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ALIEN SOIL



THE (OFT-NEGLECTED) BLOG OF J. DANIEL ROSS



Updated: 2017-10-06T19:13:27.943-05:00

 



My Top Music of 2015

2015-12-30T13:03:29.464-06:00

In the past, I've often taken time at the end of the year to run down what I considered to be the best music of the year. In a former life (college, really) I was a music reviewer. While I won't be crafting the sort of thing a music journalist would in this space, I will review what I considered to be the best music of 2015. There is one caveat, however. I don't have the resources or time to keep up with everything. So, this post is me telling you what is the best among the music I picked up in 2015. These selections were all released this year (with the exception of an honorable mention that was released in summer 2014 but I only discovered in mid-2015). So, away we go ...Honorable Mention:THE COLD STARES: A COLD WET NIGHT AND HOWLING WINDAs I mentioned above, this one was actually released in 2014 (otherwise, it would easily make my top five list). The Cold Stares are semi-local as they are based in Evansville, Ind., but heavily gig around Nashville. The band is only a duo (drummer and guitarist) but are the sound of Black Sabbath backing up Muddy Waters. I dig their sound immensely and can't recommend them enough. Great riffs, great singing. Blues with a touch of spirituality mixed in. Pick it up, folks. The band also released two EPs in 2015 that are stellar and fairly varied.LEON BRIDGES: COMING HOMELately, there have been several artists appear who seem to be throwbacks (Adele comes to mind) to when singers had soul and sang quote-unquote "real" music. Time will tell whether they are one trick ponies or not. However, Leon Bridges, with the release Coming Home, has delivered something seemingly authentic and, well, just real. Featuring narrative-style storytelling on several songs, the laid-back groove will put you in a different era. Everything about this is a throwback to the days of Otis Redding and what may seem like a simpler era. We know, of course, that is not necessarily true, but the main thing I take away from this album is being transported and that's one thing good music does. Be sure to pay attention to the Scripture woven throughout. This is the way to do it, folks.***********************************Number Five:SHOVELS & ROPE: SWIMMIN' TIMEThis duo was relatively unknown to me before a guy named Jeff (at our church) pointed them out to me. Lots of people point out lots of music to me so I didn't give it much thought (I had a song of theirs from the Divided and United: Songs Of The Civil War album I loved from several years back). However, when I saw they were giving away this album on NoiseTrade, I immediately gave it a download. What it turned to be was one of my favorites of the year. Neo-folk can be great or awful. I put this in the former category. Full of stomping rave-ups, Swimmin' Time makes me laugh, think, and just generally feel good about life. It's repeat listening.Number Four:GHOST SHIP: COSTLYOne of the former Mars Hill Church bands, Ghost Ship was never my favorite of those bands (Citizens, Red Letter, King's Kaleidoscope, etc.). It's not that I disliked them, they were always just OK in my book. However, their sophomore release, Costly, written in the wake of Mars Hill's dissolution, is next-level material. Cam Huxford's songwriting is stellar (we sing their song "One God" at our church) and, refreshingly, honest and raw on this album. Songs like "Provide" are blunt and necessary for the church. songs like "Adoption" give new perspectives to Jesus' sacrifice and love for us. I often dislike modern worship music because it's, well, bland and derivative far too often. this is the opposite and something I hope more churches search for in their worship music catalogs.Number Three:TREMONTI: CAUTERIZEMark Tremonti is one of the hardest working guys in hard rock music. Formerly of Creed (while I wish no ill will toward Creed, their music or fans, I hope the band is done) and currently a driving force in the awesome band Alter Bridge, Tremonti, takes a thrash-ier turn with the second release from his side project called, strangely enough, Tremonti. The band's first album, All I Wa[...]



The Confederate Stumbling Block

2015-06-22T10:25:14.558-05:00

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I was born and raised in Paris, Tennessee. Being a native of west Tennessee, I used to heartily embrace the Confederate flag as a symbol of my “southern-ness.” I had a license plate carrying the phrase “American by birth, Southern by the grace of God.” I thought it (and I) was pretty clever with that thing in the back of my first pickup truck.

I am extremely grateful to be from the South (capitalized on purpose). It's a deep, deep thing engrained in the DNA of people who were born and raised there. If you’re not from the region, you may not understand it and that’s OK. However, it's a very real pride that can’t be quantified.

