Friday, August 20, 2010

... a better story.

So, I'm finally sitting down and writing a new blog. I go through phases. I'll write one or two and then get some really great feedback and I'll think, "I could do it. I could be the new Perez Hilton." Then life gets away from me. Sans blogs.

A few of my friends turned me onto Don Miller's blog. It's virtually impossible, I think, to exist as a Christian artist and not have had a conversation with someone about one of his books. I didn't realize such a large part of his ministry was blogging, but sure enough; I'm now starting to have more conversations with people about his blog than about his books.

* The word "blog" still sounds like the birth name of "Slimer" to me.

Anyway, Don Miller is having this contest for people to win a trip to his "Living a Better Story" Conference in Portland. The more I read about it, the more I want to go. I've been self-employed in ministry since I was 17. I just turned 26 on Sunday and am about to turn the corner out of my quarter-life crisis. I have so many ideas. You have to when ideas pay the bills. Turning those ideas... dreams, really... into a reality is a painstaking, self-analyzing, challenging yet always beautiful process.

Here is the video and link required in this blog for submission... I really challenge the few of you that keep up with my blog to check it out!

So let's get started.

Honestly, my first question to myself when I decided to write this blog was, "Do I use capitalization?" Even before it became artistically cliche, everything i used to write would look like this. no capitalization and generous... um... punctuation. But now people tell me I should write a book. So I'm going to practice using it and see how it sticks. I am 26 now. I need to step up my game anyway.

Stepping up my game. Well, it's interesting that this conference is about storytelling since... I'm a storyteller. It's a strange living and I feel like I'm in the wrong century. Growing up, all I wanted to be was famous. Part of me still does. When I was 9 years old, I couldn't figure out why I wasn't famous yet. I had all the goods. I couldn't imagine why Steven Spielberg hadn't plucked me off of a street corner to star in ET2 yet. So, I did something about it. I found a local newspaper ad looking for "thespians" and forced my dad to take me to an "audition" where a drunk woman with no bra ended up portraying my mother and pulling me into her chest for five minutes. I had no idea what this place was, but the guy there gave me names of four children managers in the NYC area. I wanted my dad to call them for me... but he wouldn't. "If you want to do it, you make the phone calls." A couple years, a few toy commercials and hundreds of rejections later, someone explained to me how great my manager was. My manager was as old as dirt, hard as a rock and had the deepest, smokiest truckers voice I'd ever heard. She was incredible.

Me: "Are you really a big deal? People are always blown away that I'm with you."
Her: "Ya Miga-Schmiga, I really am that big of a deal. I have a four year waiting list."
Me: "How did I get with you then? I got signed really quickly."
Her: "Your the only kid that ever called me."

I realized then that all the times my dad waited with the rest of the kids while I waited in line to check myself in with all the Mom-agers... he was growing me up. These skills create opportunities and it's because my dad pushed me that I have been able to sustain my ministry all these years. Dad, I don't even think you'd be able to find this blog... because I'm not sure you know what a blog is... but if you're reading this somehow... thank you.

So, that was a few awesome years of life changing work and then ended when we just couldn't handle hitting the pavement in NYC anymore financially, tied in with a decline in my mom's health. But, I wasn't famous. And I still wasn't sure why.

So, I started a hip-hop dance team at my church. Started with nothing. My pastor's daughter, a 35 year old single mom, me and my sister (if you know my sister, you will understand why, as a "dance team", this really was the most humble of beginnings). Fast forward. That grew into a group of about 20. Started teaching around the Northeast, then the South. Graduated high school. Moved to Nashville to pursue music. Danced and sang for some Christian and Country artists, got networked into the industry, finally produced my own full-length album. Left Nashville. Still wasn't sure why I wasn't famous.

