MONEY, Part 2.5: A Response to Some Comments

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In part one I talked about the burdens of poverty and of wealth, in part two I laid out some of the nuts and bolts of what it costs to make an album–just one of many ways an artist can use his or her gift to shed light. Before I wrap this up I want to respond to a few comments.

Thank you all for your thoughts. I’m a people-pleaser, so it’s always hard for me to throw out ideas like these for public scrutiny. I know better than any of you just how deeply wrong I can be about things, which leaves me with two options: I can keep quiet for fear of wrongness, or I can write out my thinking in the hopes of gaining a better understanding.

A few of you bristled at some of my comments about Rich Mullins’s singleness. My point wasn’t that marriage is necessarily better, nor was it that single people have no responsibilities. Obviously, if you’re in Christ your responsibility first and foremost is to God, and his will should be sought in any decision. I thought that went without saying. But a married man or woman with children has a far different set of responsibilities than a single person. There are lots of options available to a single person that aren’t available to married folks, and vice versa.

For Rich, identifying with the poor and living a somewhat vagabond lifestyle was an option he took as a single man (under God, of course) that he wouldn’t have been able to take as a married man with children. In fact, had he chosen to marry and have children and still live in his truck and go barefoot and smelly, he would have been a picture of selfishness–though I suppose there’s a slim chance he might have married a woman who was similarly called, and they might have lived in a van down by the river with their smelly barefoot children. I’m being silly. It occurs to me now that I’ve met lots of families blessed with the astounding courage to live on the mission field or in inner cities, which is probably what someone like Rich would have done. Still, that’s a picture of living simply, not in poverty. Living out of a truck (literally) would no longer be an option, at least with children in the picture.

If you’re single and you’re still bristling, I’m sorry. But I’m not sure how anyone can argue that a single person’s responsibilities are the same as someone’s who is married with children. They’re just not. And my point was that a single person, as Paul said, has options a married person doesn’t. Like choosing poverty.

As for the part about Rich’s theoretical wife wanting a few nice things now and then, I totally get your point. My list was a list of material things, as if that’s all women are interested in. That wasn’t my intention at all. That list came to mind because just that morning Jamie overslept and was late for school (she teaches music at a homeschool co-op), which meant a classroom of kids waited for her for twenty minutes. She hates being late for anything, and it was a bad way to begin an already busy week. I bought her a bouquet of flowers (aww), and I was thinking how thankful I was that we have the means to do that once in a while. And, by the way, the flowers made her happy.

Not only that, but when we moved to the Warren we downsized considerably and one of the things Jamie sacrificed was a big, open kitchen for a tiny one. She’s gifted at hospitality, at making things beautiful and serving neighbors and friends, and I want so much to be able to add on a nice kitchen for her. We can’t do it anytime soon, but Lord knows I want to. NOT because she’s materialistic, but because a fine kitchen would be a tool she’d put to good use in Kingdom work. This scenario is something Rich Mullins never had to consider. That was my point. It’s not that women demand nice things and men don’t. A woman has to give up just as much to get married (just ask my wife, who was crazy enough to marry a songwriter). Her responsibilities change just as a man’s do. And one of the things they both give up is a certain amount of freedom.

That probably just invited more frostiness, but there you go.

A few of you also expressed frustration and/or despair at my nuts and bolts list of the demands of making a career of music (or coffee mug peddling). Many people don’t realize all that goes into making a record, so I thought it would be helpful to lay it out broadly in light of the patronage and tier options we sometimes offer here. I wanted to illustrate why it’s sometimes necessary to get creative with how we sell our CDs (i.e., Tier 7 for $200). I don’t mean to cause you despair–if you’re gifted at songwriting, then write songs. Don’t worry about how much it costs to record an album. The point is doing good work and shedding light.

