Thursday, July 31, 2008

Joseph Arthur

In the Sun

Honey and the Moon
Now I doubt this is J Arthurs actual video but it does have some fun vintage video.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Week of Lasts and Thoughts On Home

A Week of Lasts and Thoughts On Home

This is moving week for me. I moved to Sioux Falls nearly 10 years ago. I had returned home from a short term missionary trip to Brazil through Pioneers without a job or a plan. Citibank took me in (and nearly my soul). Sioux Falls has become my home in the deep family sense of the word. During my time here I have made friends in several large circles…Powerhouse Ministries, Sioux Falls Seminary, Augustana College, Good Shepherd Episcopal among others. It is funny to me sometimes how often ripples from one of these communities have effects in another. This week is a week of lasts. The last time I will go to Good Shepherd as a member of the community. The last time I will visit this store or eat at Spezia’s or Granite City as a resident.

I wonder how long will Sioux Falls feel like home?

When will it outgrow my precious memories of friends?

I remember moving to SF from Orange City/Alton Iowa. I remember thinking that I will always have three homes: 1) wherever I live, 2) Wherever my parents live, 3) My home towns of Orange City/Alton. But I have lived in SF for so long now, space is stacked with memories turning the unfamiliar into places where… And will Grand Forks become home? I have added another home over the past few years in Springside, Saskatchewan at Karina’s home.

I pray that GF will become home quickly.

Support Young Artists @

I recently ran into this great website that helps young artists sell their work. They are all college students or recent grads. One of the hardest things for young artists is finding a venue to display their work. The internet has really helped by providing virtual gallery space if you know where to look.

This is what the site says about the project:

Alex Farkas, Greg Rosborough, and Stephen Tanenbaum are the founders and managing partners of The three developed to provide art enthusiasts access to affordable original artwork while offering young trained artists a platform to launch their careers.

Several years ago, while Alex was studying art in college, he noticed that his classmates were having trouble starting their art careers. Many of the talented students he knew were unable to find an outlet to sell their work upon graduation, and as a result, took jobs in completely unrelated fields.

When Alex, Greg, and Stephen met in business school, they shared an interest in supporting the art world. The three often discussed the difficult transition from art school to the art business, and the lack of reasonably priced original artwork. Ultimately, they discovered a solution to these problems; helps art students begin their careers and offers patrons access to affordable original artwork.

Artists do often have a hard time "making it" which is why the phrase "starving artist" has such residual truth. I've been thinking lately about the push to consume locally and to re-use not only for the sake of the earth, but also to subvert global capitalism/consumption. Is there a rough equivalent in art? Could buying original art rather than mass produced posters be a way to support the arts and subvert capitalism?

I get the fact that many people are genuinely fearful of purchasing art...either because they feel they know nothing about art (partially because of our poor education in the US and in Modernity science wins), or often its cost seems prohibitive. Why spend 500-1000$ on an original painting or photograph when we can spend 150$ on a framed poster that matches my couch? provides a way to look for art that may match your couch, that is original rather than a poorly printed poster of art, and support emerging artists.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My New Macro Lens

I finally got a chance to go out and shoot a bit today...nothing great but just trying to learn the ropes on my new macro.

This spoon covered in coffee grounds is still sitting around from breakfast. I know I should clean up but it made an interesting shot.

This little dragonfly swooped into my view as I was photographing the leaves. Who knew that they were hairy? I think the wings are just amazing.

I love to look at the veins in the leaves. Shooting from under the leaves soaking in the sun is a wonderful way to see it.

Alternate Header

This is another header that I have been playing with.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Holy Cats! i just saw this on MSN and thought I needed to put a link to it from my blog. Now I actually like cats, but there are limits. 117 cats, raccoon, rabbit found in Omaha home, Many animals sick, some dead; owner ID'd, accused of stealing cat food.

This story has exceeded my limit by about 114-115 cats.

Now this is certainly newsworthy...I mean how often do you find a home with 117 cats? And yet, I remembered this story from just a few years ago of a 130 cats in a Wisconsin home. 130 cats removed from south side house: Felines rove in walls as bugs root through filth; building condemned.

Now I grew up on a farm, and despite my love for animals, I do not have the love for them that others do. My wife and I are appalled at what our country does for its pets...spas (or this one) for your dog? Are you serious? With services from normal grooming and bathing to the extremes of hydro-muscular massages and anal gland treatments? Gag...Our dog got a bath once or twice a year...whether it needed it or not. What has happened to a country where we care more about our pets than our fellow humans? What has happened to a country when animals have more rights than either the unborn or the elderly?

