Showing posts from 2009

Church is not about assets.

TWEET from @vatenor: Church should move beyond buildings, budget, and bylaws. We need a new paradigm for church "assets", including staff.
THOUGHTS THAT FOLLOWED:Community building and community service is critically important, even as a larger church body... but the church must not look at just sharing its buildings as directly missional. The church body must engage with partners and not be afraid to source institutional services,  then utilize those "shared" organizations and opportunities to demonstrate missional actions and behaviors. It must seize opportunities to be missional not replace missional actions with administrative functions of institutional governance. EVERY church should have a corp of home missionaries whose specific task is to engage with local business partners, and particularly community organizations sharing facilities. The "mission" for that corps should be to build relationships, assist generously, and strive to …

HISS: Head In Sand Syndrome

I have a 4 children 12 and under so I am finely attuned to the pace of change in my world. Every day brings with it an opportunity, and yesterday as I was leaving for work, my 5 year old, youngest.. said

"have a good day Daddy, and try not to break anything"

That caused me to start thinking a bit about what I do to "not break" things and how I set a balance to ensure that I am safely planning for the future. My recent indepth study of SaaS and cloud computing models has introduced me to the idea of "speed of thought" execution coupled with "rate of obsolescence" for my decision analysis.

I am now constantly thinking about my delivery speed both as a technologist as well as a musician. I want to create and embrace culture and opportunity with its energy and excitement. I have hope for the future, but vigilance is required to avoid breaking things unnecessarily.

Perhaps, the bigger risk for all of us, is to try too hard to maintain the statu…

Alarmi, Alarmi, Are there artists among us?

"Whether they explicitly acknowledge themselves as leaders or not, artists often move others to follow them — into neighborhoods, into a new a social movement, or even just a dialogue. They do it through the skills that are inherent in their work as professional "inspirers" and provocateurs." @JohnMaeda & Becky Bermont

As an artist and performer who continues to perform and who has also been working in the corporate world for over 15 years now, I often struggle with making the switch between my performing persona and my leadership presence in the conference room.  I read an article this morning by esteemed thinker John Maeda and it resonated strongly.

Why business leaders should act more like artists.

Mr Maeda makes three key "aha" points which I strongly agree with. but the last is the most profound for me.
Artists constantly collaborate.Artists are talented communicators.Artists learn how to learn together.In this age of constant change, I be…

Roasted high notes

Olim Lacus from Carmina Burana : Carl Orff, Tenor Jeff Prillaman

Had a great performance with the Waynesboro Schola Cantorum few weeks ago. The link below will play a pretty good archival recording from my field recorder that Tracee held in the audience.

Gotta love the roasting swan and those crazy high notes..
Happy Thanksgiving!


Short List 2009

I am thankful for:
Grace and Love that passes all understanding.
My beautiful and exceptional wife. Tracee
Wonderful children. Alyssa, Emma, Joshua, and Clara
Freedom to live and choose.
A chance to make a difference for others.
My education and skills and the mentorship of so many who have come before me.
Blessing of Music in my life.
So many friends and family members all over the world.

Break Dancing - Va tenor style.

Illusion of expertise is dangerous.

Image is by Tim Heitz. Check his blog out for more excellent art work.Read a great blog post from Seth's Blog that resonates on many levels. The old saying is "I know just enough to be dangerous".. perhaps that is true and the danger is ever increasing in an age of information.  We must learn to filter and understand who we are and what we know. We need a support community around us made up of experts, service providers, colleagues, and friends. We must use common sense, and not be afraid to ask for help from others. Are too many becoming "Amateur Scientists" these days, maybe even a bit of mad scientists? MY 2 cents:  You don't have to be an expert. You just have to be "good enough" and maintain the ability to rely on and communicate with real experts. Don't spend so much energy trying to justify(talking to myself here) just state what you think and move on. On the other side, we should spend time thinking about what we think and why.... That…

What is your ex"change" rate?