But if you’re a family man (or woman) who’s thinking of laying it all on the line to come to Nashville you should know what you’re getting into. It’s not easy. Heck, it’s not easy for twenty-year-olds fresh out of college! But moving to Nashville (or wherever) to pursue a dream is a fine thing, especially if your wife, children, and church are supporting your decision. I’ve often said that if you have two options before you, choose the one you’re most afraid of. Defy the fear with faith. Even if you fail miserably–and you probably will–God can gather up the bits and make it beautiful. But don’t be foolish–seek counsel. Seek it from your family, from your pastors, elders, mentors. Seek it from the Holy Spirit.

Finally, don’t let me tell you what to do. I don’t know your situation like you do, or like the people walking with you. I can only speak from my limited perspective. Sure, I may have accrued a little bit of insight into this process, things you may not have considered yet, but I’m only one voice of many.

When I was still in college I traveled to Nashville for two reasons. First, I wanted to see Rich Mullins play at the Ryman Auditorium. I had never seen him live, so it was worth the trip from Orlando. Second, I wanted to attend GMA, the Gospel Music Association’s yearly convention, which is now defunct (oh, how times have changed). If I was going to make a go at this music career I figured a week at GMA would give me a good handle on what I was getting into. I was a sophomore in college, was newly married, and was itching to quit school and move to Nashville.

Reed Arvin, Rich Mullins’s producer, spoke at one of the sessions and changed my life. He had written a book called The Wind in the Wheat, a cautionary tale about a young man from a Kansas farm named Andrew Miracle. Andrew had a Gift. So he moves to Nashville and is gobbled up and spit out by the Evil Music Industry, losing his focus and his innocence in the process. It’s not a very well-written book (though Reed went on to write a few really good detective thrillers a la John Grisham, and he also provided me some great one-on-one advice while I was writing On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness), but I read it and it did its work on me. It was hard to ignore that the main character’s name was Andrew. And that he was from a small town. And that he felt a strong call on his life to write and sing his songs. And that he wanted to move to Nashville. Reed had written the book just for me, it seemed.

So at the session Reed talked about how important it is for us to stay rooted. Stay where you are. Your community needs you, he said. Your church needs you. If God gave you a gift, you don’t need to live in a certain city or have the validation of a record label to use that gift. Just shed light. Up and moving to Nashville isn’t the answer for everybody, and Music City is chock-full of people who probably shouldn’t be seeking a career in music. Nashville isn’t El Dorado, the lost city of gold records.

Now that I live here I see all kinds of benefits to living in a community like this one, with or without the music industry. I love this city. The industry is vastly different now than it was when Reed wrote the book, but it was exactly what I needed at that time. I drove twelve hours home with a full head and a full heart. I chose to stay put. I chose to finish school. I chose to stick around and play church camps and Sunday night concerts and all-nighters for the junior high youth group and even to work for a year as a youth minister. I played wherever and whenever I could, and walked through the doors that God seemed to open. Only after years of that did I graduate college and move with Jamie to Nashville. Those years were important, formative years for me. So thanks, Reed.

Now that I’ve lived here for thirteen years and have been playing music professionally off-and-on for eighteen years (man, that makes me feel old), I can tell you that none of the good things in my career were forced. The times I really pushed hard for something to happen usually ended in, well, nothing much at all. The happy surprises have borne the most fruit. The slow, patient, prayerful tilling of soil has brought the finest harvest, a harvest only recognizable in hindsight. That doesn’t mean I didn’t work at things. I did, and still do. But I have learned that it’s best to be patient. I’ve learned not to put too much stake in the music business equivalent of a get-rich-quick scheme.

Profile photo of Andrew Peterson

As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.


58 Comments

  1. I. Ray Schikuns

    Pastor’s wife here, so I’ve had to learn this on several levels.

    It stings when people listen with a microscope, but some folks will always look into a painting and see brushstrokes instead of composition. You’ve made the overall trajectory of your heart very clear over and over again.

    This subject is sensitive, and I’m sure it’s not easy to talk about. So thank you for putting yourself (and your family) “out there” honestly.

    We trust your big old heart, AP. And more importantly, we trust what God’s doing in it.

    Carry on.

