Archive for February, 2009

Christian Piatt @ Downtown Bar Tuesday, 8:30

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

I know it’s short notice, but I want to invite you down to First and Main to the Downtown Bar in Pueblo. I’ll be playing a couple of acoustic sets, and it may be the final one for a while as they may be changing it up on Tuesdays for a while.


As always, no cover. Come and enjoy!

Five must-haves for parents of any newborn

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Five must-have items for parents of any newborn

By Christian Piatt

My wife recently gave birth to our second child, baby Zoe, and she is awesome! She’s very laid-back, sleeps six to eight hours a night and eats like a champ.

Now, while I like to believe some of this is just her natural disposition, combined with our experience in raising our first kid, there are some things that make life much easier, which some folks still may not know about. So here’s a list of my top ten must-haves for newborns:

Glycerin laxatives: Infant digestive systems are constantly changing, especially if you supplement breast milk with formula. although our baby Zoe was a very happy kid, she naturally got awfully grouchy when she got all “backed up.” for our first son, we used little glycerin suppositories, and these things work like a charm! Just make sure you have a diaper handy, because their little GI systems may kick in within seconds. All doctors and nurses we’ve checked with assure us this is a safe way to relieve constipation for infants, and it certainly makes for happier babies and parents!

Simethicone: Unlike an adult (or my five-year-old son, for that matter) who can willingly let a burp rip any time we feel a little bloated, babies sometimes need a little help. Simethicone, whose name-brand equivalent is Mylicon, is a safe way to help break down those painful bubbles and keep them from passing through into the lower intestinal tract. Because the drops are not absorbed into the baby’s system, they’re safe for little ones.

Happiest Baby on the Block: There are tons of baby how-to books out there, and no new parent has the time to read much,but this is the ONE book you need to know about. Why? First of all ,the strategies for soothing a baby, and for helping them sleep well and on their own really do work, as I can attest with two kids now. Second, much of what the book imparts is counter-intuitive, so it’s something we have to learn. If you got nothing other than how to perform the “Five S’s” with your baby, this book is worth it’s weight in gold.

A Swaddling Blanket: Though my personal favorite by a country mile is the Miracle Blanket, there are lots of swaddling blankets to choose from. You can even use any regular blanket, if you know how to wrap your baby up right (see book reference above!). A lot of people think it would be uncomfortable to be wrapped up so tight, but remember that babies spent nine months folded up on top of themselves in the womb, so that’s what feels familiar to them. This, combined with the other “S’s” taught in Mr. Karp’s book noted above, has made a huge difference for us.

Time: One of the biggest regrets I have with my first son is anxiously awaiting each new stage of his development. And while this sort of anticipation is natural, you can miss out on some amazing moments with your child, while waiting for them to grow up. Carve out plenty of time every day just to gaze into your baby’s eyes, to play with them on the floor, to read them books, sing them songs, and generally enjoy every minute.

While it may seem hard in the moment, this time in your life truly will be gone before you know it. Enjoy it all!

The economy, faith, consumption and the future

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

The total negative impact of recent economic developments in the United States alone has conservatively been pegged at around two trillion dollars. That’s more than $6,500 for every person in the country. Now, we have a plan with an $800 billion price tag to help shock the system back to life. Meanwhile, economists not only say it will get worse; many are saying some of the damage is irreparable.

This resonates with recent reports on climate change that suggest even if we stop the increase in Carbon Dioxide emissions worldwide today, some effects of global warming are already irreversible.

We have not seen such pervasive nihilism in some time. After all, part of the American Ethos is optimism in face of the odds, and hope against hope, right? So what in the hell do we do now?

For anyone willing to recognize the facts, this omen has been a long time coming. Consumers have built their lifestyles upon debt, as has the government, and the economy, which once was founded upon a production-based system, now relies more on consumption and credit than on making anything.

As a result, we have presidents issuing multi-billion dollar checks and telling us to go buy plasma televisions with them, and even under a democratically-controlled Congress and White House, we end up with a stimulus package, more than forty percent of which is made up of tax cuts.