We can embrace change by exchanging trust and accountability with our colleagues, family, and even friends.  Today isn't as well formed as my normal posts, but I have been addicted to Twitter lately, so it is starting to invade my thinking and force more compact statements which sometimes connect but not always.  In my mind these ideas all flow. 

Every day remains an opportunity.  The more I say this, which I do a lot, the more I think it sums of an attitude of accepting and dealing with a constant state of change. This is a reality in our world.  I add the point that to survive in a constant state of change, requires a constant exchange of trust, collaboration, and cooperation rather than competition. Constant change is hard and requires a mature perspective which I may never achieve but each day is an opportunity to try harder to change.

Change is an impact of growth, but it can also be a leading indicator of dysfunctional system. Discernment in this space is tricky …

Guess I'm crazy...

I have heard both of these before, but I just saw them and just had to take a few minutes to write them down.. for all of us.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do…”

-Steve Jobs / Apple

"The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."  Albert Einstein

Simple words

Trust... Proverbs 3:5

God has plans to prosper you not harm you...  Jer 29:11

all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.   Rom 8:28

Ordained, expectations

Big day for the Prillamans today.  I was ordained as a Deacon of Huguenot Road Baptist Church. Here is what that means to me.

1. I am now honor bound by my committment and covenant to engage as a servant leader within the ministries of HRBC.
2. I have been recognized by my congregation for my service to others and my dedication to using my blessings and  skills to further others' relationship with Christ.
3. I am now held to a higher standard for my words, actions, and deeds. This is due to my role as ordained by the church members as as set forth in the Bible 1 Timothy 3:8-10
4. Service to others must be paramount in my mind and actions. 
5. I commit to use my skills to further the work of the church in order to help the congregation spread the word. (e.g. administration, building, teaching, benevolence, inreach, outreach) Acts 6:1-7

1 Timothy 3:8-10 (NIV)
8Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9T…

License to shine

Family watched Coach Carter tonight.  First thing worth saying, is this is a good movie. It is well acted, and has a strong social message reinforcing accountability, and individual contribution within our larger societal construct. Bravo... Bring your A game and work together to make a difference in every life you come into contact with.. Be who you are, powerful and special, lighting the way for others to follow you, carry you, and beyond.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It&…

Flashback, Future, and Faith

The last few weeks have consisted of a bit of a rebirth of creative spirit for me.  Perhaps it is a result of my rehearsals and the concert at Bruton Parish. Perhaps it was just the end of Summer and a return to the energy of the Fall seasons in church and school. Perhaps it was the musical immersion at the cathedral and our wonderful trip to see friends and reminisce at both WCC and Juilliard a bit.  This creativity flows through my writing, my meetings, and my music alike, but it blurs my sense of exactness, creating the uncertainty and naivete of a young child. I feel as though I need a guide, a compass, a tune, or even just a reminder of my faith.

"Perhaps, the flute will be my guide" is what Tamino would say near the end of Act 1.

I'm never sure what to call  these periods of creativity, maybe they arise from the divine spark, maybe perspective, maybe rational, logical cycle of passion and energy sort of like a recharge of a battery.  I honestly don't know but I…

No stranger to these sounds. Review: Organist, Scott Dettra at the Washington National Cathedral.

The afternoon was stunningly beautiful, with clouds rolling across the skies in front of us as we made the trek from Richmond up I95 to DC.  It is a long, unpredictable road but our plans to hear Scott play had been interrupted so many times in the past few years... today was the day.  We loaded up all 4 children in the van and headed out right after church to try and make it to the National Cathedral for evensong at 4 and the organ recital of celebrated, principal organist Scott Dettra at 5:15.  

As you might expect, things didn't go as planned and the occasional storms wreaked havoc with traffic patterns.  Arriving at 4:40 we were able to walk into the cathedral just in time to hear the end of the Evensong service with the glorious "Like as a Hart" by Howells soaring into the highest reaches of the cathedral.  The sounds immediately transported me back in time and for just a minute, I could feel myself as a member of the Westminster Choir recording this same piece with…

Atlas doesn't shrug in my mind even after weeks.