So, while I was in Nashville, I one day came to the realization that none of my friends knew what my specific ministry looks like, since I was always dancing behind them. So, I got a bunch of my dancer friends and put on my first self-produced production called "rEVOLution". This was a long time BEFORE you would have seen every other company (including my arch-nemesis Cirque Du Soleil) using the backwords LOVE concept in rEVOLution. So what is it exactly that I do? Storytelling is really the only word. It's a combination of street theater, hip-hop, audience participation, music and dance to convey redemptive stories in my generation's language. It's Cirque Du Soleil playing MTV songs while telling a story to a beat.

My show was a success (in response, not in attendance).

I soon realized that instead of just getting booked as a dance teacher or conference speaker, I could also now bring my theater with me. UPROCK, as it is now officially known, then started growing in talent, in gigs, in momentum and in heart. The resume of our dancers now is absolutely insane from Usher, Justin Beiber, Danity Kane, T-Pain, Trey Songz, Kirk Franklin, America's Best Dance Crew... the list goes on. Our friends who make our music have worked for everyone from Glee to Disney. We are now a strong group of artists that work in the "secular" industry and come together at church conferences, camps, anywhere we can get booked to use our gifts for His Kingdom.

And that's our role in and outside of the church. I am so tired of the mediocrity in the Church's art world and that's why I am so humbled by our standard. We say, "This is the standard of the arts in the world, we will push that standard for the cause of Christ." A foundational passion in my life has been to bring a high standard of excellence to the arts in (and out of) the Church, continuing the tradition of the stellar storyteller, Christ, and the ultimate creator God the Father. It burdens me sometimes to go see great art because the Church should be doing that. We have the best story to tell.

I recently went to the concert of an extremely popular female artist... like really popular... she's huge... she's breaking records... you know who she is. Anyway, I have never been more free during an hour and a half of my life. She actually said, "I wanted to create a place where the freaks could come just as you are. No judgement. Here, you can be whoever you want to be. Just as you are. And I locked the doors." I lost it. I, for the first time, was actually given permission to "be who I was" even though the church has been telling me to "Come Just As You Are" since Crystal Lewis recorded it. I finally understood some of the things that people have told me about my shows, I finally found and understood some of that freedom. And that's who I want to be. Not held back by people's opinion of me; to replicate an environment of acceptance like I experienced in Las Vegas.

I want to tell the greatest story through the artistic medium that is me... with no filter.


So, UPROCK has officially been operating for about five years now... and now, I want more. I want to go somewhere else. I want to start a new chapter.

Our mission is two-fold. To provide accountability and fellowship for Christians employed in the entertainment industry. And to raise awareness, both inside and outside the church, on issues of injustice that break my heart and should be breaking more.

Being responsible for a ministry compiled of artists is just as challenging as it probably sounds. "Brother in Christ", "Friend", "Boss", "Road Manager" and "Artist" are challenging hats to wear all at the same time. But, I love it. And hate it. But love it more. It's hard sometimes when I feel like I am accountable to the Church for everyone's FB pages and Twitter updates, but UPROCK has created an opportunity for us to come together and share our hardships, conversations and experiences that we have working in a pretty dark world. A beautiful amount of discipleship and accountability happens now with us, on and off the road. It has created a network for us to participate in each other's lives.

For anyone interested in a great book for any artist for discipleship and accountability, please check out "The Heart of the Artist" by Rory Noland.

But I can't just be a dancer. Or whatever it is that I do. A calling, I feel like, has to be more than that. So what is it? My church is The Salvation Army. My parents are pastors for the army and a passion and commitment to justice takes up a huge portion of the army's heart. So, I can't hear Haiti and the Invisible Children and Falling Whistles and Destiny Rescue and not want to do something about it. So, this is the direction we went in. Our shows raise awareness on social justice topics and then link our audience to non-profits that do that work. We are seed planters. People like seeds that come from hip-hop dancers... it's true. Furthermore, we want to be a resource to non-profits and tell their story in an artistically and culturally responsive way. Raise awareness for Christ and justice using the same tools the world does. I've never spoken many of these dreams, but I think that's the point of the blog... so here goes. I want big shows in Vegas, movies in the theaters, a FunnyOrDie-esque network for celeb artists and speakers (Christian and non-Christian) to cameo with for issues that they support, a music/dance/evangelism resource for the church to get material for effective, responsible and interesting evangelism... I want a Cirque/Tyler Perry empire that is changing the world through awareness and dang it; this group of artists has the talent to do it. They really, really do.


