Sunday, March 18, 2007

my suitcase in a coffee house

this is one to tell the i'm in seattle right now. for the last two days i've been working an event up here, and this morning i was picked up by my friend colin who lives here in seattle. he and i met in romania last easter when i was there doing music for an outreach/work project with project compassion. anyway, we went to church then headed to the famous pike's place market. i had incredible little donuts and watched the vendors throw fish. we then went by the big troll under the bridge in fremont and had dinner at a great thai restaurant. then it was time for my friends to go back home, but I couldn't get a hold of the other friend i was going to stay with tonight. so colin and dawn dropped me off at this great coffee house called here i am with my suitcase, doggie bag, and the sunday paper waiting for someone, anyone, to come pick me up at the coffee house. i wonder what people are thinking...i started off outside, but now i'm at an inside table. oh well, i've certainly seen stranger things.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

really...dawson's creek?!

i don't remember my dreams very often. this morning, however, i woke up startled because of what just happened in my dream. i don't remember the context of what was happening, but it looked like a soap opera set. someone was sitting up in bed holding a baby or pet or something, and on the bed was a newspaper with the following headline, "dawson's creek surpassed by the beautiful rescue." for those of you who don't know, the beautiful rescue is the name of the band i am in. really...dawson's creek?! i never even watched that show when it was on the first time, let alone the current syndication. have i finally descended into the depths of insanity?

Monday, March 12, 2007


before reading this post, please make sure you have read both parts of "the middle of nowhere" posts. i had completely mixed emotions while attending the tent revival outside of victorville. my honest first reaction was one of disbelief and dumbfoundedness (if that's a word). the shere idea of setting up a tent in the middle of nowhere boggled my mind. the music sent me over the edge, and the string of christianese confused even me. yet in the midst of the craziness, i was struck by the faith of those 3 staff people - valerie, tamika, and louis (who I think was staff...maybe just a committed volunteer). they have been there since february 20 and will be there until at least march 20. 30 days. i have no idea how many people come on a given night, but those three are there every night singing praise to God and talking about His Word. what has God called them to? would i be willing to rent land in the middle of nowhere to setup a tent for maybe no one to show up? i don't know. i thought following God's call into youth ministry 8 years ago was crazy for me. i've moved halfway across the country to follow His call. in the midst of it all, though, i don't know that i've ever risked humiliation. sure i've been laughed at, shunned, ignored...but never have i felt humiliated for my faith. i'm certainly not saying that those faithful few have been humiliated, but that might be an emotion i'd feel in their situation. does God still work through tent revivals? maybe. i guess i'm just in a place where i'm not so sure the traditional methods and concepts of outreach still work....especially given the language used and atmosphere created in that tent in the middle of nowhere...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

