Wednesday, April 28, 2010

LOST: The Comedy?

Oregon Zoo: polar bear
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
I must admit that I missed last night's episode of Lost. Just forgot all about it. Dang.

I engaged John at Zeray Gazette in a bit of discussion about Lost in which I asked the question: WHAT IF the big surprise ending of this giant sci-fi mystery show, is that the show was actually a COMEDY this whole time?! And then, the producers can replay the whole thing WITH the laugh track intact and we'll all be amazed that we never saw it coming!

What do you think?

I have to say, it seems plausible to me. I know every time I try explaining the show to some non-believers, I feel like I'm doing stand up...

"And then, Jacob - who appears to be a Jesus-like figure (UNLESS that's just what the writers WANT us to

think and he's actually evil) - appears to Hurley (who may be crazy, or maybe he's actually seeing dead

people - but not communicate with them in the same way that Miles, the scientist/spiritualist who can read

the thoughts of the deceased...)


...appears to Hurley and warns him to NOT blow up the ship, the Black Rock, which crashed on the island 150

years ago and from which Richard (who never ages because of a conversation he had with Jacob)...


...was the only survivor because that's JUST what the Man in Black (who appears to be a devil character,

UNLESS that's JUST what the writers want us to think...)


... would want and we can't play into the Man in Black (also known as the Smoke Monster - because he has the

ability to turn into a cloud of smoke and chase people around and toss them willy nilly about...


... and who is currently inhabiting - APPARENTLY - the body of John Locke (no, not the philosopher, unless

that's what the writers are suggesting and this is all some cerebral Philosophy Class exercise about the

nature of good and evil...

[whimpering laughter]

...but then, what would that do to the suggestion that this is an acting out of the biblical story of Job,

or the story of Jesus?? Anyway, John Locke who USED to appear to be one of the very good guys (with "good

guys" being relative, as all of the characters in this show have serious character flaws, including being

unfaithful to their spouses, drug dealers and murderers...


...and... where was I?

[wait for it...]

Did I mention the polar bear in the jungle and the giant four-toed statue?

[Laughter and more laughter]

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Off-Shore Drilling a Good Thing??

Sarah at Beach
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
With the horrible, on-going man-made disaster going on in the Gulf of Mexico, is anyone raising the point that Obama just approved an INCREASE in off-shore drilling? Isn't this a good time to re-think this awful idea?

It is vital that, as we look to the bottom line in our energy plans (and for many people, that means oil/gas/coal as cheap as possible. Period.), we MUST remember that the cost of fossil fuels is not simply the cost of obtaining them plus massive profits, it's also the cost to the environment, to those killed in tragedies like this (and their loved ones), to future generations.

These hidden costs are rarely factored into the price of fossil fuels when we consider what is "cheapest." But to ignore these costs is to ignore the REAL cost of fossil fuels, which is much greater than we've tended to think.

Or, as Wendell Berry has said...

Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.


We Americans are not usually thought to be a submissive people, but of course we are. Why else would we allow our country to be destroyed? Why else would we be rewarding its destroyers? Why else would we all — by proxies we have given to greedy corporations and corrupt politicians — be participating in its destruction?

Most of us are still too sane to piss in our own cistern, but we allow others to do so and we reward them for it. We reward them so well, in fact, that those who piss in our cistern are wealthier than the rest of us.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Donna and Dan - 7

Jordan with Hat
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Another post in the countdown to Dan and Donna's 25th anniversary this coming June, which I began back in December. It is my plan to post a story, remembrance and/or poem once a week for 25 weeks leading to the big date.

And so, after being married for six wonderful years and living in a small house full of fun and weird strangers, Donna and I decided to have a child. We debated names (Jackson was one that I liked at some point, I remember - we had a lot more boy names that we liked than girl names...) and carved out a small room for a nursery amidst the chaos in our house and finally, the blessed day came: May 30, 1991 - two days before our sixth anniversary.

Jordan Seth Trabue was born.

Jordan, after Clarence Jordan (although Clarence pronounced his last name Jerdan, I understand), co-founder of Koinonia Farms, a interracial farm established in Georgia in the 1940s!

Seth, after Donna's sweet daddy and softball coach, William Seth.

And our world was turned upside down. I wasn't writing poetry back in 1991, but later on soon after I started trying my hand at it, I wrote this...


