A day on the Gulf Coast, and a week in Texas

Hey y'all from Texas Lutheran University in "suburban Seguin" (to quote Charlie Robison). I am here to play music for the upcoming week at an event called The Disciple Project...sorta like a week of Jedi/Ninja training for young Lutheran leaders.

Flew here to the Lone Star State yesterday morning, picked up my rental car (a Mercury Milan this time, interesting car) and embarked on a long Saturday of personal retreat time. My schedule had changed in the past week, leaving me with an entire Saturday with nothing to do, so I put that car Southbound on I-45 and drove down to Galveston, TX, on the Gulf of Mexico shore. Above is a picture of East Beach in Galveston where I spent the afternoon swimming in wonderfully bath-like ocean water and bobbing in the mid-sized breakers. Whenever I'm on tour near any ocean, I always try to make my pilgrimage to the beach. When you grow up and live in the Midwest, you've got to jump at every chance to see the sea. It was 85 degrees and cloudy yesterday and the water was heavenly. After my swim I listened to a classic rock cover band for a few minutes up on the beach-party-deck (they played Black Sabbath and ZZ Top) and eventually drove back up to Houston.

Had some more free time in the evening so I went to a huge mall in Katy, TX (home of one of my favorite bands, King's X!) and caught a movie, the box office bomb "Mr. Brooks" starring Kevin Costner and Demi Moore. The script was interesting, but I must say this was one of the most horrendously violent movies I've ever seen. I felt a bit gross after I saw it. How to describe the film? Maybe "Silence of the Lambs" meets one of the CSI-type crime scene shows...but really, unless you've got a strong stomach, there are probably better movies to see.

This morning I was the guest musician at St. John's Lutheran Church in Bellville, TX, where I had played once before a couple years ago. It's always nice to know that somebody wants to have you back! WEIRD MUSICAL EVENT: the Pastor quoted John Lennon's "Imagine" during the sermon this morning, and so afterwards during the offering, I played "Imagine" on the piano and sang the verse from the sermon, and the chorus. Now, the music and melody for "Imagine" are quite lovely, but I totally can't stand the song, and I normally would have NEVER played it. I can't stand those lyrics about "above us only sky" and "imagine...no religion too." Sorry Josef Stalin, that's not a world I'd like to imagine . But, yes, I did play the song at a church...the verse that goes:
"imagine no possessions/I wonder if you can/no need for greed or hunger/a brotherhood of man/imagine all the people sharing all the world/you may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one/I hope some day you'll join us/and the world can live as one"

Now, I've even got some minor issues with some of the stuff in this verse, but since the Pastor quoted it in the sermon, I figured I had permission to play it, so I did. Was Lennon being literal about the "no possessions" line, or was he just taking a stand against materialism? 'Cause I think I know what he means in a "sharing" kinda way, but I'm not sure it would be good stewardship for me to give my car away for free to anybody who asks for it. You know what I mean? Well, anyway, I never would've believed that I would have ever played "Imagine" in public, let alone at a church service, but today I did.

Everybody LOVES "Imagine." It always gets voted in the top 10 greatest songs ever written lists. Famous musicians play it all the time...I saw Emmylou Harris do it in concert once, and I think I just read someplace that Avril Lavigne covers it on a new Lennon Tribute album. But I just can't take those lyrics. Anyway, I'm a McCartney man, anyway. I'll take "Yesterday" over "Imagine" any day.

Enough vitriol. It's time for me to meet with the other leaders of this event...I'll try to blog as the week progresses.


Keeping you and your family in my prayers with the recent news of your uncle's death!

I'll send you those pictures soon. . .

I'm dog sitting Sat-Wed.

I agree with the lyrics with "Imagine" and I, too, LOVE "Yesterday."

Stein Auf!

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