We talk systemic change and infrastructure, but short-term solutions and personal comfort and security ultimately dominate public policy. What business, after all, does a nation have in giving itself a tax cut when the already enfeebled medicare and social security systems are dissolving before our eyes on top of everything else? And this economic infusion may be our last, best hope to change things once and for all in the way we operate in the world.

But are we ready?

Perhaps the more appropriate question is, does it hurt enough yet? Sure, most of us have had to cut back, and unemployment is creeping toward double digits, but compared to other nations, we’re still incredibly well off. Most of us have money for new mobile phones, dinner out and the occasional tickets to the movies. Times are tough, but are they tough enough to enact real change?

I think this is one way in which organized religion has the potential to be very relevant in this most important global dialogue. The themes that hold true potential to redeem us, both individually and collectively, are not new, though we may tend to abandon them in times of prosperity. Consider these fundamental spiritual “truths” if you will:

It’s not all about you.

Know the difference between needs and wants.

Discomfort, and even a little suffering, is not entirely bad.

What are you doing TODAY to make the world a better place?

If you/I/we truly lived out the mandate to love our neighbors as our selves, consider how different the world would look.


Seek peace over success, and gratitude over results.

See God in ALL others, not just those who are easier to love.

We are caretakers of the earth. Act like it.

You need much less than you think.

No object you can buy, finance or consume will make you a better person.

Author and theologian Frederick Buechner says that your personal calling can be found where the world’s deepest need and your deepest joy intersect. For me, I believe that is found on the written page. For others, it may be right where you already are, and if so, you experience a rare blessing on a daily basis. If not, how many more days will pass before you find your own calling?

I firmly believe that, if we all were operating within the framework of our personal calling, we not only would be better off as a planet; we would be more joyful as well. The dualistic nature of the human animal is that, in the words of Paul, we do the very things we hate. And not once, but over and over again.

When might we catch on that the voice that has led us this far may not have our best interests at heart after all?

Hair: Jazz & Spoken Word piece on Podcast

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

I’ve recently released two CDs on CD Baby, iTunes, etc. One is my acoustic singer/songwriter stuff, and the other is a spoken word and jazz improv project, called S’aint Trio. Though you can pull samples from CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon MP3, they’re only 30 seconds long, so I thought I’d post a full track, since some folks may not be used to this kind of stuff.

The piece I selected is called “Hair,” which is a tribute to my ongoing, complex relationship by body hair. It’s definitely my more humorous stuff, so don’t expect the same goofiness on the whole album, but this seems to be the most popular piece when I perform it.

Click here to check it out.

Church 2.0: Spider vs Starfish (Part two)

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Originally posted at the DisciplesWorld blog.

Last week, I threw a bit of a teaser out there, with this whole “Spider vs. Starfish” concept. As I’m sure many of you have lost hours of sleep, and perhaps have had a hard time forcing down a decent meal in eager anticipation of the follow-up, I figured it wasn’t fair to keep you waiting any longer.

The whole concept came from a book on business management practices, called The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom. The model presented here resonates with the idea I’ve had for a while now that church could learn a whole lot from the structure and governance of organizations like twelve-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. After all, they have reached millions with virtually no budget, and they seem immune to economic conditions, flourishing while we institutional churches struggle to keep the doors open.

So what’s the difference?

I might help answer that question with another question; if you cut the head off a spider, what happens? We all know it dies, right? But what if you cut off the arm of a starfish? It just grows another starfish. Where you once had one, there are now two. In trying to stop it, you actually only made it stronger.

So, how many of our churches are more like spiders instead of starfish? I thought so.

Here’s where the advent of recent technology might teach us an awful lot. If Rebecca Woods will indulge me in the future, I’d gladly post some other blogs about using applications like facebook, podcasting and blogging to further our ministries, but for now, let’s consider them a little more systematically.

In particular, consider a phenomenon known as “Web 2.0.” This is much like the so-called “leaderless organizations” that Brafman and Beckstrom are referring to. They are viral in nature, highly adaptable and scalable, and relatively easy to manage because the users generate the content.