Today I hold you,
warm on this winter day
and you fit in my arms,
in my life
You only want to be with me and do
something together.
Read a book and be in on the story together
Play a game and make the time ours,
make the world ours.
I understand you, know you, and between
you and me,
we can welcome life whatever.

There are things I don't understand -
Today I hold you,
warm on this winter day
and you fit in my arms,
in my life.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day o' Prayer

Praying Statue
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
In the news...


...a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that asking citizens to pray is unconstitutional, saying the government cannot call for religious action.

Congress established the "National Day of Prayer" in 1952, and in 1988 set the first Thursday in May as the day for presidents to issue proclamations asking Americans to pray.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison-based group of atheists and agnostics, filed a lawsuit against the federal government in 2008 arguing the day violated the separation of church and state.

President Barack Obama's administration has countered that the statute simply acknowledges the role of religion in the United States. Obama issued a proclamation last year but did not hold public events with religious leaders as former President George W. Bush had done.

Government involvement in prayer is constitutional only as long as it does not call for religious action, which the prayer day does, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote in her ruling.

"It goes beyond mere 'acknowledgment' of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context," Crabb wrote. "In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience."


I would tend to disagree with this judge's ruling. The state is not requiring anyone to do anything. It is only suggesting that people do something that is (worst case scenario) incredibly benign and (best case scenario) incredibly powerful and helpful.

The state sometimes engages in these sorts of symbolic gestures and, as long as that is all it is, no harm no foul. One might argue that the state has better things to do and that may or may not be the case. But "unconstitutional?" Really?

Now, I will also state that I am a separation of church and state kind of guy. My main concern is that I don't want the state dallying in the business of the church or entangling the church with its machinations or - worst case scenario - corrupting the church and/or co-opting the church to do the will of the state.

I find this sort of use and abuse of the church for political ends by state players to be repulsive.

But "unconstitutional?" I don't really think so, not in this case. Move on, Court, to bigger and more important issues.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Donna and Dan - 8

Trabues in the Smokies
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Another post in the countdown to Dan and Donna's 25th anniversary this coming June, which I began back in December. It is my plan to post a story, remembrance and/or poem once a week for 25 weeks leading to the big date.

I was still with the band and still had a couple of fellas in it who were interested in living in community. With the purchase of our house, we began talking more earnestly about how that might work.

My bandmate, Ed, in particular, was interested in moving into Christian community with us. He was preparing to get married himself, and they thought they might want to live on their own, at least at first, but the idea was planted that they'd eventually join us on West Main St.

The house we moved into was, to put it kindly, a fixer-upper. There were actually two houses on one lot, a 100 year old, two story brick house in front and a shotgun house behind. Our plan was to move into the main brick house and live there whilst we restored it, then restore the shotgun house afterwards. (To give an indication of what sort of shape the houses were in, we purchased both houses for a grand total of $17,000, which I'm guessing is less than the average American spends on a new car!)

In the ensuing years, while waiting to begin living in intentional community with Ed and his wife, we began living in unintentional community with a variety of people.

First, a single mother we met through Baptist Tabernacle moved in with her three children. Not long after, a young man we knew from the Seminary and Tabernacle moved in with us. Not so long after that, and with Ed still thinking about coming, he sent us another single mother and her son to move in with us.

That came to about nine people (oh, and a dog!), all in a ~2200 square foot house that was in the middle of being renovated. We began calling our unintentional community, Bedlam House, for good reason.

Eventually, we began work on the shotgun house in back and Ed and Karla moved in with us. Some of the children came and went (living for a time with their father or elsewhere) but it seems like at one point, we were up to eleven people living in the one house - with the plan that some would move out to the shotgun house as soon as it was done.

Being earnest young Christians, we tried to organize a "spiritual" community, with regular Bible study and prayer times, with mixed results. Our model in all of this was just those few verses in the book of Acts, that describes the early church as living together "having all things in common," but without any real details of what that looked like.

I/we were mostly ignorant of the many modern examples we could have investigated for some more helpful structure - the Amish, Mennonites, Hutterites, for instance, or other more modern communes. So, while we held a boatload of enthusiasm and good intentions, we lacked much in the way of practical ideas. Eventually, things unraveled. Not spectacularly, but slowly and surely.

Ed and Karla left and, about that same time, Donna and I began making plans for our own family and were (hopefully politely) encouraging others to begin moving out.

