our store, Oodles Uncorked, connects with two others stores. To the left, there is Earth to Old City, a very quaint little gift shop in Market Square. Whenever I pass by the hallway that leads to their store, I see an Indian girl at the counter. 
After my mistakes and during my stressful hour of being on the clock alone, I slipped around the corner and went in. The girl at the counter smiled and greeted me, and I said, 
"Can I just catch my breath in here."
 She responded with a friendly smile, "Sure!" 
She introduced herself as Pratishta, but people call her Prat. We didn't talk about much, but her friendliness calmed me down so I could face the last 15 minutes of my shift. When I left, she waved through the window as I rode past on my bike... 

The other night I went to World Grotto (the shop on the other side of Oodles) with my friends Mark and Delacey. Mark is currently doing contract web design work and Delacey is a belly dancer. We saw a band play that was made up 5 drums and one bagpipe player. That night I got a chance to hang out with Jens (J pronounced as a Y). Mark, Delacey, Jens, and Jens' wife Antoinette, all go to my church. Jens (Who has tattoos all over his back and just recently got baptized after living a pretty crazy life) showed up to the show, and we found ourselves on a patio table until 1:00 in the morning discussing the divinity of Christ, the inspiration of Biblical writers, and what it means to be in the world and not of it. Jens saw me at Church today and wanted to have another talk sometime. Also, he wants me to put music to some lyrics he's been working on. It was refreshing to talk to a brother about Christ whether or not we agreed on everything...

There is a cook in the back named Shawn. Now, when I first met Shawn, he introduced himself, but said he couldn't tell me his real name. Apparently, he is on the witness protection program. To this day, I don't know if he's joking or not. Regardless, I think I'll just call him Shawn. 
Ol' boy is a gigantic African-American cool-as-crap guy. Every  morning he greets me, "WHAT'S UP, T??" Sometimes I even get a "BIG T!" 
Yesterday, to keep myself sane, I presented an idea to Shawn and some of the servers, 
"You guys ever watch the Office? I think we should have an Oodles olympics." 
The servers kind of brushed all my ideas off, because most of them were potentially harmful to company property, but as I presented my idea, Shawn interrupted, 
"YEAH! You can judge Shawn. See guys, this will be awesome!" 
Stuart, one of the servers who is a super nice guy responded,
"Hey, I got an idea, how about we all just do our job." 
Although he was 50% joking and he is a great guy and all, I wanted to harm some company property on his face.
As we all stared at him a little deflated, Shawn looked down and shook his head. With a deeply sad tone, he simply said,
"Man, that's why you're not in the Olympics. You can't be in the Olympics now." 
To which I responded, "That's why I made you judge Shawn."  

There are so many more people to tell you about, and I probably will eventually. I will tell you this, though. There is a lot of stress involved after moving, changing addresses, starting new jobs, looking for a second one, trying to book shows, meeting new people, riding a bike in traffic, owning up to mistakes, living in community, attending a new church, living in a rougher part of town, trying to keep up with a downtown life, having prostitutes dropped off in front of your house, watching coworkers plan their next high...
But there are always those people who bring you little moments of sanity. At any moment Jim may go off on someone (hopefully not me), Prat may not be working, Shawn may get ticked when asked a special request on an order, and Jens and I could disagree. 
However, I sure am thankful for each of them. 

Monday, September 8, 2008

Jackie and Gene

I'm sitting in my bedroom a few blocks off Magnolia Street. A block down from me there is a crack house, and this afternoon a little boy was trying to swipe our lawnmowers. (it really wasn't stealing. I'm pretty sure Matt who owns our house put them there as trash, and the little boy wanted the parts.) When he saw me, he shouted, 
"You all throwin' these away?" 
"uhh..I'm not sure man." 
"Well, it looks like ya are." 
"Yeah, I guess you could ask Matt when he gets home, buddy." 
"I can't just take 'em now?"
"Well, I mean... I want you to have 'em." 
"Can I move 'em into your yard so no junkers take 'em"
"Sure man, they can sit here, and I'll have 'em on reserve for ya." 
"k...see ya dude."
"Yeah..see ya."

So, I'm living in a much different scenario than I was a week ago sitting alone on my front porch overlooking the lake. Now I live with five other guys in the "other" part of town. Downtown. 
Well, I had heard that our neighbors were pretty cool people. I always saw them sitting on their porch drinking beer, and I heard they liked dominos a lot. About an hour ago, I saw two African-american men who looked to be in their late forties sitting on the porch, so I decided to go say hey. 
As they saw me approaching the porch, they grinned and grunted out a, "Hey dere!" They were so welcoming, I immediately knew this was gonna be a good time. 
"Hey, I just moved in next door. My name is Taylor."
"Oh! Hey hey! Just moved in! Mighty fine men o'er in dat house, o'er dere. You're wit sum mighty fine men." 
"Yeah, they're good guys." 
We shot the breeze for about twenty minutes. Gene, the owner of the house is here as result of Katrina, and Jackie is his brother. Larry, the other brother, wasn't around, but he just moved into the area as well. So, for the first time in about 17 years, all the brothers are back together. They found out that I was a musician and had some dreams and blah da blah, and were all about it. Gene is on disability, because he got hurt working at Lowes and Jackie just went through a divorce and plummeted from having everything out in California to living off food stamps and government housing. 
At one point, Jackie was smoking a cigarette he rolled with Bugle tobacco, and drinking a no-name beer when he looked at me and said...
"You know, a man cannot be judged when...when a man is on 'is plateau. When he has everthing, see. A man...a man is judged by how he acts when he 'as nuthin. When it has all been taken 'way. When dat man wake up in da mornin' and decides to make a positive impact on anotha's life, and he has nuthin' that is when a man can be judged as a good man. So, when you become a rockstar or a singer or whatever you want to be, you have to rememba when you had nuthin.' You have to decide how you are gunna treat people now. You see?" 

When I left they said I could come back over and have some chicken wings that were grilling a few feet from where we were talking. So, I think I'm going to head back over to Gene's house and eat some wings with him and Jackie. I think I could learn a lot from those dudes. 


As I clicked "Publish Post," my doorbell rang. Since I'm the only one home, I went downstairs to see Jackie sitting on the front porch holding three chicken wings wrapped in tinfoil. I opened the door and said "Thanks man!" 
He responded, "Man, these are hot as ****, you need to hold these from the top!" And we talked about him teaching me how to work on cars, if I teach him how to play music. THAT dude is a rockstar. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


My new and official website is up. Thanks Christina Gleixner for all your hard work!