Science; or, Words Christians Like Putting In Quotations

Once upon a time, scientists were merely God-lovers who wanted to understand how the stuff God made worked. "You've given us some awesome stuff here; mind if we open it up and take a look at how You've wound the gears?" we asked. 
 "Go ahead," God said. 

And then something happened. 

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To Church Musicians from a Church Musician

Defining Terms It's interesting that the term "Church Musician" is a thing, because two words together have rarely carried such enormous weight as these.

Church: - could refer to something generally "religious," - something established as a tax write-off, - to the body of Christ, - to a sect of cultish crazies, - or really any number of things in between.

Musician: - Someone with a penchant for understanding melody, harmony, and expression of feeling through tonal quality, - a person connected to some abstract muse or well of inspiration, - or (in some people's minds) simply someone possessing the skill of playing an instrument.

Church Musician: - Someone who plays music exclusively in churches - Someone who plays music, and church happens to be one of the places he plays - Someone who learned 4 chords and finds it acceptable to consider himself qualified to lead people before the Creator of music with no discernable passion, no evident display of intentionally honed musical skill, and the acceptance of a complete lack of innovation for the sake of perpetuating an increasingly stale "genre" of musical expression.

Music in Church

"The Church" remains today one of the most misunderstood things around, especially in a society completely saturated with it. A church is a place you go, a building to have a wedding in, redemption for Saturday night, the place that houses a man who does exorcisms, a brick-faced structure with a steeple, a clever source for punch lines on boards out front trying to convince you to venture inside, etc. Church is an event to invite your "lost" friends to. An alternative for teenagers to hanging out downtown in parking garages.

Church is safe.

I'm not going to build the case for "the church is not a building, it's the people" here, because it has been done a thousand times before far more eloquently than I would, and frankly I just don't feel like getting into it (because I'm trying to make this week's post shorter than last week's 2100 word colossus).

But I will come out and say that I believe that the church, even in a somewhat dumbed-down context, is extremely important. We have a luxury that is unprecedented and not by any means universal. Especially in the South, we have incredibly nice buildings where we are free to gather, teach, worship, and pray as we please, whenever we want. In this context, as has been standard since the formation of the church, it is important to note the importance and place of musical worship (I think of Paul and Barnabas singing in jail). Music is used because it offers connections that words cannot muster to the Divine, and has been proven to be so for ages. Worship is not Music, though Music can be used to worship. Again, I've talked about this before, and often, so I shan't do it again here.

Musicians

This it the age of Youtube, where you can learn literally anything in the amount of time it takes a video to buffer. Guitar, piano, calculus formulas, bombmaking, DIY robotics, film editing, sound recording, etc. You name it, there's someone there to teach it to you for free. It is a seriously wonderful thing (which I say without even a taste of irony), the age of knowledge and information, because nothing is out of the realm of possibility.

What IS a problem, however, is the idea injected into the collective consciousness that knowledge = expertise. Or even proficiency. "Master modal scales in ten days!" boasts one video on Youtube. "Learn how to play Lead Blues Electric guitar!" "Understanding Jazz theory." We operate under the assumption that knowledge a musician makes.

Further than that, we classify music (correctly) as art, and art (incorrectly) as un-critiquable. I'm not getting into Aesthetic discussions of art vs. craft, because I believe that each requires portions of each other to be true - and music is certainly a shining example. The assumption is that music can't be "better" or "worse," simply "different" or "more approachable" or "prettier sounding." It's untactful to say "that sounds terrible," for it will be countered with, "well, you just don't understand."

It's easy to fall to this relativistic trap with something as objective as music because there's not a commonly accepted standard for "goodness" or "badness." For example, one can judge how good or bad an archer is by how many times he can hit a target from a certain distance. A mathematician by if his solution checks out with the equation. A basketball team by if they beat other somewhat equally matched basketball teams.

So does it make a guitarist a good guitarist if he can match a guitar solo with 100% accuracy? Does it make a song good if it gets caught in your head? Or is music judged based upon what it is designed to be: communication? Do we connect with music because of the technicality of its performance or because of the emotion it conveys?