But all visions come with a long, upward road to climb. I won't lie. Self-employment is hard. Trademarking fees, merch sales, websites, show bookings, employee management, show creation... TAXES. It's not easy.

My best friend, Ed Escobar (also entering this contest, btw), is the only other full-time UPROCK employee. In order to try and take ourselves to the next level, we decided to get rid of our apartment in Nashville last October and have been sleeping on couches staying with friends and family when we haven't been on the road. It takes money to build something. Websites, Conference Booth rates, wages, having to pay for our own insurance soon (but that's for a whole different blog)... not having to pay rent really has helped. We hustle. We eat rice when we need to (well, Ed does all the time because he is Filipino) and network our rears of at conventions like Youth Specialties. Sewing seeds. Sewing seeds. I'm hungry for some fruit though.

But, now it is time to get rid of our 99 Honda Civic "Betsy" who hasn't had air conditioning for three years. People are blown away that we can pack luggage, merch and a whole shows set and lighting in this two door, hale-dented beauty. Ed and I have been on way too many hot, summer, overnight trips in her. We've decided to get an RV. It's going to be easier for us since we really don't have to live in one city specifically and are actually having a hard time trying to figure out which one we'd want to live in. It can double as a tour bus so I'll be able to bring more dancers on gigs since we wouldn't have to fly them in. But it would really serve as a house for me and Ed! But, as a huge Dave Ramsey fan, I have no debt... and no credit. So, we are having to save up in cash and that has been, well... challenging. We're about half way there. Hoping to have a used RV by the end of the fall. We'll see if we're living in trailer parks by then! I've really hit the pinnacle in my life when I'm excited about living in a trailer park!

I struggle sometimes feeling like I am not living my life "right" or by the rules that our culture has. I would think there have to be other young, self-employed people that aren't poor but haven't exactly "made it" yet. I came across this article that made me feel a little like I wasn't alone.

I agreed! I know that the planning I do now will affect my whole life. I am aware of how old my parents were when they had me. I know how unstable my career may seem, or dare I say BE, but I also know that God has something big and special planned and I don't want to miss out on it just to achieve all the things that I want in life; a wife, kids, a home, an office.

That's why I want to go to this conference. I know the story I want to write. It would be so beautiful to be surrounded by other motivated, passionate, wise believers. To see another model for a ministry that I sometimes do struggle operating (emotionally and business-wise). I want a time to put some of these bigger pieces together and be encouraged by those who have already done some of these things in their own journey.

I am now 26. Still not "famous". I want to move beyond the pain I've felt from others opinions. I want to grow my company into one that without shame declares justice for my world. I want to push the envelope for art and for artists.


Maybe not a whole book, but at least a really solid chapter in the tapestry of the Church's history.

A Semi-Homeless, Self-Employed, Blonde-Mohawked Dreamer

PS: UPROCK is currently working on it's first show with completely original music. Get ready for ASYLUM in 2011. It's going to be as crazy as it sounds.

PS2: I'm deciding to unveil UPROCKs logo for the 2011 season right here... tell me what you think!

Monday, November 2, 2009

This Is It

i want to write so much more about this movie, but my blog started going in it's own direction, so i'll save some of my more technical/aesthetic notes for another day. and please understand my motives at the end of this blog. i'm not trying to get everyone on board with "bobby miga" or "uprock"... i'm just excited about the unique, individual ministry that God has given each of you. maybe there is a chance that our ministry paths cross at some point, maybe not.
it took me a whole week to see this movie. i had to brace myself. i knew that it would change me deeply. at least some part of me. it did.

any of us that are real MJ fans feel like we had... have a connection with him. a connection that no one else understands. a friendship almost. a friendship that surpasses the physical. it had to. i never got the chance to meet him. i had a plan, while he was living in las vegas, to track him down and not act like the raging fan that i was. i knew that we could be best friends. i have a couple friends (who are the other REAL fans that i know) who have similar fantasies that they have played out in their minds for years.