Soon child number one was on the way and we were back down to our original single mom and two of her kids...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Donna and Dan - 9

Another post in the countdown to Dan and Donna's 25th anniversary this coming June, which I began back in December. It is my plan to post a story, remembrance and/or poem once a week for 25 weeks leading to the big date.

So, when we were married and in those first few years - the 1980s and into the 1990s a bit - the music we were listening to was nearly exclusively Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) and, unfortunately, much of it was not very good, musically or artistically or even spiritually. It was, nonetheless, deeply meaningful and important to us at the time and the best of it helped contribute greatly to who we are today, so I am thankful for that.

Some of the better folk we listened to included the often manic and hilarious - yet sometimes quite sober and deep - "Uncle" Randy Stonehill...

She was told when she was young
Ah - that blondes always have more fun
Lie lie lie dirty lie du du dumb

Perfect hair perfect waste
With a perfect prom queen smile upon her face
For everyone

But it's all right, it's okay
Now your self-respect is the only price you'll pay
It's okay, that's all right

You're the queen of the Barbie nation
Queen of the Barbie nation
Queen of the Barbie nation tonight

(from "Barbie Nation" by Randy Stonehill)


In this land of the walking wounded
In this desert of countless sorrows
I will cling to His hand today
and fear not for tomorrow...

In the chill of my darkest hour
I am saved from my deep despair
For the Father who loves His children
hears my trusting prayer

(From "Hymn" by Randy)

And the more serious - even when he's joking - Steve Camp...

Girl, she loves to dance, she's hooked on MTV and
A Harlequin romance is her favorite thing to read
She's into aerobics, she does it every day
Her body looks so good, but her soul is out of shape

Lazy Jane, oh, you're so lazy
L-L-Lazy Jane

(From "Lazy Jane")

And the late, great Larry Norman (who passed away just last year and who is generally acknowledged as the man who began CCM, for better and for worse)...

Rolling Stones are millionaires, flower children pallbearers,
Beatles said All you need is love, and then they broke up.
Jimi took an overdose, Janis followed so close,
The whole music scene and all the bands are pretty comatose.
This time last year, people didn't wanna hear.
They looked at Jesus from afar, this year he's a superstar.

(From "Reader's Digest" by Larry Norman)


I was born and raised an orphan
in a land that once was free
in a land that poured its love out on the moon
and I grew up in the shadows
of your silos filled with grain
but you never helped to fill my empty spoon...

(from "Great American Novel" by Larry)

And the late, great Rich Mullins...

There's more that rises in the morning
Than the sun
And more that shines in the night
Than just the moon
It's more than just this fire here
That keeps me warm
In a shelter that is larger Than this room...

So if I stand let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through
And if I can't, let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to You
And if I sing let me sing for the joy
That has born in me these songs
And if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home...

("If I Stand" by Rich)

You was a baby like I was once
You was cryin' in the early mornin'
You was born in a stable Lord
Reid Memorial is where I was born
They wrapped You in swaddling clothes
Me they dressed in baby blue...

Well, did You grow up hungry?
Did You grow up fast?
Did the little girls giggle when You walked past?
Did You wonder what it was that made them laugh?...

("Boy Like Me" by Rich)

Sometimes the night was beautiful
Sometimes the sky was so far away
Sometimes it seemed to stoop so close
You could touch it but your heart would break
Sometimes the morning came too soon
Sometimes the day could be so hot
There was so much work left to do
But so much You'd already done

Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You...

("Sometimes by Step" by Rich)

And the coal trucks come a-runnin'
With their bellies full of coal
And their big wheels a-hummin'
Down this road that lies open like the soul of a woman...
And this road she is a woman
She was made from a rib
Cut from the sides of these mountains
Oh these great sleeping Adams
Who are lonely even here in paradise
Lonely for somebody to kiss them
and I'll sing my song, and I'll sing my song
In the land of my sojourn...

("Land of My Sojourn" by Rich)

...I kissed the earth on my daddy's grave
Said goodbye to my brave young companions
But when they hoist that sail I know my heart will break
As bright and as fine as the morning...

But I'll carry the songs I learned when we were kids
I'll carry the scars of generations gone by
I'll pray for you always, and I promise you this
I'll carry on, I'll carry on...

("I'll Carry On" by Rich)

Donna and I caught Rich in concert shortly before he died and he was truly a poet and a man we respected and whose music we still dig. His concert that we attended would have been one of the things that helped turn us on (or, bring us back, perhaps) to more acoustic/folk-ish music, which is where we are today.

