Monday, September 22, 2014

Why I Stopped Hating Christian Music

Beatrice Murch/Flickr
Some provocative thoughts from a new blogger at ChristianityToday.

My beef is that even though the music has such high production values and is performed by such high caliber musicians, it often lacks realness and authenticity. Amazingly, it manages to sound shallow even when talking about ideas of incredible depth. The lyrics are prosaic and affected, and the themes that it covers are shockingly narrow. There are the "I'm a bad person but you love me anyway" songs, the "Teach me to love like you songs", and the "Don't give up" songs. Aaaand, that's about it. Of course, I'm being facetious and stupid, which comes as no surprise to those of you who read this blog regularly.
But in mid-tooth grit this week, I realized something that made me have a lot more respect and compassion for people who are in the Christian music industry: they are in a ridiculously impossible position.
You can read the rest here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Fun: Worship Leader In-Ear Monitors

HT: Jon Acuff and Gabriel Lytle

It's becoming more common that wireless in-ear monitors (complete with customized-fit molds) will be worn, unused, by worship leaders and other musicians between (and maybe before and after) church services. I guess they're a bit more comfortable than headset wireless mics and not enough people are saying, "Your in-ears are showing/dangling." Will this become a new inadvertent fashion?

You can read one meditation on the subject here.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Culture, Kingdom and Worship

Some inspirational words here.

The best kept secret in the Christian life is that everything we do matters to God. Some Christians have the idea that pastors and missionaries are doing “kingdom work,” but the rest of us are not. In this post, I’d like to show how every dimension of human life and culture—work and leisure, art and science, politics and economics, sports and competition, homemaking and education—is ripe with potential to honor God the King. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

From Bono to Billy Graham

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Bono, U2's frontman, wrote a very appreciative poem to Billy Graham. I must admit I don't recall seeing this on display in Charlotte 3 years ago. Perhaps it's a more recent addition or I missed it. The Huffington Post, most likely because of U2's new (free) album, recently wrote about Bono's friendship with Billy Graham, including photos of the poem and other media regarding Bono's appreciation for Graham and his ministry.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"The Great Divorce" On Stage

Aside from The Chronicles of Narnia, my favorite story from C.S. Lewis is likely The Great Divorce. I read it as a teenager, and I still remember some of its poignant portrayals of Scriptural truth. I dreamed that one day it would become a movie.

Well, it seems my dream is coming (partially) true.

Max McLean, who has recorded audio versions of the Bible and has given us a theatrical portrayal of C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters, has now put together The Great Divorce as a touring play. Hoping it comes to more cities in the Midwest soon!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Questioning My Football Fan-hood

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
It's been a rough weekend for me as a football fan. The Iowa Hawkeyes lost to their in-state rival, the Iowa State Cyclones, and the Minnesota Vikings got slaughtered by the New England Patriots. But, worst of all, Adrian Peterson, the all-star running back for the Minnesota Vikings, got indicted for felony child abuse.

Vikings fans, myself included, are blindsided. Impressive football statistics aside, this is the same Adrian Peterson who helps selflessly set up and tore down equipment before and after practice, produces countless charities, humbly attributed his miraculous recovery and comeback year (2012) to God and Twittered from the book of Romans. He was the face of the franchise with his athletic ability, impressive stats, and moral and charitable character. So yeah, this is a big deal.

Here are a couple of striking paragraphs from a popular Vikings fan blogger, reacting to the allegations against Adrian Peterson:

Look, I quit being the moral arbiter of what players do sometime after the Love Boat fiasco in 2005. I came to the conclusion that if a team can put up with the irresponsible actions of their players, I can cheer for them for three hours on Sunday, and not give them a second thought the other six days and 21 hours. Still, I've been a fan of this team for over 40 years, and this is the most dumbfounded I've ever been.

Think about that for a second. For ALL the gross buffoonery we've had to deal with, and that's really saying something for this franchise, this one makes me the sickest of all of them and really makes me question why I cheer for this team.  

The unfortunate thing is, of course, that it's not just the Vikings. There's Ray Rice, Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick and the Saints' "Bountygate," just to name a few, that all seem to show the "moral vacancy" of the NFL. Add that to the plethora of permanent damage to mind and body that we see in retired players, and the Washington Post is asking NFL fans to quit

I like football. I really do. I was never really a player, but the pep/marching band trombonist in high school. Football is one of the things I like about the fall, when you can enjoy the crisp air and colorful leaves and celebrate regional community and pride. As a sport, in my opinion, football stands out to fans as a game of fascinating strategy with the right level of watchable intensity. 

But has the gold mine (or Steinbeck's pearl) of college and professional football reduced it to a game of barbarism and permanent injury? It certainly seems that way, and that's why I'm seriously questioning my fan-hood.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Fun: Clever Onion Article

I can't agree with some of its content, but every once in a while The Onion takes a random clever thought and turns it into a short funny article that makes me chuckle. And they've done it again. Today's headline: 

Person Standing Far Away From Burial Must Have Deep, Dark Secret About Deceased

Heh. Look what movies and TV make us think.