Welcome to the Spirit Garage Blog! Here you will find occasional blog posts from our pastor, our musician, and some members of the faith community.
Dear Spirit Garage Members & Friends:
Hard to believe that 2018 is over halfway through! What a year it’s shaping up to be at Spirit Garage! We were thrilled to “officially” install Pastor Holly this summer after welcoming her as our Pastor in 2017.
Some of our other year-to-date activities include:
1. TWO community chili cook-off’s – Longfellow and Hook & Ladder
2. Longfellow Community Council’s Pie-no-Pie resource fair
4. Bible study at Peace Coffee
5. Theology conversations at Sisters’ Sludge
6. Book discussions at Moon Palace books
7. Open Streets
8. May Day Parade
10. Outdoor worship at Minnehaha and Lake Harriet (coming up on 9/2!)
We don’t talk much about finances, and that is on purpose. We don’t want our friends, members or people checking out Spirit Garage for the first time to feel pressure to give. However, from time to time, it is important to point out where we’re at from a financial perspective, in order to continue the good work that Spirit Garage has been up to the past 20+ years in helping people grow in their relationship with God and each other.
Spirit Garage is behind on our offering. Through 6/30/18, actual giving is $35,232, and our budget was $47,790. There is still time to make up our deficit!
This is a great time to re-evaluate your offering and consider making a one-time gift, or consider beginning or increasing your regular donation, if your budget allows. If you’d like assistance or resources with budgeting, please feel free to reach out to me.
As a reminder, you can give in the following ways:
- Text-to-Give is remarkably easy! Send the amount you want to give to (612) 255-1603. You’ll be taken to a webpage to enter your information. A “thank you” for your gift will be sent via text and email. At any time you can type “repeat” or a new amount and the gift will be made from your account.
- Electronically by visiting the Spirit Garage Donation Page to make a one-time or recurring gift
- Send check to Spirit Garage at 4100 Lyndale Ave S., Minneapolis MN 55409
- Come to worship, and put your cash or check into the oil cans that are passed around during announcements.
Thank you for your partnership in growing God’s kingdom! I look forward to celebrating Spirit Garage’s 21st birthday with you in October!
Drivetrain Team Member (leadership team) and Children’s Ministry Parent Coordinator
I get a lot of suggestions from friends and co-workers of songs that we should play in worship. I very seldom have to start from scratch for new ideas, because they keep landing on my lap—so much that I literally have a sticky note titled, SURF & SNOOP containing songs, artists, websites and such that I peruse on those need-a-new-song days.
Almost all of these suggestions are right on the money for one criteria or another, but that’s the problem. They hit ONE criteria that would qualify it for a worship song. Sometimes the message of the piece is perfect, but the melody has nothing memorable to it. Sometimes the song is easy to play and sing but has no real substance to the lyrics. Sometimes the song is easy to sing, has a message that fits our topic of the day, but would be too complicated for any regular band to play.
Let’s talk MESSAGE. So many songs have been suggested for certain topics that I’m often overwhelmed to choose just one. Sometimes we have 6 songs at worship revolving around “water” or “forgiveness” or “crucifixion”.
It’s very easy for the band and myself to play the same old songs that we’ve done before dozens of times. We do this for several reasons: it cuts down on workload/learning time, our congregation is familiar with it, we’ve already got arrangements/charts drafted, etc. We always have to balance these familiar tunes with brand new material.
I often get push-back from the band about a song or two; I have to balance my gut, my head, my rehearsal times, and my player’s availabilities to determine weather we play it safe or push forward into new-song-territory. The bottom line is that if the scripture and sermon topic presented doesn’t jive with the lyrical content we are singing, it doesn’t feel right. No one wants to hear “Learn to Fly” for a sermon about the head of John the Baptist on a plate.
Sometimes we are hard-pressed to find ANY songs that deal with a particular topic at hand, and the entire set is comprised of material that ONLY sets-up or reflects on the aftermath of a scripture/sermon. Anyone else confused by Jesus’ parables?
