Writing

STORIES
“A Man Named John Smith” – Story Warren, September 2015
“Give It to the Alien”  – Story Warren, November 2013

ARTICLES & ESSAYS

“The Mess at the Wall” – Church at Charlotte Blog, January 2015
“A Gospel Story”  – Church at Charlotte Blog, January 2015
“Pure Imagination”
 – Church at Charlotte Blog, October 2015
The Poetry of Baseball: Finishing Well” – The Rabbit Room, October 2015
“Though We’re Strangers” – Church at Charlotte Blog, October 2015
“The Bible Quiz Subculture”The Curator, September 2015
“When Everything is Broken, Remember” – Church at Charlotte Blog, September 2015
“Writing with Light” – Church at Charlotte Blog, July 2015
“I’m Not the Queen” – Church at Charlotte Blog, July 2015
“Community and Compulsion” – Church at Charlotte Blog, June 2015
“Exchange” – Church at Charlotte Blog, April 2015
“Saturday: Sabbath”  – Church at Charlotte Blog, April 2015
“Perception and Grace” – Church at Charlotte Blog, March 2015
“The Story Needs to Be Told” Church at Charlotte Blog, February 2015
“The Melancholy Ones”  – Church at Charlotte Blog, December 2014
“Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative”  – Church at Charlotte Blog, November 2014
“Practice” – Church at Charlotte Blog, November 2014
“Of Maps and Shadows” – Greener Trees, October 2014
“Exploring Infinity” – Church at Charlotte Blog, August 2014
“The Ice Bucket Challenge” – The Curator, August 2014
“Feast of Grace”  – Church at Charlotte Blog, July 2014
“Rethinking Scarcity: The Emergence of Creative Communities” – The High Calling, June 2014
“The Other Side of the Glass”  – Church at Charlotte Blog, June 2014
“Listening Walls” – The Curator, June 2014
“A Romance It Certainly Is” (Revised) – Church at Charlotte Blog, May 2014
“Destruction and Creation”  – Church at Charlotte Blog, April 2014
“Death and Resurrection”  – Church at Charlotte Blog, April 2014
“A Year in Asia with Bible Christians” – Everyday Liturgy, March 2014
“A Year in Asia with Evangelicals” – Everyday Liturgy, March 2014
“A Year in Asia with Anglicans” – Everyday Liturgy, March 2014
“Our Beautiful Common Humanity”  – The Curator, September 2013
“The Love of a Thing” – Story Warren, July 2013
“Summoned By Music and Light” – Greener Trees, July 2013
“A Romance It Certainly Is” – Everyday Liturgy, June 2013
“The Stories I Rub Shoulders With” – Everyday Liturgy, June 2013
“The Art of Baseball” – The Curator, April 2013
“I Write Stories During Sermons” – Everyday Liturgy, January 2013
“The Gospel According to Eliot” – Greener Trees, January 2013
A Sinner Saved by Grace” – Cairn, Spring 2012

REVIEWS

Ron Block’s Walking Song – The Curator, September 2013
Joss Whedon’s 
Much Ado About Nothing – The Curator, July 2013
Jonathan Auxier’s Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes – Story Warren, January 2013

Recent Posts

Foreign

It was February 1999. I was visiting my cousins in Glennallen, Alaska during mid-winter break of my senior year. They competed in the State Final for hockey that week, and I got to see the defense duo of S. and S. Givens (numbers 1 and 11) help take the Panthers to a win. I learned how to play Myst. I was introduced to Mr. Bean, and the hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King” was forever changed to something that sometimes induces chuckling during worship services. I told my 12-year-old cousin that someday he’d be able to look over his brothers’ heads when he stood behind them in front of the bathroom mirror and they’d stop teasing him then (I was right).

And we went to a concert at the high school of a band from Palmer/Wasilla called Foreign. I LOVED them. Their music had alternative rock influences with the fun of ska, and it was all delightful. I bought an album that night and it became the soundtrack of my year.

I took it to college and started introducing people to it–I played it at nearly every open dorm. I used a snippet of the hidden track that was a singing answering machine message as my voicemail recording for much of my freshman year. I took it with me that summer to the Bible Conference where I worked and shared it around there–trying to explain to people that when I said I loved the band Foreign, I was not talking about Foreigner. My sophomore year, a girl from Alaska came as a freshman. I asked her if she’d ever heard of Foreign and she was a fan. We geeked out together for a bit, and then listened to the music.

Fast forward seventeen and a half years to this morning in Nashville.I was going to do breakfast with some friends still around after Hutchmoot. We were debating our restaurant choice, and as we stood on the sidewalk in front of our choices, another guy from Hutchmoot, Casey, came walking up the street. He was looking for a quiet morning and so didn’t plan to join us, but he stopped to chat for a few minutes. I’d met Casey the first day, but hadn’t talked long. Later, I ran into Pete, who I’d met in previous years, but never really had a long conversation with. This year, we remedied that lack and got to know each other a little. He said he’d grown up in Alaska, and I mentioned I’d lived there. We found a few commonalities, and Pete also mentioned that Casey was a friend he grew up with.

I didn’t see Casey again all weekend until this morning, so as we chatted I mentioned that Pete had told me they grew up in Alaska. I said I’d lived in Glennallen and Casey recalled he knew the place.

“I was in a band when I was in high school, and we played out there.”

I blinked at him a moment, the gears of memory clicking into place. He looked about my age.

“What band?” I asked.

With a little hesitation in his voice, Casey answered, “Foreign.”

My friend Jason was standing nearby, and he stated later that my squeal was supersonic. I’m going to blame the sudden loss of noise as I expressed myself to the fact that my voice is a bit hoarse from all the talking this weekend.

My friend Lisa Eldred caught the moment.

My friend Lisa Eldred caught the moment.

I’m typically pretty chill when it comes to meeting minor celebrities (I’ve never met any major ones, so I have no data there). Just a few hours after this encounter I practically ignored Danny Gokey next to me in a coffee shop.

But I actually asked Casey if I could hug him. I was so excited. I told him all about it.

“I haven’t felt this famous since high school,” he said. Then he asked which album I got. I said it was the one with the globe on the front. And he said this: “So you don’t even have the second one.”

SECOND ONE. They came out with two albums. I only have one. And now I know guys from the band who can hook me up with the one I didn’t know about.

And yeah, I said “guys.” Because after he told me about the second album, Casey said that they made it right before they broke up. I asked if he’d kept in touch with them. “Yeah, definitely,” he said. He mentioned one of the guys is still a close friend who now lives overseas, and another still lives in Alaska. “And Pete, of course,” he said.

“Wait, what?! Pete was in the band, too?” I asked.

Oh, yes. He was.

I got home a couple of hours ago and pulled out the album again. I haven’t listened to it in years, but I still know all the words. I was singing aloud to the cats just a few moments ago. It’s still a good album, and I still love it. And Casey tells me the second one was way better.

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