These quotes continue to come back to me over and over in these past weeks as I reflect on my recent journey through Atlas Shrugged.  Many of these ideas present contradictions to my subconcious ideals about the world as I know it(as I learned it in school and church),  yet they are so blatantly obvious and simple.  When I couple these concepts of accountability with my deep seated desire to love and encourage others to succeed I think I begin to make just a little sense of my world.  I don't know all of the answers, but I know for sure that I indeed want to live.  What an awesome book, for anyone who wants to seriously reflect on himself, and our world today.

"Who is John Galt?"

“For if there is more tragic a fool than the businessman who doesn’t know that he is an exponent of man’s highest creative spirit, it is the artist who thinks that the businessman is his enemy.“ Composer Richard Halley

"Who is the public? What does it hold as its good? There was a time whe…

Tenor to get a Händel on Bruton Parish

You are invited!  Organist Charles Lindsey and Tenor Jeff Prillaman of Da Capo Va will be presenting a concert of historic music in a beautiful historic space on Saturday Evening 8pm,  Sept 26, 2009.

The Candlelight concert series is a favorite of tourists and locals alike.
 Don't miss your opportunity to Kick off Fall in VA in fine fashion.

Bruton Parish, Candlelight Concerts

Parking is permitted on Duke of Gloucester in front of the church on Sundays and for weddings, funerals, concerts, the Wednesday Eucharist and Healing Service, and other special occasions. We ask that the parking spaces close to the front or side of the Church be saved for those who are handicapped or those who have difficulty with walking a distance.


Jeffrey Prillaman, Tenor
Charles Lindsey, Jr., Organ

 All Music is by George Frederick Handel (1685–1759) except Pietà Signore, which is by Alessandro Stradella (1639–82).  The Trumpet Tune on Siröe is an arrangement by Charles …

Actions and consequences on the journey

Actions matter, but in the end.. Believers are "good to go" and have nothing to fear. 

We seek relationship with others and with God.  Those relationships are strengthened by every trial, every failure, as well as every "good day".  I, like so many, tend to focus and want every day to be a good day, but that is just not likely to be a reality as long as we are here.  This is a vision of Heaven that I get very excited about.  "a peace that passes all understanding",  and image of the paradise model set forth in the Garden of Eden. 

I am bound by my world, to work, to produce, and to provide for myself, my family and my community. When I make good decisions, and act well, blessings may follow.

My faith reminds me that I am "beloved of God" just as David, was. I am likely to act poorly, and suffer consequences here, but the goal should be the journey, not the goal.

"It’s one of God’s great promises that …

Religious Objectivist

I believe and am a Christian. I believe that God ordains a rational order of self. That self should choose to act accordingly and those outcomes ultimately benefit our fellow man. God is in control but he ordains freewill and freedom requires objectivist reasoning.

Photos above represent my thinking as it was just after 9/11. They were taken by a good friend and showcase creation as it is "managed" by man, and creation as it is "managed" by God. I have hard copies which I plan to frame someday and showcase in my home.

Both have intrinsic beauty, complex structures, and infinite views. Only one is flexible enough to sustain itself over time. God's creation embraces freedom and creativity at its foundation, but not every tree survives, nor does every creature. God's grace provides for that when it comes to man.

We came together today, we just couldn't stay there...912 thinking

Spent some time talking with family last night and we ended up talking about service and action in the world around us. Kids are excited to be serving in THE CLINIC at Huguenot Road Baptist Church today.

I wanted to, but didn't share how I was disappointed that I didn't go to Washington DC for the 912 Project rally. When Alyssa asked me what I was "doing" about all of the things we have talked about in the past months it cut like a hot knife through butter. She was right.. a 12 year old, middle schooler. I need to be focused more on doing, as we all do.