the middle of nowhere...part deux

alright, so for the last 3 days, i have been racking my brain for the words to describe what i experienced sunday night on my way home from mammoth. i did indeed time my journey to arrive just in time for the promised nightly revival at 7:30 (see the previous post with this title if you're confused) 40+ miles outside of victorville on us 395. as i was driving down the dark, desert highway, cool wind in my hair (just kidding), i saw lights in the distance and realized it was the tent. at 7:15p i turned into the dirt lot to find two other cars. i parked on the outer edge, as to make a quick escape if needed as well as for better picture taking. while sitting in my car talking to carrie, a man walked up to my car. louis, i learned his name was, carried a bible and a greeting, encouraging me to park closer. i told him i would in a little while. i sat in my car listening to more of the relevant podcast that had been playing on my ipod, wondering if anyone else would show up. finally at 7:24 i got out of my car, having moved it slightly closer, and went inside the tent. there were 46 chairs set up on top of indoor/outdoor carpeting laid over the dirt, ccm music playing through 4 powered mackie speakers, a large wooden pulpit set on an area rug in front of carpeted wooden platforms, and a drum kit off to the left (see photos). a woman, whose name i learned was tamika, came over and asked me to fill out a guest profile card. finally i learned who was doing the revival - valerie sorensen ministries. in the mean time, 3 more people showed up - an older white gentleman with a bible and spiral notebook, and an african-american couple. at 7:30, a tall woman dressed in black walked to the front with her head covered in a black shawl. adjusting the cd player to a new track, she turned around and started to sing to the cd "the year of jubilee" as tamika scrambled to get to the drum kit and play along. we then sang choruses (most of which i had never heard) with just the drums. then valerie started her message with a constant music track of piano hyms (to which she would occasionally sing). the primary text was out of hebrews 5 about being a priest in the order of melchizedek, but the message was a string of every christian bubble, christianese phrase or idea i've ever known or heard...and some that were new to me. oh, and don't forget "amen" and "praise the lord" thrown in every couple of lines. valerie asked at one point to pray for me, and so i let her. she also prayed for the couple. an hour and a half later, it was over. i've left out a lot of details about the message that were completely surreal, but this post is already too long. maybe I'll post more about it another time. she did give me a dvd/cd combo from a tent meeting they did in africa with clips of the preachigng and african worship music. i will certainly post about that upon watching and listening to it. so that was the revival experience. i'll post separately about my reaction to the whole deal soon.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

don't i know you...?

So yesterday I was snowboarding at mammoth for my first time. it was incredible, so i am definitely looking forward to boarding again on sunday before hopefully driving home to catch the revival in the middle of nowhere (see previous post). anyway, i'm sitting in mill creek cafe with some of the students and leaders enjoying my chicken wrap and fries (for $17...i hate mountain food prices!!!) when past me walked someone i'm sure i know. do you ever have those times, though, where you see someone you know in a setting that is completely out of context for how you know them? this is one of those times. thinking quickly, i pull out my phone to see if the guy's number is still in my phonebook...scrolling, scrolling...yes!! chad bailey. so i call and it eventually goes to voicemail. "hey chad, it's alex roller, your old voice teacher. are you by chance in mammoth? i think i just saw you." *beep beep* chad is calling me back. sure enough it was him with his wife, his dad, and his brother. we chat for awhile, and it turns out while he was standing in line he was staring at my old-school jedidiah shirt wondering, "do they still make that one?" no they don't, but it's my favorite jedi shirt in my collection. it's always amazing to me the random places i run into people i know...sometime i'll blog about the time i was in vernazza, italy and ran into holly and ryan sharp. it's a small world...

Thursday, March 1, 2007

the middle of nowhere...

okay, so i just arrived in mammoth lakes, ca to speak at a high school retreat. after spending 6+ hours in the car by myself, i am certainly happy to see other human beings. i will say that it was a beautiful drive - the desert, the mountains (most of which were snow-capped), the valleys, the lakes. immediately upon arriving in mammoth lakes, i found the starbucks, bought my venti soy no water chai latte, and logged on to blog about an amazing sight on my drive. i saw the most unexpected thing roughly 25 miles north of a town called albento (where i stopped for burger king). literally in the middle of nowhere along us 395 i saw a tent - a white tent with red trim, to be more accurate. seeing a tent in the middle of nowhere along the highway certainly piqued my interest. as i approached said tent driving about 60 mph, my questions were answered. a white vinyl banner with large black, block lettering informed me why this tent was in the middle of nowhere along the highway. the sign read, "revival 7:30pm nightly." and then i noticed the port-o-potty adjacent to the tent. much to my dismay, i did not have the quick reaction, likely because i was stunned at what i had just seen, to stop and take a picture. *stupid, stupid, stupid* so i did the next best thing...i called carrie (for any of you reading this who don't know me, she is my girlfriend of 5+ months). in recounting the tale to her, she came up with the next best, probably better, option - time my journey home on sunday to arrive at said tent in time for said revival. brilliant!!! if for whatever reason i am unable to do so, i will certainly remember to stop and take a picture on the way home. really? people drive to the middle of nowhere for a revival? we shall see on sunday...