MJ had the entire package. there is no way to limit who he was or what he was capable of. artist. entertainer. performer. visionary. storyteller. there are many artists who will say that they were completely shaped... formed by MJ. some people almost act like they wouldn't be talented, inspired or driven if it weren't for MJ. i won't say that. i was shaped, formed by God the creator and my drive has always been to serve him wholeheartedly and without remuneration. but i can say without a shadow of doubt, that i was discipled by MJ. possibly even without knowing it, every part of my artistic person was influenced by him... from the aesthetic to the more important aspects of integrity, character and humility. so tonight wasn't just a movie that i saw. tonight i had the rare opportunity to watch a master at his craft. i had the chance to see my discipler orchestrate his vision, his purpose, his thesis. every player; musician, dancer, technician... had a note to play. and he made beautiful music with them. tonight was my chance to say goodbye to the person that discipled me. and i left the theatre with the exciting burden of that torch being passed.

i have had a few people call me after seeing "This Is It" and tell me that they saw me in this film. and i wonder "what does that mean?". i don't think anyone, including myself, is being as audacious as to claim that my talent level or fame will ever meet or exceed MJ's; and that's not the point of this blog. if you think it is, you're missing the mark and might as well stop reading now. throughout the film i was taking a personal inventory the entire time and i was saying "God, what does this mean? what exactly are you calling me to?"

i wish that i could have experienced MJ leading worship. i know that statement sounds insane, but i have never seen anyone else understand the importance of a moment... and more importantly the ministry and sensitivity of a moment. i have heard chatter on my friend's status updates about "simmering" and it made me nervous because that is the same term that i use for feeling a moment. experiencing a moment. "let it simmer." talk about a man that understood the power of silence. the power of sound. the power of light. the power of the most subtle movement. i wish that i could have learned from him in person. i wish that i could have felt his energy when he would say "let it roar!". he had a vision that was so clear... that he knew so well... he humbly, yet forcefully, wouldn't accept anything but excellence and we have lost that same standard in the church. it freaked me out when i would watch him never break, yet still direct people on stage with him. and he knew and could do everyone's job better than they could. he knew every light cue. every sound cue. every dance. every bass lick. every beat. every pyro cue. every nuance. every video. it was his show. he demanded excellence and made no apologies for it.

if there is one thing that i learned tonight, it's that i will no longer make apologies for my craft or the standard that i have been called to. if you want to do that, you can go right ahead... but the bar has been raised for us as the church when the world is pulling off... and demanding such quality. i have had a lot of people talking to me lately about how i push my students too hard. "they aren't professionals, bobby". it's interesting that the people who speak to me about this have never seen a production through with me. they don't see the process; and therefore they don't see the result, satisfaction, and worth that people feel when they have been pushed and then accomplish greatness. to me, it feels like people want perfection, yet aren't willing to go through the fire to get there (or at least as close as we can get). it frustrates me that when it comes to the arts, we often want to be lovey-dovey in our approach. i have never seen a quality sports team that has been lead by a lovey-dovey coach. you aren't going to win the superbowl by settling for what you already have or apologizing for pushing someone and it getting too tough. that's when the quality comes out. that's when we become better than ourselves. when we can see what someone else is capable of, even when they can't, and push them there... THAT is when you have done your job as a leader. and i saw that modeled tonight in MJ. his show wasn't perfect. there were plenty of flaws (but as he... and eerily i say, "that's what rehearsal is for") but that didn't stop him from pushing his musicians to something beyond what they thought they were capable of... and then stepping back and letting them shine and have their moment.