I’ll offer a few examples to clarify the differences between a 1.0 – or spider – model and a 2.0 – or starfish – system. Amazon, which has become a behemoth presence for online commerce, would be considered a 1.0 model. They have a product that they sell to customers, pretty much in the traditional model, despite their lack of storefronts. Though they’ve been successful up until now, they are depending on some basic truths about the market. If, for example, the cost of paper or transport fuel went through the roof, it would affect their business model significantly, or if a supplier shut down, they might be stuck.

eBay, on the other hand, is a 2.0, or starfish, model. eBay, as you probably know, doesn’t actually sell anything. All they do is create the framework within which people can conduct business. This means they can be a conduit for everything from sweat socks to automobiles and homes. If the price of gold plummeted and jewelry markets crumbled, people could just sell more baseball cards or used books on eBay.

Another comparison might be looking at the difference between the traditional military structure versus a network like Al Qaida. Though you can throw an entire military into chaos by attacking its senior leadership or supply lines, Al Qaida is hard to stop in one sense because it is a headless beast. You kill or capture current leaders, and a dozen more pop up in their place. The system is so adaptable, it’s hard to stop.

Our churches have been based upon a 1.0 “spider” model for centuries, and so far, it’s worked pretty well. But now, we’re surrounded by starfish like facebook, Craigslist, BitTorrent, MySpace, eBay and the like, and we wonder why it is that we, the institutional church, don’t seem relevant to younger people.

For starters, we not only don’t look familiar: we don’t even look relevant.

People may not be able to put their finger on it, but they know 1.0 versus 2.0 when they see it, especially younger people. There are consequences to being a starfish organization instead of a spider, such as letting go some control over the content exchanged within the system, but there’s great opportunity as well.

In future installments, I’ll discuss a few more ways in which we can employ Church 2.0 methods in or existing congregations, both with technology, and even on our boards and in our Sunday School rooms. But for now, look around you and see if you can start spotting the differences between the spiders and starfish, all around you.

Until next time!

Christian Piatt is the author of MySpace to Sacred Space: God for a New Generation, and Lost: A Search for Meaning, and he is a columnist for various newspapers, magazines and websites on the topics of theology and popular culture. He is the co-founder of Milagro Christian Church in Pueblo, Colorado with his wife, Amy. For more information about Christian, visit

My Faith Story – (audio chapter) from “MySpace to Sacred Space”

Friday, February 13th, 2009

My Faith Story (new podcast)

February 14, 2009 by christianpiatt

My wife, Amy, and I wrote a book a couple of years ago called “MySpace to Sacred Space: God for a New Generation” (Chalice Press). One of the main themes of the book is that young adults, many of whom feel alienated from organized religion, are seeking meaningful connection with one another. We believe one of the best ways to nurture this sort of connection is through sharing our stories.

In the book, Amy and I both share our own stories of our relationships with faith, religion and God, and so I created this audio chapter of my own personal journey.

Click here for my WTFWJD Author Podcast .

Like any relationship, there are good and bad times, but in all, I’d say it’s been worth it.

You can also subscribe to the podcast, where I’ll continue to add other audio chapters and interviews with some interesting folks, on iTunes, Podcast Alley, Podbean or at my personal website which you can find at

Let me know what you think, and please check out the book if you dig the podcast.

My CDs and Podcast, all up now on iTunes

Friday, February 13th, 2009

If you pull up iTunes and search “Piatt,” you can find my podcast and both of my new CDs featured in the top window. Pretty groovy.

The podcast is free, of course, and the CDs…well, they’re worth it in my humble opinion.

Please check it out and share with friends, family and enemies. Gotta get the word out, yo…



Pomegranate Phone says a lot about us

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

If you have not yet heard about the Pomegranate Phone phenomenon, you’ve missed the latest buzz:

The ad reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer talks about
how great bacon, pork chops and ham all are, and when Lisa explains
they’re all from the same animal, Homer rolls his eyes skeptically. “Oh
sure,” he says, “some maaaagical animal, Lisa.”

The Pom, which boasts a HD projector, 50 language real-time voice
translator, on-board coffee maker, electric shaver and, of course, a
harmonica, is said “magical animal.” Problem is, it’s a big, fat,
would-be awesome fake. I knew, as I was watching the phone suck up a
glass of water and spit out piping hot coffee from a modified K-cup
insert, that it was a viral video scam.

