Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Holy Days

Yesterday morning my friend Brick and I sat in the Galaxy coffee shop on Beacon Hill, catching up on life and talking about how distant we have recently felt from God. A strange thing to confess during the Holiday season. Brick's job in Geo Engineering has kept him working on Mt. Rainier cleaning up an oil spill and away from his Love and family. My woes centered on the bizarre fact that after six months in business we have failed to seem remotely interesting to the national Christian news media; taking faith into the fashion industry and creating a dialogue. I suppose the faithful need another publication featuring 10 steps on how to pray better or who is the next Mega church in the U.S.A. Oddly enough the secular new media thinks we are quite interesting.

While Brick and I were unable to resolve world poverty, we did find solace in the fact that, at times, to feel God's presence means to share it with others. To honestly talk about the good times and bad times as we walk with Christ. Raw and honestly. The times in the desert where it feels God has forsaken us. I shared with Brick that the other day I was angry at God and was acting quite pissy. During my tirade, I heard that voice that reminded me it was ok to be angry at God and to even feel forsaken, He did too once long ago.

Before Brick and I left to start our day, a kind young woman interrupted us and said that she couldn't help but over hear a part of our conversation seeing that the shop was small and near empty. She told us that our conversation was the most raw and honest reflection on faith that she had heard in a long time, finding it inspiring. As I left the coffee shop for the cool wet skies of Seattle, I realized that regardless of what the Christian News Media thinks or doesn't think of me and VOX, my goal, our goal, is to simply talk about faith, the good, the bad, the fearful, the joyful and guilt and the grace. These are the Holy Days of Christmas, I encourage you to talk to someone about where your struggles are and where your hope lives.

blessings + Merry Christmas
shawn

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Just a dream

Last night Liz and I went into town and caught a show at Neumos on Capital Hill. Over the past couple of years we have become fans of Mat Kearney. Mat hails from Eugene Oregon. While warming up a couple of hours before the show, I slipped into the venue and listen to Mat and the band. I love the power and clarity of his music, the passion and driving energy of his guitarist. I handed Mat a few shirts from VOX and told him we got a kick out of hearing his music on Grays Anatomy the other night, his career will likely be altered after that exposure.

Opening up for Mat was a guy I had not heard of before, Griffin House. Griffin took the stage alone with his guitarist as he played acoustic. Griffin's music enveloped the venue like the sound of a freight train, not of noise, but of clarity and passionate story telling. I was blown away by Griffins references to faith and asked a young kid next to me whether he knew of Griffin. The kid replied, "yeah, I know him -- he attended my Young Life session this past summer".

During the show Griffin stopped to ask the people in the upper balcony to be quiet, because he had something to say, his songs needed to be heard, felt, lived. If you haven't heard Griffin House before, I encourage you to pick up his Lost & Found CD and play track 9 Just a Dream and Track 11 New Day. The brother indeed does have a Song to Sing, a story to tell. God has blessed this man with a rich spirit and a Heart filled with power and depth.

Thanks Mat and thanks Griffin, last night was beautiful. love from Seattle!

peace
shawn

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The best that I can offer

Last night I had the good fortune to be a part of the Kindling's Muse panel, the subject was about "Retailing God".
You can listen to the Podcast at www.thekindlings.com

Moderated by veteran broadcaster Dick Staub, we explored the highs and lows of how small businesses are retailing God, from the Jesus bobble heads and Last supper breath mints to the widely popular kitsch t-shirts such as Jesus is my Homeboy. And on the extreme other end, luxury faith retailer VOX SACRA.

No doubt, Jesus has somehow found His way into our pop culture portrayed as an icon and superhero. Hundreds of thousands of inexpensive t-shirts are sold every year copying corporate logo's and twisting to them read "My Lord is King" (visualize Burger King logo).

Last night's conversation explored the idea "How far is too far" when retailing God? Is any reasonable respect given to Christ's image when He is reduced to plastic dolls and a hug lovin goodbuddy on cheap t-shirts? What ever happened to the "treasured" artwork commissioned on behalf the Church? What ever happened to ornate architecture leaving one in awe of the glory of God? Have we become a society where worshipping in a warehouse is deemed cool and attending a traditional church is no longer relevant? Has the extent of our ability to open conversations about faith been reduced to portraying Christ as a comic book character on a $12.00 t-shirt because the timeless message of forgiveness, grace and redemption are too bothersome. Or perhaps...simply not profitable?