i said to ed as we were leaving the theatre, "man, this was MJ for MJ. could you imagine if we did this for God?" what potential. and He has put this ability in us; in this community of artists that i'm engaged in. so what does that mean for us? i'm not exactly sure yet... but i know that it's time to step up. as i was watching, i was annoyed as i pointed to most of the people on that screen and said, "[so and so] is so much better than them." i am surrounded by THE most talented people on the planet and that is not just a figure of speech.

my dream, for a long time, has been to do a big arena show that toured and told the story of Jesus Christ in a relevant, meaningful, excellent way... utilizing the God-given talents of the people God has placed around me. and i'm wondering tonight if that's not so much a dream... but a calling. if you want to get on board, let me know. i don't know what it is yet, what it means yet... but here's hoping to find out.

i'm not suggesting that just by being tagged or mentioned in this blog that you should stop what you're doing and get on board with my vision. but i do want to see a revolution in the arts in the church. and i want to encourage you to pursue your dreams and your talents with more passion... more fire... more urgency. i have friends who should be ministering on an international level. their gift demands that just in it's nature.

i'm not trying to say that we are not ministering or we are not doing our parts... i think we all are. but i was moved tonight by art. and it excites me to think about the unlimited potential that we have in Jesus Christ. this was MJ for MJ. but if we banned together as a community of Christian artists... God in us could move mountains, break down walls, really change things. this is not a wake up call. again, i want to reiterate that i know my friends are serving Jesus Christ. "banning together" doesn't have to mean that we all work together... but it does mean supporting what we have each been individually called to. i just get excited about how God has blessed the people around me and how unlimited the potential is in His giftings.

i wanted to name people in this blog that i believe in... people that i thought about when i saw someone in the movie whose talent seemed mediocre compared to people i know. but i'm just going to tag a bunch of you. maybe this does mean that something big will happen and we all do a show together. maybe it means that you are affirmed in your unique, individual ministry. but now is the time. now is the time to show the world the excellence of/in Jesus Christ. they are waiting. they are willing...

let's pursue excellence. let's not rival or challenge what the world is doing... let's show them the REAL standard.

this is it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

is it just me? or is it you. [PART ONE]

i'm bound to offend someone by this post.

offense is not always a bad thing.

first, let me say that i'm not judging individuals here. a movement? maybe. i'm not trying to be rude... just honest about some frustrations that i have.

i know that we are in ministry "full time" just by existing, but this summer i have been in "full time ministry" like never before. i started on june 2nd in oklahoma, teaching an hour long show to non-dancers/movers/actors and special-guesting at a music conservatory for two weeks. as i left that sunday, i got a call from my agent and booked my cmt gig. two full days of choreography and work. then headed to atl to teach a very "emotionless" team of dancers material for their summer (ironically, isn't it always the groups that can't show emotion that have the most emotional things going on?) for another two weeks. and then the commute from hell started. monday through thursday i have the amazing opportunity to be at a camp in indiana and then friday through sunday i meet my atl team wherever they are in georgia.

full. time. ministry.

there have been so many times this summer where i have stepped back and gone "man, is our faith genuine? is it real? or is it just fueled by this culture that we partake in?"

example number one:

my atl mission team is staying in a building that has other teams rotating in and out of it every week. there is a lady on staff who cooks lunch and dinner for both teams. as one of the transient teams was leaving, they decided to give her a card and a vase with two roses in it. her response to the gift? "this is a blessing in disguise." what? umm, i'm pretty sure that when someone gives you a card and two roses, it's a blessing... no disguise there. it's actually the most blatant blessing someone could give you. now that i think of it, they actually said, "we just want to bless you." but it made me think about this lady and the christian culture she is apart of. the more i thought of it, the more i realized that i hear people say "this is a blessing in disguise" so often, when the blessing isn't in hiding at all. it's just some christian jargon that we think sounds deeper than just saying "thanks for the blessing" or "thanks for the gift". when she said it, i could hear her auntie or granny saying the same thing and i thought, "man, how many of us are just living out our parents faith?" i'm not judging this woman. she is sweet and from what i know of her, she seems like a strong woman of God. but her comment made my wheels start spinning.