But there was this little part of me that cried out, “hey, I want to
be able to shave while speaking Farsi, playing the blues and sipping a
latte! I want it, I want it!”

The very fact that the Pomegranate is even within the realm of
comprehension is phenomenal in itself. I mean, I just picked up a G1
“Google Phone,” which sports a touch screen, full qwerty keyboard, web,
email, camera, and a high-speed connection. I can look up anything in
the universe by voice command on Google and look up any product in the
world and compare prices by snapping a picture of the bar code. I can
have my phone “listen’ to any song being played digitally and it’ll not
only find the album cover, artist, publisher and year released, but
it’ll also link right to Amazon MP3 or iTunes so I can download it to
the on-board MP3 player.

Ten years ago, I was considering my first mobile phone, whether I
really could use it or not. Now, I not only have the G1 wunderkind
phone, but as soon as I saw something better, even though my logical
mind kept reminding me it wasn’t real, I longed for it. I pined, I

At the heart of the technology industry is a delicate dance between
wooing you with a seductive dance for the new, while also making you
dissatisfied with it, pretty much as soon as you get it. Thus the cycle
begins again. Though the Pom is laughable now, I’m sure there’s some
geek somewhere that’s watching this viral ad and thinking, “yaknow, if
I tweak my iPhone just so, I bet I could make it brew coffee…

Who says our economy’s in trouble? God bless human innovation, combined with an insatiable desire to consume.

Church 2.0: Spider vs Starfish (Part one)

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Church 2.0: Spider vs. Starfish (Part one)

By christianpiattWritten and posted originally on  NewsMuse, the DisciplesWorld blog.

I’ve been asked a number of times to speak to various churches and other leadership groups about young adults, their relationship to organized religion, and their take on – and use of – technology. Unfortunately, church and technology tend to generally mix about as well as the football team and chess club. Neither the two shall meet, right? Who needs technology to find God, after all?

Sure, a few of us may have put up a screen to show words to our praise songs, and we may have even had a kid from the youth group throw together a website for us…which hasn’t been updated in about forty-seven years or so. As they say in the twelve-step tradition: how’s that working out for you? Folks generally fall into one of two categories. Either they are terrified by technology and want to have nothing to do with it in church at all, or they see it as some sort of silver bullet that, if aimed properly, will magically fill the now-empty pews with young families.

In truth, neither perspective is particularly realistic. For one, technology isn’t going anywhere, so by ignoring it, we risk making our churches even more irrelevant. On the other hand, if we hope that technology – or emergent worship, whatever that is, or a groovy website, or even a podcast – will save us from a fate we’re hoping to avoid, we may be putting way more trust into a handful of tools than they deserve.

Rebecca has invited me to contribute a few pieces to the NewsMuse blog, for which I’m honored and grateful. In future installments, I hope to share some ideas about how technology can be used to complement a vibrant ministry, as well as dispelling some misconceptions about technology, digital media, social networking, emergent worship and so many of these postmodern-emergo-hip buzz phrases we hear so often, yet about which we understand very little. So stay tuned to explore questions with me such as:

What exactly is “Church 2.0?”

Are you a Spider Church or a Starfish Church?

What do young adults really want from organized religion?

What the heck does it mean to be postmodern, and what is emergent worship?

Until next time!

Christian Piatt is the author of MySpace to Sacred Space: God for a New Generation, and Lost: A Search for Meaning, and he is a columnist for various newspapers, magazines and websites on the topics of theology and popular culture. He is the co-founder of Milagro Christian Church in Pueblo, Colorado with his wife, Amy. For more information about Christian, visit

Two Piatt CDs, now on CD Baby

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

I’m happy to announce I have to CD projects finally available to the public.

The first recording is a spoken word and Jazz Improvisation project  I completed last summer with some amazing young players. The session is live, and I think there are some moments of great chemistry caught in this recording. The group is called S’aint Trio and the recording, titled “An Improvised Faith,” is named after one of the tracks:

The second is a collection of solo acoustic pieces I have written over the years, some with multi-tracks, and some just straight-up live. It’s called the “Effect-Free LP” because it’s completely absent of any digital magic, hopefully to let the true spirit of the songs shine through:

Hope you enjoy it. If you do, please share the word with other who might as well.