Life Update: Floods, Weddings, and New Endeavors in Nashville

Hello all!

It came to my attention last night that no “life update” has been posted on the blog since the wedding, so I thought it would be appropriate to briefly summarize the events of the summer and share a little bit about where Susie and I are headed next week!

On the fateful day of May 31, 2013, I received a call at about 2:30 in the afternoon from a friend of mine telling me that Phill Knuth, a pastor and friend, and the man who would be performing Susie and I’s wedding 24 hours later, was diagnosed with a form of appendicitis and was presently in the emergency room awaiting a procedure to take care of the issue.

Bless Luke Johnson for having to make that call to me that Friday afternoon.

“So he can’t do the wedding?” I asked, already knowing the answer to my somewhat foolish question.

Immediately after finishing my phone call with Luke, I got on the horn and was so thankful to have Pastor Mark Biehl of Upland Community Church, who was already coming up to read Scripture, agree to perform the wedding for us. I’m not sure I consider it some odd coincidence that Mark and his wife engaged Susie and I in some significantly helpful, supplemental pre-marital counseling throughout the 2012-13 school year, in addition to what Phill did with us. Mark was prepared and very comfortable marrying us, and I was so grateful for his pinch-hitting effort the following day.

After putting out that fire, and making a very difficult call to Susie regarding the issue, all was well. The rehearsal and subsequent dinner was a blast, and Pint and Slice was delicious, as was to be expected.

Around 11:30 on the eve of my wedding day, I was finishing up part of Susie’s gift for the next day and went into the bathroom to wash up and get ready for bed. I got an alert to my phone about a “Flash Flood Warning” in my county, which was no surprise due to the immense amount of rain we received throughout the day and into the night, but I just brushed it off because floods never affect my house.

The gutters in our street sometimes flood, and our basement only flooded when the power was out and our sump pump backup battery failed.

When I was in the bathroom, though, I thought I would take a look outside, just to see if the gutters in the street had started to flood yet.

I peered out the window and, to my confusion, the middle of the street appeared…shiny.

“That’s odd,” I thought to myself, “There’s no way the whole street’s flooded…right?”

Still unsure of the condition of the street in front of my house, and not at all comforted by the view I had from my bathroom upstairs, I decided to venture downstairs to the front door to look out and see what the situation looked like from there.

When I shined my iPhone 5’s flashlight through the decorative windows embedded in my front door, and when I managed to keep the app from enabling the “strobe” function, I was terrified at what I saw.

Water had completely covered my entire street, which never happens, and the tires of my roommate’s car, which was parked in the street, were half-submerged in the flash flood that was quickly paralyzing my mind.

I gasped, put my hand over my mouth, and was immediately concerned for the state of Susie’s house.

“My house and street never flood,” I thought to myself, “If we’re this bad, Susie is SCREWED.” (Pardon my language.)

Without hesitation in movement, though certainly with hesitation of mind because of what I feared, I opened the basement door, flipped on the light, and slowly walked down the stairs.

The carpet was floating. No joke.

“OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH,” I said probably about a dozen times as I honestly felt I was about to pass out.

I sprinted up my basement stairs, stomped through the foyer, and began sprinting up to the second floor exclaiming, without consideration,

“IT’S FLOODING. IT’S FLOODING. IT’S FLOODING.”

“What? What’s going on?” My mom said as she grabbed my dad and and started coming down the stairs.

Sorry for those who are queasy, but it felt exactly how it used to feel if I threw up in the middle of the night. I was too sick and exhausted to clearly express what was going on. I just couldn’t muster the words because I knew what was going to follow them.

“THE BASEMENT! IT’S FLOODING. THE STREET! IT’S FLOODING. I CAN’T SEE THE BOTTOM OF ERICK’S CAR.”

The scene outside was seriously one of the most apocalyptic scenes I have seen in my entire life. I have never seen such flooding–it was truly surreal.