Lyrics such as these have greatly shaped who we are and helped Donna and I to grow in a similar direction over the years to a place some would say is fairly far removed from where we were, and yet, perhaps not so much...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jesus Saves Bears

Jesus Saves Bears
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
I've been away on a blessed vacation this last week and had a wonderful, peaceful time in the Smokey Mountains and in Kentucky's grand forests. I'm rested and back.

And what do I get when I get back (at another blog)? A complaint from a long-time reader. And so, I'm addressing this post to her...

Tell you what, Mom2: I'm a reasonable guy. I WANT to know God. I WANT to walk in God's ways. I WANT to know God's salvation and grace.

That being the case, I am open to being taught. I happen to believe that I am ENTIRELY fallible and able to be mistaken.

Come by my blog or send me an email and tell me what exact "my error" is in any regards, not just on my sartorial tastes. This is your chance to, graciously and kindly, show me the error of my ways.

A suggestion: Begin by saying, "Dan, when you say..." and quote me and explain why what I've actually SAID is mistaken or in error.

Help me. Teach me. I'll wipe out our history and listen with a fresh and open mind.

Here's your chance.

Friday, April 9, 2010


estr 108
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.

So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they put him."

So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.

They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.

When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.

Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.

For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead...

Donna and Dan - 10

Another post in the countdown to Dan and Donna's 25th anniversary this coming June, which I began back in December. It is my plan to post a story, remembrance and/or poem once a week for 25 weeks leading to the big date.

Down to less than ten weeks now...

When we got married, we decided to find a church together and that I would leave the church of my childhood (Victory Memorial Baptist Church, over near my parents in the south end). About that same time, one of the guys in the band - Ed, who attended a Nazarene church - had heard about this struggling Nazarene church in Louisville's Portland neighborhood. Portland was and is a poorer section in the West End of Louisville and this church was just barely staying afloat. And so, two of the guys in the band, Donna and I all joined Westside Church of the Nazarene and it became our first church home as a couple.

The church consisted of the minister - a stern, fire-and-brimstone part-time pastor/full-time electrician - an elderly piano player, her husband and a dozen or so children and teenagers. Also, we had Billy as a fairly regular guest. Billy is an elderly gentleman with some mental retardation and he is just a delight (the last I knew, Billy was still with us, although he must be ancient, by now). He would often accompany the piano player on his harmonica, which he played with more enthusiasm and grace than talent.

The piano player, Mrs. Loyall, had grown up playing piano for silent movies and, as a result, played hymns with a sort of bawdy, ragtime feel. Her rollicking piano playing notwithstanding, she was a bit on the stern side, too.

And so, these four idealistic young adults joined the mix of the elderly and young at Westside. We spent some time working on the building, doing concerts, leading Vacation Bible School and other youth activities and, occasionally, butting heads with the pastor and piano player. Mostly, we got along well, but there were at least a few tense times.

After a couple years of doing that, we joined Baptist Tabernacle, also in Louisville's West End/Portland. This was while Donna was still in the Seminary, 1987, I believe. Baptist Tabernacle had been a fairly large and historic church in Louisville in the 1950s and 1960s. It had been a white church that had thrown itself into the fight for civil rights at a time when Louisville still had a good deal of antipathy towards the notion.

But, like many urban churches, it had dwindled down from an attendance of about 400-500 to about 100 by the time we had begun attending. It is in a section of town that had experienced "white flight," and with people leaving that end of town, they also left Tabernacle. Still, those who remained were a dedicated group concerned about their neighborhood.

To that end, Donna was eventually offered a Church Social Worker position at Tabernacle. She struggled with meager resources and sometimes opposition to new ideas. Donna and the church did much good work, nonetheless. She graduated from the Seminary in 1988 and we moved into our first house on West Main St...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Resurrection Day!

estr 141
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Once more to new creation Awake,
and death gainsay,
For death is swallowed up of life,
And Christ is risen today!

~George Newell Lovejoy

Happy Resurrection Day!

estr 003
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
He takes men out of time and makes them feel eternity.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born.

~Alice Freeman Palmer

Happy Resurrection Day!

estr 066
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Some photos from Jeff St service this morning, and a quote from St Wendell...

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it...

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Happy Easter to all.