Monday, January 22, 2007

Deep Longings- Everlasting Life

The late Francis Schaeffer always insisted that we all have a deep longing in us for several things that God has embedded in His creatures- beauty, everlasting life, love, truth, and justice. It is because of these God-given aspects that we love music, recognize beauty, and are able to feel deeply the loss of love and life and the need for things that lasts beyond the grave. Seeing and hearing Young@Heart (the New England octogenarian chorus line) sing Cold Play’s Fix You definitely stirs many of the deep things of God. What makes this performance particularly cogent is that Fred Knittle (the man singing) originally performed Fix You with Bob Salvini. It is tragic that Salvini died before the two of them could sing the song together. Yet, it is also a powerful expression of the song that Fred had the courage to sing it alone.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Gnarls Barkley- What Do You Think?

Smiley Faces Vid

Gnarls Barkley is a collaboration between Baltimore, Maryland-based DJ and producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) and rapper/singer Cee-Lo (Thomas Callaway), from Atlanta. I have been listening to Gnarls Barkley this week. The band has an infectious groove and looks to me like they may become pop icons of this decade. I will post again on theological reflections on this band as soon as I have had a chance to really hear the total album.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Culture, Community, and the Killers

I haven’t watched TV for a decade so sometimes I miss cultural stuff that comes down the pike. Actually, I miss tons. But, one of the cool things about being unplugged is that the good always floats to the top. I chose to unplug from TV and what I call “passive mediums” because I was so addicted to passive mediums that it was spoiling my ability to hear from God and feel clean in His presence.

Anyway, Catherine (my wife) and I have kind of traded community for celebrity and we really love it. But, back to my point about the good always rising to the top. I will be talking to someone, or someone will call me, and they will mention a new artist or some great song, or a cultural event or phenomenon and then I will look into it. The other day, my friend David said, “Hey look at this video.” It was Johnny Cash, God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” The video was a powerful look at the reality that ‘everything we wisper in the basement will someday be heralded from the rooftops’ to loosely quote Oscar Wilde. The video features all these celebrities, some Christian believers and others… well, not. I knew some but many I did not know at all. So, I looked into all the celebrities and artists in the video and found on one particular list, a guy was listed as appearing in the video but who actually does not appear at all- Brandon Flowers. So, I “wiki’d” him and found out that he is the lead singer for The Killers. Here is a taste of their music.

The Killers: Lineage 2

They have a real late eighties, early nineties sound like they could be included in the sound track for Pretty in Pink or something. Anyway, this Las Vegas Band rocks! So, thanks to all my friends who call me and talk to me and share the things they love with me because it helps me to discover new and talented folks without having to be so totally immersed in this culture that I am soiled.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Heart or Coffin: The Need for Love

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements, lock it up safe in the casket of your selfishness. But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless-it will change. It will not be broken, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. C.S. Lewis

It feels so good to give our hearts to things that matter- God, spouse, family, friends, community, the work you were made for- until, one of these precious things is suddenly snatched from you. It is tragic to lose when you have loved, to have our hearts burned down just as we have filled them with the beauty of life. More tragic, though, is to die in the ashes of a burned out heart, or to live in the ashes forever, refuses to love again. I know it hurts. But the alternative to a heart that loves is a heart that turns from flesh to stone, from a one full of life and loss to one safe and impenetrable- a coffin.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The 77's Saved My Life

Back in the early 80's my mom was really into Christian music. I hated it. She was listening to artist like Sandy Patty and the Gathers and Evie and Randy Stonehill and I was into ACDC and Brice Springsteen. Then, one day she brought home this tape. It was from a band called the 77's. The album was Ping Pong Over The Abyss. i listened to that album until it wore our. It was my only connection to Christian culture. Twenty five years later, I still love the band and the artists that emerged from this band. Below is the "trailer" for the latest 77's DVD.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The New Rocky = Votolato

Rocky Votolato is a refreshing singer song writer. He is on the Second Nature Recording label and is well worth you time. Check out White Daisy Passing