Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The other day a mutual friend made a comment about the loss of good people. I responded "nothing good goes unshattered". That phrase stuck in my craw for two days . This morning as the rain fell again at 46degrees and only the espresso seemed to make me smile I wrote this out.  On paper it seemed like a a Springsteen "brilliant disguise" type of tune. Then I picked up my old Gibson to find a key and write a melody, and it suddenly changed as I began to play here. I like to record the first ideas on songs so I have them to go back to. Now with simple macbooks and the advent of Youtube bad video production, we're all used to things sounding this way.


 Seems Nothing Good Goes Unshattered,  
every piece of silk wears worn and tattered
aint nothing on this earth that lasts forever,  
but your soul man.
All your favorite toys will be broken  
all your part time lovers will leave unspoken
There aint nothing on this earth that lasts forever  
but your soul man

Runnin in circles goin no where fast 
lookin for some light on some darkened path
You may be shiny and bright and catch some eyes
 but you aint no angel in disquise
just another soul  man,and you’re  looking for love.

 All my papers framed in degrees, 
won't impress anyone smarter than me.
and there aint no job to fulfill your soul, 
in this life man

 Runnin in circles goin no where fast 
like a click clack train on a basement track
every things real in a fantasy world  
till you wake up and in an empty bed,. 
and you're just another soul man,   
looking for love. 

BR)    Slow down, close your eyes and breathe       
 listen, to what the silence brings... to your soul man.

High end whiskey and high end scotch
  hell, high end anything that you got
there just a high end bandaid for a troubled spot   
in your soul man

 Running in circles on an oval track  
tryin to beat somebody climbing on your back
that inside lane looks like good ole crack,  
till it takes you out on the wall,   
but it's your soul man, 
looking for good  times,   
It's your soul man,   
looking for love.

Monday, April 28, 2014

I Can't Wash This Off Of Me.

Sanitized faith, sanitized love,
Isolated by the walls that we build
And then i heard your voice
paint words on my heart
Now i can't wash this off of me

Feed the poor,
heal the broken hearted
Those without a father,
need a fathers love.
Feed the poor, heal the broken hearted
and I can't wash this off of me

© C. Olson 2014

4AM is a normal wake up call when you're involved in Sunday corporate worship. Having taken over a year off now from full time ministry, I still seem to wake up often on a Sunday morning at that same time. Half asleep, I see all the faces of all those people I love and led around the country. I think of them and pray for their families and for whomever is leading them now. 

One morning my wife was away and I was awakened at 4 during a blizzard of "way below zero". I felt led to get up and go attend a small (under 50) koinania group that I had filled in at a few times. All volunteers, no real pastor, worship is very unorganized and difficult to enter in with and yet, I love this little group of "jesus people" who want to do church like the first few chapters of Acts. 

That morning the main worship people were gone and it was a couple college age girls trying brutally to read their way through some new charts on the spot. The lead men who usually speak or have a word had invited some guy from a mission and he was pitching his 'give to the poor' canned speech.  

I'm sitting there praying "really Lord, this is what you woke me up for in a blizzard?" Sheesh. 

Then this 501c3 mission guy moves away from his canned speech and says "I took my first mission trip in the year of bla bla bla and i came home to the US and I just couldn't wash the smell of the slum villages off of me". And those words went into Echo mode in my sou

Ka-ching.. Like Shakespeare quoted in a fishing book... One line went past me and that line set the hook deep.

Out came my pen and paper and voila' my pen was empty.. Sheesh.
Out came my Iphone and I began writing the short song above.
When mission man was done speaking the group leader who was also the Aco.guitar player guy got up to close. As he walked by me he looked me in the eyes and said "have something to share?" I said "Yes, 5 chords, I'll pick a key when I get at your piano". 

And I found the key and I lay down my IPhone on the piano to read those lyrics. To play this new song for this missionary and that moment with this Ekklesia. 

After it was over, people wondered where the song came from and how appropriate and moving. Missionary man was praying through this offering time and thought it was a record being played. He asked If he could get a copy.  When I explained to all of them the song was 10min old and only written down as typed lyrics on an IPhone at that point, there were all these "deer in the headlight looks" like, you're joking right? 

Now I tell this story because I want you to know that this is an anomaly in church and it should be the norm. The Acts 2:42-47 Ekklesia. There should not be "deer in the headlight looks" when someone has a "word, a song, an exhortation, a prayer" something hopefully led of the spirit of God. 

If I had not been obedient to get out of bed and drive to this little place, then, I would not have been inspired to write this chorus. Yet, If my brother had not been open to Gods Spirit, (the Holy Spirit) to ask me "do you have something to say", All would have been in vain that morning and Jesus would have been echoing my earlier sentiments "sheesh".