  2. Laura Peterson

    Thanks for explaining this out a bit more, Andrew. Re: your first point—when I read things like “Rich could live in this cool way because he was single,” I and my insecurities and perfectionism immediately jump to thoughts like “Wait a minute. I’m single. Am I less cool because I’m not living that way?” or, “If I happen to marry someone who was previously living this awesomely, am I somehow diminishing his service to the Lord?” and totally ignore good points like “being poor is not the only way to radically follow Christ.” It takes reminders from friends in my life (and Ron Block, in the comments section of Part I, and you in this Part 2.5 post) to remember that different does not equal better, that God calls each of us in various ways, and that “responsibility” is not a bad word.

  3. Amanda from Michigan

    All of the fervor this has stirred up just goes to show what a struggle it is to walk through God’s world. Possessions, wealth, responsibility—all affect our spiritual lives and present a challenge as we try to love God and love others. That’s why Paul says THE LOVE of money, not money itself is the root of evil. We can chase after wealth and turn our lives from God. Even talking about this subject makes everyone nervous.

    I thank you, Andrew, for being will talk to about it. We need to be honest about the role of wealth in our lives. It needs to be put in perspective. God blesses us with so much. It’s a shame that we draw our attention away from Him and trade the creator for the creation.

    Andrew and everyone else…may God bless you on this journey.

  4. Twila Sias

    You and Jamie, together, are who I want to be when I grow up. After all these years, I continue to be struck and encouraged by your humility. The scripture that comes to mind after reading this blog: Proverbs 30:7-9

    “. . . give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’….”

  5. Todd Fife

    It’s so refereshing to hear artists discuss their work and its importance while also proclaiming the importance of what others do. Too often, we hear how the work of an artist has more meaning than what everyone else does. Whatever our calling may be has no more importance than another’s. Thanks for the post AP!

  6. Peter Br

    Test comment #3 (also, great series, and I’d pay $25 for a mug if it fairly compensated the artists and the RR).

  7. Judi

    I would like to high-five Amanda from Michigan and say, “Yeah, what she said.” As someone who had never visited your website before yesterday, I really appreciate this follow-up post. As others have already said, thank you for honestly processing this and putting it (and yourself) “out there.” Conversation is so important. It seems to me that you are not only contributing to it, you are facilitating it.

    We are all hurting people. We are all only able to see only what we see until we kindly, gently, lovingly, peacefully, gently, faithfully, joyfully, help each other along. Shalom.

  8. Tim

    AP,
    I have thoroughly enjoyed these 3 posts. It takes strength to be able to talk about this, knowing it will rub and challenge some/most/if not all people. I think I have heard it said that Money/Politics/Religion are the big 3 topics to stay away from if you do not want to cause conflict. Way to be brave and transparent, and go after one of the three! We need to hear these things and discuss these things! Iron sharpens iron. Peace.
    Tim

  9. Alyssa

    Reading this post was such a relief to me. Not because I took issue with anything from the previous posts, but because I am a fellow people-pleaser who has been scrutinized so thoroughly in the past that I still often fear releasing my thoughts into the public forum. I heartily echo I. Ray’s comments above, and thank you for speaking courage into my heart today.

  10. Nick and Susan

    At first I thought the title said “Part 25”. Ha ha! That would be a record amount of blog posts in one day.

    I’ve enjoyed reading the posts and comments, and I’m glad your wife got some flowers!

    One question I do have though is why is the overseas p&p so expensive in the store? Pete Peterson mentioned on a post that you folks get more from a sale of a cd/book etc. via this place. I for one want all the money I spend on music to go to you lot!. But, I’ve been deterred from ordering here because of the international postage being so high.

    For example, good old amazon.com ship a cd to England for about £5.00 which is about 8-10 dollars. It takes a long time to get to you (up to 4 weeks), but thats why its cheap, the other alternative is £20.00 but you get it in 4 days. So, I’m wondering if the RR’s store is set to the postage that gets delivered quickest? I’d much rather buy from the RR and wait a bit longer than pay amazon and wait.