NWC's the Classic

Northwestern College's most recent alumni magazine (the Classic) covered the topic of place and in particular the Minding Place conference. It was a privilege to speak at the conference at my alma mater but the seeing my photo on the cover of the magazine was pretty exciting. Also, there is a 2 page photo article with my work. The American Gothic house and the old barn used on the site are my photos. It is fun to see your work being used and appreciated.

You can download a copy of the Classic here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

3 Years

Today is our anniversary...3 wonderful years. Three years ago today our friends and family gathered around us at Springside Baptist in Saskatchewan to celebrate God's goodness in community. It was an amazing day that still overwhelms me when I think of all that our friends and family did to make it special (not to mention the 12-14 hour drive for many). Even though we had to be apart for this anniversary (Karina is already working in Grand Forks while I am finishing up here in Sioux Falls) we will certainly celebrate next weekend. Happy Anniversary Karina.



This has been one of my favorite songs since my freshmen year in college. It reminds me of my roommate who was homesick in northwest Iowa for his native southern California. This song would play on repeat.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Peace & the State's Alternative Soteriology

Life has been hectic so my reading and posting for the summer is marginal. I have been reading, ever so slowly, Theopolitical Imagination by Wm. Cavanaugh which I have previously mentioned. I had hoped to cover a few ideas of his on peace that pertain to my posting during the week of the 4th.

Cavanaugh starts his first chapter which is entitled “The Myth of the State as Savior” by suggesting that the “modern state is best understood…as an alternative soteriology to the Church. Both soteriologies pursue peace and an end to division by the enactment of a social body…and the state is a simulacrum, a false copy, of the Body of Christ” (9-10). Cavanaugh contends that the state, civil society, and globalization are means of understanding or orienting ourselves within time and place. These become the “rule” of life which is upheld by an imaginative process which gives the “rules” a certain weightiness. The state presumes of offer a soteriology, not wholly unlike Christian soteriology, as a rescue from violence.

This is a striking challenge to doctrine and life, because the state simultaneously redirects and redefines religion as a private affair thus effectively dividing the physical and spiritual realms. “Religion is no longer a matter of certain bodily practices within the Body of Christ, but is limited to the realm of the ‘soul’ and the body is handed over to the state” (35). The state is now savior and protector of the physical (and most tangible) reality. So what is the danger in all of this? Well, to whom do we look to for understandings of peace? The state which ensures peace through violence or Christ through non-violence? If, as Cavanaugh suggests that the state proffers an alternative soteriology we must see it as a “heretical” soteriology. We do not have the luxury of our consumerist tendencies to pick among our options. If the state is suggesting itself as savior to its people, it is a competitor to the Christ’s gospel and the vessel of salvation…the church.

Cavanaugh sees the Eucharist as proper arena for a radical re-orienting of the Chruch, the very public expression and embodiment of Christ’s ongoing presence.

Previously I have been suggesting we pursue a thicker definition of “peace” as more than the absence of strife and discord. While the state pursues the thinner definition, which proposes to create a certain amount of freedom for the individual to pursue the inner/spiritual/religious peace as they choose to define it. This private individual is free to think what s/he will.

Cavanaugh, while stressing the absolute need for non-violence, seems to imply also that the state naturally sees the true community of believers gathered around the Eucharist as a competitor to its vision because it causes ruptures or divisions because the Body of Christ “has pretensions to be a body that transcends state boundaries” (38). Does the Church will naturally be proverbial thorn in the states side? What are we to make of this?

Friday, July 18, 2008

More from Lake Park

This little scene intrigued me. The strong horizontal movement of the building (with its two different sized sidings...both of which are flaking off) is broken up by a vertical board. The right and left side mirror each other with a series of boarded up windows.

Growing up in NW Iowa the elevator is the hub of the town where farmers from miles around bring their grain. Their size has always amazed me. But so has the complexity of shapes, colors, pipes and wires that string around each of the many interconnected buildings.