Johnny Cash’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down” has been suggested to me so many times. I’ve balked at this each time because the suggester can’t give me a solid reason why it would pertain to worship—other than the facts that the song contains the word “Sunday”, he mentions a church in verse 3, and there’s a general sense of remorse. I hear it as a helluva lonely hangover song, but it never seems to match a scripture or sermon theme. I love Cash; someone find me a sermon this song matches. Anyone in the Bible feel remorse and self-loathing from the night before and craving forgiveness?
More currently, artists like Trampled by Turtles, The Avett Brothers, and Mumford & Sons are writing songs that are wonderfully introspective and poignant. When we look at how scripture is interpreted these days and how our political and cultural landscape is marred by discord and anger, different points of view and new connections are needed. Please, keep sending in those song requests. They force me to connect as well as be challenged in workload and viewpoint.
Church nerd alert: this past Sunday I had the opportunity to join two Sunday school friends in worship at the United Church of Christ parish in my old ‘hood. So there we were all in a place two of us weren’t familiar with wondering what it might be like. I felt a little like we were seven or eight again. I think we behaved fairly well: we dressed appropriately, didn’t need to be pinched to subvert squirming, and there were no pew kneelers for me to loudly play with.
Pastor Lawrence delivered a sensitive sermon on Matthew 5:1-4 (“blessed be those that mourn for they will be comforted”), Psalm 23, with references to King David losing his beloved son. He mentioned in his sermon that he had written a book describing some of his own losses. I was so captivated that I bought his book after the service; of course I had it signed!
In his thought provoking and poignant autobiography, Pastor Richardson shares his cathartic and poignant autobiographical story of his life as a transgendered person of color called to Christian ministry of word and sacrament. Raised, living, and serving in Minneapolis, he shares his story of a very troubled childhood which in some ways is reminiscent of Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called It. Despite all of the abuse and neglect he suffered at the hand of family, the church, and the larger society, he remains true to his calling to God and to himself. Pastor Richardson’s light shines on all whom he encounters.
This book is especially helpful because it clarifies aspects of LBGTQ identification and lifestyle which is probably unfamiliar to most of us living outside of that circle. It also includes some valuable biblical commentary on the topic.
This book is an easy read and I literally could not put it down until I had finished it. I highly recommended it to everyone but most especially to those who work or worship in Christian churches and to those that work in social service type of occupations.
Richardson, Lawrence Tanner. 2018. I Know What Heaven Looks Like: A Modern Day Coming of Age Story. LTRichardson.com.
Heidi S. Hansen, Spirit Garage Children’s Minister
The Drivetrain is the leadership team of Spirit Garage, the group that makes things move!
Can you believe summer is already half over? As we steam through July (literally!) we hope you are joining in some of the summer fun we’ve been having. We’ve had worship in the park at Minnehaha Falls, the Earth Day clean-up and picnic, and the Longfellow neighborhood walk. Coming up we have Revealed live at Carbone’s Pizza and Three on the Tree rocking it at Open Streets. And don’t forget to get your tickets to the August 17th Saints game! You can find information about these events on the calendar page.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes we are already planning for fall. The Connectors Marketing Team has been working hard on a new outreach plan, and we have a new logo and a new look in the works. We’re also reaching out to old friends as we plan our 21st Birthday/Homecoming party for this fall in October.
Summer’s moving fast, as it always does. We hope you have time to get out and enjoy it and meet this wild God of ours in the warm sunshine! Good things are on the horizon but for now …back to the pool!
July 15- Minnehaha Falls Bandstand Worship
When: Sunday, July 15, 10:30am
Each year we hold worship at Minnehaha Falls Park. Our annual free community picnic will follow at 11:45 at the picnic tables adjacent to the bandstand. Look for Spirit Garage Signage to guide your way.
While the picnic is free, you are welcome to bring something to share! Please sign up here so that we are sure to have all our bases covered.
