Tuesday, May 26, 2009


got back a few days ago from california. highlights of the trip were seeing joseph and rachel, dinner with my sweet aunt beth, and then, time away in napa and sonoma, drinking wine and not doing much else. I didn't take many pictures. just a few of brooke the last day. it was a nice break.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

my business lies at jesus' gate

we've been ramping up our work on a new record - more precisely - yet another collection of old hymns put to new music from red mountain.  we are backlogged on songs dating back over three years now - we have many more songs then we will ever be able to record well, so it is hard to know what we are going to do with them.  we are considering putting out more b-sides, releasing songs for digital release (download) only, etc.  we really have no idea, and I personally still can't resist the concept of an album - it is the only way I really feel like I can complete a collection of music.  anyway, you can read more about the new record here.  and in the meantime, here is a really rough demo of one I wrote about a week ago.  I record a lot of my demos in photobooth on my mac, hence the video.  there is absolutely no telling if this song will ever make it to a record, and right now I really like it, so I am sharing it here, lest it becomes buried like so many of our songs.

my business lies at jesus' gate
words: erskine & berridge, taken from gadsby's hymns #743
music: brian t. murphy (2009)

my business lies at jesus' gate
where many a lazar (beggar) comes
and here I seek and here I wait
for mercy's falling crumbs

the lord I hear the hungry feeds
and cheers the souls distressed
he loves to bind up broken reeds
and heal a bleeding breast

his name is jesus full of grace
which draws me to his door
and will not jesus show his face
and bring his gospel store?

supplies of every grace I want
and each day want supply
and if no grace the lord will grant
I must lie down and die

I must lie down and die

Friday, May 15, 2009

some thoughts on red mountain {or} (we're all excluded)

a theme I keep hearing when I talk to people is that they feel excluded. they feel misunderstood. they feel unappreciated and voiceless. I think this is actually a larger theme for much of what it means to be alive and be human, but I have been thinking about it in the context of our small community here at red mountain, and I have a few observations.

first: literally, everybody feels excluded. I am married without kids. part of the exclusion we feel is an isolation from our friends who are married with kids. we feel the distinction of having more freedom with our time (and with that comes a degree of guilt), but also feel the tension and second guess the judgement and glances from our child bearing friends. just last night I had dinner with some friends who have children, and they talked (she specifically) about how alone the moms feel. how our church has not paid attention or made space in ways that maybe we should have. I mentioned that I think everyone feels excluded, and she agreed with me. and then we talked about it some. I asked her who she thought was on the "inside" at red mountain. she said "I don't know, the musicians?" and I laughed, and it dawned on me how overwhelming this sense of exclusion is. I can totally see how someone would think that the musicians are maybe a group who feels deeply connected and an integral part of red mountain. in reality, many of the musicians barely attend our church, may or may not be christians, and often feel very misunderstood and specifically excluded. it is something we talk about all the time.

I will admit that I personally have struggled tremendously with this feeling of exclusion. I have this tension with where I am, what I believe, what I feel the tide of our community is and the direction it is heading. the longer I am here, the more my sense of awkwardness grows. the more I realize the handicaps in our relationships, and the more I learn to be quiet and the more I retreat to the few people I know well. this is cowardice and I have plenty of my own issues built into this, but at the same time I am realizing, if BTM feels excluded at red mountain (a place where, if I am reflective and honest, I will admit has taken great care of me, has loved me well, has supported and encouraged me in quiet and loud ways for many years), surely, so many more of us do too.

one of the issues for us is that we are not very welcoming. I actually think that this is not a very big distinction, as most churches are far from welcoming (especially if you are a bad person). but it is definitely an issue for us, for sure. something I have known for a long time is that people who are new to red mountain have a hard time feeling connected. they have a hard time forging relationships. sure there are exceptions. but there are a lot of people who quietly come and go, some who even stay for years, without notice. this, to me, is a great sadness and a great failure, and on this issue, I have blood on my hands.

and ironically, it is some of the people who have been here the longest, since we started, who talk the most about feeling excluded. maybe this is because we have such high hopes and expectations. maybe this is because we want the church to be ideal, and it is human. maybe this is because we are young enough as a community to still fight for what we hope to be true.

I don't know much about the bible or theology or really even christianity for that matter. but I do know something about people and relationships, and I think that these feelings of exclusion are real, valid, and an important part of who we are as a community. what is it that makes us feel so alone? what is it that drives us to fill this need from our local church? how do we love others when we are so desperately searching for love and acceptance for ourselves? how do we move forward and start to be more inclusive? how do we bring young, old, sick, healthy, rich, poor, loved, unloved, alone, worn out people together and forge a community that is relevant and meaningful? are these hopes even meant to be satisfied in this life?

at the end of the day, mysteriously, I have great hope for red mountain. it has endured and it has been sustained. it has fostered deep pain and sadness, and it has also fostered shelter, encouragement, and support on levels I personally had never witnessed before. I have seen people change and grow. I have watched people grow angry and leave. and through it all, I have looked around and constantly thought "i have nowhere else to go". it is a good place.

so, we all feel excluded. I think this is important.

I don't really know where this idea leads. but I do hope that maybe we can begin to think freshly about what this community really is and can look like. maybe we can start to feel connected within our feelings of rejection and exclusion. that's where I am, anyway.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I love to ride motorcycles

I've been riding motorcycles for a long time. I think ten years. it never gets old. I always enjoy pulling out the bike. and the good thing about living in the deep south is, you can ride all the time. year-round. the other good thing about the deep south is all the old highways. one of my favorite things to do is to hit the road with some good friends, load up the bikes with camping gear, and just drive. when we get tired, we stop on the side of the road and set camp. and in the morning we keep riding.

no agenda other than to be quiet, sit still, rest, get some wind, soak in small towns, and long conversation with good friends. actually, now that I think of it, we have a very specific agenda.

the trip last weekend was with benjamin and steve. we got rained on really hard. actually, that's not exactly accurate. we were in the middle of a flash flood / tornado situation and were strategically running (read: driving really fast) from tornadoes all the way home. even with the bad weather, it was still a blast. next trip in a few weeks...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

anna gilmore flowers

a few weeks ago I took a few photos for anna gilmore - a friend and terrific florist. you should totally check out her site and hire her for all of your floral needs. seriously.

anna has been a good friend to t-photographic, and its been a pleasure to shoot several weddings that anna has done, and where the bride has said repeatedly "these flowers are perfect!" I need to post some shots from the weddings we've been doing. but for now - here are some of anna's flowers.