This is a composite of the Lake Park elevator. I haven't worked with too many composites or panoramics. Its quite fun to see the image emerge and yet for the perfectionist it is frustrating trying to get lines to match up (which they do not).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tonight Tonight by the Smashing Pumpkins

The Pumpkins are one of my favorite bands. I remember the first time I saw the Tonight Tonight video (I already loved the song) I was blown away. I think there is some affinity with the Laswell video from Tuesday in terms of its dreamy circus-like context. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Musical Postings

One of my favorite things to do is look through someone’s music collection. I think I learn a lot about them by their musical choices. Over the next while I will be posting links to some of my favorite music videos. Do these count as posts? Well…its summer and I am in the midst of a move. I have not had much time for quality reflection, writing, and posting lately. I hope you continue to check in over the course of the summer and catch some great music.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sing Theresa Says by Greg Laswell

Greg Laswell's Sing Theresa Says is one of my all-time favorite songs. I discovered it a few years ago on a Paste Music Sampler CD. If I recall rightly, he wrote it shortly after his divorce and how his Grandmother Theresa encouraged him to "sing happy things". I love the line, "I can hear the june bugs approaching, a god damn army of them in my brain." I think I resonate with this line when I teeter on the edge of making room for or entertaining an unhealthy thought. The video is great too...dreamy and circus like. Anyway...enjoy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

New Header

If you are a regular visitor to my blog you no doubt recognized the header change. I thought it might be time for an update. I have had the same header for nearly eleven months now. This is an image from Yorkton, Saskatchewan that I took last summer. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Recent Photos: Three

It is probably quite obvious why this photo stood out for me. Again, as with so many of the shots in this Lake Park series, there is a profound angularity. Here we have brick, squared windows, the vertical teal section on the right. I loved the runoff from the window that had lightened the paint. I loved the juxtaposition of the dramatic blue with the teal and white facade.

Again with the angularity...rectangles and squares. The yellow coloring of this building suggests a southwestern location...but its still Lake Park, Iowa.

More squares and rectangles, closed off doors and windows. I love the juxtaposition of the two types of bricks and the color.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Recent Photos: Two

This is a fun shot. It is actually a composite of two shots stitched together. This is the south side of the Lake Park carwash. What struck me as I stood there was the differences among the four windows.
This shot is of one of the elevator or lumber yard buildings. Again I think the image stands out because of its geometry and color variance. In the shot we see several different kinds of tin used in the upper wall, roofing, sliding door, and lower wall. Also the actual window mirrors the golden window-like pieces in the upper level.

Every visitor to town is greeted by the IOOF sign as they ascend the town hill. Again I think the geometry of the image captured my attention. The large horizontal rectangle of the sign with the smaller bisected vertical rectangle of the window and air conditioner.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

wedding photos

These are some photos from the most recent wedding I shot (April) up here in GF ND. These have not been touched up, but are raw photos. Usually I touch up 20-30 photos as part of our package. I may have said this already, but I really like to shoot both the rehearsal and the big preparations the morning of the tells a more complete story of the experience than just photos of the wedding itself. I try to shoot in a documentary style capturing the little details of the day. My presence at the rehearsal adds to the larger story, but also helps you and the family get used to my presence and the camera as well as my getting to know the church building and how to shoot within it. I generally shoot in color and can convert any of the images into a black and white or some other color scheme as well. I shoot in both a large JPEG and RAW format that will be burned to disks (you will probably end up with 600-1000 images to choose from), given to you to choose which images you want to further develop. I will make those adjustments and give you a new disk to have developed at your choice of photo stores (which I can recommend several). You will then get the disks to save (I recommed making multiple copies and spreading them around for safe keeping).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Recent Photos: One

This past weekend I went to my parents home in Lake Park, Iowa. I spent a couple of hours wandering around the small town taking photos of store facades and back alleys. I can see several recurring themes and interests rising to the surface in these shots as well as in other sessions. I think my recent interest in Jeff Brouws and Stephen Shore is evident as well.

I was attracted to this image not simply because of the lettered stickers that were flaking off, but also because of the tonal ranges.

What stood out to me in this self-portrait of sorts is the 24-7 sign in the window. As I studied this building from across the street I noticed the geometry of the image. Brick...Window...Door Frame...Ceiling Tiles. I also love the reflection.

Here is another shot of the laundromat from above.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Thick or Thin III: Considerations On the Meaning of Peace

Last Sunday as I sat amidst the liturgy, I began to listen for ideas of peace within the liturgy. A project like this takes a long time to see how peace is used and intended. Placing this within the context of the past few thick and thin discussions how does our liturgical peace line up with some of the biblical aspects of peace I have been discussing.

Peace is prominent in the Prayers of the People. The introduction to the prayer of the people reads; “Prayer is offered with intercession for the Universal Church, its members, and its mission, the Nation and all in authority, the welfare of the world, the concerns of the local community, those who suffer and those in any trouble, the departed.”

