I have some amazingly cool friends, but for some unknown reason they have neither the time, the energy, or the internet connection to share their every waking thought with the online world (unlike this writer, who probably has way too much of all three...but we'll save that particular brand of navel-gazing for another day). So from time to time I'll be interviewing said friends, and giving them their fifteen minutes of internet fame and glory.
As soon as this idea crossed my mind last week, I knew that Jay was the first person I wanted to interview. Conversations with Jay make you think, make you laugh, and most importantly, make you want to know that Jesus guy a little better than you did before. I emailed him these questions last week, and luckily we were able to hook up for coffee last weekend.
Name some songs that you are embarassed to know all or most of the lyrics to:
(Jay kicks off with the opening lines to Def Leppard's Pour Some Sugar On Me.) I think I can recite the opening lyrics to almost any pop hit from the late 80’s early 90’s, however the rest of the song will soon tale off if I’m kareoking it. You get the idea. But the one song I know I have committed to memory isn’t one I’m too terribly embarrassed by. The deep theological and philosophical implications embedded in these lyrics truly helped further the development of humanity. But rather than naming the tune, I think we should all just take a minute to STOP. Let’s collaborate. And then listen. Because Ice is back with a brand new invention.
What's spinning on your ipod / playing in your cd player?
Mostly sermons by Rob Bell. If you haven’t heard this guy, download (legally) some of his messages here. I think Joey put it best – whoa…. That guy really makes me think. As for music, there are several I’ve got on permanent repeat. Rachel Yamagata. Her music is just real. It’s like you’re getting a glimpse into someone’s diary and I totally dig it. Next is one that’s been out for a while but I seem to keep going back for more listens. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. This is probably my all time favorite album. Couple new ones that have been well worth the listen are Turin Brakes and Keane. And last but not least, Guster. If you’ve never listened to their album “Lost and Gone Forever” then…Well, you can fill in the blank with any cliché but you get the point.
What's your favorite thing about autumn?
Hmmm…I live in Texas so I’m trying to remember what it’s like...Aside from the break from heat, it would have to be the anticipation. I’m a Christmas freak (like break out the claymation Rudolph specials freak) and autumn tells me it’s just around the bend.
If you could compete in any major sporting event, which one would it be and what would you play?
I’ve always been a huge basketball fan so I’d have to go with the NBA Fnals. I thought about going pro for a while. But I got worried that all the money and fame might ruin me so I went into computers instead. I think I made the right choice.
What have you been reading lately? What strikes you the most about it?
I’ve been reading “Searching For God Knows What” by Donald Miller. I finished reading “Blue Like Jazz” and was totally hooked. I wish most pastors were as honest as this guy. It’s really cool to read a book about God and following Christ that isn’t filled with hyper-spiritual clichés and “3 steps to intimacy” chapters. I guess what I like the most is that it’s just real. Based on the Church leaders and adults I grew up around, I assumed most Christians had this amazing closeness to God and I was just messed up. Like I was the only one who didn’t hear the audible voice of God give direction and guidance. Hearing someone else talk about wrestling, struggles, doubt, and how life can’t be mapped out into some religious formula…It’s refreshing. I’m beginning to think that the two most comforting words in the English dictionary are “me too”. Just knowing that you aren’t alone...
What's so interesting about being a follower of Jesus?
Discovering it’s completely different from how I thought it was growing up in church.
Five years ago I truly believed being a Christian involved not drinking, protesting homosexuals, being a good moral person, and something about the Republican party. If you didn’t come to Sunday night service you weren’t serious about God, if you had a beer you were backsliding, and rated R movies were out of the question (unless they were about Jesus, of course).
So can I just be honest about something? I’d really rather not even be called a Christian anymore. That name has been hijacked and it often doesn’t even seem to resemble what Christ called us to. I just read an article on the front page of Yahoo news about a girl who was kicked out of a Christian school because her parents were lesbians. Seriously. Why are we surprised that so many people can’t stand Christians? Hell, I can’t stand tons of them and I am one!
The thing is, following Jesus isn’t about becoming a good, moral person. Jesus said he came that we might have abundant life. That’s what I want. Crazy, wonderful, abundant life. I don’t want to learn how to follow some list of do’s and dont’s. I want to learn how to live in harmony with how the universe works at the deepest levels. That’s what Jesus calls us to. Reality, not morality.
Rumor has it that you love your wife. Take a paragraph to brag about Jackie.
Jeez, how can I contain this to a paragraph? How do you take the beauty of someone's soul and put it down in words? I could tell you how stunning she looks, but that would be too shallow. I could talk about the way she takes care of me and what an amazing wife she is, but that would just be the fringes. I could try and explain how caring and patient she is with me, but I don’t think words could ever do justice.
Let me try and explain it the best I know how. Donald Miller talks about how much the Bible is written in poetry form because simple lists and explanations can never fully express beauty and adoration. I tend to agree with that. So here’s something I wrote about her that is the best way I know to explain just what she means to me…
<of things remembered>
i thought of your smile and how it’s
always enough to get me up
and shower and dress
and eat and leave
it fills my mind
of things remembered
and words said
and the parts of them that come back
there are always enough of those
to clear the day of everything else
till even silence itself
speaks of you
Any parting thoughts you want to throw in...
Nope, I gotta go to bed.
So that's a brief look at my friend jay. As a famous poet once said, "word to your mother."