Category archives: music

What to Sing During Advent

Reaching people during Advent. How (especially during Advent) does the church reflect and embody Jesus’ mission to the lost?

Churches that refuse to sing Christmas carols until December 24 are in danger of being the only venue where such music is not sung during December. The church, therefore, becomes a place people may avoid, since the experience of hearing and singing this music is offered abundantly elsewhere.

God’s Great Dance Floor

“Praise and worship” differs from other forms of Christian popular music because of its explicitly stated purpose for facilitating experiences of worship. This is music designed for use by Christian believers to actively negotiate their relationships with God. … the standard of quality is ultimately curatorial rather than performative. Like the deejay, worship leaders are judged on their ability to enact a meaningful encounter for the gathered community rather than their ability to correctly realize a pre-determined musical product.

and

Popular music actually shapes the ways that believers come to know themselves as religious subjects in worship.

and

… I do not mean to suggest any degree of insincerity or inauthenticity on the part of the music’s devout practitioners. Rather, by describing evangelical worship music through a syncretic lens, I argue for the importance of music as a primary theological discourse which allows parishioners to construct, contest, reify, and transgress the boundaries of official “orthodoxy.”

Kudus: Ethnomusicology Review.

Something Wonderful – Hallelujah

Somebody on Facebook pointed this out to me. I love it:

I especially like the interpretation of “forever and ever” about 2:05 in.

Reminder: Some People Are Jerks

The other day, I watched this video on YouTube. It’s amazing. I can’t imagine how much effort went into filming it. The song itself is fine, but, frankly, I heard it enough a couple of decades ago to last me. I’m not sure what it has to do with Grand Rapids, but, whatever. (According to Wikipedia, when he was asked what the song’s lyrics meant, Don McLean replied, “It means I never have to work again.”)

Anyway, I went to crowd-source my opinion and noticed the ratings. About a million people had seen it by then, and of them almost 15K had “liked” it (the long green bar under the photo). But 320 had “not liked” it (the short red bar). Why?

Screen Capture: American Pie Video on YouTube

I know it’s a cliché to ask “what’s not to like?” (#67 on this list) but, well, what’s not to like? With the video, I mean. You might not like Grand Rapids, but why down-rate the video for that? Or maybe you hate the people who shot the video. But do you judge a movie just because you don’t like the director? If so, where do you stop? Suppose you like the cast and the director, but not the key grip or the best boy. Do you rate the movie a dud for that?

Some people just don’t like anything. In the church, we call them E.G.R. or “Extra Grace Required.” It’s a shame they are so damaged and bitter that they need to spread their bile all around them. But I challenge them to read about Barnabas:

For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus.—Acts 4:36

Obviously, the people around them much prefer the Barnabas types to the E.G.R.s. But I suspect the Barnabas types enjoy themselves a lot more than the E.G.R.’s do.

Anyway, a final observation: The ratio of people who liked the video to those who disliked it was about 46:1. So when you bump into someone who seems positively determined to suck the joy out of your life, remember there are probably 46 normal people who aren’t. Try to spend more time with them, and less with the jerks.

Seventy Times Seven

I stumbled on this video (unofficial/fan) for the David Meese song “Seventy Times Seven.” I haven’t heard the song in 10 years, but the message is evergreen.

Hearing the song started me thinking: I believe I have a David Meese album. So I checked, and, yes, I do: three, in fact — but I never ripped them into iTunes. Well, that would explain why I don’t ever hear this song any more.

Looking for Musicians

We’re looking for a musical accompanist and a choir director. The accompanist should be able to play the piano, but we would prefer an organist. The choir director must be able to…, well, direct a choir. If you’d like to know more, or to refer someone else to us, call the church at (760) 365-6331.

Public Witness How-To’s

Several local groups of Christians participated in the Grubstakes Parade in Yucca Valley this weekend.

Christians at the Grubstakes Parade
Joshua Springs Christian School Pep Band.

Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel operates a Christian School. They sent their Pep Band. As it went by my position, they were playing the James Bond theme. Very nice.

Christians at the Grubstakes Parade
Yucca Valley Nazarene Church Worship Team

The Nazarene church sent their worship team. The music wasn’t anything I recognized, but it wasn’t obnoxious, and the singer was pleasantly enthusiastic. Another winsome entry.

Then came these people:

Christians at the Grubstakes Parade
Anonymous Kooks

Why are they? I don’t know who these people were, or if they’re associated with a local church, but they should be ashamed of their witness. If this is how they want to present the Good News to people, they should go read how Paul did it (Acts 17:16-23). Or even Jonah (say, Jonah 3:4,5,10; 4:1-2).

Finally, this.

Christians at the Grubstakes Parade
Handing Out Tracts

A guy walked the route passing out tracts. Fine. But look what it says: “Your Parade Guide.” I’m sure that it seemed clever to whoever wrote it — I’ll guide you toward a decision for Christ, which is more important than this parade. But this is worldly cleverness, the kind used to write TV commercials. It’s fundamentally dishonest, because it pulls a bait-and-switch on the reader.

Catalyst West Coast 2009

This is the first year that Catalyst has had a west-coast event. I’m glad I went.

Catalyst 2009 West Coast

That’s the worship (or, Presbyterians would say, the “worship music”). The band is Hillsong United, from Australia.