example number two:

here in indiana, the kids are obsessed with being in the front for praise and worship. the doors to the barn-turned-sanctuary open and it's a crazy mosh-pit-tackle-somebody-to-the-ground-and-let-them-know-what's-really-up race to the front. when worship starts, it looks like a battle sequence from braveheart as they all run to the front of the stage... like it's '89 and NKOTB was about to hang tuff on stage. then we come out a half hour later for our little thing and they sit there. blinking. arms crossed. now, i'm not being arrogant, but our stuff is good. i'd ask questions from the stage. [cricket] [cricket] [blink] [cricket] later on in the week i taught a workshop about worship, what it is and what it is not. and i asked the kids, "why do you run down to the front of the stage like that? is it because it's like a concert? or is it because you are excited about worship?" their honest response, "i guess because it's like a concert." my heart sank. i believe in the power of aesthetics in worship and ministry; but we need to be more than entertainment. i need to be more than entertainment. i tried explaining that true worship has nothing to do with "what we get out of it". we worship God because he is deserving of it, wether we feel like it or not. wether we "feel God" or not. we started talking about the "feeling of the Holy Spirit". and as i guided the conversation, i asked them some tough questions like, "how mnay of you have ever said, "worship wasn't that great?" they all raised their hands. "what did you base that on?" i asked. "how good i feel". hold the presses. hold. the. presses. shame on us for being a generation that gauge how "good" God is or how "nice" our worship experience is by what we get out of it. now, i'm not saying we shouldn't get anything out of worship, but that can't be our motivation for it. in my opinion, the "feeling" is just icing on the cake. we need to worship simply because God is deserving of it. let me be honest and say that i have "felt" just as good as i do in worship sometimes at an amazing concert or at a new year's eve event. we are wired and designed in a way for things to affect us. so, if i'm gauging my worship experiences this way, then i'm sure i would have had an incredible worship experience at britney spear's concert had i been able to go. worship isn't about how we feel or even what we get out of it. what we get out of it is the ability to praise God. period. these are kids that, for some of them, are in love with the culture of christianity... not Christ. more on this later.

example number three:

week two in indiana. monday night. liz and i dance to a piece that was requested by the staff here. it's a lyrical piece to "storm" by lifehouse (the slowest song in the world). on monday nights they serve communion here and as the groups were split up and praying, "jimmy" came over to me. "when i saw you standing on that chair, i realized that God is looking at me. wishing i were his. i have been in and out of rehab for the last few months. just graduated high school. [more conversation] ... i was wondering if you would come to the front with me and help me commit my life to Jesus Christ." an honor. we walked down the aisle together to join the throng of people already spread out and praying on the steps of the stage. i started praying for him and after quite some time and coaxing, was finally able to get him to pray for himself. he was scared to speak, but i wanted him to be the one that prayed for his salvation, not me. after a while, he was able/comfortable/willing to open his mouth and pray. he didn't know how to pray, but he was genuine. as he was getting ready to ask Christ into his heart, two people ran up on us and kept hitting his knee. it was his youth pastors. "jimmy, the body of Christ." what?! now, my feelings on religious sacrament practice aside, this was the first time in this kids life that he was going to be honest with God, have a true relational experience with him... and you bust up on his acceptance prayer and shove/force the body of Christ down his throat? he wasn't even officially a christian yet. it was the most blatant offense that i have ever seen of religion smothering relationship. after the pastors left, three girls from his youth group came over to us. plopped down (literally) with a smile next to him and put their arms around them like this was "emotion camp". jimmy told me that he would find me later. he was too embarrassed to keep praying in front of these people. i honored his request, but got so frustrated at those three girls. and the pastors. commitment time is not a time for you to be an emotional 16 year old girl about everything. emotions have their place, but i get discouraged when i see everyone hugging and raping everyone with their emotions. it becomes a cancer and turns into a new-age-therapy-session instead of a true, honest, genuine meeting with Jesus Christ.