And could it be said that the better musician is the more "natural" one, that isn't stuffed with theory and filled with scales and surrounded by black dots and stems on staved paper? Or does it require a bit of effort and attempt to supplement the talent that already existed? As a music major in college, I averaged 3-5 hours a day in a room with a metronome, a guitar, and a piece of music. While I do not ever pretend to even be close to the best in the room, I do feel as though considerable effort merits considerable respect, much to the dismay of current hipster art culture. It is not merely enough to be good - you must be consistently good and demonstrably innovative... and innovation only comes with knowing what has been, which only comes through practice and study.

Church Musicians

So we have arrived at last. The point of the verbose lecture.

I have perhaps mentioned it before, but something a few years spoke volumes about the state of church musicians (or at least those involved). The Black Eyed Peas were delivering a remarkably underwhelming halftime performance during a Super Bowl and one of my friends tweeted: "It sounds like the Black Eyed Peas hired the church sound guy with a 'great heart.'" I enthusiastically chuckled and gladly retweeted it, because it says something about the expectations and the skill level of church musicians. That kind of thing can be said and not be untrue because we have lowered our expectations in order to allow those who want to help out a shot at doing so.

Do not misread this: I am incredibly grateful for volunteers - without them, next to nothing in the church would get accomplished. But I think that there is a compromise to be made and an expectation to be raised. Simply because somebody is not being paid for something does not mean that they are to be excused from professionality and criticism. We dont' know how to say "no" to people because we are afraid of hurting their feelings. Because we feel as though we can't infringe upon that "uncritiquable" strata of art creation. After all, that is elitism and elitism is bad.

But if I were taking volunteers for a medical clinic and found somebody who was inept at even drawing blood, I would have no problem saying he is not a suitable candidate to remove an appendix.

Similarly, if I were approached with two guitarists to play one Sunday morning, one a veritable virtuoso from birth, who can play a piece of music after simply listening to it once who hadn't so much as hit "play" on that week's set and another who sat and struggled through that set hour after hour until it was a part of him, I would take the latter every single time. Struggle produces beauty and competence, encourages humility, and mirrors the kind of professional attitude expected in every other walk of life.

Just because someone's a great carpenter doesn't mean that I'll give him credit for a house he didn't work on. Just because someone is a naturally great walker doesn't mean he deserves praise for walking well.

Especially in the church, for the reason that you should do ANYTHING in the church, excellence in all fronts should be expected. In the "Christian" music industry, infamous for its sub-par quality lyric and song content, we should have extra motivation to produce the best possible product, spiritually AND physically. Don't pretend that there's not a difference between a good band and a good "Christian" band (though this playing field is quickly leveling out and is not nearly as universal an assumption as it used to be). Don't pretend that there's not a difference between a good movie and a good "Christian" movie. And don't let anybody tell you that you can't be the one to raise these expectations.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

In a World of People People

People are such strange and lovely creatures, but are also things which I am positive I will never fully understand. And I'm ok with that. This is my blog, so I can do exactly as I wish. I have decided that today's entry will break from the somewhat impersonal exploratory thought-essay that they tend to turn into and become a slightly more personal, "bloggy" entry full of lists and advice and stuff like that.

I remember when I was a kid, we in the Barber house would read this book about an Otter and a Beaver and a Lion and a Golden Retriever that served as an illustration for how we all have different personality types and how those different types can interact with each other. In hindsight, it is not all that surprising that we read such books, because my parents, both having double majors with one of them being in Psychology, understood the value of application for the things we learned through reading or movies or TV shows. The talking animals endured challenges in the pursuit of four pieces of a key in order to unlock a gate only by highlighting different things each was good at. I feel like there was a quiz or something in the back of the book to figure out which animal you most resembled, but it usually turned into my siblings and me arguing over who got to be the fun little Otter or the action hero Lion.