We seek to influence and act through our music and relationships on every front.
The Summer forums were wonderful.
We invested in friends and in our community relationships.
We continue to invest money and time into DaCapoVA because it is the right thing to do. Tracee continues to lead the children's choirs at HRBC. I sent a recording of my performance of America the Beautiful to Glenn Beck, hoping that it might he…

Waves, Incoming

My job opportunities/search of late has led me to think in great depth about what I am seeking for my future. Here is the "short" list.. ;-)
Environment for my family which empowers and inspires them to succeed both individually and collectively.Continuing opportunities to teach, and encourage as well as learn from other adults.Flexibility in my committments which will allow for the continuation of my singing career. Opportunities to innovate and execute transformations in business, religion, and the arts.A thriving, diverse community of friends and supporters.
The world continues to pound me with waves. I pray for the patience and the ability to ride them, bust them, duck under them, and get up after I am knocked down.


For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LOR…

Intersection of ideas in quotes, from friends--seeking more.

From a FB thread today.. favorite quotes from friends regarding the intersection of Politics, Religion and Economics with civility and honor..

Jeff Prillaman
"If we want to bring together what is divided, we cannot do so by imposing one division upon the other or absorbing one division into the other." Thomas Merton

Unity starts with civility and a sense of honor and respect for one another.

Laura Oberdier Pfortmiller
I'm on a Tolstoy kick this week - and this seems appropos: "The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him."

Valerie Bernhardt
There is no true joy in a life lived closed up in the little shell of the self. When you take one step to reach out to people, when you meet with others and share their thoughts and suffe…

Illusion of inclusion, choose me...

How exactly does that illusive doctrine of "Free Will" play out in your life these days.

For months we have talked, and talked about why people in contemporary modern US culture actually choose to come to church. So many times we come to church in order to be fed and because we want children to have a good spiritual foundation(more feeding). We come to listen to the preacher, maybe sing in the choir, maybe even just to have coffee and donuts with our friends in that new contemporary/casual service or in the hall before Sunday School. We want to learn more, to "understand" the world around us. We attend with the core intention of receiving, maybe even shopping for services, friends, facilities, and yes, the dreaded word: activities.

As I awoke this morning, these thoughts were racing through my mind. Does my church remember that I have free will and should it even matter? The last 10 days have included 4 pretty serious books. The Shack, Life Together, and New…

Unity requires a circle of relationship, not a chain of command

Circles of relationship trump chains of command.

I continue to struggle with a view of God that isn't bound by omnipotent authoritarian command. As I repeatedly sin by trying to be the "I AM" in my life, I do so relish the ability to control and know. Despite my love for others, I do want to be in command, and control. Despite the awful burden of leadership, and accountability for others' well being, I continue to seek out influence and power. This desire for power is at the core of me because I allow it to consume me rather than embracing full submission and God's desire for relationship with me.

As I embrace a deeper, and amazing view of relationship and unity, coupled with service and humility I am able to bring into focus a method for loving and being part of a community without giving up my individuality. I am unique and special, and indeed beloved of God. I choose to submit my uniqueness in order to survive in community.

The choice of self sacrifice to redeem …

Market driven church reboot?

Churches these days are hamstrung by many things. Among these are an innate sense to compare and compete with fellow churches for "nickels and noses". The question for me is how and why and I am resolved that I may never get an answer.

In a "saturated" market where 99% of people have heard the message of the gospel, outreach becomes about competition via staff, programs, and even facilities. Yes, I said the word "market" to describe the population of my region of VA. Churches are forced to compete to survive and support/sustain those very things with which they compete. This is no different from any business. The only difference is that most churches are terribly inefficient at it.

What if a church suddenly went on a "Jubilee" and gave up everything. No more big choirs, big trips, building programs, staff members to "do" things, and started focusing on partnering to deliver needs.. reliant on congregation for actions, partnering orga…

Big Daddy Bash 2009... set for Aug 15


Only two Friday Forums left..