Form 1 begins, “With all our heart and with all our mind, let us pray to the
Lord, saying, “Lord, have mercy.”

For the peace from above, for the loving‑kindness of God,
and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.

For the peace of the world, for the welfare of the holy Church
of God, and for the unity of all peoples, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.”

This is an intriguing division of peace? Peace from above is paired with matters of God’s love and salvation. Peace from above seems to be differentiated from the peace of the world which is paired with the welfare of the Church and unity among all people. Are we on the same track here with the thick and thin? If so, is it significant that the peace associated with tangible reality is petitioned for secondarily? If so, can we assume that the second, what I have been calling thin peace, emanates from the first or thick peace?

Form II petitions, “I ask your prayers for peace; for goodwill among nations;
and for the well‑being of all people. Pray for justice and peace.” Per our ongoing examination, it seems that this instance of peace, at least in casual observance, would fall under a thinner aspect of peace.

Form III petitions, “We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations
of the world; That there may be justice and peace on the earth.” Again, I would lean toward a thin or resultant peace.

Form IV petitions, “Guide the people of this land, and of all the nations, in the
ways of justice and peace; that we may honor one another and serve the common good. Lord, in your mercy Hear our prayer.”

Form V petitions, “For all who have commended themselves to our prayers; for
our families, friends, and neighbors; that being freed from anxiety, they may live in joy, peace, and health, we pray to you, O Lord.” Form V is also an interesting case. My initial reading it seems as if this is concerned an inclusive thick reading; one that encompasses both matters of existential anxiety and the daily varieties. For me, this is a both/and situation.

Form VI peace is prevalent with multiple petitions. It begins, “In peace, we pray to you, Lord God.” How does this peace come about? Liturgically we have just celebrated the Eucharist which brings individual members together to participate as the earthly body of Christ while simultaneously participating in the reality of the Trinitarian life. It celebrates and participates in the reconciliation offered to humanity by God in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. To say, “In peace, we pray to you, Lord God” would suggest, at least in my perspective, an acknowledgement of the unity of Christ’s earthly body, our unity with Christ himself and ultimately through this unity, our access to God.

While we are on the Eucharist, I want to mention what immediately precedes its. Just prior to the Eucharist, the gathered congregation passes the peace following the priest.
“The peace of the Lord be always with you.
People And also with you.

How should we read this section? Thick or Thin? I am not sure, both or thick? And yet, preceding the passing of the peace is the confession of sin. A plea of peace in the confessions is certainly thick whereas the passing of the peace, would be the resultant enactment as a thin interpretation.

Form VI also petitions, “For this community, the nation, and the world; For all who work for justice, freedom, and peace.” Again this seems to be a fairly straight forward thin reading of peace.

All of this being said, the Prayers of the People, are filled with pleas for peace and justice. I have only scanned the actual usages of the word “peace” but it is intimately woven into the fabric of nearly every sentence.

What worries me, and suggests the necessity of this casual study for me, is that we too easily jump to the earthly peace and presume that it can be attained without, that which form 1 petitions as the “peace from above.” We should also be certain to claim “which above” this reality is, and not allow it to devolve into some vague spiritualism. We must be continually reminded that any earthly peace must flow out of our peace with God through Christ. The liturgy reminds us of this and the centrality of the Eucharist reminds us of its own necessity to our hopes for a unified church as a peacemaking instrument in the world.

Next week I think I will continue on this little topic again but in regards to my current reading of William T. Cavanaugh's Theolopolitical Imagination.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thick or Thin II: Considerations On the Meaning of Peace

Another passage to consider in the theme of peace is Isaiah 53.5 which reads, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

In the context of my previous posting on thick or thin peace, how should this be read? Should we consider this an absence of discord and strife or suggestive of peace construed as salvation?

Likewise, if we consider Numbers 6.22-27, the Aaronic blessing, “22 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 23 Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them, 24 The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. 27 So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

Here we see that peace is a gift from God. Notice also the directional language as well. If we put this within the covenantal agreement between God and the Israelites it seems that this would linger in the thicker readings of peace as salvation, but likely also include a resultant peace as well.

What are the effects upon our doctrine and practice if we define these through the thin definitions rather than the thickness of salvation? Do our patriotic tendencies color our interpretations of this peace? If so, who becomes our savior if peace is defined thinly? The state? I think I just threw up a little.