The South and its history is not pure and pristine. Neither is America and its history. There is much shame running throughout our entire nation’s past. We have done wretched things to one another. Slavery and its sister, the Civil War, being toward the top of that list. You can get into semantics over where today’s incarnation of the “rebel” flag came from. You can honestly debate state’s rights and all sorts of things. It’s a rabbit hole you may never escape from. The Civil War was fought over the right of one man to own another man as property. Don’t let that get clouded in any other argument over this very dark portion of our nation’s past. Men fought and died for a cause. There was great valor and honor spent and much blood spilled to protect the right to own another human being as property.

The flag and its various Confederate incarnations was — and is — a symbol of this horrifying fact.

In the past, my embrace of the flag carried no connotation of slavery, in my mind. But, when I became convicted by the Holy Spirit of the very real pain and hurt the flag’s prominence caused friends, family, and many Christian brothers and sisters, I could no longer embrace it with a clear conscience.

If you are a follower of Jesus, you should recognize the term “stumbling block.” Plain and simple, that’s what this flag is. It simply is highly offensive to many of our brothers and sisters as well as to many who aren’t followers of Jesus. The life of a Christian is marked by laying down one’s life for others, including preferences, oftentimes. Are my preferences to laud my southern heritage more important to me than people? Surely not. This should not be.

Be aware of your history, your heritage, your roots. In many cases, a healthy amount of encouragement should come from those things. I am encouraged by my family’s history and the work ethic and determination passed down from my Scots-Irish, Southern roots. I am comforted by the “way” things are in the South in regards to everyday life and faith, family, and friends. I’ve spent nearly 15 years above the Mason-Dixon in Indiana and I’ve often joked about being a missionary to a foreign land of Yankees (of the German-Catholic variety).

However, the pain of this symbol of my “homeland” is all too real. As Christians, we should never embrace symbols of oppression and symbols of hate. Just as the swastika was not originally a Nazi symbol, it is now. Just as the Confederate flag may, to you, be a symbol of Southern pride, the pain it carries now is one we should reject.

If we truly believe all men are made in the image of God and life is sacred, followers of Jesus can not embrace the symbols of ownership of our fellow man. We can’t embrace the symbols of a certain skin color being superior to another. We can’t embrace the Confederate flag.



Trust in God and the ‘how long?’

2015-06-11T21:25:27.871-05:00

Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me! Psalm 35:1 (ESV) Our nation is in rapid moral and spiritual decline. There’s not many left arguing against this thought. The shift in our nation’s spiritual climate in just the past 25 years has been jarring for most believers. Thankfully, American Christians are not currently suffering any real persecution, contrary to some arguments, however, the day looks much closer than it did when I was a younger man. In other parts of the world, though, persecution is a daily reality. How should we respond? There are various ways and no shortage of opinions. In reading, Psalm 35, David provides a model for us. Facing imminent (physical) harm, David cried out to our heavenly Father for help. He shows us in his prayer we can’t win this battle on our own. Instead, we need God to contend on our behalf. First, we simply ask God to fight for us. How often we overlook this and skip straight to our own methods, our own plots, our own schemes, leaning on our own understanding. We are small, however. God is infinite. Next, we pray the schemes of the wicked would fail, that they would suffer shame, and, ultimately, destruction. Of course, we desire everyone to repent and follow Christ. But the reality is, our protection means harm for our pursuers. In this, we are not to be vindictive, but instead to pray for our enemies as Jesus instructed. Praying for the Holy Spirit to soften their hearts of stone and make them hearts of flesh, but ultimately, trusting that God is the ultimate judge, not us. Hear more about this from (the much smarter and more eloquent) John Piper, below. frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/207303180&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%">Third, believe. We trust God will deliver His children. Scripture is rife with these promises from Genesis to Revelation. Do we trust God and his word? He. Will. Deliver. He shows us this in the cross. We can trust His faithfulness because the promise He made to Adam and Eve and all throughout the Old Testament is fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He lived the life we could not live. He took the wrath for sin that was ours to take. He rose from the dead, defeating our ultimate enemy in death. If we can’t trust this, we have no hope for any other battle in life.Proclaiming this faithfulness is the apex of Psalm 35 as well as the apex of our lives and all battles. We should proclaim this faithfulness to ourselves and to the nations.In the meantime, we long for the defeat of evil. We long for God to rescue us from those who would pursue us and wish us harm (seemingly more and more of our culture actually does seek our harm). Unfortunately, we live in the very present world and waiting is hard. Joining David, we cry out with the familiar refrain of ‘how long?’How long until rescue? How long until things are set right?It’s not an easy wait, but trusting in God’s faithfulness and Jesus’ defeat of Satan, sin, and death is necessary. Take heart. Our perfect father has won the victory for his rebellious kids.[...]