Please note: Due to my business travel and a late arrival Friday evening, there is no Friday forum this forum on 7/31/09.

Believe it or not the Summer is actually coming to an end.. With vacations and travel, there are only 2 Friday Forums left.. Aug 7 and Aug 14 will be the last ones currently planned. Tracee and I will be obligated or on vacation for the other weekends, the 21 and 28 and from there, all bets are off as Da Capo VA begins its Fall session and school starts..

The topics for the final two forums will become clearer as the dates get closer... but I suspect that we will continue our discussions on
rights vs privileges (right to life, choice)Better/Universal healthcare and how to make it happen, reality, not dreaming.crime and punishment(death penalty and prisons)work in some discussion on the ever important "green" both the money, and the environment..
As usual, religion will play into this along government, history, and some basic economics..All view…

Forum Failure?

I hereby declare the ongoing Friday night forums both a success and a failure. So far this Summer, we have talked in depth about just about everything except abortion and the death penalty.. Don't worry everyone, I'm sure we can "get there" eventually, if we choose to. Last night was exciting and engaging, with many people talking.

We shared emotions, engaged in rational debate and once in awhile we even used humor. In short, once again, we had a blast beginning with the food and ending after 11pm when the last few folks left. I was actually proud that rather than stop our discussions and race home(or stop and turn on the TV right in front of us) to watch John Stossels segment on healthcare at 10pm, we instead chose to keep talking and learning about one another.

Since one of our central themes emerged around Entertainment as Idolatry and our cultures' dependence and addiction to a constant stream of entertainment of all kinds, this was appropriate. We stayed …

In a VBS, kids retain and remember what?

I have a new pet peeve. VBS at churches which don't teach children the true meaning of stewardship or giving or anything of the sort. We have devolved these "immersion" education experiences into competitions to see who can give the most money or whose family will buy the most things at a market or the such. By embracing secular "giving competitions" we have created a scenario which puts giving to the church on the same plane with college fraternity fundraisers or public school PTA games which dunk the teacher whose class gives the most. Is this what we want our children to learn about giving to the church and missions. As for me and my house, that is not the game and I am taking responsibility to teach my children why this is wrong. I wish I didn't have to use a church's ministry as an example of what NOT to do.

This AM, I actually had a conflict with a daughter who was concerned that money given to the boys wasn't as much as what was given to t…

Facebook Patronus, surprisingly thats a T

I have been watching with limited interest as the latest trend of Facebook quizzes makes its rounds. Yesterday, I finally took my first one: What is your Patronus? Something about the connection to the Harry Potter book series coupled with my interest in why so many people are interested in these things.. inspired me to give it a try. Few minutes, and the results were in.. I am a "wolf". Not sure exactly what that means, but the description was dead on.

"You work best in a close support group and are fiercely loyal to those you love. You are unbeatable in a group and incredibly strong even alone due to your cunning at getting the job done. You are often the sort of person who has strong faith and compassion. You’re an excellent communicator and very intelligent."

I know, I know.. it is telling me what I want to hear.. but those of you who really do know me.. that is pretty dead on ringer for a description of the "Big Daddy"... even the use of the …

Sacrifice for who, by whom?

How often have I sacrificed, I mean really sacrificed for someone else? not often enough that is sure...

Charles and I explored this piece together this weekend in a free form improvisation of a favorite hymn tune. As I entered the first verse, my thoughts were about my own inadequacy and unworthiness, finishing the last verse with a sense of awe at the love of my heavenly Father. IN the period of a few short minutes, my entire persona was transformed. I can't speak to how that is translated through the music to your ears, but it gave me goosebumps. Dr Falby taught us at LSMF, of the importance of recognizing the goosebumps, and that maybe, just maybe they arise out of an innate sense of our God's love and power over us. I am a singer and I always have been I guess. Sometimes I sing praise to God through song, other times through my physical actions. I pray that my songs honor him appropriately. I pray further that I would continue to see each day as an opportunity.