    Appreciate your time.
    Susan

  11. Profile photo of Pete Peterson

    Pete Peterson

    @pete

    Overseas shipping is a source of constant headaches for us. Because our system isn’t able to calculate different international shipping costs for a CD going to London (about 6-10 dollars) versus a couple of books going to Singapore (as high as $50) the best we can do is to add that $15 fee and land somewhere in the middle. International orders also require us to manually fill out customs forms and often wait in line at the post office to mail the package resulting in much higher labor costs. We know the fee isn’t fair to some of our across the pond friends and we hope to find a solution sometime this year, but that’s something that will probably require a couple of thousand dollars in web design.

  12. Nick and Susan

    Pete,

    Ah, that is a shame. Appreciate you explaining the problem. I’d much rather have you folks writing and playing music than standing in a post office line. Ugh!

    Susan

  13. Shelley

    I’ve followed these posts with intrigue…. my first response was to beg my husband to send the amount of $$ that’s been on my heart to support the RR just because I’ve desired to say ‘thanks’ for creating a space of creativity; for providing a source of recommended reading, art, etc.; for writing about topics that helps anyone who engages the posts here to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling.” Why? He’s been a part of a start-up business in the housing market and while it’s no where near the nuts and bolts of the music industry, I appreciated the details about the mugs and international shipping costs because we HAVE detached ourselves from the cost of providing a vision (espeacially one formed in faith) in our economic culture. I would say the RR is one such vision, being a full-time writer of songs or books is another, and building a manufacturing company that would pay good salaries so that families could be one-income households is another.

    PS. Have yet to talk to second half about redistributing some of the Lord’s money from our pockets to yours, it will probably occur when we have a budget for blessing! Wasn’t there a suggestion during the McKenzie lead “You Are Not a Gadget” discussion about putting a link on the site to simply donate?

  14. EmJ

    Thanks for the thoughtful thoughts. I think I read the original comments that must have sparked this series of discussions – something about the cost of mugs and the question of a consumer vs. patron mindset. Ever since coming across that a few weeks back, I’ve been thinking over that distinction, which had never stood out to me in quite that way before. However, it gave words (and thus potent and active form) to an inner conviction which was there nevertheless. Because that’s how I want to live. For the money I spend to provide a livelihood for people who are actively using the gifts that God gave them, or even, you might say, simply BEING the gifts that God made them to be.

    I’m awfully glad that Rabbit Room, Square Peg artists, et. al. are crafting works of beauty, and I sure hope that work correspondingly brings in sufficient fundage to put food into your kids’ tummies, shoes on their feet, and frequent bouquets into the hands of loving wives. That’s what money is for. And I would wish to live in a world where the economy was all that simple. Like in the Shire, before those lousy relatives sold out to the encroaching powers of evil. Sustainability may be a current fad, and while the buzz may not last forever (I’m suddenly compelled to say something about sustainability having acquired some aura of sexy-ness, though I’m quite at a loss as to how things like that happen, but that’s another topic entirely)… anyway, while the concept of sustainability may lose some of it’s shiny appeal, what is sustainable is simply what is human. That’s all. Living like people, not like ants, hamsters, lemmings or other unfortunate caricatures of human behavior found in the animal kingdom. And that brings me, finally, to what I meant to say… an economy based on patronage strikes me as human-friendly, and in that sense sustainable. Consumerism on the other hand… it seems fairly plain that lots of people are waking up to how dehumanizing it is. I was rather sickened to hear the top elected official of the executive branch of my country’s government (that guy who theoretically spends his days managing national affairs from a not-quite-round office) address remarks to another major world superpower to the effect that the best means of encouraging continued friendship between our respective countries… is for the residents of that other country to purchase as much stuff as possible.

    And thus conclude my statements on the general topic of economic policy, a consumption-based economy, and the great rickets epidemic of 2004. (Okay, that last part is a lie. That’s what would have happened if Florida’s citrus groves had been destroyed in a second ice age, but that crisis was fortunately averted.)