During lunch, CD Onofrio is going to share some music with us. CD is a musician from Niagara Falls, Canada, and Berkeley, CA and likes to travel the world sharing music. You can hear his sound here.
After lunch, take some time to enjoy the park walking and bike trails down to the falls and creek below. Bike and Cart rentals are available at Sea Salt Restaurant.
Traffic may be tricky this day, as Lake Street is supposed to be closed.
July 22-NO WORSHIP service but come out for Open Streets!
Open Streets: Lake+Minnehaha
When: Sunday, July 22, 11 AM-5 PM
Where: The Hook and Ladder, 3010 Minnehaha Ave
Art Vandalay will be playing at 12 noon; 3 on the Tree will be playing at 2pm. Volunteers are needed to help with they day including string art & crafts table, making cotton candy, live music setup/teardown, etc. You can sign up here to help! This is a great way for us to connect with the neighborhood we call home. So if you’ve been wondering why anyone hasn’t found us hidden away in our little building for a couple hours a week….well, it’s because we need to be out in the street! This is a great time to do that. We will mostly be in between the police station and the Hook and Ladder Theater, so we should not be hard to find.
Summer always has a lot going on, because we have to be outside when we can! Here’s hoping it is not too hot. As we think about that, we’ll just remember that it has only been 3 short months since our last blizzard.
See you in the Wilderness!
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to participate in a three-week Spanish Language and Hispanic Ministry Intensive at the Lutheran Seminary Program of the Southwest in Austin, TX. It was simultaneously an amazing, insightful, and thought provoking experience. While there, we students were introduced various national, internal and external cultures: languages (linguistic dialects), histories, values, beliefs, customs, clothing, family and social organizations, foods, music, arts, religiosities (traditions, rituals, and communities), and governmental politics within many overarching Hispanic contexts.
While there I elected to stay with two families to further augment my experience. I stayed with one family of Mexican decent in Austin and one of Columbian descent in San Antonio. In these two locales I was also mentored by two pastors (one Anglo: Ellen Williams and one Puerto Rican: Eric Miletti) serving bilingual congregations and was able to participate in both the English and Latinx worship services. The Latinx worship services were especially engaging and spiritual using traditional Lutheran liturgy embellished with congas, maracas, and tambourines.
These experiences along with the scheduled formal presentations gave me the opportunity to learn history from a perspective other than that which I was taught growing up. I heard how the United States of America’s politics have adversely affected and contributed toward the current crisis’ in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. I heard horrific stories of persistent racism and abuse in Texas and beyond. It was shocking to hear Enedina Vasquez, a Tejana (indigenous Texan-Mexican descent) relate how she was told to “go back to where you came from” when in fact her ancestors predated Texas’ statehood. I was sickened to hear a gentleman from Togo living in an Austin shelter retell his harrowing immigration story which included a flight to Brazil, a trek through South and Central America, questioning in Panama, rafting to Texas only to endure a 10-month detainment in a cold cell with a final release to the shelter where he was receiving legal assistance. He was ever so grateful to have just been granted a truck driving license. It was a dangerous journey wrought with violence, bribery, and occasional human kindness. Nicole Garcia shared some of her troubling experiences living as a transgendered Latinx candidate for ordained ministry and I heard a young woman named Julieta relate some of her experiences as a Dreamer.
Julieta’s story prompted me to participate in my first ever rally (United We Dream) dressed in a clergy collar where I heard immigrants, attorneys, and politicians speak and march in downtown Austin. I was personally thanked by a couple of people for “showing up”. They were appreciative of the church’s presence. It might serve as a reminder to all of us to show up where and when we are called. We are all the church and we are all called to share the good news and hope in Jesus. Throughout scripture are many stories of migration: Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Joseph’s brothers, Moses, Ruth, Esther, the Samaritan, and lastly Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. We are instructed in both the Hebrew and New Testaments to care for widows, children, and immigrants without qualifications. Jesus himself commands us do this in Matthew 25:31-46.
