Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cell Phones

For the Reunion, I prepared several observations to share, if needed, during set up between musicians. I did not share all of them, including the following.

There are many reasons I'm glad cell phones did not exist during the Jesus House era. One reason is because of the obnoxious ring tones some people choose to use at maximum volume levels! Imagine yourself, sitting on the floor, leaning on one of the pillows listening to Jennie Daniel Pitney sing one of her beautiful songs and suddenly you hear the Star Spangled Banner playing on someone's cell phone.

A few years ago, a man named Peter Laufer gave me a copy of a book he wrote titled, Wireless Etiquette. The premise of the book is that every new technology requires instruction in use. For cell phones, we need someone helping us understand when to have the ringer silenced, when to answer or not answer the phone, and when to leave it at home or in the car. I was in a small group Bible study one day when one of the members answered her cell phone and started a conversation. In grad school, one of the other students, a pastor, answered his cell phone in the midst of the professor's lecture!

I'll admit, I have a love and hate relationship with cell phones that goes beyond how obnoxious they can be. I also hate cell phones because they are not reliable. Because of advances in technology, we can check email, surf the web, and update our calendars. Wouldn't it be great if you could actually talk on a cell phone and not loose the connection? Be honest, how many of you have experienced a dropped call on your cell? Let's see a show of hands. Come on, don't be shy. Okay, see, everyone. (You say you didn't see those hands? I saw those hands, why didn't you?) Of course, the cell phone companies know the phones are unreliable. That's why one company used a national advertising campaign with the tag line, "Fewest Dropped Calls." In essence they were saying, "We know our product is going to fail you. We just believe we will fail you less often than our competitors. That's like McDonald's advertising, "We will burn your hamburgers less often than Wendy's" or Delta promoting, "Fly with us our planes crash less often than United." or a church advertising, "Fewer of our members go to hell than the church down the street."

Yes, I have a cell phone, in fact I've had one most of the time since 1995 but I still don't like them and really don't like talking on one. So, if you have my cell number, don't be surprised if I don't answer your call. It will just be dropped anyway...

This Week in History: Artists who performed at the Jesus House the 3rd, 4th & 5th Weeks of May

The Third Saturday of May:
1972 - Rich Davis, one of the early Christian musicians in Cincinnati.
1973 - No One Listed (Not the name of a band)
1974 - U.C. Players and Randy Moody This was also the weekend of the Concert on the Lawn at Shiloh United Methodist Church!
1975 - Kent Odor
1976 - Tim Hacker
1977 - Don Wetstine - The only musician I ever met who enjoyed singing at weeks of Junior High Camp!
1978 - Cindy Price, Tony Ross
1979 - Harvest Team
1980 - John Gould
1981 - Dove - And you always wondered, was there ever really a group named Dove. Now you know.
1982 - Deny Brigance
1983 - Nori Kelly

The Fourth Saturday of May:
1972 - Doug Adams, Bob Chick
1973 - A Blank Month (Also not the name of a band)
1974 - The Bozo Brothers (Kevin Boys & Andy Danzl)
1975 - Rich Mullins
1976 - Donnie Yazell
1977 - Latter Reign
1978 - Tom Black & Brent Eresman (Yes, the same Brent Eresman who play sax and flute on several cuts on the JH CD Project!)
1979 - Zion
1980 - Brent Eresman (Wait, didn't he just play, no, okay, that was two years before. What happened to Tom?)
1981 - Willoughby-Wilson Band
1982 - Terry Fisher, Rhema
1983 - Revelation Band

Artists Who Played that rare fifth Saturday:
1975 - A Rising Hope Weekend! Yes, folks we expanded into two nights for this special weekend. Unfortunately only 25 people showed up for Friday night. But we had 116, a decent crowd, for Saturday. We worked those Rising Hopers to death that weekend!
1976 - The Yahoo Band - A band from the One Way House in Springfield.
1980 - A special weekend with Jon Owens performing and Dr. Foster speaking.
1981 - Cathy Snyder
1982 - Sower

Where Are They Now?
Just before the Reunion, I heard from Cathy Snyder who is married to a producer, living in Columbus, still singing and recording.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rich Mullins Photo

Someone left a framed photo of Rich Mullins at the Reunion.
It's not the large one that was hanging on the wall. That belongs to Randy Moody.
It is a smaller one that was sitting on the table with the CDs. If it's yours, let me know so we can get it back to you.
If it's not yours, please ask your friends who were there. Help us track down the owner.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Saying Goodbye

At the Reunion, Jennie sang a song, "How Can I Say Goodbye," which you can view on YouTube, just be prepared to cry. It joins "One Big Time in the Kingdom" as a celebration of the incredible relationships God grants us as we meet one another, celebrate together, become friends, learn to love and, sometimes, hurt one another. The grace of God becomes so real when one person is able to forgive another. Grace is also evident as we learn how to say goodbye to one another. The Reunion, the recording, and the preparation caused many of us to renew dormant friendships. It was exciting to watch people who had not seen one another in many years hugging, talking in animated conversation and sharing email information.

At the Jesus House we perpetually said goodbye to people. It was, by design, a transitional ministry. Our purpose was primarily to help a person become a Christian and start on the road to growth before connecting with a church. It's true that some people came around the House for years but those were exceptions.