It didn't take long, however, to realize that there are two major distinctions between these four animals, and that kids learn early to point it out. It is tricky being an introvert in an extrovert's world.

I found two marvelous articles (1, 2) about misconceptions of the introvertedly inclined, on which I will be leaning in this post. In fact, in addition to the link down below, they may be more important than whatever I have to say about them.

There are things that every extrovert needs to know about his oppositely-minded brethren. And all of my similarly inclined readers may add anything at any point.

1) Do not confuse "introvert" with "shy" or "anti-social." Related: do not get upset if they decline your invitation to the big Super Bowl party you're planning or to some gathering of more than, say, 5 (including you and said introvert. This is serious business). It is not a commentary on your relationship with them that they politely decline (even if they're bad about making excuses like, "sorry, I have a lot of homework" or "I'm going to be hanging out with my family" or "I really don't feel like hanging out tonight").

If this sounds selfish, imagine the opposite: you extroverted, group-minded majority want nothing more than to throw a smashing good party with all of the people you can imagine celebrating the fact that it's Thursday and instead you are bombarded by people telling you you really should just go home and read a book instead. You keep asking people to go out and they keep imploring you to stay in. You get fidgety sitting idly behind doors or walking aimlessly in silence around a path by a lake. You want something to do and somebody to do it with.

It's not a selfish thing that you want to get everybody together and laugh and have a good time, it's a normal thing for you - that is the way you're wired. Well, the introvert is wired just the opposite way: large groups, even if they are familiar, put them at unease (to say the least). Constant requests to "go do things" make them nervy. Don't consider it an insult that they're not particularly excited to participate in things like this, and take it as a compliment when they eventually, sporadically, do.

2) Do not make the mistake of thinking introverts do not like to talk. Some of the most talkative people I know are quite introverted - it just has to be about something that they can engage with their brains.

However, and this is very important, there are few things more discomforting to an introverted person than small talk... which leads to a dislike of large groups, which leads to the stigma of being antisocial and mute. Get us talking about something that we love and I promise you won't be able to make us stop until you get up and leave. Tell us the sorts of things that interest you and we'll discuss it together. We don't even have to have a vested interest in the topic, we just like to be able to process things and interpret things and form opinions about things and engage with the subject of conversation with some emotion.

"Extroverts thrive on small talk," says one of the above mentioned pages. "Introverts abhor it." So if an introvert seems particularly silent when you're asking redundant, shallow questions, there is probably a very good reason - and it is not that they do not like to talk. They just don't like to talk about the weather or whether or not we enjoyed dinner or generic conversation starters like "so, what's new?"

Silence is not the enemy for an introvert, and attempts at combating the silence with small talk will only make it more awkward for everybody involved. Do not assume that something is wrong just because we're not saying anything - because if we're dragged into something that just seems like painful attempts to break silence, something will quickly become the matter.

3. We do not hate people. I cannot stress this enough. I will of course joke along with my little sister who insists that I do in the comfort of my home, but the truth could not be more opposite. They are not people that we back away from, but superficial relationships. When we find people we connect with, whom we can call friends, loyalty is unquestioned. Friendship is something that we take extraordinarily seriously and is something that we won't give up easily once it is acquired.

When the occasion calls for it, we can play the genuine people people card. We can be with big groups, entertain large crowds, play music all night long to as many people will listen - but we seek solace to recharge afterwards, because, frankly, people are tiring. Even people we like.

On a related note, if we are by ourselves in the corner of a restaurant or sitting alone in the middle of a movie theater or in a public place without company, it is not because we are sad. We are not "brooding." Alone and lonely are two incredibly different things - and yes, even people who do not crave the attention of other people get lonely. We feel it without authentic and sincere connection, which is just terribly difficult to achieve in a big group.

Not only do we not hate people, but I daresay that the majority of us are very good at reading people, because we practice all the time reading ourselves. The self has become a scary topic and we try to drown it out with music and media and masses of people... but I think that the more you listen to yourself and figure out all of the things that aren't right with you, the quicker you can set about fixing it. We can spot the self-doubt and the fear of rejection and the pride and the true happiness and the frustration. We are aware of how we interact with the space and the people around us (most of the time). We love any chance we get to turn acquaintance in to friend, but we understand that those don't come around as often as they should.

