This is my friend Joe. To put it simply Joe is an incredible musician, dad, friend and all around artist with a great big heart. So if you haven’t heard Joe’s music before you should stop right there and check it out first and then return…
Ok, welcome back. Joe and I met when I was serving at Rose City Park United Methodist Church in Northeast Portland. One day he approached and told me that he had just moved from Sacramento where he had been going to church at The Table and Matt Smith was his pastor. When he told Matt that he was moving to Portland, Matt told him that I would be his pastor. So here was Joe letting me know that that is who I was to him now, his pastor. I was so excited! I accepted the duty right away because anyone that Matt sends to me….well, we know each other in our ministries.
Joe told me his story of moving and listening to his call in his heart for following his incredible music. He told me about what it means to be an immigrant and Christian in our context and what we miss in the Pacific Northwest because we just can’t see it clearly. Joe told me about how his music fulfills call on the deepest level and allows for his story to find movement.
So one Sunday we preached together in only the way we knew how…we told stories and Joe played music. I would preach about the movement in scripture, especially of the immigrant and Joe made music alongside my preaching and then told parts of his story. It was one of the best sermons I have taken part in. The Spirit definitely showed up and showed me that sermons are more than the preached word…sermons can be beautiful pieces of art that move and flow. We both came in well prepared and that allowed for movement in holy ways.
When Joe was ready to really launch performing, I offered the parsonage for a house concert and we live streamed his amazing show. In true Joe fashion he donated all of the ticket sales to benefit music in schools. When I left Rose City Park, Joe informed me that he would still serve where I served with the houseless. The people that I got to serve at Sunnyside got to then benefit from Joe’s incredible gifts. Free concerts happened at the dinners and Joe played for the fundraiser I organized. All of that comes out of his generous spirit.
Joe has been featured on podcasts and in articles. His creative spirit shines in ways that is infectious. When Joe had an idea to pair his storytelling and music with dance, that concert was moving and completely inspirational.
And when Joe told me that their family was expanding by twins, we celebrated and cheered. Now Joe is an incredible papa to two happy babies. I know this means sleepless nights and hard days but any glimpse I see of them is of Joe bouncing a baby and continuing to tell stories and play music. I know that his life isn’t all bouncing and happy but Joe is self aware enough to check in with himself about what he needs and then follows through which makes him more whole in his spiritual journey as well which I appreciate as a model of creativity and self awareness with a deep sense of the divine.
Of course, this is just the beginning….