Derek Webb: On Engaging Culture

On engaging culture, go to the words of Jesus.


“Living the Dream.” What Does This Mean?

Within the last year, as I’ve casually asked people how they’re doing, they’d respond: “Living the dream.” I guess I’m suppose to know what they’re talking about. Excuse me for being out of the circle of pop culture, but during this short season, I have a life to live that lives mainly on books. This can’t be that dream, can it?

Relatively recently, a guy (fellow seminarian) asked me if I was living the dream. My response: “I don’t know. Life is hard.” Without giving me more time for further explanatory response, he answered, “You just gotta trust in Jesus, man…”

So, especially since that curious conversation cut short, I’ve asked the demanding question only within myself and to my wife: “What does it mean to live the dream?”

Anyone have a cultural clue here, as to what this saying might mean?

The Way The Eagles See It #1

Frail Grasp On The Big Picture (2007)

Well ain’t it a shame ’bout our short little memory

We never seem to learn the lessons of history

We keep making the same mistakes – over and over and over and over again

And then we wonder why we’re in the shape we’re in

Good ol’ boys down at the bar

Peanuts and politics

They think they know it all

They don’t know much of nothin’

Even if one of ’em was to read a newspaper, cover to cover

That ain’t what’s going on

Journalism dead and gone

Frail grasp on the big picture

Light fading and the fog is getting thicker

Frail grasp on the big picture

Dark ages

And you, my love-drunk friend

All that red wine and candlelight

Soulful conversations that go on until the dawn

How many times can you tell your story

How many hangovers can you endure – just to get some snogging done

You’re living in a hormone dream

You don’t have the slightest notion what long-term love is all about

All your romantic liaisons don’t deal with eternal questions like:

“Who left the cap off the freakin’ toothpaste?” “Whose turn to take the garbage out?”

Frail grasp on the big picture

You keep on rubbing that, you’re gonna get a blister

Frail grasp on the big picture

I’ve seen it all before

And we pray to our lord, who we know is American

He reigns from on high

He speaks to us through middlemen

And he shepherds his flock

We sing out and praise his name

He supports us in war

He presides over football games

And the right will prevail

All our troubles will be resolved

We hold faith above all

Unless there’s money or sex involved

Frail grasp on the big picture

Nobody’s calling them for roughing up the kicker

It’s a frail grasp on the big picture

Heaven help us

Frail grasp on the big picture

All waiting for that miracle elixir

Frail grasp on the big picture

I don’t wonder anymore

Frail grasp on the big picture

You brought her here, so go ahead and kiss her

It’s a frail grasp on the big picture

The Way I See It #230

“Heaven is totally overrated. It seems boring. Clouds, listening to people play the harp. It should be somewhere you can’t wait to go, like a luxury hotel. Maybe blue skies and soft music were enough to keep people in line in the 17th century, but Heaven has to step it up a bit. They’re basically getting by because they only have to be better than Hell.”

— Joel Stein

Columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

This is the author’s opinion, not necessarily that of Starbucks.

To read more or respond, go to

The one phrase Mr. Stein got right: “[Heaven] should be somewhere you can’t wait to go.”

Chesterton: On Seeing Truth

There is a thing called temper[ament]. It does colour one’s common life; the sky and landscape alter it; also it alters the sky and landscape. But temper[ament] is not the key of the universe; temper[ament] is not truth. A good-tempered man is not a saint; nor is a bad-tempered man necessarily a sinner. We all see truth as a light through very various windows; the question is, which of us wish to pull down the blinds?

G.K. Chesterton, Illustrated London News, Dec. 17, 1910.

The Way Thoreau Sees It #1

Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant? We should live in all the ages of the world in an hour; ay, in all the worlds of the ages. History, Poetry, Mythology! — I know of no reading of another’s experience so startling and informing as this would be.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or, Life in the Woods