CCJ Radio on The Scratch (06.29.2014)

2014-06-26T12:12:13.092-05:00

Here, you'll see what I get to be a part of each week.

Below is the playlist for June 29.

Listen to The Scratch via iTunes (stream) this Sunday at 11 a.m. EDT (a CCJ worship service is played from 10-11 a.m.)

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CCJ Radio on The Scratch (06.22.2014)

2014-06-19T08:43:16.133-05:00

Here, you'll see what I get to be a part of each week.

Below is the playlist for June 22.

Listen to The Scratch via iTunes (stream) this Sunday at 11 a.m. EDT (a CCJ worship service is played from 10-11 a.m.)

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CCJ Radio on The Scratch (06.15.2014)

2014-06-13T10:05:00.434-05:00

Here, you'll see what I get to be a part of each week.

Below is the playlist for June 15. (June 8 was a repeat airing of May 11).

Listen to The Scratch via iTunes (stream) this Sunday at 11 a.m. EDT (a CCJ worship service is played from 10-11 a.m.)

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CCJ Radio on The Scratch (06.01.2014)

2014-05-31T10:00:00.054-05:00

Here, you'll see what I get to be a part of each week.

Below is the playlist for June 1.

Listen to The Scratch via iTunes (stream) this Sunday at 11 a.m. EDT (a CCJ worship service is played from 10-11 a.m.).




CCJ Radio on The Scratch (05.25.2014)

2014-05-22T16:39:37.158-05:00

Here, you'll see what I get to be a part of each week.

Below is the playlist for May 25.

Listen to The Scratch via iTunes (stream) this Sunday at 11 a.m. EDT (a CCJ worship service is played from 10-11 a.m.).

 



CCJ Radio on The Scratch Playlist for 05.11 & 18.2014

2014-05-15T17:24:21.995-05:00

Here, you'll see what I get to be a part of each week. Below is the playlist for May 11 and 18. I'm digging getting to do this each week.   (image)   (image)



CCJ Radio On 93.7 The Scratch (04.27.14 & 05.04.14)

2014-04-29T08:37:51.954-05:00


One of the things I always wanted to do when I was a kid was to be a radio station guy. Not always a deejay, but someone who got to curate an awesome playlist for the people to dig into. 

I was happy when, recently, my church (where I'm the Music and Communications Minister), was asked to be a part of Jasper High School's student-run radio station, The Scratch.

We were given a two-hour block on Sunday mornings (10 a.m. to noon). The first hour (10 to 11 a.m. Eastern) is a replay of the previous week's worship service (basically, music and the sermon). The second hour (11 a.m. to Noon) is music we select.

Since this job fell to me, at least initially, I gathered a large playlist of 500-600 songs from my iTunes library of music made by Christians, music marketed as "Christian," and Scripturally-influenced music or "positive music" (whether or not the artist intended it to be or not). If you can't tell, I'm not a big fan of the labels that get stuck on music, especially since the songs haven't committed their lives to following Jesus. ;)

Below is the first and second week's playlist.