4. We can't change it. We are wired this way, just like you (I say "you" because I'm assuming that if you're not nodding your head in assent, you're of the extroverted persuasion, which is absolutely, completely fine) cannot change your wiring. It's a game of bottom lines - when it comes right down to it, we look for that quality connection in other people. I can talk to anybody about anything when it's a one-on-one situation. I'll stay for hours seated in a hallway with 4 friends after setting up the gym for church - because we have gotten past the superficial nonsense.

Do not misunderstand me. We don't want to have big, sublime talks about existential quandaries or intense discussions about philosophical treatises or any of that all the time - but there is a point when you move past the stuff anybody talks about and onto the stuff that friends talk about. When the connection gets personal. But we cannot be around people all the time, no matter how much we like you. We need that alone time to recharge and file our thoughts away and solve puzzles and breathe. We need to go to movies by ourselves and walk nowhere for no reason but the pleasure of walking and eat dinner with a book in our hand and make sure that we have ourselves at least partly figured out before we go on trying to figure other people out.

I said all of that stuff to say that there is no reason we cannot get along, intro- and extroverts. It just takes a little bit of understanding and throwing away of common misconceptions: Introverts are socially educated and competent, not morose and brooding. For every hour we spend socializing, it can take up to two to recharge, to collect ourselves, to digest. We are not "antisocial" and we are not "depressed," it's just that recharging is like sleeping at the end of the day or eating when you are hungry - a necessity. We are not arrogant (on purpose). We are not judgmental.

I will end with a pretty fantastic quote from another wonderful article to read about this (all of the links I have put in this post are, I daresay, more worth reading than this post itself), from the author named Jonathan.

"The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves. Still, we endure stoically, because the etiquette books—written, no doubt, by extroverts—regard declining to banter as rude and gaps in conversation as awkward. We can only dream that someday, when our condition is more widely understood, when perhaps an Introverts' Rights movement has blossomed and borne fruit, it will not be impolite to say 'I'm an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush.'"

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

What I do when Andrew hogs the sleep

We depart for civilization in 6 hours and all I can think about is how dark it is in this room and how Andrew is in the bunk across from me hogging all of the sleep. Or: what is vacation, a place to get away or a place to get alone?

Or: what I need is fresh air and I need to dig words out of that dusty place I threw them when we got here. For some reason.

Words are stubborn when they've been wadded up. They crinkle a little in their unfolding and you have to flex them back and forth for them to be of any use. Go figure, you don't call for a week and all of the sudden they're mad at you like you did something wrong. You tell them you just didn't need them right now because you're trying to unwind and take a breath before the train hits again and they get all defensive cause they feel like you're using them. You forget that words have feelings too. And trust issues, I think.

I tell them, let's take a stroll, because we need to talk, and I figure the humidity would help with that.

I step outside and I can smell the ocean. I can feel on my skin the sticky hot Atlantic wind and the salt in the air makes me thirsty. When the air conditioner kicks off behind me I can hear the steady rhythm of the waves crashing to a meter that seems asymmetrical at first, but on longer listen is just a complex set of hits stretched out over an ambling, slow, incredibly steady tempo. We are waltzing, that sound and I. We're going nowhere in a hurry.

And now I'm asking something different. Something about what keeps sleep away. Something about what brings it in the first place. Something about the nature of things that comes alive on still hot nights like this.

I always related to Thomas the most, I think because I know I would have been the one trying to call Peter and the Beloved one out on their excitement until I actually put my hands in the gaping, miraculous, saving holes. I can look back on him and frown and ask him "how could you" when really I should just look at myself and mutter the very same words. Ask myself if I believe simply because I have seen, or vice versa. The curse of looking for reason and knowing that until you find it there will be sleepless nights. The pain in that place you can't touch when belief sometimes feels like a listing sailboat after a changed wind. When you wish you could be Elijah and call down fire from heaven not so much for proof but just to see something wet catch fire.

