Saturday, May 31, 2008


This Internet cafe has an English alphabet keyboard- which basically doubles my typing speed. No more extra "i"s, "g"s, "c"s, or "s"s to navigate. Also the @ key is where I am used to it- so that is nice for logging into emails and Facebook.

I caught a showing of the new Indiana Jones movie last night with some fellow Americans here in Istanbul. It was entertaining, but I agree with my older brother's assessment that it's to the original three what The Phantom Menace was to the original Star Wars Trilogy. I was fascinated to find that the cinematic tradition of the intermission is still alive and well in Turkey, but it is to cater to the smoking habits of the general populace- not to change reels.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Istanbul is truly another world then I am used to. However, one piece of American culture that is in abundant supply is Starbucks, which by my count out number McDonald's at least 2:1. In fact, it's a whole lot easier to get a Frappaciono (God forbid) than a good cup of Turkish coffee. The Turks like their drinks sweet, so I have taken to getting lattes instead of my usual two-pump white mochas.

Yesterday was my first major exposure to upper class Turkish culture when Kevin T. and I visited a high end shopping mall, which had four floors, air conditioning, and a movie theater. Converse is an immensely popular brand right now- with knock off Chuck Taylor's in every street market. This mall only sold the real deal- 72 USD. Looking around the mall I realized that I was one of the poorest people there- the exact opposite of what I experienced in Cambodia. It is hard to tell which experience is more humbling.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Istanbul's train system has redefined claustrophobia for me. However, despite being snuggled in tighter than the front of a mosh pit, I love it. It amazes me that I have only been here three days and I am traveling all over a city of 17 million people by myself.

So far I have crossed the Bosphorus river every day. While the commuting Turks around me seem to view it as sheer drudgery, I find it to be quite relaxing. A shot of Turkish tea is about 30 cents so I like to sip a cup on the way over.

I attended two worship services today. One in Turkish, a charming and growing C-2 community called İmmanuel Protestant Church, and another in English, an church for internationals called Hope İnternational (not associated with the cult, The Way İnternational). I think I will attend the latter every week.

So far my Gluten Intolerance has not proved to be a problem so that is good.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me. Your prayers are coveted.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Trip So Far

Here's some quick highlights from the trip so far.

Chicago sucks... well at least the airport. Spending eight hours on a plane seemed like a relief after being there.

The London airport is pretty classy-- and expensive. Buying enough pound to buy breakfast (7 pounds) set me back $20 bucks.

Istanbul. Amazing city. Today I learned how to use the train system (a reliable, efficient mass transit system dating back to the mid nineteenth century-- take note, American urban centers). We took the ferry across the Bosphorus to the Asian side. From the boat it was possible to catch a really good view of the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia.

I also met over twenty different people today, so I am trying to keep a lot of names straight, both American and Turkish. I am living with a Turkish family so hopefully I will learn to speak some more Turkish, though at this point it is slow going.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Concert Review

The Parade Schedule, Rodeo Ruby Love, Chemic, and Laura K. Balke played a concert at Quills.

Indianapolis singer/song writer Laura K. Balke opened the concert with a disarmingly authentic set that could have been read directly from her diary. Definitely a step above most acoustic solo acts.

The Parade Schedule lived up to their name, with 4 additional members since I saw them at the 930 a few months ago. New songs like the "Repentant Backstabber" revealed an interesting new direction that I personally find exciting. Rumor has it that they are releasing a split ep with Ben Traughber.

Rodeo Ruby Love, a seven piece indie/alt/ska/ collective from Indiana, had a contagious energy that at least spread to Brooks Ritter and Mick Price, who could be seen dancing near the front. I must admit that there is some thing catching about all seven members of a band shouting the lyrics in unison.

Chemic, featuring my former co-worker Jon Moore on drums, closed the evening with a most enjoyable set of melodic indie rock. The band gets major cred in my book for using a vintage Rhodes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bike Pix

I was blessed to be able to purchase a new camera for my upcoming trip to Istanbul. Yesterday I tested it out shooting some biking stuff.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Art for/from/before the Church

Harold Best delivered a lecture at the 930 today entitled "Art for the Church, Art by the Church, and Art before the Church". The audio should be posted here in the next few days.

In his lecture, Best touched on a wide variety of topics, including the imago dei, evaluating secular art, and Christian traditionalism; but one comment in particular really resonated with me. Best discussed how in our culture we have exhausted the use of our superlatives. Every concert has a standing ovation, every film worth seeing is "awesome", just being "good" is no longer enough. Best went on to say that in his own life he is trying to recapture the meaning of the word "good". Appealing to Karl Barth, who referred to God as "the Good God", Best made the case that art for and from the church does not need to be the best art in culture, but it needs to be authentic. It needs to be good.

As a musician who is trying to serve God and his church with his gifts, this was really encouraging to hear. Best further augmented this theme when he stated that every artist serving the church should have a personal kenosis, an emptying of the self.

In a society that is obsessed with being the best, being content to be good can be a big relief.

Friday, May 09, 2008


As I approach paying off my new bike, I have been looking into getting a messenger bag. Here are four of my favorites. Right now now I am leaning towards the olive with the red stripe. However, my bike is navy blue. Thoughts?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

This Weekend

Harold Best is giving a lecture entitled "What Creative People can Learn from Creation" at the 930 on Saturday for the Cultivate Beauty Festival.

Best is the author of the book Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts and is the Dean Emeritus of the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music. I am very interested to hear what he has to say.

Jeremy Enigk follows.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Flat Tire

Yesterday day I got a flat tire. As my finances are incredibly tight right now, I foolishly only bought a new tube and tried to make do with the existing tire.

After several hours of much needed maintenance, I changed the tube (complicated by the fact my pump recently broke). However, after walking my bike to the local gas station and pumping up the tires to the recommended 60 psi, it became clear that a large piece of tube was exposed through a gash in the tire.

Seeing how the bike store was closed and that I didn't want 3 hours of my life and $7.00 to go out the window, I ended up patching the hole with super glue and a piece of rubber from the sole of my chucks.... I'm praying it holds up.