My Favorite Music of 2013

2014-01-02T15:06:09.979-06:00

I don't any longer presume to be a music critic (I once considered myself one, strangely enough). What follows is my list of the best music I OWNED FOR THE FIRST TIME in 2013. Some of these might not be 2013-proper albums, but I bought them in 2013, for instance.This list is not exhaustive, just the favorites of what I have in my library. "Buy it" links are the cheapest options.FIVE:KINGS & QUEENS: AUDIO ADRENALINEI've always loved Kevin Max's voice but I have to admit I was skeptical that he would be a good fit for a re-vamped Audio Adrenaline (a band I was never a big fan of in the '90s-'00s). This album, however, is as solid as pop-rock comes. Kevin Max seems to have had a re-birth of sorts and I can't wait for more from AA.Buy it.FOUR:DIVIDED & UNITED: THE SONGS OF THE CIVIL WAR: VARIOUS ARTISTSThis collection of Civil War-era songs re-imagined by modern artists fascinated me when I first read about it months ago. However, I didn't think I'd buy it. But, after repeated listenings on Spotify, I fell in love with it. There's a mournful quality to songs that were written during a very dark period in our nation's history. I'm not sure what it is about this one, but it's great listening on a cloudy day.Buy it.THREE:CITIZENS: CITIZENSThis debut of original material from a Mars Hill band is a welcome change for church music. More and more churches are writing their own material and singing what they are learning as an individual body. No church has had quite the impact Mars Hill has and they've certainly influenced what I do as a music minister. This one has a throwback feel in some ways but it's certainly not mire in Seattle-ness like other Mars Hill music releases have been (not always a bad thing, just an observation).Buy it.TWO:THE WAY LIFE GOES: TOM KEIFERCinderella frontman Tom Keifer has one of those voices you either love or sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. I've always enjoyed Cinderella to a point but can't do long-term listens to them. This album was a gamble purchase (bought it with Father's Day iTunes money) and it tunred out to be one I didn't take out of the CD player (I burn CDs still) for weeks. Straight-ahead rock 'n roll goodness and hooks. The voice has changed, but the songwriting quality remains.Buy it.ONE:FORTRESS: ALTER BRIDGEAlter Bridge, formed from the ashes of Creed, is the best hard rock band around today. A million times better than Creed, the band's albums are big favorites in our house. Fortress is the band saying they don't care about radio hits or demographics or anything else, just writing what they want. Parts epic and parts brutal, AB has outdone itself on this album. With each album, I continue to ask why they aren't the biggest rock band in the world. I'm not sure, but I love this album.Buy it.-------------------------HONORABLE MENTIONS (ALBUMS):Mechanical Bull: Kings Of LeonEvening: Morning: The Digital AgeCome Ye Sinners (Live): SojournHONORABLE MENTIONS (SONGS):Sirens: Pearl Jam (if the whole album was as good as this track, "Lightning Bolt" would've been my #1).Bring On The Music: Gov't Mule (you'll have to buy the album as this one is an 11-minute song).Pictures Of You: Bon Jovi (if you know me, you know this is my favorite band - for better or worse. However, their 2013 release, "What About Now," was a pretty disappointing album and the band seems to be fraying at the edges with Richie Sambora sitting out most of the last tour. Hopefully, they'll re-group in a few years and make another awesome album. This track, however, was pretty cool).Roar: Katy Perry (Yes, really. I love it. Forget labels, this is an awesome song).[...]



My Guitars

2013-07-17T09:13:52.647-05:00

Taylor 614CE (2005)Fender American Stratocaster2007-2008 (with new noiseless pickups)Epiphone Les Paul Custom(I THINK it's a late 1990s model)with Seymour Duncan pickups installed in 2010.Gibson Les Paul Standard Double Cutaway2001. Made in Nashville, TN.Gibson ES-3352010. Made in Nashville.[...]



Songs I've Written

2013-02-05T20:51:00.378-06:00

src="http://noisetrade.com/service/sharewidget/?id=1792d3be-58f8-4966-b84a-842d93b6dc2e" width="240" height="400" scrolling="no" frameBorder="0"> Free sampler above from the album "And Still" by Narrow Path.

Buy the whole thing at:

iTunes

Amazon mp3

Spotify

CD



14 Years Later

2012-09-19T11:05:52.688-05:00

My wife, Shannon, married me 14 years ago today.

I was very young (21) and probably didn't understand the full weight of what I was doing. However, I don't regret it and, we took vows before each other, our friends and family and, most importantly, before God. We said we would love each other and honor each other in sickness and health, in times of financial goodness and not-so-goodness, until death parted us.

Some of the last 14 years have been filled with sickness of the general variety but also of the spiritual and mental variety. Some of the last 14 years have been filled with times of financial OK-ness (we've never had 'riches' on a modern American scale) but many have been times of financial lack (even now).

Even though I was young when I said my vows, I meant it. I still mean it. Love isn't always a Hollywood romantic comedy-like feeling, more often than not, it's a moment-by-moment decision to lay down my life for my wife like Christ did for his bride the church.