We as…

Embrace your freedom!

As we enter the 4th of July weekend, I would encourage everyone to think carefully about the words and message of this wonderful song.

We are a nation of freedoms, earned by the sacrifices of so many before us. We should not go quietly into the night making the mistakes of so many other cultures and civilizations before us. Take responsibility for yourselves and your actions at every level. Do not allow the government to take your freedom from you.

Be the change you seek! Join your fellow citizens and make a difference with your talents and skills, whatever they are. Love your neighbors, embrace diversity of thought, and continually seek inclusion and wisdom. Be elite, never elitist in your thoughts and actions.

God has always been on Twitter

As I taught this morning in Open Door, we went through a lot of ideas about talking, listening and when/how we should do any of it. With Twitter in the news so much due to the Iran crisis and its capabilities to flaunt gov't censorship, I could help making one important distinction.

I was teaching my class that we are indeed bombarded with "information energy" in today's world and that it is critically important to demonstrate a discipline of availability to God. I began to use the twitter cloud of an example of how we can at any moment, tune in, and see what thousands, maybe even millions are talking about in a linear stream. The problem here is that so much of it is useless information.

For me, the value comes from seeing patterns and the occasional diamond in the rough. Here is the question: When I spend so much energy listening to what other people say, whether in tweets, 24 hours news cycles, television, radio... Do I have the discipline to listen for God spea…

Universal Healthcare Debate Model- IT job opportunity!

What we all need for the healthcare debate is an analysis tool built on use case examples versus system cost. Lets pick say 20 typical American profiles and build an analysis model to showcase the costs and impact to the "average american". I think it would be interesting to see the use cases identified against the standard "polling demographic groups" to allow us to cross reference the cost benefits by the "voting public".. Ultimately, that is what will be necessary to get us all to give up something for the "greater good"..

Next.. we need a basic cost plotting where we view the systemic cost projections versus the "pay go" savings provisions. These system costs/benefits need to be plotted for projections and assumptions in the 1 year, 3 year, 5 year, 10 year and 20 year timelines.. Is this a lot of work? Yes? but the gov't can do it.. Lets see them just build a website to show the American public how all of the different propo…

Ratings, Rules, Rebel, Recognition, Rewards, Reruns, Relevance

The Prillaman family went to see Star Trek tonight as a group. Yes, I know the rating. Don't worry, Clara fell asleep, as expected, about 10 mins into the story. A few weeks ago, I saw it and made some comments about its lack of redeeming qualities, yet I LOVED it and thought it was pure entertainment. This movie follows all of my rules for a Summer action hit. Good guys, bad guys, little romance mixed with some skin, lots of space battles, lasers and torpedoes along with a "red matter" super weapon drawn from the future because of a catastrophic mistake. Mix in the historic relevance of the now classic Star Trek characters as young men and it is a two hour ride of non-stop fun.

After my second viewing, one relevant theme jumped out at me. Rules are not always right, and institutional compliance is not the path to recognition. As a matter of history, the rebels most often have made the difference in realms of real change. Despite all of our enlightenment and reasoni…

Information & Influence Infiltration - FUN? Forum 061209

Last night's forum topics ranged far and wide but centered on influence and the many many channels by which it is delivered or allowed to "infiltrate" our lives. Full disclosure is required here in that the words following are "spun" and presented in a Jeff world view.

The discussion and emotions were rich and deep, and as I try to summarize I freely admit that my view and memory is limited. Hopefully, comments and additions will be added here by the other attendees.

We talked a lot about movies, and media and the choices that ensue in our daily lives. Is our work ethic as a society being impacted by the media and technology and the ensuing "culture of entitlement" presented by the "happily ever after/everything will be alright" mentality of movies?

Our canon of movies ranged far and wide, from Sophie's choice, to Failsafe, to Bedtime Stories, to 12 Angry Men. Titanic came up and we acknowledged that stories mixed with historical even…