I thought to myself, “This is surely not happening on the night of my wedding.”

This is the mulch line in my yard the morning of the wedding. This is how high the water got. Unbelievable.
This is the mulch line in my yard the morning of the wedding. This is how high the water got. Unbelievable.

Long story short, my basement was flooded with a few inches of water, and, praise the Lord, we didn’t lose many possessions at all, but had to have a lot of drywall and other structural things replaced.

As I expected, Susie’s house flooded for the first time in 10 years, and luckily everyone in her house was able to get out before it started rushing in, along with wedding gifts, wedding dresses, and other priceless momentos.

Susie’s house (the entire house, she has no basement or second floor) ended up with a foot of water in it and she didn’t sleep the night before the wedding–I’m not sure many of us did. I was probably the most fortunate, getting about five hours after giving up on bailing water in the basement at about 3:30am.

Throughout that surreal night, one of the thoughts that kept popping up in my head was this: “I have been chasing this girl since the eighth grade, and I am seriously starting to wonder if a flood is going to keep me from leaving my neighborhood in the morning.”

As I helped my friends try to move their cars up into the drive way, and as I watched others’ parked cars hopelessly fill with water and float down the street when a truck passed by, all I could think was, “I have a new appreciation for the phrase ‘come hell or high water,'” because no matter what else was going to be thrown at me that night, was I determined to get to the church the next day, come hell, or yes, even high water.

In the end, we got married, all was well, and we had a ton of fun with all who were able to attend.

So, after a great summer helping out at Miracle Camp and Retreat Center in Lawton, Michigan, Susie and I are off to Nashville next Tuesday to begin the next stage of our life there.

After seeing a job posting on Twitter, somewhat whimsically applying for it, and interviewing for it, I am taking a position as the Executive Leadership Team Social Media Facilitator at LifeWay Christian Resources. If you’re like I was, and, quite honestly, still sort of am, you must be thinking, “What on earth is that?”

In short, I’ll be assisting three vice presidents of LifeWay in the managing of their blogs and social media accounts. I have been thoroughly impressed with LifeWay throughout the interview and offer process, and I cannot wait to begin working there on September 16th. I am so thankful for this opportunity.

lifeway

While working at LifeWay, I will be pursuing my Master of Divinity degree at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, via an extension campus in Nashville, TN. Susie will likely be working as a nanny and initially pursuing a volunteer role in the foster care system, with hopes of eventually working in the system full time.

Like I have already said, Susie and I are very excited to be moving to Nashville. I just wanted to say “thank you” to all of you who take the time to read this blog and who have encouraged me in it throughout the years. My experience blogging has opened up a number of doors for me throughout my life as I pursue a life in full-time, occupational ministry, and I am so excited to see how the Lord uses this next stage of life down in Nashville. This step does not deter me from my hopes of being a pastor in the future by any means, and I am excited to see how this job and our involvement in our local body prepare us for the pastorate down the road, by the grace of God.

Susie and I are so thankful for the support of all of our family and friends. If you would like our new address in Nashville, message me on Facebook or through some other method of communication. We would love to get mail from people! Please be praying for us in this dynamic time of change! I’m not a huge fan of engaging the unknown, so be praying that I am patient as the Lord grows me in this time.

-Chris

telltale–the best duo you’ve never heard of

Fort Wayne is home to a relatively active indie music scene, and a couple of locals have recently thrown their collective hats in the ring with their newly-released Covers EP on Noisetrade.

telltalealbumart

telltale is made up of Wes Osborn and Makayla Tedder, two Blackhawk Christian graduates who have long had an interest in producing music. They just released their album on Noisetrade today, and I had the privilege of chatting with them about their new joint music venture. Here is the fruit of our discussion:

Chris Martin: How do you guys know each other?

