amy courts: en route


The Randomness: A Generalized Update

I’ve got a cold, so this may be random. But hey, what can you do with a cloudy braid but write a blog about everything?

I just read a blog entitled “The Music Debate” about the place of “secular” music in the church. Interesting. It got me thinking about the calling card of so many mid-90’s bands: “We’re not a ‘christian’ band; we’re christians IN a band.” I remember MXPX going on about it – mostly cause they were being hounded by Christians who didn’t appreciate their not-all-about-God music. I guess I didn’t really have a problem with it. What I had a problem with were the people who said, “I’m a musician who happens to be a Christian.” Cause that’s backward, to me.

Here’s why: Whatever I am, and whatever I do, I am identified by and with Christ. His blood runs in my veins; His DNA is imprinted on my genes; His priorities are my priorities, His values are my values; His new law of love and service and self-sacrifice are written on my heart. God is growing Christ in me to make me who I really am. At my very core, by definition, I belong to Christ and am identified as His.

So really, my faith is not just another part of who I am. It is the filter through which every other identifying factor is sifted. My belief system is a product of my faith. My politics are a product of my faith. My songs are all tempered – or salted, as it were – by my faith. The way I relate to people is filtered by Him who lives at my center. Indeed, whether I’m singing about my husband, hurting because of a broken relationship, angry about work, or overjoyed by an opportunity, I am doing so as a Believer, just as I’m doing so as a ‘Courts.’ Just as my family DNA has an effect on everything I do and say, so does Christ’s. It’s who I am…not just what I’m about.

So, in the end, I’m not an artist who happens to be a Christian. I am a Christian who happens to be an artist, a wife, a friend, a sister, a dog owner, a writer, a thinker. Whatever I am is primarily identified by Christ in me.

It’s just an interesting thread to follow.

Here’s another thread to follow: I’m a little bit obsessed with ebay and craigslist right now. Since our desktop PC crashed and now lives, unplugged and utterly useless, in our closet, I have been scouring tax-free sales lists for sweet deals on iMacs. Indeed, when I decided to buy my first laptop two years ago, I bought an Apple iBook G3 which solidified my committment to Macs. Then, when its screen started acting funny, I bought my second mac, a PowerBook G4 which I’ve upgraded to the max (it runs on Leopard with a 1.5gHz processor – the best of its kind – and at 1.25gb, is maxed out Ram) and am currently typing on. I love it. It’s given me some trouble for sure – not two months after I bought it, I had to get a new hard drive and dc-in…but I blame that entirely on an evil ebay seller who neglected to tell me the facts about the machine. Still, it’s a dream.

And so, as I peruse the cybersales looking for an iMac desktop, I inevitably get sidetracked by the oh-so-cheap $85 350gb external hard drive, and the $400 Dell gaming pc which Paul would love, Love, LOVE but about which I’m understandably wary, since our now-dead PC was a dream machine when we bought it, but which failed to make it through one itty bitty viral attack. So while I like the “cheap” factor, I hate the “PC” factor.

The worst part about our PC dying is the fact that I cannot access our 10gb of iTunes music, and can’t transfer what’s currently on the iPod to my de-lovely powerbook. Why? Because my iPod is formatted for PC, not mac, and because apple is totally anal about people not sharing music. So I’ve spent the last few sick days importing all our CDs onto my powerbook. I’m currently importing Fleetwood Mac’s “Say You Will.” Good music, for sure.

I think that’s all I’ve got for right now.

Except one more thing: I really can’t wait for next Wednesday when voting will be over, the campaigns done, and we won’t have to listen to any more drivel from either side. At this point, I don’t really care who wins; I just want to get on with life.

Can I get an AMEN!

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Unto the Least of These

In the midst of the current political climate as we all explore the foreign and economic issues that will inevitably (and have already, in so many ways, proven to) define a generation of a nation, it’s often difficult to pull out the lens and widen the perspective. To remember to look at things in terms of morality and individual responsibility, and bring the health and progress of our country – and our world – back to our own level, taking it into our own hands.

But then there are times we hear or read encouraging clips reminding us that ultimately, we have the power to change and rearrange the way things are. In fact, it is the calling for which we’ve been especially enabled.

Over the past couple days, I’ve stumbled across some incredibly engaging and empowering stories of people like you and me refusing to leave our world and its care – especially that of the least of these – in the hands of politicians, or really, anyone else. These people refuse to assume anyone else will do what must be done and choose to use their voices to empower the weak and provide for the orphan and widow.