 If my new friend had been afraid of "what will men think, or the elders? What is this guy gonna say? Is he gonna get us all in trouble? Will this take 20min?, Will we lose our best supporters if this guy is some flake I've just let up here? Will i get fired? Will he break the equipment? (Fear can be the greatest enemy to breakthrough).

Come on now, that could have been you or me thinkin that. It's natural. There of course has to be order. And yes, the tighter we make it and keep it, the less chance of "ooops".. Yes that's true.
But if you grew up in the Jesus movement, you know that that's also where most  all the "ahhhhh's " came from. It came in the stepping out, in the awkward and uncomfortable. In the "if I do this I'm an idiot Jesus" moments when they became our greatest stories of faith. "hey tap your stick on the ground old man". Can you imagine the chance for "fear" to silence you  being an old testament prophet and knowing the consequences of failure? Sheesh.

Like hearing Beth Moore last week tell the story of hearing the Holy Spirit tell her to go brush the long matted hair of a 100yr old man in a wheelchair in a packed airport and who was really blessed in the end?  Or an old friend of mine who just drives around at times praying and asking God to direct his turns until he's at someones house or business and he then goes and blesses them with something which always turns into a conversation that is Grace Filled with a miracle ending.

Nutty? at times, a resounding yes. And where do we draw the line on "Jesus told me to". When do we begin to look like snake handlers and poison drinkers? And should everybody do what everyone else was told to do? NOT...

Where do we exercise the gifts of and from God, and when is it appropriate and is it ok to fail? 

So many good questions and I have only opinions of what I think the Word says as i weigh all the teaching and read of others thoughts on various subjects against my own study.

For I remember once a well known songwriter/artist/worship leader singing to hundreds of worship writers from 30 or 40 denominations. And he had a "word" from the holy spirit for this group. And he could have said "thus saith the Lord" and 1/2 the group would have left the building.  But he said (as he was playing his instrument) let's pray. bla bla bla.. .and if Jesus were here this morning I really believe He would say this to us".. And he then gave that incredibly powerful "word" and it dropped everyone, and people were on the floor. He was obedient to turn from fear and share what he felt was truly coming from the Holy Spirit. And, he had the wisdom to know how to couch it and deliver it. Wow, there it was. Wisdom without man made fear. What an overlooked word today. Wisdom usually means old and boring and fear usually means a horror movie. And again I repeat for the 100'th time in blog form "It's never what you say, It's always what they hear".

So if you're in a small group, or a life group, or a bible study or a prayer group where people can be open and have the chance to fail and grow together, then, I exhort you to pray. 

Pray for Gods Holy Spirit to give you knowledge and wisdom about the gifts that abide in you. Gifts that He can and wants to use for the sake of others, if, you'll be obedient to His voice and timing. And when you fail, (and you will), just be humble and be correctable and learn as you try to be His hands and feet each day. Hey that's what the whole "pay it forward" thing really is. It's just stepping out and exercising the gift of giving. And if that's not one of your gifts, I'm sure you won't do it more than once or twice. 

In a world of bad news, more than ever we need to deliver "good news" in an honest and humble manner, esteeming others over ourselves. And gosh I say the sentence above and I see this face once more. I see this face in a world of televangelism and slick ads campaigns as one that remains relevant, uncompromising to new generations. I see this face as unconditional love in action. 
And how was she "paid". What was her reward. How rich was she. How many lives did she affect out of love.

Sanitized faith, sanitized love,
Isolated by the walls that we build
And then i heard your voice
paint words on my heart
Now i can't wash this off of me

Feed the poor,
heal the broken hearted
Those without a father,
need a fathers love.
Feed the poor, heal the broken hearted
and I can't wash this off of me

 Sheesh... I'm humbled again and I can't wash this off of me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Well here I go again.  Nevada and the Nicene creed. What are you fighting for.
This last week the standoff in Nevada on Holy week made me think of and apply the 5 W's again to that phrase. In fact I'll add "How" to the Who what when where why as i think about this.

As we Fight For What We Believe In: 
Who are we? (what can we find in common with those we disagree with without bloodletting)
What are we? (what have we been indoctrinated into that might just be wrong or atleast just an opinion)
When are we? (what are we like in private vs public, secular vs sacred that affects others views of us)
Where are we? (where is the best place to fight for what we believe in)
Why are we? (why are we really fighting. To make ourselves feel better about ourselves, to justify our own actions, to obtain paradise or to uphold the way of life we believe in whether "right or wrong" )
How are we? (what methods are we using to fight for what we believe in. Religion, politics, money, words, books,media, bombs, chest bombs?)

