This blog is a workbench for crafting reflections, appreciation, encouragement and challenge in those areas of life that most interest me–literature, art, music, self-development and theology. I’ve no interest in polemics though I welcome feedback. The ultimate end of The Upside is to give those who visit a superior and ennobling experience for their own individual journeys.
I heard a wise speaker remark once that we are all a composite of the people who influence our lives, whether directly or through their work. I resonated with this observation and it helped put to bed the nagging urge to “be an original.”
So I thought I would list some of my own, collected over forty-eight years. I’d be interested in yours if you choose to comment.
I am a Christian man and so the biggest influence, without question, is Jesus Christ. He is the summit.
I am also a husband, father, son, IT professional, musician and writer. So here goes:
People: My wife, Kath. My daughters, Anna and Emily. My extended family and friends. My teachers and ministers. My employers and colleagues.
Guitarists: Phil Keaggy, Eric Clapton, Julian Bream, Christopher Parkening, Jeff Beck, Alvin Lee, David Russell, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Brian May, Chuck Berry, Andres Segovia, John Williams, Earl Klugh, Larry Carlton, Ted Nugent, Paul O’Dette (lute), Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Steve Howe, Joe Fava, Konrad Ragossnig (lute), Tommy Emmanuel, David Gilmour, Rick Foster, Angel Romero, Wes Montgomery, Jacob Moon, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Anthony Phillips. And many more.
Music and Artists: Dan Fogelberg, Keith Green, Elton John, The Allman Brothers, Paul Clark, The Beatles, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Donovan, Honeytree, Sara Groves, Vineyard Music, Maranatha Music, Hillsong Music, James Taylor, Larry Norman, John Michael Talbot, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Luciano Pavarotti, Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Jethro Tull, Randy Stonehill, The Eagles, Billy Joel, Kemper Crabb, Lamb, Peter, Paul & Mary, Queen, Simon & Garfunkel, Twila Paris, Yo-Yo Ma, Michael Card, Bob Bennett, Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), Brian Doerksen, Debby Boone, Kenny G, Norah Jones, Andrea Bocelli, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Dave Brubeck, Ralph Sharon, Tony Bennett, Neil Young, Jascha Heifetz, Glenn Gould, Malcolm & Alwyn, Phil Ramone. And many more.
Composers: Johann Sebastian Bach, John Dowland, Gaspar Sanz, Ralph Vaughn Williams, Erik Satie, G.F. Handel, Ludwig Von Beethoven, Jimmy Webb, Francesco Da Milano, Henry Purcell, Pyotr Illich Tchaikovsky, Domenico Scarlatti, Enrique Granados, Isaac Albeniz, Michael Praetorius, Joaquin Rodrigo, Antonin Dvorak, Ennio Morricone, Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Rachel Portman, Felix Mendelsohn, James Newton Howard, John Williams, Mychael Danna, Stephen Schwartz, George Gershwin. And many more.
Film: Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Marlon Brando, Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Johnny Depp, Steve McQueen, Ben Kingsley, Anthony Hopkins, Liam Neeson, Sir Laurence Olivier, James Caan, Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness, Steven Spielberg, Gus Van Zandt, Jim Caviezel, Franco Zeffirelli. And many more.
Writers: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Morris West, Will & Ariel Durant, Viktor Frankl, Chaim Potok, Ralph McInerny, M. Scott Peck, J.R.R. Tolkien, Michael O’Brien, William Manchester, Dan Brown, Daniel Silva, Leo Tolstoy, Randy Alcorn, Joel Rosenberg, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Elie Wiesel, Sol Stein, Mitch Albom, Mortimer Adler, Will Strunk & E.B. White. And many more.
Christian – Protestant: A.W. Tozer, R.C. Sproul, C.S. Lewis, J.C. Ryle, Francis Schaeffer, A.W. Pink, Derek Prince, Jack Hayford, Ravi Zacharias, Chuck Missler, John MacArthur, Robert Shank, Gordon Lindsay, Leonard Ravenhill, David Wilkerson, John Piper, J.I. Packer, Richard Foster, Jonathan Edwards, Eugene Peterson, Gordon Fee, Dallas Willard, Robert Dick Wilson, John Bevere, D.M. M’Intyre, Watchman Nee, John Wimber, Jack Deere, Bill Johnson, Thomas Oden, Edward J. Young, Hobart E. Freeman, J. Barton Payne, Gene Edwards, William Branham, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Smith Wigglesworth, Josh McDowell, Dave Hunt, Chuck Smith, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Ronald Enroth, Larry Burkett, Jack Van Impe, A.T. Robertson, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Charles Colson, John G. Lake, Paul Livermore, Michael Brown, Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, John Wesley, Charles Finney, Bill Hybels, John Eldredge, Billy Graham, Jim Elliot, Chuck Swindoll, Charles Spurgeon, Alfred Edersheim. And many more.
Christian – Catholic: St. Francis of Assisi, Thomas Merton, Francis MacNutt, Louis Bouyer, Karl Adam, Msgr. Ronald Knox, Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, Thomas À Kempis, Mark Shea, Romano Guardini, Thomas Howard, Madame Guyon, G.K. Chesterton, Fr. John Hardon, Dietrich Von Hildebrand, Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II), Angelo Roncalli (John XXIII), Raymond Brown, Brennan Manning, Joseph Girzone, John Henry Newman, Karl Keating, Malachi Martin. And many more.
Leadership and Self-Development: Jim Rohn, Peter Drucker, Michael Gelb, John Maxwell, J. Oswald Sanders, Jack Canfield, Dean Karnazes, James Allen, Napoleon Hill, Brian Tracy, Anthony Robbins, Stephen Covey, Earl Nightingale, Dale Carnegie, Warren Bennis, David Schwartz, Zig Ziglar, Warren Bennis. And a few more.
Politics and Economics: George Will, Henry Kissinger, Abba Eban, Ronald Reagan, John Kenneth Galbraith, John F. Kennedy, George Schultz, Thomas Sowell. And a few more.
Science and Technology: Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, E.F. Codd, Stephen Hawking. And a few more.