    I would also like to say that while I didn’t read down far enough on the comments to part 2, I wasn’t offended by your comments relating to the single life, and I say that as a single person. I have taken no official vows of poverty or chastity (though sometimes I’ve thought that I might just be happier to make some major pronouncement and have done with all the wondering about the future), but being single does allow me to travel light in some ways.

    I fully agree with the distinction between the lives led by the Kid Brothers and your own life as a guy with family responsibilities. “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for the members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (and almost inevitably leads his kids to the conclusion that what he calls Christianity is a pretty stingy and undesirable way to live). While I am perfectly willing to trade in my single card, right now that is the gift that I have (“gift” in the sense of a thing to be used for God’s glory and the benefit of the church, not “gift” like, “oh great, socks! um, thanks”, which is how I used to think of it). And it does give me the freedom to pick up and move to the developing world. I should qualify that by saying that I have lots of friends who are married with kids and who are doing likewise, but there are ways it is simpler for me (no question of whether or not I’m endangering someone else’s life with the timing of a yellow fever vaccine, for example). So, I wasn’t offended, but I will say thanks for directly stating that you don’t think single people are somehow less or that we don’t have responsibilities. We sure have plenty – they’re just different.

    Well… that was a lengthy ramble. Much more than I knew I was going to say. Thanks again to AP for the good words and thoughtful thoughts. And to… Laura, maybe, who sparked my thinking on the patron vs. consumer distinction. My life is the richer for it.

  15. EmJ

    Ah, and having read further in these excellent comments, I would like to add that I have great respect for folks like your husband, Shelley. Art, music, and other creative endeavors are great, and so is doing other quality work that meets human needs and provides a livable salary for employees. God has given people all kinds of good gifts, and it makes me all kinds of happy to see them used well.

  16. Aaron Alford

    As someone who has felt the call to remain single, I am deeply offended.

    Just kidding. Not once was I offended by anything written here. Be who you were born to be. A man called to celibate priesthood won’t be satisfied in a romantic relationship. A man called to be a husband and father will never be satisfied in a monastery. Do what God is inviting you to, no more and no less.

    I also appreciate those last paragraphs. I live in a community that seeks to serve the poor and forgotten, while spurring each other on to our individual calls to creativity in writing, music and dance. It’s humbling, and sometimes awkward, and beautiful. Don’t wait to sing, to write, to dance, to draw, and to love. As Arnold said, “Do it! Do it NOW!!”

    Your community needs you.

  17. Greg Sykes

    Thanks, AP, for being such a consistent voice of grace, and mercy, and balance in a confusing world. I believe your body of work — whether it comes via your songwriting, your blogs, or even your testimony in your concerts — has earned you the benefit of the doubt when folks want to nit-pick yours posts or comments. I admire your heart and sincerity, and I promise to always give you the benefit of the doubt. Your ministry in my life has earned that. God bless and press on, brother!

  18. EmJ

    And further I am compelled to add, “Hear, hear now! Let’s raise a glass to patronage!” (Which cheer I imagine to be followed by copious clinking and a few hearty gulps.) While in real life I am by necessity a teetotaler, this is the Rabbit Room, after all. Glad to be sitting around the table with y’all.

  19. Andrew Hall

    Thanks for these posts. Before ever stumbling upon the Rabbit Room today via Kevin DeYoung’s blog, I was actually reading 1 Corinthians 7 this morning (as a total “coincidence”). How apropos. I do realize every day how many adjustments, sacrifices, and compromises I make for the sake of my wife–not in any sinful way, just stuff that is mindful of her rather than of myself alone. What lessons!

    Anyway, I really see in your writing a lot of sincerity, wisdom, and gentleness–the fruit of the Spirit and a cause to rejoice. Keep it up, brother.

  20. Peter Br

    And lots of it! Thank you all for that beautiful exchange.

    In other news, Ron Block has been replaced by a near duplicate. See if you can spot the difference.

  21. DanChurch

    Andrew,

    Thanks for this elaborate and helpful ‘journal’; from the logistical aspect to the distinctions of the responsibilities of single and married people.