I can honestly say I love my wife in a more real way now than I did on that day in Tennessee 14 years ago.



Go Braves!

2012-08-02T17:09:09.342-05:00

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Though there was an hour-plus rain delay and we got somewhat lost in downtown Atlanta, we finally got to see a Braves game this season.

They lost and Chipper (in his final season) sat out much of the game (he came in to pinch hit later on and stayed in the game). However, I loved being at the park and catching a game in person. We were 3 rows from the field along the first base side in mid-outfield.



Reflections on 35 Years

2012-04-09T09:22:27.047-05:00

I turn 35 today. My personality is such that I tend toward the negative and somber. That's not always good (but it's not always bad either). However, sitting here, realizing I've been given 35 years thus far, I know that I have much to be thankful for.

— God doesn't owe me anything, but He's given me everything. I deserve to be dead and in hell, but He's given me life and His grace with the promise of eternal life with Him.

— God has given me a wife and two wonderful daughters. He has taught me the meaning of grace through marriage and how to die to self and love my wife like Christ loved the church. He's given me a help-mate and a woman I love very much. He's given me a oldest daughter who's too much like me personality-wise but who is also passionate about certain things like I am. It's heart-breaking at times to watch her struggle with the things I struggle with but I get to be her comforter in so many ways and that is a joy. God also gave me a daughter who is the complete opposite of almost everyone else in this house. She's more outgoing than all of us put together, makes friends easily and is almost always smiling. She's also passionate and is such a light to all of us. Right now, her little missing-tooth grin is something I look forward to every day. She's compassionate and so trusting (which is going to be trouble later on ... according to my 'realistic' side).

— God has given me a job that I love. I love all the 'job' aspects of my job and I love getting paid to do both all the communications work as well as music at CCJ. I love both of the bands I get to work with. They are a great group of people who are loyal and care about what we are trying to do with music worship. I'm thankful for those who understand that there's no need to be just like every other church in what we do.

— I'm thankful for our house. It's not the nicest. It could use some landscaping work pretty badly and I'm no handyman so, every time something goes wrong, I'm paying for it big time. But, we can afford this house and I'm thankful God has provided it to us.

— I'm thankful for my family of origin. My mom and dad raised us well. They raised us in a stable home, never with the fear of a divorce, and always making God real to us. I'm thankful for my brother and sister, who though are miles apart now, we still love each other deeply.

— I'm thankful God gave me the desire to play guitar through that Nelson video all those years ago. It literally changed my life. :-)

I'm sure I could sit here all day, but I'll leave it at this. God, thank you for 35 years.



Five For Friday (Feel-Good Edition)

2012-03-23T09:36:57.500-05:00

I haven't done a Five for Friday in a long, long time. These five songs are five that make me smile every time I hear them.

1.) Bon Jovi: "Keep The Faith" (almost any live version)
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2.) Keith Urban: "Shine"
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3.) Shaver: "Georgia On A Fast Train"
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4.) Marty Stuart: "Country Boy Rock & Roll (feat. Kenny Vaughan)"
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5.) Jonny Lang: "I Believe"
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Good Music vs. Good Memories