Wes Osborn: Makayla and I graduated in the same class at Blackhawk Christian. We became friends through the theatre program, as we both were leads in the productions at the time. Through all those rehearsals and performances is how we really got to know each other.
Makayla Tedder: When you are practicing with the same person for majority of your high school experience, you begin to become real good friends pretty quick.

Makayla Tedder
Makayla Tedder

CM: What inspired you to make/perform music?

WO: I think we both just really enjoy music. For me, it’s something that I want to find a career in. Makayla and I have always been on sort of the same page when it comes to liking the same type of music, so it was just sort of natural for us to do something together.

CM: When did you start making/performing music on your own?

WO: I’ve been doing all sorts of things with music since my freshman year of high school. I’ve helped lead worship for various churches and for chapel at Blackhawk. I really got into doing covers my senior year with Steve Webster and Andrew Anguiano. We called ourselves The Gilded Age and actually played at my graduation party. That was sort of my first non-worship music performance experience.
MT: I have always loved singing personally since I was a little girl. I would always go around singing songs, singing broadway songs, reenacting performances. But this year I started writing songs on my own, which has always been something I wanted to do. So that makes me really excited.

Wes Osborn
Wes Osborn

CM: Why did you decide to start making music/performing together?

WO: Makayla and I happened to both be covering songs on our own and posting them to Facebook and whatnot, and I saw her do a video of a Paramore cover and I thought to myself, “Why are we not doing songs together?” So I shot her a text and apparently she had been thinking the same thing, because she already had song picked out for us to do before I even sent the text.
MT: I don’t even remember how this started, us wanted to make music together. I just remember my senior year of highschool Wes started a band with a few other people in our school, one of them being our teacher, and they were telling me how they wanted me to do a Florence & the Machine song with them, but it never happened. And I think since then Wes and I just always wanted to do something and then just started throwing songs at each other that we liked and said : “LETS DO THIS!” And so we did.

CM: Where did the band name “telltale” come from?

MT: We were throwing names back and forth, and then Wes just told me he liked the name telltale, and it was inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “The Tell-tale Heart.” So I read the poem (which is super depressing and sad) but came to the realization that I loved it. Because the poem talks about how the mans heart couldn’t deny the truth, and in the same way, music reveals the heart of people. Music is what rings true to what our hearts feel at any given moment. And when I told Wes that he loved it! Because before we just liked the name, but the meaning behind it gave it sustenance.

CM: What is your favorite part about making/performing music?

WO: I love music. It’s an incredible form of expression and worship. It’s much more emotional and it emphasizes whatever is being said in the song in a totally unique way. My favorite part is taking a song that I love and sort of adopting it as my own, and making someone else’s song apply to yourself. Performing, whether its on stage or on a recording, is so enjoyable as a musician because you get to share what you’ve worked on and wrestled with. It’s just an added bonus when people listen to it, and even more of a bonus when they enjoy it.

CM: Which of your covers was the most fun to make? Why?

MT: GIRL WITH ONE EYE!!!! Oh my goodness, I just love that song. It’s just so much fun to sing vocally and we both love Florence & the Machine so much and wanted to cover that song for so long. And I LOVE the way it turned out!
WO: Girl With One Eye, by far. I’ve wanted to cover that song with Makayla since high school, so finally being able to do it and then making it a duet was so much fun. Plus the song has a really different feel then the rest of the songs on the EP, it’s much more upbeat, so it was a good change of pace.

CM: Do you plan on writing your own music? When?

MT: YES! I actually stared writing my own songs for the first time this year. I have already written around four. Two of my original songs are currently on my YouTube channel if you want to check them out.
WO: I have been writing my own music for probably two years now. I don’t share really any of it publicly, because, just like anything else, it’s something you have to practice at and refine, and I just don’t feel like I have much worth sharing yet. However, I’ve been working with Steve Webster and Cody Tragesser for over a year now, and we recently recorded a handful of songs, so hopefully people will be hearing those in the next month or so. We call ourselves Mary Loves Matthew, so be on the lookout.