    I’m sorry people do not understand the rather elementary, very basic principle that Jesus and Paul make so plain. Don’t let the imaturity of some deter you or stifle your heart’s processing.

    Thanks – God Bless.

    P.S. Come back to Maine

  22. joe thayer

    ….just a thought……The RR could set out a tip jar. I got $53.00 in my tip jar tonight. That would pay for a couple broken mugs. If you make it easy (as easy as buying an Itune), I’d drop a buck in the tip jar every night as I head out the door of the Rabbit Room. “G’night. Nice job. See ya next time”.

  23. Brad

    Joe, I like the tip jar idea. I’m always amazing at how little is left to post once the thread has gone on for a bit…the responses are always so good! I need to put in my “thanks” to you AP for a thoughtful and timely article. I have wrestled with the questions of how to best handle the money side of Christian music and usually come up with as many questions as answers.

    However, I have settled a few things in my mind. First, Paul makes it clear that if someone is sharing their spiritual gift (a true gift here) and are compensated for it, the spiritual gift is more valuable than the money given in return. So, I have no problem with folks being paid or charging money within the realm of Christian music, so long as they are bringing something that is spiritually edifying.

    Second, for anyone who does have issues with folks charging for CD’s or concerts…find an artist who you believe has a valid ministry and support them. Sponsor a concert, buy a bunch of CD’s and give them away. Just like we should in any other area, find someone who is being salt and spreading light…someone who is building the kingdom through their art…and you provide the finances. In this way we can all seek to be part of the solution.

  24. Joy C

    Andrew,

    You have a way of expressing the Transcendent… of preparing a space for the Transcendent to break through and express Himself … that catches me unawares and blesses my heart. In that last pp, He touched my heart.

    Thank you.

  25. Becca R.

    Yes on the virtual tip jar. Paypal linked would be grand.

    I don’t know how itunes works beyond the basics. But what would be the downsides of a Rabbit Room album, made from music young musicians who hang here donate? Maybe one song per artist. The RR leaders would pick from songs submitted.

    Even if the recording technology isn’t top-notch, I’d love to just hear what people are making/thinking where they are with what they have. Sometimes I get frustrated that young talent and inspiration feel the pressure to access perfect recording equipment before the world can share their gifts. Some of my favorite music was recorded in a basement on Garage Band. The imperfections are evidence that these people are ministering where they are with what they have. I can listen past what could be better, out of love for the core.

    I’m down with glorifying God by honing high quality art. But at some point, vanity can also come into play. ‘Seems like I remember some folks in the Cherokee tribe used to intentionally add a miscolored bead into all their patterns. A sign of humility that flesh couldn’t be perfect. Whether that’s stinky flipflops or recording on Garage Band on location, seems like there could be a liturgy in that.

    I have a graphics background. I could do the art for free.

  26. DrewP

    I cannot tell you AP how much peace these posts have brought to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and thank you to all who post on this here online community. May you all be blessed today!

  27. Thomas McKenzie

    I’m going to write to my friend Andrew, and you all can read what I say. I’m going to do it in list form. If someone would like to object to something I say, this will be a convenient way of registering your objection.

    1. Buddy, there was nothing wrong with your posts. They were excellent.

    2. You got scores of comments. 95% of them were wholly positive. I know that the couple of negative ones sometimes drown out the others, but keep that in perspective.

    3. Let’s say that you actually did say something offensive. Big deal. I have all kinds of offensive opinions. So does everyone. So did Luther and Calvin. And Paul. And Jesus. If you have anything interesting to say, you will offend someone. Or you can go through life being inoffensive. But that life sucks.

    4. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. That includes you, and that includes those who have a different opinion. You do a great job stating your opinion. You don’t need to defend yourself afterward.

    5. When people read posts on the internet, sometimes they don’t read carefully. Then sometimes they react over a phrase out of their own stuff. So sometimes they actually disagree with you, but sometimes they are just reacting to their own internal dialog. It is frustrating, but there is nothing you can do about that.

