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JFH Staff Blog | Remedy Drive

Saturday, January 20, 2018

What Will You Spend Your Life On? by Remedy Drive

I’ve been writing songs for 20 years now.  I’ve spent most of my life putting one note in front of another note - trying to console an age old ache that echoes in the deepest chambers of my heart.  These songs, at least at this point in my life, have become the most valuable thing I own.  How am I going to invest the currency of my music?  What will I spend it on?  A more important question - how will I invest the currency of my life?  What will I spend it on?  

An ancient prophet named Isaiah said  “if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”

 

What will we spend ourselves on?  The currency of our time, our art, our moral capital - what will we spend it on?  Our youth, our privilege, our platform, our creativity, our moral capital, our political capital - what will we spend it on?  What if we spend ourselves on the needs of the oppressed and on behalf of the marginalized?  What if we used our voice to amplify the voices of those whose voices have been drowned out?  To speak truth in the halls of power where the lives of the most vulnerable among us are trampled underfoot by the special interests of powerful corporations?  

 

You might be thinking “but I’m only one voice”.   So am I.  One voice in the wilderness.  One voice crying out at 110dB.  We have to be humble enough to believe our own unique voice matters in the mosaic of the kingdom.  It seems naive.  It seems so childish.  But maybe it’s childlike.  Maybe it’s like a kid with a few fish and five loaves of bread in the face of probable ridicule.  I’ll stand on the edge of the abyss and celebrate the small corner that I’m able to tear off the darkness.  Even when it feels foolish to maintain hope - we will push back on the shadow in the twilight.  

 

You might be thinking “how can we really make a difference? - we’re up against such corruption”.  I see it.  I look into the iron teeth of corruption on a regular basis.  Our work with The Exodus Road exposing sex trafficking puts me in close contact with mafias and gangs in cahoots with corrupt government officials and law enforcement.  It makes you want to give up at times.  But here’s the thing about corruption - even iron rusts and turns to power eventually - in fact, by it’s very nature it will pass away. That’s what corruption is.  Something that won’t last.   

 

Your selfless actions, on the other hand, will last forever.  There is an enduring quality to something that is done on behalf of someone else.  Laying down my rights and my time for the interests of the most marginalized and vulnerable in our society is the whole point of the good news (at least the way Jesus from Nazareth talked about it).   “I’ve been anointed to proclaim good news for poor people”, he said.  “To proclaim freedom to the captives, liberty to the prisoners and a restoration of dignity to the oppressed, the crushed and the downtrodden”.  There is not a love that exceeds a life that is laid down.  The only way to find this life, the only way to tap into it is to lose your life. 

 

The design is not flawed.  We’ve just fallen so far short of the glorious purpose for which we were intended.  The goodness - the bravery - the courage - the selflessness - it already exists inside of you.  It’s there - but for most of us it’s just buried under an avalanche of fear, the cares of world, and the idolatry of safety and comfort.  

 

The fear is real.  I recognize that.  But courage is moving forward in the face of fear.  Your courageous actions will be contagious.  People will look at your selflessness and get creative - they will ask themselves “how can I do something similar to what she is doing?”  Ripples turn to tidal waves.  As we join the rising tide of ordinary people who are not willing to look the other way when we have come in contact with such emergencies in the arenas of mercy, justice, freedom and compassion.  

 

I’m using my rock band to shine a light on slavery and injustice.  I’m using my time and my resources to volunteer as an undercover operative with a counter trafficking organization called The Exodus Road.  Your contribution will be different than mine as your voice is different.  But you have a unique contribution to make.  It might become your life’s work.  It might cost you your life.  But you only have one life to live.  What will you spend it on?  

 

"What will we spend it on

And when we’re gone

In ages to come

The sages will write

“So raged the bearers of the light

So waged the few with all their might

Against the terrors of the night

With no sight in view

From the depths to the heights” 

 

-David Zach, Remedy Drive 

 

 

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

He Pled the Cause of the Afflicted

For the last couple of months we have been able to partner with several different groups of remarkable people who have worked at raising awareness for various needs.  In Eureka, CA, we did an event w/ some people raising funds for child soldiers in Uganda. 

In Bend, Oregon, and Lake Stevens, Washington, we did events to raise awareness and support for families in the area dealing w/ cancer.  We have been humbled to be able to work alongside of such people and seeing them work gives me a sense of urgency in my own life to make these sort of things not just something I do but something that becomes a part of who I am.

There is a phrase written by the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah that has really impacted me lately.  "He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; then it was well.  'Is not that what it means to know Me?' declares the Lord."  The idea of knowing God is something that is very attractive to me, and finding out that somehow it is tied up in loving our neighbors (according to Jeremiah) kind of takes me off guard.  But then I read that Jesus said similar things 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

Bono (a hero of mine) says "God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives.  God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them."

So what am I doing today to plead the cause of the afflicted and needy?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Economy Of Grace

There is the feeling of uncertainty and a lack of security that might not have been there before.  I start to wonder about my mortgage - about whether or not I'll be able to continue to put food on the table for my family.  I know a lot of industry gets effected by recession but what about rock music?  Do people still go to concerts if the stock market crashes?  Sometimes I get the idea that insurance and savings plans will continue to supply me with stability and protection- safeguards and defense that will always be around.  But now we're all asking similar questions - what if the bottom drops out?

And then the bigger questions come for me - is this what I'm putting my hope in?  Is my sense of security contingent upon what happens with stocks and bonds on a street in New York City?  Or is there something else that I can depend on and put my confidence in?

For any disquieted souls like my own that are reading here - remember, we have a hope and a certainty.  There is an economy called grace that won't go into recession - grace won't let you down.  It's possible to depend entirely on the wealth and resources of a kingdom that will never experience economic decline.  Hope is with us in these hard times, in the rubble of our broken dreams and failed accomplishment - reminding us of sights yet unseen.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Vacationing From Rock Music...

Hello friends.  We have been spending a lot of time on the road these days.  We just got done w/ a couple Colorado shows after being on tour for the last 6 months and Remedy Drive is going four separate ways for a week.  I'm spending some down time in Chicago with my extended family, Dan is backpacking in Colorado, Philip is going climbing and Paul is heading to India.

I never thought a vacation from rock music would be something I'd ever look forward to.  Since the first time I heard a guitar solo, the idea of playing music for a living really moved me.  In my book, it’s the best job in the world (other than demolition – they say people in the demolition business have an even a higher job satisfaction rating then doctors – prior to being in the band, my brother Philip and I demolished a garage – it was rewarding).   

So, it surprises me after playing 65 or so concerts in three months and making an album with a record label - that I'm not more satisfied and content.  In doing all this work I love that I am reminded that it is not rock music that validates my existence.  It's not vacation either.  It reminds me that there is something more substantial in the universe that can sustain the needs of my human heart.  It is not the songs we write or the plans we have. It is something else.  There is something more.

 

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