Monday, March 09, 2009

Amazing Covers of Bruce Springsteen

Woody Guthry had a profound impact on a generation. He was an American legend. Johnny Cash had a profound impact on a generation. He too is an American legend. Bruce Springsteen has and continues to impact this generation.

Recently, a number of artists covered some of the great songs that Bruce has created over the past 35 plus years. The effort is called hanging out on E Street. Enjoy the legend.
Tom Gabel from Against Me! covers "Reason to Believe"
Mat Kearney covers “Atlantic City”
"He reminds me of a Johnny Cash or someone who can just continue to do what he does it just resonates with people"

Bouncing Souls cover “Growin Up”
"He helped you dream your dream. You've been down those actual roads he's talking about."
The Avett Brothers cover "Glory Days"
The Gaslight Anthem "Backstreets"
"And there was just this guy with this leather jacket that kind of looked like my dad..."

Ted Leo covers “Dancin’ in the Dark”
"It's really, really fun for me to be able to play the covers, the songs of other people that have moved me so much over the years."
"Juliana Hatfield performs "Cover Me""
Pete Yorn covers "Your Own Worst Enemy"

U2: No Line on the Horizon- A Vertical Release

Few albums these days are worth a total purchase. NLOTH is an exception.
This clearly reflects Bono's maturity as a song writer and U2 maturity as a band. The album overall will make you a better person for listening to it and though Bono might flip you the bird if you try to pin him down on his Christianity the album is incredibly vertical in it scope. Perhaps the no line on the horizon demands that we look up. That, it seems is where Bono is looking. To the heavens, that is.
Rather than droll on about "texture" and "genre" and "tonality" and blah blah blah. I would recommend just getting the album. Here are, however, some samples of the deep lyrics that we have come to expect from U2.

No Line on the Horizon
Bono sings, "I know a girl with a hole in her heart/ She said infinity is a great place to start/ Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh." St. Augustine says, (and everyone after him) "Our hearts are restless until we rest in the infinite."


Bono sings, "I was born/ I was born to sing for you/ I didn’t have a choice but to lift you up/ And sing whatever song you wanted me to/ I give you back my voice/ From the womb my first cry, it was a joyful noise…/ Only love, only love can leave such a mark/ But only love, only love can heal such a scar/ Justified till we die, you and I will magnify/ The Magnificent/ Magnificent"

Moment of Surrender
Bono sings, "I was speeding off the subway/ Through the stations of the cross/ Every eye looking every other way/ Counting down till the pain will stop"

Unknown Caller
Bono sings, "Cease to speak that I may speak." Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Bono sings, "3:33 when the numbers fell off the clock face/ Go, shout it out, rise up/ Oh, ohhh." Psalm 33:3 says, "Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy."

I know I'll Go Crazy
Bono sings, "Is it true that perfect love drives out all fear?" 1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Richard Foster- The Spiritual Disciplines

If you want to get into good shape, really good shape you need a exercise regime. Maybe you need to hire a personal trainer. Want to go far in your career or field of expertise? You are going to need to get extra training, read up on the best practices in your field, and be intentional about staying on top of your game.

What about your soul. For centuries Christians have invested in training up spiritual warriors by working what we call, The Spiritual Disciplines. One of the best introductions into the disciplines is the concise book by Richard Foster, The Celebration of Discipline. I read this book cover to cover for about three years running twenty years ago and still return to it for insights and honing. If you need a course of focus this Lent, or just want to hone your soul, try Foster's book. The Celebration of Discipline.

Here is a quick list of the disciplines mentioned in Foster's book

Inner Disciplines
The Discipline of Meditation
The Discipline of Prayer
The Discipline of Fasting
The Discipline of Study

Outer Disciplines
The Discipline of Simplicity
The Discipline of Solitude
The Discipline of Submission
a valuable but often-abused discipline.
The Discipline of Service

Corporate Disciplines
The Discipline of Confession
The Discipline of Worship
The Discipline of Guidance
The Discipline of Celebration

George Herbert-- You the Man!

He was probably the Bob Dylan of his era- Geroge Herbert that is. Who is Herbert? Well, he is one of the Anglican Divines. Yeah, but was is that, or who are they? They were a group of English religious writers and thinkers from the 16th and 17th century. Herbert left a government career to become a country pastor. He also wrote amazing poetry and his book, The Temple is filled with some pretty powerful verse.

Here is my favorite George Herbert Poem

From The Temple (1633), by George Herbert:

O What a cunning guestIs this same grief! within my heart I made
Closets; and in them many a chest;
And, like a master in my trade,
In those chests, boxes;
in each box, a till:
Yet grief knows all, and enters when he will.

No screw, no piercer can
Into a piece of timber work and wind,
As Gods afflictions into man,
When he a torture hath designed.
They are too subtle for the subtlest hearts;
And fall, like rheumes, (seep like glue into) upon the tendrest parts.

We are the earth; and they,
Like moles within us, heave, and cast about:
And till they foot and clutch their prey,
They never cool, much less give out.
No smith can make such locks but they have keys:
Closets are halls to them;
and hearts, highways.

Only an open breast
Doth shut them out, so that they cannot enter;
Or, if they enter, cannot rest,
But quickly seek some new adventure.
Smooth open hearts no fastening have;
but fiction
Doth give a hold and handle to affliction.

Wherefore my faults and sins,
Lord, I acknowledge;
take thy plagues away:
For since confession pardon wins,
I challenge here the brightest day,
The clearest diamond: let them do their best,
They shall be thick and cloudy to my breast.