    6. Keep it up.

    7. I love you. In a manly, Christian way.

    Thomas+

  28. Dan White

    AP,
    I always enjoy hearing from the proprietor; its a rare treat. I especially loved your recent post about The Yearling. I loved everything about it–the theme, the poetic way in which you described your experience.
    But this series of posts was a little different, wasn’t it? It was more straightforward; as if to say, “this is what I deal/have dealt with,” see if you can make sense of it. It seemed a little therapeutic in that way.
    But I especially appreciate what you’ve said here, b/c I’m constantly curious about the “nuts and bolts” of the life of the artist. How much does it cost to make an album? What’s it like to raise a family, tour the country, make music, write, etc.? How precious is the time at home? How magical is the day-in, day-out routine? How do you make money? How do you make enough to live? Who get’s paid what when I listen to your tracks on Rhapsody (I asked you this very question once; and you obliged. Thanks). Anyway, I appreciate this transparent, vulnerable view of your art and your struggle toward a proper view of wealth. Plus, I guess I’m a bit of a gossip, b/c really I liked hearing what people complain about. 20 bucks is a lot for a cup, sure. But, this isn’t just any ol’ cup, it’s a testimony to the place where our hearts and minds are inspired to create, appreciate, and shed light. Similarly, I don’t mind paying a little extra for your music (even though it’s no more than any other music I buy). It’s not just good music; it challenges me to see God and his world with awe and reverence. Your albums are priceless in that way.
    Thanks for enduring the struggle to create, inspire, and minister while trying to feed your family. I’m oh so glad you’ve made it this far. And I hope you sell a million copies of Counting Stars, cause it’s amazing!

    ~dan

    P.S. Thanks for serving as a youth minister for that year, without which I have a feeling that Tammy and I would probably have never set out on a journey of our own.

  29. Alyssa

    In response to Thomas McKenzie’s post, Item #4 (an addendum from my very own opinion in my mind, to which I am entitled):

    I agree that it isn’t necessary to defend yourself after skillfully stating your opinion. There are benefits to letting bristly critiques just roll off. But I think there is also value in caring enough about your readers and your message to address people’s concerns and clarify your points (even if certain things should’ve gone without saying). Necessary, no, but a sign of one who believes the message and cares that it is well understood.

    (I am not saying that TM does not care about his audience or message. No bristling, please, or I’ll be forced to defend myself.)

  30. Aaron Roughton

    Alyssa, are you implying that TM doesn’t care about his audience or message?

    (I had to ask, because I wasn’t sure about the rules on parenthetical disclaimers (much less NESTED parenthetical disclaimers) and whether they were subject to defense or not. I am not actually bristling. Only in jest. Please feel no actual need to defend yourself.)

  31. Alyssa

    Peter Br: Don’t worry, I’m just a defenseless, materialistic female.

    Aaron: I thought that went without saying.

  32. Peter Br

    Hey, you warned me about the bristles. Serves me right for bringing oral hygiene into the public eye.

    Note: Normally I would not be strutting through the forum advertising Bromine, but for some reason my first name/final initial combo was being rejected by the post engine — perhaps the regulars are nursing an old grudge against Boron.

  33. Aaron Alford

    I have a big, hit song that I am willing to donate to the Rabbit Room, and that can solve everyone’s financial problems. It’s called, “Our God Is Truly Rad”. It’s going to be very, very big. Think of Rich Mullins meets Carman meets Lady Gaga.

    Think about it.

  34. Laura Peterson

    I’m adding an addendum to my comment #6, pretty much just to say that I did what Thomas is talking about in his point #5. (Sorry.) Phew, now I feel better.

  35. Chris Whitler

    I cried at some point in all three of these posts. And also in Pete’s description of the end of his story. Thanks. Like so many have said, I needed these words.

    I also cry in Disney movies. And sometimes while eating fried chicken.

  36. Melea

    Ok, so maybe this is after the fact, but as I’m just now reading all of these posts, I’d like to go back to the mug issue 🙂 – As someone who has been involved in the art fair circuit for the past 9 years as well has having taken a couple pottery classes myself, let me just say that $20 was a very reasonable price for a handmade mug. I would much rather pay that and help support a potter who is trying to make his/her living off of that than go to Wal-Mart and pay $3.96 for a mug made in China.