2012-03-17T11:06:35.397-05:00

width="480" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Q_s2-ToAHog" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="">I'm a fan of Bon Jovi. I'll readily admit it after going years trying to hide it (it wasn't exactly fashionable for years ... and may not be now, but I'm too old for that nonsense). I think they write solid pop/rock music filled with great melodies and lots of hooks. It's not exactly prime rib, but more like that tasty, tasty hamburger you love to eat.I'm using them as an example because, lately, I've been wondering where all the good, new music has gone. Music that moves me the way Bon Jovi's stuff did in the late 1990s. I find myself listening to the songs I listened to in high school and college a lot more now that I'm in my mid-30s. I used to be perplexed about people who listened to nothing but Lynyrd Skynyrd and classic rock radio all day. At some point, they seemed to get off the current train and simply said 'I'm staying right here in 1977.'I was listening to Bon Jovi's These Days album on vinyl the other day and thought about how I wish they'd make another album that was as raw an honest as These Days was. That led me to this line of thought: Have they really not made a record as great as These Days or are my memories associated with the time period surrounding the These Days era so strong that nothing could ever match up, no matter how great it truly was?I'd say with certainty that it's the latter.When a person listens to music, they aren't just listening to the notes put down on disc or digital format, they are absorbing the notes and the memories that surround them while listening. When I hear These Days, I may not be consciously thinking about the summer/fall of 1995 and the beginning of my college years, but I am certainly not listening with completely honest, fresh ears either. I'm subconsciously thinking about my teenage buddies Jeremy and Michael, about waiting in line to get tickets to see the band on the These Days tour (Nashville. Sept. 18, 1995 at Starwood Amphitheater, seventh - and then first - row), about hearing my friend Daron blasting Something For The Pain from his sweet blue Mustang's CD player (I still had a tape deck in my red 1987 Ford Ranger), about working in that awful factory (Mohon International) the summer after high school and listening to the tape every day, about how lonely college was at the start and how that tape was my friend and about the many, many miles I drove listening to that album while I was delivering pizzas for Domino's to pay for my college.How can anything new Bon Jovi puts out now compare with that long list of defining memories? Music means a ton to me, as it always has. However, back then, music meant almost everything. I was completely obsessed. I was also in my transformative years. Figuring things out on my own for the first time. Often lonely, often confused, my mind going a million miles an hour.I try to keep all of that in mind when I complain about there not being any good music out today or when I complain about my favorite "legacy" bands not putting out decent albums anymore. The truth is, the stuff's probably not that bad but it simply can't compete with the powerful memories of the past when my favorite songs were the soundtrack of my life.On another note, there are simply too many choices today. In 1995, I had that one These Days tape to keep me company all summer/fall (granted I had other music, but not more than 25-30 cassette tapes). Today, the album consists of 12 of my 18,000+ songs. But, that's another post for another day.Music vs. memories. Memories will win every time.[...]



Music I've Made

2012-03-01T09:03:02.724-06:00

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width="413" height="240" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Ii7AEpUFf54" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

If you're inclined to give an ear to things I've done, above are a few things. I'm currently working on 10 new songs with Narrow Path for a full-length album. We should be done in a few months.



The Single Parent Week

2012-01-06T22:39:06.270-06:00

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My wife has been in Haiti all week on a mission trip helping out at an orphanage our church started a few years ago. To say that this was outside her comfort zone is like saying the Pope is Catholic. Little did I realize it was out of my comfort zone as well.

- I have a new respect for single, working parents who keep it together day in and day out with more than one kid. The flurry of work, picking kids up from school and getting homework done and baths taken and dinner eaten was crazy hectic.

- A very dear lady in our church saved us this week by arranging meals every night for a dad who can't cook and his would-be starving girls. Mary wins the award for coolness this week.

- I'm thankful I have a job where I can leave at 2:20 in the afternoon and it be cool so long as all my work gets accomplished by deadlines.

- Band practice nights were not much fun, to be honest. I should've gotten a sitter probably but didn't want to "waste" a sitter for just another band practice night.

- I realized my wife really "goes to work" after the school hours. We only have two kids, I can't imagine what things would've looked like with more.

- Stay-at-home parents don't get enough credit.

- Technology is cool. I got to talk to my wife just about every day in some form or another. Just a few short years ago, her bing gone for a week would've meant no communication for a week.

- I love and miss my wife.



Merry Christmas 2011!

2011-12-22T10:09:50.576-06:00

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(Click on the photo to get a bigger version.)

This year, there will be no long letter and, yes, this is probably the cheap way to send Christmas greetings (we're in a recession though, right?), but I wanted to take a moment and wish all of you a very merry Christmas and a great 2012!

I hope you are well.



Help My Wife Go To Haiti

2011-11-16T11:14:42.515-06:00

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Hello,

My wife, Shannon, has a great mission trip opportunity in early January and I would like to share it with you. A group of six women (including her) from our church, the Christian Church of Jasper, are planning, God willing, to work at an orphanage outside of Porte Au Prince, Haiti, in a city called Cite Soleil. We plan to work at the House of Hope Children’s Home (an orphanage our church started a few years ago) as much as possible during the week of January 2-7, 2012.

Among other things, they will be will be caring for the little girls in the orphanage which will provide relief for the house parent and staff. They will also be touring the school at Blanchard where the girls attend, to observe their environment and progress since they have been in the orphanage’s care. We believe that their work and the work of the mission trip team is greatly needed.