i could go on and on. it makes me think about the state of our faith right now. if i see another "free hugs" or "will starve for food" shirt, i may go insane. it seems to me like we are caught up in the concept of being "fools for Christ" with Christ nowhere in the picture. and i think, okay, if a group of goth kids had found you first, would you just be this radical about being goth? is it really about a relationship with Christ and an experience with the Holy Spirit? or have you found your niche in being that "weirdo christian"? i wasn't a "weirdo christian" in high school, but i definitely found my identity in it. my faith was genuine, but it was almost like a badge of honor that i wore with pride when someone would say, "oh ya, he's a crazy christian." i wasn't proud because i was modeling Christ or his behavior, i was proud because i was being noticed and i was unique. and i would justify myself with the "fool for Christ" scripture. "i am going to be an outcast, but that's fine." this scripture obviously justifies me acting like an idiot.

but i'm worried. i'm worried about a generation of christians that are being brought up on the best, wittiest, relevant media. is it too entertaining? this is something that was tackled at the youth specialties conference i attended in both pittsburgh and nashville. one youth leaders that spoke (he put a guitar in chris tomlin or matt redmans hands or something) said he had to realize that he was just trying to offer the best hangout spot for kids, but was left with only surface stuff. when the money ran out or when the food was gone; so were the kids. and i'll expand on that, if i can. is our entertainment value so great that when it fades away, so does our faith?

these are kids that can quote every tobymac song, but can't recite me a scripture besides John 3:16 and Philippians 4:13. what is REALLY written on our hearts? this "free hug" t-shirt mentality is making me crazy. is your faith defined by tobymac and "free hugs" or is it defined by Jesus Christ?

i got on stage the other day and with everything inside of me, all the passion i could muster, spoke the words of Isaiah 58... the foundational scripture for any type of justice movement. free-hug-shirt-kid and the throng of 400 stared back at me blankly. blinks. blinks. crickets. blinks. what? see, the Holy Spirit is inside of me. and the Holy Spirit is connected with these scriptures, so even if I'm "not in the mood", the Holy Spirit IS. wether i like it or not, something in me stirs that forces me to react... to respond... not just with my heart or my plans; but with my body. with my words. with my spirit. it made me think about when we are instructed to worship in "spirit and in truth". i feel like a lot of us have the "truth" thing down... we get it, we know what the truth is. it's that whole worshipping in spirit thing that gets us tripped up.

later on in worship, everyone started going all "who-ville" on me and were arm to shoulder, rocking back and forth like they were around a suessical pine. smiling and crying and rubbing hands. now, i believe in emotions. we were wired and designed to have them and they play their part in our worship/repentance/grace experience, but i thought in that moment, "this is so weird. this is new age. am i a christian? is this what christianity is? because i'm not this. am i the only one here that gets it? or am i the only one not getting it."

it lead me to the question.

is it just me? or is it you.

(to be continued...)

Monday, July 13, 2009

back from vacation.

blog vacation. maybe two years was enough. all my friends are blogging now; and blogging seems almost old school enough that, to me, it's sort of a throwback to write one. i'm all about throwbacks. i love when basketball teams put on old jersey's. so i've dusted mine off. [pick up your glass] cheers to blogs that are too long, with no capitalization (except when referencing The Big Guy), too many emotions, and a whole lot of these things "...".

where to even start? i think that's been my challenge. so much has gone on in my life and my emotions that i honestly have sat down and tried to blog, but i end up with a long rant... that several people challenge me to "not post" for the sake of politics, friendships or world peace. that's my biggest issue. honesty.