There are many great religious and secular organizations doing fine work on behalf of refugees: LIRS and Ammparo are two such ELCA affiliated organizations. Please consider how you might be of service to our neighbors however you are gifted. I want to encourage everyone to work together to eliminate suffering and walk alongside refugees to eliminate injustice and find sustainable solutions to long standing issues. There is hope.
Lapazde Jesucristo/The peace of Jesus Christ, Heidi+++Spirit Garage Children’s Minister
Welp, we have joined the mega-church trend of having a screen and projection during worship. There are many reasons for this: saving paper usage, eliminating the staring-down while the band is up front, saving time in formatting, etc. We still have a printed bulletin [worship order, announcements, people up front, etc] but it’s much less work to assemble it now.
Some of you have noted that you miss taking the lyrics home with you. We have your solution! All of our original lyrics are now saved in the members area of our website. www.spiritgarage.org. Select “Login” or “Signup” to access them. In the dashboard, select “Downloads” and BOOM, there you go. You can easily view or download them. While you’re there, check out the Prayers, Announcements, Hosting Guides and belonging booklet. These documents will help you participate in worship if that’s your thing.
What about all the other songs that you play? Can’t we see those lyrics too? Yes, but those lyrics are not ours to do with what we please. One lyric site I like to use is http://lyrics.wikia.com. There have far less ads and clickbait than most sites. Say for example, you wanted to read lyrics to Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers’ Ballad of Lupe Montosa. They have it. Click HERE. BTW this is the 3rd saddest song i’ve ever heard.
While compiling all these lyrics into single documents from our full-length cd’s, Free Parking, Faith, Love and Rock & Roll and #the40project, i got a little nostalgic thinking about how these songs were written. Some were written on computers, some were started on scratch paper or bar napkins, and at least one was written on an airplane motion discomfort receptacle. I’m certain more songs will join the fold, but it occurred to me that we only have 37 definitive recorded versions of these songs. Although we aren’t quite ready yet, we have MANY songs already that are ready to be recorded. I’m excited to think about another recording project. What would the theme be? What songs do we already have that fit together? What songs have moved you [and me] the most?
As some of us mourn the loss of printed word, others embrace focusing our energy into something else. Something new. Something audible.
As always, we welcome suggestions for songs to play and more importantly, songs to WRITE. All suggestions can be sent to email@example.com. Let’s all write some lyrics today.
The Drivetrain of Spirit Garage is a leadership group of people that deliver power (direction, motivation) to help move Spirit Garage forward.”
We are up and running! After just two meetings, the DriveTrain is becoming focused and running at high RPM. We have taken on some specific roles and are going to work hard this year to make some important changes to, and help maintain other, Spirit Garage events, missions, community engagements, and financial goals.
The first is events. We have planned three big events this summer, labeled as “Summer Nights with Spirit Garage.” Our first event is approaching quickly, “Longfellow Walking Tour,” on June 27th from 6:30-8:15. Starting at Hook and Ladder, we will be walking a 3.5 mile triangle starting south, including ice cream and a park, and end up at Rodeo Nuevo for a drink for those who want to stay out a little past bed time! The second is a Revealed concert at Carbone’s on Cedar Ave, July 21st, and wrapping up summer with a Friday night (Led Zeppelin!) night at the St. Paul Saints on August 17th.
Our mission statement as the DriveTrain is currently being fine tuned to really encompass what we are trying to accomplish and will be shared with the community as soon as it is polished and waxed up.
Our financial goals are little behind this year. You have all done a fine job getting us as far as we have. However, we are looking at a year-long deficit of over $12,000. With just a little simple math, assuming 50 people show up per week, that is a mere $10 more per person per week. Sounds like a lot, but there are more than 50 people that give to Spirit Garage regularly, so knowing that, every little bit helps. A dollar, a peso, a euro; whatever you have laying around that you could see donating to the meaning you get from sitting in on a sermon from Holly or a sweet lick from Kerns. If the spirit moves you, never hesitate to feel good about giving to a great group of people who work tirelessly to bring you great music and wonderful messages every week. If you have an extra $5 here and there, we can take this ugly deficit out and finish the year strong!