Sometimes even just for the proof, I suppose.

You can drown in your unbelief, and it does feel like drowning. Gasping, groping, frantically kicking your feet until your hands slide upon something already being rocked gently to sleep by the tide. When finally on the surface you realize that it is the surface itself that snapped you awake. Just when you started to think that your whole world was underwater and enslaved to wet, you burst to the surface and your lungs ache for more of whatever it is up here that just tastes so good. You realize there's way more up here than there was down there and you can see better too.

You can hear, somewhere in the distance, those waves pounding the shore being heard by a boy sweating and swatting flies on a porch in South Carolina.

The funny thing about them is that as they roll over the sand they pay no mind to us. We can build sand castles to try to stand in their way but the water won't have it. We can try to drown out the sound with music but they crash all the more. We can film them and stick them in a spotlight and draw attention to their beauty but they pulse humbly. We can mock them with barriers but they will power through them mightily.

They are constant. The same when husbands get fired and when brothers die and when babies are born and when teenagers get pregnant and when empires fall and when songs are written and when animals sleep and when it rains and when boys want so hard to just believe as fierce as the sea but let reason get in the way. These waves operate separate from reason. Blame it on rotating planets and spinning moons and shifting continental shelves and trade winds all you want and the waves will be there when you crawl back to simply see them. They represent something that goes on despite us. One way in a long list of ways God can shake us up to refresh our belief. One thing in a long list of things that proves that there is something besides us and our petty human problems.

They are beautiful to taste for a soul crying "why".

 

I believe this is all the thought I am allowed on this sticky summer's eve before my skin becomes fodder for a thousand hungry insects who will bite me no matter the vigor with which I question them.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>If At First You Don't Succeed?

>I tried sleeping, but I couldn't.

I laid down at 10:30 and shut my eyes as tightly as I could after watching about 30 minutes of a Ken Burns documentary (one of my new little pleasures), I did the readjust the pillows thing, pulled the blanket snug against my neck, turned to the other side to see if my left cheek was my ticket to the sleep train, got up and checked every deadbolt in the house, closed what doors were open to closets, bathrooms, bedrooms and whatnot, put a dish in the dishwasher, and returned to my bed, thinking maybe this would have settled whatever restlessness was nipping at my skull... but it didn't.
I did some successful staring at the ceiling and tried music and tweeted something about being tired of all of my friends getting married and then attempted to figure out what in the world was on my mind. I then realized that I didn't know what was on my mind.
I tried talking to God about it and although I know He was listening, I felt like the words were bouncing off of the walls and getting back to me with a singsong mockery that caused me to again shift my position in bed from the discomfort. I rotated 180 and put my head in the corner, surrounded by walls, and tried to wedge myself into a comfortable little nook to increase snugness and I tried hugging a pillow and I tried drinking a glass of water and I tried pacing and I tried lighting a candle, but it was burnt down enough that I only succeeded in burning the end of my finger.
So now I'm sitting on my back porch with the slightly chilly Hixson summer air wicking at my skin in my boxers in a little white chair that has a crack in the back of it that doesn't let me recline. I've tried for at least a week to write another blog with some sort of substance, but I can't seem to get past the first couple of sentences. I have under the "edit posts" tab a collection of drafts that started with such promise but ran out of steam far too soon to be considered worthy of public consumption.
I secretly wished I could retreat back to high school with somebody to text me until I fell asleep. I secretly felt the urge to fall asleep with an N64 controller in my hand and the Ocarina of Time still up and running when I woke up, only to find Link walking in circles because of the position I left my thumb in for the past 6 hours. I wanted a heavy downpour to begin and pound upon my window with only the rhythm God could dream up to lull me into a secure cocoon of dry and warm comfort.
I would have even taken some last minute inspiration to scribble into a bedside notebook only to feel the texture of the page underneath the end of my pen which was slowly and calculatedly leaking ink into shapes that represented whatever ideas were swimming beneath my complicated subconscious.
I tried writing some more of this screenplay, but I couldn't.
I tried writing a song but I couldn't.
I tried reading but I couldn't.
I tried sleeping... but I couldn't.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>Big Brother May or May Not Be Watching

>

I have realized I have nothing significant to say right now.