People are indoctrinated with a set of values from parents, teachers, friends, enemies and media as it relates to their community surroundings. Remember Ethan couch who killed four people and said "it's not my fault, I'm rich and entitled, I have "affluenza".   Really... 
Well go back 1,000's of years and name a race, a gang, a club, a cult or a team for that matter and include them all.   We're all groups of people getting together to say " we're alike about this subject". Groups willing to work and fight for those things they feel common about. And how far should they fight for their "groups rights" and (5W's). And can we be willing to admit we've been wrong?
In America, what would our founding fathers say about the state of rights and the bill of rights.

American politics is like American Religion... Yup, to many at the top are doing a great job of corralling and emptying the pockets and hearts of followers via finger pointing. Really, what does finger pointing mean vs how it's perceived? "Hey you need to be like Jesus might be what's meant, but what's heard is,  "Hey Douchbag I'm right and you're wrong." Perception is everything.

 I looked for a political finger pointing photo but anyone I picked to post here would have showed me a racist or bigot or pacifist just for choosing one with a face, so this one shot during a debate shows my point without really pointing fingers :)..

  In politics,  most would say that those pandering to the  left of center ask for money to support and fight for the poor, the earth, the disenfranchised, the mothers and the laywers and unions. And Yup, most would say that those pandering to the right of center are asking for money to support, big business, guns, fetal life and wrap that in a big religious anti gay flag with a 100 foot high fence aross the south. This is sadly what most our youth believe about us anyway...

 I think most people are in the middle and sucked into either side over a few critical points.

American Religion? same thing. Divide and conquer. You are for us or against us. With us or just plain wrong..
You're either in our camp or silently avoided as the unenlightened;  that is unless your gift is adversarial law preaching wherein the finger pointing and (truth by shouting) is taught. And this teaching and preaching by "I"m right and your wrong"  then mixes with politics and you end up with people thinking this stuff is ok..

Really, this is what Jesus taught us? Is this what centuries of religious scholars have passed down to so many ? And to think millions of people go to listen and believe and repeat what these people are "preaching?".

 I think most people are in the middle and sucked into either side over a few critical points.

So, what can I fight for that I believe in and how? How would Jesus do that? How did Jesus do that? How would he teach it today differently in this culture?

Sin... hmmm..   The new forgotton word.

The word "Sin" has been used so much in the damaging art of finger pointing that it's now been eliminated in many new and young churches and it's out of the dictionary  and vocabulary of many preaching/teaching books,  just like the word "evangelical" is being eliminated as researched by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyon in  the book Un-Christian.  There are so many proper reasons "sin" needs to be remembered and discussed, and so many reasons we need to stop using it as a stick in the eye..   For me here's a reason it's important to keep it in your thinking.

I may be saved by Gods mercy and grace via Christ's sacrifice, but if I leave out "I'm  a sinner", in the " saved by grace phrase", suddenly i'm empowered to somehow begin to believe i'm Ok,  that I'm better than those who are not saved and still sinning, and that  begins to come out in everything I unconciously say and do.
How do we know this.  Look at the world around us under 35 years old. They want very little to do with our religion, our jesus, our two sided faiths. They see it more as us fighting for what we want people to think we believe in. They have lived in our houses and seen behind our curtains.

What if we actually admitted our weaknesses, our addictions and our fears and allowed others to do the same? I mean from the top down. Leaders, pastors, fathers, mothers. What if we actually walked in humility knowing that no one is better than anyone else?  What if the words, Love your neighbor as yourself meant you have to find a way to love and accept yourself before you can love and accept others. What if that begins with your leaders, pastors, parents, teachers helping the young to understand they are ok, broken we all are, you're ok and you're beautiful.  What if you could love others because you are loved, not just to look for a fight and a division because you have been taught you are better or somehow smarter and that gives you a right to fight..

Maybe just maybe when I say "fight for what you believe in", Jesus words are whispering back "Love what you believe in".  What if using  Love, peace, patience, kindness, longsuffering was "fighting for what you believed in". Willingly and conciously listening and praying instead of talking and mentally reloading.

And for anyone who knows me, I'm certainly not a pacifist. I kill animals and fish to eat and protect my property and family. And if faced with armed agression, fear or actual violence against my family and friends by anyone including govt's or religions foreign or domestic? I'd have to say" Sorry Jesus, I'm not Ghandi,  I'm gonna lock and load, and like Mel Gibson in "we were soldiers once" and I'd be prayin Hal Moore's prayer: Oh, yes, and one more thing, dear Lord — about our enemies? Ignore their heathen prayers and help us blow those little bastards straight to hell. Amen

and please, no mel gibson comments :)