Rode Hard And Put Away Wet

my God, where do these days go?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

...and we'll bring you love, you'll be one of us when the night comes...

I am indebted to this phenomenon known as the mp3 blog. I had never heard of such an animal a scant four months ago, now I'm heavily addicted. Much of the tuneage that takes up my iPod was first listened to as a result of a fantastic mp3 blog.

So I thought I'd share the wealth a little. These are some of the bands that I found through mp3 blogs.

The Decemberists
I actually first heard these guys on Relevant's site, but I quickly found their huge following in the blogosphere. I've since purchased every thing they've put out. Lead singer & writer Colin Meloy has a literate, yet self-effacing style that I find endearing.

Here I Dreamt I was an Architect

Page France
These guys are my current obsession. I first heard of them through (a fantastic bargain if you like music that doesn't suck), but again, quickly got up to speed via some mp3 blogs. Again, I've since purchased everything I could get my hands on.


Kite Flying Society
This is the newest band I've come across - they're building up a ton of buzz, and with good reason. Tight harmonies, innovative instrumentation, and cachy hooks. What more can a man ask for? They don't presently have a record out, but one's coming out soon.

6000 Shipwrecks

I'm from Barcelona
You're gonna hate me if you download this one. You'll never get it out of your head. Them Swedes know a hook when they find one. Thanks to What Would Jesus Blog? for this one. The video is priceless. F-ing priceless.

We're from Barcelona - Movie
We're from Barcelona

Sufjan Stevens
I know, I know. He's only the most popular guy in the universe, but all the same, I first heard him on an mp3 blog. And he's quite simply the most brilliant musician that I can think of. He's probably not for everyone, but he's certainly for me.

Adlai Stevenson

Jon Black
It's nice to find a Christian artist that doesn't feel out of place next to these other names. I'm indebted to songs:Illinois for this one. He's a great find.

Glory, Hallelujah

Check these guys out, please? And then go buy their records!

Here are some of my favorite mp3 blogs:

An Aquarium Drunkard
Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands
..good weather for airstrikes
I am Fuel, You are Friends
What Would Jesus Blog?

Go ye therefore and listen to good stuff.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Don't mess with the bull, son. You'll get the horns.

I worked on the tech team at church this Sunday - I was on lyrics. You know, the guy that makes the words on the screen fit with what the band is doing? That was me. The guy you only notice when he screws up. Fortunately, no screw-ups this week.

Anyhoo, before church starts every week, we have a little meeting with the pastor, the band, and all the tech guys (we have a video guy, a lights guy, a lyrics guy, and a sound guy - well, all usually guys, sometimes gals). The conversation revolves around the order of worship, who's doing what when, etc. And invariably, there's the following exchange (or a reasonable facsimile thereof):

Pastor: Ok, do you want to pray at that point, or do you want me to?
Band leader: It probably makes more sense as a transition for you to do it...
Pastor: Sounds good. You come on up during the prayer. Lights?
Lighting guy: Ok, I'll drop the lights when the prayer starts, so they'll be down when the band starts playing.

I always get a little fidgety at the point. I know that that stuff is important. I do. I understand that excellence in doing church includes being polished and ensuring smooth transitions, etc. But, when we start talking about prayer as a transition, it gets under my skin a little. It's a real struggle for me, because I'm a behind-the-scenes guy and I get it. But it always feels like dangerous business.

And I'm reminded of a couple of things. The first is the story of Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6. When the Israelites, led by David, are taking the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, they don't follow God's instructions for how to transport it. And then, when the oxen pulling the cart stumble, and the ark starts to fall, Uzzah reaches out to stop it from falling. Verse 7 says, "The LORD's anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God." It's dangerous business, messing with the ark of God.

Andrew Peterson (yes, I know) uses an interesting metaphor. He's got a song called "Mohawks on the Scaffold" that compares the way we do church to the building of the first American skyscrapers and the legend that Indians were used to build the highest parts, because they weren't afraid of the heights. The chorus goes, "Like Mohawks on the scaffold, heedless of the danger/Don't look down at the city, brother it's a long way to fall/Like Mohawks on the scaffold, strolling on the I-beams/Hallelujah, Praise the Lord, He's a puzzle that I've solved."

So where's the line? When does the business of church cross into irreverence? When does being concerned with the atmosphere and the content of church become too much about the concern and not enough about the church? Does it even matter? Am I too sensitive? Is it just part of the deal?

In the Peterson song, when he does the chorus the last time, he ends it with "Hallelujah, Praise the Lord, He's so patient with us all."

Lord, I hope so.


Rest in Peace, Paul Gleason. You will always be the ultimate authority figure to an entire generation of us. That's no small thing.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

and even though you take him, still I ever will obey...

Here's the hard part about the Bible (well, one of many). The stories are so well crafted, so perfect in their analogy-ness, that it's damn easy to forget their realism. I have such a hard time divorcing Bible stories from Aesop-like fable thinking. When things are drilled into your head from birth, every Sunday morning, they tend to lose some punch.

What I find amazing, truly astounding, is the ability of an artist to give humanity to the stale. Those stories that have become nothing but object lessons - parables. The artist that can breathe life into those stories is truly remarkable.

Rich Mullins was one of those. Mark Heard, another. I think Andrew Peterson is the chief of the new breed. He has a knack for personifying people - not an easy task.

One of the most re-told, recycled tales is that of Abraham and Isaac. Well, AP does it better than me. So here you are:

Holy is the Lord

You want fun? I’ve got fun for you. Imagine, if you will, your six year old son running though the house screaming “I hate daddy!” at the top of his lungs. Now, that’s fun.


Here’s how that happened. It’s a gorgeous day and Sam and Laney were playing very nicely outside. Sam came in to ask me something - I forget what. I answered him and told him to go back outside and play some more. He said, “But I want to stay inside.”

So I said, “No, you guys have been in all day - you need to go play outside for awhile.”

So he began screaming and saying, “I hate daddy!!”


Well, all the parenting experts say that you shouldn’t try to be your kid’s friend…. Mission accomplished, I guess.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Old Before My Time

“You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out of here…” - Paul & John

Eight years and change. Seem like a long time?

We are old in the ways of marriage. Oh, I know that we’re not; not really, anyway. There are plenty of people around who have been married for decades. Decades! And we’re just knocking on the door of our first 10 years (it’ll be 9 in December).

But when it comes to the people we’re around mostly, we’re practically Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn (ask your parents). Not only do we have eight years under our belts, but we have two offspring (offsprings?), one of whom is actually in the second f-ing grade! We’re practically ancient.

I only drink expensive beer and/or Scotch. I smoke a pipe. My favorite concert last year was Simon and Garfunkel. I make a funny noise when I get up off the couch. I’d rather read about matchbook art than delve into a hot button political issue - reading DailyKos just makes me tired. In about a month I’ll have bought my second house!

I guess it should come as no surprise that I’m old - the oldest 28 year old on the planet. I think I’ve been old my whole life. Forgive me, Janna, for dragging you into this.

Slowly, slowly, at first. It's been a while, and this might hurt a little.