Feeling Appreciated

Last night Becky and I headed to Rocketown (the music venue and skate park) in downtown Nashville for Compassion‘s annual artist appreciation dinner.  Here are the highlights from the evening:

1. My homeboy: Michael beginning his remarks with “Keeping it real and the whole deal.” (Semantic stretch?)

2. Spanked and inspired: Tony Neeves (VP of International Development for Compassion) speaking on how import caring for the poor is to God and how, if we know God, we’ll care for the poor.  He took a few tangents along the way.  One of them was on technology.  The developing world now has television and internet cafes.  And this allows the poor to “press their face up against the glass of our lifestyles” here in the West.  They know what they’re missing now.  And this breeds resentment and despair.  Another tangent was on the Church in the West.  He spanked (Gently, of course.  He’s British.) the wealthy Western Church for caring so much about their people having a pleasant experience that pastors are no longer (if they ever did) speaking about injustice and poverty in the world.  He ended by reminding us that the problem of poverty is too great for billionaires and governments to fight.  But not too great for the Church, united, to wage war against.  Inspiring.

3. Blogging Brit: A brief conversation with Vicky Beeching about blogging and the importance/fun of conversation between artists and “fans” on the internets.

4. Being thought of by a legend: “What’s your last name, Shaun?” Dallas asked.  “Groves.  Shaun Groves,” I said.  “I thiiiink I’ve heard of you,” he said.  Thanks, Mr.  Holm.  And congrats on 38 years of making music.  That’s a lot of hotels and rental cars – and it’s been known to affect one’s memory.  I forgive you.

5. Little people: Turns out, I’m taller than Wayne Watson, Andrew Peterson, and everyone in Hawk Nelson.

6. Yummy: Key lime pie.

7. Uganda Reunion: Anne, Randy, Chris, Doug and Heather all made it to the appreciation dinner.  I appreciated that.  Hugs, laughter, and fried chicken ensued.

8. O Canada: I’m huge in Western Canada.  Who knew?  I sure didn’t.  The folks from Compassion in Canada informed me of this last night and we began hatching a plan to visit the North more often in 2008.

9. I’m very twelve sometimes: Allie‘s husband Kirk (road managed Bebo back when I toured with him) comes up and says “I’ve been hearing a lot about you, man. Lots of good stuff.” (I have no idea what that would be.) So I say, “Yea, I didn’t plan on making a calendar like that but the nudity has been such a hit on stage we just decided to give it a shot and see what happens.” To which he says, with a straight face, “Well, yea, I’ve always thought that was your best side anyway.” We laughed like the twelve year olds we are and another artist walks up right then, introduces us to his lovely wife.  “I’m Shaun,” I say.  “I’ve seen your Shlog!” she says.  Awkward.  And a good laugh.  Oh, the things you’ll never read in media coverage of Gospel Music Week.

10. You’re what?: My boss at Compassion introduced me to the crowd last night as an independent contractor working with bloggers.  The ambiguity of the intro made for some great questions from fellow artists and industry types afterward: You get paid to blog? (Um, no, not exactly.) You’re doing what with bloggers? (Just go here or here.) What’s a blog? (Seriously?)