While I drove home last night, my mind swirled around trying to understand it all. I found solace in the fact that VOX SACRA is a genuine brand with a story to tell. I am deeply proud of the design and production quality that we have invested into creating our garments, the small attention to detail, the unique story telling designs. When asked do I ever feel guilty about selling expensive garments, my response is "not at all". Much thought and care have gone into our products...people stop me on the street and ask me about my shirt and scarves frequently, conversations about faith are opened. VOX SACRA is the best I can offer.

love+peace
shawn

Friday, September 08, 2006

Redemption

What I most love about my relationship with Christ is the fact that I have redemption. The simple fact that my actions alone don't define who I am, but rather, through grace and forgiveness I have the opportunity to start anew - this is a gift. Redemption says that we are not shackled to our disfunctions and human nature, by accepting the grace that was given us we are born anew. How often in my life I have found myself ashamed of my behavior, being critical, judgmental or insensitive. When I think of the damage these actions have on my family, friends and community, it leaves a stain on my heart. But in walks Redemption, with all of her glory and grace and gentleness and she reminds me that 2000 years ago I was forgiven and it is time I step into that gift.

love+peace
shawn

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Beauty in the unknown

Time and time again, I find myself trying to control my life, circumstances, environment and yet I feel devastated when the outcome is nothing less that what I expected. I am without a doubt, a "slow learn". This past week I found myself again frustrated because work related issues were not evolving as I had planned and hoped.

In the quiet space of my studio, I sat on the floor and cried out to Christ, "where are you in all of this, I need some support here and all I feel is that I am getting my butt kicked." During my pathetic complaining session with Christ, my cell rang. It was my friend Eric, just checking in. Eric is a successful builder, amongst many other things. I asked him, "Eric, while you were starting your company, did you ever feel alone, desperate, abandoned?" Eric laughed and said, "I did and often still do, but it is mostly when I am not trusting Christ."

What is most difficult to admit is that I am like everyone else, I want the guarantee, the sure deal. When times are tough, I am poor in spirit and weak in faith. Faith is about trusting that Christ will provide, perhaps not the way I visualize it, but He will provide. I suppose that is the beauty of my relationship with Christ, the unknown. While this can be all together scary, the unknown of how Christ will shape my life is the mystery I must embrace, trust and come to love.

Racing off to a meeting, I pray strength of spirit and deep faith for you, for all of us.

love+peace
shawn

Monday, June 12, 2006

Public tears

The grey skies came back to Seattle this June. The Alaskan bound cruise ships have crowded the docks and we Seattle folk wait impatiently for our summer to arrive. I went to the gym today to run, listening to a compilation of artists who have recorded songs that gesture to faith, Christ and His promise of God's enduring love.

While running I listened intently to Bruce Springsteen's song "Jesus Was An Only Son" off his most recent effort Devil and Dust.
I can't think of a more beautiful song ever written that defined the precious yet tragic relationship between Mary and Jesus. While listening I reflected on the multitude of woman throughout our world who have lost their own children, prematurely. From Africa, to India, from the China Sea to the West Bank, from Tia Juana to Seattle this story that Mr. Springsteen wrote has played out in other forms, other ways, across our globe.

Contemplating this, I found myself in silent tears laying on a Yoga mat, pretending to stretch. A kind woman came by and asked if I was alright, I responded I was fine, just in reflective prayer. She smiled and said, "good, I need prayer as well to get through the day". What Grace she displayed, taking the time to ask and then to respond. A conversation opened, and answered with Love.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Listening

May 24, 2006

As I look at the horizon today I see hope and renewal
I see healing and recovery
I see mercy and grace
I see reconciliation in daylight,
as anguish fades into the night
Birds sing, rain quenches and flowers open
I hear a song off in the distance
My song, your song our song
I hear a drummer drumming redemption
I hear a trumpet blowing peace
I hear a melody of love and acceptance
Today I am alive and grateful

- shawn