Yesterday, I read Relevant magazine’s review of the Art*Music*Justice tour with Sara Groves, Drek Webb, Sandra McCracken, Brandon Heath, and Charlie Peacock. And while the article certainly highlighted the sickening ability of the artists to weave melodies and lyrics in such a beautiful way, the focus of the article was on emphasizing the purpose of these artists whose mission is to use song, video, and prose to engage and empower listeners, driving them to action on behalf of worldwide victims of injustice. And as an artist and singer-songwriter, I have to say how righteously jealous I am of these artist’s ability to tell a story of injustice and hope in song. It is such a struggle for me to get out of my own head and thoughts and write about issues more important than me, especially because I feel so inexperienced in the writing. But they inspire me…to go, see, experience, and bring it back as fuel for the engine that will drive us to the end of poverty, sex trafficing, genocide, and all worldwide injustice.

And it all leads me to one inevitable conclusion. If we, who even in the midst of economic crisis, are still among one of the wealthiest nations on earth, then certainly we have the means to act on behalf of those Christ loves. No longer is it simply an opportunity, or even an obligation or responsibility (though I do believe, given the commands of Christ and the sheer volume of Scripture’s references to making the care of orphan and widow our primary concern, as they are His dearest).

Instead, it is our greatest honor.

That we humans who so often find thousands of reasons to avoid others and focus on ourselves have been not only commissioned with the care of the victims and impoverished, but entrusted with their care tells us that not only does God want this from us and for them, but that He believes we can do it because He – the Almighty God of the univerise – has equipped us to accomplish it.

Besides the fact that our God is so passionate for the fatherless and the widow that He has embedded in each of us a similar passion (that only needs to be uncovered), it is the greatest hope to realize He has chosen and specifically equipped we who love Him and love what and who He loves to accomplish His will among the least of these.

My heart bursts with fiery passion that you would know the deep riches of the love of Christ, and to pour this same love on those He so desperately loves and longs to see us serve. There is no such great hope, nothing so exciting or empowering among politicians, no matter who we each believe ought to be the next President of the United States.

Ultimately, beloved ones, we are the ones with the tools to change the world. We have been entrusted with the care of the victim, with stewardship of the Created earth, with the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual development of our children, and most importantly, with the love of Christ going into the world. We are His ambassadors whose fight is for justice and peace around the world.

This is our charge; this is our responsibility; this is our honor.

Let us not sit idly by waiting for someone else to do what is only ours to do!

GET INVOLVED THROUGH ANY OF THESE (AND SO MANY MORE) ORGANIZATIONS:

ONE-TIME INVOLVEMENT
(Give a one-time gift to any of these organizations and watch it go for miles):

Freedom’s Promise (rescuing victims of sex trafficing and restoring hope through freedom)
Blood:Water Mission (digging wells and providing medicine to meet the two greatest needs of Africans today: clean water and clean blood)
Charity:Water (100% of donations taken in are applied to clean water projects throughout Africa)
ONE (Eliminating poverty worldwide)
Food for the Hungry (FHI provides the basic physical needs of children worldwide while developing programs for education, spiritual development, and international advocacy.)

MONTHLY INVOLVEMENT
(Make a monthly committment to supporting individual children and village projects with as little as $7
per month)

Mocha Club (This organization, with which I’m an artist sponsor, takes $7 per month – the cost of two mochas – and funds the development of orphanages, rescue villages, universities, medical facilities, and more throughout the continent of Africa. Bonus: If you join my team supporting the Child Mothers Village of Hope in Gulu, Uganda, you get FREE downloads of BOTH my CDs!)
Compassion International (Through Compassion, we can sponsor children from almost everywhere in the world, and with just $32 per month provide for their education, medical care, clothing, food, and future hope.)
World Vision (Similar to Compassion, one person with about $30 per month can become a child’s sponsor and watch their growth and development over the course of their youth.)

USE YOUR HANDS (Donate Your Time)
(Call your local organization headquarters and get involved on the ground either in your own hometown or around the globe through any of these organizations.)

Habitat for Humanity
(HH not only builds houses for lower-income families, but offers financial and lifestyle coaching for all its receipients while giving everyday people an almost weekly opportunity to serve our neighbors.)
Youth for Christ (Contact your local branch and find out how you can serve the youth in your community by either coaching a group or hosting a party, etc.)
Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army, etc. (Locate your nearest store and ask the manager how you can volunteer.)
Mercy Ships (Join a Mercy Ships crew for a minimum of one year and be part of saving lives through providing FREE major medical operations and basic health care for the impoverished in Africa and the region.)
American Peace Corps (Similar to Mercy Ships, you can join for a year and travel the globe meeting basic needs of people in thousands of impoverished or developing areas.)
Contact Your Local Homeless Shelter, Domestic Violence Shelter, or Teen Shelter and find out how you can help, whether by volunteering your time (or gathering a group to serve), or gathering goods for their use.