Finally, have a wonderful, warm, wet, crazy, cool, safe, spirit filled summer! We’ll see you at the Hook and Ladder next Sunday!
We often try to domesticate God, but what if God is wild?
This summer we have a summer exploration theme: God is Wild. Lots of times, we think we know what God is up to, and people think they have a pretty good sense of what God thinks. This is what I like to call our “God box.” We think we know what is in that box. But I wonder if by doing that if we make God too small? And what if God is wild and can’t fit in a box?
Each week this summer, we’ll focus on a different story from scripture where God acts in a way that seems contrary to the order we might expect. Why would someone plant a weed in a garden? Why did God make such strange creatures? Why doesn’t God know how to dress for a party? Does God change God’s mind? What is that crazy dream about? All these questions have something to do with the texts we found that tell us wild stories about God.
Along with that, you’ll hear “Wild” songs all summer long (You can read John Kerns’s post about the wild songs), and hear poetry that is about the wilderness or wild things.
We also have a summer book read, and three dates for discussions if you’d like to participate: Brené Brown’s newest book, Braving the Wilderness will help us form discussions about being brave in unknown territory; being brave in the face of vulnerability, and finding true belonging. Join us for a book discussion night upstairs at the Moon Palace Bookstore, 3032 Minnehaha Ave. There is also a cafe there if you want to grab food or drink.
There is one book behind the counter with my name on it that you are welcome to buy from Moon Palace! I put it there just for you!
Join us for a God is Wild Summer Exploration!
Our summer sermon series, God is Wild, features a lot of these wild-titled songs at worship. We believe that God cannot be contained in a box and exists everywhere, even the dark places like rock & roll. It’s nice to know that my job allows, nee, REQUIRES me to play the likes of Steppenwolf, Tom Petty, INXS, and Duran Duran at church.
Check out this Spotify playlist I’ve created. In an ongoing effort to support musicians and their craft, please listen to this often; each spin gets the artist a fraction of a penny so let’s make it add up!
- Junior’s Gone Wild is not on Spotify, so listen here.
- Wild Child by Kenny Chesney & Grace Potter may not be viewable in the playlist. Listen here.
- The Mob Goes Wild by Clutch may not be viewable in the playlist. Listen here.
The God is Wild Summer Playlist:
- The Mob Goes Wild by Clutch
- Wild Animals by Trampled by Turtles
- Wild Thing by The Troggs
- Wild One by Thin Lizzy
- Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf
- Walk On Wild Side by Lou Reed
- Wild Child by Kenny Chesney & Grace Potter
- Wild World by Yusuf/Cat Stevens
- Wild Boys by Duran Duran
- Wild By Troye Sivan
- Wild Wild West by Will Smith, Dru Hill, Kool Mo Dee
- Wild Wild West by Escape Club
- Into The Wild By Philip Philips
- Into the Wild by LP
- Wild In The Country By Elvis
- Wild Life By Inxs
- Wild Wild Life By Talking Heads
- Wild In The Streets by Bon Jovi
- Wild Times By Jeff Lynne
- Wild World By Johnny Stimson
- Wild Child By Heart
- Wild Child by Sugarloaf
- Wild Side By Motley Crue
- Wild Flowers by Ryan Adams
- Wild Cherry by Foghat
- Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones
- Wildflowers By Tom Petty
- Honorable Mention: Cum On Feel The Noise by Quiet Riot
- Junior’s Gone Wild by King’s X
Summer Podcast: For the Wild
We hope to see you at Spirit Garage on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. at the Hook & Ladder Theater for the God is Wild worship series.
Enjoy the God is Wild playlist!