Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

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Civic duty does not equal jury duty

In faith,family,Fun,humor,movies,politics,Uncategorized on November 20, 2012 by mstevensrev

ImageI’m off to jury duty this morning, this is the first time in my life that I have been called to serve and actually ‘able’ to do it. Before I didn’t live in the state where I was called or was unable to attended. While in theory I wish that I could have a good attitude toward the entire experience I do not. It is the week of Thanksgiving, I have a ton of work to do which means if I don’t get it done during today I have to work this evening when i should be with my family. This makes me even more suspicious of the entire U.S. justice system. If I don’t want to serve and i’m a law abiding tax paying citizen who is it that actually sits on jurys? The entire system is broke.

Yesterday while looking at the unlike icon on facebook I remembered that growing up my friends and I instead of giving each other the ‘bird’ we used the thumbs down, the ultimate sign of disapproval. The idea originated from the movie, We are Spinal Tap, where they played at an amusement park and two young me just sat in the crowd giving a disapproving thumbs down. So in honor of jury duty today…Image

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Sharing life together, though complete and utter strangers

In art,Community,culture,devotional,faith,familiy,home,music,poetry,politics,Prayer,Spiritual,Uncategorized on November 10, 2012 by mstevensrev Tagged: ,

Moments in this life take on a forever quality that I would have thought could only be reserved for heaven. ¬†Last night was on of them. ¬†This month I turn 36 years old, still a kid I know, and Karin and I went to a house concert of a music hero of mine name Bill Malonee who I have have been listing to for twenty years. ¬†There are many times that Bill’s path has crossed mine and each has been significant and meaningful to me, some directly others indirectly, some glorious others painful. I’ll start with how I ‘met’ Bill and then I’ll tell you my favorite story about him.

I moved back from living overseas my first to years of high school. ¬†The transition back had it’s challenging chief among them was I got cut from the varsity basketball team of my new school after having played varsity for two years overseas previously, thanks Coach Brotias. ¬†Suddenly my plan to be the next Bobby Hurley and start at Duke was looking like it was in¬†jeopardy. In addition I had not registered for a beach trip a group of my new friends were going on with my church because it conflicted with basketball. ¬†I was left discouraged and going to be alone in it, until this small group of young guys (5 of them) made sure that I was going to the beach with them. That was a long way around the barn, so I’ll get to it. ¬†On the three hour ride to the beach instead of riding on the huge bus, where all the girls were which should have been motivation for us, my group of guys piled into a small van, probably the worst smelling van in history. ¬†There we had our own boombox to control the music we listen to on the way. ¬†Erik Crown brought his Jimmy Buffett tapes. ¬†Being new to the group and from a family of¬†teetotalers¬†this was highly offensive and I struggled with listening to ‘drinking’ songs while going on a church retreat. ¬†Little did I know these young men were setting me on a journey more theologically rich and challenging then I could ever imagine and they were using music. ¬†This is the same group of guys who introduced me to Bill Malonee, the story would only be better if his name were Bill W:)

ImageBill Malonee was the writer and frontman for a group call Vigilantes of Love, or for fans like us VOL. They were a gritty thoughtful theological rock band with folk influence from Athens, GA. ¬†VOL and Bill’s lyrics became a soundtrack for my life, one learning to love mercy, seek justice and walk humbly. My soul was fed and challenged with lyrics like:

I’ve been trying to negotiate peace¬†
with my own existence. 
She’s gotta stockpile full of weaponry;¬†
she breaking every cease-fire agreement.
-Welcome to Struggleville

Now look if you’re gonna come around here¬†
And say those sort of things 
You gotta take a few on the chin 
You talking about love and all that stuff 
You better bring your thickest skin 
Sometimes you can’t please everyone¬†
Sometimes you can’t please anyone at all¬†
You sew your heart onto your sleeve 
And wait for the ax to fall
-Skin

It’s amazing what you’ll buy if you think last chance went buy
You weave a new set of lines to cover yourself
‘Cos love is just a plea at the deepest point of need
We take the reasonable facsimile most of the time

-Reasonable Facsimile

If Bill approached faith with gloves it was not the white gloves I was used to it was boxing gloves, and he seemed in my mind to be on the receiving end of the punches…most of the time.

Years later one of my closest friends played bass in a band, The River, from Eastern College in Philadelphia. The River found their inspiration from bands like Creedence Clearwater¬†Revival, in your face Southern Rock with a great lead singer who’s voice clearly woke you up. ¬†The River’s first big show was to open for Vigilantes of Love and they were honored at the opportunity. ¬†Nervous¬†and extremely excited they took the stage, played their set, during and afterward they knew there was something terribly wrong. Later that night while hanging out with Bill, he showered them with complements about their potential and asked, “Would you like some advice for the future?” Receiving wisdom from an artist that had made it was a great opportunity so my friend said yes and in all humility and graciousness¬†Bill said, “You guys have some real talent, for the future I would just invest in a tuner.” The River is no more but the story lives in rock and roll lore as one of the most gracious and¬†hilarious moments, on par with anything that was scripted in the movie, We are Spinal Tap.