CM: Who are your favorite musicians?

MT: My favorite musicians are always changing. But a constant for me has been the band Paramore. But also right now I am in love with Lorde, Daughter, Greg Laswell, Mumford & sons, The Civil Wars, and I will always be a Bon Iver fan.
WO: Arcade Fire and Radiohead are by far my favorite two artists, but I have a huge list of favorites. The National, Vampire Weekend, The Beatles, Jay-Z, Daughter, Cold War Kids, Florence + the Machine, Grizzly Bear, Kendrick Lamar, Mutemath, Paper Route, the Smiths, St. Vincent, Bon Iver, and The xx just to name a few.

CM: What is your goal in making music?

MT: I would love to some day make an actual CD. But my main goal is to create songs that people will connect with and enjoy listening to because it helps them in whatever situation they are in, or just a fun song when they are in a good mood. I just want to make music for people to listen to when they can’t use words to express their emotions.
WO: Ultimately it is to glorify Christ with the little bit of talent that he has blessed me with. Other than that my goal is to simply make music that’s worth listening to.

CM: Do you have any plans for live performances?

WO: Eventually, I hope. However, with college and whatnot that would be hard to pull off now, but maybe over Christmas break or something.
MT: Wes and I have talked about this, and we are hoping to some day do a live performance! So keep an eye out for our name.

CM: What can we expect next from you guys? (Live sets, new music, etc.)

MT: Expect dedication. And out of our dedication and love for music there will be plenty. Live performances, original songs, new covers, and hopefully much more. Maybe we will even start a clothing line. People will be fighting for telltale Tees.
WO: More covers, for sure. Maybe a live set later on down the road. Who knows, maybe some original songs might creep into the mix. We’ll see.

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Thanks for reading, all! Please remember to head over to Noisetrade to download telltale’s covers and support them!

Willful Blindness in the Church

Today I was watching a great TED Talk by Margaret Heffernan, world-renowned writer and speaker (among other things), on the topic of “willful blindness.”

What is “willful blindness,” you ask? Ms. Heffernan defines it, in short, as “information that you should know and could know, but somehow manage not to know.” It is a legal term, basically saying that you have chosen not to know.

willfulblindness
Photo credit: Ars Technica

It’s everywhere, she says, citing a number of different cases of corruption and abuse in business, religion, government, and otherwise.

Studies have shown that 85% of employees in the United States and Europe know there is a problem in their workplace, but choose to do nothing about it. It is a human problem, she says, not a regional problem. Some people are willfully blind because of fear, feelings of helplessness, or the thought of becoming a whistleblower. And no one likes whistleblowers–those are slimy folks right?

My question is this: are we willfully blind in our churches? As the body of Christ, do we intentionally turn a blind eye to problems in the Church as a whole, or more specifically, in our local congregations? Why do we ignore problems that persist in our churches? Our we, too, like the rest of the world, afraid of being labeled as some sort of pharisaical whistleblower in our church?

What if your church, your brothers and sisters in Christ, would be better off if you had the courage to speak up and help solve problems that may plague your congregation? Can you think of a persistent issue in your church that needs to be dealt with? Why aren’t you dealing with it? It’s not your place, you say?

1 Corinthians tells us that we should seek church unity:

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. (1 Cor 1:10)

Further, 1 Corinthians tells us that we ought to judge, and evaluate those inside the church:

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? (1 Cor 5:12)

I believe that, throughout the Scriptures, God commands us to keep the church in step with the Spirit. We must not be willfully blind to issues we see in our local congregations.

Do not address these problems with a prideful heart, and do not let your pride keep you from addressing these problems in the interest of self-preservation.

What issues exist in your church that you have willfully ignored? What are you doing to address them for the good of the body?

Don’t be the 85%.

-Chris

Click here to view the TED Talk in its entirety.

Click here to check out Ms. Heffernan’s book on the same topic.