If you know Shannon well, you know that this mission trip is a very big step of faith. She wants to help make a difference in the lives of the Haitian people, and I am asking you to help her in a few ways. First, the mission trip team needs everyone’s prayers. Please, pray that God will keep them all safe and that God will use her to help the people of Haiti in any small way. Second, please consider supporting her financially. Trip expenses will amount to approximately $1,500. Any amount would be greatly appreciated and will certainly make an impact on the mission field. If you choose to help her, please follow the directions below.

If you choose to make a financial contribution and support Shannon, please make checks payable to: “Christian Church of Jasper” and write “January Haiti Mission - Shannon” in the memo line. You may send a contribution to Christian Church of Jasper; 1450 Energy Drive; Jasper, IN 47546. These gifts are tax deductible (you may also give at CCJ). If you are not worried about tax deductions, you may give any gifts to me or Shannon when you see us or send your gift to: 1429 Main St. Jasper, IN. 47546. Be sure to denote that this is for the Haiti Mission Trip.

Thank you for your time and your gifts. I can’t tell you enough how much your prayers and support are appreciated.

Sincerely,

Daniel Ross



Is One Kind Of Music Holy?

2011-09-17T15:25:58.778-05:00

Apart from lyrics, music is just vibrations ...

Read this post from Jamie Rowe. Good stuff.



My Letter To The Editor

2011-09-07T13:34:08.862-05:00

Our local paper (subscription required ... it's a pay site ... as it should be :-) recently ran a feature story about a lesbian couple who had a child. It was a straight-ahead feature with no real angle other than, 'hey, here's a gay couple raising a kid in small-town Indiana.' The letters to the editor that follwed were predictable, including one that finally made me write my own.The homosexual issue is one that is going to be the racism of the next generation, if not this one. I predict that my kids will one day look at my wife and I as I look at my grandparents' views on race (kind of a head-shaking thing). Don't get me wrong, we're raising our children to know what sin is (and I definitely think homosexual activity is a sin). However, I don't know that we can overcome the tidal wave of opinion in favor of it that is being fed to us on a daily basis.That being said, sin is the heart of the matter and we are all sinners in need of a Savior.Here's my letter (in full — and edited version appeared in the paper today) ...Though I appreciate good sarcasm, I disagreed with the point of Mike Mundy’s recent letter (“Reasonable people agree Bible isn’t verbatim dictation,” Aug. 24, 2011) but was not all that surprised by it. The Bible doesn’t hold the sway it once did in American society. That’s reality. The homosexual issue is here to stay, without a doubt.However, those who disagree with the Bible’s teaching on matters such as homosexuality often go back to Leviticus and point to the prohibition on shellfish and the mixture of fabrics and wonder where the outrage is about those matters. For those that believe the Bible, I would simply point them to Acts 10 in response to the “unclean foods” issue and also encourage them to read the Bible in context and not pick and choose verses to throw around. Unfortunately, there are also many Christians that would condemn homosexual activity based on scripture and ignore the sin present in their own lives. I am and have been one such person. Just because I don’t always live out my beliefs well doesn’t negate the truth of those beliefs.According to the Bible, homosexual activity is a sin. So is any other sexual activity outside the bonds of heterosexual marriage (including lusting after a person who is not your spouse, looking at porn, friends with benefits, premarital sex, adultery, emotional affairs, etc.). That much is very clear. If it’s not clear to some, it’s likely because they don’t like what the Bible says. Many people choose not to believe because of the demands scripture puts on their lives. I’m aware enough to realize that no amount of ‘letters to the editor’ are going to change the minds of unbelievers. I could go many ways with this discussion. However, I will offer only this.The Bible isn’t a rulebook of do’s and don’t’s or an instructional handbook on how to get rich and live your best life now. The Bible is the story of God and how He wants us to live for our own joy (note: joy and ‘happiness’ are not always the same thing). It’s about a perfect Creator whose creation rebelled against Him and continues to rebel against Him. It’s about how all humans (that includes the writer as well as the reader of this letter) have consistently chosen to spit in the face of the greatest love of all time because we want to be our own god and master and instead run to worship created things. But, most importantly, it’s [...]



Alter Bridge in Louisville

2011-08-27T17:08:39.527-05:00

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Good show last night in Kentucky. I've got to see them again some day for a headlining show.