In the 26 years that have passed since I first listened to Jim Morrison's Grave, my dream has been under refinement.
I took art classes in junior high and got involved with the drama program. I found my voice while on stage pretending to be someone else. Then I wandered away from my dream. Throughout high school, I had my heart set on becoming an architect. But by the time I graduated, I had been reminded of my calling from 1987. I had a plan to go to college for a speech/communications major then return home to get a job as a radio DJ. That plan fell apart as my family could not afford to send me to college. I also met some interns that worked for KNDD in Seattle; they gave me an eye opening glimpse into what it took to break into the radio industry.
With that version of my dream turning sour, I floundered for a while. I knew that someday, I would find my place working with music and art. There was still a kid inside me that wanted to be a rock star despite my crappy singing voice and limited guitar skills. As reality and adult responsibilities took over, I did what ever I could. Running soundboards for churches, concerts, and theatrical productions. Managing and promoting my best friend's band while living in Boise. Hanging out in recording studios while my friends recorded their demo tapes. I spent a little over a year as a DJ in Sioux Falls. When I moved back to Idaho, I helped teach a youth worship band how to play songs and lead worship.
Somewhere in there, the studio became my dream. I felt comfortable behind a soundboard. I daydreamed about how wonderful it would be if I were to produce a hit single. The recording process was alluring to me, but the rise of home studios (with software like Pro Tools and GarageBand) eroded the practicality of opening my own recording studio.
DJing is some of the most fun I've ever had while earning a paycheck. Since returning to Idaho, I've had three gigs, all done for free; my sister-in-law's wedding, the wedding of my wife's best friend, and a junior high dance party. My sister-in-law's reception is probably the best gig I ever played. After that wedding, while driving home, Bekah and I talked about the possibility of me DJing as a job again, but this time doing it on my own. She saw how much fun I had mixing the music, she recognized my talent, she entertained the possibility, and encouraged me to do some research. There aren't any wedding DJs in Coeur d'Alene. You either have to hire a karaoke jockey, or go hire someone from Spokane. The market here would be all mine. But I also understand the crippling funds of buying a mixer, amp, speakers, microphones, and lights - not to mention paying the song royalties that make it legal to be a professional DJ. All conspired to make it cost-prohibitive to start my own DJ business. DJing would also take away my ability to spend weekends with my family.
So, I've operated in stasis.
Then, two years ago, I wrote a series about the church. That we as Christians too easily make people feel out of place and how I've felt like an outcast most of my life. That we let ourselves get wrapped up in issues that don't matter. That we set unrealistic expectations. That we manipulate people with fear. We create unnecessary rules. And we end up pushing people away. I came to a conclusion that we can do better.
As soon as I hit publish on that seventh and final post, my brain started pondering about what would be next. I wrestled with those thoughts about where this would take me. After reading Don Miller's Blue Like Jazz, I marveled at the purpose of his church, Imago Dei - a church that values creativity and is populated by artists, writers, and musicians. It's the kind of church that I could have only dreamed existed.
It was the kind of church I wish existed in Coeur d'Alene.
My dream began to take shape. Someday I'd like to either start or take part in a church that focuses on ministering to artists. But that's someday. I'm not ready for that now. My dream continued to go through revisions until last October, when I wrote about the church's relationship with art. I walked through a brief history of sacred art. I explained how Christians involved in the arts feel abandoned and alone because of the church's tendency to put their artists on pedestals and hold them to double standards. I demonstrated a need for greater creativity within the religious community and explained why artistry matters. I found inspiration in the life of King David and in the words of Leonard Nimoy.
When writing the series of church and art, I came to the same conclusion as when I wrote my first series about the church. We can do better.