  37. Bobby Mooney

    I just wanted to say that your music, and that of other RR folks, has had a profound impact on my life and ministry. I pray you all will always find it worthwhile to go through all the work to make music, write books, and sometimes even comission mugs. Thanks.

  38. Paula Shaw

    Just for the record, Chris Whitler #45. . . Pete and Andrew always make me cry. Just had to say that.

    🙂

  39. Greg (aka Grego the Bald)

    I read part 1 about a week ago while at the laundromat. I’m single, never married, 38 yrs old. If anyone has railed against the Church leperization of single people, particularly men in their 30’s, it’s me. But I wasn’t the least bit offended by part 1. In fact, I laughed out loud a couple times in reading this post of apology, for that’s what it seemed. Sometimes, we bristle at nothing but the wind. I appreciated the insights into making a record, and into the emotional burden that goes along with it for a married person with children. God bless you, brother!

  40. becky

    3 things.
    1) Amen to everything Thomas McK. said (except the manly part).

    2) I’m single, and was not in the least offended by anything you wrote. I have felt that one of the greatest advantages and greatest disadvantages of being single is that freedom to make decisions without considering the welfare of a husband and children. Advantage because I AM able to go places and do things when I believe God wants me to, without considering the needs of a family. Disadvantage because of the temptation to selfishness. I think that being a spouse and a parent is a great lesson in self sacrifice every day. But isn’t that what love is–willingly giving up what I may want, or think is in my own best interests, for the welfare of the loved? That’s what Jesus did, anyway.

    3) I really agree with what you said about being patient and not trying to force things. Makes me think of Moses, killing the Egyptian overseer. And then spending years away from home, tending livestock in the wilderness, learning humility and how to wait for God. And finally being used by God in the most amazing way, at the time and in the manner of God’s choosing. When I try to force things to go the way that I think they should, it never works. But when I let God arrange things, the result exceeds what I could have ever imagined.

  41. Tracy

    Man looks at the outward appearance (of everything from money, to status, to personal growth) but God looks at the heart.

    We should be happy to support those who bring the message of Truth to the world, and even happier when we even get a mug for our contribution to supporting the ministry. (Which should be listed next to the description to avoid confusion)

    So many people are frustrated with the cost of living and finding an ends to the means that they express their frustration at things they don’t understand. Keep pressing on Andrew, the race is long, but there is rest at the end. Do not be discouraged.

    God bless you and keep you, make his face to shine upon you, be gracious unto you and give you peace!

  42. Pracades

    Really enjoying all these posts…and comments. Isn’t this what real community is made of? True conversation and connection happens when people voice their opinions and sometimes butt heads, then we are brought back together by the Grace of God and all are made a little bit more aware in the process. Wouldn’t life be boring if we were all the same?

  43. Pam

    Peter, I agree with you that the word simplicity describes Richard’s lifestyle far better than poverty.

    Richard gave generously to charity, but sometimes we forget he kept the average annual wage earned from his music. Most dedicated artists agree that an average annual wage is more than they have ever hoped to earn. It is a tribute to his talent and his success in a very competitive industry that he was able both to sustain himself and give what he did to charity–which was the point of his simplicity.

    Francis was in love with poverty–not Richard. Richard was half afraid of money, but he was wholly in love with charity.

    It is difficult to strike a balance between material needs and spiritual ones.

    Yes, we need our daily bread. And yet you can’t serve both God and Money. Nobody knows this better than an artist. To keep his gift pure, the artist requires freedom to create regardless of the material reward.

    Still, the most elegant, the least celebrated outcome of Richard’s charity was that it freed him to sing his song even while captive in Babylon.

  44. Jazz

    It’s also very hard for me to tell people my ideas. So most of the time I dont say anything, and assume every one knows what I know. Which, I am coming to realize more and more, is so not true. people do not know what I know, but they need to. So i am trying to get myself to speak up.

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