ImageSo last night I had to opportunity to experience a house show with Bill Malonee and his wife Mariah. Time has not stood still, Bill has a son only ten years my junior and I have three daughters who did not exist when I was introduced to Bill. ¬†As I sat on the floor at Bill’s feet, he poured out his soul, challenging me to remember those who have died as a result of corporate greed in West Virginia coal mines, wooing me with lyrics of songs that have transformed my soul from the past, and introducing me to a new friend Seth Martin. In a world that I have information on anything I want, Bill reminded me that there will always be those who are called to be prophet. Whether they are riding in boxcars like Woody Guthrie or playing Madison Square Garden like Bob Dylan, I need a prophet to speak or rather sing into my life reminding and rekindling my soul as to what is important.

Today my soul is rekindled, may you take a moment yourself and listen to one of my favorites of Bill’s called Double Cure.

ImageThanks Bill.

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Starbucks’ amazing marketing and happy election day

In advertising,art,blogging,Blue Monster,Community,culture,design,faith,familiy,Friends,Fun,mission,politics,principles,publicity,Theology,Uncategorized,work on November 6, 2012 by mstevensrev Tagged: , , , , ,

Living in Seattle I am very accustom to hearing people criticize Starbucks, my thoughts on the topic of coffee are that I prefer how other companies roast their beans. Therefore it is aesthetic not cynical in my critique.

ImageOne thing I am blown away with regarding Starbucks is the sophistication with their marketing. ¬†Today I am in Redwood Shores, CA working at a Starbucks before my appointments. ¬†The baristia offered me a ‘free’ bracelet that clearly has $5 donation marked on it, my defenses went up and I started trying to uncover the angel. ¬†The bracelets are for Let’s Create Jobs for USA, a campaign sponsored by Howard Schultz and others that has raised $15M and leveraged $105M, estimating 5,000 jobs created for small business in the USA. ¬†Since it is election day they are giving the bracelets away for free. ¬†This ‘gift’ took me from being someone who would never donate to the cause to someone not just interested in donating but blogging on it. ¬†Brilliant.

This is a corporation taking advantage of a term I learned from Hugh MacLeod @gapingvoid, check out his article on¬†‚ÄúSocial Objects are the future of marketing.‚Ä̬†Hugh states:

The Social Object, in a nutshell, is the rea¬≠son two peo¬≠ple are tal¬≠king to each other, as oppo¬≠sed to tal¬≠king to some¬≠body else. Human beings are social ani¬≠mals. We like to socia¬≠lize. But if you think about it, there needs to be a rea¬≠son for it to hap¬≠pen in the first place. That rea¬≠son, that ‚Äúnode‚ÄĚ in the social net¬≠work, is what we call the Social Object.

I’m wearing my bracelet, talking with those around me at Starbucks about it, and will wear it to my appointments this afternoon sharing my experience. ¬†The ‘gift’ Starbucks provided me today is not only the bracelet but the opportunity to be part of a story that is larger than myself…that is impacting the world for good. ¬†This is something that we all should inspire to provide the people around us. There is a place for companies to provide something for free, if that is all you do you are not a company rather a charity (and that is good too). ¬†Starbucks used a social object to engage me on a cause but also it helps change a brand that I do not have the most favorable feelings toward.

So on this election day that is filled with disgusting shit on all sides, make a positive difference.  Inspire something larger than yourself to impact the world for good.  Perhaps it means not having the shitty conversation with someone who may think differently then you, or maybe it is something else.  Do your civic duty and vote, then go hug someone you love and let them know how grateful you are for them.

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>The role of politics

In Bible,politics,Spiritual on August 12, 2009 by mstevensrev

>Post election year it has died down a bit, but there are still friends and family out there charged up about what politically is going on. I am grateful for my freedom and don’t want to see it continually taken away, and I am involved in a sustainable way in political action locally and less nationally. This morning I was reading a passage that again reminded me of the place politics is to have in my heart:

Jeremiah 18:1-12

The Potter and the Clay

18:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 ‚ÄúArise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.‚ÄĚ 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 ‚ÄúO house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. 7 If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. 9 And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. 11 Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‚ÄėThus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.‚Äô

12 ‚ÄúBut they say, ‚ÄėThat is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.‚Äô