I was checking out the analytics that Google so generously performs on this site, and have noticed a trend that has peaked my interest: one that I would like to reach some sort of conclusion on. See, I can see where each and every reader is reading this blog from, and I have begun to wonder exactly how it is some of you have stumbled across it. I am particularly talking to: Lynchburg, VA (with 22 hits in the past two days), Haslett/Lansing, MI (15), Los Angeles, CA (8) and Miama, FL (5). It may mean nothing and it may be purely random, but I'd like to at least know that it's a turn of chance. Strike up a conversation guys! I'd love to know where you're from and if I make you angry or happy or despondent or jubilant or bored or anything. I'm open to some back and forth here :)

Ok that's all. Perhaps I'm just feeling a little big for my britches, and if that's the case, tell me. I think I see a trend developing here haha. A little trend called talking. It's revolutionary

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>It's the little things, I suppose

> I don't exactly know how to quantize this semester. If some poor computer were forced to process the exorbitant amount of data coming in and swirling about in a chaotic fashion it might crumble into a messy heap on the floor already cluttered with other stuff to do.

I feel like this is exactly what is happening right now, and for those who are reading who are slightly less apt at deciphering metaphor, I am comparing myself to a computer here. Just for clarity, teehee.

I have loaded my task manager down with more than it is used to handling (not that it wasn't built to handle more) and so all I'm seeing is the annoying little hourglass flipping around and around (or, if you're a mac user like myself, the insane spinning beach ball of colors). The timing is less than opportune, also, because your computer never freezes when you are sitting around playing solitaire... You're always cramming last minute scratching out the bones of a paper due the next day or clicking feverishly to get the Internet to connect so that the email you're sending to an employer will be on it's merry little way or trying to handle all of the little things that are flying your way.

When you find yourself in that situation the only option is reboot. Control Alt Delete. Force Quit. The only problem with that solution is that while your system is down momentarily, there is a line forming of people who need to talk to you and deadlines that are approaching and problems that need to be solved and all you need to do is for everybody to chill out for less than a second so that your life can return to a state of homeostasis.

But no. Life doesn't like to give you a chance to breathe. It's either school or work or you can't get up on time or you get writer's block or you get roped into something you can't handle or you can't make enough money and all of your sentences become run-ons and all of your concepts become jumbled and all of your words get reduced to the simplest forms of pre-pubescent dribble... and nothing you can do cuts it anymore.

I know that eventually things will be caught up and problems will be placed under my firmly planted feet. Unfortunately, until that day comes, I have to realize that the best I can offer simply doesn't cut it sometimes, at least until my system starts running at 100% again.

I apologize for the glum update, but perhaps something you read made you realize that you're in the same boat and that you're not alone. If that's you, message me! We can talk about it, pull each other up by the frayed ends of our bootstraps, watch reruns of the OC to make our lives feel somehow comparatively less chaotic.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>Working Title

>I have come up with the first draft of the story for this album. By draft, of course, I mean outline. All of the events that will unfold are present, along with all crucial details, and I believe that it is beautiful. Let me rephrase. I believe that it will become beautiful. It's probably going to be different than many are expecting, more eclectic than anything most people are used to, less linear musically than what you hear on the radio, and best of all, 100% The Accumulation of Echoes. I'm going to wait for a little bit, until I get it more fleshed out, but when the story is done, it'll be available to read. Then, the accompanying CD will be released when it's complete [perfect].

You're either gonna love or hate this. Either way, I believe that it is a story that needs to be told, one that every single person can relate to (whether it be the literal story or the underlying message of the story), but one that isn't told enough. As I've said before, one moment it's Nine Inch Nails, the next it's Fiction Family. One moment Chasing Victory, the next Postal Service.