Some came during high school years, others during college and still others as they embarked on young adult years. It was hard to see people move on to involvement in churches and stop showing up as often, but we never intended to be anyone's church. Around 1980, I briefly considered starting a new church out of the House but did not have a strong enough vision to begin the process.

Anytime we say goodbye, there is an experience of grief, which I think is the strangest of all emotions, or perhaps I should say, collection of emotions. Jennie's song perfectly captures the mix of emotions experienced when saying goodbye to a dear friend. It is a combination of sorrow over the loss of the friend, joy for the new experiences the friend will have, and deep aching that points us to regret over missed opportunities that cannot be recaptured.

When we closed the Jesus House, it was a decision Rick Mapes and I made. Initially we thought it would close, but re-open with a new, younger staff, and a renewed ministry to high school students. The Jesus House Board voted to confirm out decision to close, but not re-open. The unfortunate part of our decision is we did not allow people time to grieve and prepare for the closing. I've apologized to some of you individually over the years but now I'll apologize to all of you. The decision was the right one, but the method of saying good bye was not good. I sang the last night we were open, then announced our closing. I'm sorry we never had a farewell celebration. These reunions have been good for many reasons and one of them is it has allowed us to have that farewell celebration.

The closing of the Jesus House shows that sometimes, even good things end.

This Week in History: Artists Who Performed the First Two Weeks of May

The First Week of May
1972 - Randy Matthews (Our founder returned for the first anniversary)
1973 - No artists listed for the month of May, 1973. I don't think I was on vacation.
1974 - Marc O'Hara
1975 - Donnie Yazell
1976 - Diakonoi, Andy Danzl
1977 - Ken Atkinson (The day after Terry Fisher finally graduated from CBS after six long years!)
1978 - Mark Ryman
1979 - Another blank date???
1980 - Cathy Snyder
1981 - adamsfishyodor (Our tenth anniversary!)
1982 - Brethern
1983 - Linda McCay

The Second Week of May
1972 - Grant Hammond (Our Second Director returned as a continuation of our first anniversary celebration)
1973 - The Blank Month
1974 - Terri & Ric
1975 - Deny & Holly Brigance
1976 - Paul & Dave
1977 - Andy Danzl
1978 - Steve & Kevin - Puppets!
1979 - Rod Ellis with Ann & Sandy
1980 - Deny Brigance
1981 - Randy Matthews (Continuation of our Tenth Anniversary Celebration)
1982 - Revelation
1983 - Love Reaching

Monday, May 11, 2009

awesome CD

The Youth Pastor of the church where I am Lead Pastor has been listening to the Jesus House CD today.
The evaluation of this 22 year old who just graduated from college last year: "It's awesome!"
He especially likes the musical variety.

The Reunions are Ongoing!

Last evening I encountered another Jesus House person, whom I've not seen in 25 or more years. Unfortunately she did not hear about the Reunion and was disappointed to have missed it. No doubt this experience will be repeated. At this point, the best we can offer is a copy of the CD and directions to the YouTube videos.

Deny or I will be glad to mail out CDs to anyone who supplies an address, at least while supplies last. Remember, though, you are welcome to make your own copies of the CD to give to friends.

I've been thinking about reviewing the entire reunion to offer my responses but have not had enough concentrated time to accomplish the task. But, here are a few short remarks.

I loved everyone's set. Each musician or collection of musicians was a treat and musical and spiritual blessing.

Having said that there were a couple of musical highlights. I suppose I could call them the best of the best of the best in hopes that they will not cast a negative shadow on other performances.

Jennie Daniel Pitney: Incredible voice, guitar work and sensitivity to the spirit. Her Mary song is fabulous! Her set was also my daughter's favorite. Jennie, the next time you visit your family in Cincinnati, my living room is available for a concert! Your voice still knocks me out.

John Gould: I've been listening to you since our senior year of high school but never grow tired of your voice. Thank you for including family members in part of your set. They were great. Be Ye Glad brought tears to my eyes.

The Super Group: As far as I'm concerned, A Closer Walk With Thee could have stretched for an hour and I would still have been on my feet clapping, singing and celebrating.

The Perkolators: You are so good that I cannot find the right words to describe what happens when you play together. I'm sorry I missed most of your set while preparing my brain to morf into afo. I think I deserve a repeat performance. Any evening in my living room!

This reunion was a special day and because it was so good, we are prompted to do another and try to capture again the great experience. For now, let's enjoy the memories of the day, the CD and the videos.

Special thanks to Annie Wantuck, Betsy King & Rachael Brigance (who's married last name I'm forgetting, sorry!) for organizing a great dinner of Skyline Chili and Larosa's Pizza. You took a huge burden off Deny and me while ministering to everyone at the reunion.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

jesus house on youtube!

Go on YouTube and search for Jesus House Reunion.
There are a dozen or so videos from the reunion already posted.
More details later.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Day

May 2, 2009 seems like one long blur of conversations, hugs, and introductions. Lots of photos are floating around Facebook. Eventually there might be videos on YouTube. I'll lift a few photos later in the week and add to the blog.

I'm estimating that through out the day, we had 150-200 people show up. No actual counting was done.

I've decided to keep the blog going for a while.

Later in the week I'll include a description of the day.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Reunion

It's 2:00 am, I just arrived home from the most recent, and most likely, final Jesus House Reunion. Later this week, I'll spend time reflecting on the day, but for now, I'll merely quote Mary Beth Hughes, "Terry, this was the best reunion ever!"

Thank you to all.