let's talk about my weight gain. i have never had a gut. i have never had rolls. i have never felt myself shake when running or dancing. these days have passed. when i started feeling my boobs shake, i said to myself, "self. let's get it together. go on atkins. fast. something." i refuse to be fat. not only for the sake of my pride, but also my career. noone wants to watch a fat dancer unless they are on a reality show about fat dancers. and noone wants to see Jesus (portrayed by moi) getting thrown 15 feet in the air with a gut hanging out and jiggling. since i can now gently put my hands under my belly button and push up and have a ripple effect of blob up to my boobs... it's time to do something. now listen, don't comment on here like "bobby, you are not fat. blah blah blah." i know in terms of america's obesity, i'm not fat. but i'm fat for me. so let me be fat and i'll work on it. how am i going to work on it you ask?

i'm backpacking around europe. not as we speak. but soon. august/september/october. around then. losing weight will be so easy whilst carrying a massive backpack around gypsy towns and barely having enough money to eat because the dollar is crap right now. i'm really going. i'm about to be 25 and i haven't achieved nearly the amount of things that i would have liked to by this point. do i have the money? i don't know. but i know that it's now or never. and what good is money if i just hold on to it? i'm all about being frugal and i love dave ramsey, but i have to do this. not to find myself... but maybe i will in the process. find a little more of me. i need a creative break. i need to see the world from The Big Guy's perspective more. i need to be inspired. and what better place to be inspired than europe? the art. the food. the people. it was honestly a toss up between europe and africa because dancing around a fire with a tribe in africa is my ultimate dream. but for right now, europe seems easier to negotiate and travel through. so i'm going. and i hope it changes me. and i hope you give me some money so i can survive.

i made my record this year. i keep calling it a "glamorized demo", but it's my record. it's not the best. it's not my whole vision. it doesn't completely represent me as an artist. it's not perfect. but it's mine. i probably paid too much for it. but it's mine. i have too many talented friends who are sitting on their booty's wondering why they don't have careers. and i have the most talented friends. and the same people who are sitting there look at me and say "you paid how much?" or "well, this isn't great"... and i say, "ya, but i did it." for what it is and for doing it ALL. ON. MY. OWN. it's incredible. it means so much to me that i saw something; err... heard something... and did it. and did it well. i don't know how i paid for it, but it's sitting in front of me right now. there have been 3 moments in my life where i have been really proud of myself. the day my CD's arrived was one of them. because i did this on my own. i had great help from some incredibly talented friends, but it felt good to theoretically wipe the sweat from my brow that day. my work was done. it feels so good to dream. it feels indescribable to work and see your dream complete. and my dream isn't completely complete. but a part of it is. and i am continually saying to myself "bobby, you can sing." i'm reminded everytime i hear an original of a song i covered and i still like my vocal more. or when people hear a toby or justin song during an uprock show and people think it's me (it's happened more than once). this isn't an arrogance thing... this is a self esteem thing. for so long (and still right now, if i'm being honest) i haven't felt good enough. when you are around people like lisa, juan and missi and then try to tell people you want to be a singer... how do you not laugh at yourself. i only chuckle on the inside now. walking in the shoes The Big Guy designed for me is fulfilling. and awesome.

speaking of. The Big Guy is making huge plans. and i can see a little piece of it. everyone keeps asking me when "revolution" is going on the road. and it's not. it can't. the legalities are too incredibly complicated and expensive. but i'm pregnant. with something. big. and different. something international. something fusing artists from all mediums into an experience that is truly and completely new, innovative, God-honoring, life changing. something that moves you. something that slaps you in the face. a place. a place to cry, to laugh, to truly worship with the boundaries and rules of our culture and social standards stripped away. [laugh with me] this sounds so deep. and i'm not that deep. i always say that, "it's not that deep". but i know something huge is about to happen and i don't know where, when, how or with who... but i'm ready.

there are so many things that i want to comment on, but maybe i'll try to update day by day and gently usher you back into the crazy place that is my brain.

back to work.