Brace yourselves.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>Not Your Momma's Music

>So I posted an earlyish version of the opening track to the new album tonight on Myspace and I'm nervous about it's reception to be quite honest. It's heavier than anything I've ever put out before, but that's because this new record deals with heavier subject matter than Guitars Under the Moonlight could encompass. This record deals with rejection and hypocrisy and falling from grace and redemption and a Savior who can pull you out of it all.

The entirety of the story I won't divulge yet, but a snippet I don't mind sharing the gist, if anything. This is a concept album named Echoes and it centers around a dead modern church, the members and leaders, and those it has outcast. It is all metaphorical, of course, sometimes simply truths exaggerated, but it all deals with issues I feel need to be addressed.

The opening track is about a call-girl, and takes place with her walking down the aisle after an apathetic alter call, but for reasons opposite those people expect. She is full of anger, calling out the pastor, of all people, on his hypocrisy. She says at one point in the song "is it you who saves us, you king of sinners?" Of course, this track does not include the resolution to the situation, but do trust, there will be resolution. There will be strong themes of redemption alongside these currents of turmoil, love with loathing, the fall with forgiveness.

In the vein of Showbread, there will be an accompanying story that will be published alongside the album, either in the jacket lining or for free on the internet, for those that don't buy a hard copy. Stylistically, the opening doesn't necessarily set the tone or pace for the album, but rather the themes of the story will. Where there is anger, there will be anger. Where there is peace, oh there will be peace. However, I do not believe in creating stagnant, paint-by-the-numbers music. I never have, I never will, and for that reason I never plan on being accepted by the CCM community. There will be edge that will be judged by those who don't accept it as viable "music" but nobody should doubt the heart behind it.

I can't wait for you guys to hear the whole thing. I can't wait to work on it this summer. I can't wait to see how God changes me along this process, making me more accepting and more acceptable in His eyes.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>A Million Clamoring Voices

>I have this horrible obsession with wanting people to hear what I have to say. Perhaps this is the reason I keep up this readerless blog. I can't say that I'm looking for fame, or for people to know my name, or for people to even associate my ideas with me. I would have the best time in the world operating under a nom de plume, obtain a stage name, wear a mask when I'm in public, leave the masses clamoring for words from this mystery, and not care about who is producing them, but rather what he's saying. If that makes me egotistical, I'm sorry. You can just get over it.

All that being said, I recommend that you keep your eyes open, your ears attentive, your minds ready to accept something incredible coming in the pretty near future. Is it coming from me? Maybe. But probably not. You'll just have to be kept in suspense, I suppose ;)

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>The Halls are Springey Too

>I have decided that after econ, I purposely and repeatedly come and sit in this same hallway while waiting for sociology to start for the sole purpose of experiencing the other people that share the space with me. The janitor traipses through at the same time every day with his headphones cranked so loudly all around can hear exactly what he is listening to: usually some early-90's rock or pink floyd. Today he was singing "Another Brick in the Wall" as if he were in his shower.

There is a couple across from me who keep looking at me and laughing, though I don't think they are laughing at me. Wrapped in each other's embrace and talking softly to each other about nothing at all, this laughter is spawned from the sheer joy of being in each other's company with nothing to do for at least 10 minutes except carry the jubilant attitude that the weather exhudes from the outside in.

The attractive blonde Southern Belle in the row of seats next to me sits by herself with a poise that declares that she doesn't mind sitting by herself, and yes I know every eye is on me. She glances at her fingernails every so often, perhaps out of habit, an unconscious action that gives her eyes something to focus on while her brain is thinking of classes or summertime or her boyfriend that she'll get to see after he gets off of work tonight. She smiles at random people walking down the hall.

