Sunday, November 29, 2009

A case of 48 books for $48.

A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to buy some of my first book from the publisher back. They had pretty much stopped selling, and were dumping them for $1 a copy, so I said, hey. Can I get a few? They said, how about the remaining?

Somewhere around 1,300 books.

It presented a dilemma. I am not traveling around speaking, or have any real way of getting the books into the hands of men, and young men at a large scale. They ain't flying off the shelves or in high demand.

But imagine if all your hard work and labor of something was being discounted at somewhere around 90%. Maybe a version of you at a really cheap rate. I'd like to think while many of us would pay more for our own version then most, we do like ourselves. How could you not go in at 90% off of yourself. You would have to buy yourself at that price.

And how many of yourself would you buy at that rate?

1, 5, 100, or 1,300?

I guess I figured if anyone was going to take that price, it should be me, right? So, I ponied up the money, and bought them. Priceless, original, out-of-print copies of my first book. Pretty dang cheap.

And now they sit. and sit. 1,300 of yourself just sitting there with no one to want them but the person that made them. and to be honest, he's not sure if he made the right choice. I think all 1,301 of us are kind of getting bored at staring at each other. while they are pretty independent, this one has to eat.

I figured, maybe I could sell them. so, i offer me to you, the 90% off me.

you could hand them out to a youth group, use them for firewood, or a ministry, or just give the old beggar a few coins in the tin cup, but I am willing to get rid of them for $48 a box. which includes 48 copies. then $10 to ship them.

So $58 for 48 books.

I think Donald Miller's newest hard back is selling for about $58. so maybe that is where you need to make a real economical decision. 48 of xan, or 1 of Donald Miller. those could be some true odds.

If you are interested, give me a holler at

Good tidings.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

All things come together.

As a young teenager, one of my good friends was Wade. We worked out together, dreamed of our girlfriends, and in some ways, felt a bit outside of the circle of friends we ran around with. He went to one high school, I went to another. We were dreamers without much to back that up, or without understanding of how that was part of a potential calling in our life.

I just placed my first order with Buffalo & Company with his company that he has built called USIMPRINTS. Ordered some croakies as they say in the south, or sunglass straps for the rest of the world.

I doubt it made much of a dent in their bottom line for the month, but it was a great full circle, and coming around for me. I have watched Wade grow his business, and watch him grow as a great man of integrity, and strength. He has supported our work at Training Ground with some of those profits. which has in turn, allowed me to grow in my calling as well.

In ministry, you can often feel like a beggar. We are in the end of the year giving season, and so our plans begin for how to invite people into our work, and ultimately ask for their resources. While it's more dignified, it is still begging. Asking for something, that you know, will not necessarily return something in return for them. We are begging on behalf of others, not just for our ourselves, but we are begging.

I have had to learn how to walk into that. I am not an easy begger. But God has called me to that, to intercede for others and their journey.

I think that is what felt so coming around for me. I could step in the chain of business. I could trade one item of value for another. He could serve me a product I needed, and I could return give him the cash for it he was looking for.

There is most certainly a difference in the realm of business and ministry. and some of us are called to beg, and others to give. and that goes from money, to counsel, to just about anything. we all should be beggers at some point, it is a gospel mandate.

I guess, I just feel so grateful to be able to give back the market value of what is asked. not to necessarily ask for a donation. ministry folks need that. in fact, i kind of have this brewing theory that those in ministry, would do good to learn the other side of the table for awhile. and business leaders, could do well to learn what its like to in some form, beg. for others, or even themselves.

its too easy to stay on one side of the table. either out of shame, or pride. I feel honored in this season at Training Ground, and for Buffalo & Company, to experience a bit of both. Both needed, both good.

Saturday, November 07, 2009


What does true creativity look like?

There is a self expression inside creativity, that is marked with uniqueness and distinction of all its own. Nothing tied down, or limited. Its a form of making something all new.

Being part creative, and part business, there is always a place between the two I have enjoyed blending. I think for capitalism to work well, you have to provide a service or product needed for people. It has to serve a need. If not, the business fails. So, there is plenty of marketing, and I guess you would are not say, "creative" ways to get people to see something in a certain way.

And then on the other side is the pure artist. They are not bound by conventional means. Production is a negative. And expression and uniqueness is the full means to true art. Fleeing all that business and marketing crap.

It is quite ironic that most of the art, whether it be writing, or music, or you name it, come from very well aware business and artistic types. They know there is a place for both. To get your music to be played in many places, requires some major commitments to be a good manager of your talent, your time, and your pursuit of sharing your art.

I think that is why I love the two dilemmas. the artist needs to eat. the business man needs to create. neither probably are naturally wanting that. the business man wants the bottom line, the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the numbers for his investors. but most people buy, for very immeasurable reasons, often because of something like art. and beauty. and desire.

the artist tends to want to stay in their focused place. not to be consumed by the world of production art, or mass anything. they are purists. but then, the rent payment comes around. and the cost for those guitars.

I think there is a beautiful tension between those two. how do you create honest art that also creates a paycheck. and how does the businessman offer value to his stockholders, while knowing full well that even at the end of the day, when the rich investor goes home, he probably took some of that money to re-decorate his house, with designer chairs, and beautiful paintings, and sculptures that are all one of a kind.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

From our friend, Sister Therese.

I just received this from a lady I met a few years back who teaches at Training Ground the ancient practice of contemplative prayer. She is a benedectine nun here in town. I call her my spiritual grandmother. She wrote this in response to a newsletter we sent out at TG about our time hunting.

Dear Xan: Thanks for the update. You are coming along fine.
I have a question - Why does hunting to kill an animal make a man?
Many blessings on your ministry to young men.
Sr. Therese

Many different thoughts are there. John Muir spent time with Teddy Roosevelt, and one of their more argumentative topics was on enjoying animals vs. killing them. Muir the naturalist. Roosevelt the hunter. Muir thought a man was meant to come out of this place. that killing for sport was an adolescent experience.

Here is a quote I read from Muir,

"All hale, re-blooded boys are savage, the best and boldest the savagest, fond ouf hunting and fishing. But when thoughtless childhood is past, the best rise the highest above all this bloody flesh and sport business, the wild foundational animal dying out day by day, as divine uplifting, transfiguring charity grows in."

There are many sides to this argument, but a look at the fall, tells us death will come. And maybe even God was the first hunter. Killing something in our place for Adam and Eve to put on their shame and nakedness. a shadowing of the blood needed to come. There is so much in this conversation. so much. There are some who hunt for merely trophies, other for the meat, others for the bonding time. not an easy one to try and sum up. but i believe any sane man, who hunts, needs to ask that question. and live from it in the hunting process.