I don't know the purpose of having these red fabric chairs against the faint, lavender walls is, but it makes the space outside of the middle college office seem lighthearted, almost inviting. Perhaps this is the feel they were looking for. There is enough space between seats to make sitting next to strangers unimposing and comfortable for both parties, but is close enough to make conversation with somebody that is either a recent acquaintence or a close friend.

Summertime is in the air, and even the faces of these wanna-be rocker kids reflect it, as they approach the doorway to the glorious outside. My sociology teacher just passed me, and was followed by a parade of uncharacteristcally attractive community college girls that provided a momentary escape from the screen on which my eyes have been fixed for the past 5 minutes or so. Spirits are up, I'd say, and everyone has somewhere to go. Maybe this will be the summer that Chattanoogans discover the true joy in sitting in almost ugly red chairs against lavender walls in even the most humble of places.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>Hamilton's Accumulation of Echoes

>I think I'd be ok being a writer.

I really really don't mind deadlines, and I think I could handle them better if it were my JOB to handle them better. I'd love waking up early and stimulating my creativity with coffee and the dim light cast by the dawning sun filtering through remaining dew residue in the air.

I'd enjoy having a column in the paper or being a contributing writer to a magazine or drafting chapters to send to a publisher. I'd get enormous pleasure out of being that eccentric man who has crazy hair, talks in paradoxes but speaks the truth, drinks coffee like its water and carries around a little moleskin journal in which I jot ideas as they come to me before I forget them. I'd carry around a tape recorder to dictate the ideas I don't feel like writing, and I'd hang out in coffeeshops and Panera Bread. I'd spurn ideas in my captive audience of freedom and individuality no matter what the topic.

I'd slip in little subliminal commands to prepare my army of zombies so that they can defend me when everybody else's zombies take over the world.

I'd do tv interviews when Regis or Ellen read something that sparks their attention and I'd talk about my past and how it shaped who I am. I'd speak of my wonderful family, of the friends I have made and lost, of God and His unflinching perseverance and how nobody is a lost cause. I'd promote my sponsors, plug my favorite bands, travel the world signing books and baffling people with my mysterious few words, for few words clearly means that they're important, and making them cryptic unmistakably means that unraveling their meanings is crucial to bettering your life.

Until then, I think I'm stuck with this stupid blog.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>I promise it'll be worth your time

>So we're headlining for the first time May 16th at Fathom, and I'm excited, to say the least. It's funny, because I'm not so much excited about being the featured act, as much as I'm excited about setting the tone of the event. Josh said it best when he said it'll not be acts attempting to one-up each other, but rather a bunch of friends just having a good time. We invited people who we know we get along with and that are great talents, and we're hoping that it carries over into the audience. If we can provide escape for them from this competitive world even just for the moment, our goal will be reached.

I said previously that until you have enjoyed yourself at a show, you have not lived. Well, I stand behind that still but at the same time offer an addendum: Until you have enjoyed yourself at a show...

And found escape,

You have not lived.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>ipajfo;ihao;dsh

>It's weird, I've been trying for three days to update my zero readers with something interesting or worth their while, but I seem to be failing miserably. Perhaps it's some cruel form of writer's... or blogger's block. I feel like I have a myriad of important things to say that could make you laugh, smile, cry, think, think I'm mentally challenged, etc, but instead I give you nothing.

That's my b. Back to my crossword puzzle

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>At the Show

>I don't care how many or few people I'm playing for, the unmatched surge of adrenaline just before going onstage is enough to keep me believing there is still good in this world. You haven't enjoyed yourself until you've enjoyed yourself at a show. Tonight, you can experience that joy for the price of driving to Cleveland. I'd say it's very worth it.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>Dear ______,

>I'm not the type that gets jealous of much of anything. So it surprises me to say that I am jealous of you. You're living the life that I want, seeing the opportunities that I feel I deserve, and it frustrates me not just because I want what you have, but because I have sunk myself down to the level of envying something that you get to experience. I should be so happy for you, and I am, but rotting at the back of that happiness is a twinge of heartache for what I feel I will never get to be.

I wish you the best anyway because I love you man.

Hamilton

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.